New York Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s attempt to project conciliation in his UN General Assembly speech today was overwhelmed by his continued lambasting and demonizing of Israel.
“If President Abbas is indeed serious about negotiating permanent peace with Israel, then he should drop his latest UN gambit and return immediately to the peace table, where Israel has now been waiting for several years while he remains AWOL,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “Instead, Abbas says he is seeking the upgrading of the Palestinian delegation at the UN to non-member state status or, in other words, an end-run around the peace table.”
“Abbas’s crude diatribes against Israel in his UN speech belie his effort to project laudable intentions,” Harris continued. In his remarks, Abbas outrageously accused Israel of racism, apartheid, ethnic cleansing and terrorism.
“Mr. Abbas prevents bilateral negotiations toward a two-state agreement by issuing endless verbal broadsides and conditions just for resuming talks,” said Harris. “Worst of all, Abbas seems to think that the Palestinian side need make no concessions in order to achieve statehood, but expects Israel to do all the heavy lifting.”
Particularly egregious were the PA leader’s comments on refugees. He dwelled on the plight of the Arab refugees of 1948 and their descendants, while neglecting to address the responsibility of the Arab world for initiating the 1948 war and, subsequently, keeping refugees in camps instead of resettling them. By contrast, the hundreds of thousands of Jews from Arab countries persecuted and expelled were quickly resettled in Israel and other countries and started productive new lives.
“For those committed to a two-state agreement,” Harris concluded, “President Abbas has once again set back the prospect by his irresponsible statements that undermine trust in his intentions, and by his desire to avoid the one and only place that can lead to a Palestinian state — the peace table with Israel, not the UN General Assembly.”

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Global Diplomacy Campaign

The GLOBAL DIPLOMACY campaign provides opportunities to become informed/empowered to speak on issues important to the Jewish community globally, from the search for peace and security in the Middle East, to Iran, to energy independence, and more; and to engage international opinion makers (diplomats, journalists, academics, and others) to advocate and promote dialogue on these subjects. Programming in this area ranges from strategy games (see below), small dinners with diplomats to larger, social-oriented events meant to facilitate informal contacts that can be cultivated over time. Groups have also hosted model Passover seders with diplomats, Chanukah parties, and neighborhood walking tours.  This campaign usually takes place from summer through end of December.
During the 2011 Global Diplomacy campaign, 52 events have been held by or with ACCESS with approximately 2220 participants in the 13 ACCESS groups in the U.S. and Israel.
To get involved in the Global Diplomacy campaign in your city, contact ACCESS in your region.

The ACCESS Strategy Game
As part of an initiative to ensure that ACCESS actively supports a new generation of Jews who are highly knowledgeable and articulate on Israel and the Middle East, ACCESS has developed a simulation-style “strategy game” with realistic future scenarios concerning the Middle East security situation. Using “modeling” and “gaming” techniques currently found in the Defense Department, cutting-edge think-tanks and university classrooms around the country, Strategic Crossroads challenges participants to inform themselves, think critically and fully about the dynamic nature of politics – especially in the Middle East, and effectively present their viewpoints.
To create this program, ACCESS sought the expertise of Gil Schwartz, an experienced strategy game developer and a former instructor at the U.S. National Defense University (NDU), where he developed similar policy games and exercises for the White House, Office of the Secretary of Defense and the U.S. Congress. The stated goal of the Strategy Game is to find a resolution to very specific reality based scenarios. In order to achieve this, a group of 15-35 participants act as high-level policy advisors and are sub-divided into four negotiating teams representing key regional and world powers.
Strategic Crossroads aims to be all-encompassing in the given time-frame (ranging from a short game of two hours at minimum to a full-day game).
In fall 2011, ACCESS introduced the Strategy Game as a key leadership development tool.  We plan to expand its exposure throughout the country via partner organizations, campus groups, and in joint games with ethnic, religious and diplomatic partners. Each game will be expertly facilitated and relevant experts from AJC and outside organizations will join as appropriate.
If you are interested in hosting a Strategy Game, please contact Sara Aeder, ACCESS Assistant Director and Campus Strategist
Countering the Assault on Israel’s Legitimacy– a Reut Institute and ACCESS partnership,
in affiliation with the Israel on Campus Coalition
From April 29th-May 1st, 2011 a select cadre of dedicated global activists engaged in the daily work of combating the delegitimization challenge in order to launch a strategic campaign to decisively turn the tables. The format: Open space. The logic: Open source. Key goals: Facilitating exchanges of insights and best practices and generating a sustained globally networked community that is committed and inspired, shares a common language, and is ready for mobilization. Content will focus on strategies to counter the assault on Israel’s legitimacy in key arenas – such as within trade unions, campuses, churches, and solidarity organizations – and contend with central delegitimization campaigns, such as the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement.
This weekend conference was done in partnership with the Israel on Campus Coalition and conducted in affiliation with the Jewish Labor Committee.
For more information about this track please download the Reut/ACCESS Concept Paper

Download the final schedule and program here
This event was made possible through the generous donations of: the Klaff Family Foundation, the Lisa and Michael Leffell Foundation, the Leonard Greenberg Forum for Domestic Policy Issues, the Goldstein Family Endowment Fund, the Janine and Darryl Behrman Fund, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the Walter Nathan Fund, Debbie and Naty Saidoff, the American Friends of the Reut Institute and with special thanks to Ann & Joel Moskowitz, Beth & Andrew Elster, and Ina & Lowell Zeleznick.

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