SWC to Erie County Exec, Chris Collins: “Enough Already”

October 26, 2009

SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER TO ERIE COUNTY EXEC, CHRIS COLLINS: “ENOUGH ALREADY”

“This is yet another incident in the disturbing trend of injecting Nazi personalities and symbols into the body politic of America,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder and Dean, Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center blasted Erie County Executive, Chris Collins, who compared Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat and orthodox Jew, to the anti-Christ. Through his spokesman, Collins said he had made a “poor joke” and extended his "sincerest apologies" to Silver. “While we may disagree strongly on policy matters, my statement had no place in our political discourse and I am truly sorry to both the speaker and to anyone else who I may have offended," Collins, who is considering a run for Governor, said.

"It is small solace that an apology has been issued. But this was not an off-the -cuff remark made in the heat of political debate or battle, but during remarks made and prepared for a public audience at a fund raising event", noted Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights group.

The New York Daily News had reported that the slur came during a speech at a Republican event in Buffalo on Saturday. Criticizing Silver’s backroom dealings in Albany, Collins cited an interpretation of Nostradamus' prediction that there would be three anti-Christs before the Apocalypse with the first two being Napoleon and Hitler. Collins said he was "pretty sure" the third is Silver, a Manhattan Democrat.

“While we are distressed that such imagery would be invoked against a public personality who is also of the Jewish faith, this is yet another incident in the disturbing trend of injecting Nazi personalities and symbols into the body politic of America. Enough already!,” Hier concluded.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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