In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

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Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

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Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

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April 4, 2014

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Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

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Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

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April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

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Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

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The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 10, 2009 / 18 Sivan 5769

The ‘racist’ brand

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | One day after President Obama nominated federal judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich labeled her a racist.

"Imagine a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman' new racism is no better than old racism," he wrote on Twitter, referring to Sotomayor's now infamous statement that a Latina woman is likely to make a better judge than a white man. "White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw."

It was a wretched thing to say, and Gingrich wasn't the only conservative Republican to say it. Rush Limbaugh called Sotomayor a "reverse racist" on his radio program; Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck announced that "she sure sounds like a racist." There were similar comments from controversialist Ann Coulter and former GOP congressman Tom Tancredo, and the Washington Examiner headlined an editorial "The racist jurisprudence of Sonia Sotomayor."

Sotomayor's views on race and ethnicity are certainly deplorable. She is apparently an unapologetic chauvinist who believes not only that a judge's perspective is hard-wired to gender, race, and ethnicity -- judging is affected by the "inherent physiological or cultural differences" of color, she says -- but that the "Latina" perspective is especially to be celebrated. Those views are odious to anyone who believes that justice, to be just, must be colorblind. Unfortunately, that is not what contemporary liberals believe. Sotomayor deserves to be questioned closely about her embrace of such benighted identity politics. She did not deserve to be smeared as a racist.

The comments of Gingrich, et al., quickly triggered a backlash. "What the hell is going on here?" demanded Chris Matthews on MSNBC after playing a clip of Limbaugh calling Sotomayor "an angry woman …a bigot …a racist." In The New York Times, columnist Charles Blow denounced the "fringe Republican race-baiting," and called the "racist" charge "shameful and defeatist." Senator Diane Feinstein of California lamented that "to call someone a racist …is just terrible" and only adds a "visceral and terrible heat" to public discourse. David Axelrod, a senior Obama adviser, condemned the accusation as "particularly offensive…. It certainly doesn't represent the appropriate language, attitude, orientation."

To his credit, Gingrich retracted his slur after a few days. "The word 'racist' should not have been applied to Judge Sotomayor as a person, even if her words themselves are unacceptable," he wrote on June 3. He now agreed, he said, with those who "have been critical of my word choice."

The demonizing of Sotomayor as a racist was outrageous, and liberals and Democrats were right to decry it. And if they now agree that such political hate speech should have no place in public life, perhaps they will insist on apologies from those in their own ranks who have been guilty of comparable slanders.

Starting with Senator Ted Kennedy.

It was on July 1, 1987, just 45 minutes after Ronald Reagan nominated Judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court, that Kennedy uncorked a poisonous assault on one of the nation's most distinguished legal thinkers. "Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids," Kennedy charged. Bork's thinking was "neanderthal" and "ominous," he said; confirming him would empower censors and slam the doors of the federal courts "on the fingers of millions of citizens."

They were despicable libels, as even admirers of Kennedy acknowledge. "The Bork of Kennedy's speech was a wild-eyed fascist and Bork the nominee was not," writes Kennedy biographer Adam Clymer, a veteran Washington correspondent. Ethan Bronner, who covered the story for the Boston Globe, later described Kennedy as having "shamelessly twisted Bork's world view " -- not in the heat of debate, but with malice aforethought.

The same malice would be visited subsequently on other conservative judges nominated by Republican presidents. In 1991, Clarence Thomas was slimed as a traitor to his race for having married a white woman, and accused of being a mouthpiece for white supremacists. "If you gave Clarence Thomas a little flour on his face," declared Carl Rowan, "you'd think you had David Duke talking." Judge Charles Pickering, a longtime voice of racial reconciliation, was defamed by Senator John Kerry as a "forceful advocate for a cross-burner" and by Senator Charles Schumer for his "glaring racial insensitivity."

In some left-wing precincts, accusations of racism are flung about with astonishing recklessness. The recent "Tea Party" protests by fiscal conservatives around the country, seethed actress/activist Janeane Garofalo, were "about hating a black man in the White House ... racism straight up." The Fox News Channel, says Keith Olbermann, is "as dangerous as the Ku Klux Klan." Gingrich himself has been a victim. When, as a Georgia congressman, he led House Republicans to victory in the 1994 elections, New York magazine's Jacob Weisberg blasted his policies as "a proxy for race-baiting," and added: "George Wallace was big in rural Georgia, too."

Few weapons of character-assassination are as abhorrent as the "racist" label falsely applied. Those who grow angry when conservatives apply it to liberals should be equally scandalized when liberals do it to conservatives. And, it should go without saying, vice versa.

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Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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