(JTA) — Jewish groups praised Rush Limbaugh for his "outspoken support for Israel" after his controversial remarks on Jews and the banking industry.
"There has been controversy recently over statements made by radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh about Jewish voting patterns, political ties and the recent Massachusetts election. We are deeply dismayed by the unfounded criticism of the talk show commentator’s observations," read a statement issued Wednesday by several Jewish organizations, including American Friends of Likud, the news monitoring group CAMERA, Emunah of America, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, National Council of Young Israel, Religious Zionists of America and Z-Street.
"While one may agree or disagree with Mr. Limbaugh’s views on many subjects, his outspoken support for Israel has been eloquent, informed and undeniable. Moreover, in commentary on the Jewish people, he has been nothing short of a philo-Semite. We are grateful for his strong and singular voice on these issues," concluded the statement.
During a Jan. 20 broadcast following Republican Scott Brown’s upset victory in the U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts, Limbaugh wondered if Jews — nearly 80 percent of whom backed Barack Obama in 2008 — were having second thoughts about the president.
"There are a lot of people, when you say banker, people think Jewish. People who have prejudice, people who have, you know — what’s the best way to say — a little prejudice about them," Limbaugh said, according to the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters. "To some people, ‘banker’ is code word for Jewish; and guess who Obama is assaulting? He’s assaulting bankers. He’s assaulting money people. And a lot of those people on Wall Street are Jewish. So I wonder if there’s — if there’s starting to be some buyer’s remorse there."
Limbaugh’s remarks were criticized by the Anti-Defamation League last week, which called them "offensive and inappropriate."
The Zionist Organization of America issued a statement directly slamming the ADL’s Abraham Foxman for his criticisms of Limbaugh.
“The ZOA is also surprised by Foxman’s attack because not only were Rush Limbaugh’s comments not anti-Semitic, but Rush Limbaugh is in fact one of Israel’s strongest supporters," the ZOA said in a statement.
ZOA accused Foxman of holding Limbaugh to a tougher standard than several virulent critics of Israel, and it called on the ADL leader to retract his comments and apologize to Limbaugh.