J Street announced this week a national petition campaign asking Jewish newspapers around the country to refuse the smear ads offered by the Republican Jewish Coalition (“Obama–anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian, hostile to America”). In the two days since the campaign began, it has gathered 20,000 signatures and 2,500 new members for J Street.
It’s great to have my sense of the importance of this story confirmed by J Street’s support. Jewschool has also joined with a supportive post. I hope you’ll go to the website and sign the petition. The site allows you to directly import your address book and use it to circulate the petition to your own friends and family. I hope you’ll do that.
Let’s tell the Jewish media that there should be fairness and an insistence on a standard of truth in such election ads. If the standard isn’t met the ad shouldn’t run. By all means, let the papers accept ads from whoever wishes to run them. But the ads should not be allowed to cross over into outright lies and calumny.
The Jewish Forward told me they refused to reject the ads. They’re apparently too cowed by the reception they’ll get from the RJC if they do. Giving liberal Jews like me and now J Street the cold shoulder is apparently a price The Forward is willing to pay.
And let’s not restrict our criticism to The Forward. Haaretz, JTA and Jewish Week are also accepting the ads and the first two haven’t even replied to messages from me seeking comment. At least, Gary Rosenblatt had the good sense to run the RJC ad on page 34 of the latest edition where hopefully no one will see it.
It appears that Barack Obama is likely to become our next president. Is it right that the RJC should be allowed to poison the waters in our community with outright lies and hate about the candidate’s record and beliefs? And is this the kind of behavior we want to see in future presidential elections from scurrilous Jewish groups like the RJC?