By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Anti-Semitism in Portland

The Boston Herald’s Laura Crimaldi reports that the Portland Press Herald published an ad placed by a credit union that’s straight out of the early Nazi era. And this from a newspaper that’s still red-faced over an ad for a sermon by a Baptist minister titled “The only way to destroy the Jewish race.”

Not only did Press Herald publisher Charles Cochrane decline to speak with Crimaldi last night, but there doesn’t seem to be anything on the paper’s Web site by way of apology today, either.

No word on when the Press Herald intends to begin serializing “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

Update: An alert Media Nation reader found this. Here’s how it begins:

Leaders of Southern Maine’s Jewish community, executives at the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and the creators of a newspaper advertisement criticized as anti-Semitic met this morning at the paper’s Portland headquarters and issued a joint statement about the controversy.

The statement said that the ad in Wednesday’s newspaper developed by PeoplesChoice Credit Union and a Freeport marketing firm was not intentionally anti-Semitic but it’s [sic] portrayal of a bearded “Fee Bandit” eager to collect fees from bank customers “perpetuates a negative stereotype that has been used to defame Jews for centuries.”

Not to parse this too finely, folks, but the reason the ad was “criticized as anti-Semitic” was because it was, well, anti-Semitic.

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  1. J.V. Walt

    I suppose it’s possible in a state that’s 97% white, that nobody at the credit union, ad agency, or newspaper raised an eyebrow at this ad… but it reveals a lack of sensitivity near, if not quite in, the Tim Hardaway class. And the explanations sound more than a bit disingenuous. That Shylock caricature is somebody’s idea of an Old West banker??? Hard to believe.

  2. Anonymous

    They have a piece about it on their site now.

  3. Anonymous

    The link was on the front of their site, at the top, then vanished. Followed a link to “More Updates” and found it:

  4. Brian Maloney

    What do you expect from a newspaper run by the Blethen family? Publisher Frank Blethen once shot his neighbor’s dog. This story is legendary in Seattle:'s got quite a lock on Maine’s newspapers, don’t you think?

  5. Sam

    I’m not sure what’s worse — the fact that someone wanted to place that ad, or that the newspaper published.

  6. Don

    At least they didn’t try to blame excessive fees on George W. Bush. . . .

  7. Anonymous

    Not good for the Jews.

  8. Anonymous

    This ad appears in the same week that Mitt Romney decides to launch his campaign from a place which honors one of America’s great anti-semites – Henry Ford.

  9. Anonymous

    10:58 has a point. That’s why *this* jew only drives Mercedes.

  10. hooks

    anon 10:58, Are you even remotely aware of Willard’s personal ties to Michigan?In addition to being born in Michigan, his father George was an extremely successful businessman who led the resurgence of AMC not to mention popular 3 term governor of the state. Michigan and it’s 17 electoral votes will also be a swing state in 2008. If he can manage to wrest this state from the Democrats (voted D in the last 8 presidential elections) it would be a huge victory.By no means am I a Romeny suporter, in fact I’m very far from it. But your attempt to saddle him with a charge of anti-semitism because of where he chose to announce his candidacy is tenouous at best. If he selected somewhere like Philadelphia, Mississippi (hi-ya saint ronnie!) to announce, you might have a leg to stand on.If you’re going to attack the guy do so on substance.

  11. hooks

    EDIT: 4 elections. Whoops.

  12. mike_b1

    anon 12:01You’re kidding, right? Mercedes = German = well, bad news for Jews.

  13. Steve

    Yes, Mike, I believe Anon 12:01 is kidding.Yom Kippur – forgiveme G-d for the Mercedesand all the lobsters.- David BaderHaikus for Jews

  14. Anonymous

    You’re kidding, right? Mercedes = German = well, bad news for Jews.Not necessarily, any more. Mercedes for a long time has been = Alabama (BMW’s American assembly plant is in South Carolina). I’m not sure that Alabama is especially friendly to Jews, but, then again, I haven’t studied the matter.One thing that I do know is that Chrysler has been bad for Daimler, the company that builds Mercedes. Daimler’s acquisition of Chrysler 9 years ago never made any sense for me. Apparently, Daimler’s management went to Harvard Business School–raj

  15. Anonymous

    This story strikes me both as odd and unfortunate.I find it very hard to believe that anyone who even remotely thinks he belongs in a organization that describes itself as a newspaper, that they wouldn’t recognize this slander at first sight. A light definitely would go off for any semi-literate person as the person featured looking very closely like a Haredi or rabbi and the writing’s strong suggestions that build on the most vicious and slanderous stereotypes.And we wonder why some papers are not able to get themselves out of trouble.This is either a textbook example of brainless provocation (I doubt it,) utter ignorance ( I doubt it as well..playing dumb maybe..) or some strange need to pander to an undercurrent of growing antisemitism in those parts (that I strongly suspect.)Growing antisemitism and supremacist groups and other groups bigotry is a very sad and under-reported fact in Northern NE and other parts.I remember when those morons who would deface synagogues and hand out bigotted literature and flyers dropped on doorsteps, some of the apprehended ones originated from NH and Maine parts and other northern NE, unfortunately.Chalk it up to angry losers. And this moron who designed and greenlighted this idiocy should be canned -or caned, not to sound medieval here-, if anything for lack of good judgement.This is petty and uncalled for. You don’t need this classless crap to promote ANYTHING.N.

  16. Anonymous

    8:15, you make it sound like if it wasn’t for the watchful eyes of people in Massachusetts, Mainers would be placidly reading the comic strip adaptation of ‘Mein Kampf’ in their daily papers.Here in Somerville, most of the hate literature we get comes from either Quebec or Attleboro (those antisemitic hotbeds).

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