Representative Mary Miller of Illinois met with the Rabbinic Board of the Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV) and other rabbinic leaders last week, to discuss both her recent controversial comments and her stance regarding Israel, boycotts and other issues of importance to the Jewish community.
The CJV countered calls for Rep. Miller’s resignation last month, after she quoted Adolf Hitler in an address to a women’s group, saying, “Hitler was right about one thing: ‘Whoever has the youth has the future.’” At the meeting, Miller apologized and expressed regret for her choice of words. She explained that her intent was to highlight the importance of guiding our youth in the right direction. She answered questions from Jewish community members and learned more about their concerns.
At the meeting, Rabbi Moshe Parnes, Southern Regional Vice President of the CJV, acknowledged that it is common in Jewish thought to learn lessons from our enemies. Other participants expressed their support and asked Miller about her perspective on Israel and the BDS movement.
“I am thankful to have had the opportunity to meet and speak with the Rabbinic Board of the Coalition for Jewish Values and other rabbinic leaders,” Representative Miller said after the meeting. “While I do regret the words I used to illustrate my message about instilling values in our children, I believe God is using this experience for good. The great discussion from our meeting only proves this. Connecting and learning from the Jewish community becomes more important every day with anti-Semitism on the rise. I am grateful to be a small part of the solution.”
“She was subjected to shameful attacks that, if one views the video of her remarks, unquestionably distorted her intent and perspective,” said Rabbi Ze’ev Smason, Midwestern Regional Vice President of the CJV. “Representative Miller is clearly sympathetic to the Jewish community and emphasized that she wants to be responsive to our concerns. So we were happy that we responded to her invitation and gave her the opportunity to further clear the air.”
The CJV is currently scheduling meetings with other new and senior members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, to share its perspective on Jewish values and their impact on public policy.