Senator Obama is asked about smear emails
at the MSNBC Debate (Jan. 15, 2008).
Special Dossier: Presidential Primaries
Senator Barack Obama
Jewish Senators condemn religious-based attacks.
-- Tara Andringa
to the Jewish community, seven Jewish U.S. senators, all of whom have not endorsed a
candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, today condemned anonymous mass
emails apparently sent to the Jewish community that use falsehood and innuendo about
Senator Barack Obama's religion and attack him personally.
The letter was signed by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Ben. Cardin (D-MD), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
Major Jewish institutions concurred with this sentiment in
Open Letter to the Jewish Community including the UJC, ADL, AJC, Simon Wiesenthal
Central, NCJW and Orthodx and Reformed Jewish organizations.
The malicious email claimed that Obama was only pretending to be Christian and would
hand over control of the White House to al-Qaeda. This email builds upon an earlier
hoax email which
suggested "that U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) attended a
fundamentalist Muslim religious school, known as a madrassa, as a child living in
Indonesia, and that his childhood education was steeped in radical Islam.
In fact, from ages 6 through 10, he attended a public school in Indonesia with both Muslim and non-Muslim students.
Sen. Obama is not a Muslim; he is a Christian who attends the United Church of Christ."
Obama is an outspoken critic of anti-Semitism whereever it occurs. Most recently,
his own church's minister Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. for honoring
Louis Farrakhan despite Farrakhan's repeated hateful statements about Jews.
Senator Barack Obama speaks at AIPAC meeting.
Senate Open Letter to the Jewish Community
Over the past several weeks, many in the Jewish community have received hateful emails
that use falsehood and innuendo about Senator Barack Obama's religion and attack him
personally. As Jewish United States Senators who have not endorsed a candidate for the
Democratic nomination, we condemn these scurrilous attacks.
We find it particularly abhorrent thai these attacks are apparently being sent specifically
to the Jewish Community. Jews, who have historically been the target of such attacks,
should be the first to reject these tactics.
We won't dignify these falsehoods by repeating them in order to refute them. Instead, we
will express our outrage at these tactics, which are being used to demonize a good and
decent man and our friend and colleague. Attempting to manipulate voters into
supporting or opposing one candidate or another based on despicable and fictitious
attacks is disgraceful. These false and malicious attacks should not be part of our
All voters should support whichever candidate they believe would make the best
president. We sincerely hope that Americans will make that decision based on the factual
records of these candidates, not false charges circulated by anonymous mass emails.
Signed by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Ben. Cardin (D-MD), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
Leadership 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
The Obama campaign has had so many rumors to quash that they have added the
to deal with the sheer volume of false claims.
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