A Time to Choose...A
Time to Act
By Diane Balser, Interim
We have to choose change, choose peace, loudly and
without hesitation, so that our leaders know that we are ready
for a new future -- a future in which Israelis and Palestinians
alike can live in peace and security.
We're constantly faced with choices: Which
restaurant? Which vacation spot? Which career? Not all choices
are hard. Not all are a reflection of our deepest values.
But some, unquestionably, are both.
As pro-Israel, pro-peace
activists, we long ago chose to go against the grain, to insist
that violence cannot be the answer to Israel's problems. We
stand with Israel and want what's best for her -- and we know
that sometimes, love means making the difficult choice.
If America's Jews want our government to choose policies
supportive of peace in the Middle East, we must make that choice
ourselves -- and then, we must act on it. Leaders can make only
so much change on their own; they need to be backed by a ready
population. It is our job, then, to make sure that our elected
officials know: We, and the vast majority of American Jews,
Choose peace at http://timetochoose.btvshalom.org
And so today, Brit Tzedek asks you to act on that choice: to
organize pro-actively -- to build a force of activists and
supporters, pro-Israel, pro-peace activists who are willing to
put pressure on those in power to make bring real commitment,
real engagement to the table, in order to find a just and
durable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: two states
for two peoples.
As activists, we "vote" for peace again and again, and we
regularly find our voice against the obstacles that stand in our
way. We do believe that change is possible -- and we must make
sure that our elected officials know this.
Because of course it is not enough for individuals, or even
large advocacy groups, to make the choice. For real change to
take place, leaders, communities and nations have to choose to
make the hard decisions.
As such, it's a time for our broader community to choose, for
national Jewish leaders to choose, for American and Israeli
elected officials to choose -- to choose not just to talk about
the possibility of negotiations, under certain very limiting
circumstances, but to actually set real, concrete policies, and
find the tools necessary to make negotiations work.
We have become too content with a contemporary
discourse. Where once it would have been unthinkable to speak
openly of Palestinian negotiating partners, of ending the
settlement project, of Palestinian statehood, this is now the
stuff of daily conversation. Change in vocabulary is important,
and often a crucial first step on the road to change on the
But we have fallen into the trap of thinking that good ideas
and the right words are enough. Important as they might be,
they're not sufficient -- as eight years of Bush Administration
policy demonstrates painfully well. The words must be given
substance, the ideas must be implemented. We need to choose to
Act now at http://timetochoose.btvshalom.org
History shows that even the most courageous leaders must feel
the support of their people before they take bold steps to make
big changes. In 1988, as the first Intifada broke over Israel,
then-Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin instructed soldiers in
Israel's army to "break the bones" of Palestinian demonstrators;
five years later, he was on the South Lawn of the White House as
Prime Minister, shaking hands with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.
This enormous shift could not have happened if the Israeli
people had not been ready for it, if they had not publicly
reconsidered the impact of the occupation, begun to turn to
Palestinians as potential partners in peace, and voted in a
And so while change, real change won't happen until national
and communal leaders choose to make it, the truth is that the
people have to make that choice first. We have to choose change,
choose peace, loudly and without hesitation, so that our leaders
know that we are ready for a new future -- a future in which
Israelis and Palestinians alike can live in peace and
As Israel marks its 60th anniversary year, I can think of no
better gift than to choose peace for her -- to choose real
change, active policy, and an engaged leadership across the
globe, dedicated to truly ending the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. We have to make it clear to any and all: Stirring
words are not enough -- only action will serve.
We choose peace.
Cast your vote and pledge to take
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Phone: (312) 341-1205
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