Activist pushes talk on response to statehood bid

Activist pushes talk on response to statehood bid

On Tuesday, Sept. 20, the day the Palestinian leadership is expected to make their appeal to the UN, members of the local community are invited to attend an informational briefing on the controversial move.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. at Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains. It is being organized by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and will feature longtime political activist Michael Sachs, AIPAC’s Northeast regional director.

His talk at CBI is cosponsored by the Va’ad Harabbanim of Central New Jersey, Congregation Anshe Chesed, Temple Sholom, and the Israel Support Committee of Congregation Beth Israel, Temple Beth O’r/Beth Torah, Temple Beth-El Mekor Chayim, and Temple Emanu-El.

While the Palestinian Authority bid is expected to be merely symbolic, given the certainty that the United States will veto any move by the UN Security Council to approve it, Jewish leaders are warning that it could undermine Israel’s international standing and forestall negotiations toward a two-state solution.

AIPAC member Rob Schwartz of Westfield, one of the event organizers, said he would like to see a lot more people taking action in response to the UN issue and in defense of Israel.

“Each person matters,” he said.

Schwartz is also active with the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey, which has joined the effort to counteract the unilateral statehood move. On its website, the federation has a link to a petition in opposition of the Palestinian bid sponsored by the Jewish Federations of North America and its Israel Action Network, in partnership with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.

The last words of the petition sum up its message: “Rather than support unilateral action, we call upon the international community to encourage the resumption of bilateral negotiations immediately and without preconditions.”

“Now is the most critical time to show our support for the unwavering U.S.-Israel relationship,” said Schwartz. “As Americans, we have the unique ability to make our voices heard by our political leaders in New Jersey and in Washington, and to see the direct positive impact from our involvement.”

Rabbi Joshua Hess of Anshe Chesed was instrumental in getting the Central NJ Va’ad Harabbanim involved.

“As we approach the High Holy Days, surrounded by a new era of uncertainty in the Middle East and specifically for the State of Israel due to the recent Arab Spring and the PA’s unilateral bid for a Palestinian state at the UN, the Va’ad HaRabbanim feels that it’s important our community has an opportunity to learn from experts in the field about the current challenges facing Israel and how we can make a difference,” he wrote in an e-mail.

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