South Carolina Republican Leaders Apologize for Saying Jews Are Penny-Pinchers

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penny-pinchersTwo Republican county officials in South Carolina have apologized after they disparaged Jews in a newspaper op-ed in support of a fiscally conservative U.S. senator. The chairmen, Edwin Merwin Jr. and Jim Ulmer, wrote the newspaper in backing Republican Sen. Jim DeMint’s opposition to congressional earmarks.”There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves,” according to the piece published Sunday in The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg.

DeMint called the comment thoughtless and hurtful today, and one of South Carolina’s two Jewish legislators, Democratic state Sen. Joel Lourie, said he was outraged. He called on the chairmen to be removed.

“The words of these key Republican leaders are disgusting, unconscionable and represent prejudice in its purest form,” said Lourie, D-Columbia.

Neither chairmen returned telephone messages from The Associated Press, but they released statements through the state GOP.

Ulmer, the Orangeburg County chairman, said the remark was “truly in admiration for a method of bettering one’s lot in life” and he meant nothing derogatory.

Added Merwin, the Bamberg County chair: “I have always abhorred in the past, and shall continue to do so in the future, anti-Semitism in any form whatsoever. I … beg that any and all who were offended will accept my deep felt apology.”

State GOP Chairwoman Karen Floyd called the comment absolutely unacceptable, but said the apologies should end the matter.

The executive director of the Washington-based Republican Jewish Coalition said the chairmen should educate themselves about the history of the statement.

They “apparently believed that the image of the Jew as penny-pincher was a praise of Jewish frugality,” Matthew Brooks said. “In fact, it dates back to the centuries of anti-Jewish persecution in Europe, when Jews were forbidden to own land or conduct any business other than money-lending, which was closed to Christians by Church law. It is an image of a kind and of a time with forcing Jews to wear a badge on their clothing or enclosing them in ghettos, cutting them off from religious, social, and economic freedom.”

{Fox News/Noam Newscenter}


  1. What’s interesting to me about this story is that a) these are two relatively insignificant elected officials (county level, not even state, let alone, national figures) and b) they immediately apologized without equivocation. Contrast that to what happens when DEMOCRATS/LIBERALS of NATIONAL PROMINENCE say something anti-semitic. It seems to me that they NEVER apolgize. Has Jesse Jackson? Has Al Sharpton? Has Jim Moran? Has Cindy Sheehan?

  2. I’m a Yid, and I’m proud of those statements. Boruch Hashem, we save our money, so we have it.

    Democrats love jumping on every possible :anti-semitism”, or “racism”. It’s looking pretty much like “the boy who cried wolf”

  3. no need for any appology. I am a jew and yes I pinch and save . I don’t smoke or drink or waste it away, rather I save it for mitzvos, tuition and dechasunos. and I’m proud no embarassment or hard feelings here.

  4. I don’t find what was said offensive or mean spirited. I think it was a comment of respect.

    Funny it’s the freiers who keep nothing are the ones screaming anti-Semitism all the time. The freiers are the real anti-Semites, if they would start keeping Torah there would be no anti-Semitism.


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