Union leader calls Emanuel a ‘Judas’
By Abdon M. Pallasch Political Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org February 16, 2011 10:32PM
Updated: February 17, 2011 9:35AM
A union leader denounced mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel as “nothing but a Wall Street Judas [with] a bag of silver when he went and passed NAFTA.”
As he introduced Emanuel rival Gery Chico at a labor rally Tuesday night, Operating Engineers President Jim Sweeney outlined Emanuel’s disagreements with labor including passing the North American Free Trade Agreement the unions say shipped jobs overseas when he made the “Judas” comment.
Emanuel was asked Wednesday if he thought the comment from Sweeney was anti-Semitic.
Judas was Jewish, as is Emanuel. So are Chico’s children from his first marriage, Chico’s campaign noted.
Emanuel would not say whether he thought the comment was anti-Semitic.
“I have absolute confidence the people of Chicago will see this comment for what it is and reject the values and the ugliness behind it. It’s not part of who they are,” Emanuel said.
Chico spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said Sweeney was using the most common example of a traitor to describe how he believed Emanuel’s policies sold out working people.
“That’s as silly as suggesting that if Jim would have called Rahm Emanuel a ‘Benedict Arnold,’ it would have been offensive to the British,” Anderson said. “Judas is the most famous symbol for betrayal in world history. Rahm Emanuel started the day trying to score political points off race [with Spanish-language robo-calls accusing Chico of accepting support from an anti-immigrant group], and finishing the day trying to score political points off religion. It’s shameful.”
The controversy follows by just a few days Emanuel brushing off any suggestion that candidate Carol Moseley Braun intended anti-Semitism when she said that calling Emanuel “kind and gentle” reminded her of the Hitler-loving character Franz Liebkind in Mel Brooks’ The Producers who considered Hitler kind and gentle.
Emanuel is leading in some polls, while Chico is a distant second. Braun is even further behind.
In Emanuel’s first contentious primary for congress nine years ago, a Polish supporter of Emanuel rival Nancy Kaszak said any Polish voter supporting Emanuel would be selling out for “30 pieces of silver.” Amid charges of anti-Semitism, Kaszak had to quickly disavow the remark from former Polish-American Congress President Ed Moskal and reject his endorsement.