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Posted: 1/3/2002 5:38:44 PM EST
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/03/politics/03JEWS.html Jewish Groups Endorse Tough Security Laws January 3, 2002 CIVIL LIBERTIES Jewish Groups Endorse Tough Security Laws By LAURIE GOODSTEIN Jewish groups long known for their outspoken defense of civil liberties have been silent on or even supportive of the Bush administration's counterterrorism legislation, breaking with their allies in the civil liberties movement who have criticized the new measures as potentially repressive. But the groups appear to be in step with their constituencies. A recent poll of American Jews disclosed a high level of support for the kind of surveillance measures that are anathema to civil libertarians, for example placing cameras in public places and requiring national identity cards. "Sept. 11 has forced all but the most doctrinaire on the right and the left to be open to a recalibration of the balance between security and liberty," said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York. "Jewish groups are perhaps more open to this re-examination, since so many of the threats are directed not only at Israel but at Jews worldwide." The terrorist attacks on the United States prompted many Americans, no matter their religious and ethnic backgrounds, to drop their objections to more intrusive law enforcement in the interest of national security. But the shift among Jewish organizations is notable because it involves a predominantly liberal minority that has always prided itself on defending other racial and religious minorities. "What you have is a measure of ambivalence that is unusual," said Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the alliance of Reform synagogues. "Organizations and leaders that one normally would expect to be quite outspoken on civil liberties have been more restrained." One reason for the reluctance to criticize the legislation, Rabbi Yoffie said, is that American Jewish leaders are intimately familiar with Israel's effort to maintain a democracy while fending off attacks from terrorists. "We have watched Israel struggle with this, in some ways successfully, in some ways not," he said. "Generally speaking, we think they've done a pretty good job. "In Israel, ethnic and religious profiling at airports is a given. Many of us have been at those airports more times than we can count, and there's something uncomfortable and distasteful about it, but at the same time we don't oppose it and we recognize the necessity of it." Most Jewish groups, like the historically liberal American Jewish Congress, have taken no stance on the antiterrorism legislation, said Phil Baum, the congress's national executive director. But the Anti-Defamation League has come out in favor of it, submitting testimony to Congress and commending the president and Attorney General John Ashcroft. "We have been out there," said Abraham H. Foxman, the league's executive director, "very clearly and very directly supportive of this new legislation and giving law enforcement more power to be able to act to prevent criminal acts." -- continued --
Link Posted: 1/3/2002 5:39:40 PM EST
Leaders of major Jewish groups said that after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, they decided not to sign statements circulated by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Council of Churches that urged Americans not to sacrifice civil liberties in the fight against terrorism. Richard T. Foltin, legislative director and counsel of the American Jewish Committee, said his group was among those that did not sign the A.C.L.U. statement. "It's not that there was anything wrong with that statement per se," Mr. Foltin said. "It said appropriate things about the need to safeguard civil liberties and not to scapegoat members of particular groups, and those are all things we subscribe to. The problem was there was no acknowledgment in that statement of the national security side." Critics of the antiterrorism legislation have objected to measures like the use of military tribunals to try people accused of terrorism, the indefinite detention of immigrants and permitting law enforcement officials to monitor conversations between suspects and their lawyers. But other than civil libertarians, those objecting the loudest have been Muslims and Arab-American groups. And many Jewish groups are unwilling to ally with them. Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said, "One complication is the reluctance to join with people who are critics on the war against terrorism, because amongst those critics are those who have mixed agendas on Israel." Mr. Foltin noted that Jewish groups' hard line on prosecuting terrorists had been evident four years ago in the controversy over the use of secret evidence to detain people suspected of being terrorists. Most Jewish groups sided with the Clinton administration in supporting the use of evidence that is never revealed to the accused, a method used to detain several people of Middle Eastern background. Muslims and Arab- American groups joined with some civil liberties groups to oppose secret evidence. Since then, Mr. Foltin said, there has been lively debate within Jewish groups about how to balance civil liberties and national security. "The problem of how you draw that balance is much more difficult when the one person you allow to go free may go out and commit mass murder," Mr. Foltin said. A survey of 1,015 American Jews in November and December conducted for the American Jewish Committee by Market Facts Inc., a research group, found that clear majorities favored expanding the scope of law enforcement agencies. Ninety- two percent say they support infiltrating suspicious groups; 70 percent favor adopting a national identity card system for American citizens; 66 percent favor expanding camera surveillance on streets and public places; and 55 percent favor monitoring of Internet chat rooms. Several Jewish leaders said their groups were still studying the administration's antiterrorism initiative. Some said they might press for changes behind the scenes. But so far, only the liberal Reform movement has publicly raised objections. Rabbi Yoffie and Rabbi Saperstein sent a letter to Attorney General Ashcroft in December saying, "We must be vigilant in ensuring that the investigation into the terrorist attacks does not undermine the very liberties that make this country worth celebrating and protecting." Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company
Link Posted: 1/3/2002 5:54:22 PM EST
I think this just goes to show the human tendancy toward hypocricy. It's the "Not in my back yard" syndrome. "Hey that doesn't affect me, so I'm all for it!" Let's throw a "yet" after the "me" in that last quote and see if the opinion changes. One of the most bizzare things I see in Isreal is the desire of their far right to cleanse the land of Arabs. Huh!?
Link Posted: 1/3/2002 5:55:16 PM EST
Very scary people. And of course, once the "war" is over, the only restriction they will likely want to keep is the illegal registration of guns and gun-owners that Chuckie Schumer and the Manchurian Candidate (McCain) have been frothing at the mouth about. I can only wonder what Aaron Zelman has to say about all this.... Why do so many people forget or ignore the German Waffengesetz of 1928 and its consequences a few years later under a different German chancellor on Jewish (and other) Germans ? *sigh* ................................... "Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens" (Against stupidity, even the gods struggle in vain.) Friedrich Schiller (1801) "Die Jungfrau von Orleans", III, 6 (Vers 2318)
Link Posted: 1/3/2002 11:21:14 PM EST
Those who disagree are anti-semetic and supporters of terrorism. The ADL and SPLC will be the lead non-governmental organizations to investigate and report possible domestic terrorists directly to the Director of Homeland Defense.
Link Posted: 1/4/2002 4:06:10 AM EST
I wish they would poll Jews from Isreal in stead of the ones here. You tend to be a little more openminded when you know you are a target for someone everyday. [beer]
Link Posted: 1/4/2002 4:44:32 AM EST
As a LEO and Jew, I am concerned about generating mistrust of the American People. Also and more important is the placement of controls on those using the new authority. We go back to power corrupts, there is too much power in the handsof those we have no control of.
Link Posted: 1/4/2002 4:48:57 AM EST
Just watched "Office Space" for the 15th time last night. Great line: "You know the Nazis had little pieces of flair ... that they made the Jews wear." I don't know how I missed it before [;)]
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