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The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles: "War and Peace, Letter On Gaza"

APN Leaders in S. California joined with other organizational reps as signatories for this letter published in the January 15 issue

Letters to the Editor - January 15, 2009

David Suissa offered some compelling thoughts in "Can War Bring Peace" (Jan. 9), including how supporters of Israel may all want peace, yet differ on the path to take toward that goal.

We, who represent organizations that are directly linked to the Israel peace camp or are supportive of its overarching principles, fully agree. We claim no monopoly among our fellow supporters of Israel on the desire for peace, nor would we be pleased to have one.

Unfortunately, Suissa relegates pursuing peace to the backseat, if not stuffed in the trunk, so long as there is a threat to Israel in the form of a missile that could hit a high-level strategic target or densely populated area. When has there not been such a time?

Even the countries that have peace agreements with Israel (Egypt and Jordan) have the technical capacity to do this level of damage, yet with negotiated agreements and Israel maintaining a sufficient level of deterrence, these threats are rendered impotent. Israel has the right to protect her citizens, but by asserting that a missile threat must be defended against as if it were a matter of Israel's survival, Suissa dooms the prospect of long-term security for Israel, even without the firing of a single rocket.

Israel must be mindful at all times both of her enemies and their capacity for doing harm, as well as the delicate balance of calibrating the use of military force and political acumen to move toward a lasting resolution of the conflict, rather than push it further away.

This is where belonging to the Israel peace camp is qualitatively different from simply holding a heartfelt desire that Israel be at peace. We know that Israel has enemies, but we also know that Israel has made peace agreements with her neighbors, and can and must for her survival. War is not always a necessity and, in fact, threatens the kind of peace and security for Israel that we all desire.

Arthur Stern, Regional Chair
Americans for Peace Now

David Pine, Regional Director
Americans for Peace Now

Eric Gordon, Director
Arbeter Ring (Workmen's Circle) Southern California District

Allison Lattman, Los Angeles Chapter Co-Chair
Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Yael Samuel, Los Angeles Chapter Co-Chair
Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Ellen Aaronson-Prince, Los Angeles Regional Director
New Israel Fund

Jaime Rapaport, Regional Director
Progressive Jewish Alliance