Dangerous Liaisons

Dangerous Liaisons

Just when you thought nothing could still shock, a New Year’s postcard arrives bearing a wrapped condom and this warning: “This will not protect you from the real intentions of the Christian right wing. Abstinence from strange bedfellows is advised. Practice safe politics.”
It ain’t Hallmark, that’s for sure.
It is a missive from Jewish Women Watching, an anonymous group that has sent out hackle-raising mailings semi-annually for the past two years. The group had previously targeted what it views as the Jewish community’s sexism and financial elitism with, for example, groggers labeled “Drown Out Sexism” just before one Purim, and last spring with a catalogue called “Major,” which satirized the cultural center Makor’s effort to attract the unmarried and the moneyed.
Now, JWW has mailed 3,000 of these postcards to Jewish community movers and shakers, including Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents and mega-philanthropist Michael Steinhardt. The campaign comes on the eve of the Christian Coalition’s biennial “Road to Victory” conference next week in Washington, which this year focuses on Evangelical support for Israel.
The back of the postcard asks: “Why is the Jewish community in bed with Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Ralph Reed?” It cites anti-Jewish and anti-liberal policy comments each has made over more than 20 years, along with recent plaudits each has received from some segment of the Jewish establishment, including a full-page ad that the ADL placed in The New York Times featuring Reed’s support for Israel.
“These alliances” with the Christian conservatives who support Israel “are horrifying,” said an unidentifiable JWW representative via an e-mail interview. “And they were unthinkable until American Jewish organizations like the ADL and ZOA decided there were no anti-Semites in foxholes.”
Foxman called the campaign “disgusting and offensive.”
Moreover, “this is a false issue” that JWW is highlighting, he said. “There is no evidence that the Jewish community has bent one iota on any of its principle positions with which it disagrees with the religious right,” like church-state separation.
For their part, JWW says that it has raised the issue now — as the Jewish community is focused on terrorist threats in Israel and on U.S. soil — “because no one else is saying anything.”
And because, the JWW representative said, “by getting in bed with sexist, anti-gay, anti-First Amendment politicians, our leaders are selling out the majority of the American Jewish community.”

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