JVP Statement on Right-Wing Attacks on Rabbis for Obama members
For Immediate ReleaseJewish Voice for Peace Statement on Right-Wing Attacks on Rabbis for Obama members
[August 24, 2012. New York] Jewish Voice for Peace is deeply disturbed by the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Emergency Committee for Israel's unethical smear campaign against members of the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council who are part of Rabbis for Obama. Both groups have demanded that the Obama campaign purge these rabbis from the 600 plus list of Rabbis for Obama.
The Republican Jewish Coalition and William Kristol's Emergency Committee for Israel have a track record of engaging in unethical tactics to sow divisions in the Jewish community for short-term political gain. (See Fact Sheet below) In addition, one of the largest donors to the Republican Party is casino magnate Sheldon Adelson whose vision of an ever-expanding Israeli occupation puts him completely outside of the international consensus.
This time, these groups have demonized respected rabbis who are critical of the Israeli occupation in a cynical effort to win a closely fought presidential race.
It is our sincere hope that these rabbis will not be made to step down from Rabbis for Obama - and we offer our hopes for an inclusive community that makes room for diverse rabbinical voices dedicated to a future of peace, justice and dignity for all.
Rabbinical Council co-chair and Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbi Alissa Wise ( See also Rabbi Wise's longer response in the Forward): "Our rabbis are courageous thinkers and leaders who regularly take stands for equality, justice and dignity for all people. That their commitment to Jewishness or the well-being of fellow Americans is even being put into question because of a fight over partisan politics is simply unthinkable."
Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace:
"Instead of being demonized by the right, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, one of the country's first woman rabbis and a leader in the nonviolence movement, should be hailed as a hero. She led an interfaith trip to Iran and met with the remaining Jewish community there, and then had the chutzpah to castigate President Ahmadinejad for his shameful Holocaust denial and comments about Israel disappearing from history in a room of 350 people including, presumably, armed guards. I don't think even Bill Kristol has the courage to do that— but apparently he does have the courage to sit behind his laptop and distort the truth about rabbis whom he has never met. "
Jewish Voice for Peace is a national grassroots peace organization dedicated to promoting a US foreign policy in the Middle East based on peace, democracy, human rights and respect for international law.
JVP has offices in NY and CA, over 100,000 supporters, 35 chapters, a Rabbi's Council, and a youth branch Young, Jewish and Proud.
Emergency Committee for Israel and Republican Jewish Committee: A Track Record of Smears and Distortions
On March 1st, ECI placed a full page ad in the New York Times accusing two liberal groups, the Center for American Progress and Media Matters, of being “anti-Israel”. The ad was criticized by staunch Israel supporters like Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, who said the ad “misrepresents the truth,” and Anti-Defamation League director Abraham Foxman, who denounced it as “misleading, distorted, inaccurate".
Dershowitz, Alan. "ECI Should Distinguish Friend From Foe." Jewish Daily Forward 4 March 2012http://forward.com/articles/152472/
Bruck, Connie. "The Emergency Committee for Israel Cries Wolf." The New Yorker 5 March 2012http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/03/the-emergency-committee-for-israel-cries-wolf.html
ECI also released a video which the New Yorker described as insinuating that Obama "may, secretly, be Muslim" as part of a "two-pronged maneuver … to intimidate critics of Netanyahu":
Eli Clifton and Jim Lobe have pointed out that ECI shared an address with the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which helped lead the charge for the 2003 US invasion of Iraq:
Clifton, Eli and Lobe, Jim. "Emergency Committee Based At Old Committee For The Liberation Of Iraq." Lobe Log15 July 2010 http://www.lobelog.com/emergency-committee-based-at-old-committee-for-the-liberation-of-iraq/
Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC):
The RJC was widely criticized conducting a poll featuring sharply negative questions about Obama, which the Jewish Council for Education and Research said were "designed to frighten Jews and sow mistrust". Florida Rep. Robert Wexler described the poll as "disgraceful and deceitful".
Smith, Ben. "GOP group behind negative Obama poll." Politico 16 September 2008 http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0908/13516.html
In 2007, the RJC was criticized for mailing Reform rabbis and other Jews an unsolicited DVD copy of " Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West", a film widely denounced as inciting hatred against ordinary Muslims.
"Republican Jewish Coalition responsible for mailing anti-Muslim film." JewsOnFirst.org 15 February 2007http://www.jewsonfirst.org/08a/cufi_obsession.html