Cindy Sheehan talks at Yom Kippur

Progressive American Jewish group, Tikkun, invited Cindy Sheehan to speak at its Yom Kippur synagogue service. Rabbi Michael Lerner has written about the experience and offers insights into Sheehan’s strength and honesty (no link available):

“…Cindy was accused of having said in an email (the authorship of which she denies) that her son had died for Israel. The implication was that because some Jewish neo-cons in the Defense Department had been big advocates for this war, along with Ariel Sharon and his supporters in AIPAC in this country, that this was somehow a Jewish war.

“The very first thing Cindy said was that she had heard about these accusations and that they were false. She does not blame the Jewish people and she does not blame Israel for the war in Iraq. Instead, she said, it would be ludicrous to do that, just as it would be ludicrous, she said, to blame the English people for the war just because their leader Tony Blair had been a big advocate for it. Cindy told me privately that she was aware that 78% of Jews had voted for Gore in 2000 and for Kerry in 2004, and that if the rest of the country had voted the way the Jews vote that there never would have been a war in Iraq.

“Instead, she insisted, it was very clear who deserved blame for the war: Bush, Cheney, the Republicans, and the many Congressional Democrats who supported the war originally as well as many who continue to support it by voting for authorizations whenever asked for by President Bush, plus Halliburton Corporation and other war profiteers. It was these, not the Jews, and not Israel, who deserve criticism.

“During the question and answer period that followed her talk she was asked if she would unequivocally denounce David Duke, the Nazi who had apparently invoked her name and supported her on his website. Cindy responded simply and unequivocally that she had never authorized her name to be used in conjunction with Duke, that he was in fact a racist and anti-Semite and that she wanted to have nothing to do with such people, and that she completely rejected him and his message.”

Sheehan’s critics can smear and defame her as much as they like. She’s an inspiring figure at the forefront of a new American movement.

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