Jewish organizations are outraged at an advertisement that attacks their stance on gun control and calls Rep. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) a “stupid Jew” for backing a major gun control bill working its way through Congress.
The advertisement, published in the April 19 edition of The New Gun Week, described “Schumer and other Jewish gun-grabbers — notably the B’nai B’rith and its Anti-Defamation League” as being “stupid.”
“They cannot see that their gun control activities fuel the fires of real anti-Semitism,” the ad said, contending that “tens of millions of Americans” increasingly find “their civil right to own guns reduced by these pro-criminal Jews.”
The ad was placed by Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, a Milwaukee-based group that claims 1,000 members. In an interview, Aaron Zelman, the group’s executive director, accused proponents of the gun control bill of “letting the Jews do the dirty work.”
The so-called Brady Bill would impose a mandatory seven-day waiting period on new applicants for gun permits. The bill, which was approved last week by the House Judiciary Committee and is expected to reach the House floor next week, is named for James Brady, the former White House press secretary who was shot and paralyzed during the unsuccessful 1981 attempt on the life of then President Ronald Reagan.
Schumer, who, as chairman of the Judiciary subcommittee on crime and criminal justice, is a key supporter of the bill, told the New York Daily News that the advertisement “appeals to the worst instincts in people.”
TWO VIEWS OF JEWISH TRADITION
Jess Hordes, Washington representative of the ADL, called Zelman’s argument a “red herring” and “demeaning” to public policy.
He said that the “overwhelming majority of Americans” support the Brady Bill approach, and that it is law enforcement agencies, not Jews, who are doing most of the lobbying work.
Mark Pelavin, Washington representative of the American Jewish Congress, said, “Injecting religious bigotry into a public debate is well beyond the bounds of reasoned political discourse.”
Other groups condemning the advertisement include Agudath Israel of America, the American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith International, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.
The advertisement charged that “Schumer defiles Jewish tradition, because Jewish law supports the right of self-defense and states ‘If a man comes to kill you, arise and kill him first.'”
But Rabbi J. David Bleich, a professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University, told AJCongress in a letter last week that “Jewish law and tradition does not favor indiscriminate dissemination of arms or other weapons of violence.” There are also “authoritative sources forbidding the sale of weapons to individuals who are likely to utilize them for crimes of violence,” Bleich wrote.
But in the interview, Zelman cited both Jewish and Western jurisprudence as teaching, “It is wrong to treat the innocent the same as the guilty.” Under the Brady Bill, “you’re guilty until you’re proven innocent,” he claimed.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.