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There is a dictum in the Babylonian Talmud about the virtues of compromise that goes like this: "Where there is complete truth, there is no peace. And where there is peace, there is no complete truth." What the ancient sages were trying to say was that seeking perfect justice for your community or cause might be ideologically satisfying, but it's not compatible with peace - because peace is built of compromises, painted in shades of gray.

There are a few American Jewish organizations and lawmakers meddling in the Arab-Israel negotiations who would do well to reflect on that lesson.A loose coalition of right-wing Jewish groups, conservative lawmakers and Israel's Likud Party are currently spearheading a drive to push through Congress three initiatives that have a real potential to undermine the Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Palestinian negotiations - which is exactly what the activists want. They are trying to get Congress to do what they failed to get the Israeli Knesset and prime minister to do - put the brakes on Israel's trading of land for peace with its Arab neighbors.