Kentucky Republican sorry for 'bizarre antisemitic rant' about Jewish women, abortion and the Holocaust

A Kentucky Republican was forced to apologize for bizarre comments he made about Jewish women and the Holocaust during a debate on anti-abortion legislation.

State Rep. Danny Bentley (R-Russell), who's a pharmacist, falsely claimed Wednesday during a debate on an omnibus anti-abortion bill that RU-486, or Mifepristone, was developed during World War II and called Zyklon B, which the Nazis used to execute millions of Jews in gas chambers -- and added “the person who developed (it) was a Jew," reported the Courier-Journal.

Bentley continued down that line of discussion by turning his attention to an earlier floor amendment that would have exempted Jewish women from the abortion restrictions, because the Democrat who filed it, state Rep. Mary Lou Marzian (D-Louisville), said their faith didn't believe life begins at conception.

“Since we brought up the Hebrew family today," Bentley began. “Did you know that a Jewish woman has less cancer of the cervix than any other race in this country or this world? And why is that? Because the Jewish women only have one sex partner."

"They don't have multiple sex partners," he added. "To say that the Jewish people approve of this drug now is wrong.”

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Bentley comments did not draw any response during the debate, but the legislature's only Jewish member condemned his remarks afterward as false and anti-Semitic.

“The first clinical trials on this drug (in the 1980s) has nothing to do with World War II (and) has nothing to do with the Holocaust,” said state Sen. Karen Berg (D-Louisville). “That the developer was indeed of Jewish descent ... what difference does that make, and why is that being brought up on the floor?”

The American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Louisville and the National Council of Jewish Women's Louisville Section also condemned Bentley's comments in a joint statement. The groups described Bentley’s speech as a "bizarre antisemitic rant that included outlandish claims about the sex lives of Jewish women."

The lawmaker apologized hours after making the remarks -- which came days after two other GOP lawmakers, Rep. Walker Thomas and Sen. Rick Girdler, used the phrase "Jew them down" during a legislative committee meeting.

"I meant absolutely no harm in my comments today and sincerely apologize for any they caused," Bentley said. "Last week we received a heartbreakingly sad reminder that anti-Semitism still exists in our society and I apologize if my comments today caused similar pain or any doubt that I stand with the Jewish Community against hatred."

"My intention was to speak as a pharmacist to the history of RU-486 and respond to a proposed amendment," he added. "I clearly should have been more sensitive with my comments."

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