US Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee speaks to the 42nd annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council in San Diego.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The storm of controversy over US Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s comments about the Iran nuclear deal continued to spread on Tuesday, with Transportation Minister Israel Katz (Likud) weighing in.
On Sunday, Huckabee claimed, in reference to the recent agreement reached between world powers and Iran, that US President Barack Obama would “take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.”
Katz took offense to the comments, implying that Israel is stronger than Huckabee may think.
Obama slams Huckabee for invoking Holocaust in his criticism of Iran deal
“Respected Mr. Huckabee: Nobody marches the Jews to ovens anymore,” Katz said. “To this end we established the State of Israel and the IDF; and, if need be, we will know how to defend ourselves, by ourselves.”
Katz agreed that the Iran deal must not allow the “Iranian terrorism kingdom” to become a nuclear threshold state, but said that the comments by Huckabee were “wrong and unnecessary.”
Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer also slammed Huckabee for his statement. “These are not words that I would use or that I think are appropriate,” Dermer said in an interview Monday with USA Today . “We don’t in any way impugn the motives of the people who are doing this deal. I think it’s important to conduct this debate in a way that’s befitting of the alliance between our two countries.”
Huckabee has faced widespread condemnation since he made the comments, from Obama as well the Anti-Defamation League and his fellow Republican candidates, including Jeb Bush and Rick Santorum. The Zionist Organization of America, however, said Tuesday that Huckabee’s assertion is an acceptable analogy. While ZOA president Morton Klein said he generally opposes the use of Holocaust analogies, “because they usually bear no relation to unique horrors of the Nazi era,” Huckabee’s statement is substantively different.
“Tragically, empowering with an eventual nuclear weapons capacity – as this deal does, and as President Barack Obama himself has admitted – an Iranian regime that has repeatedly spoken of wiping out the Jewish state of Israel does bear some relationship to the Nazi era,” he said, “and governor Huckabee, therefore, did not speak out of place.”
Despite the criticism, Huckabee asserted Tuesday morning that the Jewish community is supportive of the linkage between the Holocaust and the Iran nuclear deal.
“The response from Jewish people has been overwhelmingly positive,” Huckabee said on the Today show. “The response from Holocaust survivors, from the children of Holocaust supporters. Last night I was in an event, I was probably one of four gentiles in the entire event, this was a Jewish event, people were overwhelmingly supportive.”Michael Wilner and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.
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