January 26th, 2010
06:03 AM ET
13 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.

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