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Jewish Leaders Condemn Peters' "End Of Tolerance"

Jewish Leaders Condemn Peters' "End Of Tolerance"

Leaders from the Union for Progressive Judaism today condemned Winston Peters' "End Of Tolerance" speech, in which he accused Muslims of being involved in "plotting webs", likened them to "the mythical Hydra - a serpent underbelly with multiple heads, capable of striking at any time and in any direction" and demanded that Muslims name any "radicals, troublemakers and potential dangers to our society".

Dave Moskovitz, President of Temple Sinai in Wellington, said that "The 'end of tolerance' is the beginning of totalitarianism. Peters' statements are racist, hateful, and driven by a greed for political power. On the Radio NZ this morning, Peters suggests we take the advice of Pakistan President Musharraf, and limit freedom of expression. Peters' role model is a corrupt dictator who seized power in a coup and has been unwilling to relinquish it ever since. Peters' speech is reminiscent of Adolf Hitler and Joe McCarthy."

Rabbi Michael Weisser of Temple Beth Shalom in Auckland said that "Peters is targeting a minority religious group, and in doing so threatens the religious freedoms that we value so much in New Zealand. Islam shares many fundamental values with Judaism and Christianity, and it is unfair to vilify local Muslims because there are some terrorists overseas who are Muslims. We should be working locally in constructive ways to increase our understanding of each other and each others' faiths. Peters' words might go down well at a Ku Klux Klan rally, but I don't think that they will resonate with most New Zealanders."

David Robinson, Vice President of the Union for Progressive Judaism agrees. "We live in a civil society where there is one law for everyone. Jews are familiar with persecution, and we empathise with our Muslim friends here in New Zealand. We utterly condemn any statements or actions which negatively target any religious or ethnic groups. It's particularly disturbing that words like these are coming from the leader of a legitimate political party."


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