ASK YOUR RABBI TO SIGN
NOW:Brit Tzedek is
organizing a very important rabbinic letter to the President in
response to the Palestinian elections, and we need your
help to get more rabbis signed on! The letter closes
for signatures on Sunday, February 26!
Letter From American
Rabbis to the President
Your rabbi can sign the letter at rabbisletter.btvshalom.org
(It also includes the full text of the letter and FAQs.)
You can send an email inviting your rabbi and
other rabbis you know to sign this letter at ga3.org/campaign/rabbis_letter/forward.
This letter supports the President's demand that Hamas
recognize Israel and renounce terrorism, but it also encourages
him to proceed cautiously so as to leave the door open for
renewed negotiations. It urges the President to "constructively
engage" with moderate Palestinians like President Abbas and to
maintain urgent humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian
Ask your rabbi to join the more than 100 rabbis
that have already signed on, including:
Read the full list of signers here.
- Rabbi Paul Menitoff (Former Executive Vice
President, Central Conference of American Rabbis)
- Rabbi Elliot Dorff (Rector, Professor,
University of Judaism)
- Rabbi Lewis Barth (Dean, Hebrew Union
College, Los Angeles)
- Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf (Rabbi Emeritus,
K.A.M. Isaiah Israel, Chicago)
- Rabbi Brant Rosen (President,
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association)
- Rabbi Ben-Zion Gold (Director Emeritus,
- Rabbi Lynne Landsberg (Former Regional
Director, Mid-Atlantic Council of the Union for Reform
- Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon (Rabbi,
Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, New York City)
- Rabbi Peter S. Knobel (Rabbi, Beth Emet the
Free Synagogue, Evanston, IL)
Please reach out to your rabbi this week
with a short phone call or email. Click here for a
View press coverage of the letter here.
FULL TEXT OF THE
LETTER FROM AMERICAN RABBIS TO THE PRESIDENT (also
available here: rabbisletter.btvshalom.org)
As leaders of the American Jewish
community, we are deeply troubled by the recent victory of Hamas
in the Palestinian legislative elections. Hamas's charter calls
for the destruction of Israel, and Hamas has repeatedly
perpetrated horrific acts of terror and violence that target
innocent civilians. Yet in this challenging hour, we urge you to
maintain a cautious approach to the new Palestinian government,
so as to preserve the future possibility of bringing Israelis
and Palestinians back to the negotiating table, which is the
only path to achieve true peace and security for both
As you formulate U.S. policy towards these ends,
we urge you to keep the following points in mind:
1) According to international observers, the
Palestinians conducted a free, fair, and democratic election,
something that is still too rare in this region.
Nevertheless, for the new Hamas-led Palestinian government to
achieve international recognition and standing, it must
"recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism, and work for
lasting peace," just as you specified in your State of the Union
address last month.
3) Despite Hamas's victory, recent
polls indicate that the majority of Palestinians remain
committed to a peace agreement with Israel. With this in mind,
we urge constructive engagement with the new Palestinian
government, in ways that bolster moderates such as President
Mahmoud Abbas and sustain the ceasefire that has allowed for
relative calm over the past year.
4) The immediate and
short-term needs of the Palestinian people are pressing. We know
that the exacerbation of their plight only increases support for
extremism, which, in turn, endangers Israel. Continued funding
for indirect assistance to the Palestinian people via NGO's,
with the appropriate conditions to ensure that it does not reach
the hands of terrorists, is essential.
period of deep concern for the future of Israel, we call on you
to maintain determination in the face of those who deny Israel's
right to exist and, at the same time, to leave open the door for
those Palestinians who are committed to working for a
negotiated, two-state resolution of this
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (F.A.Q.)
a. Why is this letter
This letter supports the President's
demand that Hamas recognize Israel and renounce terrorism, but
it also encourages him to proceed cautiously so as to leave the
door open for renewed negotiations. By "constructively engaging"
the new Palestinian government, the US can play a vital role in
bolstering moderate Palestinians such as President Abbas and
continuing the ceasefire of the past year.
also urges President Bush to maintain essential indirect
assistance to the Palestinian people, via NGOs, to address their
pressing humanitarian needs. Cutting this aid will only further
worsen conditions and subsequently increase support for
extremism, which, in turn, endangers Israel.
b. What does signing this letter
By signing this letter, a rabbi agrees
to the use of his or her name in the following contexts: the
letter sent to President Bush, copies sent to Congress and other
Administration officials, press statements regarding the letter,
and on this webpage.
The inclusion of congregational or
organizational affiliation is for identification purposes
c. Who is organizing this
This letter is being organized by Brit
Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace. Brit
Tzedek v'Shalom is a national grassroots organization of
American Jews deeply committed to Israel's well-being through
the achievement of a negotiated settlement to the long-standing
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For more information on Brit
Tzedek v'Shalom, please visit
IMPORTANT: signing this letter
DOES NOT presume support for any other Brit Tzedek v'Shalom
campaign or position. Brit Tzedek's name WILL NOT appear on the
letter sent to President Bush.
d. When is the deadline to
sign the letter?
The deadline to sign this
letter is Sunday, February 26. The letter will close for
signatures at 11:59pm that night.
e. I am a rabbi: How can I ask my
colleagues to sign?
To send a quick email to
your rabbinical colleagues with a link to this webpage, please
Otherwise, simply point them to this link.
f. I'm a congregant: How can I ask
my rabbi to sign?
To send a quick email to your
rabbi with a link to this webpage, please click here. Otherwise,
contact your rabbi and ask him or her to
g. What polls demonstrate that a
majority of Palestinians support a peace agreement with Israel
In a poll of Palestinians released
on January 30th by the Near East Consulting Institute, 73% of
all surveyed believe that Hamas should "change its position on
the elimination of the state of Israel" and 84% support a peace
agreement with Israel, a sentiment echoed by 77% of those
respondents who voted for Hamas.
According to Palestinian
pollster Khalil Shikaki, "three quarters of all Palestinians,
including more than 60 percent of Hamas supporters, are willing
to support reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis
based on a two-state solution. During the last 10 years, the
trend among the Palestinians has been to move away from
hard-line attitudes and to embrace moderate ones. Indeed, more
than 60 percent of Hamas voters support an immediate return to
negotiations with Israel." (The Polls: What the Palestinians
Really Voted For by Khalil Shikaki, 6 Feb 2006,
can I get more information?
information, please email email@example.com.
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for Justice and Peace
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Phone: (312) 341-1205
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