Surprise: Jewish groups that “signed” Soros-backed anti-Beck letter repudiate, citing misrepresentation

Yid With Lid has the goods:

Carried in the January 27th edition of the Wall Street Journal was an advertisement/open letter from four-hundred Rabbis organized by a socialist Jewish organization called Jewish Funds for Justice (JFJ), with strong ties to financier George Soros (the full ad is embedded at the bottom of this page). As discussed the day the ad came out, the rabbis efforts brought shame upon themselves, their holy profession and the entire Jewish people, and even worse have committed a Chillul Hashem (desecration of God’s name). A conversation with one of the signers, Rabbi Steven Wernick , the day after my initial post raised more questions (which as of this moment the Rabbi still hasn’t answered).

That however, is the not the end of the story.  Over the past few days, three of the groups used to corroborate the false charges raised by Jewish Funds For Justice have repudiated the letter arraigned by the George Soros proxy. All three weren’t contacted prior to the use of their names, disagreed with the thrust of the letter and were not happy that they were included. A fourth came out and said the letter was too one sided.  Not surprisingly  the only group/person not raising some objection to the letter has an association with George Soros.

The first one to weigh in was Jeffrey Tobin of Commentary who saw the letter as an overt attempt to silence someone with home they disagree politically[…]

Yesterday in the Wall Street Journal there were two letters published from organizations named in the JFJ open letter:

Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld Vice President American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors wrote:

I suppose that I am to rest easy now that these rabbis and the individuals they quote in their advertisement find Glenn Beck and Roger Ailes… represent a greater threat to the welfare of the Jews than George Soros. I have no position on Mr. Beck, but I am frankly puzzled as to how he merits so great an expenditure by this group. What a waste of communal resources this represents when there are so many needy people, Holocaust survivors and others.

This absurdity and the fact that these rabbis have never seen fit to comment on Mr. Soros’s support for entities that have harmed Israel and Jewish interests (and in my view, Western interests generally), force me to speak out. [my emphasis]

[…] I also know that in my 30 years of participation in large-scale annual commemorations I have yet to meet a survivor who expressed support for Mr. Soros.

Most surprising was the second letter which was from Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, who has often used his organization as an arm of the progressive movement. Foxman defended Beck and Fox News as friends of Israel :

I was surprised to see my name and statements attributed to me used in the advertisement from Jewish Funds for Justice calling on Rupert Murdoch to “sanction” Glenn Beck for his repeated use of Holocaust and Nazi images on his Fox News program.

I want to make it clear, for the record, that I do not support this misguided campaign against Fox News, even though my name was used.

While we have said many times that Nazi comparisons are offensive and inappropriate when used for political attacks, in my view it is wrongheaded to single out only Fox News on this issue, when both liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, can share equal guilt in making trivializing comparisons to the Holocaust.

Furthermore, the open letter signed by hundreds of rabbis is a trivialization in itself—bizarrely timed for release on United Nations’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. At a time when Holocaust denial is rampant in much of the Arab world, where anti-Semitism remains a serious concern, and where the Iranian leader has openly declared his desire to “wipe Israel off the map,” surely there are greater enemies and threats to the Jewish people than the pro-Israel stalwarts Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes and Glenn Beck.

A fourth person sited in the letter Deborah Lipstadt, professor of Holocaust Studies at Emory University, said that she didn’t disagree with the thrust of the letter but felt it was distorted because of it was one-sided:
I don’t disagree with the thrust of JFSJ’s ad. That said, I do worry that it is a distortion to focus solely on the conservative end of the political spectrum.

When I saw the original ad I seriously wondered if these above organizations had completely taken leave of their senses. I am relieved that this is not the case. I cannot say that this incident lowers my esteem of the ones behind it by much, since it is currently approaching absolute zero in microkelvin steps.

See also YWL’s earlier coverage here and  here.

Texas social studies curriculum and WaPo misrepresentation

Very little to add to Ann Althouse on the matter:

If you’re going to criticize the new social studies curriculum adopted by the Texas Board of Education, you’d better quote it. Or at least link to the text. And if you choose to paraphrase and not even link, and I have to look up the text myself, and your paraphrase is not accurate, it is my job to embarrass you by pointing that out.

Let me embarrass the Washington Post. Below, the material from the WaPo article, written by Michael Birnbaum, is indented. After the indented part, I’ve located the relevant quote from the Board of Education text, found here. (I’m searching 3 PDF documents: Economics with Emphasis on the Free Enterprise System and Its Benefits Subchapter A. High School; Social Studies Subchapter B. Middle School; Social Studies Subchapter C. High School.)

The Washington Post writes:

The Texas state school board gave final approval Friday to controversial social studies standards….

The new standards say that the McCarthyism of the 1950s was later vindicated — something most historians deny –…

The students are required to “describe how McCarthyism, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the arms race, and the space race increased Cold War tensions and how the later release of the Venona Papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government…” The word “vindicated” is inflammatory and unfair. What is the Washington Post saying historians deny? One can be informed of the reality of what the Venona Papers revealed about communist infiltration into the U.S. government and still understand and deplore the excesses of “McCarthyism.”

…draw an equivalency between Jefferson Davis’s and Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural addresses…

Students are required to “analyze the ideas contained in Jefferson Davis’ inaugural address and Abraham Lincoln’s ideas about liberty, equality, union, and government as contained in his first and second inaugural addresses and the Gettysburg Address.” The word “equivalency” is uncalled for. The requirement is to analyze, not to be indoctrinated that the ideas are the same.

… say that international institutions such as the United Nations imperil American sovereignty…

What I’m seeing is “explain the significance of the League of Nations and the United Nations” and “analyze the human and physical factors that influence the power to control territory, create conflict/war, and impact international political relations such as the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), or the control of resources.” Where is the language that can be paraphrased “imperil American sovereignty”?

…. and include a long list of Confederate officials about whom students must learn.

Students are required to “explain the roles played by significant individuals and heroes during the Civil War, including Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, and congressional Medal of Honor recipients William Carney and Philip Bazaar.” Only Davis and Lee were Confederate officials! There is also this: “describe the role of individuals such as governors George Wallace, Orval Faubus, and Lester Maddox and groups, including the Congressional bloc of southern Democrats, that sought to maintain the status quo [in the Civil Rights Era].” That’s obviously not from the Civil War, but I can see why it’s annoying to Democrats.

They also removed references to capitalism and replaced them with the term “free-enterprise system.”

The document on economics does use the term “free enterprise system” throughout, but students are required to “understand that the terms free enterprise, free market, and capitalism are synonymous terms to describe the U.S. economic system,” so what is the problem?

Virtually everything cited in the article to make the curriculum seem controversial is misstated! Appalling!