February 23, 2022 Blog, In The News, Media, Press Release

Republican Legislators Use ‘Extremely Offensive,’ Antisemitic Phrase

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 23, 2022) – Two Republican legislators made “extremely offensive” antisemitic comments in a single committee meeting in Frankfort this week, continuing a pattern of offensive, hateful and divisive words and actions by the Republican majority.

Republican state Sen. Rick Girdler, co-chair of the Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee, and Rep. Walker Thomas both used the antisemitic phrase “Jew them down” during the Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. The comments can also be viewed here.

Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Colmon Elridge said Republican leaders and fellow Republican legislators should condemn the language and the legislators who so casually and callously used the antisemitic language.

“This is more offensive, divisive and hateful language from Republican legislators that have no place in our society and absolutely no place coming from elected leaders in our state Capitol,” Chair Elridge said. “Hearing an offensive term a lot doesn’t make it OK to use it – anyone who has to be told they shouldn’t use antisemitic language doesn’t belong in public office.

“Unfortunately, no one is surprised or shocked because, at every turn, the Republican supermajority has shown us who they are by prioritizing division, hate and discrimination over priorities and legislation that build a better Kentucky and bring our people together. This is who they are and it is a pathetic reminder of how much work is still to be done to ensure all people are treated with dignity and respect.”

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Thomas said he has heard the phrase “throughout” his life and offered an apology to anyone harmed by his use of it.
“The phrase ‘Jew them down’ is an extremely offensive one, with a long and bloody history of use against the Jewish community,” Litvin said.

“Rooted in the false stereotype that Jews are cheap or stingy, the phrase ‘jew down’ may seem to be a harmless expression that’s used in everyday vernacular. However, it is an insulting, antisemitic misrepresentation of Jewish behavior that plays into the trope of Jews as greedy money handlers who are unwilling to part with their earnings,” the entry reads.