Geraldo Rivera, widely known for his pride in his Jewish identity, took presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to task yesterday on the Fox news chat show The Five for the politician's remarks comparing the Iran nuclear deal to the Holocaust.
"I'm begging you to apologize," said Rivera, who has a Star of David tattoo on his left fist and had a Bar Mitzvah. Rivera also said the comments offended people in the Jewish community.
"I am proud of my Jewishness and my Zionism," he said last fall at a gala of the American Society of the University of Haifa, when he talked about his Jewish roots.
His mother, Lilian Friedman, came from an Orthodox Jewish family from Belarus; his father, Cruz Rivera, was one of 17 children from a Catholic family in Puerto Rico. Cruz and Lily met in a midtown Manhattan restaurant where she worked as a waitress and he as a dish washer.
Huckabee had said Obama “will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven” in a series of Twitter posts Sunday night. He also tweeted quotes from Iranian leaders to support his assertion: “It is the mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to erase Israel from the map of the region,” read one of the posts attributed to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Huckabee used the same oven imagery in an interview Saturday with Breitbart News.
Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer repudiated Huckabee's comments, telling USA Today "These are not words that I would use or that I think are appropriate."
JTA contributed to this report.