Scaramucci Post Accused of Anti-Semitism for Second Time This Month

The Scaramucci Post has re-posted a Twitter poll about the Holocaust that generated so much criticism earlier this week that the founders pulled it down and apologized.

The controversy and condemnations began Tuesday, when the self-described news outlet helmed by the short-term former White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, shared a multiple-choice survey asking how many Jews had been killed in the Holocaust.

After an outcry that included a sharp response from the Anti-Defamation League and accusations that the poll could lend credence to Holocaust deniers, Scaramucci's partner in this basically undefined new venture, Lance Laifer, took responsibility. He pulled it down and apologized "if anyone was offended" by the online survey. Scaramucci also promised to donate $25,000 to a charity that calls out anti-Semites.

Afterward, the Scaramucci Post briefly went back to its usual potpourri of Twitter offerings: a poll on college football teams, strings of cheerful emojis, invitations to share "thoughts" on events in Catalonia and Japan, etc.

Then it resurrected its Holocaust-related musings, probably attracting the most attention—good and bad—for tweeting Friday morning, "Before we move on we will spend the next half hour digging on one question: How many Jews were alive worldwide in 1939?"

Before announcing the decision to restore the multiple-choice Holocaust poll, it also used Twitter to scold the press for contributing to a "mob-like" mentality it said had brought the Scaramucci Post under attack. 

Scaramucci lasted for 11 days as communications director before getting pink-slipped from the West Wing after a profanity-filled interview with a reporter during which he said he wanted to "f*cking kill all the leakers" he believed were undermining the Trump administration. He also made some extremely unflattering and anatomically unlikely remarks about then–senior Trump adviser Steve Bannon.

Not long after that spectacular political self-destruct, Scaramucci pivoted to video. The former hedge funder reintroduced himself in a series of Periscope broadcasts as the head of the new, self-titled "Post."

Amid the new mess on Friday, the Mooch tweeted a nebulous remark about getting things done.

Neither he nor Laifer immediately responded Friday to Newsweek requests for direct comment on their continued focus on the Holocaust.

The Twitter feed, apparently with Laifer still at the helm, did take more swings at the media at large. 

Laifer also went to great lengths to identify himself as Jewish, and said the issues concerning the Holocaust and the Nazi murders of Jews were raised in the spirit of educating the public about the genocide.

A financier like Scaramucci, Laifer tweeted that he had named one of his own children "after a family member who perished in the Holocaust," and that the Nazi murder campaign had inspired his work to combat the scourge of malaria.

"It is only a little more than seventy years since the Holocaust ended and knowledge of it is slipping," one tweet said. "We feel knowledge of the Holocaust amongst the millennial generation and younger needs to be greater," said another.

Suffice to say, the Scaramucci Post tweets were taken (again) as offensive by some, and as a self-serving publicity stunt (at best) by others: 

Scaramucci and Laifer officially launched the Scaramucci Post project in early October, drawing reporters to a midtown Manhattan kickoff that featured a news conference generally free of specifics and a hot buffet for supporters and friends.

The partners went on with the open-bar kickoff after briefly considering a postponement due to the previous night's mass shooting of concertgoers in Las Vegas.

It wasn't immediately clear Friday whether the promised $25,000 had reached the Simon Wiesenthal Center as Scaramucci had said it would. The center, named for the famous Nazi hunter, bills itself as a "global human rights organization" that confronts "anti-Semitism, hate and terrorism."

The Wiesenthal Center's founder and dean, Rabbi Marvin Hier, told Newsweek through a spokeswoman after the initial Twitter dustup (he was in Israel Friday and not reachable for additional comment) that the issue with the Scaramucci Post tweets wasn't just what they said but how they said it.

"It’s all about context," said Hier, who this year was notably the first rabbi to speak at a presidential inauguration since the time of Ronald Reagan—and whose center gave former President Barack Obama top billing on its 2016 list of perpetrators of anti-Israel activities.

"If this question was posed as part of a comprehensive polling about what Americans know about the Nazi Holocaust, that’s one thing. Taken in isolation, it feeds inappropriate and deeply troubling ongoing efforts by extremists, on both sides of the Atlantic, to deny or diminish the Shoah," Hier continued.

"We will assign any donation that Mr. Scaramucci makes to continue our four-decade commitment to teach young Americans the truth about the Nazi Holocaust, the most documented genocide in the history of the world."

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