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Election Watch 2016

Leaked email indicates effort to smear Sanders as atheist

(JTA) — A top Democratic National Committee official reportedly suggested in May that “someone” should draw attention to Bernie Sanders’ atheist beliefs. In an email leaked July 22 by WikiLeaks, the DNC’s chief financial officer, Brad Marshall, suggested that the party should “get someone to ask” about “his” religious beliefs, The Intercept reported.

“It might [make] no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief,” the message says, presumably referring to Kentucky and West Virginia. “Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”

The email does not mention Sanders by name. However, he was the only Jewish candidate and has repeatedly skirted questions about whether or not he believes in God. The email was sent to the DNC’s communications director, Luis Miranda, and his deputy, Mark Paustenbach.

Sanders dropped out of the race and endorsed Clinton earlier this month.


Former KKK leader David Duke to run for Senate

(JTA) — David Duke, the antisemitic former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, announced he will run for Senate in Louisiana. Duke is a registered Republican, and will run in that party’s primary for the Louisiana Senate seat being vacated by Republican David Vitter, according to The Associated Press. Duke served one term as a state representative more than 20 years ago and has run unsuccessfully since then for higher office.

“Thousands of special interest groups stand up for African Americans, Mexican Americans, Jewish Americans, et cetera, et cetera,” Duke said in a message last week announcing his candidacy. “The fact is that European Americans need at least one man in the United States Senate, one man in the Congress who will defend their rights and heritage.”

Duke supports Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, which has landed Trump in controversy. Earlier this year, Trump demurred when asked to disavow Duke’s support, before disavowing it — claiming he had misunderstood the original question.

On Sunday, Trump said he “guessed” he would vote for a Democrat to stop white supremacist David Duke from being elected to office and added that he “rebuked” Duke. “I guess, depending on who is the Democrat, but the answer would be yes,” Trump said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” responding to the question about Duke. “Rebuked. Is that OK? Rebuked, done.”

On Saturday, after Duke announced his Senate candidacy, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted that “David Duke & his hateful bigotry have no place in the Republican Party & the RNC will never support his candidacy under any circumstance.”


Trump surrogate retweets antisemitic post, then apologizes

(JTA) — Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a surrogate for Donald Trump’s Republican presidential campaign, retweeted an antisemitic post and then apologized, saying it was in error. The tweet, from a user called Saint Bibiana, alleged that Jews were blaming the former Soviet Union for leaks that were published recently from internal Democratic National Committee emails. “CNN implicated,” reads the tweet sent Sunday. “‘The USSR is to blame!’ Not anymore, Jews. Not anymore.”

Retweeting on Sunday, Flynn wrote, “The corrupt Democratic machine will do and say anything to get #NeverHillary into power. This is new low.” Soon afterward, Flynn tweeted that he had meant to retweet a link from CNN and apologized for his earlier tweet. “The earlier retweet was a mistake,” he wrote. “My sincerest apologies.”

On Saturday WikiLeaks, which provided the DNC leak, also appeared to tweet an antisemitic message. Addressing critics of the leak, the group’s Twitter feed displayed a post that read: “Tribalist symbol for establishment climbers? Most of our critics have 3 (((brackets around their names))) & have black-rim glasses. Bizarre.” The tweet was later removed.

In recent weeks, Jews on Twitter have placed the triple brackets around their names to mock and undermine an antisemitic way of identifying Jews online.

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