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Ex-Sen. George Allen Announces Bid to Regain Seat

Former U.S. Sen. George Allen speaking at this past years JLI National Jewish Retreat. Photos: Bentzi Sasson.

WASHINGTON [JTA] — Former U.S. Sen. George Allen, who said the denial of his Jewish roots helped bring about his ouster, is running for his old seat.

Allen was set to formally announce a bid Monday to replace Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), who replaced Allen in 2006, The Washington Post reported.

Allen, addressing Chabad Lubavitch’s National Jewish Retreat in August, said he believed denying his Jewish past helped cost him re-election.

During the 2006 campaign Allen, who lost by just 10,000 votes, heatedly denied any Jewish heritage, although research by the Forward and other Jewish media outlets made it clear that he had Jewish ancestors.

Allen’s use of the word “macaca,” a slur against people of color that is commonplace in North Africa, at a rally prompted the digging into his past.

He subsequently revealed that his Tunisian-born mother, traumatized by the Nazi occupation of her native land, had sworn him to secrecy about his Jewish roots.

“All sorts of things happened in that 2006 campaign, which we lost by 4/10ths of 1 percent,” he said at the August event.

His biggest takeaway, Allen said at the event, was greater sensitivity to minority rights. He said using the word macaca to needle a Webb campaign volunteer of Indian descent was a mistake, but he denied knowing that the term was a slur.

7 Comments

  • 1. Andrea Schonberger wrote:

    What a phoney! First he denies his Jewish ancestry and now he publicly embraces it by blowing a shofar–what politicians won’t do for votes!

  • 2. BogBen wrote:

    Andrea you may have a point there but Allen is still 20 times better than Webb (for America and for Israel). Also Allen learned a big lesson in his last campaign so he deserves another chance to prove how good he really is.
    Support and Vote for George Allen.

  • 3. BigBen wrote:

    Andrea you may have a point there but Allen is still 20 times better than Webb (for America and for Israel). Also Allen learned a big lesson in his last campaign so he deserves another chance to prove how good he really is.
    Support and Vote for George Allen.

  • 4. lloyd a cohen wrote:

    The old adage is never more true today than it was in the past. All politicans are eveyone’s friends until the votes are counted.

  • 5. Milhouse wrote:

    What’s phoney about it? He wasn’t raised as a Jew, so it’s natural that it took him a while to deal with the news that he’s technically Jewish.

  • 6. Commander Ogg wrote:

    With friends like Allen we don’t need enemies. Mr. Allen’s macaca comment tells me all I need to know about the man. A leopard doesn’t change his spots.

  • 7. hidden Jewish roots wrote:

    I don’t understand how comments are so negative. He didn’t even know his grandfather was Jewish, and when he did and was freed from his promise to his mother not to reveal, he went public in a big way. Technically via mother, he may not actually be Jewish. This was a deeply personal revelation that prompted a genuine admission because it was not easy to reveal. The first six comments seem like they didn’t even listen to the speech. May he go from strength to strength, and officially convert if he wants to be a real Jew.

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