Obama campaign says no to RJC debates

Angry about the advertisements that the Republican Jewish Coalition has been running this fall, Barack Obama’s campaign has decided its representatives won’t debate officials of the RJC.

The Los Angeles Jewish Journal reports that a debate scheduled for Sunday in Van Nuys has been cancelled, and the RJC states that a Philadelphia synagogue was told that an Obama surrogate would not debate the city’s RJC director and that it needed to find an alternative.

The RJC is responding by pointing out that Obama has said he would “engage” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and yet will not “engage the RJC.” Here’s their release.

Washington, D.C. (October 15, 2008) – The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Executive Director Matt Brooks issued the following statement today:

“It has come to our attention that the Obama campaign has instituted a new policy of not debating representatives of the RJC at community candidates’ forums. Forum organizers are being asked to provide surrogates not from the RJC. Temple Sinai, in suburban Philadelphia, was told that Obama surrogate state Rep. Josh Shapiro would not participate with RJC Philadelphia Director Scott Feigelstein. The synagogue was instructed to find someone else. This is not the first time the Obama campaign has made such a demand of Jewish forum organizers. We find it a curious paradox that Obama would engage Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad without preconditions, but the Obama campaign will not engage the RJC,” said Brooks. “Given how troubling Senator Obama’s record is on Israel, I guess he’s afraid to have a fair debate.”

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