‘Tis the season for the war against the war on Christmas, so we weren’t surprised to receive a press release from the Catholic League’s president, Bill Donohue, listing about a dozen examples of “multicultural monsters” censoring holiday displays. What did catch our eye, however, was this item on the list: “A Jewish public official in Wisconsin wants to rename the state Capitol Holiday Tree the Christmas Tree, but is being opposed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.”
The Catholic League was talking about Marlin Schneider, a state representative from Madison – the very same Marlin Schneider who went to bat for naval veterans demanding a congressional investigation into Israel’s attack on the U.S.S. Liberty during the 1967 war.
As it turns out, Schneider is not Jewish.
But he does like Jews, which is why he was so baffled by all of the hoopla over his efforts on the U.S.S. Liberty issue:
The Liberty veterans believed that the attack on their ship was deliberate and not friendly fire, and that it had been covered up by the United States Navy and the State Department for years because of fear of reprisals by influential people who would bring down any politician with the audacity even to ask questions about the attack. Some of the people who later talked to me both within and outside our own capitol warned me to beware of massive political contributions against me and even potential assassination. I laughed that off because I have never been anti-Israel and, in fact, the people who got me to run for office in the first place in 1970 were Jewish constituents whom I admired because in the 1950s they had taken on Sen. Joseph McCarthy right here in central Wisconsin. Moreover, one of my former assistants was the daughter of a rabbi incarcerated at Buchenwald who now works for a Jewish organization in New York City. I also thought that a lowly state legislator was too small a potato for anyone really to care much about.
It turns out that the Catholic League misread this story, which identifies Schneider’s pro-Christmas Tree spokesman, as a Jew:
“A rose is a rose is a rose,” said Schneider spokesman Michael Schoenfield in the article. “Whatever you call it, it is going to be a Christmas tree, so call it what it is.”
While opponents to the resolution said by using the word “Christmas,” it is offensive to non-Christians, Schoenfield said he disagrees.
“As a Jew, I have a problem calling it a holiday tree,” he said in the article. “It’s not my holiday.”
While we’re on the topic … Schneider from “One Day at a Time”:
Jew or not a Jew? I’d say no. But that was actor Pat Harrington Jr. sitting at Larry David’s seder table in Season 5, Episode 7 of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” (Thanks to my wife for that pickup.)