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November 6, 2009

Holocaust and Health Care - Cut it Out or Else!

Listed in: Other Domestic Policy, GOP Hypocrisies, Stop the Smears, NJDC News, Opinions

Originally published in Talking Points Memo

By Ira N. Forman, CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council

Yesterday the National Jewish Democratic Council’s (NJDC) President, David A. Harris, released a statement outlining the outrageous behavior of the crowd at the Tea Party “press conference” sponsored by the GOP House leadership. The crowd held signs noting that “Obama takes orders from the Rothchilds” [sic] and likening the Democratic health care legislation to Nazi Health Care as represented by corpses at the Dachau concentration camp. Contained in NJDC’s release was a call to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) to rid Republican events of these inappropriate Holocaust comparisons and outright anti-Semitic messages, and to clearly condemn them once and for all.

The House Republican Leader’s press spokesperson replied, “Leader Boehner did not see any such sign. Obviously, it would be grossly inappropriate.”

This morning The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank reported that these signs and other comparably disgusting ones could not possibly have been missed by Boehner and other GOP members of Congress because they were right in front of the GOP speakers. Moreover, Milbank highlighted the comments of other GOP-sponsored speakers speaking about Reverend Wright brainwashing President Barack Obama to “damn America” and fuming about “death panels.”

Boehner and the other GOP members present—including GOP House Whip Eric Cantor, and Representatives Bachman (MN), Foxx (VA), Hensarling (TX), King (IA), Broun (GA), Schmidt (OH), Cassidy (LA), Akin (MO), and Carter (TX)—can no longer hide behind weasel words like that they “did not see any such sign.” This was their press conference and the signs were right in front of their faces. The spelling-impaired “Rothchilds” sign-holder was spouting nonsense about a “Jewish plot to introduce the anti-Christ.” These were their own speakers spouting outright lies. This was their political base. These types of disgusting, inappropriate Holocaust comparisons and hate filled, paranoid messages have been a part of GOP and conservative events since the carefully planned town hall meetings of last summer.

So we call upon these Republican Congressional leaders to listen to morality and their conscience and cut this language out. It is offensive and it is corrosive to a democratic society. Make it clear that anyone who uses Holocaust comparisons is not welcome under the GOP tent. Make it clear that outright anti-Semitism has no place at any GOP event.

If appeals to conscience are not enough then we are making an appeal to their political self-interests: if these GOP congressional leaders don’t call out this behavior now and in the future, the NJDC promises to “stick it in your ear” in the coming electoral cycle. We will take GOP Holocaust comparisons and anti-Semitic statements to the Jewish electorate and to other fair-minded American voters and paint you as the party of bigotry and insensitivity toward the Holocaust. You can count on it.