AJCongress: The anti-Obama letter was unauthorized


Here is the official statement from the American Jewish Congress disavowing the anti-Obama letter sent by one of its officers to the N.Y. Jewish Week:

Official’s Letter Critical of Obama Unauthorized, AJCongress Declares

February 7, 2008 — AJCongress strictly abides by the prohibitions of the tax code prohibiting tax exempt organizations from endorsing or opposing candidates for elective office. We do not permit staff or lay leaders to use the agency’s name in connection with political campaigns. From time to time we remind both our lay leadership and our staff of this commitment. We have abided by that policy throughout the hotly contested primary season.

We therefore without hesitancy repudiate the use of our agency name in pursuit of political purposes by Jeffrey Wiesenfeld in a letter published in the New York Jewish Week (February 8, 2008). After raising sharp criticisms of Senator Obama’s foreign policy proposals, Mr. Wiesenfeld signs off by describing himself as President of the Metropolitan Council (NY) of the AJCongress. These statements in no way reflect either AJCongress policy or the decision of any subsidiary body.

While AJCongress is officially agnostic about all candidates for President, we have commented not on the candidates themselves but on scurrilous campaigns to discredit them, as with the email campaign claiming that Senator Obama is a closet Moslem. Just weeks ago, AJCongress joined with eight other Jewish organizations in denouncing that campaign, as Mr. Wiesenfeld’s letter notes.

No one in either the National Office of the American Jewish Congress or its Metropolitan Region was aware of Mr. Wiesenfeld’s letter before it appeared in print. Had we been aware of it, we would have forbidden the use of the agency name in connection with a partisan political statement.

Appropriate organizational bodies will review the matter thoroughly.

The American Jewish Congress is a membership association of Jewish Americans, organized to defend Jewish interests at home and abroad, through public policy advocacy, in the courts, Congress, the executive branch and state and local governments. It also works overseas with others who are similarly engaged.

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