Monday, February 4, 2008

Barack Obama Speaks Out Against Anti-Semitism

Last week, Senator Barack Obama addressed and reiterated his consistent and long standing denouncements of anti-Semitism.

“I have always denounced the abhorrent anti-Semitic views of Louis Farrakhan. I have done so since I was a community organizer on the South side of Chicago 20 years ago. And so, I don’t think that’s in question. My church has never issued anti-Semitic statements, nor have I heard my pastor ever utter anything anti-Semitic. And if I had, then I would have quit the church.

“What is true, is that I think they made a mistake in judgment, the magazine that was affiliated with the church in praising Farrakhan’s…primarily for the work that he’s done on ex-offenders and they are a presence in Chicago, they have done work in the community, that often draws attention that is separate from some of these previous remarks.

“I think that it doesn’t excuse in any way the fact that Mr. Farrakhan said in the past is unacceptable. And I was very clear both with my pastor and with the public, that you cannot excuse such statements. So I think that I have been absolutely clear in terms of my position on this issue. As I said before, I think that this is a situation in which because Farrakhan is based in Chicago and has done work that is separate apart from his reprehensible statements, that there are times when people don’t understand the pain that those statements originally have caused, and I will continue to strongly speak out anti-Semitism in all its forms.

"That’s part of the reason why I’ve always had such strong support in the Jewish community that is familiar with my track record because they know that I don’t tolerate that stuff, and I’m willing to say it right away in front of other audiences. I was just at Ebenezer church for Dr. King’s anniversary and specifically stated to that audience, the unacceptability of anti-Semitism in the African-American community or any community.”

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