Rabbis urge end to Nazi imagery in politics

WASHINGTON (JTA) — More than 300 Conservative rabbis signed a statement urging Americans to renounce the use of Nazi imagery in political discourse.

The Rabbinical Assembly, which represents more than 1,600 Conservative and Masorti rabbis around the world, worked with Los Angeles Rabbi David Wolpe to issue a statement noting recent examples of public figures using such rhetoric. They include the leader of the Southern Baptist Convention leader, the Rev. Dr. Richard Land, calling health care reform proposals "what the Nazis did" and U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) referring to the current health care system as a "holocaust in America."

"The willingness of supporters of public policy positions to employ the demonizing rhetoric of Nazism not only does nothing to move conversation forward; rather, it has a chilling effect on people of conscience who find the appropriation of such imagery to be disrespectful of the victims and reinforcing of the politics of personal attack that has damaged public discourse in the United States," reads the statement.

"We plead — indeed we demand — that civility govern these crucial deliberations. " ‘Sages,’  warned the Rabbis of the Talmud, ‘take great care with the words you speak.’ "

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