McKinney Invites Uri Avnery, Jewish Peace Groups to Capitol Hill

Article excerpt

MCKINNEY INVITES URI AVNERY, JEWISH PEACE GROUPS TO CAPITOL HILL

Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) called a press conference Oct. 25 at the House Triangle to welcome to Capitol Hill Uri and Rachel Avnery, along with a coalition of American Jewish peace organizations. McKinney said she supported recent statements by President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell backing a viable Palestinian state. The Jewish peace activists visiting Capitol Hill, she added, "represent a new and vital voice that must be heard. I am pleased to stand with them today for peace and security for all in the Middle East."

McKinney introduced one of Israel's most celebrated peace activists, Uri Avnery, who has challenged Israeli assumptions about the Arab-Israel conflict for over half a century. In 1993 Avnery founded Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc), an Israeli organization dedicated to a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Jews United for a Just Peace (Junity) activist Charles Lenchner, Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel (JPPI) executive director Joshua Ruebner, and Not in My Name spokesman Steven Feuerstein each took the opportunity to address the Anti-Defamation League's harsh attack on McKinney. The ADL had criticized the congresswoman for her Oct. 12 letter apologizing to Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, whose generous donation to New York City was returned by Mayor Rudolph Guiliani.

Ruebner also had words of praise for the Avnerys. During the past year, he noted, "some Israeli peace organizations have become silent and ineffective. Not so with Gush Shalom, which has been steadfast in its words and actions and has not wavered in its principled commitment to the cause of attaining a just peace for both Palestine and Israel."

"Along with Gush Shalom," Ruebner added, "JPPI and Junity are extremely concerned about the latest Israeli re-occupation of Palestinian cities, a flagrant violation of previously signed agreements which has led to the death of dozens of Palestinian civilians over the past few days. We call upon the government of the United States, both the Bush administration and Congress, to exercise its influence with Israel to end this latest round of aggression and to bring the parties back to the negotiating table. …