Jewish orgs slam Biden's anti-Israel pick for religious freedom body

Biden's choice of "hostile-to-Israel" Sharon Kleinbaum for U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom denounced as problematic.

Dan Verbin ,

Morton Klein
Morton Klein
Yoni Kempinski

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) expressed alarm over the appointment by President Joe Biden of “hostile-to-Israel” Sharon Kleinbaum to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

“In 1992, Kleinbaum became the spiritual leader of New York City’s LGBTQ synagogue, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST). Kleinbaum has used her pulpit to propagandize against the Jewish state and create sympathy for enemies that seek to destroy Israel,” said ZOA President Morton A. Klein.

Klein noted that in 2014, “dozens of prominent CBST members quit CBST because of Kleinbaum’s obscene anti-Israel antics, including mourning and reading the names of Hamas terrorists during synagogue services… Kleinbaum then claimed that those people called terrorists were ‘children’ aged 18 and under – while knowing full well that many Hamas terrorist operatives are 17- and 18-year-olds.”

He added that “Kleinbaum has also repeatedly sided with anti-Israel boycotters and demonizers, against the Jewish state.”

Klein pointed to a November 26, 2019 tweet in which “Kleinbaum tweeted that she was ‘so proud of those standing with [BDS activist and Israel-demonizer] Omar Shakir’” and called Shakir “one of the great voices of human rights,” claiming that “Israel’s decision to deport him is a travesty.”

Klein remarked that Kleinbaum also retweeted a tweet by controversial American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, assuring Ilhan Omar that “Ilhan, you have my solidarity and support. Please do not let this distract you from all the good you are meant to do” as well as a tweet from Weingarten describing Linda Sarsour as a “warrior for justice.”

Noting that “Kleinbaum Promotes Anti-Israel NGOs” such as the New Israel Fund (of which she is a board member), anti-Israel NGOs that NIF funds, T’ruah, Combatants for Peace and Breaking the Silence, Klein said that “alarmingly, Kleinbaum [has] used her synagogue’s meetings to hear from NGO ‘Breaking the Silence’ – one of the worst demonizers and defamers of Israel and the Jewish boys and girls defending the Jewish State.”

Klein asserted that “Kleinbaum’s promotion of anti-Israel libels conjured up by anti-Israel NGOs’ makes Kleinbaum an especially unsuitable, dangerous choice for the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom.”

“We believe that it is likely that Kleinbaum will also rely on libels regarding religious worship promoted by anti-Israel NGOs, when formulating the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom’s recommendations and annual reports,” he said.

Kleinbaum’s appointment was also denounced by the Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), a coalition representing 1,500 Orthodox rabbis.

“Placing Kleinbaum on a commission devoted to ensuring religious freedom sends precisely the wrong message and could hardly be more counter-productive,” said CJV managing director Yaakov Menken in a Fox News interview.



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