(JNS.org) The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is calling on French President Francois Hollande to cancel or postpone the upcoming Paris Middle East peace conference, saying it is “ill-conceived, poorly timed and damaging to prospects for peace.”
The Jewish umbrella organization representing 50 member groups also urged President Barack Obama not to participate in the Jan. 15 conference in the French capital, which Israeli officials have said they will not attend.
“We call on leaders of all the invited countries, as well as members of the [Obama] administration and Congress to work to cancel the Paris meeting and refocus on the parties coming together for direct negotiations without preconditions,” Stephen M. Greenberg, chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman and CEO of the Conference of Presidents, said in a statement.
“In the aftermath of adoption of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which was a significant step backward in achieving direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and Secretary [of State John] Kerry’s speech on Middle East Peace earlier this week, the international community should not plunge forward with the ill-conceived and poorly timed Paris conference....Now is a time for serious reflection on how peace can best be achieved, not for another sham forum in which the usual one-sided outcomes against Israel are the likeliest result. Given the significant issues that were raised in the past week which have long-term implications for the prospects for peace, proper preparation after serious consultation is essential," they said.
Greenberg and Hoenlein added that “it makes no sense” to hold such a conference when the incoming Donald Trump administration will not be there to discuss “an essential component of U.S. foreign policy with which it will be engaged.” Possible outcomes of the conference, they said, "would add further uncertainty that will harm future prospects while unnecessarily inserting a new element of instability to the region. While we have received a written assurance that the U.S. will veto any further Security Council resolutions regarding Middle East peace, it may not be able to prevent a damaging outcome of the Paris conference.”