Edward Sanders, a national Jewish leader who played a key role in the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty as senior Middle East adviser to President Jimmy Carter, has died.
Sanders, who led the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, died Monday at his Los Angeles home following a protracted struggle with cancer. He was 87.
“Ed really provided substance to the Middle East peace process at Camp David and in overseas negotiations,” said Stuart Eizenstat, then Carter’s chief domestic policy adviser. “We also worked closely together in the White House on such issues as Soviet Jewry, Holocaust reparations, the Arab boycott and economic aid to Israel.”
Along with guiding AIPAC and the Presidents Conference, Sanders also served on the President’s Commission on the Holocaust, which Carter formed in 1978 to recommend a national memorial to the victims. He also led the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
In Los Angeles, he headed the Jewish Federation Council and United Jewish Fund in the 1970s, and most recently spearheaded the federation’s $20 million Campaign for the 21st Century. Sanders also served as chairman of the L.A. Urban League.
A dedicated, lifelong Democrat, Sanders took leadership roles in the Carter, Dukakis and Clinton presidential campaigns. Locally, he was a strong supporter of Tom Bradley, the first African-American mayor of Los Angeles.