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Allen West draws wrath for comparing Democrats to Nazi propagandists

Friday, December 16th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Florida Democrats and Jewish groups expressed outrage over U.S. Rep. Allen West’s comments yesterday likening Democrats to Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels.

“This outrageous comparison is extreme, even for Congressman Allen West,” state Rep. Mark Pafford, a West Palm Beach Democrat who is Jewish, said in a statement issued by the Florida Democratic Party on Friday. “Likening Democrats to Nazis is despicable and offensive. Floridians deserve more from their elected officials than inflamed rhetoric that has brought Washington to a stand-still and left the middle class out-to-dry.”

Politco reported the blunt-speaking West’s comments yesterday:

Tea party favorite Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) said Thursday that Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels would be “very proud” of Democrats for shifting public sentiment against Republicans, and he blamed the press for helping spread their message.

“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.”

No stranger to controversy, the freshman Republican whose district lies largely in Palm Beach County clarified that he wasn’t linking Democrats to the Nazi party and predicted the fall-out from his remarks.

Again, from Politico:

“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.”

The Anti-Defamation League called West’s comments “outrageous” and demanded an apology in a letter to West Friday.

“Such outrageous Holocaust analogies have no place in our political dialogue. They are offensive, they trivialize real historical events, and they diminish the memory of the six million Jews and millions of others who perished in the Holocaust,” ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a press release.

In his letter to West, Foxman – a Holocaust survivor – wrote: “It is high time to excise analogies to Nazi and Hitler from the political vocabulary. It doesn’t serve us as Americans, and cheapens our political discourse.”

It’s not the first time West provoked Jewish groups. In his campaign last year, West accused Democratic campaign trackers of using “Gestapo-like intimidation tactics.” (Read the ADL’s first demand for an apology on that here.)

The American Jewish Committee also slammed West on Friday.

“To make a linkage between any mainstream political party in the United States and the heinous atrocities committed by the Third Reich should be simply beyond the pale, whatever political differences may arise in a heated electoral season,” AJC Executive Director David Harris said.

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