Despite the upcoming congressional elections November, Jewish Democrats and Republicans found themselves awkwardly united this week, following the embarrassing public relations lapse of Democratic congressman Mike McMahon's reelection campaign, whose staff released on Thursday a list of 80 Jewish donors who contributed to the campaign of his Republican rival, Mike Grimm.
The point was to show that Grimms campaign money doesnt come from his district - but not surprisingly, the Jewish money became the main point of discussion.
This is a United States congressman that's segregating people out by their religion, concluded Grimm.
In an attempt to minimize the damage, McMahons communications director Jennifer Nelson - who was quoted by the New York Observer as saying: There is a lot of Jewish money, a lot of money from people in Florida and Manhattan, retirees." - was fired.
McMahon, who represents New York's 13th district, repudiated Nelson's comments saying they were entirely inappropriate and unauthorized, and added that he was outraged by them.
For the Jewish Republicans, however, it wasnt the end of the story.
Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matthew Brooks said on Friday in a statement that "in more than 25 years in politics I have never seen anything more despicable and offensive than this
"Congressman McMahon has fired his communications director, but what about the other staff involved? Who asked for that list to be compiled? Who approved that action? Congressman McMahon needs to do more than apologize for 'inappropriate comments' - he must be held accountable for actions that his campaign staff took to count Jews supporting his rival," Brooks said. I don't think this is something that should be swept under the rug. Seeing such bigotry from a sitting congressman's campaign is deeply troubling."
Even the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) President and CEO, David Harris, had to denounce the McMahon campaigns lapse.
It is never acceptable to 'count Jews' in this way or to perpetuate age-old stereotypes about the Jewish community, he said. While McMahon took an important first step by holding his spokesperson accountable for her inflammatory statements, many unanswered questions about the incident remain. We strongly encourage Representative McMahon to work quickly and appropriately to address the deeply irresponsible actions taken by his campaign.