In 1998, while a student at Harvard College, Chris King ran for president of the Harvard student government, the Undergraduate Council. He lost. In reflecting on his campaign the following year in a Newhouse News Service article, King blamed the Harvard student newspaper, the Crimson, for his loss. “I was nailed to the cross,” said King, in referring to the coverage of his race by the Crimson. “And most of the editorial staff that was so hard on me, the vast majority were Jewish.”
After the comment surfaced earlier this year during his ill-fated race for governor, King did not deny making the statement, apologized and claimed it was “at odds with [his] beliefs.”
Baloney. King is an anti-Semite, plain and simple. I’ll tell you how I know. I was a Harvard undergraduate around the same time as King. I graduated in 1996 -- two years before King’s ill-fated election. I was involved in the Undergraduate Council as well, and I even had my own run-ins with the Crimson. Oh, and I’m Jewish.
Let me be clear -- knowing what Harvard was like in the ’90s, and the student government in general, there is no question that King was claiming “the Jews were out to get me.” The Crimson was well known to have a lot of Jews in its editorial ranks; there were a lot of Jews at Harvard in general. But they certainly weren’t all Jewish; just as most of the undergraduates were not.
This trope that “Jews control the media” -- or banks, or Hollywood, etc. -- is as old as the Bible itself. It has been used as the justification for the expulsion, discrimination, and extermination of Jews for centuries. My own grandmother fled Russia as a little girl, walking across Europe, and entering America via Ellis Island after her mother, father, and eight of her siblings were killed during a pogrom by Russian Cossacks. Why? The Jews had allegedly successfully “gotten” a Russian Tsar.
The “nailed to the cross” statement might even be worse. Anti-Jewish hatred and violence has for centuries been rooted in blaming Jews -- not the Romans -- for crucifying Jesus. It wasn’t until 1965 that the Catholic Church declared that Jews were not responsible for the death of Jesus.
These comments were anti-Semitic slurs perpetuating centuries of anti-Jewish sentiment. Chris King lost an election -- he blamed the Jews. Period.
That was 20 years ago. It happened in college. Why should we hold this against him? Can’t we assume he has learned from his mistakes?
He hasn’t. Guess who Chris King blamed when his quote surfaced? Yes, you’ve got it -- the Jews. He blamed his Jewish primary opponent in the governor’s race. Apparently, the Jews are still “out to get” Chris King.
So why would Andrew Gillum select someone with King’s record, when there were so many other options? Because he either shares those views or is willing to tolerate people with those views. You don’t cavort with CAIR -- an unindicted co-conspirator in financing terrorism -- or work with the Dream Defenders, modern day anti-Semites who openly glorify terrorists, if you don’t subscribe to it.
If Andrew Gillum and Chris King are elected, how will they treat our large Jewish population here in Florida? No one can question Ron DeSantis’ record on supporting Israel and fighting anti-Semitism.
We have a stark choice. We can choose between candidates who have consistently fought anti-Semitism, or candidates who appeal to anti-Semites. In a Gillum-King administration these anti-Semites will have a voice. These same anti-Semites who believe Jews “control” things, that we “nailed Jesus to the cross,” and that we are “out to get them.” If you oppose anti-Semitism and support Israel, vote for Ron DeSantis.
Republican Randy Fine is the state representative for Florida’s 53rd District, which includes Southern Brevard County. This commentary was reprinted with the author's permission from the Oct. 3 Sun Sentinel.