Brit Tzedek Responds to Attack on Peace Advocate

House Resolution 1369 passed by unanimous consent last week. "Recognizing NGO's Working to Bring Peace in the Middle East" was proposed by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), and supported by 35 co-sponsors. If your representative was a co-sponsor, please send a thank you note.

People of goodwill and peace activists around the world were horrified to learn last week that Israeli professor and Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) activist Zeev Sternhell had been attacked on his front steps with a pipe bomb. In the wake of the attack, posters were found near his home offering more than million shekels to anyone “who kills a member of Peace Now.”

We, at Brit Tzedek, are deeply relieved to report that Prof. Sternhell is expected to fully recover from his injuries, but there is no dodging the ugliness revealed in this attack and no way to downplay its seriousness. Calls for attacks on other Shalom Achshav activists continue; a police detail has been assigned to Shalom Achshav Director General Yariv Oppenheimer; Americans for Peace Now is taking steps to protect its representatives in the United States.

However, what has gone largely unmentioned is the fact that this shocking event did not occur in isolation. Many within the settler movement are increasingly turning to violence as a preferred tactic: Palestinian farmers are physically assaulted in their olive groves, Palestinian children are stoned on their way to school. Twelve attacks were recorded in the course of week-long surge in violence this August, including the serious injury of a pregnant woman and her two young daughters when a large rock hit the windshield of their car.

Prof. Sternhell, himself, has been warning of rising levels of settler violence for some time, and says that he will not be silenced now that the violence has spilled over from the territories into his own front yard. “If the intent was to terrorize,” he told Haaretz, “it has to be very clear that I am not easily intimidated.”

Brit Tzedek stands in solidarity with Prof. Sternhell and our friends at Shalom Achshav and Americans for Peace Now in decrying this violence and calling for action against violent extremism on the Israeli right. As we seek justice and peace together, there is no room for tolerating violence.

Additional Resources:

"Israeli Peace Advocate Attacked," By Rory McCarthy. The Guardian, September 26, 2008.

"Professor Sternhell: Supporters of Occupation are not Zionist," By Akiva Elder. Haaretz, September 29, 2008.

"Radical Settlers Take On Israel," By Isabel Kershner. The New York Times, September 25, 2008.

"It Can Happen Here," By Uri Avnery. Gush Shalom-Israeli Peace Bloc, September 27, 2008.

 


Sample Thank You Message

On behalf of Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, thank you for co-sponsoring H. Res 1369: Recognizing Nongovernmental Organizations Working To Bring Just and Lasting Peace Between Israelis and Palestinians.

Political agreements require building popular support for peace between both Israelis and Palestinians. While U.S. Middle East policy normally focuses on top-level political negotiations, this resolution asked Congress to take leadership in recognizing that grassroots peace efforts build hope and trust between both peoples and have a genuine impact in building popular support for peace agreements. The resolution once again affirmed United States commitment to the peace process as well as support for local peace efforts. 

Thank you for recognizing the important role of the grassroots in building peace and thank you for affirming the important role of the United States in bringing about a peaceful resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.


Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
11 E. Adams Street, Suite 707
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: (312) 341-1205
Fax: (312) 341-1206

info@btvshalom.org
www.btvshalom.org


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