Pelavin: "Legitimate disagreements about policy differences can never be allowed to spill into ugly religious or ethnic characterizations."
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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 11, 2009 - In response to comments made by Rev. Jeremiah Wright in an interview at the annual Hampton University Ministers' Conference, Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
Rev. Wrights recent press comments that were derogatory toward Jews, contending that President Obama actions are dictated by members of the Jewish community, are unacceptable and worthy of repudiation. Yesterdays events at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum demonstrate that hateful speech can spiral into tragedy and thus cannot go unanswered. Words have consequences, and Rev. Wright has contributed to a dangerous culture of anti-Semitism. Legitimate disagreements about policy differences can never be allowed to spill into ugly religious or ethnic characterizations. As the Rev. John H. Thomas, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, wisely noted in his response to Rev. Wrights comments, we must remember the importance of respectful disagreement and maintain vigilance against that which diminishes or caricatures others. Rev. Wright would justly not tolerate racist statements about his community and his propagation of anti-Semitism should be condemned from all quarters.