Point/Counterpoint challenge to NJDC re: “No Place For Slander In Jewish Discourse”
by Bill Levinson
To: NJDC, New York Jewish Week, Jerusalem Post
cc: online blogs, Republican Jewish Coalition
We read Ira Forman’s “No Place For Slander In Jewish Discourse” (http://njdc.typepad.com/njdcs_blog/2008/02/njdc-executiv-1.html) at the National Jewish Democratic Council’s blog and New York Jewish Week. The opinion piece also cites the Jerusalem Post, which we have copied on this letter.
The National Jewish Democratic Council wrote, “It is time all of us— organizations and individuals— take the responsibility for outing and yes, even shaming, the purveyors of sinat chinam [baseless hatred] in our community — to protect our values and to protect our community’s genuine political interests.”
We are among the leaders of efforts to expose Barack Obama for “cavorting with anti-Semites,” to use the opinion piece’s terms, although we also denounce the baseless accusations about Obama being a Muslim. First, it’s not true. Obama belongs to a Christian church whose pastor (Jeremiah Wright) says that “white America” got its “wake up call” after 9/11 and that Israel is occupying Palestinian land illegally. Second, even if it were true, we would find the argument “Obama is a Muslim” (as opposed to an Islamic supremacist, which is to a Muslim what a white supremacist is to a Caucasian) as offensive as the argument that being a Jew,* Catholic,** Negro, or woman should disqualify someone from holding office. Third, Obama did not take his oath of office on a Koran; this was Keith Ellison (D-MN).
Obama recently accepted the endorsement of MoveOn.org, which published an official bulletin that cited the Electronic Intifada as a reference while effectively blaming Israel for the resumption of Palestinian violence. This organization’s now-disgraced Action Forum served as a platform for the most vicious imaginable anti-Semitic hate speech, including a blood libel about the Talmud and statements about Jews controlling all the media. Hate speech was also directed against Catholics, Evangelical Christians, and even African-Americans. It is a matter of record that the moderators who were exercising editorial control over the forum exercised this control in favor of the hate speech while deleting comments with which they did not agree.
Furthermore, MoveOn.org lied about removing more than a few token pieces of hate speech such as the infamous “Jew Lieberman” entry. We amassed a huge collection of the Action Forum’s bigotry weeks after MoveOn said it had deleted this material. MoveOn.org later published a vicious insult to General David Petraeus and, if Obama is going to give credibility to this organization by soliciting and accepting its endorsement, he is totally unfit to hold any position of public trust or responsibility in this country.
The standards set by NJDC itself support the above position. NJDC condemned Ron Paul for accepting $500 from Don Black, a former Ku Klux Klansman who runs the Stormfront White Nationalist Community. We agreed, and we demanded in our online blog postings (cc: Ron Paul campaign headquarters) that Ron Paul repudiate and disown the Ron Paul for President banner ads that appear at Stormfront’s Web site. We added that Ronald Reagan was very quick to denounce and refuse the Ku Klux Klan’s attempts to endorse him. The same standard obviously applies to Obama’s acceptance of MoveOn.org’s endorsement, and even more so to his active solicitation of Al Sharpton’s support.
We also remember that the NJDC stepped in to give MoveOn.org a thorough whitewash: “Jewish voters should take comfort in knowing that MoveOn.org is not a haven for anti-Semitism and the organization will renounce and remove any postings of the sort. Leave it to Republicans to not allow the truth to get in the way of campaigning. Sincerely, Ira Forman Executive Director National Jewish Democratic Council.” NJDC stuck with this story despite being presented with the Action Forum’s own FAQ page, which says that the moderators read every entry twice (thus showing that MoveOn was fully aware of comments like “Israeli-obsessed Jews” and “the Catholics are raping your children.”).
The bottom line is that Obama appeared with, and endorsed in the highest terms, Al Sharpton and his National Action Network. This organization, under Sharpton’s leadership and personal supervision, shouted racial and anti-Semitic epithets at a Jewish-owned store in Harlem, Freddy’s Fashion Mart. The NAN used terms like “bloodsucking Jew,” “Jew bastard,” “see that this cracker suffers,” and “cracker lover” (a Black person with white friends, the counterpart of what the Ku Klux Klan calls a Negro lover, except “Negro” is not the word they use). Sharpton personally added “white interloper” to the hate speech. A deranged individual later set the store on fire while killing seven people. To this may be added the reenactment of the Night of the Broken Glass in Crown Heights and the killing of Yankel Rosenbaum, again in the aftermath of one of Sharpton’s anti-Semitic tirades. There is also, of course, the matter of the racist Tawana Brawley scandal in which Sharpton played a central role.
If the NJDC can actually excuse or explain away Obama’s promotion and endorsement of this individual and his organization, we would credit NJDC with a deed that far surpasses the legend of Daniel Webster, whose eloquence got Jabez Stone out of a contract with the Devil. Of course, Benet’s “The Devil and Daniel Webster” is a fictional story, and we doubt that NJDC can do anything to keep us from exposing Obama for what he is: a phony smile on top of an empty suit. Furthermore, NJDC condemned Mitt Romney for appearing at the Henry Ford Museum while citing Ford’s publication of anti-Semitic material. To quote one of our favorite role models,
For your own reasons turn into your bosoms,
As dogs upon their masters, worrying you.
–King Henry V, Act II, Scene 2
Had NJDC read this excellent piece of wisdom, it would not itself have set a standard that easily disqualifies Obama from receiving anyone’s vote. If Romney should not be President because he made a speech at the museum of a long-dead EX-antisemite, noting that Ford retracted and repudiated “The International Jew,” then what are we to say of Obama’s public appearances with live and unrepentant ones? As far as we know, Sharpton and the NAN never apologized for Freddy’s Fashion Mart, Crown Heights, or Tawana Brawley, nor did they even try to make things right with the people and communities they harmed.
To again quote one of our favorite role models:
Take a trumpet, herald;
Ride thou unto the horsemen on yon hill:
If they will fight with us, bid them come down,
Or void the field; they do offend our sight.
which is Shakespearean for “Either put up or stand down.” If the NJDC wishes to stand behind what it wrote by outing and shaming us, we will be delighted, with your publication’s assistance, to accommodate NJDC in a point/counterpoint exchange on your opinion pages. If NJDC is not willing to stand behind its words, though, we really think it needs to stop accusing Obama’s detractors of “smearing” him and purveying sinat chinam.
[home phone number given]
* as in “Jew Lieberman” and “whining, arrogant Jew [Tom Lantos]” to use the terminology of Obama’s backers at MoveOn.org.
** as in “Catholic pedophiles of America,” to use the terminology of Obama’s friends at MoveOn.org.