Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp distanced himself Wednesday from comments about the Holocaust made by one of his Republican members.
“Those were inappropriate remarks,” said Cupp, R-Lima. “They were uninformed remarks. It really has no place in our discussion and has no place in that bill.”
The comments came from state Rep. Sarah Fowler Arthur, R-Ashtabula, during an interview with WEWS News 5 Cleveland about a piece of legislation she is co-sponsoring. House Bill 327 would limit how certain “divisive concepts” are taught in K-12 schools, universities and public employee trainings.
“You should talk about these atrocities that have happened in history, but you also do have an obligation to point out the value that each individual brings to the table,” Fowler Arthur said during the interview.
Rep. Casey Weinstein — one of two Jewish Democrats in the Ohio House — demanded the “draconian Holocaust censorship bill” be pulled immediately.
“Claiming there are two neutral and legitimate sides to the Holocaust is nothing short of denial,” he said.
House Bill 327 would ban educators from discussing topics such as people struggling to succeed because of race or religion; inherent racism in certain groups; people being treated adversely or advantageously because of race, sex or national origin.
A similar piece of legislation died in Indiana after that bill’s sponsor told a history teacher that educators would need to remain impartial when discussing issues such as Nazism, saying teachers “should just provide the facts.”
Fowler Arthur released a statement late Wednesday saying she disagreed with the way her comments in the interview were being interpreted by members of Ohio’s Jewish community.
“I want to apologize for the unconscionable position that has been wrongfully attributed to me, a position that I personally find abhorrent,” Fowler Arthur said. “These views are not who I am or what I believe. Period.”
In the interview with News 5, Fowler Arthur said, “What we do not want is for someone to come in and say, ‘Well, obviously the German government was right in saying that the Aryan race is superior to all other races, and therefore that they were acting rightly when they murdered hundreds of thousands of people for having a different color of skin.'”
About 11 million people perished during the Holocaust. Six million were Jews who were not persecuted for color of their skin. Though the Nazi’s held incorrect beliefs about their ancestory.
“Rep. Fowler Arthur needs to get her own facts straight before she seeks to censor our educators,” Weinstein said. He then invited her to visit the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage with him and other Jewish leaders.
But Fowler Arthur’ believes “politicians and left-wing special interests” are trying to “mischaracterize me the same way they mischaracterized the bill.”