Response in GOP/tea party/anti-Semitism flap

Lisa wrote Monday about California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring issuing a verbal smackdown on those who’d used an anti-Semitic graphic to promote an anti-tax “tea party” in San Mateo last week. On Monday I’d tried to contact the organizer of the Meetup page (since then, made private and visible only to members) that had hosted the graphic; this morning, I received this reply:

Thanks for the opportunity to respond. Meetup Groups are formed by people who share interests or are simply fans of a particular person. Our Meetup Group is not officially associated with Dr. Paul, nor do we fully control the content on our pages. The “fans” drive the information on our Meetup sites without editorial oversight, and this promotes open discussions about complex issues without fear of harsh criticism.

Frankly, I am impressed to learn that Mr. Nehring is paying such close attention to meetup groups to have even found this. It shows a tremendous attention to detail which I admire. He then must have blown up this very small image quite large to have read the fine print, something I had not done. In retrospect I may have chosen a different graphic had I first scrutinized it more carefully.

With that said, no offense was intended by posting the image described in Mr. Nehring’s press release. While the image was provocative, it represents a point made by many people before: U.S. financial aid for the Israeli government which comes from U.S. taxpayers, funds the harsh handling, and sadly, the death of innocent Palestinians.

However Mr. Nehring’s putting the words “Ron Paul”, “fringe” and “anti-semitism” in his press release as his interpretation of this graphic’s message was unfortunate. It is important not to equate non-interventionism with anti-semitism.

The message of this graphic is non-interventionist. It begs each of us to ask ourself an important question, “Do I want my tax dollars spent on foreign wars?” I am not suggesting to anyone what their personal answer to that question should be; each person can decide that for himself. Honest and fair discourse should be fostered without fear of warrantless accusation.

Anti-semitism is too real, not to mention despicable, to be charged lightly, and Mr. Nehring’s reactionary charge is regrettable. It amounts to an unjustified smear of Dr. Paul and the people who support him.

One irony in this matter cannot be overlooked. A large, growing contingent of Ron Paul supporters has been elected to Republican County Central Committees throughout California. By indirectly smearing them, Mr. Nehring harms his own party.

Kathy McGrade

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Reid

    Amen. Nehring sees that there is dissent in his party and he is doing everything he can to quiet the dissenters, most of whom are classical liberals and supported Ron Paul. Just look at the lawsuit brought against 7 members of the Alameda County Republican Party Central Committee to get them kicked off of the committee. The lawsuit is, not surprisingly, funded by the California Republican Party with Nehring’s approval. The CRP even filed briefs with the court in support of the lawsuit. Nehring is a tool for the neo-cons and the neo-cons don’t want to lose power. What a desperate charade.

  • Jo

    We should all be very disappointed in CRP Chairman Ron Nehring! The man is a joke, and is in his position to serve his own self-interests, not to advance the party in any way, shape, or form. I can only be glad that we only have to put up with this fraud for one more year. I hope to see the people in Alameda County teach the CRP a lesson they won’t soon forget. DOWN WITH THE CRP RINO “LEADERSHIP”… If that’s what they’re calling it now days?

    I have a question for Ron Nehring, I’d like to know how much Republican donor money has been used to fight Republican volunteers? Do Republicans in California know how their contributions are being spent by the California Republican Party? Do you think Republicans would be supportive of their hard earned money being spent to resist elected Republican volunteers, as opposed to fighting Obama-Pelosi? I sure am not!



  • BJD

    That was the best Clinton apology I have seen in years!

    Think what you will of Mr. Nehring or his comment, but using that icon was bush league nonsense.

    Want to know why people use the term “fringe”? You actually endorse things to the point of using it as an icon on your meet up page, Icons that are/or/can be spun, icons offensive to politically correct Jews like my grandmother.

    You’re the fringe because you lose, badly, because you want to play outside the system, not in it.

    Politics is perception and now your “groups” can spun to be anti-Semitic. Just wait until the old Jews in Florida get wind of this, it might turn the state blue. Smooth move.

  • Ron Paul is a nut. He rejects evolution. He attracts nuts. It is evident by the nuts and idiots who follow him.
    Spin by Kathy McRade? An attempted spin from a nutter.

  • Joe

    Ron Paul is a nut and so are many of his cult-like followers. His followers are the flip side of the Obama cult-nuts.

  • Jo

    Let me ask The “Atheist Jew,” and “Joe,” if they believe in the “freedom of speech” even when it may be considered controversial?

    “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” — Voltaire

  • Jo

    It totally figures that “Joe” opposes Ron Paul, since he flies under the “Neo-Con-Express” flag (linked to his name). His anti-freedom views are in-line with the same neo-cons that gave us the Patriot Act. Joe, you’re a simple minded fellow that has fallen victim to the propaganda on FOX news. Just to let you know… they’re not “fair & balanced.” The real “nuts” are the people who disregard the true facts about the unconstitutional Bush administration, and choose to engage in false debates that don’t really address the issues.

    It should be noted that Ron Nehring claims to be against big government and increased taxes (when giving his worthless stump-speeches), however, when our tax dollars go to israel to promote big government, that’s okay…. right RINO Ron?

    Feel free to ask Neo-Con-Nehring yourself – ron@ronnehring.com (619) 743-6402

  • Reid

    BJD – Actually, I think we’re the fringe because we actually believe in natural rights and that the government is limited. We believe that no one has any right to violate the natural rights of others. That includes taking property from me to give to you. That also includes taking your property to give to other countries. That certainly is a fringe position.

    The Atheist Jew/Joe – easy to call names but non sequiturs won’t help you much when trying to make a point.

  • Reid

    Joe – I find it hilarious and admirable that you actually admit you’re a neocon. So many of you guys pose as conservatives and then swoop in with your big government anti-individual rights platform only after you’ve tricked everybody. Thank you for being up front with your political views. You at least allow the world to see what type of principles those people have who support Ron Nehring.

  • Dom

    Clearly that letter stinks to high heaven. I wonder if he’ll produce a graphic showing American taxes in Egyptian and North African coffers killing Sudanese and non-Muslim Africans. Oh no, that meme’s too obscure, and who gives a damn, but everyone understands antisemitic imagery. It is Arab antisemitic imagery, but the same stuff – Jewish financiers running the world – as all antisemitism. Everyone simply gets it, it is aimed at those who approve, and no excuse is credible.

  • Jo

    I’d like to know what CRP Vice Chairman Tom Del Beccaro, and his First Amendment Now group thinks about the individual right to express one’s self (or their position) by way of creating, displaying, communicating, debating and/or promoting controversial issues with those who choose to listen?

    George Washington, and the other Founders would not approve of Nehring’s anti-1st Amendment views.

    Here’s the real story: While claiming to support “individual rights” The CRP opposes the 1st Amendment… plain and simple.

  • RE: “Politics is perception and now your “groups” can spun to be anti-Semitic. Just wait until the old Jews in Florida get wind of this, it might turn the state blue. Smooth move.”

    And comments like them…

    The truth is, Even Ron Paul was called anti-Semite in his campaign and then mainstream media even called him racist bringing up quotes from old unaffiliated newsletters, associating him with john birch societies, saying he was a extreme leftist/liberal pretending to be Republican… And most recently his followers are now extreme right wing racists…. It changes like the weather and there is ALWAYS a smear campaign. Of course they will grab these things and use them to their advantage instead of looking at the message which is unfortunate…. However its best not to buy into the media “hype” and pretend that this is the end of the world and everyone looks anti-Semite… this is nothing new! I even seen Ron Paul associated with UFO watchers! haha.

    Its the media, its always that way, sometimes there are “individuals” who make mistakes, and just because the media finds that one mistake and publicizes it to be used for their own agenda, doesnt mean we have to be so stuck up, high and mighty, or whatever else term you wish to use and pretend we are better than them.

    The fact is, they handled this even better than Ron Paul handled his accusations of being Racist… there was a clear letter, with a action taken to fix the problem, clarification, and condemnation of the message… what else do you want, a public stoning?

    I mean its ridiculous how these people are so unforgiving of a simple graphic even after it was completely dealt with appropriately… Its nothing more than barber shop b-tching in my opinion…

    This is just another attempt and divide and conquer, its just unfortunate that so many people still fall for it… attacking whenever they have the chance. The media slants the entire thing to anti-Semite, and in others areas it was viewed as racist, anti-obama, anti liberal or democrat etc. etc. The media makes everyone look like a bunch of idiots… and then what do the people do? they attack those who were helping put on the protest, and let the media get away with it scott free.

    People really need to realize who their enemy is… its fine to disagree and condemn the action, but to not accept the apology, actions to resolve it, and even condemning of the image, is just an example of your “intolerance” which is not unlike that of an “anti-Semite” whose mentality you are angered by.

    I think people are way too quick to jump on the anti-Semite bandwagon, as if its a cool thing to do… and as though they support the media 100% in their spin… As if the one graphic is representative of an entire meetup group full of individuals… just stupid SPIN and its sad to see so many fall for it… The graphic was removed, it was a picture, there was an apology, you are all intolerant and I guess you all should start casting the first stone.

    but thats just my opinion.

  • Rich Rostrom

    The creator of that graphic is a despicable liar. It is a modern version of the ancient blood libel. If McGrade is distressed by the suffering of innocent Palestinians, let her complain to Hamas, which has “executed” hundreds of “collaborators”, which loots the relief funds provided by the U.S. and Europe for weapons, and which uses hospitals, schools, and mosques as firing positions and shields for its HQs and ammo dumps.

    There are legitimate objections to U.S. aid to Israel, but the amount is trivial (< 1%) compared to the $trillions in Obama’s “Stimulus” plan. Anyone who claims that as a top “fiscal” priority obviously has a hidden agenda, and not one that Republicans (or Tea Partyers) should touch with the proverbial 10-foot pole.

  • Larry

    Kathy McGrade earns an “F” for not owning up to that trash.
    She clearly knows Zero about the middle east.

  • Edwin

    Sorry, guys, but Ron Pauls’ followers, many, many of them, sure do have a STRONG streak of anti-Semitism. I read the blogs and I have seen it. I may agree with a fair number of Mr. Paul’s views, but will never support him because of this.

  • Thomas

    The State of Israel is NOT a race. It is a government; therefore, there was nothing racist or “anti-semitic” about the image. It’s ridiculous that so many people equate a criticism of a nation-state with racism. In fact, I suspect that many individuals refuse to analyze the the situation objectively simply because they maintain an ethno-centric view that Jews are “god’s chosen” people. They then extrapolate this alleged “superiority” and apply it to the government of Israel. Who are the real racists in this debate?

  • Jo

    I was just wondering…. If I were to make a graphic denouncing Nazi Germany for the extermanation of Jews during the WWII era, or even blasting their anti-liberty, pro-police state beliefs… Would that be considered “racist” towards white people? Can you imagine if some German (white guy) said that he believed it to be racist? Can someone please explain the difference.

  • Edwin,
    I think that “strong streak of anti-semitism” is incompatible with Ron Paul’s views and any so called “supporter” of Liberty that drags his name through the mud for the sake of spouting off the same tired old conspiracy theories isn’t a true supporter at all.

    Ron Paul staunchly defended Mitt Romney’s right to chose his religion and leave it out of the politics during the primaries and I applaud him for it.

    There is nothing “anti-semitic” about criticizing Israel, just because some take it too far (as is their right of free speech) doesn’t mean you can call Ron Paul supporter’s anti-semites. Israel is a nation with good guys and bad guys like anywhere else; anyone who has illusions that there is some kind of head to cut off the “Big Brother” dragon is sadly mistaken.

    I support Ron Paul regardless if others support him that I disagree with.

    “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”
    -John Quincy Adams

  • Jo

    Did everybody hear about Ron Nehring’s trip to the Sacramento TEA Party? It was great! H got booed off stage!


  • The Californian

    What a piece of peculiar double speak.

    I’m sure Mr. Paul would not appreciate both the tone of the response, or the imagery. Both are unnecessary.

    Not to be too bland, but in the State of California, Ron has the oversight responsibility for the Republican Party (period). Those in Republican efforts need to work with, not against the leadership.

    While I applaud your desire to make a positive change Kathy, the obstinate attitude of “Ron Paul or the Highway” is just too ineffective an approach.

    Actually, it’s distasteful and unappealing, as any blind cultish type following would be.

  • d phillips

    i long for the day when ron paul and his exteremist views are drawn and quartered in to olbivion. he and his ilk are haters and deserve nothing more than the fires of the gas chambers that there relatives no dout used on my great grandparents in germany. im all for free speach but this is extremist racist and hateful.