Press: CALME in Forward

Former Secretary of Defense, Other Ex-Officials Call for U.S. Peace Initiative
Several Prominent Jewish Communal Figures Join Push
Nathan Guttman | Tue. Jan 23, 2007

WASHINGTON — In a press conference on Monday, former secretary of defense William Cohen called for stepped up American efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The event was organized by the Campaign for American Leadership in the Middle East. The group has lined up 275 former administration officials, members of Congress, business leaders, Arab American activists and Jewish communal leaders to support a statement calling on President Bush to launch a new peace initiative.

“We urge you to mobilize international support for that goal and to pursue progress with determination, fairness and creativity until success is achieved,” the letter to Bush reads. “We fully understand the potential obstacles ahead. We also understand the consequences of failure. Failure must not be an option. You have our strong support to stay the course.”

Several Clinton-era officials signed the document, including former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Warren Christopher, former secretary of defense William Perry and peace negotiators Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk and Rob Malley.

Republicans also signed on, including Cohen, who was a GOP senator from Maine before serving as Clinton’s defense secretary; Lawrence Eagleburger, who served as secretary of state under the first President Bush, and John Danforth, a former senator from Missouri who later served as the second President Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations.

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, and Rabbi Jerome Epstein, executive vice president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, also signed, as did Hillel’s president, Wayne Firestone.

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