Notice how the rabbis don’t bother making an argument. They just call her names.
Ann Coulter is a Palm Beach resident, having bought a home in the community in 2005.
The next day (Thursday, Sept. 17), Coulter defended her comments to Jay Michaelson of The Daily Beast — an American news reporting and opinion website focusing on politics and pop culture.
Coulter told Michaelson that she doesn’t hate Jews — just the Republican Party candidates sucking up to them — and that the whole controversy was all based on a misunderstanding.
Coulter said she didn’t mean to say that Jews were hoarding influence in this country, telling Michaelson: “I’m accusing Republicans of thinking the Jews have so much power. They’re the ones comedically acting out this play where Jews control everything.”
In response, Michaelson asked Coulter whether she could understand how many Jews might be offended by her language, reminiscent as it is of the centuries-old claims that Jews have disproportionate power and influence in world affairs.
Coulter replied: “No. I don’t think it was my language. I think it was ripped out of context and lied about … Anyone following any of the debate in America knew exactly what I was talking about … My tweet was about Republicans and the pandering. It wasn’t about Israel, it wasn’t about Jews. … There is no doubt that the Republican Party is the party of Israel. … So why keep sucking up on Israel?”
The majority of South Florida rabbis the Jewish Journal spoke to weren’t buying Coulter’s explanations, however, and felt her tweets were anti-Semitic.
Rabbi Eliot Pearlson of Temple Menorah, a Conservative synagogue in Miami Beach, said: “Unfortunately this merely confirms my belief that Ms. Coulter is a negative, mean-spirited hateful person. Her defense that this wasn’t an attack on Jews is not substantiated by her past comments nor her failure to apologize.
“The subject of the comment is ‘The Jews.’ She could not have been making a reference to the candidates. She’s a professional writer — I think she knows the difference between subject and predicate. I wonder if there would have been more outrage expressed by the press and her supporters if she had said ‘F***king Blacks’ or ‘F***king Latinos.'”
Added Rabbi Barry Silver of Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor, a Reform synagogue in Boynton Beach: “Ann Coulter made her views about Jews known in an interview with Donny Deutsch on Oct. 11, 2007 when she said that Jews need to be ‘perfected’ by becoming Christian. Most Christians gave up this notion centuries ago, but Ann Coulter still lives in the past. She shares the sentiments of Muslim extremists who also believe that there is no place for Jews in their world order.
“It is therefore not surprising that she would use expletives as an adjective for the Jewish people and repeat old classic canards (unfounded rumors) about the inordinate power of the Jews. Her comments say nothing about Jews, but speak volumes about the intolerance of Ann Coulter.”
Rabbi Andrew Rosenkranz of Temple Beth Torah, a Reform synagogue in Wellington, commented: “Are Ann Coulter’s words anti-Semitic? Absolutely! They are hurtful and divisive. There’s no place in America for this kind of anger. What we need to be practicing is respect and civility in our public discourses. Frankly, Ms. Coulter owes the Jewish community a big and sincere apology.”
Said Rabbi Bradd Boxman of Congregation Kol Tikvah, a Reform synagogue in Parkland: “We worry so much about anti-Semitic remarks from groups outside our country like Iran and ISIS, but here we have someone inside our country saying something so blatantly anti-Semitic. For her to tweet these things to hundreds of thousands of people using that kind of anti-Semitic language is very offensive and calls to mind the names of other infamous anti-Semites who had no problem openly voicing their hatred of Jews.
“These kind of remarks also point to the general decline in public civility. With the popularity of Donald Trump, it is said that people don’t have to be ‘PC’ (politically correct) any more. Well, PC is just another word for respecting the dignity of the opinions of other people. We are seeing the loss in our society of people knowing how to communicate with each other in a civil manner.”
Rabbi Tom Heyn of Temple Israel of Greater Miami, a Reform synagogue, said: “I frequently point out to my congregants that we all possess multiple intelligences. Ms. Coulter is a perfect example of how someone can have a very high IQ but is less-developed when it comes to EQ (Emotional Intelligence) and SQ (Spiritual Intelligence). She’s probably enjoying all the attention she’s getting from this media circus, but her thinking is full of contradictions and is not constructive. It reveals a deeply-engrained racist attitude evident in her other comments.”
Added Rabbi Alon Levkovitz of Temple Beth Am, a Reform synagogue in Jupiter: “Ann Coulter was able to come up with a Twitter version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion” — referring to the anti-Semitic 1903 Russian book claiming Jewish world domination.
Rabbi Dan Levin of Temple Beth El of Boca Raton, a Reform synagogue, simply said: “We have no comment on someone as disgraceful as Ann Coulter.”
However, Rabbi Efrem Goldberg of Boca Raton Synagogue, a Modern Orthodox synagogue, acknowledged what he believes is Coulter’s past support of Israel.
Goldberg said: “Ann Coulter’s tweets were offensive and deeply concerning as they contribute to the classic Anti-Semitic rhetoric that Jews disproportionally ‘control’ politicians and are pandered to by them. I sincerely hope she apologizes and returns to being an outspoken supporter of Israel and the Jewish people.”
In an interesting twist, Rabbi David Baum of Congregation Shaarei Kodesh, a Conservative synagogue in Boca Raton, suggested that Coulter’s comments could provide a teachable moment for everyone during the High Holidays — which requires Jews to look at all of our actions, whether intentional or accidental, to repent, and to atone.
Baum said: “I was deeply disappointed with Coulter’s comments. Social media is a great medium to be heard by millions in an instant, but sometimes we may not think through all the ramifications of our words.
“Besides, I think the candidates spoke about Israel not because they were pandering to anyone, but because they believe Israel is an important strategic partner for the U.S. Furthermore, I think support for Israel must be a bipartisan issue in the future as it has been for years.”