Seymour D. Reich And Peter A. Joseph
The Jerusalem Post (Opinion)
May 13, 2008 - 6:12pm

Isi Leibler does not miss an opportunity to misrepresent the positions or purpose of the Israel Policy Forum (IPF), as he has done once again in his April 29 Candidly Speaking column, "With Friends like These..."

IPF was founded in 1993 with the encouragement of Yitzhak Rabin, who sought a pro-Israel, American Jewish organization that would advocate in the United States for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rabin was convinced that such a resolution of this conflict was critical to Israel's long-term security. He felt that, to Israel's detriment, major American Jewish organizations then in existence were wedded to the status quo, which opposed negotiations with the Palestinians to attain a two-state solution. It was important, Rabin believed, that American Jews support Israel's efforts to make peace as vigorously as they support Israel's efforts to protect the security of the state.

Since then we at IPF have worked with every US administration and Israeli government, with members of Congress and the Knesset on all sides of various aisles, and with many other interested parties, to support and encourage efforts to achieve a two-state solution, to attain long-term security for Israel and to end the shedding of Israeli and Palestinian blood. We have not "been lobbying the White House to get tougher with Israel," as Mr. Leibler claims. Rather, IPF urges American administrations to get, and stay, engaged in active diplomatic efforts that will assure Israel's security and future as a Jewish, democratic state.

IPF IS now energetically backing the efforts of Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to follow up last November's Annapolis conference to forge an Israeli-Palestinian agreement before the end of the Bush administration next January.

To that end we sent a letter to Rice on March 20 (which Leibler mischaracterized). We wrote: "We support your actions encouraging Arab states such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar or whichever interlocutor you deem appropriate, to determine Hamas's willingness to establish a cease-fire and to help stabilize the current situation. We say this with the recognition that - as in the case of Israel's indirect dealings with Hamas to free Gilad Schalit - no progress can be made if Hamas is totally excluded from the process." IPF did not, as Leibler asserted, lobby "the White House to negotiate directly with Hamas."

IPF has become a critically important, independent, mainstream organization dedicated to mobilizing American Jews in support of sustained US diplomatic efforts in the Middle East. IPF is increasingly recognized as a central clearinghouse for policymakers seeking to more effectively engage the United States in the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

They look to the Israel Policy Forum for two important reasons: They recognize that we represent the views of the vast majority of American Jews concerning Israel-Arab relations, and because many of our leaders and board members have long been in the forefront of pro-Israel activity in the American Jewish community, having served as leaders of such organizations as AIPAC, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and UJA.

Americans and American organizations that support peace and security for Israel through negotiated agreements, as IPF has been doing for 15 years, are pro-Israel and anti-status quo. Given current demographic trends, not moving toward peace is far more harmful to Israel's long-term security today than it was in 1993.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017