The electoral success of MK Avigdor Lieberman in the recent Israeli elections has caused concern among many working for Israeli-Palestinian peace.  We share with you Brit Tzedek's policy statement, an interview with policy analyst Daniel Levy on Liebermanism, a chronology on Lieberman's political rise to power, and an overview of the U.S. Jewish communal response.

Brit Tzedek Concerned by Lieberman's Impact on Prospects for Peace, Security
An Interview with Daniel Levy on Liebermanism
Avigdor Lieberman - Chronology
U.S. Jewish Communial Responses to Lieberman

Brit Tzedek Concerned by Lieberman's Impact
on Prospects for Peace, Security

The mission of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, to educate and mobilize American Jews for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, requires that we affirmatively promote the peace process at every opportunity and challenge any and all policies that would lessen the likelihood of reaching our eventual goal.

It is in that spirit that Brit Tzedek publicly questions two deeply disturbing policy proposals put forward by Member of Knesset Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beitenu (Israel is Our Home) party.

LOYALTY OATH. Yisrael Beitenu would require all Israeli citizens to take a loyalty oath to Israel as the Jewish state, subjecting any who refuse to loss of citizenship and voting rights, as well as the right to hold elective office.  Though they would be permitted to remain in the country as permanent residents, such an oath would surely be problematic for most of Israel's 1.3 million Arab citizens, some ultra-Orthodox Jews, and many other Israelis whose particular ideas on nationalism don't fall within the acceptable rubric.

Brit Tzedek's founding principles fully endorse the democratic, Jewish nature of the State of Israel. We believe that the imposition of a loyalty oath misconstrues the essential nature of the relationship between a state and its citizens. Israel's own Declaration of Independence states that Israel should "ensure complete equality ... to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex."

INVOLUNTARY TRANSFER. Yisrael Beitenu also proposes the wholesale redrawing of the borders of Israel and a future Palestinian state to transfer vast geographic areas of Israel, which contain a significant Arab population into a future Palestinian State in exchange for areas within the West Bank. Such a drastic transfer of land and people, without input from the residents whose lives would be irrevocably affected, would violate the spirit of democracy.

Proposals like these are not unique to Israel; a dishearteningly long list of European parties have adopted similar rhetoric in recent years, and the U.S. has clearly struggled with issues of civil rights and democratic principles in the post-9/11 era.

But, the adoption of either proposal by the Knesset would severely escalate tensions within Israel, between Israelis and Palestinians, and between Israel and the entire Arab world. Additionally, such developments have the potential to alienate the American government and international community, both of which are essential for Israel to provide a safe future for all of its citizens.

More than anything else, the electoral success of Yisrael Beitenu indicates the urgent need to move NOW toward a true resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian and other regional conflicts.

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
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Phone: (312) 341-1205
Fax: (312) 341-1206

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