As Rob Jacobs departs the position of Director for the Pacific Northwest Region of the Anti-Defamation League, the Greater Seattle Chapter of Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, which defines itself as “pro-Israel and pro-peace,” wishes to honor his pivotal role in dramatically improving dialogue on Israel in our Jewish community.
Seattle-area Jews hold a wide range of opinions on what it means to be pro-Israel. Prior to Rob’s tenure with the ADL, our community was recovering from a low point of recrimination and suppression of productive debate on Israel and her conflicts with her neighbors.
Community climate has improved greatly, thanks in large part to Rob’s determination and collaborative leadership style. During the 2004 Democratic conventions, he helped to organize a diverse Jewish coalition that stopped punitive and divisive anti-Israel efforts while promoting fair, inclusive and moderate platform language on Israeli/Palestinian peace. He was a driving force in the writing and publishing of what many term the “Derech Eretz” statement that ran in JTNews in which most local Jewish organizations and an impressive list of individuals committed themselves to civil and respectful debate premised on a shared concern for Israel. During the Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, Rob worked to ensure that planning for the community-wide rally for Israel was inclusive, communication was effective (including where it had never happened previously), and the rally itself was a pluralistic statement without unnecessary confrontations.
These are only three examples of times when Rob’s involvement was crucial. He has always been modest about his contributions of reaching out to others, building bridges and keeping us focused. Brit Tzedek v’Shalom wishes Rob continued success in sharing his skills, and urges that the ADL continue his legacy of respect and breaking down barriers.