Ohio School Board President Debe Terhar made waves earlier this week when she posted an image of Adolf Hitler to her personal Facebook account along with commentary on gun control. Many people found it offensive, and thousands of Ohioans demanded her to be removed from her post. Gov. John Kasich, however, stood by Terhar and said that she would not be fired. Now, the Anti-Defamation League is calling on Terhar and other critics of gun-control legislation to stop referencing Hitler and the Holocaust, stating that such commentary is "historically inaccurate and offensive."
The ADL also cited other recent comparisons that had been made by Fox News' Sean Hannity, former MLB pitcher John Rocker, and the Drudge Report.
Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League and a Holocaust survivor, said:
“We know that the national debate over gun control is one of the most-divisive issues in the land, and while Americans are entitled to have strong opinions, there is also language that is inappropriate and offensive in any such discussion. The idea that supporters of gun control are doing something akin to what Hitler’s Germany did to strip citizens of guns in the run-up to the Second World War is historically inaccurate and offensive, especially to Holocaust survivors and their families.”
More than 65,000 emails calling for Terhar's resignation were sent to the state Board of Education and top officials in Kasich's administration during just the first three hours of a letter writing campaign initiated by state Democrats.
In the wake of the Connecticut elementary school shooting massacre and President Barack Obama's subsequent call for stricter gun laws, Tehrar has come under fire for posting a photo of Hitler on her Facebook account along with the quote:
“Never forget what this tyrant said, ‘To conquer a nation first disarm its citizens’ — Adolf Hitler.”
Critics say that her post appeared to compare President Obama to the Nazi leader, who was responsible for millions of deaths during World War II.
Tehrar told the Columbus Dispatch earlier this week that she wasn't comparing Obama to Hitler. However, as a strong support of gun rights, she said that she believes "we need to step back and think about it and look at history" in order to see the consequences of restricting citizens' access to guns.
Tehrar is one of 11 elected members of the state board. Eight others are appointed by the governor. Last week, prior to the offensive Facebook posting, the board unanimously re-elected Tehrar to her second term as board president.