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As a conservative Republican, I’m deeply dismayed at lack of voices from GOP condemning McGeachin

Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin embraces Rep. Tammy Nichols, R-Middleton, before giving her remarks to announce her candidacy for Idaho governor. (Kelcie Moseley-Morris/Idaho Capital Sun)

Republicans must demand a basic standard of decency from our political candidates and elected officials, writes guest columnist Lynn Bradescu.

As a conservative Republican and president of the Ada County Lincoln Day Association and the District 19 legislative chairwoman and precinct committeewoman for Precinct 1913, I’m deeply dismayed by the lack of voices from the right directly condemning our lieutenant governor’s recent appearance at white nationalist conference, sharing the roster with known Holocaust deniers and antisemitic agitators.

As U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, there is no place for white supremacy or antisemitism in the Republican Party.

As a Jewish woman, I grew up learning from those who served in World War II and the consequences of the Holocaust were instilled in me at a young age and deepened my faith. Being Jewish to me means we can never take for granted our long history as survivors. Our horrifying near-extinction at the hands of Nazi Germany and its allies is all too real, and to deny this history is unforgiveable.

Sometimes, people are earnestly curious about Jewish people and culture, and are open to conversations. Because there are so few of us, most Idahoans simply know very little about us. But the Holocaust didn’t happen out of nowhere. Antisemitism often begins in understated ways, with subtle slurs and coded phrases, or in more explicit pejorative graffiti like we’ve seen recently along the Boise Greenbelt and at the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial.

Even more rare than Jewish Idahoans are Jewish members of the Idaho Republican Party. My involvement in the Idaho GOP has raised a few eyebrows over the years, but to me, conservative support of Israel, a tenet of the Republican platform since the early 1990s, is central to my political and Jewish identities. Israel is a beacon of hope, the only true democracy in the Middle East that upholds freedom, democracy and personal choice.

I am deeply dismayed to see the escalating dehumanization of Israel and the Jewish people from the extreme wings of both the right and left, including the endorsements of McGeachin by the likes of those who McGeachin has surrounded herself with, like Vincent James Foxx, a white supremacist, Vladimir Putin supporter and Holocaust denier. It’s appalling that Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin would participate as a speaker at a white nationalist event like AFPAC. It’s unimaginable to me that a sitting statewide official and candidate for Idaho governor would attend – let alone speak – at a white nationalist conference led by the likes of Nick Fuentes, James Foxx, and others who espouse political violence, the “purity” of the white race, and antisemitism.

Countering the political normalization of antisemitism and white nationalism starts by recognizing the deep history of prejudice against the Jewish people and how antisemitic conspiracies seek to undermine the America we are so proud of. Naming the scourge of antisemitism requires constant vigilance from all of us and should be modeled by our elected leaders.

Republicans must demand a basic standard of decency from our political candidates and elected officials. Janice McGeachin is falling far below those standards now: the company she keeps is repugnant, and her openness to anti-Semitic and anti-democracy worldviews is, simply, disqualifying. I invite my fellow conservatives to join me in calling for her resignation.

The Idaho Capital Sun is a nonprofit news organization delivering accountability reporting on state government, politics and policy in the Gem state. As longtime Idahoans ourselves, we understand the challenges and opportunities facing Idaho. We provide in-depth reporting on legislative and state policy, health care, tax policy, the environment, Idaho’s explosive population growth and more. Our mission is relentless investigative journalism that sheds light on how decisions in Boise and beyond are made and how they affect everyday Idahoans. We aim to tell untold stories and provide data, context and analysis on the issues that matter most throughout the state. The Capital Sun is part of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers. We retain full editorial independence.