Peace… Always something we as Jews must be willing to vigorously pursue. I just signed onto this Rabbinic letter organized by Brit Tzedek v’Shalom:
As we approach the festival of Chanukah, we American rabbis and cantors call on the American Jewish community to rekindle our commitment to Israeli-Palestinian peace. When we light candles at this darkest time of the year, may we nurture hope for a lasting peace settlement after too many years of violence and despair. If we learn anything from the story of Chanukah, it is that even when circumstances appear grim – perhaps especially then – hope and courage are vital.
At the upcoming Annapolis peace conference, the parties to the conflict will have their first substantive face-to-face meeting in nearly seven years to launch final-status negotiations. For many of us, the heady optimism and promise we felt while witnessing the Clinton peace talks seem like distant dreams. Yet, we must remain alert to the real opportunities emerging right now that need our support.
We urge the American Jewish community to stand behind the conference as it attempts to launch a negotiation process with the goal of a viable Palestinian state, living side-by side and in peace with a secure Israel. We cannot emphasize strongly enough that Israel’s long-term peace and security require that this conference be a true starting point for a real, sustained peace process, one characterized by consistent U.S. diplomatic engagement and tangible improvements in living conditions and security for both Israelis and Palestinians.
The next American president will play a critical role in determining whether the results of steps initiated at Annapolis lay the foundation for a final status peace agreement. A large measure of our hopes for peace will be entrusted to whoever wins the 2008 election, and as such, it is crucial that we communicate to all the candidates that a truly pro-Israel president will, with the support of the vast majority of American Jews, do everything in his or her power to bring about a negotiated two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
May the spirit of peace and the light of justice illumine the vision of our leadership for the benefit of our people and our world this Chanukah.