ADL Condemns Anti-Semitic Characterization of Jews by South Carolina GOP Leaders; Calls Apology A First Step
Atlanta, GA, October 20, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today said that despite the apology of two South Carolina Republican Party chairmen for characterizing Jews as penny-pinchers, "they need to do more to publicly disavow their words and to understand why their remarks were so insensitive."
In an opinion piece published Oct. 18 by The Times and Democrat newspaper, Bamberg County GOP Chairman Edwin Merwin and Orangeburg County Chairman James Ulmer defended the fiscal policies of U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, by saying he was "like Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves."
"Their apology is a first step, but it doesn't go far enough," said Bill Nigut, ADL Southeast Regional Director. "Stereotypes about Jews' facility with money have survived through generations and have been inculcated into our culture. Mr. Merwin and Mr. Ulmer need to better understand the impact of their words, and how those words will resonate and reinforce anti-Semitism."
ADL said it would gladly facilitate a dialogue between the two county chairmen and members of the South Carolina Jewish community.
"The seeming ease with which these Republican leaders invoked age-old stereotypes of the Jewish people makes it clear that they need to engage actively in meaningful conversation with the Jewish community to understand why their remarks were so insensitive," Mr. Nigut said.
"The best outcome of this sad episode would be for Mr. Merwin and Mr. Ulmer to learn more about the root causes of anti-Semitism. They need to do more to publicly disavow their words and to understand why their remarks were so insensitive."
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The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.