Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition forum yesterday and raised a few eyebrows with his bizarre delivery, effectively reading a history of Israel for reasons no one could explain. He also kept pronouncing "Hamas" as "hummus," making it seem as if Carson had very serious concerns about the influence of ground chickpeas in the Middle East.
But for my money, the really notable part about Carson's strange appearance was his thoughts on, of all things, the $1 bill. ABC News reported:
Addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition today, Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson told a story about how the Star of David came to be on the U.S. dollar bill. Only one problem: There's no Star of David on the dollar bill.
Apparently, Carson believes that if you look at the back of a dollar bill -- on the right, just above the eagle -- you'll see stars in a shape resembling the Star of David. The presidential hopeful told his audience yesterday about a wealthy Jewish merchant, Haym Salomon, who is believed to have helped finance George Washington's army during the Revolutionary War.
"Salomon gave all his funds to save the U.S. Army and, some say, no one knows for sure, that's the reason there's a Star of David on the back of the one dollar bill," the retired neurosurgeon argued.
Ordinarily, when we talk about Carson having odd ideas about money, we're talking about his confusion about economic and monetary policy. In this case, however, Carson has odd ideas about literal currency.
The New Republic noted yesterday that Salomon did contribute to Washington's cause, "but he didn't give all of his money to George Washington and, more importantly, there isn't a Star of David on the one dollar bill. That's a conspiracy theory." ABC's report added:
[T]he Numismatic Bibliomania Society's Wayne Homren says there's no evidence to suggest any truth to support the theory that the stars were intentionally arranged to represent the Jewish star, let alone that it was done in Salomon's name. "If you squint, you can say there's some resemblance but that certainly was not the intention of the designers, that we're aware," Homren told ABC News.
This wasn't, by the way, Carson's first reference to his Salomon theory; he's been repeating the line quite a bit lately.
Alas, like so many of the Republican candidate's off-the-wall theories, this one is not rooted in reality.