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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace


FOR RELEASE ON NOVEMBER 14th, 2002

CONTACT:
ALIZA BECKER aliza@btvshalom.org, 773-583-5747

New organization presents alternative vision of solidarity with Israel

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- A new national organization, Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, is bringing its vision to the American Jewish community's annual gathering, the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities, in Philadelphia on November 20-22.

An increasing number of American Jews are joining with their Israeli counterparts in opposing the failed policies of Israel's current government. Just as the Labor Party's recent departure from Ariel Sharon's governing coalition signals that disaffection, the growth of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom shows that many American Jews also embrace an alternative vision for the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian people.

Fiercely pro-Israel, Brit Tzedek v'Shalom sees Israel's long-term best interests in the achievement of a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians based on the 1967 borders. Along with several leaders of the Labor party, the organization believes that only negotiations will bring an end to the conflict. Together with the majority of Israeli citizens, Brit Tzedek sees settlements as a major obstacle to peace.

"As Americans and as Jews, we value the U.S. government's relationship with Israel, and we call on the U.S. government to honor that friendship by remaining steadfast in its commitment to peace through the establishment of a Palestinian state, as set forth in the recent 'road map'," said Marcia Freedman, a former member of the Knesset and recently elected President of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom. "The U.S. needs to stand firmly behind its own timetable to see the establishment of a Palestinian state within three years."

Only six months old, Brit Tzedek is a new national, chapter-based mass membership organization presenting an alternate vision for peace. With chapters formed or forming in 20 U.S. cities, its membership aims to influence U.S. officials and policymakers to seek alternatives to the policies of the current Israeli government in order to reach a negotiated peace settlement with the Palestinians.

"For almost two years the American Jewish community has been encouraged to speak about the Middle East with one voice only - a voice that supports the policies of the Sharon government," said Cherie Brown, Vice President of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom. "Such unanimity is not only in conflict with the feelings of hundreds of thousands of American Jews, it is antithetical to Jewish community tradition, which has always embraced pluralism and inclusivity. There is more than one way to express solidarity with Israel, and Brit Tzedek v'Shalom was founded to ensure that our voices are not left out of the policy debate."

Spokespersons of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom will participate in the UJC General Assembly on November 20-22. To arrange interviews with Marcia Freedman and Cherie Brown, please contact Aliza Becker at 773-583-5747.


"Working For a Secure Israel Grounded in Justice and Peace"


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