Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker launched a TV spot on Tuesday criticizing Republican challenger Darren Bailey for a 2017 statement in which the wealthy downstate farmer contended the Holocaust during World War II pales in comparison with lives lost through abortion.

“The attempted extermination of the Jews in World War II doesn’t even compare on a shadow of the life that has been lost with abortion,” Bailey says in a Facebook video made during his run for state representative, an excerpt highlighted in Pritzker’s new ad.

The Jewish publication Forward on Monday was the first to report on the Bailey video.

Pritzker’s ad, which notes Bailey’s opposition to abortion in all cases except to save the life of the mother, ends with the tagline “too extreme for Illinois.”

The Oct. 12, 2017, Facebook video was recorded shortly after then-Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation authorizing taxpayer funded abortions for poor women. “I believe that abortion is one of the greatest atrocities of our day and I believe it’s one of the greatest atrocities probably forever,” Bailey says in the video. “I will not compromise on matters of life.”

Allies of Pritzker, who is Jewish and who spent millions of dollars for the construction and operation of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, accused Bailey of antisemitism and said his comments were part of a pattern toward the Jewish community.

“Darren Bailey’s extremism knows no bounds. Comparing a woman’s right to choose to the catastrophic loss of life during the Holocaust is unconscionable and quite frankly, disqualifying,” said Democratic state Rep. Bob Morgan of Deerfield, who chairs the House Jewish Caucus.

“It is demeaning to the legacies of those we’ve lost to reduce their suffering to a political talking point,” Morgan said. “Darren Bailey is once again causing harm with his callous words and actions and he must be held accountable for this abhorrent behavior.”

Morgan and others noted Bailey’s comments came to light less than a month after he urged people to “move on” and “celebrate” the July Fourth holiday even as a gunman who killed seven people and wounded dozens of others at the holiday parade in Highland Park, which has a large Jewish population, remained at large. Robert E. Crimo III, 21, was later arrested and faces 117 felony counts in Lake County.

“Conflating a woman’s bodily autonomy to the systematic mass murder of Jewish people is antisemitic and disqualifying. Darren Bailey’s disgusting assertion that a woman determining her own reproductive future is worse than the Nazis’ genocide of 6 million Jews is offensive to Illinoisans everywhere,” said Eliza Glezer, Pritzker’s campaign spokeswoman.

“With violent antisemitism on the rise and in the wake of a massacre against the predominantly Jewish Highland Park, Bailey must answer for his hateful comments,” Glezer said.

In a statement released by his campaign, Bailey said he was not attempting to minimize the scope of the Holocaust and the deaths of more than 6 million Jews at the hands of the Nazis.

“The Holocaust is a human tragedy without parallel. In no way was I attempting to diminish the atrocities of the Holocaust and its stain on history. I meant to emphasize the tragedy of millions of babies being lost,” Bailey said.

“I support and have met with many people in the Jewish community in Illinois and look forward to continuing to work with them to make Illinois a safer and more affordable place for everyone,” he said.

Pritzker has make Bailey’s opposition to abortion a major campaign issue as the first-term governor touts having enshrined in state law a woman’s right to the procedure, as well as other efforts to assure its greater availability in Illinois in light of restrictive abortion laws enacted in other states following the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Pritzker is airing more than $108,000 of TV ads on cable alone for the next week, industry records show. Bailey is not airing any ads, though a political action committee allied with the Republican’s candidacy is airing ads critical of Pritzker.

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