GOP Platform Misattributes Jewish Saying To Ronald Reagan

Don’t mess with the Mishna.

BOB BROWN / AP

TAMPA, Florida — The Republican Party’s 2012 platform misattributes a quote from Hillel the Elder, the Mishnaic sage, to former President Ronald Reagan.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell read the platform’s preamble after the conclusion of the platform committee’s business on Tuesday: “We must answer Ronald Reagan’s question: If not us who? And if not now, when?”

But Reagan was loosely quoting Hillel the Elder’s guidance in the Jewish text of Pirkei Avoth (Ethics of the Fathers).

“If I am not for myself, who will be? And when I am for myself, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?”

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