Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol is among the leaders of a conservative group trying to draft an independent presidential candidate, so it’s no surprise that a headline on the pro-Trump Breitbart News website would label him a “Republican spoiler.” Kristol’s mission is indeed to spoil the White House ambitions of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.
But another description of Kristol in the same Breitbart headline has some journalists aghast: “renegade Jew.”
Let’s note at the outset that the author of the accompanying article, David Horowitz, is Jewish, as was the late Andrew Breitbart. Horowitz writes the following:
I am a Jew who has never been to Israel and has never been a Zionist in the sense of believing that Jews can rid themselves of Jew hatred by having their own nation state. But half of world Jewry now lives in Israel, and the enemies whom Obama and Hillary have empowered — Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, ISIS, and Hamas — have openly sworn to exterminate the Jews. I am also an American (and an American first), whose country is threatened with destruction by the same enemies. To weaken the only party that stands between the Jews and their annihilation, and between America and the forces intent on destroying her, is a political miscalculation so great and a betrayal so profound as to not be easily forgiven.
To summarize: Kristol’s opposition to the Republican standard-bearer is tantamount to a betrayal of his fellow Jews; therefore, he is a “renegade Jew.”
But Horowitz’s rationale, if you want to call it that, doesn’t arrive until the final paragraph of an 1,800-word story. The rest of the piece has nothing to do with Israel or religion. Unless you make it all the way to the end — and perhaps, even if you do — you’ll leave with the impression of an anti-Semitic attack.
Other journalists — including some Jewish ones — decided to co-opt the term as a mark of pride, suggesting “Renegade Jew” would be a good name for a band, film hero or wrestler.
What does Kristol think, though? Nothing, apparently.
For what it's worth, Breitbart did revise the original headline, but simply to make it shorter. The “renegade Jew” language remains intact.
It’s an unapologetic approach that mirrors the style of the site’s favorite candidate. And it's one that achieves similar results, too — plenty of controversy and hand-wringing.