American Jewish Leaders Come Out in Support of Kerry Peace Effort

Signatories on letter to Netanyahu include lawyer Alan Dershowitz, former World Bank president Jim Wolfensohn and historian Deborah Lipstadt.

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Over 150 American Jewish leaders sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday expressing strong support for the peace efforts of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and offering their support at "this pivotal moment of decision-making."

The letter was the initiative of the Israel Policy Forum, a United States-based advocacy organization. The signatories included Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, former World Bank president Jim Wolfensohn and historian Deborah Lipstadt, along with many American Jewish philanthropists, business leaders, Democratic political operatives and community leaders.

"We write to express the sentiment of a broad section of the American Jewish community in support of your continued efforts to pursue a negotiated resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on two states for two peoples," the letter stated.

Describing themselves as "American advocates for a strong, Jewish and democratic Israel," the signatories wrote that they "believe Secretary Kerry’s determined diplomatic effort offers an unprecedented opportunity to ensure Israel’s security, to enhance its prosperity, and to avoid the existential threat to the Jewish state posed by bi-nationalism."

The letter expressed the hope that "President Mahmoud Abbas will join you in demonstrating leadership to advance these talks. By moving forward at this time, we believe that the Palestinian leadership will be challenged to make important compromises, to end incitement and to demonstrate a genuine preparedness to live in peace alongside the nation-state of the Jewish people."

Among the other signatories to the letter were philanthropist Charles Bronfman, Reform rabbi and former president of the Union for Reform Judaism Eric Yoffie, political consultant David Axelrod and rabbis Rick Jacobs, Felicia Sol, Rolando Matalon and David Ellenson.

Kerry and Netanyahu at a press conference in Jerusalem, January 2, 2014.Credit: Reuters

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