Thursday, August 23, 2012

Letter To Obama On Inclusion of Numerous Anti-Israel Activists In "Rabbis For Obama"

Following up on my last post How Many of the "Rabbis For Obama" Share Lynn Gottlieb's Anti-Israel Views? here is the text of a letter to President Obama that the Emergency Committee For Israel released today on the inclusion of numerous anti-Israel figures in his campaign's "Rabbis for Obama" group.

Letter from ECI Chairman William Kristol to President Obama
Dear Mr. President:

This week, your campaign launched a group called “Rabbis for Obama.” The "Rabbis for Obama," your campaign says, are "committed to re-electing" you due to your “policy agenda that represents the values of the overwhelming majority of the American Jewish community" and your “deep commitment to the security of the state of Israel.”

Though we have differed with you on many policy matters, we at the Emergency Committee for Israel have taken you at your word as to your basic commitment to Israel's security. Thus it was particularly shocking to see that your campaign had recruited, and was touting the support of, rabbis who have no commitment to Israel’s security, and whose values are representative of a small and extreme group of anti-Israel activists – and certainly not of the pro-Israel community.

"Rabbis for Obama" includes many leaders of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) Movement, a movement inimical to Israel's well-being. It includes founders of the pro-Hamas “Fast for Gaza” initiative. It even includes one person who was pleased to dine with Iranian President Ahmadinejad in 2008 and another who says the United States and Israel bring terrorism on themselves. Several members of “Rabbis for Obama” are officials of Jewish Voice for Peace, a radical group that the Anti-Defamation League featured in its list of the “Top 10 Anti-Israel Groups in America.”

Far from demonstrating a “deep commitment to the security of the state of Israel,” these figures have demonstrated a deep hostility to the state of Israel and a deep commitment to demonizing the Jewish state and undermining the U.S.-Israel alliance. We are sure that you will be distressed to discover that your own campaign has included so many of them on the list of “Rabbis for Obama.” We cannot imagine their endorsements are ones you welcome.

This is, as you have pointed out, a particularly perilous time for the people of Israel. We trust you do not want, however inadvertently, to signal in any way a lack of commitment to Israel's security or a lack of concern for Israel's well-being. So we look forward to your repudiation of the anti-Israel figures among the "Rabbis for Obama." And we respectfully suggest that you have an urgent and serious conversation with whoever in your campaign thought it appropriate to trumpet their support as a way of making your case to the pro-Israel community.


William Kristol
Here are the names of some of those referred to:


  • Chava Bahle, Suttons Bay Michigan
  • Rachel Evelyne Barenblat, Lanesboro MA
  • Haim Beliak, Los Angeles
  • Lynn Gottlieb, Berkeley (Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Co-founder of Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence, Stony Point, NY, JVP Advisory Board”
  • Linda J. Holtzman, Philadelphia
  • Rebecca Lillian, Chicago
  • David Mivasair, State College (more on David Mivasair's radical views here)
  • Brant Rosen, Evanston, co-founder Taanit Tzedek-Jewish Fast for Gaza

Rabbis for Human Rights

  • Charles M. Feinberg, Washington DC
  • Gerald Serotta, Chevy Chase MD
  • Simkha Y. Weintraub, Brooklyn
  • Sharon Brous, Los Angeles
  • Aryeh Cohen, Los Angeles
  • Ayelet S. Cohen, New York
  • Maurice D Harris, Eugene OR
  • Ellen Lippmann, Brooklyn
  • Sidney Schwarz, Rockville MD

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