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Washington D.C. November 26, 2007 – In advance of tomorrow’s peace conference in Annapolis, MD, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism; Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; and Rabbi Andrew Davids, Executive Director of Association of Reform Zionists of America released the following joint statement:
As the parties gather for the Middle East peace negotiations in Annapolis, the Reform Jewish Movement reaffirms its strong support for this U.S. initiative. We commend President Bush and Secretary Rice for their leadership at this critical time and their success in bringing to the table such a broad spectrum of countries with a stake in Middle East peace.
We know that difficult decisions and compromises will have to be made by all parties if an agreement is to be reached and we will stand behind Prime Minister Olmert, and the Government of Israel, as he takes those steps he best believes will lead to a successful peace process that will enhance Israel’s security and well-being.
Believing that a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute is indispensable to furthering Israel’s security, Palestinian political aspirations, and America’s foreign policy interests, the Reform Movement has urged the Bush Administration over the past several years to play a more assertive role in restarting the peace process.
As its efforts have led to Annapolis, over the past month, the Movement has taken a number of steps to support the Annapolis Conference. We urged our leaders and activists to express support for the Congressional letter backing the Annapolis Conference co-authored by Cong. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) and Cong. Charles Boustany (R-LA); sent out action alerts asking for communications to members of Congress, the White House and for statements in local media on behalf of the Annapolis conference; created a web page of resources on Annapolis; and held a conference call for rabbis with former State Department negotiator Aaron Miller, Rabbi David Saperstein and Rabbi Peter Knobel, President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, urging them to give sermons and be prepared to offer public comment in support of the conference. We will continue in these efforts.
How appropriate that this conference takes place in Annapolis, the city where the United States ratified the Treaty of Paris (ending the Revolutionary War). Annapolis then became America’s first peacetime Capital, and she now has the opportunity to again be a symbol of peace.
We offer our hopes and prayers for Israel, indeed for all the parties, for a successful meeting, one that effectively restarts the peace process and puts the parties firmly on a path towards a final status agreement.