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June 2010 Archives

Gilad Shalit in Cap 320x265.jpgJune 25, 2010 was declared as "Gilad Shalit Day" in an official City of Los Angeles Resolution

The press conference on June 30th included a presentation from resolution author L.A. Councilman Paul Koretz to Israeli Consul General Jacob Dayan, who will present it to the Shalit family in Israel. 

APN West Coast Regional Director David Pine spoke in solidarity with the call to release Gilad Shalit and in support of the pursuit of peace.

APN on Turkey

Israel-Turkey Flag Pin 186x140.jpgOn June 30, 2010, APN's board adopted the following policy language regarding Turkey:

Turkey has long been a key ally of Israel.  In 1949, Turkey was the first Muslim state to recognize Israel.  Since that time, both Israel and Turkey have recognized the importance of this relationship, investing in diplomatic, military/security, strategic cooperation, and economic ties. 

APN letter to Obama: Engage NOW to get Jerusalem under control

Israeli Forces at Silwan Protest 6-10 186x140.jpgToday APN sent the following letter to President Obama, urging him to engage, urgently, on Jerusalem.

(picture shows Israeli forces responding to June 27 protest in Silwan, East Jerusalem)

Alpher discusses the march to free Gilad Shalit and takes a look back on Bashar Assad's 10 years of ruling Syria.

Silwan becomes a battlefield

Last night tensions in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan boiled over, leading to some of the most serious clashes between Palestinians residents of the city and Israeli security forces in years.  This is not the first serious violence we have seen in Silwan in recent months and, if the policies and attitudes of the municipality are not gotten under control, for the good of all of Jerusalem, it will most assuredly not be the last.  And equally certain, it is unlikely that the clashes will remain limited to Silwan.

The violence and tension in Silwan did not arise out of a vacuum.

YNET: "Construction at Sheikh Jarrah begins"

Just days ahead of Netanyahu-Obama meeting, builders start 20 Jewish homes in east Jerusalem

by Ronen Medzini

Construction in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah began Sunday, just a few days before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was scheduled to meet with the US president.

APN Legislative Round-Up for the Week Ending June 25, 2010

1. Bills & Resolutions
3. Selected House Statements on passage of Iran sanctions (HR 2194)
4. More Aftermath of the Gaza Flotilla
5. Senate Republicans Attack Elena Kagan for Praising Israeli Supreme Court Judge
6. Gohmert (R-TX), at it again (and as before, with friends like these...)

YNET: "Peace Now denounces King's Garden plan in Jerusalem"

Jerusalem Post: "Peace Now urges longer settlement freeze"

AFP: "Settlers 'building in West Bank despite freeze'"

AFP: "Israel's Likud to back West Bank settlement growth"
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Americans for Peace Now welcomed what it said were improvements to an Iran sanctions bill, but still opposed the proposed law.

"Positive changes to the bill, which APN had called for, include the addition of significant waiver authorities for the President throughout the bill, even if in many cases that authority is highly circumscribed," the group said. "These waivers are critical to giving the President at least the minimally necessary flexibility in his conduct of U.S. foreign policy, in particular vis-a-vis the critical challenge posed by Iran."

Americans for Peace Now (APN) today welcomed changes made to the Iran Sanctions bill (HR 2194) by the House-Senate conference. APN also expressed continued concerns about both the timing of Congress' passage of the bill and the bill's underlying strategy. It is expected that both the House and Senate will pass the conference report and send it to President Obama imminently.

The new format provides links to original sources.

Items: Demolishing Peace Prospects in Jerusalem: Impact of Settlement 'Freeze?'; Netanyahu's Gaza About Face; Palestinian Public Opinion, Israeli Jews Back 2-State Solution, Open to International Pressure

APN: New Israeli Gaza Policy a Positive First Step

Gazans in line for Gas 186x140.jpgAmericans for Peace Now welcomes the Israeli Cabinet's decision to ease the siege on the Gaza Strip as a positive step. What is now needed is devising a comprehensive regime that would provide security and international support for Israel, while allowing Gaza's civilian population greater normalcy.

by Hagit Ofran
Director, Settlement Watch project of the Israeli Peace Now movement
Lara Friedman
Director, Policy and Government Relations, Americans for Peace Now

While all eyes are focused these days on Gaza, around the corner awaits another huge challenge to nascent peace efforts: the September 26th expiration of the settlement moratorium.

APN Legislative Round-Up for the Week Ending June 18, 2010

1. Bills & Resolutions
2. More Aftermath of the Gaza Flotilla
3. Iran Sanctions and State-of-play on the Hill
4. With Friends Like This... Broun (R-GA) on God's Punishment for Turning Our Back on Israel

Alpher discusses Netanyahu's decision to lift the land blockade of civilian goods on Gaza, and how refugee issues affect Israel.


Saving a Palestinian Village from the Separation Barrier through Non-Violent Resistance 

A Discussion with Clips from Budrus, the Award-Winning Documentary Film

Ronit Avni
Founder, Executive Director, Just Vision;
Filmmaker and Human Rights Advocate
Julia Bacha
Director, Budrus;
Senior Producer & Media Director, Just Vision
Ayed Morrar
Community Organizer;
Budrus, Palestine

The Report challenges Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics that claim zero housing starts were recorded in first half of Settlement Freeze period.

Read the full Report

Now it's time for the rest of the world to pitch in.


Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) and Executive Director of the Hala Salaam Maksoud Foundation for Arab-American Leadership.

In the world of Palestinian politics, the recent weeks have been a study in contrasts. The international media has trained its focus off the shores of Gaza, where the flotilla fiasco has generated dramatic images of dead civilians and battered Israeli soldiers.

Why do I get the feeling that B'nai B'rith was disappointed with the results of the public opinion poll that it commissioned to survey Israeli attitudes toward Diaspora Jewry?

Maybe because I didn't only read B'nai B'rith's press release but went on to examine the presentation that Israel's Keevoon Research put together.

Dissent Magazine & TPM: "End the Gaza Blockade"

By Jo-Ann Mort - June 4, 2010

There is a lot of misinformation flying around about what is going on in Gaza. Didn't Israel evacuate Gaza? Are people in Gaza starving? What is going on with the Egyptian side of the border? Does Hamas want peace with Israel or not? Is the current blockade stopping arms from entering Gaza via Iran? I hope that those who read this post read it carefully. It would be great to engage in useful, intelligent dialogue on this site.

Volume 6, Issue 4

On November 25, 2009, the Government of Israel announced a 10-month moratorium on settlement construction and planning.  In December 2009 we offered an early accounting of the moratorium and its impacts, in the form of a "balance sheet" showing the "liabilities" (negative aspects of the moratorium),  "accounts receivable" (aspects that could turn out to be either negative or positive) and "assets" (positive aspects of the moratorium), and.  In March 2010 we updated this balance sheet. 

Now, six months into the moratorium - with the September 2010 expiration of the moratorium looming large in the minds of policymakers in the US and Israel, as well as in those of the settlers and their supporters - we present our latest balance sheet.

Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now welcomes the Israeli government's decision to form an independent commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Israeli military raid on the flotilla headed for Gaza on May 31.

Alpher answers questions about the affects of international criticism following the flotilla incident and the Israeli decision to establish an investigative commission.

Fadi Elsalameen in Haaretz: End the Siege on Israel

No, there is no typo in the subject line of this post.  "End the Siege on Israel" is the title of a brilliant and incisive op-ed in Haaretz today, penned by Palestine Note's articulate CEO Fadi Elsalameen.  Fadi's point: "Israel's deadly attack on the 'Freedom Flotilla' is proof of how Gaza continues to give Israel a taste of its own medicine. Intended to help solve Israel's problems with Hamas, the three-year-old siege of Gaza is developing into a siege of Israel, while it causes tremendous damage to the country's image around the world." 

End the siege on Israel

By Fadi Elsalameen

Israel's deadly attack on the "Freedom Flotilla" is proof of how Gaza continues to give Israel a taste of its own medicine. Intended to help solve Israel's problems with Hamas, the three-year-old siege of Gaza is developing into a siege of Israel, while it causes tremendous damage to the country's image around the world.

Legislative Round-Up, Week ending June 11, 2010

1. Bills & Resolutions
2. Congress and the Gaza Flotilla Debacle
3. APN on the Gaza Flotilla Debacle
4. Congress and the New UN Sanctions on Iran
5. APN on new Iran Sanctions
6. Senate Hearing on Hezbollah
7. With Friends Like This... Gohmert (R-TX) on Israel, Iran, Bill Cosby and the Bible  
8.  Ackerman Calls for International Jewish Legislators Conference in Jerusalem

APN President and CEO Debra DeLee commented: "Today's Security Council passage of a new round of sanctions against Iran sends a strong signal of international determination..., but what happens next is more important."

"Price Tag" Crosses the Green Line

Last night, extremists further escalated the settlers' campaign to terrorize Palestinians and deter Israel's law enforcement authorities from protecting the rule of law in the West Bank. After desecrating and vandalizing mosques in the West Bank, these hooligans are now attacking loyal Israeli Muslim citizens.

The Gaza Blockade- Views from the Ground

Human Rights and Zionism in Israel

Letters to the editor map - blue star2 186x140.jpgThe APN Action Alert: "Looking ahead after the flotilla disaster" asking for you to write letters to the editor resulted in many being published across the country.

Thanks for your activism.  You are helping to shape public opinion and are making a difference.

Addressing criticism of the demonstration on June 6, Yariv writes:

All...agreed to say fully that the demonstration was not a demonstration of hatred for the State of Israel or the IDF but, rather, was a demonstration that focused on the profound fear as to the place to which the government was leading the State of Israel.

JPost: "TA: Thousands protest Gaza blockade"

Ynetnews: "Smoke grenade at leftist rally"

Ha'aretz: "Leftist and rightist Israelis clash at Gaza flotilla protest in Tel Aviv"

Rabbi Sharon Brous.jpgby Rabbi Sharon Brous

I am certain that I am not the only person who left Sunday's Solidarity Rally for Israel with a profound sense of unease. While I was not greeted with boos and jeers, like Peace Now's David Pine (my speech elicited more confusion: "Wait, she's a rabbi. Isn't she on our side? What does she mean, 'We can do better'?"), I was devastated by what I can only understand to be a tragic narrowing of the American Jewish heart and mind.

APN's David Pine speaks past the hecklers

DPine Speech at LA Rally 186x140.jpgThe LA Jewish Federation invited APN's David Pine to speak as part of a pro-Israel rally on Sunday, June 6th.

They did so because there are so many of us who know that Israel needs peace to survive.

See videos and the transcript of the speech.

Smoke grenade thrown at Peace Now rally


More than 10,000 Israelis turned out on Saturday night at a rally in Tel Aviv to call upon the Israeli government to change direction.

Alpher answers questions about the political ramifications of the Gaza flotilla incident.

DPine Speech at LA Rally 186x140.jpg"David Pine, west coast regional director for Peace Now, a pro-Israel group that seeks a negotiated resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict...was drowned out by boos as he told the crowd that "Believers in Israel and believers in peace know that despite the obstacles and the challenges, and despite the way one individual military operation was handled, ultimately it will take a negotiated resolution that provides for a 'two-state' solution, with security assurances for Israel..."

"...a speech by David Pine of Americans for Peace Now, which has been critical of the Israeli government, was drowned out by boos and hisses. Organizers appealed to the crowd to allow him to speak."

By Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times

(Judge for yourself if he was drowned out or deterred from finishing APN's pro-Israel, pro-peace speech:

The Sieges of Gaza

Siege 1: Israeli sources are in perfect accord: The flotilla was a provocation, intended less to bring humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, more to break Israel's siege.  The people on board the vessels made no effort to disguise their intentions.  Accordingly, Israel knew in advance that it would be faced with a more difficult challenge than simply intercepting six boats and turning them away from Gaza and toward Israel's port at Ashdod.

Now, however, Israel seeks to have it both ways: If it knew in advance that a provocation was intended, why was it surprised when its 45 commandos, boarding the ship one at a time as they rappelled from three helicopters, were assaulted?  Did the Israeli authorities imagine that the provocation would be limited to the singing of "We Shall Not Be Moved?," that they were dealing with people trained in and committed to passive resistance?  That cannot be: Israel has a full dossier describing one of the main groups involved in the flotilla, the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom and Humanitarian Relief.  Israel believes that the IHH, as it is widely known, is a radical Islamist group masquerading as a humanitarian agency, even claims it is "sympathetic to al-Qaeda." 

Obama's got the right approach

In an interview last night with CNN's Larry King, President Barack Obama talked about the way forward after the flotilla incident in very constructive tones.

I was struck by the similarity of his approach to APN's language:

According to Israeli media reports, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reassessing elements of the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Americans for Peace Now (APN) hopes that these accounts are true. A reassessment of the Gaza blockade is long overdue. The policy of blockading Gaza has failed. The blockade is bad for Israel and bad for peace. Israel's security needs are not met by the current approach. APN hopes that Netanyahu is in fact abandoning his dogmatic commitment to this failed policy.

What is needed today is a new strategy -- and a new security regime -- devised and implemented in coordination with the Obama Administration, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, and the international community. The goal should be to replace the blockade, not to offer cosmetic tweaks.

For years, APN has called for the blockade to be replaced with a more sensible policy. We repeated that call this week. A policy statement APN released today made the case that the blockade is ineffective as a security measure, is fundamentally wrong, and is ultimately counterproductive.

APN is America's leading Jewish organization advocating for peace for Israel.

Top 10 Reasons for Reassessing the Gaza Blockade Strategy

In June 2007, as part of an effort to pressure Hamas and force it out of power, Israel clamped a tight blockade on Gaza.  The blockade blocks the free movement of all goods and people into and out of the Gaza Strip.  This blockade is carried out by Israel along its border with the Gaza Strip and along the shores of Gaza, and by Egypt, along its border with the Strip. The blockade has continued through the past three years, condoned and supported by the United States and the international community.

Gaza Flotilla Tragedy

Gaza Flotilla Ship Mavi Marmara 320x265.jpgAPN held a briefing call today to discuss the fallout from the tragedy off of Gaza's coast, the reaction in Israel, and our efforts in Washington to draw attention to the need to renew a peace process that ends the siege of Gaza.

Getting past blame on Gaza flotilla

Both supporters and detractors of Israel are engaged in an ugly contest over who is to blame for the tragic outcome of Israel's attempt Monday to intercept ships traveling to Gaza as part of an international aid flotilla.

We've got to get past this culture of blame.

At the root of this disaster is the effort to restrict the flow of people and goods to Gaza. This effort was initiated by Israel (and supported by the Bush administration) after Hamas came to power. This policy failed to improve Israeli security. Nor did it weaken Hamas.

It is time to change course.

ARAD, Israel

For 2,000 years, the Jews knew the force of force only in the form of lashes to our own backs. For several decades now, we have been able to wield force ourselves -- and this power has, again and again, intoxicated us.

Renowned Israeli author and veteran Peace Now (Shalom Achshav) leader Amos Oz has written an important and powerful op-ed on the Gaza flotilla debacle, published in today's New York Times.  It is recommended reading for all who love Israel and who are watching with anguish to what happened yesterday on the Mediterranean and its aftermath.

Israeli Force, Adrift on the Sea
By AMOS OZ | June 1, 2019 | ARAD, Israel

FOR 2,000 years, the Jews knew the force of force only in the form of lashes to our own backs. For several decades now, we have been able to wield force ourselves -- and this power has, again and again, intoxicated us.

In the period before Israel was founded, a large portion of the Jewish population in Palestine, especially members of the extremely nationalist Irgun group, thought that military force could be used to achieve any goal, to drive the British out of the country, and to repel the Arabs who opposed the creation of our state.

Luckily, during Israel's early years, prime ministers like David Ben-Gurion and Levi Eshkol knew very well that force has its limits and were careful to use it only as a last resort. But ever since the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel has been fixated on military force. To a man with a big hammer, says the proverb, every problem looks like a nail.

Israel's siege of the Gaza Strip and Monday's violent interception of civilian vessels carrying humanitarian aid there are the rank products of this mantra that what can't be done by force can be done with even greater force. This view originates in the mistaken assumption that Hamas's control of Gaza can be ended by force of arms or, in more general terms, that the Palestinian problem can be crushed instead of solved.

Israelis and American Jews want the United States to push hard for peace.

Ha'aretz Editorial: "The price of flawed policy"

Relations with Turkey will probably deteriorate further, and there may even be serious damage on the official level.

When a regular, well-armed, well-trained army goes to war against a "freedom flotilla" of civilian vessels laden with civilians, food and medication, the outcome is foretold - and it doesn't matter whether the confrontation achieved its goal and prevented the flotilla from reaching Gaza.

Alpher answers questions about the fallout from this weekend's Gaza flotilla incident.

"The fiasco of May 31 brings us full circle to the ultimate wisdom of Israel and Egypt's blockade of Gaza." -- Yossi Alpher

david-grossman.jpg"The closure of Gaza is the consequence of a clumsy, calcified policy, which resorts by default to the use of massive force"

David Grossman is a renowned Israeli author and peace activist

Israeli Raid on Gaza Flotilla - The Aftermath

Americans for Peace Now, Churches for Middle East Peace, Middle East Institute, and the Foundation for Middle East Peace

invite you to a discussion on:

Human Rights and Zionism in Israel


Rabbi Arik Ascherman,
Executive Director, Rabbis for Human Rights - Israel

Thursday, June 10, 2010
10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Middle East Institute, Boardman Room
1761 N Street NW, Washington, DC

To RSVP send an email to or call 202-835-3650.

Posted by Peter Beinart, author of The Icarus Syndrome: "A History of American Hubris", and the recent article "The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment", on the Gaza flotilla:

Don't blame the commandos for the flotilla disaster. Blame Israel's leaders, who enforce the cruel and corrupt Gaza embargo, and their supporters in America.

"If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin but he who causes the darkness."

The root of this disaster lies in the failure of the policy, initiated by Israel after Hamas took over Gaza in 2007 and supported by the international community, to block the free movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza.