With tensions over Israel's conflict with Hamas reaching a fever pitch, the White House has taken aim at conservative radio host and Fox News contributor Mark Levin for comments he made referencing the Jewish backgrounds of CNN personalities Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper, as The Hill reports.
The controversy arose when Levin – himself a member of the Jewish faith – characterized the pair of anchors at the liberal cable news network as “self-hating Jews” whose biases were clouding their coverage of the hostilities in the Middle East.
The controversy began when Levin referenced Blitzer's personal family history in relation to the Holocaust, noting that the anchor's grandparents perished during that period of history, but adding that his parents “weren't' victims.”
Levin went on to slam Blitzer's broadcasts in recent weeks, declaring him to be a “dumb bastard” who also has a “hearing problem and an IQ problem” and someone who simply “wants Israel to die,” as the Guardian added.
The outspoken conservative media figure labeled Blitzer a “self-hating Jew,” an insult he had also used in reference to Tapper.
Responding in defense of the anchors, CNN said Levin's take was “wildly uninformed, inappropriate and shameful” and declared his statements to be “dangerous,” not to mention offensive and antisemitic.
Speaking through deputy press secretary Andrew Bates, the White House responded swiftly and critically to Levin's assessment, finding Fox News guilty by association with the host of Life, Liberty and Levin.
“Not only is Fox News aligning with those who fan the flames of hate – Fox is paying their salaries,” Bates said.
He went on, “Lying to insult the pain that families suffered in the Holocaust has absolutely no place in America. None.”
“Sadly, this is not the first time in recent months that a Fox News host made sickening remarks about the Holocaust,” Bates noted, an apparent reference to a statement made by network personality Greg Gutfeld over the summer about Nazi labor camps and the self-sufficiency he suggested they engendered in those forced to spend time in them.
This was the second time in recent days that the White House weighed in on comments made by on-air Fox News personalities, as The Hill noted separately, with host Jesse Watters having come under fire for statements he made about Americans of Middle Eastern origin last week.
During Wednesday's installment of The Five, Watters sparked a firestorm when he began, “I want to say something about Arab Americans and about the Muslim world” and went on to suggest that despite mutually beneficial collaboration between the U.S. and Middle Eastern nations, “[w]e've had it. We've had it with them.”
“And so, if you're an Arab American in this country, and you ripped down posters of Jewish hostages of American hostages, no, no, no no, someone is going to get punched in the face. When you rip down posters of hostages like that. This is absolutely not,” Watters said.
Bates was quick to opine on Watters' take, saying, “These unacceptable remarks come just weeks after the heartbreaking killing of a six-year-old Palestinian American child, and during a spike in threats against Muslim and Arab Americans,” and while the point about that tragedy is well-taken, the White House continues to face criticism that it has talked far more about the perceived dangers of Islamophobia than about an actual rise in antisemitic attacks in this country.
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