by David Lentz
On Friday, September 23, Palestinian Authority Mahamoud Abbas addressed the UN General Assembly, submitting the PA’s request for admission as a member state. If you heard the speech, it was difficult to take. The charges were ugly and certainly not reflective of a negotiating partner committed to peace.
Because we have been raised in the American tradition of listening to both sides, I'm sure, like me, you sometimes ask yourself whether it’s true that the Palestinians have no choice but to seek Israel's demise through the “right of return” of millions of Palestinian refugees. Is it true that Palestinians do not have human rights? Do they not have freedom of movement? Can they not build homes? Are they victims of ethnic cleansing?
How truthful is Abbas? For those who remember Arafat's welcome before the same General Assembly, how much is Abbas just a more recent incarnation of those horrendous episodes?
The only way for our Jewish community to process these accusations and build strong support for Israel in the community-at-large is to ensure we know the facts on the ground and how to respond. Here is what we're doing:
The Community Relations Committee of
We invite you to visit our site. Read over the materials designed to answer some of the toughest questions and keep you informed about current events of vital interest to our place as Jews in the world.
Next, the CRC, in coordination with the New Jersey region of American Jewish Committee, is organizing the Step Up For Israel Advocacy Summit from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. on October 16, 2011. We timed the Advocacy Summit to coincide with the political reality of the Palestinian-Israeli showdown at the UN.
We urge the community to turn out for this program. Representatives from 14 advocacy organizations will discuss assaults on Israel’s legitimacy and provide tools and techniques to respond to the current events of our day. This program is for you, your family, friends, and colleagues. In addition to the morning program, you can sign up for afternoon advocacy workshops that will teach you how to hone your advocacy skills.
Please reach out to those who are unaffiliated and do not receive our e-mails. This program is for them as well.
This is a pivotal time in our history. The Advocacy Summit is a great opportunity to learn, be heard, and be counted. Make a difference. Learn about advocacy and become an advocate.
We must be clear. The ideal of a Palestinian state is one envisioned by both Palestinians and Israelis. This can only happen, however, by direct negotiations between the two parties. This message was advanced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who called on Abbas to join him for negotiations while they are both here in New York. We must share this message with our community.
Israelis and Palestinians share the same goal: peace. A negotiated resolution is the only pathway for the Palestinians to forge an independent, democratic, and prosperous state. But a Palestinian state will not exist in a vacuum. Borders must be established. Final status questions remain unresolved. Economic and security ties will need to be strengthened. All of these steps require positive relations, cooperation, and good faith. None of that comes from a unilateral declaration of independence that ignores Israel as a partner in peace.
It is time to talk to each other, not about each other; time to stop the posturing and strident rhetoric that characterized President Abbas’ speech, and sit together to make peace.
This is a call to action for the entire MetroWest Jewish community. See you on October 16th!
David Lentz is chair of the Community Relations Committee of