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Washington - Jewish Democratic Leader Furious Over Chabad McCain Confernce Call

Published on: September 9, 2008 09:22 AM
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Ira Forman Washington - According to the JTA , A Jewish Democratic leader says he will decline invitations to future Chabad-Lubavitch events in the nation’s capital because of its “partisan activities.”

National Jewish Democratic Council executive director Ira Forman will skip the events because “certain Chabad associated individuals and institutions” have been “taking part in partisan activties” in the last three election cycles.

“I currently do not feel that it is proper for a NJDC representative to give a ‘bi-partisan hechsher’ to your events,” wrote Forman in an e-mailed letter to American Friends of Lubavitch Washington director Rabbi Levi Shemtov that was obtained by JTA.

Forman was upset most recently, according to the letter, by a conference call last month that about 40 Chabad-Lubavitch shluchim had with McCain, in which the Republican asked for the group’s endorsement.


“With this McCain event I do not believe you have adequately considered the issues we previously discussed - including making sure that if you invite the candidate of one party that you then proceed (before the first event takes place) and make a formal, written invitation to the candidate of the other party,” the letter said.

Shemtov said he had “several” discussions with the Obama campaign about a similar event and the only reason it hasn’t happened yet is because of “scheduling challenges.”

“If between one event and an an equivalent event there is a lapse of time beyond our control, that can hardly be considered partisanship,” said the rabbi. “Especially in this particular case, we were clear with both campaigns that whatever would be done with one we would be willing to do with the other.”

Forman would not comment further on the e-mail. “This letter was not intended to be public,” he said. Forman had blind-copied the e-mail to some mutual friends of the two men.

Shemtov said his organization does not take sides in elections. “Chabad-Lubavitch has never been nor cannot be nor will it ever be a partisan organization,” said Shemtov. “In fact, we are diligent in ensuring access and information both ways across the spectrum of public officials.”

Shemtov added that he does not rely on Forman for bipartisanship, pointing out that his annual dinner always includes members of Congress from both parties as honorees. “Many of our events attract more Democrats than his do, so frankly I’m not too concerned,” said Shemtov

More of today's headlines

Oakland County, MI - U.S. Congressman Joe Knollenberg(R-MI) has cited his assistance to Chabad's Friendship Circle in Michigan for special needs children in a reelection... Sullivan County, NY - A 36-year-old Long Island man is accused of blowing up mailboxes and shooting out windows of businesses and cars with his two sons over the summer...



Read Comments (34)  —  Post Yours »


 Sep 09, 2008 at 09:42 AM Anonymous Says:

Let the NJDC jump in the lake.


 Sep 09, 2008 at 09:53 AM Anon1 Says:

Chabad has always been there for everyone, and never took sides. It is obvious this Forman has some beef with Rabbi Shemtov.
Rabbi Shemtov will survive, while Forman will be out of a job after the elections, due to the dismal showing of Jewish voters for Obama.


 Sep 09, 2008 at 09:48 AM anonymous Says:

Democrat,Republican,.... remember after everything is said and done we are jewish brothers so lets not get carried away


 Sep 09, 2008 at 09:56 AM mikey Says:

Funny how some jews believe that a Jewish person MUST be a democrat.

Well guess what - a whole lot of jews are Republican and a whole lot are political conservative.

Seems the democrat party doesn't really believe in democracy if they get so insulted by freedom of choice.


 Sep 09, 2008 at 10:06 AM Anon Says:

It is rare to see a politician behave in a way that is so foolish - what did he have to gain by this? Absolutely nothin... Once it becomes personal you have lost your effectiveness.


 Sep 09, 2008 at 10:29 AM murray Says:

The Democrats believe in "choice" of candidates exactly the same way as they believe in a "woman's right to Choose", as long as they choose "correctly"- Choose a dem, choose an abortion,
When I first was able to vote (those many years ago- I am 54) I didn't know how the whole process worked, but the "elders of the community" (Jewish , from large Conservative "Temple" instructed me: "You just go down the many listings, and pull the names that have a "D" after them, its really very simple" I took their wise old sage advice ( must have had relatives from Chelm). that one time-and NEVER AGAIN!!!


 Sep 09, 2008 at 10:22 AM Anonymous Says:

the NJDC is the most partisan anti frum group in all of politics. They do nothing but spread propaganda and attack Republicans. Chabad has a LONG history of being there for BOTH political parties. There are THOUSANDS of Jewish people on The Hill that Rabbi Levi Shemtov is there for, he doesn't ask them for which Party they belong to when he invites them to come daven in his shul, or shake lulav and esrog with them or get them to keep shabbos and kosher.

The NJDC should be ashamed of itself. Both McCain and Palin are friends to the Jews and if elected will be good to us. Sen. Obama (and Biden) will almost make certain Jerusalem is divided.


 Sep 09, 2008 at 10:21 AM Anonymous Says:

The Obama campaign was not asked by Shemtov until after the fracas over the failure to observe not for profit rules.


 Sep 09, 2008 at 10:41 AM Vote McCain - Palin In 08! Says:

Well Mr. National Jewish DEMOCRATIC Council Executive Director Ira Forman ... on your way out please dont let the door hit ya where the good L-rd split ya!

Is is only me or does the word DEMOCRATIC in his organization's name make him lose ALL credibility here??


 Sep 09, 2008 at 10:58 AM murray Says:

I would trust George Foreman and his grills to do a better job than this Forman------probably so politically correct he grills tofu burgers on his grill (for PETA approval).


 Sep 09, 2008 at 11:57 AM deepthinker Says:

I guess he feels that he owns the Jews, and they have no right to stray out of his plantation.

Maybe he should examine his own priorities.


 Sep 09, 2008 at 11:44 AM ano Says:

lets do this rationally

ira forman in an election year takes on a group that has 4000 RABBIS IN THE FIELD TO PROMOTE barack hussien obama to the jewish community.

well i hope foreman has a resume ready to be the next arab democratic party leader-- oops sorry no such job

thats why macain palin will win


 Sep 09, 2008 at 11:35 AM Baltimorean Says:

Maybe all those hachomim don't remember the quote about Jews by a gentleman named Baker


 Sep 09, 2008 at 11:35 AM vildechaia Says:

To Anonymous at 10:22 - McCain and Palin are NOT friends to the Jews. My stomach turns at the thought of these two leading the most powerful nation on earth. Palin is a heartbeat away from becoming president of the United States. Do you really think this is what Americans want? I, for one, do not. Read all you can about those two, then make your decision.


 Sep 09, 2008 at 12:24 PM ????? Says:


Who are you? Im sorry who? I didnt see The Annointed One extend a hand to Chabad...Dont hate - congratulate!


 Sep 09, 2008 at 12:46 PM anonymous Says:

Did McCain accept the Rebbe as nosi hadayr ?


 Sep 09, 2008 at 12:36 PM Anonymous Says:

It is very important to note that this Conference call with the Chabadniks was initiated by the McCain camp!


 Sep 09, 2008 at 01:42 PM Sarah Palin does not speak for me Says:

McCain :America is a Christian country that needs a Christian President

Palin : The suffering of the Israeli people is because of their refusal to accept Christ as their Savior.

Why should any American Jew support that?


 Sep 09, 2008 at 01:56 PM Simchat Torah Says:

Most reform and secular yidden are democrats where as most frum yidden are republican. This clearly suggests those who observe Torah would be more inclined to vote McCain/Palin instead of Obama/Biden.
Any frum yid who is going to vote Obama can you please tell me one thing he supports/does that is in line with Torah principles/beliefs?


 Sep 09, 2008 at 01:53 PM Torah Yid Says:


Isnt Joe Lieberman a yid and a good friend of John McCain? Has John McCain ever said he supports the division of Jerusalem or negotiations with the psychotic "little napoleon" ahminijead like Obama has? Hmmmmm I wonder who is a friend of the Jews. Show me ONE frum Jew who is good friends with Obama.


 Sep 09, 2008 at 03:03 PM murray Says:

YOu just want ONE thing?... OK how about Gay Marriage, Gay Rights, Abortion, No prayer in public school, teach Evolution as science.....I could go on and on, oh excuse me...oops, these DemonRat principals are actually against a Torah viewpoint.!
If a frum Jew doesn't want Mccain, they should vote for Bob Barr, or stay home.


 Sep 09, 2008 at 02:50 PM Conservative One Says:

It should have been 100%


 Sep 09, 2008 at 02:50 PM Conservative One Says:

How come that I am not surprised that these non-Torah types support the Democrats while the Frume Yiden, who think with their heads, support the Republicans. Chabad Lubavitch is 10% right.


 Sep 09, 2008 at 03:13 PM Someone in Rockland Says:

Palin now attends the Wasilla Bible Church. She was there on August 17, just days before entering the national spotlight. David Brickner, the founder of Jews for Jesus, was a speaker. He told congregants that terrorist attacks on Israel were God's "judgment" of Jews who haven't embraced Christianity. Brickner said, "Judgment is very real and we see it played out on the pages of the newspapers and on the television. When a Palestinian from East Jerusalem took a bulldozer and went plowing through a score of cars, killing numbers of people. Judgment -- you can't miss it."

I'll Vote Democrat


 Sep 09, 2008 at 03:24 PM Baltimorean Says:

Simchat torah can you tell me one issue that fundamental christian have in common with a "frum" yid except spending money to convert yidden here and in Israel


 Sep 09, 2008 at 03:32 PM Nechamah Says:

With all of the information we had on the church that Obama went to for 20 years, considering that pastor his "most trusted advisor", an advisor that spewed hatred and black separatism and supremecy as well as plain old antisemitism and antiJudaism, I find it difficult to understand why someone would vote for him over Palin, due to visitors or activities in her church. Also, Palin is not running for president; Obama is; thus the influence of his church and trusted advisor are far more of a real and present danger than those of Palin.


 Sep 09, 2008 at 03:54 PM know who your voting for Says:

someone in rockland county.... dont forget what barak hussein obamas pastor jeremiah wright said about israel, the united states and the jewish people. but you must have a better reason for voting obama must be his call for "change"


 Sep 09, 2008 at 06:05 PM Simchat Torah Says:

Someone in Rockland & Baltimorean,

Rather then answer my question (Tell me one thing Obama supports/does that is in line with Torah principles/beliefs) you attacked Palin's churchs affiliation with a J4J. I could easily turn this around and attack Obama's affiliation with Jeremiah Wright or maybe the fact that Biden is a catholic (edom) who are responsible for killing more Jews then anyone else. But this would be digressing from my question. Let me be clear why I support McCain/Palin and typically most republicans.
While both dems/republicans practice avoda zara(mentioned above)republicans tend to share more Torah values then democrats. EX: Stands against Gay Marriage & Late Term Abortion. I would prefer to live in a society which shares similar values and different beliefs, as opposed to a society which I share little/no values and have different beliefs. A good example of this is in california, where many frum yidden and xtian idolaters are unified in support of proposition 8 to overturn gay marriage. And this is why I will vote McCain / Palin because they share more Torah Values with me then Obama/Biden.


 Sep 09, 2008 at 06:39 PM Someone Else in Rockland Says:

While it may be true that the Republican agenda may fall more in line with the "laws" and restrictions contained in the Torah (ie. social issues such as homosexuality, etc.) Democratic values are more about helping people which is in the nature of Mitzvot. Which is more important? Not for me to say. Thats what freedom of choice is all about.


 Sep 09, 2008 at 06:51 PM Anonymous Says:

Someone Else in Rockland, I think it's more like a robin hood thing. Steal from the rich and give to the poor. If it's socialisim you want then go to china.

and we all can see how well it's working out for the average citizen over there.


 Sep 09, 2008 at 08:20 PM abi gezunt Says:

to all those democrates there .last time i checked the defenition of chasidi imos huoilem (rightus gentiles) does not mean they cant b christan and therfore they can belive in whatever they belive in.


 Sep 09, 2008 at 11:26 PM Barry Says:

Sour grapes. Only a foolish Jewish Democrat can be partisan. What a hypocrite!!


 Sep 10, 2008 at 12:02 AM Anonymous Says:

Vote McCane for a safe Israel or if you want another holocaust with Iranian nukes vote Obamo.


 Sep 10, 2008 at 01:09 PM Reb Yid Says:

LOL Shemtov's response is the best!!!


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