Rabbinical group backs GOP lawmaker after apology for quoting Hitler

The Coalition for Jewish Values rejected calls for Rep. Mary Miller’s resignation after she apologized for quoting Hitler in a recent speech.

By World Israel News Staff and AP

In a letter sent on Friday to Congresswoman Mary Miller of Illinois, the Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV) expressed support for the freshman congresswoman, who apologized for knowingly quoting Adolf Hitler during a rally outside of the U.S. Capitol earlier in the week.

Miller was among the Republicans who tried to challenge the certification of certain Electoral College votes that went to incoming President Joe Biden, issued the apology in the face of calls for her to resign.

“I sincerely apologize for any harm my words caused and regret using a reference to one of the most evil dictators in history to illustrate the dangers that outside influences can have on our youth. This dark history should never be repeated,” the newly sworn-in congresswoman said in a statement.

The CJV, which represents “over 1,500 traditional, Orthodox rabbis in American public policy,” rejected calls for Miller’s resignation after she released the apology.

The letter sent to Miller stated that the Biblical admonition, “and you shall teach them to your children,” would have provided a “better model for your lesson.”

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In her address, Miller said, “Each generation has the responsibility to teach and train the next generation. You know, if we win a few elections, we’re still going to be losing unless we win the hearts and minds of our children. This is the battle. Hitler was right on one thing. He said, whoever has the youth has the future.”

Responding to Miller’s statement multiple Illinois and Congressional legislators called for her resignation.

CJV rabbis “respectfully disagreed.”

“It’s easy to accuse someone of modeling Hitler, and very difficult to defend against such an accusation,” said Rabbi Moshe B. Parnes, Southern Regional Vice President of the CJV,

Parnes “lost much of his extended family during the Holocaust,” said a CJV statement.

“It’s important for humanity to learn lessons from our enemies, even from beasts like Hitler, so that we understand how powerful the forces they employed truly are, and use them for good. The Talmud, the main source of Jewish law, philosophy and ethics, often does,” Parnes added.

The letter added that “while mentioning Hitler was distasteful,” Jews learn lessons from the villain of the Purim story, Haman, in the Book of Esther, and from Roman general Titus who destroyed the Jewish Holy Temple.

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Miller, who represents Illinois’ 15th District and is from Oakland, a small city about 100 miles (160 kilometers) west of Indianapolis, spoke Tuesday at a “Save the Republic Rally” hosted by a conservative group, “Moms for America.”

The rally took place a day before supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol.

In her apology, Miller also said “some are trying to intentionally twist my words to mean something antithetical to my beliefs.”

“Let me be clear: I’m passionately pro-Israel and I will always be a strong advocate and ally of the Jewish community. I’ve been in discussion with Jewish leaders across the country and am grateful to them for their kindness and forthrightness,” Miller said.

Several prominent Illinois Democrats have called on Miller to resign, including Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Marie Newman. Democratic legislators circulated a petition calling on her to step down immediately.
“There are some things that cross a very definite line and that was one of them,” said Schakowsky, who is Jewish. “At a moment like this, when emotions have been so high on all sides, to invoke the name of Hitler was about as inappropriate and wrong as you can get.”