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Rabbis & Other Religious Leaders Rebuke Rep. Allen West

David Streeter — February 3, 2011 – 8:57 am | Republicans Comments (7) Add a comment

Representative Allen West (R-FL) received a sharp rebuke from a diverse group of religious leaders, including leading rabbis Jack Moline, the Rabbinical Assembly’s Director of Public Policy, and David Saperstein, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism’s Director and Counsel, for his “intemperate” comments regarding Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) and the Islamic religion.

Washington Jewish Week‘s Adam Kredo wrote:

In an interview with Richard Peritz of the Shalom Show, West was (bizarrely) asked how he plans to manage his relationship with Ellison, who, as the interviewer puts it, ‘supports Islam.’

West responded: ‘When you run into someone who is counter, or someone that really does represent the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was founded on, you’ve got to be able to defeat them intellectually—in debate, in discussion—and you have to be able to challenge every single one of their assertions wisely.’


West’s (bizarre) response prompted an interfaith group of religious leaders to blast him in a letter Wednesday.

‘We write to you today with deep concern over your recent criticisms of Islam and its adherents,’ said the letter, which was jointly sent by Interfaith Alliance President Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, Rabbinical Assembly Director of Public Policy Rabbi Jack Moline, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism Director and Counsel Rabbi David Saperstein and Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty Executive Director Rev. J. Brent Walker.

‘Regrettably, this is just the latest example of your tendency to offer intemperate comments about Islam,’ wrote the faith leaders, pointing out that during the campaign season, West reportedly said that ‘Islam is a totalitarian, theocratic political ideology; it is not a religion.’

West, however, countered that he is not Islamophobic, and has no problem with Ellison’s religious beliefs—though he doesn’t see a need to apologize for his remarks.

‘I am neither anti-Muslim nor anti-Islam,’ West wrote in a statement. ‘It is the extremist, radical element that has hijacked Islam that presents to both our country and our allies throughout the world.’

This incident is just the latest example of West being out of step with the Jewish community and its leadership. It further calls into question his ability to competently serve as a member of the United States House of Representatives and cooperate with other members of Congress.


Rick | February 3, 2011 – 1:48 pm

Just as the extremist, radical element has taken over the GOP.

Alex | February 4, 2011 – 3:11 pm

Actually, it’s the NJDC and the majority of the Jewish community who are out of step. As a Jew, I fully support West because West supports our allies, unlike most of the Democratic party, especially Ellison.

doctoretty | February 4, 2011 – 6:15 pm

This is one of those of questionable mental health that the voters chose in the last election.  It promises to give new meaning to the expression, “the inmates are running the asylum.”
Hopefully, it won’t take long for the population to get buyers remorse and make changes again in 2012.

Rachel | February 5, 2011 – 2:57 am

Representative West is not out of step at all.  Those that condemn his statements have not read history.  I agree with Alex that much of the liberal Jewish Community is out of step with the reality of the dangers that face the American community and the Jewish Communities both here and abroad.  I prefer Truth to Political Correctness, and my Democrats are in the PC crowd.

Jerry Gettinger | February 6, 2011 – 12:18 am

Ideologues are always difficult to explain and understand. To attribute views and acts in the name of spiritual causes has become commonplace. The terrorists that kill in the name of Allah(or G-d)test ones tolerance and ability to understand.  It is important however, to remember that Islam is not the only cause that is used as an excuse for killing.  The person who bombed the building in Oklahoma was neither Islam or Christian, only somone who was motivated to kill.  Trying to explain the reasoning behind terrorist acts only dignifies the acts. Sometimes there are horrors that are beyond comprehension and can never be understood.

Alan Bergstein | February 27, 2011 – 9:15 pm

I’ve known Allen West for seven years. He has spoken at my temple and at the Zionist Organization of America chapter in Delray Beach. He is an upstanding supporter of Israel and Jewry. More so than Keith Ellison, a member of the Nation of Islam (Farrakhan’s group) and The Council of American Islamic Relations both overtly Jew-hating.

Gail Tenzer | July 24, 2011 – 1:01 am

It is curious how vehement these Rabbis come out to condemn someone when Islam is criticized and how deafening the silence when anti-Semitic statements come out of Islam.
Perhaps these religious leaders should consider becoming Imams instead.  I am a deceased Rabbi’s daughter and am appalled at the behavior of some of these so-called religious leaders. They certainly are not my leaders. 
Thank G-d for sending us friends like Allen West to speak for us.  He is courageous to take a stand for Israel and the Jewish people and I now need to shamefully offer him my apologies for the bad behavior of these Leftists who I consider to be the enemies of our people.

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