January 25th, 2010
07:58 PM ET
12 years ago

Jewish political groups spar over anti-Semitism


The National Jewish Democratic Council questioned several Republican leaders for not speaking out against Tea Party activists who allegedly invoked strong Holocaust references at a November rally on health care. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

Washington (CNN) - The Republican Jewish Coalition called foul Monday on the National Jewish Democratic Council after the group criticized GOP leaders and an Illinois Republican Senate candidate for failing, in its estimation, to repudiate anti-Semitic rhetoric.

The NJDC wrapped its' criticism of the GOP in a statement declaring that it had "launched a 'pledge campaign' to demand that federal candidates condemn and refrain from 'abusive Holocaust rhetoric and anti-Semitic language.'"

The NJDC offered specific praise for the candidates seeking the Illinois Democratic Senate nomination, while at the same time disparaging Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, for not embracing their language. Kirk is running for the Republican Senate nomination.

"The leading Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate in Illinois have committed to condemn and repudiate abusive Holocaust comparisons and anti-Semitic remarks made by anyone claiming to support their candidacy or attending any campaign events," Linda Berg, NJDC political director, said in the statement. "Where are Mark Kirk and the other Republican candidates on this important issue, and why won't they pledge to take a stand against this profoundly divisive rhetoric?"

Kirk condemned anti-Semitism in a blog entry time stamped Monday morning on his official House Web site.

"As we pause to remember the horrors of the Nazi genocide, we must reaffirm our commitment to fight anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in our day – at home and around the world," Kirk wrote in the post.

Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks condemned the NJDC for the criticism of Kirk and other Republicans saying it was insincere.

"It's transparently obvious that this is nothing but a disingenuous effort on the part of the NJDC to play politics with a serious issue," Brooks said. "The fact that they would tilt their pledge so overtly partisan discredits the entire effort."

"I think we can all say that we would like to see an end to Holocaust imagery and anti-Semitism in politics," Brooks added.

Filed under: Extra • Mark Kirk
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Frank Smith

    Where were they when Bush was compared to a NAzi on every sign we say in 2007?

    Other than that I agree whole heartedly with them. Its about time people realised what a crass and untrue comparison it is for almost any subject.

    Still wish they did it a little earlier.

    January 25, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  2. Mike in NYC

    Just a family feud here. Nothing interesting.

    January 25, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  3. Steph

    The Republicans did just stand around silently while tea-party activists used horrible Holocaust references. That's just a fact.

    January 25, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  4. Big Joe

    This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Republicans are known for being friends to the Israelis. Democrats have a history for not standing beside our allies in Israel.

    January 25, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  5. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    The National Jewish Democratic Council IS RIGHT! How can the Republican Jews accept the "Hitler" OR "Nazi" references by the Teabaggers?????????

    One thing is to be angry or disagree with President Obama and his agenda...... its quite another to SPEW HATE & DIVISION in our Nation & between our People!


    January 25, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  6. mike d

    the tea baggers love to call obama hitler. republicans have never distanced themselves from such racist hateful comments. they have only encouraged it with their silence. americans rallied around bush after 9/11. republicans called everyone unpatriotic for criticizing bush during the iraq war. their attacks on obama are relentless while we fight 2 wars. they are HYPOCRITES and unpatriotic!

    January 25, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  7. Anne

    Why anyone who is not a neo-conservative white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant thinks that the Republican party actually cares about them is beyond belief. You think that any party that is against every other conceivable race and religion, would somehow embrace just you. Wake up and smell the coffee!

    January 25, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  8. Captain Awesome

    So let me get this straight, it was ok to use Nazi symbols when referring to President Bush, but it's not ok to use them when referring to obama and the democrats' socialist policies?

    January 25, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  9. JP

    What about the U.S. financed holocaust 2 taking place in the occupied territories? Why are U.S. tax dollars being used to build illegal settlements on stolen land. How many Americans have died because blindly support Israels expansionist government.

    January 25, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  10. Spencer Parr

    I'm a Republican who worked in a legal internship for the Anti-Defamation League (a leading Jewish civil rights organization) a few years ago. I'm married to a Jewish woman, and I've had a Jewish business partner. Is somebody really calling me an "anti-Semite" because I also believe in a small, disciplined federal government and therefore vote Republican? Please! The NJDC should really apologize on this one.

    January 25, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  11. tmart

    Frankly, the Tea Party people started it, and they should be condemned for it. I give the Tea Partiers maybe one year before the country realizes how biased and inflamatory they are, and even their own members will get sick of the style of communication (biased, hateful, angry) they use.

    January 25, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  12. John

    Why don't Republican leaders condemn racist imagery and speech?

    Gee....I wonder.....

    January 25, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  13. Bill

    I find it really odd that especially orthodox jews vote for conservative republicans who are probably the most anti-semitic. As for the so-called tea parties themselves: its a case of the oats after they've gone through the horse.

    January 25, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  14. gary davis harbor oregon

    the new republican ideals are all about purist ideas and ideals . so good luck to anyone that wants the republican party to back off anything . other than kissing there own ass's or making anyone else that isn't a true purist whitie not worthy of being human . about the same as the bottom feeder republican lutenant govenor bad mouthing lost children as a pack of wild dogs ..

    January 25, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  15. Terry from West Texas

    I'm not sure I'd care to take this pledge myself. I would like to see exemples of 'abusive Holocaust rhetoric' because I have no idea what they are talking about. I presume it refers to those who deny the holocaust.

    Conservatives actively and aggressively court and pander to the sizable racist minority among us. Antisemites and good ol' boy southern segregationists cast a few million votes. Conservatives refuse to repudiate these groups using very mealy-mouthed rhetoric. There is plenty of wink-and-nod code language passed between Conservative politicians and racist voters, like two members of a secretive men's club exchanging the secret handshake.

    January 25, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  16. buckeye

    When do we pause to remember and even now recognize the ongoing war crimes and genocidal practices of the so-called Jewish state against the Palestinian people? After all the Palestinians are dead or expelled from their homeland?

    January 25, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  17. Illinoistom

    So Mark Kirk isn't Democrat enough to suit the NJDC? Too bad. Mark Kirk is no more anti-Semite then Obama is a right wing conservative.

    January 25, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  18. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    A lot of us are getting awfully tired of the incessant whining from the Jews. The Nazis are pretty much long dead.

    January 25, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  19. PALIN/BACHMANN 2012!!!

    It wasn't anti-semite when Sarah Palin told Barbara Walters the US Jews are going to move to Israel because 1. she didn't say they have to and 2. it was because of her religious beliefs.

    January 25, 2010 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  20. corona

    "The NJDC wrapped its' criticism..." That should be "its's."

    January 25, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  21. IKHAN

    Holocaust is a tragic part of European history, distasteful yes like slavery is a part of American history. There have been horrendous crimes against humanity in the history of this world, humans inflicting unimaginable damage to human dignity.From the recent past, the two world wars, partition of India & its aftermath & Bosnia The use of chemical weapons in Iran,Iraq war. The ongoing misery humanity is suffering in Darfur & Palestine. The world is watching.

    We never learn. What needs to be done is not to just rally against any speech or thought that is perceived as anti-Semitic or to just focus on the wrongs done in the past, but to rally against all crimes against humanity that we witness in our own time any where. That's the only way to make sure that Holocaust is never repeated again.

    January 25, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain

    The GOP is tacitly encouraging teabaggers and others in their use of Holocaust imagery – it's pretty obvious. The GOP is the party playing politics with this – and Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks knows it.

    BTW, teabaggers are idiots in that they don't realize that Hitler, Nazis and Fascists were/are all ultra-rightwing in political orientation.

    You know, like the teabaggers themselves.

    January 25, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  23. So What

    Just two politically charged groups, each claiming some sort of monopoly on the "truth".

    January 25, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  24. Lynn

    We are several generations past slavery and three or four generations past the Holocaust and anti-Semitism. I think that it is past time for people to stop pretending to be victoms and get on with trying to build a beter USA. Those who find racism and anti-Semitism behind every action and constantly accuse Republicians of being all
    White raceist and anti-semantic are themselves being the worst of these by their catagorical condimations. I can assure you that I an a Republician and do not harbor such feelings.

    It will be really nice when we can all quit looking for excuses and problems and name calling and get on with our lives.

    January 25, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  25. Auntie Sam Height

    Democratic sheenies, Republican sheenies...what's the difference? They're both brainwashing the goys and destroying America from the inside out! And they would have us feel guilt sixty years after a war that THEY STARTED? Parasites.

    January 25, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
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