Romney’s general pal offends Jews, too

Romney's Muslim-bashing general pal isn't much better when it comes to Jews, drawing the ire of the ADL

Topics: Mitt Romney, Jews, Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism, 2012 Elections,

Romney's general pal offends Jews, tooLieutenant General William G. Boykin (Credit: U.S. Army)

Last week, we noted that Mitt Romney met privately with a highly controversial retired general who drew admonishments from George W. Bush and the Department of Defense for giving anti-Muslim speeches while in uniform.

Romney’s association with Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin sparked outrage from Muslim leaders, who noted that the retired general has made a second career out of agitating against Islam, which he says “should not be protected under the First Amendment.”

But as the Jewish Daily Forward points out, “Boykin hasn’t just made inflammatory statements about Muslims. He has had a lot to say about Jews as well.” In a May speech captured by the liberal blog Right Wing Watch, Boykin said American Jews vote Democratic because they don’t understand Hitler. “[O]ne of the most disgusting things I hear is for people to call Hitler the extreme Right. The absolute opposite was true. It was the National Socialist Party. He was an extraordinarily off-the-scale leftist. But many Jews in America, for example, can’t identify with the Republican Party because they’re called the party of the Right, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth,” Boykin explained. He has also claimed that the Affordable Care Act laid the groundwork for President Obama’s “brownshirt” army.

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And in 2003, the Anti-Defamation League demanded that the Department of Defense repudiate a Boykin speech suggesting that the U.S. was engaged in a Christian holy war against Muslims. Our “spiritual enemy will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus,” Boykin said in the speech. ADL director Abe Foxman responded at the time: ”We are not fighting a religious war, and to say that we are fighting in the name of Jesus is to make it exactly that. Such a characterization is also profoundly offensive to the many courageous Americans in uniform who are not Christian.”

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

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