Republican Majority Has an Antisemitism Problem

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 3, 2022) – Three Republican legislators have made blatantly antisemitic comments in just eight days, the latest a “bizarre, anti-Semitic rant” with “outlandish,” “outrageous” and false claims about the Jewish community and the Holocaust, proving GOP lawmakers have an obvious antisemitism problem.

Jewish leaders have blasted the antisemitic comments that GOP legislators are saying during public hearings at the Kentucky Capitol.

State Rep. Danny Bentley made the latest comments Wednesday, according to The Courier-Journal describing his outrageous comments about Jewish women, their sex life and the Holocaust, which were quickly denounced.

Bentley’s Wednesday comments follow two Republican legislators using the antisemitic phrase “Jew them down” during a committee meeting a week ago. Rep. Walker Thomas and Sen. Rick Girdler said the antisemitic phrase.

None of them apologized until they were questioned about the comments.

While the Republican majority’s antisemitism problem becomes increasingly obvious, Republican leaders haven’t accepted an offer made a week ago from Jewish advocacy organizations to provide anti-Semitism training to all members of the Kentucky General Assembly and legislative staff.

“Three antisemitic episodes in eight days is not an anomaly – it’s an appalling pattern, but Republican leaders are tolerating this hateful rhetoric with their silence and inaction,” said Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Colmon Elridge. “They are proving this is who they are and how little they care by not condemning the comments until they were forced to and refusing to immediately accept much-needed training for their hateful comments. We all know if this is what their members are saying in public meetings, there is no telling the extent of their hate and antisemitism behind closed doors.”

“As a person of color, I know the stinging effects of bigotry and ignorance. It remains unbelievable that in 2022 we have to contend with ignorance and blatant hostility by those elected to do what’s best for us all. We will continue to work to send people into elected office at every level, who don’t engage in hate and bigotry. I urge my friends on the other side of the aisle to give up the old southern strategy and do the same.”

The American Jewish Committee, Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Louisville and the National Council of Jewish Women’s Louisville Section said in statement to The Courier-Journal that: “On Wednesday, during a hearing on women’s reproductive choice, Rep. Danny Bentley went on a bizarre, anti-Semitic rant that included outlandish claims about the sex lives of Jewish women and the outrageous assertion that Jews created the “abortion pill” during the Holocaust to profit financially. We call on all elected officials and community partners to forcefully denounce anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, especially when they emanate from officials elected to serve the people of the Commonwealth.”