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Debra DeLee to the GOP's Steele: Don't Speak at Anti-Peace Event

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"Please stand for Israel. Stand for American interests. End your involvement with this event."

This was the core message of the May 17th letter APN sent to Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, upon announcement of his speaking at the pro-settlement "Israel Day" Concert sponsored by Ateret Cohenim and the Hebron Fund, among others.

Michael Steele, Chairman
Republican National Committee
310 First Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

May 17, 2010

Dear Chairman Steele,

I was troubled to discover your intention to appear as a featured speaker at the 17th annual "Israel Day" concert on May 23rd. This event, which is dedicated to an undivided Jerusalem and a refusal to negotiate over the West Bank, is not consistent with support for Israel.

Real friends of Israel know that Israel needs practical negotiations -- not radical slogans -- to achieve peace. Encouraging groups like Friends of Ateret Cohanim and the Hebron Fund, the co-sponsors of "Israel Day," makes it more difficult for Israel to reach the peace it deserves. These groups lead efforts to thrust provocative Jewish settlements into Palestinian towns and neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Such efforts are intended to hinder a future Palestinian rule over the West Bank and East Jerusalem and therefore jeopardize the viability of a two-state solution.

Remember, three out of every four American Jews back a peace arrangement based on a two-state solution, including Israeli compromises on Jerusalem.

The Republican Party's 2008 platform clearly calls for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be resolved through negotiations. Promoting settlement construction is not consistent with this mandate.

Given your leadership role in the Republican Party, I ask that you demonstrate responsibility and withdraw your agreement to speak at this event. Peace for Israel is more important than partisan politics. Every American president in the past 40 years -- Republican and Democrat alike -- has opposed West Bank settlements. They knew that settlements threaten Israel's future as a democratic Jewish state living in peace and security with its neighbors, and impede US national security interests.

I am happy to talk to you or supply you with more information about the danger of supporting groups such as Ateret Cohanim and the Hebron Fund.

Please stand for Israel. Stand for American interests. End your involvement with this event.

Sincerely,
Debra DeLee
President & CEO