Jewish leaders in Iowa tear into King's 'white supremacist views'

Jewish leaders in Iowa tear into King's 'white supremacist views'
© Greg Nash

Jewish leaders from Iowa wrote a letter published in the Des Moines Register Tuesday condemning Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingIowa governor: Steve King needs to decide if he wants to represent ‘the values of the 4th District’ Conservative magazine posts recording of King using derogatory language against immigrants How Steve King turned his back on states’ rights for Big Ag MORE (R-Iowa) for white supremacist views.

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Alan Steckman, president of Adas Israel in Mason City and John Pleasants, president of Ames Jewish Congregation, explained that they felt the need to respond after Saturday's shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The two criticized King for using "funds from a Holocaust education organization to meet with a notoriously anti-Semitic propaganda site," saying the actions was "shocking beyond any previous outrage."

They said King's promotion of white supremacist ideology had previously gone unchallenged by many, and that that silence can "foster a climate that enables the kind of hateful violence that erupted three times in the last week."

"We call on all elected officials to stand with Iowa's Jewish community, denounce King's actions, and hold him accountable."

King has faced criticism for his views on immigration and diversity. He recently defended his ties to the Austria Freedom Party, which was founded by a former Nazi SS officer, telling The Washington Post the party's members "would be Republicans" if they were in the U.S.

He also earlier in the month tweeted support for a Toronto mayoral candidate who had appeared on a podcast for the Daily Stormer, a noted Neo-Nazi website. 

King had several contributors stop supporting him in the wake of recent comments, including Land O'Lakes, Intel and Purina.

poll released Tuesday showed King with just a 1-point lead in the race over Democract J.D. Scholten. 

The Cook Political Report also moved the race from "likely Republican" to "lean Republican," indicating the nonpartisan handicapper believes the race is tightening.