Josh Mandel, a Republican U.S. Senate applicant in Ohio, is an abominable admixture of Trumpism, neo-fascism and faux-nationalism all captivated in one angry 5-foot-8-inch bundle. His own ancestors can’t angle him.
Most of that is aloof boiler-plate Republican backroom at the moment. Sure, Mandel wants to be a carbon of Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene, because he acutely thinks that will get him elected. And allotment of that process, for him, appears to absorb abnegation to accede his Jewishness. No one should be affected to allocution about their adoration on the attack trail. But what is abashing about Mandel is that he lies and obfuscates about his adoration in an attack to address to hyper-conservative voters who added than adequate wouldn’t be adequate alive that he does not accept in Jesus.
The American evangelicals that Mandel is allure flatly debris to abjure their antisemitism. They tend, instead, to avert any such allegation by touting their abutment for Israel. But that conflation of American Jewry and Israel is itself antisemitic: I do not alive in Israel, I’ve never lived in Israel, and acknowledging a country far abroad from me because Jews additionally alive there does not beggarly you abutment Jews.
This is area Josh Mandel comes in. He’s accommodating to aboveboard abutment Israel based on religious grounds, to address to evangelicals, but every added acceptance of his Jewishness is a footfall too far for him. Once you apprehension this in his speeches and tweets it’s adamantine to stop acquainted it.
I aboriginal was alive to this arrangement aback I met Mandel in actuality a few months ago. I was at a banquet accession and emphasis he was giving in rural southeastern Ohio, the apotheosis of Trump country and the bench of Mandel’s evangelical religious base.
To clarify, I am actual abundant not a adherent of Republicans, but for the annual of journalism, I can bandy on an ill-fitted clothing to accept to their speeches and address about it later.
As Mandel was authoritative his circuit table-to-table, I absitively to see what would appear if I asked him about actuality Jewish. Aback he got to me, I looked at him, with alone a slight beam on my face, and said, “Josh, it appears we’re the alone two Jews here.”
He looked aback at me, leaned in as abutting as accessible to my ear, and whispered, “It’s consistently adequate to see a adolescent bourgeois yehudim here. We aloof charge to assignment on the blow of them.” Afresh he absolved away.
This addled me for a cardinal of reasons. First, the charge to angular in and buzz an affirmation of who he was so no one abroad would hear. Next, the acceptance of the chat “yehudim,” which I’d never heard in this context.
It’s the Hebrew chat for Jews, but we don’t alarm ourselves it. Jews alarm anniversary other, generally, Jews. We use abounding added words too, but in all my years I had never afore heard a Jew alarm themselves a “yehudim.” I arrested with my Jewish mother, in case there was a generational divide, and she agreed with me that she had never heard it acclimated this way either.
(“Yehudim” is additionally plural, so there was grammatical awkwardness. Plus it articulate alike drifter with the faux southern emphasis Mandel has taken to application lately.)
I listened to Mandel’s emphasis that day intensely, as I planned to address about it later, but additionally to apprehend accurately what he would say about actuality Jewish in a allowance abounding of non-Jews. The acknowledgment is: nothing. Instead, the emphasis declared the quintessential evangelical playbook.
He talked about his attack actuality run through churches, declared the assorted pastors who abutment him, quoted Christian scripture, and said that if adopted he’d have, “the Bible in one duke and the Constitution in the other.” If you’d heard the speech, the anticipation of him actuality annihilation but a Christian would be the extreme affair from your mind.
Since afresh I’ve noticed it again, and again, and again. His fallback is usually talking about how he “embraces Judeo-Christian values.” “Google will use any alibi to shut bottomward the Pro-Life movement,” he tweeted on Sept. 18. “They will go to any breadth to blackout those who action to assure Judeo-Christian values.”
Judeo-Christian ethics as a accomplished are about as counterfeit as Mandel. As Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg wrote on Twitter in January, “‘Judeo-Christian’ isn’t a thing.” Jewish ethics cannot be lumped in with Christian ethics because they aren’t the same, and no Rabbi or Judaic-scholar would accidentally accede them as such.
Beyond that, the abstraction of Judeo-Christian ethics is a advised dog-whistle generally active in one of Mandel’s admired pastimes, the advised overextension of abandoned and abominable anti-Muslim rhetoric. Anyone application “Judeo-Christian values” is artlessly aggravating to pretend to be across-the-board of Jews, while actuality absolute of Muslims and bodies of any added faiths.
If Mandel wants to use this alt-right pandering term, he opens himself up to a fair assay of how he displays — or hides — his religion. A attending at his Twitter account, area he makes best of his statements, muddies the catechism alike more.
Writing about Palestinians on Sept. 25, he not alone centered Christians in a mostly non-Christian issue, but appeared to conflate actuality an American with actuality Christian or Jewish, which is disgustingly incorrect.
Back in July, there was this unhinged take, assuredly apropos to the Christian Bible.
And on Sept. 3, he afresh wrote about a Judeo-Christian way of activity that never existed.
I could articulation dozens added of these tweets. Over and over, they appearance Josh Mandel advisedly ambuscade the actuality that he’s Jewish in favor of a acknowledgment to the Judeo-Christian amount set of a fantasy land.
The acumen could not be added clear: his allure of evangelical voters who wouldn’t abutment him if he were Jewish. If you accept to accomplish up a acceptance arrangement to win their support, I’d altercate it’s not account having. But Mandel cares about alone one affair in this world: adequate his abutting election.
If there’s one argent lining to Mandel’s abhorrent candidacy, it’s that it helps accomplish the point that the Republican Affair is not the abode for appreciative Jews. It is a affair area acerbic abhorrence of Muslim is accounted acceptable, and that abhorrence can aloof as calmly ambition Jews.
We’re three years removed from a deranged alt-right apache murdering 11 Jews in a synagogue, and not one affair in those alt-right communities has changed. The better change is bodies like Mandel appetite to be accustomed into the affliction of society. They won’t let him in with abounding accepting of who he is, but whether he grovels in the abbey risers or not, Josh Mandel will never be one of them.
Max Littman is a biographer and alum of The Ohio State University currently active in Columbus, Ohio. He can be begin on Twitter @Juicewag and via email at [email protected] This commodity is acclimatized from one that originally appeared in The Rooster.
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