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Arkansas Rabbi Responds to Former Gov. Huckabee's Holocaust Comment

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On Sunday, Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee made strong statements, catching national headlines in disapproval of the President's deal with Iran.

For the past three days, there have been serious criticisms hurled towards Huckabee after making this statement: "[Obama's] so naive he would trust the Iranians and he would take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven," Huckabee said.

Since then, Huckabee has done numerous interviews defending his statement and refusing to apologize. According to Huckabee in an interview earlier Tuesday, the response he's had from the Jewish community has been "overwhelmingly positive".

Local rabbi Barry Block told Channel 7 News he begs to differ.

"Using language that the President of the United States is pushing Israel to the doors of the ovens, God forbid, is such terrible and inflammatory unnecessary language. It's quite possible to be very clear on what an evil regime Iran has and one opposes the agreement without using such horrifying and frightening words," Block said. "I think the Jewish community has had an overwhelming negative reaction to Governor Huckabee's inflammatory language. That includes among members of the Jewish community who oppose the deal with Iran."

Even after President Obama publicly scolded him, calling his comments "a part of a trend...that is particularly sad," Huckabee fired back saying, "What's ridiculous and sad is that President Obama does not take Iran's repeated threats seriously."

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also criticized Huckabee. Huckabee shot back by saying, "How many murdered Israelis will it take for Hillary to express as much outrage at Iran as she did at my defense of Israel?"

As of Tuesday Huckabee still refuses to apologize.

"Three times I've been to Auschwitz. When I talked about the oven door, I have stood at the oven door," Huckabee said.

Political correspondent Scott Thuman tells Channel 7 News Huckabee's comments might be strategic.

"For the most part a lot of people say is this a way to stand out from the field. Look, you've got 16 candidates that's now on the G.O.P. side and you have some like Donald Trump that steals a lot of the limelight with his comments," Thuman said. "When you hear comments like that, it's not just Mike Huckabee, it's not just someone who is trying to get some limelight or some attention. It's relatively common. It may not be accepted by all, but in Washington nothing surprises anymore."

Rabbi Block said there's a bigger concern at hand.

"I worry about our American political discourse in general, about whether we really bring our country to a higher place when we use such horrible language," Block said.

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