The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) today condemned Representative Allen West’s (R-FL) invocation of Goebbels to attack Democrats. NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris said:
The National Jewish Democratic Council condemns this most recent use of Holocaust imagery from Representative Allen West and demands that he apologize sincerely and immediately. As we have said repeatedly, invoking the Holocaust to make a political point is never acceptable and should be condemned by all for the sake of the memory of those who were lost.
Ironically, West made his comment while addressing the Republican Party’s sinking poll numbers among the American public. For Jewish Americans, comments like West’s— along with similar statements from his fellow Republicans—is just one of the elements that repel Jews from the Republican Party. The GOP’s radical agenda is another central cause of the Republican Party’s poor standing—not the supposed media conspiracy that West advanced today. With this latest tirade, and his unrepentant statements that followed, West has made himself the prime example of the rhetoric and policies that keep American Jews voting solidly Democratic.
West must apologize tonight - to the American Jews he claims to represent, to the broader Jewish community, and to all of the Americans who fought valiantly to defeat the Nazis.”
During his press conference today, West—according to Politico— said:
‘If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat Party because they have an incredible propaganda machine,’ West told reporters in the Capitol. ‘I think that you have, and let’s be honest, you know, some of the people in the media are complicit in this, in enabling them to get that type of message out.’
West was responding to a question about Congress’s low poll numbers and the fact that public blame is centered more on the Republicans. A Pew Research Center poll released Thursday found two in three voters in favor of tossing out most members of Congress in 2012, with a larger share of the blame aimed at the GOP.
The freshman Republican, whose district is in heavily Jewish South Florida, said his reference to Goebbels wasn’t designed to link Democrats to the overall Nazi party.
‘I’m talking about propaganda, OK,’ he said. ‘Don’t start taking my words and twisting it around. I’m talking about propaganda. And I think that’s a very important thing. When you tell me that everyone thinks that the only people on Capitol Hill are House Republicans, it’s because that’s what’s being portrayed, is that there’s nobody else up here.’
‘Once again, you guys will take whatever I say and you will spin it to try to demonize me or demagogue me,’ West added. ‘What I’m talking about is a person that was the minister of propaganda. And I’m talking about propaganda. So please. I’ll be prepared to wake up tomorrow and you guys make up some crazy story. Whatever.’
In addition to this latest Holocaust-laden remark, West accused a tracker during the 2010 campaign of using “Gestapo-type intimidation tactics.” West also launched a sexist attack against Democratic National Committee Chair Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), received a formal rebuke from rabbis over his “intemperate” comments about one of his Muslim House colleagues, accused progressive women of “neutering” American men to the point of “incredible weakness,” and tried to hire a right wing radio host with a history of offensive statements about Jews to be his Chief of Staff.