Thursday, December 15, 2005

Sen Coleman takes on URJ on Senate floor

Speaking Tuesday on the Senate floor, Senator Norm Coleman strongly supported the ad taking strong exception to the Union for Reform Judaism's anti-Iraq War resolution. Here is Coleman's statement:
Mr. President, Freedom is Worth Fighting For. That is the headline of a full page advertisement today in The New York Times. I was proud to add my name to this strong statement in support of our troops and our President in fighting the war on terror. The ad is sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition, a grassroots organization based in Washington, DC, with five full-time offices, 41 chapters, and over 20,000 members across our Nation.

The ad takes strong exception to a resolution approved last month by about 2,000 members of the Union for Reform Judaism—URJ—at a convention in Houston. The URJ resolution said, ‘‘American Jews, and all Americans, are profoundly critical of this war and they want this administration to tell us how and when it will bring our troops home,’’ and called the Iraq war ‘‘unjust.’’ The resolution reversed a 2002 URJ endorsement of the war and, according to news accounts, was adopted with very limited debate and only one person speaking against it.

As the Republican Jewish Coalition ad states, the URJ statement that American Jews oppose President Bush on Iraq is misleading and wrong. The URJ does not speak for me. Nor does it speak for all reform Jews or for the American Jewish community.

The Republican Jewish Coalition ad carries the signatures of 180 leaders and prominent figures in the Jewish community. In addition to my name, among those signing the newspaper ad are my colleague in the other body Representative ERIC CANTOR of Virginia, Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, and two former chairmen of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, James Tisch and Kenneth Bialkin. Other signers include rabbis and cantors; as well as State and local elected officials.

The Republican Jewish Coalition ad contains several other important messages. It notes that we support the President and the war on terror. We stand behind our troops and their mission of creating a safe, democratic Iraq. This mission is vital, says the ad, not only for the continuing fight against terrorism and the stability of the Middle East, but also for making the world a safer place for our children. I believe this message of support is particularly important as the Iraqi people prepare to vote for a permanent government later this week.

We can never surrender to terrorism. Those who attacked us on September 11, 2001, will not hesitate to do so again if given the opportunity. We dare not encourage them by weakness and vacillation in our unrelenting war on terror.

I commend the Republican Jewish Coalition for its leadership on this vital issue. I am proud to stand with them in defense of freedom.