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February 8, 2013

NJDC Denounces Rep. Foxx’s Comparison of New Education Regulations to Holocaust Victims

Listed in: NJDC News, Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC- The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) today denounced Representative Virginia Foxx’s (R-NC) invocation of Martin Neimöller’s famous poem “First They Came…” in her criticism of new education regulations. NJDC Executive Director Aaron Keyak said:

“Representative Foxx’s choice of words to protest education regulations is simply indefensible and invoking the Holocaust in this way is never acceptable. Foxx must apologize immediately for her extreme and deeply offensive comparison.”

Inside Higher Ed reported:

In remarks to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities Tuesday, a Republican Congresswoman used a Holocaust reference to suggest that private college leaders should have stood up to the Obama administration’s regulation of for-profit colleges.

In criticizing the private college presidents, Representative Virginia Foxx, the North Carolina Republican who leads the subcommittee on higher education, adapted the famous statement from the German theologian Martin Niemöller on Germans who ignored Nazi persecution. (“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist.”)

“‘They came for the for-profits, and I didn’t speak up…’ ” Foxx said. “Nobody really spoke up like they should have.”

With her comments, Foxx joins the ranks of other Republicans listed here who have shamefully invoked the Holocaust to score political points.

Inside Higher Ed also noted:

“First they came” has been adapted for a wide range of political protests, more commonly—at least during the Obama administration—among conservatives. (In the past few months, it’s been used on conservative blogs and websites to protest higher tax rates, the contraception insurance mandate for religious institutions, and the bankruptcy of Hostess, the company that manufactures Twinkies).