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Lord Michael Levy, Thomas L. Friedman
and Yasser Abed Rabbo

Pursuers Of Peace
Continue Their Quest

Tim Boxer

ORMER Israeli Justice Minister Yossi Beilin and former Palestinian Information Minister Yasser abed Rabbo, the two linchpins of the Geneva accord, were at the 10th anniversary dinner of the Israel Policy Forum at the New York Sheraton when Rabbo’s cell phone rang. It was his wife in Washington.

“What is all that noise?” she asked.

“I’m having dinner with more Jews than I ever had around me,” he replied, “and they are noisy.”

“That’s the result of Geneva,” she said.

After meeting with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Beilin and Rabbo made an appearance at the IPF dinner where 750 guests raised $1 million to support the group’s agenda, which includes a two-state solution to the Holy Land conflict.

Stephen P. Cohen, founding president of the Institute for Middle East Peace and Development, said Jews are still trying to recover from the outbreak of the intifada and the attack on the World Trade Center.

“It was complicated enough for the Jews in the last century to figure out how to live in a world of Christians. Now they are confronted with a situation where another civilization has penetrated their life and soul in their homeland and New York.”

Sir Thomas Harris, British Consul
General (from left), Lord Michael Levy,
IPF executive director
Debra Wasserman and IPF executive
committee chair Marvin Lender

Michael Levy, British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s personal envoy to the Middle East, bemoaned the lack of derech eretz, tolerance. The religious and the secular need to respect each other’s differences.

“We are supposed to be a light unto the goyim,” he said. “Until we show tolerance toward each other, how can we be a light unto the nations?”

In introducing Levy, Marvin Lender said, “I sold my bagel business and became chairman of the IPF executive committee. Michael sold his record business and became Lord Levy.”

Levy sold Magnet, a worldwide record and publishing company, to Warner Brothers in 1988. Nine years later he entered the House of Lords as Baron Levy.

“We wouldn’t be British if we didn’t have quirks,” Levy said. “My coat of arms is the first to have Hebrew: ohev shalom v’rodeph shalom – love peace and pursue peace.”

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