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Sweet: Seven Jewish senators sign letter deploring "false and malicious" attacks on Obama

LAS VEGAS, NV.–Seven Democratic Jewish senatorsnone who have endorsed a Democratic presidential contender –signed an open letter to the Jewish community asking their fellow Jews to reject false and malicious attacks being circulated about White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who throughout his run has had to refute rumors he is a Muslim.

Over the past several weeks, many in the Jewish community have received hateful emails that use falsehood and innuendo about Senator Barack Obama’s religion and attack him personally, said the letter, whose lead signer is Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI.)

As Jewish United States Senators who have not endorsed a candidate for the Democratic nomination, we condemn these scurrilous attacks. We find it particularly abhorrent that these attacks arc apparently being sent specifically to the Jewish Community. Jews, who have historically been the target of such attacks, should be the first to reject these tactics.

The other signers are Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.); Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.); Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.); Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.); Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

Two other Jewish senatorsSen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have endorsed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY.). The other Jewish senators are Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I/D-Ct.).

The letter is important to Obama because it comes as major contests are coming up in Feb. 5 states with substantial Jewish populations and as he faces a vote on Jan. 26 in South Carolina where he is trying to appeal to Christian faith based voters.

Obama has been the subject of persistent and incorrect attacks making the rounds in mass e-mails about his religion. Obama is a Christian. His problem was triggered in part because his middle name is Hussein, he spent part of his youth in Indonesia, a Muslim majority country and on his fathers side he has Muslim roots.

We won’t dignify these falsehoods by repeating them in order to refute them. Instead, we will express our outrage at these tactics, which are being used to demonize a good and decent man and our friend and colleague. Attempting to manipulate voters into supporting or opposing one candidate or another based on despicable and fictitious attacks is disgraceful. These false and malicious attacks should not be part of our political discourse, the letter said.

Levin quarterbacked getting the six other Jewish senators on board the letter to defend Obama. He was flagged about the situation by his cousin, Dan Levin, Habitat Co. and East Bank Club honcho who is a long-time Obama supporter.

THE LETTER

Carl Levin

United States Senator

January 18,2008

An Open Letter to the Jewish Community:

Over the past several weeks, many in the Jewish community have received hateful emails

That use falsehood and innuendo about Senator Barack Obama’s religion and attack him

personally. As Jewish United States Senators who have not endorsed a candidate for the

Democratic nomination, we condemn these scurrilous attacks.

We find it particularly abhorrent that these attacks arc apparently being sent specifically

to the Jewish Community. Jews, who have historically been the target of such attacks,

should be the first to reject these tactics.

We won’t dignify these falsehoods by repeating them in order to refute them. Instead, we

will express our outrage at these tactics, which are being used to demonize a good and

decent man and our friend and colleague. Attempting to manipulate voters into

supporting or opposing one candidate or another based on despicable and fictitious

attacks is disgraceful. These false and malicious attacks should not be part of our

political discourse.

All voters should support whichever candidate they believe would make the best

president. We sincerely hope that Americans will make that decision based on the factual

records of these candidates, not false charges circulated by anonymous mass emails.

Sincerely,