MBR and JCRC Respond to Hate Speech and Misinformation Campaign

We, the Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis (MBR) and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, condemn in the strongest terms the recent attacks on our colleague and former MBR President, Rabbi Howard Jaffe, by Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) and its director, Charles Jacobs. This group, whose Orwellian name belies their relentless defamation of Boston-area Muslims along with respected leaders in the Greater Boston Jewish community, has used the most tendentious of arguments to suggest that Rabbi Jaffe is somehow linked to terrorism and Islamic extremism. We are hesitant to even dignify this claim with a response, but the honor of our colleague and our community moves us to issue this statement. Jacobs used a picture of Rabbi Jaffe under the heading, “No one else unmasks clergy who seek to do us harm,” as part of a recent fundraising campaign, the clear implication being that one of the most respected leaders of the Greater Boston community is somehow in league with enemies of the Jewish people.

Despite their claims to be standing up to extremism, Charles Jacobs and APT are the true face of extremism in our community: purveyors of hatred and division, they engage in outrageous attacks on communal institutions and individuals involved in the important work of building relationships among Boston-area Muslims and Jews. They have targeted respected rabbis in our community as well as leaders of our communal institutions, including the Jewish Community Relations Council and Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston. Their attacks on Rabbi Jaffe and his congregation are just the latest salvos in an ongoing campaign of misinformation and innuendo meant to spread discord and fear. Not content to simply publish his opinions, Jacobs and APT members gained access to members’ emails in Rabbi Jaffe’s congregation, and subjected both congregants and staff to an onslaught of vile and threatening calls and emails. There is no place in our community for this kind of verbal violence. We call on all Jewish communal news organizations—including The Jewish Advocate and the Times of Israel—to refuse to carry Charles Jacobs’ writings unless and until he ceases his defamation of respected Jewish communal leaders and vicious anti-Muslim propaganda.