When Joseph P. Kennedy III announced his candidacy for Congress, an ultra-Orthodox Web commentator decided to portray him not as the grandson of Bobby Kennedy, who was assassinated by a Palestinian Arab for being too pro-Israel, but as the “Great grandson of Jew-hating Hitler admirer.”
That has to be the most outrageous example of hate speech I’ve seen in a long time.
Bobby Kennedy and his family have been long-time supporters of Israel; I accompanied his daughter, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, on a mission to Israel with the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington when I was president of that group. As the legislative director of Aipac, I knew Bobby’s uncle Ted as a reliable and effective friend of Israel. So was Bobby and Teddy’s older brother, President John F. Kennedy.
It is true that their father, the former ambassador to England during the Roosevelt administration, Joseph P. Kennedy, was a Hitler admirer and an anti-Semite. However that didn’t seem afflict his descendants, much less three generations later.
But if that wasn’t enough to smear the 31-year-old Democrat who is running for the seat being vacated by the retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Gestetner’s hatchet job also include other events that occurred before the new candidate was born, including Senator Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick incident and Robert Kennedy’s controversial wiretaps as attorney general in JFK’s administration.
Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian, who said his “sole” reason for murdering the attorney general and presidential candidate in June 1968 was his “support of Israel.” That made Bobby very different from his father, yet narrow-minded bigots seem to prefer ignore that in order to tar the 4th generation by trying to link the youngest of the clan to enter politics to the views of a great-grandfather he never met; in fact both his great-grandfather and his grandfather died more than 10 years before he was born.
In fact, Joe III was not named for his great-grandfather, who died in 1969, but, like his father, for his great uncle Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., who was a bomber pilot killed in World War II fighting Hitler.
Gestetner has not responded to two emails about his article. He owes the candidate and the Kennedy family an apology.