“As rabbis and leaders of the Jewish community in the San Diego area, we are deeply disturbed by Duncan Hunter and his campaign’s personal attacks on Ammar Campa-Najjar. These attacks are not rooted in facts or in serious policy disagreements, but in appeals to racism, bigotry and fear.
“Campa-Najjar is a Christian, not a Muslim, and not affiliated with any radical group. Campa-Najjar is not a security risk, he received a security clearance when he worked for the Obama administration,” the letter issued last Wednesday said.
The seventeen rabbis, members of the Renewal, Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements, noted that the statement was not an endorsement of one candidate over the other; and encouraged debate with “honesty and civility.”
Campa-Najjar was born in San Diego and is Christian. His grandfather was Muhammad Yusuf al-Najjar, a mastermind of the terrorist murder of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes and coaches at the 1972 games in Munich, Germany.
Nevertheless, the rabbis defended him in accord with the words of the prophet Ezekiel, who said, “What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel: ‘The fathers eat sour grapes, but the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As surely as I live, declares the Lord GOD, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. Behold, every soul belongs to Me; both father and son are Mine. The soul who sins is the one who will die (Ezek. 18:2-4).
Ammar Campa-Najjar, who lived for a time as a youth in the Gaza Strip, has rejected his grandfather’s actions. He never met his grandfather, and told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz earlier this year that he would “never be able to understand or condone” his grandfather’s actions and said that there is “never justification for killing innocent civilians.”
The San Diego rabbis stated, “These false fear mongering claims undermine important Jewish values including the commitment to tolerance, honesty and respect. In light of the recent mass murder of 11 Jews worshiping in a Pittsburgh synagogue, we feel compelled to speak out against hate speech wherever it occurs. In the Talmud we read that silence in the face of accusatory testimony is tantamount to consent.”
Rabbi Maller’s web site is: www.rabbimaller.com. His new book ‘Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms: A Reform Rabbi’s Reflections on the Profound Connectedness of Islam and Judaism’ (a collection of 31 articles by Rabbi Maller previously published by Islamic web sites) is now for sale ($15) on Amazon.