WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League is urging Republican congressional leaders to "condemn forcefully the invocation of Holocaust imagery" at last week’s rally against health care reform.
In a letter sent to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and other Republican members of Congress who spoke at last week’s event, ADL national director Abraham Foxman said he was "deeply disappointed at the failure of the Republican leadership to speak out" against comparisons of health-care reform to Nazi Germany."
The "Tea Party" crowd included attendees holding a pair of large banners picturing Holocaust victims with the words "National Socialist Healthcare, Dachau, Germany, 1945."
"As the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, the Anti-Defamation League is nonpartisan and has no position on the issues underlying the health care debate," wrote Foxman. "However, we believe that the use of Nazi symbols and pictures of Nazi victims to advance a political agenda under any circumstance is inappropriate and profoundly offensive."
Foxman urged the GOP members of Congress to use their "stature and platform as national political leaders to reject and condemn the use of Holocaust imagery for political purposes, and to urge your supporters to find other ways to communicate their views."
Spokespersons for Boehner and Cantor have called the banners "inappropriate," while Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.), the organizer of the event and another recipient of the letter, said they were "wholly inappropriate" and that they "marginalize tragic events in human history."