“The Jewish Factor, it’s money”: Biden Administration nominee as ambassador to Brazil under fire for inflammatory comments
The Biden Administration’s nominee for the role of US Ambassador to Brazil is under fire for reported past comments about Jewish people.
Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, a career diplomat and Democratic Party figure, is due to have her nomination advanced next week, but her prospects are now in question following the revelation of past comments.
In a 1998 interview, Ms Bagley reportedly lamented “the influence of the Jewish lobby because there is major money involved.” She continued: “the Democrats always tend to go with the Jewish constituency on Israel and say stupid things, like moving the capital to Jerusalem always comes up.” Support for these issues is, she is reported as having said, due to “the Jewish factor, it’s money.”
The interview was apparently conducted by a historian at the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training during the period of the Clinton Administration, under which Ms Bagley served as the US Ambassador to Portugal.
The revelation has prompted bipartisan concern at her suitability for the post.
Questioned about these remarks in her Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing in May, Ms Bagley that they were the result of a “free-flowing discussion” with the interviewer. Accused by one Jewish Democratic Senator of using a “choice of words was fit into the traditional tropes of anti-Semitism,” Ms Bagley responded: “I regret that you would think that it was a problem,” adding: “I certainly didn’t mean anything by it. It was a poor choice of words, but it was something that the interviewer had asked me, prompted by something about politics.” She insisted that she was “very sorry about that choice of words,” and that she holds no animosity toward Jewish people.
According to the FBI, over 60 percent of hate crimes against a religious minority are motivated by antisemitism. Campaign Against Antisemitism reports on antisemitic incidents throughout the United States.