The letter below to the Anti-Defamation League describes Ralph Nader’s
position on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by highlighting the voice for
peace that he would emphasize when working toward a peaceful resolution of
the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
August 5, 2004
Abraham H. Foxman
823 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
Dear Mr. Foxman:
How nice to hear your views. Years ago, fresh out of law school, I was
reading your clear writings against bigotry and discrimination. Your
charter has always been to advance civil liberties and free speech in our
country by and for all ethnic and religious groups. These days all
freedom-loving people have much work to do.
As you know there is far more freedom in the media, in town squares and
among citizens, soldiers, elected representatives and academicians in
Israel to debate and discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than there is
in the United States. Israelis of all backgrounds have made this point.
Do you agree and if so, what is your explanation for such a difference?
About half of the Israeli people over the years have disagreed with the
present Israeli government’s policies toward the Palestinian people.
Included in this number is the broad and deep Israeli peace movement which
mobilized about 120,000 people in a Tel Aviv square recently.
Do you agree with their policies and strategy for a peaceful settlement
between Israelis and Palestinians? Or do you agree with the House
Resolution 460 in Congress signed by 407 members of the House to support
the Prime Minister’s proposal? See attachment re the omission of any
reference to a viable Palestinian state – generally considered by both
Israelis and Palestinians, including those who have worked out accords
together, to be a sine qua non for a settlement of this resolvable conflict
– a point supported by over two-thirds of Americans of the Jewish faith.
Would such a reasonable resolution ever pass the Congress? For more
information on the growing pro-peace movements among the American Jewish
Community see: Ester Kaplan, “The Jewish Divide on Israel,” The Nation,
June 24, 2004.
Enclosed is the “Courage to Refuse – Combatant’s Letter” signed by hundreds
of reserve combat officials and soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces. It is posted on their web at:
of their statement needs careful consideration: “We shall not continue to
fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and
humiliate an entire people. We hereby declare that we shall continue
serving in the Israel Defense Forces in any mission that serves Israel’s
defense. The missions of occupation and oppression do not serve this
purpose – and we shall take no part in them” (Emphasis in original). Do you
agree with these patriotic, front line soldiers’ observation that Israel is
dominating, expelling, starving and humiliating an entire people – the
Palestinian people – and that in their words “the Territories are not
What is your view of Rabbi Lerner’s Tikkun’s call for peace, along with the
proposals of Jewish Voice for Peace, the Progressive Jewish Alliance and
Americans for Peace Now? As between the present Israeli government’s
position on this conflict and the position of these groups, which do you
favor and why?
Do you share the views in the open letter signed by 400 rabbis, including
leaders of some of the largest congregations in our country, sent this
March by Rabbis for Human Rights of North America to Ariel Sharon
protesting Israel’s house-demolition policy?
Have you ever disagreed with the Israeli government’s treatment of the
Palestinian people in any way, shape or manner in the occupied territories?
Do you think that these Semitic peoples have ever suffered from bigotry and
devastation by their occupiers in the occupied West Bank, Gaza or inside
Israel? If you want a reference here, check the website of the great
Israeli human rights group B’T selem.
Since you are a man of many opinions, with a specialty focused on the
Semitic peoples, explain the United States’ support over the decades of
authoritarian or dictatorial regimes, in the greater Middle East, over
their own people which is fomenting resistance by fundamentalists.
These questions have all occurred to you years ago, no doubt. So it would
be helpful to receive your views”¦