Trailblazing Political Activist

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Arthur Obermayer
Arthur Obermayer, who passed away on January 10, 2016, was well known as a visionary in entrepreneurship and philanthropy. His trailblazing peacemaking work was equally impressive. After many years of political involvement, including a stint as a speech writer for the 1972 McGovern presidential campaign, Obermayer became convinced of the centrality of the political process in effecting change. When he decided in 1989 to make peace and justice for Israelis and Palestinians a primary focus of his life, Obermayer determined that the Israeli Ratz Party (a forerunner to the Meretz Party) most closely reflected his views. He set about building a support organization for the party in the U.S. with both a political and charitable arm. This organization’s legacy is carried forward today by Partners for Progressive Israel. And this was just the beginning of his activism. Read Obermayer’s story here >

Courier for Peace

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Gail Pressberg
In 1977, Gail Pressberg – at great risk – served as a secret courier carrying messages between an Israeli Knesset (Parliament) member in Israel, and a Palestinian leader living in Paris who was an advisor to Palestinian Liberation Organization chair Yasser Arafat. The secret (and illegal) messages delivered by Pressberg explored the “possibility of Israeli Zionists talking to PLO nationalists.” The Palestinian was Dr. Issam Sartawi, Arafat’s liaison to the Israeli peace movement and an advocate of recognition of Israel.  The Knesset member was Matiyahu “Matti” Peled, a leader of the Israeli peace movement.  Pressberg believes that the dialogue she helped facilitate was key in the lead up to the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords.  Read Pressberg’s story here >