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New Group Places Ads Reopening Battle over Status of Peace Now

In ads placed in the New York Times and 18 Jewish newspapers across the country this month, a hitherto unknown Jewish organization called Pro Israel has tried to reopen an organizational battle that many thought was settled in March.

But the ads, which attacked the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations for accepting Americans for Peace Now as a member, have cost Pro Israel at least one endorsement.

Pro Israel had used a letter from Likud party leader and Knesset member Benjamin Netanyahu in its initial fund-raising campaign.

In the wake of the ad, Netanyahu withdrew his support, saying his endorsement was given for Pro Israel’s announced goal of increasing support and understanding of Israel, not for attacking other Jewish organizations.

At the Conference of Presidents, which admitted Peace Now by a 27-10 vote on March 29, only one letter has been received in the wake of the ads critical of the decision, according to Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein.

“For a group that’s pro-Israel, there are many more important messages they could have used their funds for,” said Hoenlein.

And at Peace Now, President Gail Pressberg said the ads, while a “nuisance,” may have done more good than harm for her organization.

“A couple of people wrote us, ‘I never heard of you, it sounds like you’re doing good work, here’s the double-chai ($36) contribution that Pro Israel wanted,'” she said.

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