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American Jews Are “A Constituency Ready For Peace,” Says Forward Editor

Allan C. Brownfeld, Editor
Special Interest Report
January-Februray 2002

As the Bush administration begins a new round of Middle East diplomacy it should understand that the majority of American Jews represent “a constituency ready for peace,” writes J.J. Goldberg, the editor of The Forward in The New York Times (Nov. 29, 2001).  

He notes that, “If past experience is any guide, leaders of prominent American Jewish organizations will be following all of the diplomatic moves closely, waiting to pounce on any hint that the administration is pressuring Israel for concessions. Protests from those leaders traditionally raise the political costs at home of any step by Washington that Jerusalem finds disagreeable.”  

In fact, Goldberg declares, “American Jews - and even Israelis - are probably far more open to some reasonable pressures on Israel in the cause of Middle East peace than most politicians believe . . . Recent polls suggest . . . that the administration has more room to maneuver than the lobbyists let on.”  

A poll conducted in late October by the Israel Policy Forum, the Wilstein Institute and New York Jewish Week found 85 percent of American Jews saying it was “very important” for the U.S. to take an activist role in ending the violence in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and in renewing peace negotiations. The respondents seemed to understand the reasons for current American pressure for peace negotiations. A majority, 59 percent, said Israel “should do whatever is necessary” to help the U.S. keep Arab countries a part of the anti-terror coalition.  

“Many American Jews,” writes Goldberg, “see their community as bearing a responsibility

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