Jewish activism

Economic angst deepens; where are the Jews?

 I'm not sure there's anything more demoralizing than watching Congress and the Obama administration sputter away about an economy that seems to heading south once again.

The past few week's newspapers have overflowed with economic news, ranging from bad to really terrible; economic pundits like the New York Times' Paul Krugman tell a terrible story of economic ineptitude at every level and speak ominously about much worse to come.

More Jewish groups speaking out against Islam bashing

More Jewish groups are getting the message that the epidemic of Islam bashing isn't ...well, good for the Jews or any other religious minority.

Yesterday a broad spectrum of religious leaders gathered in Washington to discuss the rising tide of anti-Islam bigotry. Representing the Jewish community at sessions hosted by the Islamic Society of North America: Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA).

Jewish Groups Step Up Efforts to Combat Anti-Muslim Bigotry

09/08/2010
JTA

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) -- Jewish groups have stepped up efforts to combat anti-Muslim bigotry, with several national initiatives announced this week and supporting statements coming in from a range of Jewish voices.

In Washington, officials from several Jewish organizations took part Tuesday in an emergency summit of Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders that denounced anti-Muslim bigotry and called for a united effort by believers of all faiths to reach out to Muslim Americans.

D.C. Interfaith Summit Denounces Anti-Muslim Bigotry

09/07/2010

(JTA) -- An interfaith summit of Jewish, Christian and  Muslim leaders denounced anti-Muslim bigotry.

In a statement released by the group, which represented the majority of the country’s Jews, Muslims and Christians, participants announced that they came together Tuesday in Washington, D.C., “to denounce categorically the derision, misinformation and outright bigotry being directed against America’s Muslim community.”

Judge blocks Obama administration stem cell funding, Jewish groups angry

A couple of Jewish groups have weighed in – angrily – on the federal judge who blocked the Obama administration's decision to fund embryonic stem cell research.

Obama acted in 2009 after legislation that would allow federal stem cell funding was vetoed twice by former President George W. Bush. Christian groups filed suit against the Obama guidelines, saying it would result in the destruction of human embryos.

As tax battle looms, Jewish groups dive for cover

This is just so predictable, it makes me want to scream.

Congressional Republicans and the Obama administration will go head to head next month in what could be their biggest battle. The issue: whether or not to let Bush-era tax cuts expire in the face of incomprehensibly large deficts and an economy that has not yet recovered from the Great Recession.

And a slew of Jewish groups with a big stake in the debate will be struck mute.

More on the AJ Congress - and the perils of progressive domestic activism

The other day I blogged about the sad demise of the American Jewish Congress and laid much of the blame for its protracted demise on its decision to turn away from the progressive domestic focus that was its traditional bread and butter.

A caller with long connections to the group took me to task.

From One AJC To Another AJC

08/04/2010
Staff Writer

Lay leaders of the American Jewish Congress appear to have one motto: “Never say die.”

Despite closing their offices and discharging 10 staffers last month as part of a reorganization,” the group’s president and at least one board member said they still believe the organization could rebound. But it will have to do it without Marc Stern, its general counsel for 11 years and the man who served as co-executive director for the past two year. 

Committee man: Marc Stern changes addresses.

Will Marc Stern's move doom the American Jewish Congress?

 Coming back from an Internet-free vacation, I learned that Marc Stern, the longtime legal guru of of the American Jewish Congress, has signed on to serve as associate general counsel for legal activity of the American Jewish Committee.

That should put a conclusive end to speculation about a merger between the two groups whose similar names have given generations of Jewish journalists fits, for the simple reason that with Stern's defection, the AJ Congress has absolutely nothing the American Jewish Committee could possibly want.

American Jewish Congress, 1918-2010

07/20/2010
Editorial

News this week that the American Jewish Congress has suspended activities due to financial problems is depressing, though not unexpected. The once-proud organization, founded in 1918, and long the voice of liberal Jewish activism, lost much of its distinctiveness in recent years. As its membership declined and staff was reduced, it played a diminished role in domestic affairs, though remained known for its expertise on church-state issues.

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