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May 2010 Archives

Tragedy off Gaza coast

An Israeli attempt to intercept one of the ships that was part of an international Gaza aid flotilla ended in disaster. At least nine people on board the ship died. Seven Israeli commandos are said to be injured.

While details of the incident are still emerging, one thing is clear: Israel's policy of blockading Gaza is untenable and increasingly indefensible. The time has come for a re-evaluation of current policies.

Collage copy.jpgWashington, DC; Americans for Peace Now (APN) is deeply dismayed at the tragic results of Israel's interception of the international Gaza aid flotilla today and calls on Israel to thoroughly investigate the operation and to reassess its policy toward the Gaza Strip.

APN Statement on Israeli Raid on Gaza Aid Flotilla

APN Deeply Dismayed by Israeli Raid on Gaza Flotilla

Washington, DC -  Americans for Peace Now (APN) is deeply dismayed at the tragic results of Israel's interception of the international Gaza aid flotilla today and calls on Israel to thoroughly investigate the operation and to reassess its policy toward the Gaza Strip.

JTA: "U.S. Jewish groups weigh in on flotilla"

APN and Peace Now's statements are quoted extensively in this article covering initial responses to the Gaza Flotilla confrontation.

Israel's moral decadence
Yariv Oppenheimer | May 31, 2010
(published in Maariv, Hebrew only)

Even if the fleet to Gaza is irritating and outrageous, a sovereign state cannot treat every act of protest as a terror event that has to end in bloodshed

Tonight Israel marked a new low point in the way it chose to contend with its domestic and external policy dissidents. A state that will not let its citizens protest, demonstrate and demand justice, a state that is busy composing loyalty tests for its citizens and passing laws to limit the freedom of expression, failed again in the real test and stopped a protest fleet of civilian ships at the cost of more than ten lives.

Arye Eliav, Peace Visionary, 1921-2010

Arye Eliav 186x140.jpgArye ("Lova") Eliav, an icon of the Israeli peace movement, died yesterday in Tel Aviv at 88. He was one of Israel's most admired leaders, a visionary, a man of principles, who combined his passion for peace with a passion for volunteerism and education.

Response - APN New York Peace Awards & Lecture

NY Event RSVP Graphic - Top 475.jpg

Go HERE to see the invitation.

Go to
View image for a printable version

Legislative Round-Up: Month of May 2010

1.  Bills & Resolutions
2.  Iran and Israel in the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill (HOUSE)
3.  Iran and Israel in the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill (SENATE)
4.  Further Action on Iran Sanctions Deferred
5.  Feinstein Circulates Letter Supporting Peace Talks
6.  APN on Palestinian Boycott of Settlement Products

(Note: For anyone who missed Danny Seidemann and Greg Khalil on the Hill earlier this month talking about Jerusalem and proximity talks, you can watch their excellent presentations here.)

Oren's Significant Step

Allow me to say a couple of good words about Israel's ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren.

Yes, a couple. No need to get carried away here, but he does deserve modest recognition for a small step in the right direction.

Palestinian Boycott of Settlement Goods

Disposing of Products Made in Settlements 186x140.jpgIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complained Monday that a Palestinian boycott of goods produced in West Bank settlements shows a lack of interest in peace.

It's a spurious argument,...

(Picture: Palestinians dispose of settlement goods)

Thoughts About Israel, BDS and Our Jewish Community

APN is happy to present this guest post by Rabbi David J. Cooper. This essay was written for the newsletter of Kehilla Community Synagogue in the Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont area of California. The Jewish community of the Bay Area has recently undergone several contentious interludes in regard to Israel/Palestine issues in particular a polarizing uproar concerning the showing of a film about Rachel Corrie at the local Jewish Film Festival, the promulgation of a policy by the San Francisco Jewish Federation which withholds its funding from any organization that sponsors or cosponsors an event with an organization that supports BDS, and a hotly contested resolution to support BDS in the senate of the Associated Students of the University of California (Berkeley).

Kehilla was the first synagogue to pass a resolution favoring two states and did so 24 years ago. The synagogue considers it a principle of its Jewish spirituality to identify with its Israeli cousins, and at the same time to take heed of the aspirations and fears of both the Israelis and the Palestinians. Its position on this indicates that taking such heed is not only of spiritual but of pragmatic importance in the world of real politic.
Rabbi Cooper tells us that he had not read the APN position before writing the following essay. He would agree with the kind of "hardball" efforts advocated by APN and also agrees that investment strategies should be pursued which are designed to enhance peace and cooperation, and also which target ending the occupation rather than attacking Israel.

Fight for peace talks

Action Alert Peace Talks 2 copy.jpgClick here to ask your senators to stand for peace and join this initiative.

Senator Dianne Feinstein is seeking support from other senators for a strong statement backing the Obama administration's efforts to restart peace talks.

A message of support from the Senate will show the administration that Americans stand with them in the effort to bring peace to Israel.

Pro-peace Senate letter

This is the text of the Senate letter as circulated by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

Click here to ask your senators to join this initiative.

APN President & CEO Debra DeLee writes an impassioned letter about the folly and danger of Prime Minister Netanyahu's policies and the ways that APN and Shalom Achshav (Peace Now in Israel) are being effective.

Your donation will help tremendously.

Ma'ariv: "What Do They Want from the Palestinians?"

By Yariv Oppenheimer, Peace Now Secretary General

Those Palestinians, what ingrates. Instead of being happy that the Israeli economy has learned to exploit the lands of Judea and Samaria and to invest inordinate sums of money to build factories and industrial zones in the territories, the Palestinian Authority announces a boycott and a ban on purchasing Israeli goods that are manufactured in the settlements. We could have expected better from the Palestinians. Since we stole their land, established industrial zones in the territories and exploited the cheap labor that they were able to supply in abundance, the least they could do in return is to buy the products that are manufactured in the territories and help the Israeli economy continue to develop on the lands of the territories.

APN New York Event - Tuesday, June 15, 2010

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Invite Graphic - Honoree, Speakers 450x.jpg

This week, Alpher responds to questions on the developments in the Turkey-Brazil-Iran deal on uranium enrichment, UN sanctions, Iran's nuclear program and ramifications for Israel.  Also, on Russian President Dmitri Medvedev's meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Mishaal.

Reaffirming APN's Mission

Peter Beinart's important article in the New York Review of Books was to me a reaffirmation that Americans for Peace Now is on the right track, that it represents hope for a better Israel, for a just, secure, and democratic Israel. It was a reaffirmation that APN should stick to its mission and provides a venue for progressive Americans who want to see the values that they hold dearly implemented in a moral, peace seeking Jewish state.
by Tovah Lazaroff

Vice premier vows to end freeze in the fall.
Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon vowed on Thursday evening that settlement construction will resume when the moratorium on housing starts expires on September 26.


JERUSALEM -- When Devorah Adler's children go to school, they pass underneath the gun-toting security officer who stands on their roof 24-hours a day, walk down a path dotted by surveillance cameras and get in a van manned by another armed guard.

by Justin Jacobs
Associate Editor

Ori Nir grew up in Israel, but now lives in the United States. He wrote for Israeli newspaper Haaretz, but is now the spokesman for Americans for Peace Now. When it comes to understanding the U.S.-Israeli relationship, views don't come more two-sided than Nir's.

Michael Steele 186x140.jpg

"Please stand for Israel. Stand for American interests. End your involvement with this event."

This was the core message of the May 17th letter APN sent to Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, upon announcement of his speaking at the pro-settlement "Israel Day" Concert sponsored by Ateret Cohenim and the Hebron Fund, among others.

The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment

June 10, 2010
by Peter Beinart

In 2003, several prominent Jewish philanthropists hired Republican pollster Frank Luntz to explain why American Jewish college students were not more vigorously rebutting campus criticism of Israel. In response, he unwittingly produced the most damning indictment of the organized American Jewish community that I have ever seen. 

Thousands turnout at Peace Now Jerusalem rally

Rally 5-15-10 320x265.jpgThousands of activists came out Saturday night to a Peace Now demonstration in Jerusalem.

Their message: Supporting peace is more pro-Israel than continued settlement activity.

Alpher answers questions about the Israeli relationship with Lebanon in anticipation of May 24th's ten year anniversary of the IDF withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) and the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) are today announcing a new joint summer internship program.
APN will host a Palestinian student and ATFP will host an Israeli student. The two interns are part of a group of students - Israelis and Palestinians - who are participating this summer in the first-ever Middle East program of New Story Leadership, a locally-based organization that offers young adults from both sides of the conflict a transformative leadership experience in Washington. 
Rally 5-15-10 320x265.jpgJerusalem Post: "Thousands join left-wing J'lem rally"

by Abe Selig

National Left, Peace Now groups call for "an end to the occupation."

Under the banner "Zionists are not settlers!" thousands of people demonstrated near Zion Square in Jerusalem on Saturday night to voice their disapproval of government policy and declare their support for a "Jewish state, for the Jewish people, with clear and recognized borders."

Kadima's Bibi: Stop Jerusalem Sloganeering

Last Wednesday, I spoke at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. It was Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, a national Israeli holiday in which Israeli Jews mark the unification of Jerusalem in 1967. I spoke about Jerusalem and tried to demonstrate how Israeli government policies to settle Jews in East Jerusalem - including in the heart of exclusively Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem - are jeopardizing the two state solution, and therefore threatening Israel's future as a democratic and Jewish state.

About halfway through my address, a woman got up, outraged, and protested the disrespect to Jerusalem, on Yom Yerushalayim. If you are willing to give away Jerusalem, you are not Jewish she said. She was very shaken. She said some terrible things as she walked out.

Jerusalem & Proximity Talks - VIDEO

On Wednesday, May 12th, APN cosponsored a Capitol Hill Forum on Jerusalem and the proximity talks. A standing-room-only audience of Capitol Hill staff, reporters, diplomats, and activists listened to the program. One Member of Congress was also in attendance.

Here is the video footage of the event.

"For the Sake of Zion" Statement

Petition Graphic 186x140.jpgA prominent group of American Jewish leaders, encouraged by a European Jewish effort, have produced a statement and you are invited and encouraged to sign on.

Go HERE to read the statement and add your name to the growing list.

Moment Magazine: "A Republican's Case for Peace"

By Marshall Breger

There is a partisan edge in the air. The commissars of political orthodoxy in the Jewish community are out and about. For them, you cannot be a Republican and be a rodef shalom--a pursuer of peace. You certainly can't love Israel and support a two-state solution. In fact, if you support the peace process you must be a left winger and you certainly are a wimp. They view themselves as hard-headed realists and others as naïve ideologues.

Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) today sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulating her on the re-launching of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and urging the Obama administration to stay "patient, tough and resolute" as it brokers the talks between the parties. The administration, APN wrote to Secretary Clinton, must be "ready to bring real pressure to bear on the parties if they fail to act in good faith."
Seidemann - Khalil 186x140.jpgAPN, Project Engage (an initiative of the Kairos Project), and the Foundation for Middle East Peace invite you to a discussion on:

Jerusalem and the Proximity Talks: Between Deal Breaker and Deal Maker


Danny Seidemann and Gregory Khalil

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
10:00 am- 11:15 am
2255 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC

Cookies and drinks will be served

Please RSVP to or 202-408-9898. 

Help proximity talks succeed

There is good news in the quest for peace for Israel: Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, mediated by Senator George Mitchell, have begun.

These talks are sure to face many obstacles, including the risk that either side will take steps outside of the negotiations that telegraph bad faith. Israel's announcement two months ago that it planned to expand a settlement in East Jerusalem is a clear example of such an action.

There is news on that front, too.

Today APN sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulating the Administration on the launching of indirect Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and urging the Administration to hold firm in its commitment to hold the parties accountable if they act to undermine peace efforts.  APN urged the Administration to do so regardless of any outside pressure to the contrary, particularly with respect to Jerusalem. The actual letter can be viewed/downloaded here:letter to Clinton on Proximity Talks Opening.pdf.   Text of the letter after the jump.

Alpher answers questions about the newly-opened Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks and the Tel Aviv mayor's verbal attack on the ultra-othodox education system.

By Janine Zacharia
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, May 7, 2010; A18 

JERUSALEM -- When the Obama administration launches indirect peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, as early as this weekend, it faces a much more complicated landscape than the Clinton or Bush administrations did, especially in Jerusalem.

Ha'aretz: "The facts on the ground"

Hagit Ofran leading tour in E J'lem 186x140.jpgOnce a week, Hagit Ofran − granddaughter of the late Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz − tours the West Bank as head of Peace Now's Settlement Watch project. Israel's policy in the territories, she says, is putting us all at risk.

By Gitit Ginat

Danny Seidemann Audio


Jerusalem expert Danny Seidemann, on a visit to Washington, says it is not difficult to take measures to minimize eruptions of violence in East Jerusalem, which might jeopardize the newly resumed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Listen here

Another West Bank Mosque Burned

A day after another West Bank mosque went up in flames again, Israeli Television (Channel One) today reported that law enforcement authorities have zeroed in on the settlers who torched another mosque, in the West Bank village of Yasouf, in December 2009.

According to the report, the Shin-Bet and the Police know who the terrorists are, but they have not been arrested yet because of intelligence considerations - whatever that means.

APN Ad: "It is not a dream, if we will it"

hour_snip.pngAmericans for Peace Now placed a large ad in a special supplement that the Israeli daily Haaretz published this week to mark the 150th birthday of Theodore Herzl, the visionary Zionist who kicked off the process that lead to the birth of the state of Israel.

APN Welcomes Indirect Israeli-Palestinian Talks

Mitchell & Peres 5-7-10.jpgWashington, DC -- APN welcomes the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and the involvement of Arab governments in the process that led to it.  

Lag B'omer's 'Price Tag' and a Challenge

lainer small.jpgDear Friend,

My name is Luis Lainer. I am a former National Chair of Americans for Peace Now (APN), and remain an active board member. Along with supporters of APN like yourself, I am dedicated to doing all I can to help Israel achieve a peaceful resolution to the conflicts with her neighbors, including a two-state solution with the Palestinians.
Alpher reflects on his trip to Washington last week, sharing new insights he has on the US-Israel relationship after meeting with several US officials.