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domingo, junio 19, 2011

Were Tim Pawlenty's Remarks Antisemitic?

This will be very brief. Yesterday, republican governmental hopeful Tim Pawlenty made a speech at the Right Online Conference in Minnesota. I heard excerpts on NPR. I couldn't believe what I heard. Then I found this confirmation in the Washington Post. Here's what he said. You determine whether this is dog whistle anti-semitism.

...former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty again took a sharp jab at primary rival Mitt Romney....

Pawlenty seemed in overdrive, walking the stage to give a fast-paced speech without notes. His plane was late, so he arrived on stage 10 minutes behind schedule straight from the airport. His speech was short -- about fifteen minutes -- without many pauses for applause.

He offered an energy plan (”more energy”), a defense of his call for 5 percent annual growth (”Kennedy didn’t say let’s have a space program and go to the clouds”) and an attack on Wall Street that used religious imagery (“We’ve got to go to Wall Street and tell the bankers and the money-changers it’s time to take their snout out of the government trough.”) By the end, the crowd was enthused.

"Money-changers"? Wall Street money-changers? Religious imagery? Wait a second. Am I the only person who hears this charged reference as a dog whistle (if not an an overt reference) to New York Jews in finance and the tired assertion that that they are pigs whose "snouts" are improperly in the government trough? Or, put another way, is this an anti-semitic reference? I hear it as one. Maybe I'm over sensitive. Maybe I'm getting rankled because Biblical references in secular politics seem to me to be dog whistles to the religious right, signals that their interests, even if not explicitly articulated, are accepted as Gospel.

Look. Here's Matthew 12:21-23, the source of the reference:

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all of them who sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
And said unto them,

It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

This incident is supposed to have happened on Passover in the Temple in Jerusalem, and the money-changers who were expelled were, of course, Jews, as were those who did the expelling.

Am I oversensitive?

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Lisa said...

Personally, I don't feel you're being oversensitive at all. Use of the term "moneychangers" is without question a dog whistle/coded message/none-too-subtle anti-semitic button he was pushing to get his "base" excited.

He's trying to compete for Michelle Bachmann's voters. These people are zealots and unabashedly want our country to become something it has never been: a so-called "Christian" nation - hellbent on missionary work and making everyone who hasn't been (or doesn't want to be) "saved" or "born again" dead.

It is sickening. "T-Paw" is gross. He reminds me of McCain, in that he has turned himself inside out to appeal to these fringe people.

11:15 a. m.  

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