Campaign Of Falsehoods On Obama Seen Sticking
On eve of Florida primary, signs that e-mail blitz charging Muslim background gaining traction among Jews.
Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign is fighting back against the innuendos, by distributing this week an “open letter to the Jewish community” from seven Jewish Democratic Senate colleagues condemning the “abhorrent” tactics.by James D. Besser
When Doug Bloomfield, a columnist for Jewish newspapers and popular lecturer on the pro-Israel circuit, spoke in south Florida last week, he was astonished by what he encountered .
Anonymous e-mails and not-so-anonymous charges by some Jewish leaders about Sen. Barack Obama’s alleged Muslim past have started gaining real traction in the increasingly furious battle for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, he said.
"I was really shocked by the number of people who took these things seriously," Bloomfield said this week. "One man said to me: how do you know he’s not a ‘Muslim plant’; another used the words ‘Manchurian Candidate.’"
Bloomfield said he tried to "dispel what I see as a concerted hate campaign, coming largely from the Jewish right," in his speech.
Last week, a group of top Jewish leaders representing groups across the religious and political spectrum issued a statement that sought to stem the onslaught of disinformation.
Some friends of mine and myself are aware that such negative e-mails are being disseminated to one and all just before the Florida primary. The information is patently untrue. Such scare tactics come from the right. Don't let it get to you.
|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