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Gingrich: ‘There’s A Frightening Level Of Anti-Semitism’ At 99 Percent Protests

By Ali Gharib  

"Gingrich: ‘There’s A Frightening Level Of Anti-Semitism’ At 99 Percent Protests"

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99 Percenters shun rare instances of anti-Semitism

Many of the Republican presidential candidates were initially disdainful of the 99 Percent Movement. Then as the movement grew, spurring hundreds of thousands into the street, they changed their tune. But not Newt Gingrich. Instead, he’s taken the less-than-committal position that while people have a “reason to be angry,” there are also more insidious elements — “left-wing agitators” who “trash the place” — among the “sincere middle-class” protesters.

Now, In an interview on CBS, Gingrich escalated his attacks on unnamed percent of the 99 Percent that he’s not so keen on, decrying a theme of anti-Semitism in the protests:

My question for the Occupy Wall Street group is, What’s their message?

Frankly, if you look at some of the signs, if you listen to some of the interviews, there’s a frightening level of anti-Semitism in some of these gatherings.

Watch the video:

Gingrich must’ve watched some of the fear-mongering television ads by hedge fund-bankrolled far right-wing pressure groups.

It’s unlikely that Gingrich has visited any 99 Percent Movement protests, let alone gone to Zucotti Park in Lower Manhattan. While there have been a small handful of signs displaying anti-Semitic sentiments (though some of those highlighted by neoconservatives are strictly pro-Palestinian) and a few interviewees at protests have made similar comments, those demonstrators have been shunned by the masses (the rest of the hundreds of thousands). In Tablet, a mainstream Jewish website, journalist Michelle Goldberg called the anti-Semites a “tiny fringe,” and her colleague Marc Tracy wrote that in several visits downtown he has “witnessed zero anti-Semitic signs or chants.”

This week, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote about his trips to Zucotti Park to witness the protests:

This was my second visit to the Occupy Wall Street site and the second time my keen reporter’s eye has failed to detect even a hint of the anti-Semitism that had been trumpeted by certain right-wing Web sites and bloggers, most prominently Bill Kristol. He is a founder of the Emergency Committee for Israel, which has been running cable TV ads alleging a virtual hate rally at the Occupy Wall Street site and calling on President Obama and other important Democrats to denounce what is — as it happens — not happening there. The commercial ran on Fox News the very day I was at the site.

Kristol’s cri de wolf (a French term of my own invention) was taken up by Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s conservative blogger, who noted the Kristol group’s “eye-popping ad.” Citing an article from Israel Today that linked a single statement by someone named Patricia McAllister in Los Angeles with some vitriol on the American Nazi Party’s Web site and a reference to the editor of Adbusters, she fashioned a veritable pogrom out of pretty close to thin air and demanded, “Where is the outrage?” I have a better question: Where are the anti-Semites?

Cohen’s right to ask — and to point to Kristol and Rubin‘s attempts to smear the 99 Percent movement. (Rubin is close to the Emergency Committee for Israel, having taken a trip to Israel last year paid for by the group.) But Gingrich, shamefully, is taking the manufactured message of pervasive anti-Semitism at 99 Percent protests from the neoconservative fringes straight to the mainstream.

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