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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace

Jewish Leaders Send Plea For Peace to Next President

The Atlanta Jewish Times

October 17, 2008

Four rabbis and two cantors from the Atlanta metro-area are joining nearly 700 others from across the country to seize on this traditional time for communal evaluation and reflection in calling on the next president to make vigilant U.S. leadership in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a top priority of his administration, reversing eight years of diplomatic neglect.

In an open letter to the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, the signers, convened by Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, the country’s largest grassroots Jewish grassroots peace movement, pledged to mobilize support within the American Jewish community “an American President who dedicates himself to the establishment of a durable Israeli-Palestinian peace acts in the best interests of Israel and the United States.”

Atlanta rabbis who signed the letter include: Rabbi Mario Karpuj, Congregation Or Hadash, Rabbi Joshua Lesser, Bet Haverim, Rabbi Scott Saulson and Rabbi Joab Eichenberg-Eilon.

Atlanta area cantors include Cantor  Mark Perman of Temple Kol Emeth and Cantor Steven Hevenstone of Greenfield Hebrew Academy.

The Atlanta chapter of Brit Tzedek v’Shalom includes 60 members and supporters. Nationally, Brit Tzedek, at more than 38,000 strong, educates and mobilizes American Jews in support of a negotiated two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Atlanta area signers join prominent national pulpit, academic and organizational rabbis, cantors and rabbinic students from all major streams of American Judaism, including rabbis:

Rachel Cowan, Executive Director of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality
David Gordis, Immediate past president and professor of Rabbinics at Hebrew College
Peter Knobel, President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis
Arthur Green, Rector of Hebrew College's Rabbinical School
Elliot Dorff, Rector and Professor of Philosophy at American Jewish University, Vice-Chair of the Conservative Movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards
Miriam Jerris, President of the Association of Humanistic Rabbis
J. Rolando Matalon, Rabbi of Congregation B'nai Jeshurun
Jack Moline, Rabbi of Agudas Achim Congregation
Ismar Schorsch, Chancellor emeritus of The Jewish Theological Seminary
Toba Spitzer, President of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

For a full list of signers, go to http://ga3.org/campaign/letter_mccainobama/explanation#signers

Brit Tzedek is releasing the letter, entitled “Time to Choose Peace” as part of a larger election-driven campaign, which works through advocacy, media outreach and public programming to build political and popular support in this country for a referendum advancing several actions key to the tenable resolution of the conflict, including a freeze on settlement expansion, a ceasefire and an end to the blockade on Gaza, the sharing of Jerusalem, and sustained U.S diplomatic engagement in ending the conflict. The letter (text below) and a full list of signers will be published in the Rosh Hashanah edition of the Forward, the national Jewish newspaper.

The letter asserts that while the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is but one in a long list of challenges that the next president will inherit, ignoring it will only exacerbate the instability and tension in the Middle East, by increasing the influence of terrorist organizations of Hezbollah and Hamas and otherextremists groups. The letter states: “It is difficult to calculate the damage that a downward spiral into fresh waves of violence could hold.”

To demonstrate his commitment to using American leadership to facilitate a negotiated end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the letter’s signers are calling on the next president to take several immediate and concrete steps upon assuming office, including:

  • Call unequivocally for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state before the end of his first term
  • Appoint ,within his first 100 days in office, a high-level, well-respectedenvoy to the region, dedicated to the resolution of the conflict
  • Establish mechanisms of enforcement to ensure compliance on both sides with commitments made in the course of negotiations.

 

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