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Jewish leaders defend Obama

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Jewish organizational leaders are defending Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama from a smear campaign claiming that he’s a Muslim.

Obama has been the subject of an email that has made the rounds in the Jewish community alleging that he is a Muslim, attended an Islamic madrassah in Indonesia, and took his oath of office on a Koran. None of the charges are true, and the campaign has published a detailed refutation on its Web site.

“These tactics attempt to drive a wedge between our community and a presidential candidate based on despicable and false attacks based on religion,” said the open letter, signed by heads of several national Jewish organizations. “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.”

Here’s the full list of signatories:

  • 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
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