We filed earlier on the ruckus arising from the call by the National Jewish Democratic Council on Republicans to no longer accept money from Sheldon Adelson because of allegations of wrongdoing at his Macau casinos.
We referred there to a number of communal efforts to get political groups to sign onto a pledge to avoid gutter politics.
Now the Jewish Federations of North America (which rarely weighs in on electoral matters) reminds NJDC that both groups had signed such a pledge.
Here’s the statement:
The Jewish Federations of North America is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to caring for Jews in need and nurturing the Jewish community for the future. Our donors represent a wide spectrum of political views. In line with our mission, we do not typically comment on statements by political organizations. However, when a leader in the Jewish community is attacked on the basis of unproven and ugly allegations, we feel obligated to step forward.
Late last week, the National Jewish Democratic Council issued an inflammatory statement attacking Sheldon Adelson. To condemn a man based on unsubstantiated charges violates our American and Jewish values. It also breaches the Jewish Council for Public Affairs’ Civility Statement, which was signed by both the NJDC and JFNA. That document commits us to ‘respectful dialogue’ and ‘to treat others with decency and honor and to set ourselves as models for civil discourse, even when we disagree with each other.’
There should be ample room within our community to express widely divergent opinions and political positions. In fact, lively, constructive debate is a valued part of our Jewish tradition. But our tradition also teaches us that we must respect those whose views differ from our own, and we must work to bring our community together. We encourage people of varying political viewpoints to engage in thoughtful dialogue on the important issues we face as a nation, in a manner that unites us, rather than divides us.
Kathy Manning, Chair, Board of Trustees
Michael Gelman, Chair, Executive Committee
Jerry Silverman, President and CEO