Abbas: Culture for peace better now than in 2000s
In a meeting with U.S. Jewish leaders, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he was more hopeful now for peace than he was in the mid-2000s.
“If you ask me this question during the Intifada, I didn’t have an answer,” Abbas said Monday, referring to the 2000-2005 second Intifada and having posed a rhetorical question about whether the culture of violence between Israelis and Palestinians could change.
“Hatred, guns, killing, it destroyed everything. Now I can say we have something to talk about. When we talk about living side by side, many people listen.”
Abbas was attending a meeting convened in New York by the Center for Middle East Peace, a group founded by diet mogul Daniel Abraham and headed by Robert Wexler, a former U.S. congressman from Florida.
The meeting was private, but the center distributed notes to reporters afterward.
At the meeting were leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements; Nancy Kaufman, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women; and leaders of Jewish pro-peace groups. Also on hand were former top U.S. officials, including Madeleine Albright and Sandy Berger, respectively a Clinton administration secretary of state and national security adviser.
Abbas said he remained committed to the two-state solution and urged the meeting participants to press the Israeli government to end settlement expansion in the West Bank.
Abbas was in New York to attend the opening of this year’s U.N. General Assembly. — JTA
Brown picks up backers; Gansler launches campaign
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown received a pair of major endorsements in his bid for the governor’s office earlier this week when Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski made her support public on Sunday at a campaign rally in Silver Spring. Rep. John Sarbanes followed suit Monday with his own announcement.
Meanwhile, Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler officially announced his candidacy for governor on Tuesday in Rockville at the Montgomery County Courthouse Square.
“At my core, I am about protecting people, standing up for justice and fairness and never giving up on a fight when it’s right,” Gansler told the crowd.
The Rockville announcement was the first of three stops on Tuesday, which included announcements in Ellicott City and Baltimore. It also kicked off a 17-city announcement tour for Gansler.
Mikulski and Sarbanes are the most recent in a line of Brown endorsers that includes Gov. Martin O’Malley, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Reps. Elijah Cummings and Donna Edwards, five Maryland state senators, nine state delegates, more than 100 elected officials from across Maryland and numerous organizations.
“I support Anthony Brown because I’ve worked with him for 15 years, watching up close as he solved the most pressing problems facing Maryland families and women. I see in Anthony the fantastic values I most admire — he’s honorable, he’s patriotic and he’s willing to tackle the tough issues,” Mikulski said in a statement at Silver Spring’s Civic Building at Veterans’ Plaza.
Sarbanes, who represents Maryland’s 3rd District — an area that zigzags from Baltimore to Annapolis — pointed to Brown’s military service as an example of his values.
“The lieutenant governor’s service to our country in the U.S. Armed Forces — most recently in Iraq — has set a powerful example of sacrifice and commitment,” Sarbanes said in a statement, adding that Brown is a proven leader who will “help keep Maryland’s recovery on track.”
Brown, who announced his candidacy in May, and running mate Ken Ulman, and Gansler will face off in a June 24, 2014 democratic primary. They may be joined by Del. Heather Mizeur, who represents the 20th District in Montgomery County, and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, should they decide to run. — Heather Norris and Marc Shapiro