Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Posted by Daniel Greenfield 7 Comments
The reporter's question in tone hinges on the downright anti-Semitic demanding to know which of his ancestors was Jewish and where that ancestry ended. Allen responds with a rambling diatribe about freedom of religion and refuses to answer the question dodging the issue by talking about religion, avoiding the issue of ethnicity. That response alone screams to most people that she was indeed Jewish and that Allen is playing dodgeball.
The reporter's question was offensive but Allen's response is downright pathetic. If there was no basis to it he could have directly answered, "No that's not the case and the question is inappropriate because etc... etc..." or he could have answered in the affirmative and still delivered his 'freedom of religion' speech. Instead he chose to wrap himself in the constitution and give a rambling incoherent response to the specific question.
In the past a number of politicians from John Kerry to Madeline Albright and Wesley Clark 'rediscovered' their Jewish roots when they were on the national stage. Whether or not Allen has any, he's clearly deeply uncomfortable with the issue alone which is sad. If anything that exchange should show that Jewish roots remain a matter of tension for many people who may have had Jewish ancestors.
Postscript: Allen released an even more jumbled statement on his website saying;
"Yesterday, I found it especially reprehensible that a reporter would impugn the attitudes of my mother, as Ms. Peggy Fox did in her first question...My mother and father both taught me to abhor bigotry, and Ms. Fox’s suggestion to the contrary was deeply offensive."
This is a rather strange opening since Fox's question is certainly offensive but it's confusing to see how it suggests his mother was a bigot. Yet Allen seems to keep associating the whole subject with bigotry, even when it's not Fox doing the asking but just the subject itself.
"I was raised as a Christian and my mother was raised as a Christian. And I embrace and take great pride in every aspect of my diverse heritage, including my Lumbroso family line’s Jewish heritage, which I learned about from a recent magazine article and my mother confirmed..."
Again his constant repetition that he and his mother were raised Christians really moves into the pathetic range. No one is questioning he's a Christian and goes to Church. The question was about his family background. The constant need to clarify that he's a Christian is downright strange.
"Some may find it odd that I have not probed deeply into the details of my family history, but it’s a fact. We in the Allen household were simply taught that what matters is a person’s character, integrity, effort, and performance – not race, gender, ethnicity or religion."
When the issue is raised Allen seems to repeatedly descend into this kind of ridiculous 'liberalspeak.' There's a difference between judging someone by their race and knowing their race.
He seems to be clear on what his mother's religion is, so much so he keeps telling us over and over again she was raised Christian, so 'religion' was important. Presumabely he knew what his mother's gender was. At least I have to hope he did. So really it's only her 'race or ethnicity' that's utterly unimportant. Is who your grandfather was really 'unimportant'?
"And so whenever we would ask my mother through the years about our family background on her side, the answer always was, ‘Who cares about that?’"
In a word. Sad.
"My mother has lived a long and full life, and I hope and pray she will enjoy many more years. She deserves respect and she also deserves privacy, especially where painful memories are concerned. I sincerely hope that simple decency will be respected.”
And now stranger than ever. This time Allen conflates any question about his mother's roots with a 'painfull background.' For goodness sake it's possible to discuss her roots without bringing up the Holocaust, unless it's the Jewish origins themselves that are a painfull memory, an impression Allen is distinctly leaving us with.
Meanwhile the Democrats are playing a hypocritical game, making Allen's ethnicity a campaign issue and then damning him for being 'ashamed' of it. This is a game Democrats often play with minority conservative politicians. In this case they're trying to 'out' him the way they would a gay politician and hoping that the more conservative state population will have a bigoted reaction, even as they taunt him over it. In other words the so-called liberals are exploiting and banking on racism.
The real question that should be asked is would this question have been raised if it was a matter of Italian roots or Irish roots and would Allen have reacted in such a convulted defensive way if he'd been asked about Irish or Italian roots.