Jamie Allard, a member of the Anchorage Assembly, has been removed from Alaska's Human Rights Commission by Governor Mike Dunleavy after making social media comments defending terminology used by the Nazis that were seen on two custom-made Alaska license plates.
The license plates, which read “FUHRER” and “3REICH”, were shared on social media over the weekend, Alaska Public Media reported.
"Fuhrer" was a title used by Adolf Hitler, and Nazi Germany was officially known as the German "Reich".
After Alaska State House Representative Sara Hannan "requested that this license plate be revoked," Ms Allard defended the use of the words, commenting on Facebook that they were not offensive. Claiming that she was defending free speech, she wrote that “progressives have put a spin on it and created their own definition".
On her no longer available Facebook page, she wrote that "Reich" was simply a translation of the word "Realm," adding “If you speak the language fluently, you would know that [is] the English definition of the word,” The Washington Post reported.
Screenshots of her post published by fellow assemblymember Meg Zeletel shows Ms Allard commenting: "Fuhrer means leader or guide in Deutsch... before you know it the German word Danke will be outlawed because it sounds too close to Donkey."
In a statement to Alaska Public Media, Ms Allard said: "I unequivocally condemn racism in every form, and support the mission of the commission 100%. In light of recent attacks against me, I feel it is best to step aside."
Alaska Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka said in a statement Monday that "the plates in question had previously been recalled by the DMV, and the DMV issued replacement standard plates to be displayed. We are notifying law enforcement that these plates are unauthorized by the DMV".
Anchorage Assembly Chair Felix Rivera told Alaska Public Media: “I don’t think it should be hard to denounce white supremacy. It should be really easy, actually, to denounce white supremacy and Nazis. So it’s unfortunate that Assemblymember Allard couldn’t do the right and frankly, easy thing.”
It was former newspaper editor Matthew Tunseth who first noticed the license plate. He wrote on Medium: "On Friday afternoon I was at a stoplight in downtown Anchorage when I spotted a jaw-dropping license plate on the back of the jet black Hummer in front of me: 3REICH. After doing a spit take and giving my eyeballs time to pop back into their sockets, I grabbed my phone and took a quick picture before watching the vehicle drive away."
Local Rabbi Abram Goodstein asked Ms Allard in an open letter in The Anchorage Daily News "to be more considerate of our community, which includes many members who have had parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents perish in the Holocaust. These deaths still haunt every Jewish community around the world. It continues to be a painful process to reconcile what happened to our family members who were murdered by Nazi Germany during this time".
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