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News and Op/Ed

With Friends Like These...

One of America's top Jewish leaders recently noted that the far-right is trying to " 'Christianize' all aspects of American life." 

How did one of these ultra-conservative leaders respond? By threatening to withdraw support for Israel.

(NJDC) The current issue of the Forward reports that ADL National Director Abraham Foxman recently "blasted several conservative organizations, including Focus on the Family, The American Family Association and the Family Research Council" -- all key pillars of the far-right. 

Speaking to ADL leaders in New York, Foxman noted these groups "had built infrastructures throughout the country... intend[ing] to 'Christianize' all aspects of American life.... Today we face a better financed, more sophisticated, coordinated, unified, energized and organized coalition of groups in opposition to our policy positions on church-state separation than ever before.... Their goal is to implement their Christian worldview. To Christianize America. To save us!"

In an interview with the New York Jewish Week, Foxman added, "What we're seeing is a pervasive, intensive assault on the traditional balance between religion and state in this country. ... They're not just talking just about God and religious values but about Jesus and about Christian values."

Tom Minnery, one of the top leaders of Focus on the Family, responded with a not-too-veiled threat to pull support for Israel. The Forward reports, "Noting that the evangelical groups Foxman cited are staunch supporters of Israel, Minnery told the Forward, 'If you keep bullying your friends, pretty soon you won't have any.'"

National Jewish Democratic Council Executive Director Ira Forman responded today, "It is a fact: The far-right, which increasingly serves as the base of the GOP, is diametrically opposed to the public policy agenda of the vast majority of American Jews -- whether the issue is the separation of church and state, or public financing of religion, or stem cell research, or teaching so-called 'intelligent design' as science in our public schools. These far-right organizations are hardly alone on the fringe: they're in control, and they demonstrated this by vetoing George W. Bush's hand-picked Supreme Court nominee, Harriet Miers. They work hand-in-hand with their close allies who are the leaders and top agenda-setters in the Senate, the House, and the White House."

Forman added, "This is America, and all Americans have the right -- the duty -- to advocate for their beliefs. This is true for the far-right, but this is equally true for American Jews. We have the responsibility to stand up and fight for the issues and policies that we feel so strongly about."