John Whitbeck, currently the most famous district Republican committee chair in Virginia, defended a joke he told on Tuesday about the "head of the Jewish faith" presenting a bill to the Pope by saying that he "did not tell an anti-Semitic joke. I told a joke I heard from a priest at a church service." Whitbeck told his joke at a rally for Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, whose spokesperson quickly distanced the campaign from Whitbeck by saying that he didn't even "know who the guy is." Which, as it turns out, might not hold water long term as a defense for Cuccinelli himself:
But back to Whitbeck's joke, because at this point, the story of the 2014 Virginia Governor's race is best told as a series of scandals on the parts of both candidates. Here, again, is the joke in question:
A writer for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency explained, perhaps for Whitbeck and his laughing audience's benefit, why such a joke is indeed anti-Semitic: "It’s about Jews presenting the pope with the bill for the Last Supper, so it packs two of the most toxic anti-Jewish stereotypes into a single punchline: God-killers! Cheapskates!"