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Waxman on good turns deserving others

When it comes to Barack Obama and the Jews, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) has some advice as old as Hillel, and it sounds a lot like “Do unto others.”

Waxman, the powerful chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Committee adds a twist to familiar appeals to Jewish Democrats attending the party convention this week in Denver not to pay attention to smear rumors targeting Sen. Obama (D-Ill.), the party’s presumptive nominee.

Waxman notes that U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) was similarly targeted by anti-Semitic smears propagated by allies of an African American rival in the majority black district.

Cohen won the primary earlier this month with an overwhelming majority that included three quarters of the black vote.

It’s an example Jews can use, Waxman told JTA.

“There’s a very cynical effort by Republicans to raise a lot of anxieties in the American Jewish community about Barack Obama,” he said, and listed false rumors of an association with Louis Farrakhan, the anti-Semitic black nationalist; false rumors about Obama being a Muslim; and smearing Obama as having a secret antipathy to Israel that he will unleash only after his election.

“We have to reject these smears just as people in the African American community rejected smears against Steve Cohen because he’s Jewish,” Waxman said.

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