The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, along with Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, American Friends of Peace Now, The Israel Policy Forum, and the Union for Reform Judaism, is supporting the letter to Secretary Condoleeza Rice being circulated by Representatives Gary Ackerman (D-NY) and Charles Boustany (R-LA), commending her efforts to reinvigorate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by convening an international conference this fall and calling for additional steps to ensure its success.
JRF echoes the plea in today's Brit Tzedek Action Alert: Your help is needed! Pro-peace, pro-Israel constituents need to persuade additional Members of Congress to sign on to the letter and demonstrate widespread Congressional support for Israeli-Palestinian peace and the Annapolis conference.
The letter closes for signatures on Friday, November 16th so please call your Representative and urge him/her to sign the Ackerman-Boustany letter today! Sample script attached!
Interestingly, the letter’s chief co-sponsors are a Jewish-American and an Arab-American: Rep. Gary Ackerman, a Democrat from New York (who is also the chair of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East), and Rep. Charles Boustany, a Republican from Louisiana, respectively. Their joint leadership on this letter represents the first Jewish/Arab-led Congressional letter on Israeli-Palestinian peace in years, if ever!
The Ackerman-Boustany letter calls for "robust, hands-on U.S. leadership and diplomacy" and states that "resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, through the establishment of two states for two peoples, is too important not to seize the opportunities that have emerged over the past weeks."
The letter further calls for increased U.S. and international aid to the Palestinians to increase government accountability, public safety, job creation, housing projects, and economic development. It notes that these efforts, in addition to continuing to "engage with Israel" to release Palestinian tax monies and to improve “movement and access” in the Palestinian territories, can help create an atmosphere more conducive to diplomatic moves and preserve the possibilities for success.
At the same time, the letter does not go into the details that need to be negotiated. We believe that this combination -- support for the peace process, encouragement to the Secretary of State (at a time when other Jewish organizations are doing just the opposite), encouraging positive steps toward the Palestinians, but not attempting to micro-manage the negotiations themselves -- provides a basis for this effort's obtaining widespread support.
The letter closes for signatures on Friday, November 16th so please call your Representative and urge him/her to sign the Ackerman-Boustany letter before the deadline!
Robert A. Barkin, President
Carl A. Sheingold, Executive Vice President
P.S. Please share this message with family, friends, and colleagues. (If you forward to friends in a different Congressional district, just have them call 202-224-3121 and ask for their own Representative.)
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