Attorneys Seek Common Ground over Jewish and Muslim Issues

November 10, 2000

Source: Chicago Sun-Times

On November 10, 2000, the Chicago Sun Times reported that "while two Arab-American teens appeared in a North Side courtroom Thursday, charged with firing marbles at Jews, attorneys with heritage on both sides of the Middle East divide met in a groundbreaking goodwill luncheon at the Chicago Bar Association." Stuart Nudelman, a Jewish judge and Samuel J. Betar III, an Arab-American judge, co-chaired the meeting. "Members of the Arab-American Bar Association and the Decalogue Society of Jewish lawyers agreed they want youth in this country to work together to solve differences, rather than imitate the violence they see in the Middle East...Bill Haddad, another member of the bar group, got the idea for Thursday's luncheon after attending recent protests by Arab-American groups. He called Decalogue Society President Bonnie McGrath, and she jumped at the idea. Both groups are hoping for calm as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and opposition leader Ariel Sharon arrive in Chicago next week...Sharon's visit to a site holy to Muslims and Jews in Jerusalem touched off the current crisis, and Sharon's name stirs high emotion even in Chicago's Arab Americans, Shalabi said...attorneys from both groups pledged Thursday to meet regularly, schedule joint social events open to the public and try to arrange meetings of Jewish and Arab-American youth groups. Nudelman was supposed to be in Ramallah in the West Bank on Thursday as part of an international team helping set up a court system in the Palestinian territories. The trip had to be canceled because of the riots. Harriet Wilson Ellis, a Chicago attorney working with Nudelman on the project, was spirited out of the Middle East last month when the violence flared up. The offices they were to use in Ramallah were bombed. She and Nudelman said Thursday their work has been postponed, not canceled."