I got a call today from a reader in Monmouth County saying we shouldn’t include any coverage of Barack Obama “because he was sworn into the Senate while holding a Koran.” I explained that he had Obama confused with Keith Ellison of Minnesota. I didn’t bother to ask why it mattered either way, because clearly he had been a recipient of the vicious smears about Obama that continue to race around the Internet, despite the best efforts of Jewish organizations to denounce them as the scurrilous and bigoted lies that they are.
If you have a listserv or a large email list that you regularly forward to and care about the truth , you might consider passing on the letter denouncing the rumors that was signed by leaders of nine top Jewish organizations. It appears after the jump.
January 15, 2008
An Open Letter to the Jewish Community:
As leaders of the Jewish community, none of whose organizations will endorse or oppose any candidate for President, we feel compelled to speak out against certain rhetoric and tactics in the current campaign that we find particularly abhorrent. Of particular concern, over the past several weeks, many in our community have received hateful emails that use falsehood and innuendo to mischaracterize Senator Barack Obama’s religious beliefs and who he is as a person.
These tactics attempt to drive a wedge between our community and a presidential candidate based on despicable and false attacks and innuendo based on religion. We reject these efforts to manipulate members of our community into supporting or opposing candidates.
Attempts of this sort to mislead and inflame voters should not be part of our political discourse and should be rebuffed by all who believe in our democracy. Jewish voters, like all voters, should support whichever candidate they believe would make the best president. We urge everyone to make that decision based on the factual records of these candidates, and nothing less.
William Daroff, Vice President, United Jewish Communities
Nathan J. Diament, Director, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
Abraham Foxman, National Director, Anti-Defamation League
Richard S. Gordon, President, American Jewish Congress
David Harris, Executive Director, American Jewish Committee
Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean, Simon Wiesenthal Center
Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Phyllis Snyder, President, National Council of Jewish Women
Hadar Susskind, Washington Director, Jewish Council for Public Affairs