Menu JTA Search

Candidate: Making money part of Jewish tradition

Making money is part of the Jewish tradition, a U.S. presidential candidate said in a speech to the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.”I’m in the private sector and for the first time in my life I’m earning money,” Republican hopeful and former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson said Monday. “You know that’s sort of part of the Jewish tradition.”After being made aware that his remarks were problematic, Thompson returned to the podium and told the several hundred activists assembled, “I just want to clarify something because I didn’t in any means want to infer or imply anything about Jews and finances and things.”What I was referring to ladies and gentlemen is the accomplishments of the Jewish religion and the Jewish people. You have been outstanding business people and I compliment you for that and if anybody took what I said wrong, I apologize. I may have mischaracterized it. You are very successful. I applaud you for that.”During the speech, Thompson also called himself the governor of the first state to buy “Jewish bonds” – presumably meaning Israel Bonds – and said his friend who persuaded him to buy the bonds was also a big supporter of the “Jewish Defense League” – probably meaning theAnti-Defamation League, not the militant group.”We are pleased that Governor Thompson made time in his schedule – like many other policy makers – to address the 2007 Consultation of Conscience,” RAC Associate Director Mark Pelavin said in a statement afterward.