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The Core of the Matter: What Does it Mean to Support a Two-State Solution?

The Core of the Matter: What Does it Mean to Support a Two-State Solution?

Reform Jews rally in support of Israel

For decades, the Reform Movement has been an active proponent of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At times like this, though, this can be challenging to envision, as extremism and violence roil the region and bring the possibility of a two-state solution into question. However, even when it seems difficult, the Reform Movement has chosen to hold onto its support for two states, as it did at the onset of the Second Intifada in 2001, when it resolved that “That even now, when Palestinian extremism assaults our sensibilities, there is no moral or practical alternative to these principles.” Our Movement continues to understand that establishing a Palestinian state under an agreement that provides security and recognition for both sides is the only path to secure the future for both Israel and the Palestinian people.

“But,” as Rabbi Rick Jacobs said during his 2015 Biennial Keynote Address, “favoring a two-state solution is not the same as bringing it about.” Reaching an agreement requires that all sides to make difficult compromises on in a number of contentious areas. Where are the major points of disagreement? Is there any path forward? What does the Reform Movement have to say about these critical issues?

Over the course of the coming weeks, I will be working to unpack these questions through a series of blog posts about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process’ core issues. The goal is to provide some context for each of these issues and to explain the position of our Movement on them, looking deeply at our resolutions and statements to see exactly how we voice support for a two-state solution. Keep an eye out for upcoming posts on some of the most challenging issues Israeli and Palestinian negotiators confront: security, borders, refugees and Jerusalem.

None of these posts are intended to be comprehensive. Each of these issues has enough intricacy and complexity for its own book, so this blog series will only scratch the surface. However, I hope the information will clarify some questions, raise new ones and spur conversations with your family, friends, and fellow congregants. If you are looking for more information about any of the core issues, I highly suggest “Is Peace Possible,” a series of videos created by the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace that gives detailed explanations for each of the issues. You can also visit the RAC’s Israel Issue Page and the URJ’s Israel Engagement Page for more information.

Jacob Kraus is a Senior Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Jacob is from Cincinnati, OH, where he is a member of Rockdale Temple. He graduated from Macalester College in 2015.

Jacob Kraus

Published: 2/10/2016