The “Jews” are not happy about Rep. Mike McMahon’s “Jewish money” gaffe.
The Anti-Defamation League is demanding an apology from the freshman Bay Ridge Democrat after a staffer criticized Republican challenger Mike Grimm for taking in “a lot of Jewish money” in his campaign.
The staffer, Jennifer Nelson, was fired after the New York Observer reported that she leaked a list of Grimm’s supposedly Jewish donors for the second quarter of 2010 in a file titled, “Grimm Jewish Money Q2.”
Nelson was apparently trying to demonstrate that Grimm is raising considerable cash from outside the 13th congressional district, which includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst.
“Where is Grimm’s money coming from?” Nelson wrote to the newspaper. “There is a lot of Jewish money, a lot of money from people in Florida and Manhattan, retirees.”
The bias immediately left a black mark on McMahon’s campaign — and the ADL proceeded to thicken it.
“The creation of a list … of his opponent’s Jewish donors is an appeal to religious, racial or ethnic bias which has no place in political campaigns,” said Myrna Shinbaum, a spokeswoman for the national Jewish organization. “The list trades on age-old stereotypes about Jews and money and treats Jews as separate from other constituents. It is offensive, unacceptable and requires an immediate apology.”
The organization quickly got it.
“The comments were entirely inappropriate and there is no place for this kind of behavior,” McMahon, who dodged our calls on Friday, said in a statement that announced Nelson’s canning. “I was outraged by these unfortunate remarks, which were unauthorized and in no way indicative of my beliefs.”
Hours later, the Anti-Defamation League did accept McMahon’s apology, but Grimm’s side was not appeased.
“This was completely outrageous and over the top,” growled the Republican candidate, one of two GOP hopefuls eyeing their party’s nomination to face McMahon. “There was a specific intent to segregate my Jewish donors. There has to be a reason why he did that.
“How does the religious affiliation of my donors impact the district?” he asked. “What is he trying to say, that there’s no Jewish people in the district? It’s extremely disturbing.”
Orthodox Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Boro Park), whose shares Dyker Heights and parts of Bensonhurst with McMahon, called the congressman’s “Jewish list” a “sad and unfortunate commentary.”
“We’re living in 2010 and I can’t believe that people still indulge in this kind of behavior,” said Hikind. “I’m sure no one compiled a list of Italian donors. People just don’t get it.”
Later, Hikind, too, accepted McMahon’s apology.
Naturally, Grimm’s opponent for the Republican nomination found McMahon’s actions “despicable” — even if there’s a minute possibility that allegations about Grimm’s support comes from outside the district, would help his chances.
“This is the lowest level of political chicanery I can imagine,” said Michael Allegretti. “When I heard his people were conducting a list like this, I was disgusted.”