Melanie Maron Pell, the American Jewish Committee’s Chief Field Operations Officer, who is based in AJC’s Louisville office, issued the following statement after Kentucky State Rep. Walker Thomas and Sen. Rick Girdler, chairman of the Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee, apologized for using the antisemitic phrase “Jew them down” when discussing a state lease agreement in the legislature.

“While belated apologies are welcome, any elected official willfully using the ‘Jew them down’ phrase is contributing to the spread of a classic antisemitic trope.  Certainly, there are plentiful words and phrases in the English language to use in making a point in the state legislature without succumbing to traditional, derogatory references to Jews,” said Melanie Maron Pell, American Jewish Committee (AJC) Chief Field Operations Officer. “Elected officials must be among the first to recognize the harm derogatory terms can cause, especially when antisemitism is on the rise in the United States. We look forward to working with Rep. Thomas and Sen. Girdler, as well as other members of the Kentucky State Legislature, on concerted efforts to combat antisemitism, and using AJC’s Translate Hate as a vital resource in this fight.”

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