Former Republican presidential candidate and Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann has apologized for what she says are ignorant remarks she has made in the past about Jews during a joint Christian and Jewish Bible study at the Israeli legislature in Jerusalem Sunday.
"First, I know that in ignorance ... I have stated things that I should have not have said," the 62-year-old Bachmann said during the Bible study held at the Knesset just one day before the official opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.
"And, I apologize, profoundly apologize and repent and ask forgiveness from almighty God for my statements that, though said in ignorance, have brought pain. For that, I sincerely apologize."
The first-ever Jerusalem Day joint Jewish-Christian Bible study was attended by over 180 people, including Bachmann and San Diego megachurch pastor Jim Garlow, both of whom serve as informal evangelical advisors to the Donald Trump administration. The session was also attended by Garlow's wife, Rosemary Schindler Garlow.
The interfaith Bible study was organized by Likud lawmaker Yehudah Glick and sponsored by the Garlows' Schindler Society and Israel 365, an organization founded to serve as a bridge between Jews and Christians.
When it was Bachmann's turn to speak, she explained that God is "changing the world" and "changing my heart in the way that I personally view so many things."
"I can see that God is intervening on behalf of His beloved Jewish people without any help from anyone else," Bachmann stated. "I'd like to join Rosemary Schindler Garlow in the repentance that she has extended to the Jewish people in the previous gathering of the Schindler's Society for the horrible, and yes I would say the arrogant way that Christians — I would include myself among them — have treated and regarded the Jewish people."
"Again, I agree with Rosemary Schindler Garlow. We ask forgiveness from the Jewish people for what it is we have done," Bachmann continued. "We take responsibility and recognition for that."
Bachmann, a Tea Party conservative Christian who ran for president in 2012, would not elaborate on what specific comments she was referring to in her plea for forgiveness when asked by reporters after the Bible study.
"My statement stands for itself," Bachmann was quoted by Times of Israel as saying. "This is a day of joy and a day of recognition that we need to put the past in the past and need to move forward, and to do that sometimes we need to recognize and take responsibility for our actions. That's what I am doing."
Bachmann admitted that she is not a "perfect person."
"I come here as one who has been forgiven by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and for that purpose I try to walk in that humility to recognize that things that I have done or said haven't always been right," Bachmann, who has visited Israel over 20 times in her life, said.
Bachmann's apology comes after she said while speaking on a social conservative radio show in 2015 that the intensification of violence in the West Bank was a sign of the End Times and proceeded to call on Christians to convert as many people as possible — including Jews — because Jesus is "coming soon." Her comment followed a week-long tour of Israel.
"The Holy Spirit is speaking to each one of us to be faithful in the Kingdom and help bring in as many as we can," Bachmann told Family Research Council President Tony Perkins in the November 2015 interview. "Even among the Jews."
Glick told the Times of Israel after the study that he didn't know what comments Bachmann was referring to in her plea for forgiveness.
Garlow, who preaches at Skyline Church in California and known for his opposition to same-sex marriage, was asked not to attend the first Knesset Bible study held in February because it was scheduled to be held on the same day as the Knesset's tribute to the LGBT community.
Participating in Sunday's study, Garlow also asked for forgiveness for the way Christians have treated Jews in the past.
"We come here to learn. We are not coming here to teach," Garlow said of the Christians involved in the Bible study. "We are coming here to learn. I learned quite a few things today that I have never heard before. We come here learning because you can teach us so much that we do not know."
According to the Times of Israel, the Bible study was taught by Glick, an orthodox Rabbi, and several ordained orthodox women.