A fundraiser at Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, featuring former President George W. Bush, drew a series of protests and expressions of outrage by a diverse group of activists. Some were traditional peace activists, others were concerned with U.S. torture policies initiated by Bush. Many Jewish people, including members of Beth El that were outraged that the synagogue would give refuge to a ?War Criminal.?
Charges of war crimes are dogging Bush as he travels around the world. Last week an appearance at Tyndale College, Toronto, was cancelled after student, faculty and alumni protested. He also canceled a trip to Switzerland in February 2011 after international human rights groups threatened large scale demonstrations at a United Israel Appeal fundraiser. The September 15, 2011 issue of The American Jewish World stated that, ?George W. Bush event tarnishes Beth El?s image.?
The outrage was intensified by the fact that Beth El in the past has invited former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, and, most recently, Michael Broyde, the Emory University law professor and rabbi (who advocates torture ?under certain circumstances?). The Rice appearance two years ago attracted an action similar to the one greeting Bush this week.
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