(JTA) — Two rabbis in western New York have pulled out of a Muslim-Jewish outreach effort, charging that the national sponsor is involved in Islamic fundamentalism.
The "twinning" project, which has been held each November since 2008, is a project of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding in cooperation with the Islamic Society of North America.
The ISNA was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2007 Holy Land Foundation terrorist financing case.
Rabbi Irwin A. Tanenbaum of Temple Beth Am and Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein of Temple Sinai, both of Amherst, New York, declined to participate in the twinning events this month, despite participating last year, citing concerns about ISNA’s links to Islamic fundamentalist groups, the Buffalo News reported Nov. 11.
Rabbi Drorah Setel of Temple Beth El in Niagara Falls, New York, is the only area rabbi to go forward with the program, according to the newspaper.
“The conflict in the Middle East ends up affecting passions here. The issues are very close to people’s hearts, and it’s difficult to separate the world politics from local politics, and that’s unfortunate,” Lazarus- Klein told the Buffalo News.
A national group based in Boston last year warned Buffalo-area Jews that radical Muslims posing as moderates had infiltrated the area. “What we found was that the entities behind the Buffalo interfaith effort are anything but moderate,” Ilya Feoktistov, research director of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, wrote in an on-line publication.
One event held last week in western New York had to be moved from a sm