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Friday, May 30, 2003


NEW YORK -- The Interdenominational Rabbinic Committee, coordinated by Amcha-- The Coalition for Jewish Concerns, released the text of the "letter of caution" sent to President George W. Bush at a 10 am press conference today in Manhattan. The letter was signed by 375 Congregational Rabbis who serve hundreds of thousands of American Jews from the three major branches of Judaism and represent the entire religious and political spectrum of the Jewish community. Never before have so many diverse Congregational Rabbis come together to sign a letter of consensus on such an important issue affecting Israel.

Noting the overwhelming grassroots response to the letter, the Rabbis announced the launching of a drive to garner one million American signatures. (When I find a working link online, I'll post it.)

Rabbi Ginsburg stressed that just as "America cannot defend itself and its friends by hoping for the best," neither can Israel.

The statement highlights three principles related to Israeli security concerns that must govern any peacemaking attempts in the Middle East. While written before its debate on the Road Map, these principles were also articulated by the Israeli Cabinet in the reservations and resolutions accompanying its acceptance. They are:

* The PA must renounce the notion of a Palestinian "Right of Return" to the Jewish State.
* The PA must dismantle the existing terrorist infrastructure and end its anti-Semitic incitement to violence before the Road Map is implemented.
* Road Map advancement must be based on performance, not on arbitrary timetables that encourage noncompliance.

In stressing the importance of these principles and their relation to Israeli security concerns, Rabbi Neal Borovitz observed that "Israel has a passionate concern for peace, but not at the price of Jewish suicide."

Kol hakavod.