CINCINNATI — The Central Conference of American Rabbis called on Israel today to negotiate with "freely chosen representatives" of the Palestinian people in an effort to bring peace to the troubled area.
In a sometimes sharply bitter debate, the conference--the rabbinical arm of Reform Judaism in the United States--also condemned "the violence and terror from whatever quarter" that has accompanied the 1 1/2-year-old Palestinian intifada, or uprising, in the occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank.
"There is a deafening silence coming out of the CCAR when it comes to the Palestinian uprising," said Rabbi Israel Dresner, Wayne, N.J., urging the conference to speak tough to Israel. "Israel is now the party saying: 'no partition, no recognition, no peace.' "
Opponents, however, urging the conference not to be arrogant in speaking to Israel, reminded the body that no American Jews are at risk as a result of the intifada.