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Jewish Voices for Peace and Justice

June 8, 2003

Canadian Jews who oppose the continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza by Israel will gather for a one-day conference on June 8, 2003, in Toronto. Conference organizers, a coalition of progressive Jewish groups and individuals, hope to establish a voice for peace among Jews and open a more democratic dialogue in the Jewish community around issues relating to the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The group believes that in denying basic rights to the Palestinians, the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza contradicts Jewish ethics and undermines, rather than strengthens, Israel’s security.

Keynote speaker for the event will be Terry Greenblatt, director of Bat Shalom, a feminist organization of Israeli women working toward a just peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours that includes recognition of a Palestinian state side by side with Israel, and Jerusalem as the capital of both. Bat Shalom works in coalition with more than one hundred women's peace and anti-occupation initiatives around the world that have mobilized in response to the situation in the region. On May 7, 2002, Greenblatt and Maha Abu-Dayyeh, Executive Director of the Jerusalem Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (a Palestinian peace organization which is formally linked with Bat Shalom) addressed the UN Security Council. Introduced by feminist activist Gloria Steinem, the two women urged the members of the Security Council to “use your power wisely and with a moral compass whose needle is uncompromisingly pointed toward justice.”

The conference will feature a series of workshops exploring such topics as Jewish ethics/Jewish law and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, campus politics and the Middle East, creating dialogue within the Jewish community, and Israel and the Canadian media. Workshops will be led by local academics, activists and journalists including Rabbi Justin Jaron Lewis, Dr. Ben Carniol and Globe and Mail Columnist Rick Salutin.

For more information:

Contact: Sheryl Nestel

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