NEW YORK, -- The American Jewish Committee (AJC) is deeply troubled -- and saddened -- that a primary campaign in Tennessee's 9th congressional district is once again marked by efforts to incite tensions between the Memphis African American and Jewish communities.
"We are compelled to speak out against certain rhetoric and tactics that cross the line of civility and acceptable campaign tactics," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "With many months yet remaining before the primary, it is our earnest hope that those responsible for this invidious rhetoric will see fit to shift to a campaign based on the issues and on the records of the candidates."
Former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton, in a recent radio interview, said, "To know Steve Cohen is to know that he really does not think very much of African-Americans," and Herenton's campaign told the New York Times, "This seat was set aside for people who look like me. It wasn't set aside for a Jew or a Christian. It was set aside so that blacks could have representation."
AJC's Harris added: "Incendiary attacks based on race and religion should be condemned by all. Efforts to mislead and inflame voters should not be part of acceptable political discourse."
AJC has in the past called on candidates for public office to refrain from making appeals on the basis of race or religion. AJC is a nonprofit organization that neither supports nor opposes any candidate for public office.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee