GOP pundit attacks candidates for pandering to ‘f—ing Jews’

Ann Coulter sparks social media outrage with crude criticism of Republican hopefuls’ focus on Israel

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

Conservative pundit Ann Coulter defending a tweet referring to 'f---king Jews' in an interview with Fox News, September 16, 2015. (YouTube: screenshot)
Conservative pundit Ann Coulter defending a tweet referring to 'f---king Jews' in an interview with Fox News, September 16, 2015. (YouTube: screenshot)

Conservative columnist Ann Coulter set off a firestorm of controversy Wednesday night when she used the F-word in connection with Jews. She was expressing apparent frustration with the abundance of pledges to support Israel during the Republican presidential debate.

“How many f—ing Jews do these people think there are in the United States?” Coulter said on Twitter during the final minutes of the three-hour debate, when four of 11 candidates mentioned their support for Israel in their closing remarks. (The answer is: about 6 million.)

The four candidates were former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who also said he would move the US embassy to Jerusalem as one of his first acts as president. Coulter has declared her support for candidate Donald Trump, and has appeared alongside him in rallies.

Her tweet came as part of a barrage of comments accusing candidates of focusing too much on Israel and too little on answering the questions they were asked.

Asked about her tweets on Fox News, Coulter refused to back down, saying she was criticizing the candidates for pandering to the Republican base. She said she did not only attack the focus on Israel but also candidates’ use of abortions and the late president Ronald Reagan to garner applause from the audience.

The sequence of tweets by Coulter drew immediate outrage and satire on social media.

Christians United for Israel excoriated Coulter in a statement.

“Ann Coulter’s tweets this evening concerning Israel were completely inappropriate,” spokesman Ari Morgenstern said. “The US-Israel relationship is both a moral and strategic imperative. There are tens of millions of Christians in this country who stand with the Jewish state.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish advocacy group, similarly took Coulter to task.

“Ann Coulter asks ‘how many f—ing Jews’ are there in America and then blithely dodges Fox News’ direct challenge of her gratuitous anti-Semitic slur. Disgusting,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement. “And if a simple ‘I am sorry’ is beyond the reach of the vocabulary of this noted wordsmith, then perhaps she has unearned her spot among top tier political pundits.”

But not everyone was offended by the comments. The hashtag #IStandWithAnn picked up momentum in response to the backlash against Coulter, with users posting support for the comments, and, in some cases, open vitriol against Jews. It appeared to be a play on the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed, launched to show support for a Muslim youth arrested this week in Texas after teachers thought a self-made clock he had brought to school looked like a bomb.

No stranger to controversy and accusations of anti-Semitism, Coulter caused outrage in 2007 after she told CNBC’s Donny Deutsch that she hoped Jews would one day “be perfected.”

When Deutsch said that was offensive, Coulter clarified: “We consider ourselves perfected Christians. For me to say that for you to become a Christian is to become a perfected Christian is not offensive at all.”

JTA contributed to this report.

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