Jewish Activists Go To The Hill As Olmert, Bush Meet

Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace Group Calls for Vigorous U.S. Engagement
to Resolve Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

WASHINGTON—As President Bush meets with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Washington on Tuesday, more than 100 Jewish activists from across America will hold meetings on Capitol Hill to call on the United States to take immediate action to reverse its policy of neglect towards resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  U.S. unwillingness to diplomatically engage the Palestinian unity government has contributed significantly to the spiraling Palestinian leadership crisis, undermining the security of Israel and the region as a whole.

Through 100 meetings with Senate and House offices, including 29 in-person meetings with Members themselves, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom lay leaders will address the urgent need for a United States-led international effort to broker a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire in Gaza and the West Bank, and press for substantive negotiations leading to a resolution of the conflict. The activists will be asking Members of Congress to support two Congressional resolutions that are vital to the security of Israel and peace in the region and crucial to American interests.

“The violent dissolution of the Palestinian Authority unity government must serve as a wake-up call to the United States,” said Marcia Freedman, Brit Tzedek’s president. “The Bush Administration’s policy of refusing to diplomatically engage the Palestinian Authority, together with its failure to press for tangible progress toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has greatly contributed to the current chaos in the Palestinian territories, jeopardizing Israel’s security and undercutting Palestinian moderates committed to the conflict’s resolution through a land-for-peace compromise,” she added. Freedman also maintains that a failure of leadership on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides has also contributed to the current crisis.

“It has never been clearer that the U.S. government needs a very different approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Freedman said. “It must work within a broad international framework that includes the Arab League, the U.N., the E.U. and Russia to create the conditions for stabilizing the situation in Gaza, relieving the humanitarian crisis on a long-term basis, brokering an Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire, and moving towards returning Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table for a two-state solution.” Freedman added. “We believe that the U.S. must engage constructively with a Palestinian unity government, in whatever form it is reconstituted, no matter who is in the governing coalition,” she said.

Freedman explained that recent events in the Middle East make even more critical the meetings Brit Tzedek will be conducting Tuesday on the Hill during its 3rd Annual National Advocacy Days. This year, Brit Tzedek’s lay leaders will have an extended presence in Washington as they participate in the organization’s Grassroots Leadership Training Institute prior to Advocacy Days.  The two events brings activists from across America for an intensive two-day training on community organizing and advocacy, including briefings by political and opinion leaders. Representatives Lois Capps(D-CA) and David Price(D-NC) will address the group at a Congressional reception on Monday, June 18th. A complete program of events is available at

The legislative focus of the meetings on Capitol Hill is to build support for two resolutions now pending in the Congress that urge vigorous U.S. engagement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as being vital to American interests. Both the resolutions, introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) in the Senate, and by Representative Susan Davis (D-CA) in the House, call on President Bush to make achieving a two-state solution to the conflict a cornerstone of U.S. policy in the Middle East and to appoint a Special Envoy for Middle East Peace to break the current impasse in bringing Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

Since the resolutions were introduced, thousands of Brit Tzedek activists have called and emailed their elected officials to urge them to cosponsor these pro-Israel, pro-peace resolutions.

“Our activists are going to the Hill to make clear that these resolutions emphasizing the responsibility of the United States to vigorously engage in facilitating a negotiated end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have broad support in the Jewish community,” said Freedman. “We hope the President will not only take note, but will also take action. Brit Tzedek grassroots leaders are here to convey that no more opportunities or lives must be wasted. That is the message we bring from our communities,” she added.

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, is a national grassroots organization more than 36,000 strong that educates and mobilizes American Jews in support of a negotiated two-state resolution of 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

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