Coulter and Kelly: The Real Issue

This Orthodox rabbi below finds a connection between Megyn Kelly’s insufficiently angry reaction to Ann Coulter’s Jews tweet Wednesday night and the Holocaust.

By Rabbi Philip Lefkowitz:

This may surprise you – I don’t give a fig about Colter’s remark. My concern is manifest regarding the interview of Ann Colter on the Fox News program, “The Kelly File”, and Megyn Kelly’s reaction to her disgusting statement.

Beginning the interview by sharing Colter’s vile remark and the negative response to it from both the left and the right. Kelly asked Colter, “So do you want to take it back?” Colter’s immediate response was “no.” She then began to qualify her answer by saying that perhaps the remark would have been better directed toward the Evangelical community, note – no pejorative used for the Evangelicals.

My English teacher in eighth grade, Gertrude Keys, made me keenly aware of the parts of speech by teaching us how to diagram sentences. I was required to designate the subject and the predicate the nouns, pronouns, adjectives and adverbs. The concern levied by all regarding Colter’s remark had nothing to do with the issue of who she should have leveled it against or if in fact it had any merit. Rather the critiques leveled concerned the ADJECTIVE she used to modify the NOUN Jews – the most widely used pejorative in American English today. Kelly, usually a very good interviewer who gets to the root of the matter simply avoided the salient issue in Colter’s remark and moved on to another subject.

The first thought that came to my mind was the 1961 movie, “Judgment at Nuremberg.” For those unfamiliar with the movie, here is a brief review.

“After the end of World War II, the world gradually became aware of the full extent of the war crimes perpetrated by the Third Reich. In 1948, a series of trials were held in Nuremberg, Germany, by an international tribunal, headed by American legal and military officials, with the intent of bringing to justice those guilty of crimes against humanity. However, by that time most of the major figures of the Nazi regime were either dead or long missing, and in the resulting legal proceedings American judges often found themselves confronting the question of how much responsibility someone held who had “just followed orders.” Judgment at Nuremberg is a dramatized version of the proceedings at one of these trials, in which Judge Dan Haywood (Spencer Tracy) is overseeing the trials of four German judges — most notably Dr. Ernst Janning (Burt Lancaster) and Emil Hahn (Werner Klemperer) — accused of knowingly sentencing innocent men to death in collusion with the Nazis.”

The most intriguing aspect of this movie was the fascination the American, Judge Haywood (Spencer Tracy), had with the motivations of the famous German jurist, Dr. Ernst Janning (Burt Lancaster),, whose brilliant legal decisions were well-known to Haywood. Haywood could not understand how such a man deeply committed to human rights and freedom as evidenced by these decisions would be complicit in the horrific activities of the Nazi regime. Eventually, in a magnificent speech Judge Janning explains what had transpired and defines himself as “human excrement.” He admits he knew at the outset, what Hitler was all about but remained silent because Hitler gave renewed pride to the German people after the humiliation they suffered at Versailles. The price of the lives of a few Jews were of little consequence. In the end, he thought Hitler would be rejected by the sophisticated German people. When that didn’t happen it was too late for him to do anything about it.

Of course Megyn Kelly is not an internationally recognized jurist and we’re not talking about a society similar to the Germany of. Post-World War I, or are we?

The patriotism of my youth has waned. Government is seen as unresponsive to the needs of the people by many of all political stripes. The economy has been in the doldrums for years with no bright future ahead for our youth. As in post-World War I Germany, there is a growing need to find someone to blame – a scapegoat. Is it the liberal big spending politicians, or Wall Street and the uber rich or the influential lobbyists or is it a particular grouping of individuals,?

Why did not Kelly immediately pounce upon Coulter when she refused to take back her remark about the “f—ing Jews”? Why? Am I not correct in assuming that Kelly would have reacted immediately and decisively if that adjective, that pejorative, was fixed to the words Blacks, Hispanics, Gays, or Muslims? Why didn’t she react?

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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