Jewish leaders defend Obama


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

Obama has been the subject of an e-mail making the rounds in the Jewish community in recent days alleging that he is a Muslim, attended a radical Islamic madrassah in Indonesia, and took his oath of office on a Koran. None of the claims 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 a 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.”

Among the signatories were David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee; Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League; Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

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