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JCPA, Task Force on Palestine lobby for two states

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A Jewish public policy umbrella and a Palestinian group that advocates for two states jointly lobbied Congress for Secretary of State John Kerry’s bid to restart peace talks.

Leaders of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the American Task Force on Palestine met Thursday with staffers for the foreign relations committees in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

“We are making the case together and trying to represent the win-win aspect of negotiations,” said Ben Suarato, a spokesman for JCPA.

“Usually meetings are with each community separately, but it’s a mutual concern and we thought it important to model that,” he said. “Both groups are supportive of the latest effort and are encouraged by an active U.S. role – which we need – and wanted to be able to say so and demonstrate that together.”

Kerry last month appealed to the Jewish community to openly back his efforts to restart talks, and in recent weeks a number of mainstream groups have made their support clear.

“We supported the two-state solution and the commitment of the U.S. government, the indispensable partner, to stay engaged,” said Ziad Asali, the president of the ATFP. “We thought it is useful to have a Palestinian and Jewish American statement that it is not a zero sum game.”

Republican leaders in the House have suggested that Kerry’s bid is premature and could be counterproductive.

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