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In Wake Of Pittsburgh Massacre, San Diego Rabbis Speak Out Against Hunter’s Campaign Rhetoric

Pittsburgh Hate Crime Moves San Diego Rabbis To Speak Out Against Rep. Hunter's Campaign Rhetoric


Rabbi Devorah Marcus, senior rabbi, Temple Emanu-El of San Diego


Photo credit: courtesy photo

Rabbi Devorah Marcus in an undated photo.

San Diego rabbis' statement on Duncan Hunter's campaign rhetoric

"As rabbis and leaders of the Jewish community in the San Diego area, we are deeply disturbed by Duncan Hunter and his campaign's personal attacks on Ammar Campa-Najjar. These attacks are not rooted in facts or in serious policy disagreements, but in appeals to racism, bigotry and fear. Campa-Najar is a Christian, not a Muslim, and not affiliated with any radical group. Campa-Najar is not a security risk, he received a security clearance when he worked for the Obama administration.

These false fear mongering claims undermine important Jewish values including the commitment to tolerance, honesty and respect. In light of the recent tragedy of Pittsburgh we feel compelled to speak out against hate speech wherever it occurs. In the Talmud (Yevamot 87b) we read the rabbinic wisdom that silence in the face of accusatory testimony is tantamount to consent.

This statement is not an endorsement of either candidate. We encourage all candidates to continue to debate the issues and discuss their differences of opinion with honesty and civility."

Rabbi Aliza Berk

Rabbi Laurie Coskey

Rabbi Cantor Arlene Bernstein

Rabbi Wayne Dosick

Rabbi David Frank

Rabbi Susan Freeman

Rabbi Benj Fried

Rabbi Jeremy Gimbel

Rabbi Leah Herz

Rabbi Martin Lawson

Rabbi Devorah Marcus

Rabbi Scott Meltzer

Rabbi Yael Ridberg

Rabbi Paula Reimers

Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal

Rabbi Carole Stein

Rabbi Jonathan Stein

In light of the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue, leaders of the Jewish community in San Diego are calling on Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, and his campaign to end their personal attacks against challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar.

Hunter's campaign mailers have called Campa-Najjar a national security risk without evidence.

A statement signed by 17 San Diego area rabbis reads in part, "These attacks are not rooted in facts or in serious policy disagreements, but in appeals to racism, bigotry and fear."

Rabbi Devorah Marcus, senior rabbi at Temple Emanu-El of San Diego, said Hunter's remarks about Campa-Najjar are "playing on racism against Muslims, fear of the Muslim people and fear of all Arabs, in this case Palestinians."

Campa-Najjar has described himself as a Christian. When asked about his time in Gaza as a child, he said he attended Catholic school there until he was 11 and moved back to San Diego where he was raised by his mother.

KPBS asked Hunter to respond to the rabbis' statement. He said, "No, we're not going to respond to that, we're not worried about it."

Marcus spoke with KPBS’ Jade Hindmon about the weight words carry.

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