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ADL Letter to Howard Dean

  September 9, 2003

Governor Howard Dean
Dean For America
Burlington, Vermont 05402

Dear Governor Dean:

I am writing with regard to comments attributed to you about the US policy in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations suggesting it is not America's place to "take sides" in the conflict.

The US has been a key player in Middle East peace negotiations precisely because it maintains relationships with all parties. Yet, this US role exists in the context of a longstanding alliance with Israel. The ties are grounded in the shared interests of two democracies and have grown deeper as both nations struggle against the threat of terrorism. The US has taken a strong stand in support of Israel in its fight against terror as a means to promote the cessation of violence that is vital for any progress.

Moreover, with respect to the issue of settlements, successive US administrations have upheld the right of the parties to the negotiations to decide for themselves the timing and scope of those painful concessions they will have to make in any peace agreement. To dictate to Israel the terms of concessions on any issue is inappropriate and undermines the principle that the tough issues must be resolved by the parties themselves.

These principles of American policy in the Middle East have been critical to bolstering the security of Israel, American interests in the region, and hope for a breakthrough in peace negotiations. We urge you to clarify your policy as you move forward.


Abraham H. Foxman
National Director

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