Florida Rep. and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is in "damage-control mode" after telling a Jewish audience that "too many" Jews have decided to marry non-Jews.
The six-term congresswoman has been reeling from audio which surfaced last week in which she complained about Jewish intermarriage, The Daily Caller reported
"We have the problem of assimilation. We have the problem of intermarriage," Wasserman Schultz said in a Jan. 16 speech to a Florida Jewish group.
In her remarks – audio of which was obtained by the Shark Tank
, a Florida-based blog – Wasserman Schultz warned that "too many generations of Jews don't realize the importance of our institutions strengthening our community – particularly with the rise of anti-Semitism and global intolerance, which obviously we saw in horrific technicolor in just the last week in Paris."
Now, however, the congresswoman is trying to distance herself from her comments on intermarriage.
"At an annual Jewish community event in my congressional district, I spoke about my personal connection to Judaism and in a larger context about the loss of Jewish identity and the importance of connecting younger generations to the institutions and values that make up our community," Wasserman Schultz said in a statement Tuesday. "I do not oppose intermarriage; in fact, members of my family, including my husband, are a product of it," NBC News reported
In her Jan. 16 remarks, Wasserman Schultz also said that "Islamic fundamentalists" were responsible for recent terrorist attacks, including last month's rampage in Paris – effectively breaking with her longtime allies in the Obama administration, who have sought to avoid mentioning the Muslim role in terrorism.
"Unfortunately what happens, particularly with the global war on terror and the Islamic fundamentalists who are combating and leading it, [Jews] are the crux of the reason that they are engaged in that fight," the congresswoman said.
She also criticized CNN's and MSNBC's coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Wasserman Schultz said she was particularly upset by a particular segment on MSNBC (where she is a frequent guest), The Daily Caller noted
"Clearly [MSNBC was] highlighting what Israel had done to Gaza and the plight of Palestinians," Wasserman Schultz said. "My first thought was, where is the balance? Where is the spotlight on what Jewish children in Israel go through from being victims of rocket attacks?"
Saying she had also seen slanted coverage on CNN, Wasserman Schultz told the Jewish audience that: "We have work to do. We have work to do to educate and to make sure that people understand there's a very simple solution to this. It's called 'recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish and Democratic state.' "
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