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The following petition is sponsored by American Jews who have been shocked and dismayed by the vicious attacks against Jimmy Carter regarding his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. A vocal segment of the Jewish establishment has responded to the book as if we Jews speak with one monolithic voice which equates criticism of Israel\'s policies with anti-Semitism. We belive this knee-jerk reaction to criticism of Israeli government policies not only stifles debate, but inflames fear in the Jewish community and increases tolerance for militarism. What we need is rational debate, courage and moral vision to imagine what it would take to bring peace and justice to Israel and Palestine and to de-escalate terror and violence in the region without falling victim to cynical assumptions about the \"inevitability\" of regional war. With the United States poised for \"surgical military strikes\" on Iranian nuclear facilities, it is more important than ever that we respond to this moment in history with a deep willingness to engage in open-minded dialogue and debate and to imagine that the future can transcend the fear, distrust and reactivity so characteristic of modern politics.
We also ask that people actually read President Carter\'s book BEFORE deciding that it and he are anti-Semitic. Too often we take the words of our \"leaders\" instead of forming opinions of our own. Unfortunately, most of our American Rabbis have remained silent or, worse, joined the madding crowd in their uncritical slander against President Jimmy Carter. We must step up and have courage to speak an unpopular truth, knowing that we may be attacked in our own communites for doing so. However, there is just as likely a possibility that we will find each other and form a powerful collective conscience of our own to correct for the damage already done in our name. Let us stand up and be counted!
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