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A spokesperson for South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s (D) presidential campaign said Tuesday that the candidate will no longer use the term “Pharisee” to describe what he perceives as religious hypocrisy.
Buttigieg has repeatedly used the term in reference to Vice President Pence to accuse Pence of hypocrisy for serving in President Trump’s administration while espousing conservative Christian values.
The article goes on to state the following:
Progressive Jewish leaders have argued the use of the term as an insult has anti-Semitic undertones. Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg referred back to an earlier tweet in which she said use of the term as an insult by non-Jewish people “has been used to murder & expel us for centuries–Inquisitions, pogroms, expulsions, the Holocaust, you name it.”
In response, Buttigieg spokesperson Lis Smith tweeted “We appreciate the people who have reached out to educate us on this. While intended to highlight political hypocrisy, we listened and learned and won’t be using it going forward.”
If someone on @PeteButtigieg‘s campaign cares about the fact that his repeated use of “Pharisee” is harmful to Jews and would be open to learning about why and how to do better, y’all are welcome to reach out to me. I can kasher pots and talk about antisemitism at the same time. https://t.co/eUeGttND9c
— Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg (@TheRaDR) April 16, 2019
We appreciate the people who have reached out to educate us on this. While intended to highlight political hypocrisy, we listened and learned and won’t be using it going forward. https://t.co/373XmOBXFi
— Lis Smith (@Lis_Smith) April 16, 2019
Pharisees were a Jewish sect that existed in the first century, and are depicted in the New Testament as frequently in conflict with Jesus. “When you see someone, especially somebody who has such a dogmatic take on faith that they bring it into public life, being willing to attach themselves to this administration for the purposes of gaining power, it is alarmingly resonant with some New Testament themes, and not in a good way,” Buttigieg told The Washington Post in reference to Pence.
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Author: Dean Daniels
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