Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Virginia Republican Apologizes for Jewish Joke

An official in the Virginia Republican Party apologized for an anti-Semitic joke.

“Earlier this week, I made a lighthearted attempt at humor to which some have taken offense,” John Whitbeck, the chairman of the party in the state’s Tenth Congressional District, said in a statement posted Sept. 20 on its website. “It was certainly not my intent to offend anyone and I sincerely apologize to those who were.”

Whitbeck, introducing Ken Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general and GOP candidate for governor last week, related a joke that had the Jews presenting the pope with a bill for the Last Supper.

Cuccinelli said the joke was inappropriate, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington condemned the joke.

Whitbeck at first refused to apologize for the joke, saying he had heard it from his priest, and claimed to be the victim of Democrats and their allies ahead of a hotly contested gubernatorial campaign.

Ron Halber, the director of the Washington JCRC, said he spoke Monday with Whitbeck, who apologized again.

“There was clearly pressure from within the Republican ranks on him to apologize,” Halber told JTA. “But he was genuinely apologetic and was educated as to what he said had been hurtful.”

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.