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Reform Jewish Leaders Condemn Rep. Moran's Remarks on Jewish Support for Iraq War

Pelavin and Sperling: Rep. Moran's statement mistakenly assume a monolithic view in the American Jewish community, and it contains all-too familiar echoes of anti-Semitic refrains. We condemn his comments wholeheartedly, and believe they call into question his fitness to serve in Congress.


Contact:
Alexis Rice or Barbara Weinstein 202-387-2800

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2003 - Following the recent alarming statements by Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) and Rabbi Scott Sperling, Director of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) Mid-Atlantic Council issued the following statement:

In recent weeks, as our country faces the war on terror and preparations for a potential war with Iraq, all Americans are thinking anew about our nation's role in the world and our collective responsibilities as global citizens. A healthy discourse is always positive and all Americans should feel free to engage in the ongoing debate. However, recent weeks have also seen a growing slide toward incivility in that discourse.

Last week, Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) stated that American Jewish influence is the key factor that has led the Administration to prepare for military action to disarm Iraq, and that if the Jewish community expressed opposition to such a war, it would not occur. Specifically, Rep. Moran noted, "If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this."

Rep. Moran's statement mistakenly assume a monolithic view in the American Jewish community, and it contains all-too familiar echoes of anti-Semitic refrains. We condemn his comments wholeheartedly, and believe they call into question his fitness to serve in Congress.

We are heartened by the quick and forceful responses to Moran's outrageous statements. Just as we welcomed President Bush's proper condemnation of Senator Trent Lott's remarks about segregation, we note that leaders of both sides of the aisle have condemned Moran's remarks. That is why we are also troubled by the suggestion of House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX), who is reported to have told a Jewish audience that the Democratic Party "appears to countenance remarks like those made by Representative Moran in the past few weeks." It is one thing to say of Moran, as Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) did, that his comments were "reminiscent of the accusations contained in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion," and another altogether to impute those comments to the entire Democratic Party. Issues of anti-Semitism, and racism, do not reside solely in one party or another. Recognizing them, and responding forcefully, is the job of all political leaders.



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