Rep. Greg Steube has been accused of anti-semitism by many on Twitter after repeatedly calling Democratic counsel Barry Berke a “New York lawyer,” which many believed is an anti-semitic dog whistle to mean someone is Jewish.
Steube called Berke a “New York lawyer” repeatedly throughout the impeachment inquiry hearing on Monday, Dec. 9.
Immediately, many people picked up on the fact that Steube was seemingly trying to call Berke out for his religion. Soon, many on Twitter were accusing Steube of “dog whistling.” A political dog whistle is defined as “a subtly aimed political message which is intended for, and can only be understood by, a particular group.”
Ted Deutch then tried to ask Steube what he meant by “New York Lawyer.” However, Chairman Nadler didn’t allow Steube to respond, and seemed intent on moving forward with the proceedings.
Here’s what you need to know:
‘New York Lawyer’ Is Believed by Many to Be Code for ‘Jewish’
It didn’t take long for people on Twitter to point out a seemingly shared belief: that a lot of users connote “New York lawyer” with being an anti-semitic term for “Jewish.”
One lawyer tweeted, “As a lawyer admitted in Florida and New York, the implied slur was pretty clear. The gop is stopping pretty low.”
A progressive Jewish activist group, Bend the Arc, tweeted, “Rep. Greg Steube just described Barry Berke as a ‘New York lawyer.’ Multiple times. Let’s be clear: that’s coded language for ‘Jew.’ Again and again, Trump & his enablers invoke antisemitism to distract from impeachment & promote bigotry. Leave our Jewish community alone.”
Another user tweeted, “In case it wasn’t clear what Ted Deutch was referring to: when Republican Representative Greg Steube multiple times said ‘New York lawyer’ it was a thin code for New York Jew.”
Still another user tweeted, “He meant New York Jew Lawyer and he should be called out for it. I think he should apologize or be removed. This is NOT normal. We cannot allow it to be.”
Others on Twitter argued that people were behaving in an overly dramatic manner for what they believed was a totally banal phrase, devoid of greater meaning.
One user tweeted, “I never would have come to this conclusion but then again I’m not obsessed with finding bigotry in every waking moment of my life. I’d suggest looking inward if you see antisemitism in ‘New York Lawyer.'”
Meanwhile, some conservatives doubled down with the phrase. Steven Cheung, a former assistant to Donald Trump, tweeted,
SWAMP ALERT: Barry Berke is a New York lawyer who’s given hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy influence from Dems like Hillary Clinton, Obama, Biden, and other liberal organizations. Now he’s been hired by Dems to do their dirty work. The swamp really does have a price.
Berke has not responded to the outrage. He has not said whether he believes Steube was intending to use an anti-semitic slur against him or not.