Rabbis sign peace letter to candidates

Hundreds of U.S. Jewish clergy urged the next president to make Israeli-Palestinian peace a priority.

“The consequences of failing to establish a durable peace are grim,” said the letter sent this week to Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), the presidential candidates. “The influence of Iran and Hezbollah would surely grow among an increasingly bitter Palestinian population, and extremists would have further excuse to do vicious battle with the West. It is difficult to calculate the damage that a downward spiral into fresh waves of violence could hold.”

The letter, signed by close to 700 rabbis, cantors and seminary students and put together by Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, a dovish pro-Israel group, decried what it said was the neglect of the issue by the Bush administration.

“After eight years of half-hearted diplomacy, there is no time left to walk softly and hope for the best,” said the letter, timed for the 10 Days of Awe, the period of repentance and reflection between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

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