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      Friday
      May062011

      Shift in Reform Judaism Towards J Street Peace Advocates

      Peace and justice advocates should be pleased with last week’s election of Rabbi Richard Jacobs as president of the Union for Reform Judaism, the largest branch of American Judaism. The new leadership will be supportive of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as efforts to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      Only last year, J Street was widely derided as an anti-Israel fringe group. The election of Jacobs signals widespread pressure for change from below, and suggests that the peace movement should engage in grass-roots roundtables with Reform congregations and mainstream networks like Jewish federations, part of a larger peace strategy of detaching the constituencies of the Democratic Party from failed and costly policies relying mainly on militarism.

      The PJRC has initiated a tentative dialogue with J Street about the potential merit of the Palestinian drive for United Nations recognition if current negotiations remain stalled. Gen. David Petraeus, now CIA director, has spoken of the national security implications of US troops being perceived as fighting for Israel’s interests in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and across the Middle East.

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