Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Facts about Barack Obama

As most of you know, I am a proud member of Jews for Obama which in my Orthodox neighborhood does not always seem to be popular. Yesterday, someone actually ripped my Jews for Obama bumper sticker off my car. I live in a cul-de-sac...hard to believe one of my neighbors felt so strongly. (For the record, I have since ordered a bigger and better one).
Anyway, as this election gets closer to ending, at least the nominating process, I am gearing up for the big fight still to come. With that in mind, and as a member of Obama's rapid response team, I want to remind all my friends out there about the folly of listening to false claims. We may not all support Obama, but if you don't, let it be on the facts, not the lies. Below is a statement created (not by me, but by our Jews for Obama team) to help parse the truth from the rumors:
As we know, the Internet has become a powerful tool for obtaining information. Unfortunately, it has also become a tool for spreading misinformation and hate. Often this misinformation comes to us from trusted friends, family and colleagues who've fallen victim to the well-worded and convincing prose. When we receive something like this from someone we trust, sometimes we don't take the time and effort to ensure its validity and accuracy. All too quick to react to our greatest fears, we accept at face value, things that really deserve to be viewed with skepticism.

Everyone needs to come to their own opinion as to who will make the best President of the United States. The intent here is not to endorse Senator Obama, but to ensure that the decision to support him or not, is not made based on malicious lies and outright falsehoods. As victims of this type of campaign ourselves, those of us in the Jewish community have a duty to debunk and destroy these smear pieces, and not fall into their trap, regardless of who they're waged against and whether or not we agree with their politics.

In an unprecedented move, Nine Jewish organizational leaders signed on to a letter that spoke out against rumors about Barack Obama. The signatories were the top executives of the United Jewish Communities, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America , the American Jewish Committee, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Congress, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. From that letter, "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."

They were joined by seven Jewish United States Senators who wrote a letter of their own. "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 that 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."

For the full text and names of signatories to both letters, see here:

Please also see, "Behind the letter on Obama: Why the Jews entered the fray" on the website of the JTA,

Barack Obama is PRO-Israel. From his website: Barack Obama strongly supports the U.S.-Israel relationship, a mutually beneficial bond strengthened by common values, histories, and dedication to democracy. Obama believes that our first and incontrovertible commitment in the Middle East must be to the security of Israel, America’s strongest ally in the Middle East. "Our job is to renew the United States' efforts to help Israel achieve peace with its neighbors while remaining vigilant against those who do not share this vision. . . That effort begins with a clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel: our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy. That will always be my starting point."

For Senator Obama's position on Israel and his plans for helping Israel attain peace inside her borders, see here:

From an article published in the Jewish Journal, Mel Levine, a former Member of Congress from California and a former member of the board of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee writes: "As a state legislator, a Congressman, and a private citizen, I have been politically active in Jewish causes, including pro-Israel causes, for over forty years, and have observed many presidential candidates. But Barack Obama is the first to so thoroughly capture the imagination of Jewish Americans. . . Obama's vision of unity makes him a natural ally to the Jewish community. Likewise, he has been a strong ally to Israel. . . In his speeches and public statements, his legislation and his voting record, he has proven himself to be a stalwart friend of Israel, committed to helping Israel in its search for peace with its neighbors, while standing strong with Israel against those who do not share this vision."

Read the entire article here:

You can also read the complete text of his March 2007 speech to AIPAC, at this link:

Barack Obama rebuffs George Soros, the billionaire Democratic contributor who called for the U.S. to pressure Israel to negotiate with Hamas, even without recognition of Israel's right to exist. From an article published in the New York Sun, "Yesterday, Mr. Obama's presidential campaign issued a dissent from the Hungarian-born billionaire's assessment. "Mr. Soros is entitled to his opinions," a campaign spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said. "But on this issue he and Senator Obama disagree. The U.S. and our allies are right to insist that Hamas - a terrorist organization dedicated to Israel's destruction - meet very basic conditions before being treated as a legitimate actor."

. . .Rep. Robert Wexler, a Democrat of Florida who sent out an e-mail to Jewish supporters in his home state last week vouching for Mr. Obama's pro-Israel bona fides, said he too rejected Mr. Soros's comments. "Senator Obama says until the Palestinian government fulfills all three of the quartet requirements, the United States should not and would not recognize the Palestinian government. Senator Obama is clear, Mr. Soros appears to have a different position," Mr. Wexler said.

See the full article here:

Barack Obama decries anti-Semitism. In an speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church on the eve of Martin Luther King Day, Barack Obama excoriated anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry. "We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. . . Every day, our politics fuels and exploits this kind of division across all races and regions; across gender and party. . . So let us say that on this day of all days, each of us carries with us the task of changing our hearts and minds. . ." The full text can be read here:

Barack Obama denounced Louis Farrakhan, contrary to the opinions of the minister of his church. "I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan," Obama said in the statement. "I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree."

Barack Obama is a Christian, NOT a Muslim. There's not really a need to expound on this, other than to direct those still not convinced to the Urban Legends Reference Pages, which roundly debunks this myth.

Thank you for helping spread the truth.

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