Outrage in North Carolina over lieutenant governor’s past remarks about Jews

Republican lawmaker Mark Robinson says he will not apologize for comments disparaging Jewish people made before he was elected

Mark Robinson (Wikimedia Commons via JTA)
Mark Robinson (Wikimedia Commons via JTA)

JTA — An array of North Carolina Jewish figures and the Republican Jewish Coalition have called on North Carolina’s lieutenant governor to apologize for past comments about Jewish control.

Jewish Insider on Friday quoted a number of Jewish officials who were appalled by Mark Keith Robinson’s comments on Jews and their influence. Robinson, a Republican, has said he will not apologize for things he said before he became an elected official.

“His refusal to apologize is troubling and unacceptable to us,” said Matt Brooks, the director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “These kinds of comments have no place in our society.”

Typical of the reactions of North Carolina’s Jews was Rabbi Lucy Dinner of Temple Beth Or in Raleigh. “I believe that Mark Robinson’s election in North Carolina is, as we would say in Yiddish, a shanda,” meaning a disgrace, she told Jewish Insider.

Among Robinson’s offenses was an attack in 2018 on the creators of the Black Panther character, after a movie about the Marvel Comics superhero came out.

“It is absolutely AMAZING to me that people who know so little about their true history and REFUSE to acknowledge the pure sorry state of their current condition can get so excited about a fictional ‘hero’ created by an agnostic Jew and put to film by satanic marxist,” said Robinson, who is African American, in a Facebook post.

“How can this trash, that was only created to pull the shekels out of your Schvartze pockets, invoke any pride?” he added, invoking a Yiddish pejorative for African Americans. “Shekels,” the name of the Israeli currency, is often used in anti-Semitic literature.

Black Panther was created in the 1960s by two Jewish comic book creators, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The 2018 film was directed by Ryan Coogler, a Black filmmaker who is involved in social justice causes.

In October, the Raleigh News & Observer found a conversation that Robinson had in 2019 with a fringe religious leader named Sean Moon. In the interview, Moon invokes anti-Semitic tropes about the Rothschild family, and Robinson says “That’s exactly right.”

The state and national Republican parties have so far been silent about Robinson. Robinson has become a hero on the right for his unapologetic stand in taking on the left in culture wars. The conservative Washington Free Beacon recently ran a flattering profile entitled “North Carolina’s First Black Lt. Gov. Leads Fight Against Radical Curriculum.”

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