Saturday, May 31, 2003


Bush today:

This site is a sobering reminder that when we find anti-Semitism, whether it be in Europe or anywhere else, mankind must come together to fight such dark impulses.

Bush in 1994:

Bush joked to reporters about his '94 answer a year or so ago, prior to a trip to the Middle East. According to stories in the Austin American-Statesman, he told reporters that he planned to stop in Israel and tell the Jews they were all going to hell. An exchange of messages between Bush and the Jewish Anti-Defamation League followed. While no one has accused Bush of anti-Semitism, there have been comments about his insensitivity, both toward the Jews and his own family. A Jewish reporter said Bush's remarks were quite upsetting to his son. No one in the Bush family has commented, but there's little doubt that Bush has touched a sore spot in family history.

UPDATE: Actually, I just found the story. He said the offending remarks in 1998. From the 12/1/98 Austin-American Statesman, which lets Karen desperately spin it:

A presidential campaign could include religious overtones that might put Bush in a precarious situation. The religious right, led by Christians whose political involvement is guided by their religious beliefs, is a powerful force in some of the early primary and caucus state that could go a long way toward determining the GOP nominee. Neither can Bush afford to alienate influential Jewish American voters. Bush's 1993 comments obviously remain on his mind. Last month, he briefed reporters on the Israel trip while he was in New Orleans for a Republican Governors Association meeting. As he gazed out a hotel hallway at the Superdome and waited for an elevator, Bush -- clearly going for a laugh at his own expense -- said the first thing he was going to say to Israeli Jews was that they were all "going to hell." Bush, who has both a quick wit and generally good judgment on when to use it, made the comment to the same Austin American-Statesman reporter who had reported his 1993 comments about his religious beliefs.

Hughes said Monday the 1993 remarks might have been on Bush's mind in New Orleans because a Jewish reporter for the Reuters news service had told the governor there that the remarks, recounted this year at the beginning of a New York Times Magazine profile of Bush, had upset the reporter's son.

Foxman said Monday that Bush's New Orleans quip was "inappropriate."