May 8, 2008
Call for Jews to shun China Olympics stirs opposition
(Page 2 - Previous Page)The three Orthodox groups saw the matter differently.
In its statement, Young Israel said, "The Olympics is intended to be a unifying international event where nations from throughout the world come together for a common purpose. While we certainly share concerns about the host country's position on human rights, we believe that boycotting an event which is intended to promote peace and harmony is extremely counterproductive. We also believe that drawing a comparison between the 1936 Olympics in Germany and the 2008 Olympics in China is inappropriate."
The Orthodox Union noted that "Jewish law cautions that we must act with exceptional care lest we cause more harm than good. The leadership of the Orthodox Union believes such exceptional care is demanded in these circumstances with regard to relations with the Chinese government."
Agudath Israel of America said it understood the motivation behind the effort.
"We, too, are deeply concerned about reports of human rights violations in China," the ultra-Orthodox umbrella group said. "We believe, however, that it is presumptuous, and perhaps even counterproductive, for a group of private citizens to urge a boycott of the Beijing Olympics -- and to direct their appeal specifically at members of the Jewish community."
At least three Jewish groups last month called on President Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies as a high-profile step that would not harm athletes.
Offering that viewpoint were the Reform movement; the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, an advocacy umbrella organization bringing together national groups and local communities; and the American Jewish World Service, the lead Jewish group in the efforts to stop the violence in Darfur.
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