A “fresh start” wanted


A coalition of seven Jewish, Arab-American and religious organizations aren’t wasting any time in urging the new president to get involved in Israeli-Palestinian talks.

Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, American Task Force for Lebanon, the Arab-American Institute, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, Churches for Middle East Pace and J Street sent a letter to Obama on day one of his presidency urging a "fresh start" on trying to forge a two-state solution. Here’s the full missive:

January 21, 2009


The Honorable Barack H. Obama

1600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20500


Dear President Obama,


We are a group of committed Jewish and Arab Americans as well as representatives of religious-based organizations who join in this time of crisis because we believe that, by working together, we can make the most effective contribution to ending the violence and delivering peace and security to the peoples of the Middle East. 


In 1993, our communities stood, side-by-side, on the White House lawn. As we have seen our hopes for a peaceful resolution to this conflict slip away, we have anguished together as bloodshed has taken its toll on the peoples of the region. Decades of intermittent and ineffective peace efforts have hardened extremes on both sides and made peace more difficult. As a result, American influence and prestige have suffered throughout the entire region.


Your election on a platform of change has the potential to re-establish America’s standing throughout the world.  The work for a comprehensive and implementable two-state solution will not be easy, but it can be done.  It is urgent, and it is undoubtedly in the best interests of Israelis, Palestinians, the broader region and the United States. 


While we appreciate the goodwill of previous efforts, we need a fresh start. You may be the last President who will have the opportunity to deliver a two-state solution for the Israeli and Palestinian people. The U.S. will need to take the lead, and work with its international partners to find solutions, create incentives and implement a plan. We pledge to stand by you and your Administration as you work with the two parties to achieve it.  


We believe that you have both the vision and the will to make dramatic change possible.  We urge you to act early. Your ability to achieve U.S. goals in the region will be greatly affected by the approach taken on this issue. 


We—Jewish, Christian, and Muslim—Americans, many of whom feel a strong personal connection to the Middle East and its people, share the belief that this is a unique moment and that you have been presented with a unique opportunity. We trust, we pray, you will seize it.


For our part, we commit to standing behind your peacemaking efforts every step of the way.





Americans for Peace Now

American Task Force for Lebanon

Arab American Institute

Brit Tzedek v’Shalom

Churches for Middle East Peace

J Street

Obama seems eager to get involved, having spoken to four Middle Eastern leaders as one of the first things he did Wednesday morning.

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