On Saturday night, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) pulled off an upset victory over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary. Gingrich’s rise back to the top tier of the Republican field means that GOP primary voters have elevated yet another candidate whose positions and behavior stand in direct opposition the values of most American Jews.
When it comes to domestic policies that are supported by most American Jews, Gingrich stands on the opposite side of the spectrum. Gingrich:
* Stands with anti-choice extremists seeking to restrict a woman’s right to choose;
* Sides with those seeking to tear down the separation of church and state— including his opposition to constructing Cordoba House, suggesting that we should take a religious freedom approach similar to that of Saudi Arabia—and using the Islamic faith as a straw man.
* Denies climate change and frequently attacks environmental protection efforts—even after supporting them;
* Declared that he would ignore Supreme Court decisions he disagrees with;
* Opposes equal rights for all and believes “[T]here is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us.”
In addition, Gingrich has repeatedly used Israel as a partisan wedge issue, and he appears to have adopted far-right policies towards Israel that place him at odds with the democratically-elected government of Israel. Gingrich:
* Urged both houses of Congress to condemn the President for articulating the vision of a two state solution based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed upon land swaps as a starting point for negotiations—a formula that has been the basis of talks for decades, through both Republican and Democratic administrations; and
* Delegitimized the Palestinians as an “invented people”—a position that is against U.S. and Israeli policies.
Further, his reputation as a rhetorical loose cannon has been uniquely concerning to the American Jewish community. Gingrich:
* Wrongfully declared that the United States is run by an “anti-Jewish” elite; and
Equally as concerning as his policy positions and his behavior, Gingrich has also pandered to the fringes of the Republican Party by floating a “major role” for former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in a potential Gingrich Administration and hinting that Representative Allen West (R-FL)—with his own history of offensive behavior—would be an acceptable running mate.
Given his record, the vast majority of American Jews know that Gingrich simply will fight against the values and policies they support.