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Texas Tea

Joe Straus, the Republican speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, has been targeted by the Tea Party. The anti-Semitic attacks against him suggest not all politics is local.

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A Texas Tea Party member on Election Night 2010. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Last month, Texas primary voters started receiving robocalls urging them to jettison the Republican speaker of the state House of Representatives, Joe Straus, who is Jewish, in favor of a “true Christian.” Ray Myers, chairman of the Kaufman County Tea Party, sent out a widely circulated email supporting one of Straus’ opponents and saying, “[W]e finally found a Christian Conservative who decided not to be pushed around by the Joe Straus thugs.” Another viral email promised, “Straus is going down in Jesus [sic] name.”

This wasn’t just a fringe phenomenon. Similar rhetoric came from the highest echelons of the Texas GOP. In late November, the Texas Observer obtained emails between two members of the State Republican Executive Committee, John Cook and Rebecca Williamson. Williamson had sent colleagues an email defending Straus’ conservative bona fides. Cook responded by saying, “We elected a house with Christian, conservative values. We now want a true Christian, conservative running it.” When the Texas Observer contacted Cook, he elaborated, “I want to make sure that a person I’m supporting is going to have my values. It’s not anything about Jews and whether I think their religion is right or Muslims and whether I think their religion is right. … I got into politics to put Christian conservatives into office. They’re the people that do the best jobs over all.”

Some of the references to Christian values may, as some have argued, have been less overt anti-Semitism than shorthand for a certain kind of Texas ultra-conservatism. “We didn’t even realize he was Jewish until all this came up,” Myers says when reached by phone. “I grew up here in Kaufman County, and it was just kind of a common thing to say, Christian conservative, constitutional conservative. It wasn’t anything we ever used in reference to anybody else’s religion.”

What is clear is this: Texas tea party activists are targeting Straus, a fiscal conservative, as somehow culturally and ideologically alien, and at least some of his enemies are using religion against him. He’s still favored to win the election for House Speaker on January 11 and remains popular with his caucus. But the anti-Straus campaign, which is beginning to draw national attention, is the latest piece of evidence that the Tea Party is simply the Christian right by another name. Straus isn’t under attack because of his position on taxes or deficits. This is about culture war, and it’s a microcosm of current Republican politics, in which populist activists abhor any hint of moderation.

Tea Party groups have started protesting outside the offices of Texas House members who have pledged to back Straus, and a few representatives have withdrawn their support, citing the will of their constituents. On December 12, Representative Randy Weber announced his switch on his Facebook page: “My District has spoken & I have listened. Please pray that Texas will be strengthened and in GOD’s will, no matter who the Speaker is.” Last month, likely Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, the Fox News host and former Arkansas governor, entered the fray, endorsing one of Straus’ opponents, Ken Paxton, who, according to Rice University political scientist Mark P. Jones, is part of the “extreme wing” of the already extremely conservative Texas Republican Party.

Though Straus has been caricatured as a liberal, the reality is more complicated. It’s true, as Jones says, that “Straus is much more of a moderate than most of the Republicans in the state house,” particularly on social issues. But that’s saying very little. A newsletter circulated by Peter Morrison, treasurer of the Hardin County Republican Party—and a frequent contributor to the white nationalist, indisputably anti-Semitic website V-Dare—claims, “Joe Straus is pro-abortion. In fact, his rabbi sits on the board of San Antonio Planned Parenthood.” But while Straus hasn’t been as hostile to family planning as other Republicans, he’s not pro-choice. Kyleen Wright, president of the Texans for Life Coalition, says he’s been a major ally of hers.

Wright has been taken aback by the anti-Straus vitriol. “Just like record numbers of African-Americans came out to the polls [for Obama], it’s always nice to have someone who looks and talks and thinks like you do,” she says. “From that standpoint I can kind of understand it.” But the “demonization” of Straus, she says, “has been over the top and disappointing. One moment he’s pro-abortion, next moment he’s an abortionist. All the claims about him just grow and grow and grow.” Besides, she adds, Judaism is a mainstream faith. “It’s not some weird scary religion that he’s a part of.”

Myers, the Kaufman County Tea Party chairman, insists that Straus’ Judaism isn’t the point. The problem with Straus, he says, is that he’s a liberal: pro-choice, pro-immigrant, and anti-gun. He’s corrupt, Myers insists, owned by the gambling industry. (According to the Dallas Morning News, Straus has “bowed out of any gambling discussion” because his family has interests in racetracks.”) He’s part of the same malign movement that made the intolerable Obama president.

“Barack Obama’s the catalyst in this whole thing,” says Myers. “He’s the one that’s tried to move our country to a socialist society and tried to break the bank on it. We certainly don’t want that in Texas.” He continues: “We see [Straus] as just an extension of the liberal establishment in Washington. It doesn’t have anything to do with his religion.”

But it doesn’t really have anything to do with his economic policies, either. Asked if he considers Straus a fiscal conservative, Myers says he’s not sure. “I did not see a lot of things that he did as far as cutting the budget in the last term,” he says, adding, “I haven’t done any research in that area.”

Myers is right that Straus isn’t being targeted solely because he’s Jewish. Rather, his religion is part of a constellation of characteristics that puts him outside the Tea Party fold. “There are two elements to the attack on Straus,” says Harvey Kronberg, whose influential political newsletter Quorum Report first published some of the anti-Straus emails. “One is that he’s not a real fiscal conservative, and they really have to jump through some hoops to get to that conclusion. The other is that he’s not a true social conservative, and the subtext of that is that he’s Jewish.”

As Kronberg points out, at least some of Straus’ foes have been fairly deliberate in injecting religion into the race. Morrison, whose political newsletter attacked Straus’ rabbi, used to be a fairly obscure figure. Now, says Kronberg, he’s found surprising resources for his anti-Straus campaign, giving him a far larger reach.

Recently, Morrison launched a direct-mail campaign, sending tens of thousands of postcards to Republican primary voters in districts with representatives who are leaning toward Straus. The postcards referred to the Republicans who originally made Straus speaker as members of a “traitorous cabal.” They urged recipients to contact their house members, whose phone numbers and email addresses were included. Such a large-scale campaign, segmented by legislative district, is expensive, and, says Kronberg, “Morrison is not a particularly wealthy guy.”

The campaign, says Kronberg, “suggests political consultants. It tells me that there is money and organization off camera that takes this to a level beyond just some outraged marginal character.” The Tea Party may have genuine grassroots passion, but it also has professional organization. The whisper campaign about Straus’ religion can’t be dismissed as merely an embarrassing misunderstanding. It was strategy. And on the off chance that it works, we’ll surely see it again.

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Bennett Muraskin says:

But I bet the Texas Tea Party is gung ho on Israel. Which just goes to show that it is possible to be both anti-Semitic and pro-Zionist.

JackieFour says:

After over a year I still feel the outrage of having the present person in the White House after all the revelations about his background and affinity to the muslim faith he espouses. And the anti-American resentment that comes across in his books. I am a conservative who wanted a woman president and campaigned and voted for Hillary who is a real American and would have been the “man” for the job. Unfortunately, things went horrible wrong thanks largely to jealousy from Hillary’s own colleagues and Democratic Party.

My values are still conservative and the Tea Party espouses much of what I embrace as important to family life. Do not let the ONE Texas freak ruin this!

That’s funny, the JTA yesterday came out withe an exact opposite conclusion regarding anti-Semitism in the Texas Tea Party (see link).

http://www.jta.org/news/article/2010/12/21/2742262/texan-tea-parties-out-tussle-over-speakers-judaism-behind-them

What Ms. Goldberg is mistaking for Christian values, is a basic core conservatism versus the mild social conservatism that Strauss, the Jewish Spoeaker of the Texas House embraces. The Jewish left see anti-Semites standing behind every tree, or they hope to spot one. The Tea Party basically stands for smaller government and less spending, spending and deficits that are thrusting our nation towards insolvency. They see that government is the problem and not the solution.
I am an Orthodox Jew and agree with Tea Party objectives. And based on November 2 election results, so do most Americans.

Great article.

“Affinity to the Muslim faith he espouses”?…who,Obama?…first,he was the Wrong-Kind-of-Christian(Jeremiah Wright)then when that didn’t get enough traction he became a Muslim…I see that lies told often enough become something that Everybody Knows…there is so much to criticise about the Obama presidency(starting with these Neverending Wars)that these foolish Birth Certificate/Muslim “controversies” are merely a distraction…and,of course,Hatred of Jews(I refuse to use the faux-scientific neologism Anti-Semitic)is a core “value” of the Radical Right no matter how much they “LOVE” Israel…watch John Hagee sometime to see the true,hardcore attitude of Christianist RightWingers toward Jews…

Rebecca says:

JakieFour, uh, yeah, Obama is muslim, yeah, well, there is probably a UFO hovering over your house monitoring your thoughts at this very moment……….it’s paid for by the left wing liberals that run the government, the media, and, and, and, ah forget it……..
In all seriousness, “christian values” is about as pure as the Mississippi river water. This may not be overtly anti-semitic but the whole load of crap that this country was founded on christian values so the government should return to that is just that, crap. this movement can say what they want, if ya ain’t christian, ya ain’t one of us is about what it boils down to.

Rivka Shepard says:

I am a Jew and a Tea Party member.

It’s just one nut case in Texas that pisses off the rest of us.

RingTosser says:

@ JackieFour:
Yeah, it’s just horrible when someone has an affinity for or accepts anything other than Christianity isn’t it?

Lucidity says:

The people who call themselves “Tea Party” are responsible for the $20 billion deficit that Texas now faces. So much for “fiscal conservatism.” If you want to shift the blame to progressives, you can scarcely scare up a minyan of them anywhere near the capitol in Austin. Benighted “Christians” have taken control of the State Board of Education, and they are intent on further mischief when the legislature meets in January.

Bennett Muraskin says:

If Tea Partyers are really against “big government” they would be calling for massive reductions in the military budget. They would be calling for dismantling the “Patriot Act.” For the end to government tax breaks, subsidies and other forms of corporate welfare. For curbing the size and power of companies like Wal Mart which are the mortal enemy of small business. For government to stay out of personal decisions like terminating an unwanted pregnancy or using marijuana to alleviate pain etc.

If deficits are such a menace, then why didn’t Tea Partyers oppose extending tax breaks for the super rich?

Because their real agenda is to turn back the clock in America to the 1920s or earlier when there were no progressive income tax, no minimum wage laws, no workplace safety laws, no collective bargaining laws, no civil rights laws, no environmental protection laws etc. And religious and racial minorities knew their place.

jasonlevy says:

To Rivka Shepard, who announces “I am a Jew and a Tea Party member”. Well I did a quick internet search, and found you also claiming: ” I’m a Completed Jew who believes in Yeshua.”
People, don’t think that some of the wierdos who respond to these articles represent mainline Jews!

Thanks, jasonlevy, for doing the research regarding “Rivka Shepard.” More hokus-pokus from those zany T’s.

One of the ironies of this is that Kaufman County is named for David Spangler Kaufman (December 18, 1813 – January 31, 1851), the first Jewish person elected to Congress from Texas (and a Democrat). Were Myers’ pioneering forebears of a hundred fifty years ago lacking the “Christian” values Myers holds so self-evident?

Yeshua says:

Well, I’m a Slipped Into Next Week Jew who believes in mishigas. Merry xmas, everyone.

@Sinai2 says:

Pre-rapture pro-Zionist

Rick Goldberg says:

How ironic that Joe Straus is targeted as a Jew. As a lifelong Texan, I will say no more than that.

Chana Batya says:

@MW: I thought that might be the case!

@”Rivka” Shepard: If you feel you must say you’re a Jew, please give us the whole story. It’s that kind of distortion that Republicans and Tea Partiers, not to mention Fox News, is so fond of and why they must be voted out and fought against at every instance. For those on the Right who act like “you can’t handle the truth,” you are wrong. We can handle the truth, and you have no part in it.

David Star says:

I too read the JTA article yesterday and found that the anti-semitic trash who were quoted were attacked by leaders and other members of the Tea-Party and that the only points against Straus were his moderation of some social issues.
An item mentioned in the JTA report indicates that Straus has a non Jewish wife and children. Is this meant to say that makes him a lesserJew?
I am a modern Orthodox American-Israeli with a very large family mostly here in Israel and some in the US. They range from haredi to Reform to secular.
When asked about attitudes toward Haredi Jews, and this relates to all Jews, Rabbi Shlomo Aviener, head of the “Ateret Yerushelayim” yeshiva replied. “Do not sign up for the “Comittee to find Blemishes in Others”, but rather look for the blemishes in yourself.

I dunno if I see this as anti-Semitism, but as typical conservative xenophobic rhetoric, which is racist by default.

And this is why ‘christianity’ has become nothing more than a political activist group and the tea party is intent on keeping it that way.

Anyone else see the irony that this is happening in Kaufman County?
I hope someone can dig up some great archival proof that the county is named after a Jewish pioneer.

sharon says:

My father was a first generation American and Jewish. He always warned us “that it can happen here”. The last few words in this article were accurate “we’ll surely see it again”. Given our economic reality and the rise of extreme right wing Christians – nothing that is happening here should be a surprise. The pro-Israel stance of these people is only an expression of their end times beliefs – not a reflection of their fondness for the Jewish people. Don’t ever be too comfortable.

Yisrael says:

A few far-right wackos arguably show some disgusting religious bias, and Michelle feels confident suggesting that this is a “microcosm of Republican politics.”

However, I could go on almost any of the most popular left wing websites, including those for which Michelle writes (Huff Po), and find the most vial attacks on Israel. A very consistent group of almost exclusively Democratic congresspeople routinely vote against or fail to sign on resolutions and bills supported by the most mainstream Jewish organizations in this country. Yet, somehow I doubt Michelle will be writing an article in the near future about how these far-left outliers are a “microcosm of Democratic politics.”

Richard Stark says:

You’re actually saying that there are anti-semites in Texas?????
No shit!
I’ve been to TX. I have relatives who live in TX. Anti-semitism is an established way of life there.

I have been intrigued by Goldberg’s seeming focus, if not obsession, with infractions of the Christian right, and certainly some of her concern is well-founded, but for good old-fashioned, classical anti-Semitism, nothing can beat the black Churches and black leaders. As occasionally anti-Jewish as the Christian right can be, you do find some serious and enthusiastic pro-Israel beliefs among them. You NEVER find pro-Zionist, pro-Israel or even pro-Jewish belief among black religious or political leaders.

For some reasons our co-religionists fear confronting black leaders about their coldness towards Jews and legitimate Jewish concerns. I suspect its a holdover of the seriously misguided belief by Jews throughout the 20th century (don’t forget, 30% of the first directors of the NAACP were Jewish, and much of Martin Luther King’s financing came from Jews) that our cause and the black cause overlapped, when if fact they are often in direct collision.

Allan-

While it is true that surveys indicate African-Americans are more likely to express anti-Semitic sentiments than European-American Christians (source: “Anti-Semitism in America”, Leonard Dinnerstein), just off the top of my head, I can name a few prominent African-American figures in the realm of religion, politics and academia who are vocally philo-Semitic and pro-Israel: Martin Luther King, Charles Ogletree, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

So basically the most revered African-American in American history and the two leading African-American intellectuals in our timeare Zionists. I’m sure that if I bothered researching the topic, I could find a few dozen more.

So, you’re incorrect and you are fear mongering.

Bottom line is that American Jews have greater reason to worry about antisemitism on the religious right because the religious right has more political power, so Goldberg’s “obsession” makes pragmatic sense. This is why I’m more worried about Pat Buchanan’s flirtations with Holocaust denial than I am about stormfront.org: Buchanan has more influence.

virginia says:

I am conscious of how often the name Morrison comes up in connection with anti-Semitism. There is another Morrison in Texas who protests the fact that the Mayor of his town is Jewish and not Christian as all officials should be. I also know of a Morrison in another Southern state who speaks scornfully of people with Jewish names. He is an influencial person with ties to the White Citizens Council.

carnivore says:

It’s amazing to read the variety of voices here. Anti-semitism is not behind every tree as the so-called right-wing, orthodox Jew said, it’s everywhere in the world and in every part of this country. If you hang around with Christians long enough, you will hear anti-Semitic remarks. People have a natural affinity to their own cultural heritage and suspicions about everybody else. Jews in particular receive a lot of this treatment because of their “otherness.” I have had several incidents where I was cursed at, made fun of, or been punched because of my Jewish identity. If you think Jews overestimate the reality of anti-Semitism, you live with your head in the sand. I’ve even had a Catholic religious person with whom I worked tell me anti-Semitic joke, then lie to others that this never happened. Use the internet to see the continuous barrage of anti-Semitic activity happening world-wide. Anti-Semitism is alive and well and growing stronger.

robert kern says:

The Christian Right loves Israel and Jews like Martin Luther (the founder of the Lutheran Religion)did. He assumed Jews would join his church, as an alternative to what he thought was a corrupt Catholic Church. When most Jews did not, he called for thier persecution. The biggest threat to Israel(besides Iran)is that the Tea Party(Christian Right)moves to hand power in Israel(which happens to be a smaller and less powerful country than the United States) to “Messianic Jews”.
There are many more fair minded Christians in this country than at any time in Europe(including Messianic Jews, They just are not the ones in power right now). I have noticed that even the most ethnocentric Christians tend to understand our rights, if they visit Israel. Maybe it is something in the water.

dennis mick says:

Jews who think that alliance with Christian fundamentalists will bring a return to those elusive “Judeo-Christian values” will be tragically disappointed when the evangelicals turn on them, as they surely will. You should know that they are taught that any Jew not converted to Christianity is destined for eternal damnation. Their Zionism is a paper-thin partnership of convenience.

D B Kenner says:

Such drama! Not that it matters to most of you (wiping the sweat from your brow and changing your undies because you’re so angry) but here’s what this amounts to, and nothing more:

1. The Tea Party wants “real” conservatives in office, which means fiscal AND social conservatives.
2.Strauss is obviously NOT a social conservative.
3. MOST of the Texas Tea Party folks use “Christian conservatives” as a short-hand for “fiscal and social conservatives” or “conservative values.”
4. Because Stauss is Jewish, and therefore statistically more likely to be “soft” on social issues (and good for him), the term “Christian conservative” rankles, as it should.
5. Liberals and lefties (like most of you reading this) want to believe the worst about your political opponents, so you see rank anti-Semitism here.
6. The real antsemitism here is limited to a couple of VDare nutjobs present in the local Tea Party.

Antisemitism is back. It exists on the Right (Pat Buchanan, etc.), but it has found a welcome home on the Left, with the Pro-palestinian folk (see the first comment), the mainline liberal (white) Churches, the black churches (including Obama’s church), and in the universities.

7. Everyone is now quick to call their opponent an anti-Semite; even the people who want to see Israel destroyed so this, to cover their tracks.

Bottom line:

First, the idiots in the Texas Tea Party should be smart enough to speak of “Judeo-Christian values.” Or they could just use the term “conservative” and stop with all the label nonsense.

Second, if Strauss is running in Texas on a platform that is soft on gun rights, then @#$% him, no matter what his religion or ethnicity.

Merry Christmas

Yes we have some over the top conservatives in Texas, and indeed there are some anti- Semites here, as there are everywhere, but we have flourishing Jewish communities and accepted Jewish leaders. In Dallas, we have had two Jewish mayors in the last 25 years, Jewish city council members, and members of Congress. To say that anti-antisemitism is “an established way of life here” is untrue, and unfair. The rise of ridiculous behavior by members ofthe tea party is not just a local occurrence, but a national phenomenon. By the way, in the 2010 general election, the Democratic party won every contested post in Dallas County. So please, don’t mess with Texas.

Jonathan says:

This is not unique to the Tea Party in Texas. In Long Island, New York this past cycle, one of the Tea Party groups was horrible to two excellent, fiscally conservative, strong national security, pro-Israel Jewish Republican Congressional candidates, Randy Altshuler (CD-1) and Liz Berney (CD-5). Tea Party groups need to stop attacking able, dedicated fiscally conservative candidates.

robert kern says:

The true irony is that the first references to separation of church and state are widely attributed to Jese Christ “Render those things onto Caesar and those that are the Lord’s”

Marquelot says:

Wow, we’ve got Teabaggers, Birthers, and just plain old Repuglycons all in the same place. Who would have thought?

kikey kikeman says:

Remember the USS Liberty. Death to Israel and to the traitors in this country that support it.

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

kikey kikeman says:

Mikey,

Maybe you should speak up for the Muslims. There are no Communists and the Jews have busted all the unions.

Have you noticed that the Jews are the victimizers and not the victims anymore. The pogroms you still cry about happened 90 years ago and are duplicated daily in Israel. There were concentration camps in the USA at the same time that they were in used in Europe. Luckily for “our” prisoners, the supply lines to feed them weren’t destroyed.

When the Zionists campaigned to punish Germany in the ’30s, they sealed the fate of otherwise loyal German Jews. Americans are sick of spending blood and treasure to fight one “Hitler” after another to save the Jews who should just go back to NYC, Moscow and Warsaw where they belong.

People hate the Jews because they are assholes; Nothing to do with religion.

carnivore says:

Dear Kikey,
Love your posts. They show your ignorance of history and reality. How do you type while you’re wearing a straitjacket and have your head up your ass? You are really talented. Jews started unions, didn’t end them, pos. In the ’30′s, Zionists did so much to punish Germany, wtf? Jews were behind all the attempts to demonize the Nazis in the world press that they owned, right? Hitler got pissed off and said let’s kill all those Jews who hurt us so much.

It’s the Jews fault that German Jews were killed. Why then were Jews in Poland, the Ukraine, France, Hungary, and everywhere else killed also? They probably pissed off Nazis like you in the ’30′s, too.

Your anger makes me happy. Please post more so I can learn all about your fantasy world of Jewish domination. I bet you’d secretly like to be dominated by Jews. You have fantasies of being whipped by Barbara Streisand while you’re forced to eat matzo made with goy blood.

Have a Happy Jew Year.

Wow!! I’ve been in a “no-Lib” zone (and quite happy, thankyouverymuch!) for the past couple of years. (OK, I go slumming occasionally – like on this site – figure it’s good to see what the other side is thinking & saying [as itfI didn't already know...].)

I’m a Fiscal Conservative, but, you might say, also a Social Liberal (me and Tammy Bruce – also Jewish, but also a “recovering leftist,” as she likes to point out). I’m a non-observant, semi-secular Jew who attends services (very occasionally, but certainly at High Holy Day time) at and modestly supports one of 3 local Chabads. But for me, the BIG turning point was 9/11; since then, going from a totally casual – and, in all honesty – almost anti-Zionist position, I’ve become strongly pro-Zionist, pro-Israel, anti-Islamofascism (probably just anti-Islam), and generally support and certainly admire the Orthodox Movement (even though I was raised – very boringly, I might add – as a Reform Jew). Further, I have MANY friends among the Evangelicals – who, of course, pray that I will one day “see the light!” and convert; but still accept me for who & what I am and, in fact, have genuinely warm and respectful feelings for Jews in general, Israel in particular, and ME, of course – after all, we’re good friends! Finally, I consider myself part of the Tea Party Movement, totally support their agenda and have even attended a couple events (but there still are few “organized events” where we live); but I have NEVER run into even one even mildly anti-Semitic type among the Tea Partiers I’ve met; in fact, some of the “leaders,” if you will (and it’s so loosely organized in our area, that “leaders” is a bit overblown), are members of the Jewish (mostly Orthodox or Conservative, to be sure) community – and proud of it – and the rest of those who backed a TP candidate welcomed these Jewish members as equals & friends.

So, what does that make me? Mostly, as a few wisely pointed out, a Constitutional and fiscal Conservative!

The bigger issue here is that certain individuals in our country are under the mistaken belief that America is a theocracy. It is not.

Mike M-

Keep in mInd when quoting that Martin Niemöller poem “When they came for…” that the author was a vocal and early supporter of the Nazi tyranny. He did more than “didn’t speak up,” he actually endorsed the Jewish laws.

He had a big change of heart after being thrown into a concentration camp over what, were, in the larger scale of things, minor disagreements with Hitler.

Yehuda says:

@ Susan (and the relevant Texans):

According to Wikipedia (which cites the county’s website), “Both the county [Kaufman], established in 1848, and the city [Kaufman] were named for David Spangler Kaufman, a diplomat and U.S. congressman from Texas who was the first Jewish person to serve in Congress from Texas.”

KosherTexan says:

As a Jewish Texan, this is not an issue. Strauss is a moderate and the Tea Party guys want a strong right representative. We in Texas understand the tone. These folks are not after him because he is Jewish. They express Christian Values as Family Values and JuedoChristian Values.

I live in an orthodox nieghborhood and we just elected a black female repubican to represent us in the state legislature. We live in a great State and we are not in fear of our christian neighbors.

ROBERT KERN says:

kikey, my family is from germany and austria, should we be required to go back therE? the british caused the collapse of germany, are they zionists? yes a lot of us are assholes(like a lot of other people) does that mean a group of people should engage in joe mccarthy style politics-what America do you live in

parts of Texas are great places for jews to live in. other area’s are deadly-it is a big, diverse place

Christians should kiss the feet of the Jews for giving them their religion. Before these Protestant Christians were Protestant and before that they were all Catholic and before that they were all pagans.

Jews should have all converted thousands of years ago and today we would rule the world.

Bill Levy zev57@aol.com

Mekhong Kurt says:

Since Straus won re-relection — handily — in that context this strong anti-semitism no longer matters.

But in the larger context of life generally it is. Though I live abroad and have for many years, I’m a native Texan with family ties there — just returned from staying with them on the family ranch for several months — and I was appalled by the whisper campaign.

I was not, however, surprised.

The tiny town nearest the ranch is reasonably representative of most of Texas. Not all of it; as another contributor to these comment noted, Dallas County stands in contrast to much of Texas, including the areas surrounding it (where our place is). When I was growing up in the 1950′s and 60′s, there wasn’t a single non-white to be found, nor were they welcome. None of those Catholics, those folks who worship idols, you know. And heaven FORBID that a Jew show up! Most locals had little if any idea about other faiths, such as Islam, Buddhism, etc., nor did they much care. After all, those pagans’ road to hell was wider and more certain than the one reserved for Jews (and maybe Catholics).

To this day many of those locals profess a strong belief in the Constitution, but fall silent when it’s pointed out to them that the very document they love explicitly forbids any religious test for public office. Or they angrily say they don’t care, since in their mythology, the Founding Fathers MEANT for America to be, in essence, a theocracy. I remember finally convincing one person that the motto “In God We Trust” did NOT appear on our currency right from July 4, 1776. She was so outraged to be proven wrong that she turned a deep red, then sputtered out, almost shouting, “Then the Founding Fathers just FORGOT! They MEANT it to be used!!! What kind of American ARE you???”

During the months I was in Texas, when I was in public places I noticed conversations around me, and was stunned and dismayed at the extraordinary ignorance and the hatred which grew out of that ignorance. Sad.

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Texas Tea

Joe Straus, the Republican speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, has been targeted by the Tea Party. The anti-Semitic attacks against him suggest not all politics is local.

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