A New Hampshire state lawmaker is under fire for comments he made while explaining a bill that would require all non-English signs for businesses in the state be posted in all six official languages of the United Nations.
Interviewed for a Sunday New Hampshire Union Leader article on some of the more colorful bills being considered by the state's volunteer legislature, Republican Rep. Jordan Ulery detailed his proposal that any retail establishment with signs in a language other than English would be required to post them in UN languages: English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish. English has been the official language of New Hampshire since 1995.
"...The problem I'm trying to address is to make sure that people belong to a shared culture, and that shared culture means enjoying a shared language," Ulery told the newspaper. Explaining that he is a student of history, Ulery was quoted as saying, "When you establish a ghetto, you're leaving yourself open to what happened to the Jews in Eastern Europe because you're setting yourself up to be different."
The New Hampshire Democratic Party fired off a press release Sunday denouncing Ulery's comments as "hateful" and "anti-Semitic" and calling for him to resign and withdraw from candidacy for a post on the Republican National Committee. Ulery threw his hat in the ring for a committee seat in December.
"The Holocaust ended millions of innocent lives. To say it was the fault of Jews who were forced into ghettos is repulsive," former Democratic state Senator Joe Foster said in the release. "Representative Ulerly's abhorrent anti-Semitic comments have no place in New Hampshire and must be immediately denounced."
"What I was trying to convey is when you do not participate in your society around you, and when you become different, you become subject to what the Nazis did to the Jews," Ulery told FOX News when reached by phone Monday.
"If they want to call me an anti-Semite, then they should talk to some of my friends who are Jewish. If they want to call me an anti-Semite, they should look into my background," he said, adding that he lived with a family of Holocaust survivors for a year in high school.
"This is a distraction away from their failed economic policies and an attempt to pick on other members," he said, adding that the legislature should be focusing on the state deficit."They should probably look at the bill before they make comments...If you're going to appeal to one particular ethnic group, you're discriminating against all other ethnic groups. It's an anti-discrimination bill."
Ryan Williams, Communications Director for the state Republican Party further criticized state Democrats suggesting they focus on New Hampshire's budget. "They should apologize for putting out a press release to try to smear someone, and get back to focusing on the budget crisis. Governor Lynch should also apologize; he's the head of the party. His state party is trying to recklessly smear people with lies and mistruths," he said. "It just shows that the New Hampshire Democratic Party no longer has any standards or common decency."
But Harrell Kirstein, press secretary for the New Hampshire Democratic party says it's Williams and Ulery who should apologize.
"Ulery filed this legislation that would impose enormous fees on NH businesses and kill jobs. It wasn't filed by the Democratic party and it is disingenuous for Williams to imply that we were trying to change the subject," Kirstein said. "Both he and Representative Ulery should apologize for the offensive remarks."