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[BTvS - Seattle] - Event and Advocacy Update

BRIT TZEDEK V'SHALOM / JEWISH ALLIANCE FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE
GREATER SEATTLE CHAPTER
Event and Advocacy Update

1. Event with Breaking the Silence, Israeli soldiers'
organization, Saturday November 4
2. Brit Tzedek Op-Ed Praises Congressman Jim McDermott's Smart
Support for Israel

IN THE SHADOW OF LEBANON & GAZA:
Breaking The Silence

An Intimate Parlour Conversation With Dotan Greenvald and Yehuda
Shaul,
Two former Israeli soldiers share their experiences of serving
in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2006, 7 PM

at the home of Charles and Jonis Davis
1118 36th Avenue, Seattle
Madrona neighborhood; see directions below

Beverages and light noshes
Please RSVP: btvshalom_wa@yahoo.com or 206-442-2077

Co-sponsored by:
Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, Greater Seattle Chapter
Kadima Reconstructionist Community

Yehuda Shaul: Yehuda grew up in an ultra-orthodox family in
Jerusalem and attended yeshiva in a settlement near Ramallah
where he graduated from high school. Conscripted in 2001 to the
Israel Defense Forces (IDF), he served in the 50th Battalion of
the Nachal Brigade, becoming a platoon sergeant. He served in
the West Bank and was discharged in 2004. He is a founder of
"Breaking the Silence," and serves as Executive Director of the
organization.

Dotan Greenvald: Born and raised in Kiryat Yam, Dotan was an
activist in the socialist youth movement, Hanoar Ha'Oved
Ve'Halomed. He did a year of community education before army
service and was drafted in 2002, serving in the Nahal Brigade as
a sniper. He served two years in the West Bank, especially
Hebron, and one year in educating youth before their army
service. A day after he was discharged from the army, Dotan
became an activist in "Breaking the Silence."

DIRECTIONS: from 23rd Avenue or Martin Luther King Way, travel
east on East Cherry Street. Crossing 34th Avenue, turn left at
36th Avenue. Travel several blocks (no through-streets) to a
brick house with a fence and cedar trees; look for an event
sign.)

*************************************************

Brit Tzedek Op-Ed in JT News, the Voice of Jewish Washington,
Praises Congressman Jim McDermott's Smart Support for Israel.

This opinion piece appeared in the Friday, October 27, 2006
edition of the JT News, the "voice of Jewish Washington." Brit
Tzedek members and supporters are encouraged to write letters to
the editor recognizng the contribution of Rep. McDermott and
other pro-Israel, pro-peace elected officials. The op-ed was
written partly in response to what we believe was an unfair and
inaccurate criticism of Rep. McDermott published in an earlier
edition of the JT News.

REPRESENTATIVE JIM MCDERMOTT?S SMART SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL
Seattle's Congressman takes the long view for peace and security
for Israel
Rainer Waldman Adkins and Marcia Freedman
Special to JTNews

In keeping with Judaism's long tradition of debate and
discourse, American Jews have often expressed a plurality of
opinions on how best to support Israel; never more so than in
recent years. As such, many of us in the 7th Congressional
District feel lucky to be represented by Rep. Jim McDermott, a
man firmly committed to Israel's well-being and security, and
passionate about the pursuit of peace.

McDermott has visited Israel frequently in recent years,
routinely consults with specialists on Israel and the Middle
East, and attends many educational forums discussing the
conflict. As a doctor and psychiatrist, he understands the toll
of violence on both bodies and minds, and he was quick to
contact community leadership to offer condolences and assistance
following the deadly Seattle Federation attack. In this spirit,
McDermott has been an instrumental supporter and facilitator for
programming - developed in Seattle - that provides long-term
psychiatric support to bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families
and training to doctors of both nationalities. He is highly
regarded among a wide range of Israeli and Palestinian experts
and prominent American Jewish scholars.

The general pattern of the congressman?s votes on Israel -
including those during the recent war in Lebanon and following
the election of Hamas in the Palestinian territories - are
firmly in keeping with this knowledge and sensitivity.

Like McDermott, many members of Congress expressed reservations
about H.R. 921 (July, 2006) on Lebanon and Israel, citing the
bill's failure to mention civilian casualties or call for U.S.
intervention. Ultimately, McDermott was one of only eight with
the courage of his convictions to vote against it.

He was also one of 37 who voted against H.R. 4681, the
Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006, saying, ?It is not very
often that Jim McDermott rises to support this president, but
that is precisely what I am doing now. The President does not
want his hands tied by H.R. 4681.

"[This bill] will not make Israel safer,?will not meet the
urgent humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people, and will
not give our diplomats the tools they need to help find a path
to peace in the Mideast."

Like McDermott, the State Department actively opposed H.R. 4681.
The bill forfeited any U.S. role in bringing Israelis and
Palestinians back to the negotiating table, weakened pro-peace
Palestinians and emboldened extremists, hamstrung the president
in dealing with emergency security crises, and drastically cut
critical U.S. assistance to the Palestinian people. It targeted
any and all activity by the Palestinian Authority, rather than
only a Hamas-led Authority, made no distinction between the
Palestinian Authority and the PLO (Hamas is not a member of the
PLO) and contained no review or ?sunset? clauses ? effectively
forbidding any future U.S. assistance, even if Hamas was no
longer in leadership or moderated its policies. The State
Department called the bill ?unnecessary,? pointing out that the
executive branch ?already has ample authority to impose all its
restrictions and it constrains the Executive?s flexibility.?

It's interesting to note also that McDermott's disagreement with
the legislation was reflected in the language of nearly 400
rabbis from across the country (including a dozen from the
Seattle area) in a March 2006 letter to President Bush, urging
him to pursue constructive engagement with moderate Palestinians
and sustained humanitarian aid. The rabbis called on the
president 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 peoples."

Moreover, in December 2005, McDermott was one of 108
representatives to sign the Hyde-Capps congressional letter
praising Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for her efforts in
achieving a transportation deal between Israel and the pre-Hamas
Palestinian government. The letter received the active support
of Jerome Epstein, Executive Vice President, United Synagogue of
Conservative Judaism, and Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President, Union
for Reform Judaism, who wrote, "As members and leaders of the
American Jewish community we write to urge you to [commend]
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's efforts . [The agreement]
is an important step in building a vibrant economy that will
provide jobs and hope for Palestinians and that will ultimately
contribute to greater security for the State of Israel and a
more stable Middle East."

Seen in this light, it's hard to view the congressman as hostile
to Israel or isolated from the Jewish community, as was recently
suggested in these pages.

Israel's most recent war underscored the fact that it is made
more vulnerable by policies derived from reliance on military
tactics, in contrast to a robust, pragmatic and long-term
diplomatic strategy. Loss of life on both sides did nothing to
secure Israel in the long or short term - the soldiers whose
kidnappings sparked the hostilities are still captive,
Hezbollah's position has grown stronger, and the will and
ability of the Lebanese government to rein them in has been
weakened. We saw a nearly identical trend during Israel's war
against the PLO in Lebanon in the early '80s. Those who support
a strong and secure Israel must now ask themselves: how can this
cycle be broken, once and for all?

We believe that the first step is to oppose those measures,
which, while ostensibly "pro-Israel," actually threaten Israel's
well-being by maintaining a destructive and untenable status
quo. As American citizens, we believe we all deserve thoughtful
policies from our elected representatives, positions that
promote a reasonable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict - the kinds of positions consistently taken by Rep. Jim
McDermott.

If everyone in government were as well-informed about Israel and
her neighbors, and as sensitive to the dynamics of foreign
policy issues as the Congressman from the 7th District, the
State of Israel, the Middle East and the entire world could be a
much safer place.
----
Rainer Waldman Adkins is the chairperson for the Greater Seattle
Chapter of Brit Tzedek; Marcia Freedman is the national
President for Brit Tzedek.
--------------------------------------------------

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