Ex-Pentagon Chief Calls for Peace Plan

Several Prominent Jewish Communal Figures Join Push

By Nathan Guttman

Published January 23, 2007, issue of January 26, 2007.
  • Print
  • Share Share

WASHINGTON — In a press conference last Monday, former secretary of defense William Cohen called for stepped up American efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The event was organized by the Campaign for American Leadership in the Middle East. The group has lined up 275 former administration officials, members of Congress, business leaders, Arab American activists and Jewish communal leaders to support a statement calling on President Bush to launch a new peace initiative.

“We urge you to mobilize international support for that goal and to pursue progress with determination, fairness and creativity until success is achieved,” the letter to Bush reads. “We fully understand the potential obstacles ahead. We also understand the consequences of failure. Failure must not be an option. You have our strong support to stay the course.”

Several Clinton-era officials signed the document, including former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Warren Christopher, former secretary of defense William Perry and peace negotiators Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk and Rob Malley.

Republicans also signed on, including Cohen, who was a GOP senator from Maine before serving as Clinton’s defense secretary; Lawrence Eagleburger, who served as secretary of state under the first President Bush, and John Danforth, a former senator from Missouri who later served as the second President Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations.

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, and Rabbi Jerome Epstein, executive vice president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, also signed, as did Hillel’s president, Wayne Firestone.

For the full list, visit www.mideastcalm.org:80.

The co-chairmen of the group that organized the letter are Joel Tauber, former leader of the North American network of Jewish charitable federations, and George Salem, chairman of the Arab American Institute.

Leaders of the campaign stressed that their call for deeper American involvement in the Middle East conflict is not meant to pressure Israel, asserting that the outlines for any future agreements are already known and enjoy widespread support in Israel, as well as among the Palestinians.

During the Monday press conference, held in Washington, Cohen said that his group did not see a direct linkage between solving the Israeli-Arab conflict and winning the war in Iraq. That said, he added that “it would have a positive impact on the entire region.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.