Several Democratic lawmakers and Jewish advocacy groups are calling on Republican Rep. Allen West to apologize after he invoked Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels in his criticism of Democrats.
The Florida lawmaker cited the infamous Nazi leader when asked about a poll that showed Americans blame Republicans more than Democrats for gridlock in Washington.
"If Joseph Goebbels was around, he'd be very proud of the Democrat Party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine," West was quoted in Politico as saying.
Though West is not backing down, the remark was quickly condemned by several advocacy groups, including the National Jewish Democratic Council.
NJDC President David Harris urged West to apologize "immediately."
"As we have said repeatedly, invoking the Holocaust to make a political point is never acceptable and should be condemned by all for the sake of the memory of those who were lost," Harris said in a statement.
Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, also called on West to apologize.
"Comparing political differences today to the worst Nazi propagandist diminishes what happened to millions of Jewish families during the Second World War," he said.
But West's office released a statement saying West is a "strong supporter of the Jewish community," something his record "clearly shows."
The statement said the congressman was, with his original remark, "referring to the 'lies, deception and manipulation' coming from the Democrat propaganda machine and comparing that to the same misinformation coming from Goebbels during World War II."
"Trying to twist Congressman West's comments to say the congressman is 'Anti-Semitic' or insensitive to the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust is absurd and a perfect example of the 'propaganda' used to refer to in his comments," the statement said.