A United States lawmaker apologized after using an anti-Semitic idiom while debating a bill on the House floor that would allow merchants to legally offer discounts on goods.
"They might try to 'Jew me down' on a price. That's fine... that's free market as well," said Rep. Dennis Johnson, eliciting rebuke from fellow lawmakers.
Rep. Johnson, a Republican from Oklahoma, continued with his debate, until he was made aware of his offensive remarks.
“I apologize to the Jews. They're good small businessmen as well,” he said.
“I made an offhand reference that was inappropriate and I know that it hurt some folks,” Johnson told The Oklahoman newspaper. “I acknowledge that. I regret that. I apologize for it. It was unintentional.”
“It just came out of one of the wrinkles of my brain and it was not something that was intentional,” Johnson told the paper. “I certainly didn't mean to offend anyone and I apologize for the folks I did offend.”
“It is a comment that should never be made. I will never do it again," he added.
"Jew me down" is an expression that means bargaining in order to reduce the price of an item. It is a derogatory allusion implying that all Jews know how to take advantage of sellers and obtain things for lower prices because of their bargaining skills.