Calling all US Senators: Please support Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Dianne Feinstein is circulating a pretty strongly worded letter in support of President Obama’s efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks — or, from my reading of it, a pretty strongly worded letter urging the President to push “proximity talks” forward into something more substantive.

There is no doubt the road to a peace agreement will be challenging.  The obstacles are many… [but] we have no choice but to press ahead.

While we support the start of proximity talks as way to get negotiations moving again, we believe that, ultimately, direct negotiations are the only way to achieve a two-state solution.  We urge all sides to transition to direct talks as soon as possible.  Delays could embolden the enemies of peace and put an agreement out of reach.  We applaud Prime Minister Netanyahu for committing to direct talks and we urge you to press President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to reciprocate.

In his statement following his appointment as Special Envoy, Senator Mitchell said: “Conflicts are created, conducted and sustained by human beings; they can be ended by human beings.”  We could not agree more.  American leadership, determination, and hard work are needed to bring these two peoples – Israelis and Palestinians – together to find a lasting peace.

It’s easy to forget that, not long ago, it would have been unthinkable for a powerful US Senator (and a Jewish one at that) to make a blunt statement about the need to establish an independent Palestine alongside the Jewish State.

But now it’s not only thinkable, it’s a fairly regular occurrence — and not just because many lawmakers have realized that Israelis and Palestinians need a two-state compromise, and not just because they’ve understood that American security interests demand such a compromise, but because they’re discovered that such a two-state solution has backing among their constituents. Which is to say: Democracy at work has created this change, this desperately, urgently needed change.

And how does democracy work? When we tell our elected officials what we want!

If you want to urge your own senators to sign Feinstein’s letter, you have a variety of options:

  1. Use this form, on the Americans for Peace Now legislative action page
  2. Write an email to your senators (sample below)
  3. Call your Senators directly or via the Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121 (you can use the sample email as a sample phone script as well)

My experience and that of others suggests that the most effective way to make sure your voice is heard is to call your senators, but that does not mean that the other ways are ineffectual. The one sure way to be ineffectual, of course, is to do nothing.

And so: If you believe that a two-state solution is best possible resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — even though it’s a flawed notion, even if you have fears, even if you wonder if it’s even possible (here’s why I think it’s still our best bet) — please ask your senators to sign on to Feinstein’s letter, even if you know they’ll say no. It’s almost as important to let the naysayers know that the tide is turning, as it is to continue to push the tide along. (And if you’re Jewish, make sure you mention it!)

And please send this post, or the information in it, to any and all who might likewise take action!



Dear Sen. XXXX,

I recently learned that Sen. Feinstein of California is circulating a letter encouraging President Obama to do all that he can to return Israel and the Palestinians to direct negotiations aimed at achieving a two-state solution to their conflict. I’m an American Jew, and I’m convinced that a two-state peace is the best answer for Israelis, Palestinians, and American security interests, but I’m worried that we’re running out of time to make it work. I hope that you’ll sign on to Sen. Feinstein’s letter, and help the Obama Administration achieve its stated goal of a peace treaty in the Middle East.



Israel/Palestine: the basics.

Israel/Palestine peace advocacy – places to start.

Israel/Palestine – a reading list.

1 Comment

  1. dmf

     /  May 26, 2010

    got any suggestions for those of us residing in states with pols that run against folks like feinstein and the prez?