Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt (who will be giving CISA's 2013 Shindleman Lecture in Winnipeg on April 22) was one of a group of influential American Jews who signed a letter to Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday urging Israel’s prime minister to take “confidence building steps” that might encourage peace talks with the Palestinians.

“We believe that this is a compelling moment for you and your new government to respond to President [Barack] Obama’s call for peace by taking concrete confidence building steps designed to demonstrate Israel’s commitment to a ‘two-states for two peoples’ solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict,” read the open letter, which had over 100 signatories by Wednesday.

“Your leadership would challenge Palestinian leaders to take similarly constructive steps, including, most importantly, a prompt return to the negotiating table,” the letter explained. “We urge you, in particular, to work closely with Secretary of State John Kerry to devise pragmatic initiatives, consistent with Israel’s security needs, which would represent Israel’s readiness to make painful territorial sacrifices for the sake of peace.”

The  letter was sent several days before US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to return to the  Middle East in efforts to restart peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Though the letter was sponsored by the left-leaning Israel Policy Forum, the list of signatories includes names from a relatively wide spectrum of American Jewish opinion.

Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt is one of the signatories as is former senior Defense Department official Dov Zakheim, former AIPAC executive director Tom Dine, and other well-known philanthropists S. Daniel Abraham and Charles Bronfman.

In the letter, the Jewish leaders supported Obama’s assertion in a speech delivered in Jerusalem that “so long as there is a United States of America, Ah-tem lo le-vad [You are not alone].”

“[We join] President Obama in expressing our steadfast support for your efforts to ensure Israel’s future as the secure and democratic nation state of the Jewish people,” the letter read.

The leaders also complimented Netanyahu for the “rapprochement with Turkey,” which they said was “achieved in great measure due to your leadership.”

Haaretz reported Thursday that the Palestinian Authority will temporarily freeze attempts to gain statehood recognition by world bodies, in a bid to give US-brokered peace efforts a chance. The Haaretz report cited unnamed senior Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Among the unilateral measures to be put off, the Palestinians will suspend an application to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to gain state status, which would allow them to file complaints against Israel for war crimes.

Since gaining non-member observer state status in the UN in November 2012, PA President Abbas has threatened a number of times to turn to the ICC over the plight of prisoners and Israeli settlement building in the E-1 area.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas passed a resolution in the Fatah central council stating that Ramallah would give efforts to “break the deadlock” a limited amount of time, Ha'aretz reported.

Update April 5, 2013: The letter of the 100 prominent American Jews has already prompted a letter from a more  conservative  group "Emergency Committee For Israel"  that chastises the Jewish leaders that have  urged Israel to sacrifice for peace. It accueses them of playing armchair politics at Israel's expense and  against their democratically elected leader. To read more on this go to

re http://www.timesofisrael.com/us-group-blasts-jewish-advice-on-peace-.