Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich spoke this weekend at a Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) “Summer Bash” event in California. In his speech, Gingrich noted the Jewish pilgrimage holiday of Shavuot, when Jews walk to the Western Wall to pray. The ritual was resurrected after the Wall was opened to Jewish worshipers subsequent to the conquest of East Jerusalem in 1967’s Six Day War.
Gingrich gave the histories of the ancient and modern roots of the ritual pilgrimage, and described today’s version:
Each year the Festival is celebrated in a similar fashion, by a pedestrian pilgrimage through the streets of Jerusalem to the Western Wall. …
During this last week, today’s generation of Jews made a similar pilgrimage through the streets of Jerusalem, knowing that the freedom that allows them to visit their holiest sites is more endangered at this moment in history than at any time since that Shavuot morning four and a half decades ago.
But, as Alex Kane points out, what Gingrich doesn’t mention is that the marchers through Jerusalem threatened the city’s Arab residents. The nationalist parades passed through Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem at all hours throughout the night. During the afternoon, parked in front of the a neighborhood mosque in Sheikh Jarrah, the demonstrators repeated such charming chants as “may your village burn,” “Mohammad is dead,” and “death to leftists” in Hebrew. The rowdy crowd also chanted “slaughter the Arabs” in Arabic.
Watch video here:
(The RJC had to be nagged by activist Ali Abunimah on Twitter into denouncing the death to Arabs chants.)
The Republican Jewish Coalition held the “Summer Bash” in honor of billionaire casino magnate and right-wing donor Sheldon Adelson and his wife. According to a profile of Adelson in the New Yorker, President George W. Bush once referred to him as “this crazy Jewish billionaire.” Adelson also gives to right-wing Israeli organizations and politicians and withdrew his funding from AIPAC because the lobby didn’t take a hard enough line. Another of Adelson’s investments, the free Israeli daily Israel Hayom, is “referred to as Bibi-ton, because many believe that it serves as a mouthpiece” for the Israeli prime minister.
Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands corporation is by far the largest donor to Gingrich’s 527 group, American Solutions, giving $1 million each in 2010 and 2006, and a whopping $5 million in 2008. (HT: Alex Kane at Mondoweiss)