Thursday’s Democratic primary in the hotly contested Tennessee Ninth District saw anti-Semitism rear its ugly — and ineffective — head, resulting in a decisive victory for the Jewish candidate targeted by the smear tactics.

Rep. Nikki Tinker’s campaign was faltering close to the final days of the race, and, wanting to portray opponent Rep. Steve Cohen as a “religious outsider” in the community, ran a series of anti-Semitic advertisements in local media hoping to bolster her support in the majority-Black district, including one TV ad (not to detract from this one):

While Cohen visits “our churches, clapping his hands and tapping his feet,” the ad said, “he’s the only senator who thought our kids shouldn’t be allowed to pray in school” – a reference to a 1997 vote Cohen made as a state senator.

One particularly inflammatory print ad called Cohen the “opponent of Christ and Christianity” who “hates” its founder, and called on constituents to appoint “one Black Christian” to represent them in the House of Representatives.

Her anti-Semitic Jew-baiting would be to no avail — Ms. Tinker was defeated by a margin of 79-to-19 in the election.

Upon examining the merits of both candidates, Ms. Tinker’s decision becomes readily understandable.

Mr. Cohen has 24 years in the State Senate under his belt, his family has lived in the Memphis area for four generations, and fought for “twenty years” for the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship program, which, since 2004, has provided over $1 billion for Tennessee students to continue their educations. Ms. Tinker, on the other hand, is currently VP of Labor Relations for Northwest Airlink/Pinnacle Airlines, and a former campaign manager for Congressman Harold Ford, Jr.

Anti-Semitism is still alive and well in this country. It is particularly painful when I see such things coming from the black community — especially in the South — because things this divisive only, to me, serve to reflect an ignorance of history (as my grandmother told me, many Jews who could get into the “white entrances” of stores did so to benefit those of us who couldn’t) and are so counter-productive for the black community that one could ask a Nikki Tinker whose side she was on at the end of the day. For a Black person to connect a Jew to the KKK in campaign rhetoric detracts from the real KKK, the KKK who would like to see both communities expunged from America. One serves no one by abetting, through unnecessary division, the real racists who affect minority communities far more than their Jewish counterparts. (And while the New York Times is technically right, that this was a racially charged campaign, the references to Christ and Christianity let me know — Jews of all colors are unfit to represent this district in the mind of this campaign. A blanket equating of “anti-Semitism” with “racism” in this context equates “Jewish” with “white”, something I would hope the media would at least attempt to stop doing.)

Perhaps Ms. Tinker has learned a bit about unity and working together from this campaign. Maybe she should work together on campaign ads with now-infamous Alex Castellanos, and go back to being a campaign aide — on John McCain’s campaign. The Democratic party has no place for such divisive tactics.

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About the author


A modern charedi Jew-by-choice since 2000, and igniting headphones with Torah hiphop since 2001.

Originally from Maryland and now holding it down in the shtetlach of New York, won the Jewish Music Awards for "Best Hiphop" in 2006. Vocally anti-prejudice and pro-unity.

Love me, hate me, or debate me, know you can't ignore me, though.


  • She deserved to get her tochis whipped like latté for a stunt like that. You’re right… her ends justified her means.

  • Why is it that anti-Semites can’t seem to compose a grammatically correct sentence?

    Any theories?

  • “The Democratic party has no place for such divisive tactics.”

    Y-Love, no one knows how stupid you are till you open your mouth.

    I guess you haven’ heard of the Black Caucus or the Womans Caucus.

    Liberals LOVE RACE. Be it pro-slavery, jim crow laws, pro-affirmative action, pro-race based caucuses in their political party.

    They care more about Race than they do about Character.

  • Why must you act in such a way that makes you such an obstacle to ahavat Yisra’el?

    I was actually contributing to Obama’s statement on the topic, namely that Tinker’s “incendiary and personal attacks have no place in our politics”, i.e., the politics of the Democratic party (as this was Obama commenting on a Democratic primary).

    Granted you probably don’t think Obama is intelligent either.

  • Well-posted Y-Love. It’s damn frustrating. But it’s also comforting to know there are those (like you) who are able to show it’s not a lost art to articulate complex issues these days (from either academic or personal perspective).

    And then there’s Hyman.

  • Y-Love, Ramon, I’ve made it a habit not to reply to Barry / Adam Hyman as he’s got nothing more to say than spewing around bitter insults. His “insights” into politics deserve less attention than roadkill.

  • “Y-Love, Ramon, I’ve made it a habit not to reply to Barry / Adam Hyman as he’s got nothing more to say than spewing around bitter insults. His “insights” into politics deserve less attention than roadkill.”

    froylein – what else am I going to do while I’m fighting to get back on a normal sleep schedule 🙂 btw froylein – i’ll be in my secondary home (a Euro country) for a few weeks… is the exchange rate for USD – Euro still horrific?

  • Ramon, the exchange rate for the $ has improved greatly due to the dropping oil price, but it’s still almost 1.50 Euros per US dollar.

  • “Ramon, the exchange rate for the $ has improved greatly due to the dropping oil price, but it’s still almost 1.50 Euros per US dollar.”

    Bring back the Peseta!

  • Hey Y-Love, instead of personally insulting me, what can’t you talk about all the reasons you have to vote for Obama.

    Here are a few reasons I won’t be voting for him.

    He was wrong about the war. McCain pushed for the surge, which has had incredible results.
    He chose an anti-American anti-Israel pastor to be his mentor for 20 years.
    He chose a racist wife who isn’t proud of America unless its a black American who is successful.
    Obama had a close personal financial relationship with Tony Rezko, an Arab Businessman who was indicted for fraud…… and liberals have the chutspa to talk about Bush having a connection to the Arabs.
    Obama’s biggest donor was George Soros, a self-hating Jew.

    • Zbigniew Brzezinski – National Security Adviser to President Jimmy Carter, who among many other anti-Israel actions, led to the fall of the Shah of Iran and gave birth to the Iranian Revolution
    ~ Brzezinski has openly talked bad about Israel for over 30 years
    ~ Brzezinski describes Israel’s action in the Second Lebanon War as “a killing campaign against civilian hostages”
    ~ Brzezinski publicly defends the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis which concludes that US policy towards Israel is the result of Jewish pressure and inconsistent with American interests
    ~ Brzezinski calls for the US to initiate dialogue with Hamas
    ~ In February 2008, Brzezinski made a trip to Syria to confer with President Assad
    ~ Brzezinski’s son, Mark Brzezinski, who is also on Obama’s foreign policy team, also claims that the US should build a relationship and work with Iran
    • Robert O. Malley – International relations specialist who openly supports Palestinians
    ~ Malley co-wrote numerous anti-Israel articles with Yasser Arafat’s former advisor, Hussein Agha
    ~ Malley blames Israel for the failure of the 2000 Camp David Summit
    ~ Malley blames the Bush Administration for the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict
    • Ivo H. Daalder – Political scientist and foreign policy adviser to Obama
    ~ In June 2007, one of the Democratic Presidential candidates’ advisors, who specifically asked not to be named, is quoted as stating: “The plain fact is there is no upside for candidates to challenge the prevailing assumptions about Israel. The best strategy is to win the White House and then change the debate”
    ~ This “unnamed” advisor is later proved to be Daalder
    ~ Daalder denounces Israel’s bombing of a Hezbollah missile warehouse in Qana as: “Imperiling Israel’s claim to the moral high ground”
    ~ Daalder advocates talks with Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran
    • Scott B. Lasensky – Georgetown University professor and foreign policy adviser to Obama
    ~ In February 2008, Lasensky published a book which criticized Bush for not forcing Israel to settle with Yasser Arafat
    ~ Lasensky describes the residents of the Israeli settlements as “obstructionists” in his article entitled “How to Help Palestinian Refugees Today”
    ~ Lasensky calls for Hamas and other Radical Islamists to be brought into the peace process
    ~ Lasensky calls for engagement with Iran
    ~ Lasensky is endorsed by Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, which is a notoriously harsh anti-Israel group
    • Susan E. Rice – John Kerry’s foreign policy advisor in 2004
    ~ Rice devised a plan of solving the Middle East problem by appointing Jimmy Carter and James Baker as negotiators …
    ~ This plan was later rejected by John Kerry himself as being very unbalanced against Israel

  • Adam,

    Don’t forget that Obama’s number 301 foreign policy adviser is George Clooney, who “is pushing him to be more “balanced” on issues such as US relations with Israel.”

    Way to go American Jews! How CAN I be down?

    And I agree with Adam, the Democratic Party has pushed nothing but identity politics since the beginning of this race, and then turned around and accussed John McCain of being Racist without any evidence or proof. They should be ashamed of themselves!

    97% of African Americans (including all of my friends) are voting for Obama. I’m sure it has nothing to do with race, but with the issues! Don’t get me wrong, if I was black, I’d vote for Obama as he supports black issues and BLT. I’d just be honest about it.

  • Adam, I do agree with some of the posters on one thing, you shouldn’t call Y-Love stupid and then be insulted when he calls you names either. But that’s it. Otherwise, I agree with you completely and think the reason you get so much blow back, is that you don’t tow the usual American Jew party line and participate in Jewlicious’ echo chamber. That’s why I’m here after all. I’m also here to bring attention to other things that there may be no time for the staff here to post about, such as Sada Jacobson’s Silver Metal in Fencing. Yup, that’s one of ours, and being openly honest about my identity politics and subjectivity, I’m damn proud when a Jew wins something.

    By the way, I do think Obama is intelligent. He is for sure intelligent as he does very well at changing his mind, then acting insulted that anyone calls him on it, furthermore, acting as if he’s said the same thing all along. He’s also intelligent at knowing the perfect time to interject race, when he doesn’t want to be held accountable for the things he’s said or believes. He may be intelligent, but he’s certainly not fit to be president. Case in point, is his reaction to Russia’s despicable attack on Georgia, playing the Moral Relativity Card, while McCain properly called on Russia to cease hostilities. Talk about a failed 3AM call moment.

    Lastly, being a Jew whose family escaped from that sh!thole called Russia, I hope all you sensitive America-bashers who complain about Guantanamo and all the other false alarms see what a real warmongering country can do in one day, murdering 1500 innocent civilians by bombing residential apartment buildings and any other moving target.

    And where are the peace rallies? Code Pink? Where you at? Anti-war moth#rF#ckers? Where the #### you at? Stalinist ANSWER? Where you at? The UN? Opec? Greenpeace? Oh, nowhere I guess. Only wars that are bad are American instigated. Right.

    I say next time Hezbullah kidnaps a soldier, Israel drops a MOAB on downtown and sends a letter, courtesy of Russia. And, no, I won’t relax until these double standards discontinue. There is no time to play high-brow “sanctity of life” warfare while the other team plays by rules of the jungle.

  • Are you serious?

    Adam Hyman Says:
    Y-Love, no one knows how stupid you are till you open your mouth.

    and then….

    Adam Hyman Says:
    Hey Y-Love, instead of personally insulting me, what can’t you talk about…


  • Hey, I called him on it myself. But I think his other points still stand.

  • Y-Love, my point was not to insult you personally. But rather to give you advice.

    You’re in the music business, you’re trying to spread a good message about peace and co-operation…. and you don’t want to alienate people.

    Many people find your political views objectionable and if you’re insistent on spreading them, you’re going to have people in your target audience who do things to thwart your success.

  • Sigh, has anyone noticed how the conversations segued so quickly from one “brown” person to to another? This country, as a whole, is obsessed with skin color and ethnicity and both sides use the race/ethnicity card for their own advantage when it suits them; which, despite cries to the contrary, is the elephant in the room whenever candidates are different shades of human.
    Mrs. Tinker’s clumsy use of the “Jews killed Christ” card was particularly repugnant and I’m glad she suffered a “Biblical” defeat. But Hyman might have picked up on a more subtle playing of the card: “The Democratic party has no place for such divisive tactics.” Which might imply in some minds that there IS such a place elsewhere… The question is this: Did Hyman make the leap to this inference and become defensive because he realizes that the conservative movement in america has been most guilty of using race/ethnicity as a factor to disqualify candidates? Or out of a righteous need to set the record straight that the liberal parties also consider race when they field candidates that represent minority groups and set up groups that work collectively for minority rights? 😉

  • Y-Love is a great singer and rapper. That’s what your good at!

    It doesn’t qualify you to know anything about race-relations or American history. My point is NOT that you need to know what you’re talking about to have the right to talk…. this is America and thank G-d you’re free to say what you’d like.

    My point is that if you do decide to talk about something, people are going to judge you based on what you say. And its just something to think about.

    I’ve seen the same thing said recently about other bloggers on Jewlicious. I think to myself, “Oh my gosh. Here’s a great, kind, caring person, but people are going to think he’s an idiot because he’s trying to write an article on…. say economics…. and he doesn’t even know the correct terminology to use.”

    My biggest problem in poker is not folding. People bet into me, and I think my hand might be higher, or I can outdraw them against pot odds. And I think its the same issue that some amateur writers have. They’ve got something they think has value, but they don’t even realize that other people see “the board” in a clearer way.

    Once again: I am completely for your right to say what you’d like, as I am for EVERY person to have freedom of speech. My point is that, sometimes it doesn’t benefit the person to exercise their freedom of speech.

  • Nafnaf: “the conservative movement in america has been most guilty of using race/ethnicity as a factor to disqualify candidates”


    Are you aware that the first black person to serve an almost every elected position in the US government…. first black senator, first black congressman, first black secretary of state, first black secretary of “anything”, first black governor, first black mayor……. were republicans.

    And: They did it on MERIT. I think we can agree that conservatives don’t appoint or elect people based on the color of their skin……. and they don’t appoint black people based on the color of their skin.

    Liberals mistakenly believe that dividing people up into groups, based on race, to look out for their rights is going to create a more tolerant world. They’re wrong. They way to create a tolerant world is by creating a race-blind world, where people judge each other by the things they can control, not by the things they can’t.

    The first thing the liberal mind does when it meets someone is to classify the person by race, religion, gender, sexual orientation…. to see what kind of person you are dealing with, and how the system should help them.

    The first thing a conservative does is try to find out the character of the person…. what their morals and values are…. what principals are important to them.

    I think thats why it might be easier for conservatives to attack minority candidates. To me, I don’t think of Obama as a black man who is running for president. And I don’t think of him as going to private schools for 19 years of his life. I think of how he chose to vote on certain issues, and the people he chose to surround himself with.

    Another place this can be seen is where liberals had a problem with the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s father was close with the Nazis. Conservatives couldn’t care less, because its not something Arnold could control. I would support Hitlers son for office if he held the same morals and values that I do.

  • Adam Hyman wrote: “The first thing a conservative does is try to find out the character of the person…. what their morals and values are…. what principals are important to them.”

    I am so sure that that’s exactly what most Republicans do when they come across a towelhead sitting next to them on a plane… try to determine his character…


  • Hyman, I was careful to use the word conservative rather than republican. The freedom and liberty part of the “Party of Lincoln” has long disappeared from the republican party, and has been replaced with upper-class protectionism, religious dogma and faux jingoism… So lets not pull that “republicans like brown people” schtick, the segment of the population that the party serves and seeks to benefit most is the economically advantaged and in the US that means overwhelmingly white voters. During the same time period that the republican part evolved the southern democrats evolved from being economically progressive and socially conservative to being progressive across the board. The shift in values in the democratic party lost it most of the rural south to the republican party, which took up the mantle of “conservatism” to long held values, some of which happen to be policies that benefit the ruling class of this country, namely white people.
    The liberal world is forced by a long history, that precedes any of the mitigation measures enacted in the last century, to use the racial and socio-economic categories that have been used to divide and oppress certain segments of the population since the founding of this country. A senator sitting in an office didn’t create the racial classifications used today in this country or the resulting disadvantage for members of certain groups; a combination of slavery, imported labor, jim-crow laws, anti immigrant sentiment and other factors cemented the categories long ago…
    You can try to sell me on conservatism, but I’m not buying having “conservative” views on race, culture, or religion. Because when applied to those categories it means disadvantage for those who are lower on the economic ladder, glorification of WASP culture over all others, and the church as a silent but ever present fourth branch of government… I ain’t buying

  • CK, I hope you see the irony in your own statement:

    “I am so sure that that’s exactly what most Republicans do when they come across a towelhead sitting next to them on a plane… try to determine his character…”

    Even if it wasn’t ridiculously funny that you used a slur while trying to tarnish republicans, I think it’s very indicative of your world view, and sadly that of many North American Jews. Funny, I’d consider myself a conservative. One of my closest friends is Palestinian, I’m currently working from an Arab owned coffee shop, and I play in a friendly soccer league with Jews and Arabs 2 times a week. Funny, there are other conservatives and republicans there as well and I don’t remember them using the slur you did, even if as a joke.

    Furthermore, if I was sitting on a plane next to a Punjabi Sihk I would consider it a low threat level, but on the other hand, I do racial profile people on my plane. If you consider that intolerant or racist, then I’ll freely take that criticism as I keep my family and myself safe and let politically correct liberals be caught off guard in a hostage situation while they wonder how the mean middle-eastern guy could treat them so poorly after being nice enough to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Lastly, the difference between you and I, is that I’ve actually lived your liberal worldview, while you can’t fathom mine. I’ve walked miles in a liberal’s shoes, and I’ll tell you what, they’re uncomfortable, restrictive, counter-intuitive, naive, and most importantly, extremely self-righteous. The liberal mindset is a nice place to visit, but I’d never want to live there. Kind of like San Francisco. I hate to burst your bubble, but you just proved Adam’s point. In typical liberal fashion, you tried to classify and stereotype Adam and republicans in one broad stroke. Any truly open-minded and tolerant person (no, liberals don’t own that characteristic) can see right through that.

  • NafNaf, you are confusing capital C Conservatives and a conservative political perspective. Regardless, your opinions on both are seriously outdated. But I can understand how it would help to keep the movements and ideology in those nice, outdated boxes to suit your purposes. It’s very similar to the Democrats views on drilling and the surge: static and unchanging based not on truth and context, but for political purposes.

  • Heh, when the “conservatives”, regardless of capitalization, support policies that are any different than the backward thinking establishment politics that he current administration and previous conservative governments have supported I’ll change my tune. Neo conservatism is just taking the jingoism that’s always been a part of the conservative movement and exporting it… I see little difference in post civil rights act conservative politics… But I’d be happy to be told the difference.

  • Sorry, I wasn’t aware that the principles of small government, free markets, individual liberties, private property, and a strong military were backward and jingoistic. I guess I’d rather be both of those things than a nanny stater who feels victimized and entitled, who thinks companies should provide free energy for everyone while other tax payers foot the bill for everyone who doesn’t work, and who supports limits and higher taxes as an answer to everything.

  • Small government — or a plutocratic oligarchy subject to cronyism and outsourcing?

    Free markets — or unfettered access to an entire globe to exploit via off-shore, regulation-free multinational corporations and tax havens to ensure their continuity?

    Individual liberties — or unrestricted oppression of minorities and cartes blanches given to discrimination and -isms?

    Private property — or the abject screwing over of millions of poor people, unable to afford housing, medical care or education — or anything else newly privatized, thus creating a dead-end underclass?

    Strong military — or unneccessary wars of offense fought for ulterior motives and based on baldfaced lies faulty intelligence?

  • Wow. Can you fit all that on one poster? It sounds like you would like living in a socialist or communist country. I’m sure there is more than one person who would like to trade with you. And I’m sure that can be arranged as well. My family came to this country with $279 US, instead of spending their time whining about unfairness and all of those isms you mention, they got to work and took loans out to go back to school. No one said America was perfect or that life is fair. Nor should it be…

  • That upward mobility that your family was blessed by doesn’t necessarily exist for everyone, and I do hope you realize that.

  • I do realize it. Nor should “everyone” have everything, especially handed to them. Hard working, smart, intelligent, and productive people should be rewarded more than others in a just society. I know plenty of people from various racial, ethnic, religious and economic backgrounds that beat the odds and became very successful people. I, unlike many of my liberal friends, judge people on their character and I always have more respect for someone who earned their place in society rather than had it handed to them because of what they were born.

    And my parents weren’t blessed. They may have been lucky, but being that they are both Atheists, they certainly don’t believe g-d had anything to do with it. You see, they can from a country where the same chances and conditions existed for everyone. And everyone was miserable. People were handed everything by the state, including instructions on what to be. My mother was a doctor who earned as much as a garbage man, and my father was an engineer who earned as much as a janitor. There was no incentive for being stronger, faster, smarter, more determined, etc. People were expected to do things for the “common good”, because of the naive belief that equality = a just and content society. Well that seems not to have worked at all.

    I’m happy to live in a country where everyone has the potential to be anything they want to be, and everyone has a fair chance at that as well. Yes, it may be harder for some than for others but I consider that more fair than evening the playing field for everyone, as that lowers the bar for humanity and especially for the productive people, holding them back so less productive people can catch up. I work harder today specifically so that my children have an easier time with upward mobility than I or my parents had. Why should they be penalized because many looters and naive folk feel that’s “unfair”? Too frickin bad. Work harder, study harder, think harder and they’ll get their chance. Their are many charitable people, companies, and organizations out there willing to lend a hand to them as well. But leave the government out of it. And if these people can’t succeed… well that’s how nature intended it. And we all know nature is not fair.

    As Churchill said, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” And I totally agree. Besides the casual anti-Semitism coming from the liberal movement, this is the biggest reason I can’t support most Democrats, including Obama.