Hanauer Responds to NRA Lobbyist's Nazi Germany Comparison
Assertion that Jews are wrong to support gun control draws calls for resignation.
Blogger David Goldstein has posted audio on Youtube reportedly of an NRA lobbyist saying investor and progressive donor Nick Hanauer is misguided for supporting and funding I-594, the universal background check measure. Hanauer has contributed nearly $500,000 to the measure.
If the recording is authentic, speaking at a July 24 anti-594 event, the NRA's Olympia lobbyist Brian Judy appears to say he's dumbfounded at Jews who support gun control measures (Hanauer is Jewish) because it supposedly sets them up to repeat the history of Nazi Germany where Jews were defenseless against Hitler's tyrannical government.
For starters, Nazi Germany loosened gun control laws.
Additionally, it's hard to miss the anti-Semitic tropes in the speaker's rant—pretty ironic—which makes Hanauer the issue. Judy describes Hanauer this way: "this billionaire, this arrogant, elitist, progressive billionaire who’s ... running around Seattle getting all his fellow billionaires to pony up to push this thing.”
We asked Hanauer for a comment on Judy's statement. Here's what he told us:
"I'm disappointed, but not surprised. This is a common line of argument from the most extreme members of the gun lobby. The NRA lobbyist finally said in public what we know they think in private. I got involved in this work to move us on from this kind of divisiveness and to focus on solutions."
Meanwhile, official statements condemning Judy's comments are coming in today.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle (the target of a deadly shooting in 2006) issued the following statement:
The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and members of the Jewish community condemn the statement reportedly made by Brian Judy of the National Rifle Association that attempt to link policies to reduce gun violence to the Holocaust. The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle calls upon Mr. Judy to resign his position with the National Rifle Association.
Eight years ago today, the Jewish Federation was the target of a violent attack by an individual harboring dangerous falsehoods about Jews – falsehoods that continue to exist on the fringes of our society. It is deeply offensive for anyone to suggest that Jewish supporters of gun violence prevention have "forgotten" the history of our people. For a representative of the National Rifle Association, or any organization, to repeat the out-of-touch falsehood linking gun violence prevention to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust is not only an ignorant distortion but is exceedingly dangerous.
The views expressed by Mr. Judy may be directed at the Jewish community, but their effects are harmful to everyone in Washington. The Jewish Federation, which has endorsed Initiative 594, is committed to helping develop solutions that reduce gun violence in Washington State. We hope that the National Rifle Association will demonstrate that it recognizes how damaging these remarks are to that effort.
And state Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-36, Queen Anne), who is also Jewish, posted on FaceBook:
As a state legislator and member of the Jewish community, I am deeply offended by these public comments by state lobbyist Brian Judy of the National Rifle Association. The tone, message and implications of Mr. Judy’s comments that strangely link policies of Nazi-era Germany to an initiative of the people in Washington State in 2014 cross a line of civic discourse.
Mr. Judy’s patronizing assumptions about Nick Hanauer's family and the broader, historical cause of the death of six million Jews under Nazi oppression are dark and deeply unsettling.
In making a case against gun safety policies, Mr. Judy asks of Jews, ‘do you not remember what happened?’ Mr. Judy’s fails to see that this is the most offensive rhetorical question that can be asked of any Jew worldwide and it transcends politics of time, partisanship and nations.
Washington has a long record of civic dialogue that is thoughtful, engaged and educated. The NRA owes our state a full repudiation of this hurtful statement and a formal apology.
We have a call and email in to Judy asking him to respond to Carlyle and to the Jewish Federation's denunciation of the comments. Judy responded quickly asking us "what comments?" we were referring to. We forwarded him the audio link, and he said he was getting on a plane and would get back to us later.