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Fw: Many Jews Oppose war against Iraq
by Alan Spector
18 March 2003 01:51 UTC
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Note from Alan Spector

The following excerpt is from the NY Times. The complete article can be found at:

 
For those who believe that all Jews are anti-Arab or anti-Muslim, the following article should help dispell that myth. It is important for Arabs, Muslim, and others to not fall into the trap of blaming "Jews", which might sound militant, but actually ends up distracting attention from those who are the main culprits.the imperialists, the big corporations, the politicians, most of whom, of course, are not Jews.

 

Divide Among Jews Leads to Silence on Iraq War

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN

Jewish organizations that have never been hesitant to issue resolutions on American foreign policy, especially toward the Middle East, have remained silent on going to war against Iraq.

Jewish leaders say that while they are supportive of President Bush because he has been a reliable ally of the Israeli government, they have become increasingly fearful of a backlash if the war goes badly.

 

But the other, more fundamental, reason for their reticence is that their own members have for months been unable to agree on whether a war with Iraq is a good idea.

The question of where American Jews stand on the war gained urgency this week after Representative James P. Moran, Democrat of Virginia, was condemned by members of both parties for saying that influential Jews were driving the United States toward war and was forced to apologize.

While Jewish leaders acknowledge that some Jewish policy makers helped devise the president's strategy on Iraq, and some Jewish lobbyists have backed it, there is strong evidence that American Jews are as divided as the rest of the nation.

"The only consensus we could come to was that there is no consensus," said Hannah Rosenthal, executive director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, describing a gathering two weeks ago in Baltimore of 700 Jewish leaders active with her group, which includes Jews from all four branches Reconstructionist; Reform; Conservative; and Orthodox.

"The general sense," said Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, "is of profound ambivalence. There is no wild enthusiasm for military action in the Jewish community, and certainly not in my movement."

At a meeting this week of the union's executive board which represents synagogues in the Reform movement, American Judaism's largest members decided not even to attempt to take a position on the war because it was unlikely they could reach agreement in a day, Rabbi Yoffie said.

Several polls have found that Jews are less likely than the public at large to support military action against Iraq. An aggregate of surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center from August 2002 to February 2003 found 52 percent of Jews in favor of military action, 32 percent opposed and 16 percent uncertain; among all Americans, the polling found 62 percent in favor, 28 percent opposed and 10 percent uncertain.

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