Jewish Journal

Ex-Sen. George Allen to announce bid to regain seat


Posted on Jan. 24, 2011 at 11:09 am

Former U.S. Sen. George Allen, who said the denial of his Jewish roots helped bring about his ouster, is running for his old seat.

Allen was set to formally announce a bid Monday to replace Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), who replaced Allen in 2006, The Washington Post reported.

Allen, addressing a Chabad Lubavitch event in August, said he believed denying his Jewish past helped cost him re-election.

During the 2006 campaign Allen, who lost by just 10,000 votes, heatedly denied any Jewish heritage, although research by the Forward and other Jewish media outlets made it clear that he had Jewish ancestors.

Allen’s use of the word “macaca,” a slur against people of color that is commonplace in North Africa, at a rally prompted the digging into his past.

He subsequently revealed that his Tunisian-born mother, traumatized by the Nazi occupation of her native land, had sworn him to secrecy about his Jewish roots.

“All sorts of things happened in that 2006 campaign, which we lost by 4/10ths of 1 percent,” he said at the August event.

His biggest takeaway, Allen said at the event, was greater sensitivity to minority rights. He said using the word macaca to needle a Webb campaign volunteer of Indian descent was a mistake, but he denied knowing that the term was a slur.

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