One of the lasting images from Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) “House Call” — the right-wing “press conference” (i.e. rally) against health care reform on Capitol Hill last week — was a photograph captured by ThinkProgress here that read: “National Socialist Health Care: Dachau, Germany – 1945.” Another sign said that “Obama takes his orders from the Rothchilds [sic],” a reference to the famous Jewish banking family often implicated in conspiracy theories.
Prominent organizations and individuals in the Jewish community immediately condemned the displays and called on the protest’s organizers to take responsibility and apologize for ignoring the vile materials at the event. Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) posted a YouTube video and singled out Bachmann. Watch it:
Israel also sent a personal note to Bachmann requesting an apology but as of yesterday, she had not replied. She did, however, release a statement calling the anti-Semitic imagery at her House Call “regrettable” and “inappropriate,” but she still didn’t explicitly apologize for refusing to condemn the them earlier:
Sadly, some individuals chose to marginalize tragic events in human history, such as the Holocaust, by invoking imagery and labels which have no purpose in a policy debate about health care. These regrettable actions negatively shift the focus of the current discussion on this issue. The American people deserve an open and honest debate to ensure the best possible solution to our health care problems, and I agree that these unfortunate instances are wholly inappropriate.
It took Bachmann almost a full five days to publicly comment on the anti-Semitic displays. According to her spokeswoman, the congresswoman also “sent a letter to the Jewish Community Relations Council expressing her concerns and ongoing support for the Jewish community.” When Politico asked House Minority Leader John Boehner’s (R-OH) spokesman for comment on these signs, he simply replied, “Leader Boehner did not see any such sign. Obviously, it would be grossly inappropriate.” Rep. Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) spokesman called the photograph “inappropriate.”
The Anti-Defamation League has now also written a letter to the event’s organizers, asking each one of them to “use your stature and platform as a national political leader 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.”