Jerry Brown has apologized for likening his opponent in the race for governor of California to Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.
Brown, a Democrat, a former governor and currently the state’s attorney general, last week told a journalist that Republican candidate Meg Whitman’s substantial campaign chest made her “like Goebbels,” in that she would be able to saturate media with lies about him. Goebbels is believed to have originated the “big lie” theory of propaganda, purporting that the public will buy an untruth if it is repeated often enough.
A number of Jewish groups, including the Republican Jewish Coalition, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center said the remark was offensive, given Goebbels’ role not only as a Nazi propagandist but as an architect of the Holocaust.
Brown said Tuesday that he had apologized to the Wiesenthal Center, which confirmed it.
“He regrets any misapprehension that was created by his remarks,” Rabbi Marvin Hier, the center’s dean, was quoted as saying by California media. “He said he was jogging and he shouldn’t have used it.”
Brown was jogging when he met a reporter and had a casual conversation. Reporting his apology to reporters on Tuesday, he added, “I will tell you this: Jogging in the hills with sweating strangers will no longer result in conversation. Mum’s the word.”