by Jim Kouri | Examiner.com | June 12, 2011
Secretary Janet Napolitano's office at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Friday reported that its first faith-based security partnership would begin with two major Jewish organizations.
According to DHS officials, the announced program will be part of the promulgation of the “If You See Something, Say Something” awareness campaign. DHS outreach officials will work with the Jewish Federations of North America and the Secure Community Network to get important media materials regarding terrorism distributed to Jewish organizations and communities throughout the U.S..
“Homeland security begins with hometown security, and our nation’s faith-based organizations play a critical role in keeping our communities safe,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in a press statement.
“Expanding the ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ campaign to national Jewish groups, the first faith-based partnership for the campaign, is an important step in the Department’s ongoing effort to engage the American public in our nation’s security efforts,” she stated.
While many American Jews may welcome dialogue between the Obama Administration and Jewish leaders, some are wary of this sudden overture to the Jewish population after the Obama statements regarding Israel and his continued outreach to Muslim groups, some of whom are known hotbeds of radical Islam.
"While I believe it's important to have a good relationship with American Jews, I also believe Obama is doing it for the reasons of self-interest and re-election in 2012," said Philip Ross, a former police officer and a member of the Shomrim Society, a fraternal organization representing Jewish law enforcement officers in the United States.
"For his first two years in office, President Obama embraced Muslims at the White House and went as far as calling the radical group the Muslim Brotherhood moderates. He traveled in the Middle East and apologized to nations that wish the U.S. and Israel nothing but destruction. Now, with low poll numbers, he's once again courting the Jewish vote and Jewish dollars for his campaign," said Ross.
The Jewish Federations of North America believe this new program is the result of the recent attempted terrorist attacks on Jewish targets, such as when two men, who were accused of allegedly plotting to attack a Manhattan synagogue last month, attempted to purchase a grenade and handguns for their attacks.
“This new partnership with the Department of Homeland Security will empower us to counter this threat as we become more actively involved in our own protection,” said Michael Gelman, the chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of the Jewish Federations of North America.
Last July, DHS launched its nationwide public awareness campaign after local law enforcement officials successfully ran a similar program’s in New York City. The DHS program has partnered with major sporting associations including the NBA, NFL, and NCAA, in an attempt to use employee and public reports as a way to spot suspicious activity and thwart possible terrorist attacks.