The right-wing spin machine would have you believe that former President Carter only represented himself when he went to the Middle East, and met with Hamas leaders in efforts to challenge the destructive Bush Administration policy of trying to exclude Hamas from efforts at Israeli-Palestinian peace by imposing a blockade on Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
But it just ain't so.
This week Jewish Voice for Peace and Just Foreign Policy delivered 5,000 signatures on petitions in support of former President Carter's initiative.
Here is the press release Just Foreign Policy sent to news media:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 9, 2008
Contact: Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy
Cecilie Surasky, Jewish Voice for Peace
5,000 SIGN PETITION SUPPORTING DIALOGUE WITH HAMAS
WASHINGTON, D.C......Jewish Voice for Peace and Just Foreign Policy have presented former U.S. President Jimmy Carter with a petition signed by 5,000 of their members supporting his meeting with Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal. The petition is being delivered to the three remaining Democratic and Republican presidential candidates this week.
"In a joint effort, our two organizations have collected signatures to this petition over the last several weeks. ... Please accept this as an expression of appreciation for your recent efforts toward creating a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians and as encouragement for you to continue despite the criticism from many sectors. Peace demands courage," the groups said in a letter delivered to President Carter on Thursday.
The text of the petition reads: "I support peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Jimmy Carter speaks for me when he says that resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires talking to Hamas. 64% of Israelis have said they support talks with Hamas. Please support including talks with Hamas in efforts to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians."
"I am grateful for the efforts of Jewish Voice for Peace, Just Foreign Policy and others working for the cause of peace in the Middle East. Public dialogue and awareness are crucial to achieving the goals of peace with security for Israel and peace with justice for Palestinians," said President Carter.
The petition was signed by 5,000 individuals from all 50 states. A copy of the petition can be found on-line at: www.justforeignpolicy.org/mideastpetition.pdf.
Jewish Voice for Peace is one of the largest Jewish peace organizations in the U.S. with chapters across the country and an advisory board that includes Pulitzer winner Tony Kushner, actor Ed Asner, and poet Adrienne Rich as well as other respected rabbis, artists, scholars and activists. JVP is dedicated to promoting a US foreign policy in the Middle East based on democracy, human rights and respect for international law. .
Just Foreign Policy is an independent and non-partisan membership organization founded in 2006. Our Board includes Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP; former Congressman Tom Andrews; former California State Senator Tom Hayden; Robert L. Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America's Future; and Jeff Faux, Founding President of the Economic Policy Institute.
Follow Robert Naiman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/naiman