A Breitbart contributor stood by his use of the term “renegade Jew” in an attack on Brill Kristol for his opposition to Donald Trump, after Jewish groups and political commentators slammed the use of the term as anti-Semitic.
David Horowitz said the remark referred to Kristol splitting the Republican party and betraying Jewish interests in his push for a conservative third-party alternative to Trump.
“Splitting the Republican vote and electing Hillary is a betrayal of the Jews in an hour in which their backs are to the wall. Hence the designation renegade for those who are planning a third-party run, and for which I make no apologies,” Horowitz wrote on Breitbart Monday.
Horowitz’s initial article created a firestorm on social media Sunday evening, quickly amassing over 15,000 tweets, with some users calling the term anti-Semitic, and others finding humorous alternate uses for it.
Slate columnist Michelle Goldberg wrote Monday that the original article, taken together with Trump’s history of white supremacist supporters, “suggests that the Jew baiting popular on pro-Trump social media feeds is creeping toward the mainstream.”
The American Jewish Committee criticized the article as anti-Semitic, while the Anti-Defamation League said Horowitz had been wrong to bring religion into a political discussion.
The claim in @BreitbartNews that @BillKristol is a “renegade Jew” smacks of anti-Semitism.— AJC (@AJCGlobal) May 16, 2016
.@BreitbartNews wrong to label Bill Kristol a ‘Renegade Jew’ https://t.co/hNonUAC98D. What does religion have to do w/ his political views?— ADL (@ADL_National) May 16, 2016
Others, such as Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, expressed their distaste for the term by mocking it.
Come for the anti-Semitic headline, stay for the insistence that Ted Cruz’s father met Lee Harvey Oswald pic.twitter.com/orDAUsHSej— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) May 16, 2016
Some jokingly wrote that it sounded like a superhero name, called it “a great name for a Hasidic metal band,” and pointed out that prominent historical Jews (including Baruch Spinoza and Jesus) had been called similar nicknames.
The Hebrew Hammer creators @Jon_Kesselman and @TheAdamGoldberg should totally weigh in on this “renegade Jew” morass pic.twitter.com/ZVdzFHERMs— lobsterstyle (@lobsterstyle) May 16, 2016
Jewish Republican consultant Frank Luntz dug up this song by a ’90s Crown Heights rapper.
“Renegade Jew” was also the monicker of a 1994 rapper from Crown Heights, who is now nearly impossible to Google.https://t.co/SChXTmENT8— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) May 16, 2016
Some remarked that the nickname might have been applied to the world’s most famous Jew.
In fairness to that Breitbart headline, Jesus was also a Renegade Jew— greg (@mumbly_joe) May 16, 2016
[extremely youth pastor voice] “You know who else was a renegade Jew?”— Bobby Big Wheel (@BobbyBigWheel) May 16, 2016
Renegade Jew should not be a Breitbart slur, but the title of a Spinoza biography.— Adam D. Shprintzen (@VegHistory) May 16, 2016
In fact a book about the Jewish apikoros philosopher published in 2009 actually refers to him as a “renegade Jew.”
Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity (Jewish Encounters Se https://t.co/zwLhID6kbXpic.twitter.com/jEDmRJixQJ— highly good items (@alarconmidas) April 22, 2016
Some thought the name would be perfect for a Jewish metal or punk band.
‘Renegade Jew’ is a great name for a Hasidic metal band https://t.co/OcMLimggJ2— Joe Perticone (@JoePerticone) May 16, 2016
anyway, “Renegade Jew” is a terrible insult. any time yr anti-semitic insult sounds like a good name for a klezmer-punk band, you’ve failed— shrillary tintin (@theshrillest) May 16, 2016
I was more into Renegade Jew’s early work.— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) May 16, 2016
Contact Josefin Dolsten at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @JosefinDolsten
Josefin Dolsten is a former news fellow at the Forward, writing about politics and culture, and editing the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten.