CAIR-PHILLY: MODERATE JEWISH VOICES NOT COVERED
Having attended the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Philadelphia banquet, I found The Inquirer's coverage ("Sensitive political test for Sestak," April 8) skewed. While giving extensive coverage to a rabbi protesting outside the banquet, the article failed to mention that there were rabbis and other Jews participating inside. I believe those moderates represent the true voice of the Jewish community.
The article mentioned only in passing that CAIR has actively opposed all forms of terrorism. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the right-wing groups who fail to condemn Israeli transgressions.
CAIR is a mainstream American Muslim organization. Using fear and hate to discourage politicians from engaging with the American Muslim community is a hijacking of the democratic process. For all the controversy surrounding U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak's appearance at the banquet, the pro-Israel groups will be comforted that he was an apologist for Israel inside the banquet hall.
As a rabbi and director of a Jewish organization committed to truth; to peace between Israel and the Palestinian people; and to peace between the United States and the Muslim world, I spoke at the dinner of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Philadelphia chapter. Your report on the event (April 8) turned the presence of a few Jewish picketers into a collision between the Jewish community and CAIR.
The article did not report that my calls for renewed dedication to a two-state peace settlement and for each member of the family of Abraham to feel personally wounded when any member of the family kills another were warmly applauded.
It didn't mention a supportive letter from Rabbi Jeff Sultar of Congregation Mishkan Shalom or the address by former Ambassador Ed Peck, some of whose family died in the Holocaust. It barely mentioned Gov. Rendell, who is Jewish and whose speech was warmly received.
It didn't report that CAIR strongly speaks out against terrorist attacks by Muslims, but reported uncorroborated assertions by two local Jews that CAIR "has connections to terrorists."
The event showed that a peace-committed part of the Jewish community can work with a peace-committed part of the Muslim community, despite the presence of violence-supportive people in each community.
Rabbi Arthur Waskow
The Shalom Center
SEE: DANCING OR DENOUNCING IN THE WORLD-WIDE EARTHQUAKE - MUSLIMS, CHRISTIANS, JEWS