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October 2011 Archives

U.S. Must Not Cut off Nose to Spite its Own Face at the UN


Washington, DC - Today members of UNESCO voted to grant the PLO full status in that organization, with 107 nations voting in favor, only 14 nations voting "no," and another 52 abstaining. APN President and CEO Debra DeLee issued the following statement about the vote:

"The decision by UNESCO members to vote overwhelmingly to admit the Palestinians - despite the strong opposition of both the U.S. and Israel and the threat of U.S. sanctions against UNESCO - sends a clear message:  the international community is no longer willing to sit on its hands and do the bidding of the United States so long as the "peace process" drags on, bereft of substance and with continued Israeli settlement policies altering the situation on the ground in ways that will soon make this two-state solution impossible.

Alpher186x140.jpgQ. The Quartet met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders last week and announced that within three months the two sides would submit their views on final status issues involving territory and security. Does this represent any sort of real progress?

APN Legislative Round-up for the week ending October 28, 2011

Note to readers: With the end of the High Holidays (and the wonderful 3-day weeks that go with them), the Round-Up is now back to its regular Friday publication schedule. Thanks for your patience.

1. Bills, Resolutions and Letters
2. More on Palestinians at the UN (UNESCO, etc)
3. FY12 ForOps Update
4. Ramping Up Congressional Pressure on Iran
5. Odds and Ends

The Unmaking of Israel

You are invited to a book reading and discussion with

Gershom Gornberg
Author of The Unmaking of Israel

Thursday, November 10th, 7:30 pm
Congregation Beth Elohim
274 Garfield Place
Brooklyn, NY
Cost: $10

It's Either Abbas or Hamas

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said this week that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas should leave his post soon and that "anyone who replaces (Abbas) will be better than he is." Lieberman called Abbas "an obstacle to peace."

The firebrand foreign minister was talking about the same Abbas who Prime Minister Netanyahu called "my partner in peace," the same Abbas who Israel's President Shimon Peres recently characterized as "the best (Palestinian) leader we will work with," the same Abbas who former Shin Bet director Yuval Diskin this week called a "statesman."

Peace Now's Hagit Ofran accused Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat of "playing with fire in the most sensitive place." She said that handled poorly, without coordination and discussion with Muslim authorities, the issue could cause massive disturbances.


Rabbis Reflecting on Peace and Tolerance

APN's intern, Benjamin Kasdan, browsed several sermons that U.S. rabbis gave on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur and put together this essay. Thank you, Ben, for the thoughtful piece.

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are a time of reflection and self- criticism for Jews all over the world.  Across America, pulpit rabbis urge their synagogue members to take stock not only of their own behavior, but also of the conduct of community as a whole. 

This year, many rabbis addressed the organized Jewish community's difficulty tolerating dissenting voices within the community, especially criticism of objectionable Israeli government policies.

Following are short excerpts from three sermons of leading US rabbis who addressed the issue during the Days of Awe.
Seidemann2.pngSeidemann explores the threat that planned new settlements in East Jerusalem pose for the two-state solution. He is an Israeli attorney and the founder and director of the NGO 'Terrestrial Jerusalem', known as the preeminent expert on geopolitical Jerusalem,

Netanyahu must treat Abbas as a genuine peace partner

It might be prudent for our political leaders to be generous to the PA regarding the improvement of the West Bank's social fabric and quality of life.

Haaretz's Barak Ravid reported Monday that the Israel Defense Forces' top officers are crafting a proposal to mitigate the damage to the Palestinian Authority's status caused by Hamas' success in freeing over 1,000 prisoners. In addition to the release of Fatah prisoners in the Shalit deal's second stage, the IDF recommends significant gestures that will allow PA President Mahmoud Abbas to present accomplishments to the Palestinian people. One proposal considers handing over empty lands to the PA (lands that remain under Israel's security authority under the Oslo Accords ). It also calls for the remains of several terrorists to be handed over to the PA.

(Saeb) Erekat said the Palestinians dismissed it because it applied only to government construction. Most settlement building is done by private contractors, said Hagit Ofran of Peace Now, an anti-settlement Israeli watchdog.

Ami Ayalon.jpgJ Street is bringing Ami Ayalon, former Member of Knesset, Commander of Israel's Navy, and Director of Shin Bet (internal security service) to SoCal, and you'll have the following opportunities to hear from him, including a lunch which is being co-sponsored by APN,

Ayalon is someone with an impeccable security background who has been working tirelessly to bring about a two-state solution. He will be appearing in the L.A. area as follows:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 7:30 - 9:30 p.m.

Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center
Ayalon will be joined by J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami

Thursday, October 27, 12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
Lunch with Ami Ayalon (APN is co-sponsoring)
Factor's Famous Deli - 9420 West Pico Blvd., L.A.
RSVP to or 818-674-2836

Thursday, October 27, 6:30 p.m.
J Street Gala Event


Ynet reports that Netanyahu's government expects to push forward plans to build 1,400 housing units in the area of Givat Hamatos in southern Jerusalem. Peace Now said this will expand the borders of Jerusalem towards Bethlehem. Read more here.

Read APN's response to the Givat Hamatos plan.

Read an analysis of the project here.

Q. How do you explain the recent wave of renewed discussion of a US or Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear infrastructure?

Q. Any further thoughts on the Shalit prisoner exchange now that it's a done deal?

Q. Muammar Gaddafi was killed last week, while post-revolutionary Tunisia goes to the polls on Sunday. What insights can we draw for the future of the Arab uprisings?

APN Legislative Round-Up Covering October 5-19, 2011

Note to readers: Due to the High Holidays, there was no Round-Up last Friday, and there will be no Round-Up this coming Friday. This Monday edition covers the period since the last Round-Up (published October 4). The Round-Up will resume regular publication next Friday.

1. Bills, Resolutions and Letters
2. U.S. Law, the PLO at the UN, and UNESCO
3. Members on the issues of the day
4. Odds and Ends
Lara_Friedman_MEI.jpgAPN's Lara Friedman joins with William B. Quandt, Gönül Tol, Ellen Laipson for a Middle East Institute panel to discuss critical and fluid Middle East foreign policy issues. [ audio link no longer works: ]

Logo186.jpgThis event in Southern California has been established to honor former APN National Co-Chair Jerry Bubis, who has stepped down from the Board of Directors.

Join us for the lecture event featuring keynote speaker Ambassador Marwan Muasher, as well as the dinner to precede it where a special presentation will be made to Jerry inaugurating this annual event.


Make your reservations for the dinner and/or lecture for this Inaugural Event to be held on Monday, November 7 in Southern California, by

  • Phone - Call Americans for Peace Now at 323-934-3480
  • Email -
  • Online - Purchase dinner tickets online and indicate "Bubis Lecture" in the comments box (consider adding in an additional amount as a tax-deductible donation in support of the event and APN

  • You can also print out and complete the form below, and return to APN by:

    • Fax: 323-934-3480 (same as the phone number)
    • Mail: APN, 5870 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036


Logo186.jpgHere are short bios of the keynote speaker Ambassador Marwan Muasher and the namesake of the event, Professor Gerald Bubis.

Go HERE for more information on the event being held in Southern California on Monday, November 7, 2011.


APN Condemns Planned New East Jerusalem Settlement

Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) today joined the Israeli Peace Now movement in condemning Israeli plans to build a new settlement in the southern part of East Jerusalem - the first new Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem in decades. APN warned that the implementation of the project could torpedo not only future peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians but the very possibility of the two-state solution.

Shalit Deal: What it Means and What's Next


Q. Israel and Hamas have agreed to exchange more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit? Why now, after more than five years of negotiating?

A. The primary reasons for the timing appear to have less to do with negotiating concessions--though both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Hamas appear to have made last-minute concessions--and more to do with the regional strategic issues that set the scene for the deal-clinching concessions. Both Netanyahu and Hamas are interested in lowering the prestige of Fateh and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, following the seeming success of Abbas' recent initiative at the United Nations, which both oppose. The prisoner exchange does precisely that, particularly in light of the Israel-Hamas agreement not to release Fateh leader Marwan Barghouti. 

Outposts are again taking center stage in the settlements debate, as the Netanyahu government announces two new policies aimed at legalizing illegal outposts. In doing so, the Netanyahu government is sending a clear signal that it values settlements over negotiations, and it prefers "Greater Israel" to peace.

Most people are familiar with JustVision because of its powerful film "Budrus," which chronicles one West Bank village's ultimately successful non-violent popular struggle to change the route of Israel's separation barrier. Now JustVision has released 4 powerful new short films that put a very human face on the struggle against settlers in Sheikh Jarrah. They are very much worth watching and sharing widely.

APN Welcomes Deal to Release Gilad Shalit

Shalit_Noam320x265.jpgWashington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) welcomes the news of a deal for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held captive in the Gaza Strip for more than 1,900 days. 

(Noam Shalit standing behind a cutout of his son - captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.)

APN's Lara Friedman in the Jerusalem Report: Call for a New Paradigm

The October 24th issue of the Jerusalem Report (print only) includes this op-ed by APN Director of Policy and Government Relations Lara Friedman, written shortly after President Obama's speech at the United Nations.  A pdf of the original article can be viewed/downloaded here.

Call for a New Paradigm
by Lara Friedman

In his speech before the United Nations General Assembly in late September, US President Barack Obama, referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, stated: "The question isn't the goal we seek - the question is how to reach it. And I am convinced that there is no shortcut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades."

News Nosh 10.9.11

News Summary:
The big news Sunday morning in Israel was the latest ‘price-tag’ attack on Israeli-Arabs. This time ‘Death to Arabs’ sprayed on Jaffa graves. The other big story was that the Trajtenberg recommendations for socio-economic change are back on the Cabinet’s table for a vote and it’s unclear if the prime minister will succeed in getting the report approved. Haaretz revealed that the IDF is keeping mum on its upcoming plans to dismantle settlement outposts, Ynet reports that the settlers vow to resist, and a Canadian-Israeli judge claimed the head of Israel’s high court is “persecuting” settlers. Finally, an odd story about the legality of putting the Turkish Prime Minister in your shop window.
*Just before Yom Kippur began, two Arab cemeteries were vandalized. “Price-tag” and “Death to Arabs” and other hate graffiti were sprayed on some gravestones, while others were shattered, at least 26 graves in all. It’s the second attack in a week on holy Arab sites within Israel. Israeli President Shimon Peres called it a “criminal act” and about 150-200 Arab and Jewish Jaffa residents rallied Saturday night. Interestingly when a Molotov cocktail was thrown on the roof of an empty synagogue Saturday night, all the Israeli (Jewish) papers called it “a response” whereas normally the papers will not relate Arab violence to Israeli Jewish violence. Even Maariv’s very right-wing commentator Ben-Dror Yemini called the vandalism Jewish Jihad. “If we thought that the Jewish terror was something in far off areas, where you don’t find the average Israeli, it seems we were mistaken. They are here. Inside the Green Line." Tel-Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai wrote in Maariv he was "ashamed." There have been calls in Israel's Arab community for immediate international intervention to protect Muslim and Christian holy sites within Israel have been growing over the past week, in the wake of the two incidents. Hundreds of Jaffa residents who arrived at the site expressed their anger over the police’s helplessness.

More trouble looms. Almost 100 permanent housing units in the settlement outposts of Migron, Givat Assaf and Beit-El's Ulpana neighborhood are slated to be demolished, evicting close to 1,000 people in the process. The settlers vow they will resist. The Yesha (settler) Council chairman Danny Dayan even admitted that the government helped create what is termed as 'illegal outposts.'  “This is absurd," he said. "The young couples living in these outposts were given government grants to settle there… and now the government wants to destroy their homes and their lives." But the IDF wants to avoid a fight with the settlers while the army demolishes so it isn’t telling the soldiers when they will take place so that the word does not get out to the settlers. Evacuations are to carried out by troops brought in from outside; only the commander will be informed of operation in advance.
That however won’t stop the ‘price-tag’ attacks on Palestinians that expected to come afterwards…
Yedioth reported that a judge made an unprecedented criticism of President of High Court Judge Dorit Beinisch and Deputy Attorney General Shai Nitsan, saying they were “persecuting” settlers. Magistrates Court Judge Dov Pollock (originally Canadian) was asked to disqualify himself as judge in a case where a settler woman from Hebron is accused of insulting a public servant. Besides being filmed cursing her Palestinian neighbor she insulted Arab Israeli policemen. Pollock said that the Deputy Attorney General Shai Nitsan, who approved the submission of the indictment, “was either moved by political interests or he had no judgment” saying that in other countries the woman would never have been indicted. He also said Nitsan is Judge Dorit Beinisch’s “baby.” He refused to disqualify himself.

An odd piece was in Friday's Yedioth Jerusalem supplement. Following an earlier report that photos of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyep Erdogan are in E. Jerusalem supermarket display windows, the newspaper ran a half-page article titled 'Want to hang a picture of Ahmedinejad or Nasrallah in your window? No problem.' The paper 'checked' whether it's legal to hang photos of Erdogan and of 'enemies of the state' and 'discovered that even if the action is infuriating, it's completely legal.' Yedioth expressed its surprise and the person in charge of municipal supervision also expressed his frustration, and said all he can do is "make sure they pay the fees required from everyone shop owner for hanging posters."

Peace Now honored for supporting reservists

Yariv_Oppenheimer_IDF_Uniform186x140.jpgThe Peace Now movement has recently received a certificate of merit from Defense Minister Ehud Barak for its support of reserve soldiers.
The certificate was personally signed by Barak and Chief Reserve Officer Brigadier General Shuki Ben-Anat. "For your activity and care for employees serving in reserve duty. Your activity is commendable and greatly contributes to the IDF's fortitude and the State of Israel's security."

YNET: "Peace Now honored for supporting reservists"

Note to readers: Due to various events (the Susan G. Komen walk to end breast cancer, the Rosh Hashana holiday, and a conference this week), this Friday will be the third consecutive Friday on which it is not possible for APN to publish a Round-Up. This mid-week edition covers the missed weeks and this week, through today. The Round-Up will resume regular publication in the coming weeks.

1. Bills, Resolutions and Letters
2. Congress Blocking Aid to the Palestinians
3. Senate FY12 ForOps
4. APN files Amicus Brief supporting Obama Admin on Jerusalem
5. Odds and Ends

"Price Tag" Terrorism Crosses the Green Line

Price_Tag_Collage186x140 copy.jpgThe extremist settlers call it "Price Tag." We have always called it by its proper name: Terrorism.

Now, Israel's Shin Bet, the IDF's top brass and Israeli Cabinet members agree with us. On Monday, shortly after a mosque was torched in an Israeli-Arab village in the Galilee and "Price Tag" graffiti was found nearby, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, a member of the extreme right wing Yisrael Beitenu Party, told an Israel Radio reporter that he prefers not to use the perpetrators self-serving jargon. "This is an act of terrorism," he said.
OutpostLieverman186x140.jpgThere is an old saying that goes "if you want to know how someone really feels, listen to what they say but more important, watch what they do."  In recent days the world has heard the Israeli government insist that it is serious about peace and about returning to negotiations without preconditions, but the Israeli government's actions have belied its words, as has so often been the case in the past.

Jerusalem Post: "Recent 'price tag' incidents"


A timeline of attacks in June and September.

• September 12 - Death threats, far-right graffiti sprayed in stairwell near the home of Peace Now activist in Jerusalem.

Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) has filed an amicus brief calling on the Supreme Court to uphold the Executive Branch's sole prerogative to determine U.S. foreign policy related to the recognition of sovereignty in Jerusalem. The brief specifically addresses the way in which the U.S. Department of State records the birthplace of American citizens born in Jerusalem in documents issued by the U.S. government.

Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) has filed an amicus brief calling on the Supreme Court to uphold the Executive Branch's sole prerogative to determine U.S. foreign policy related to the recognition of sovereignty in Jerusalem. The brief specifically addresses the way in which the U.S. Department of State records the birthplace of American citizens born in Jerusalem in documents issued by the U.S. government. 

YNET: "State to sanction Shvut Rachel outpost"

Shvut_Rachel186x140.jpgPeace Now's Yariv Oppenheimer: "As far as Netanyahu is concerned, the world, the rule of law and Israel's political interests are null and void vis-à-vis the settlers wish to determine facts on the ground and ruin any chance for separating from the Palestinians.

by Yair Altman

They Say/We Say: a Special Holiday Edition


The High Holidays are here. It is a season in which many turn toward the hope that God will bless us with health, prosperity and peace. Peace, however, is not simply a gift; we are instructed to do our part and proactively pursue it.

"Now the Torah did not insist that we actually go in pursuit of [most other] commandments, but said: if a bird's nest happens to be before you...when you gather the grapes of your vineyard....In all these cases, if they come your way you are commanded to perform the duties connected with them, but you need not go in pursuit of them. In the case of peace, however, seek peace wherever you happen to be, and pursue it if it is elsewhere." Bamidbar Rabbah 19-27 (emphasis added).

The Americans for Peace Now website is reporting that other House Republicans also are holding the money, and that Republicans in the House and Senate are holding $150 million in security assistance to the Palestinian Authority.

Congress Blocking Aid to the Palestinians: the Facts & What They Mean

This past weekend there were press reports (original story in the Independent, with further reporting in the Israeli press) that Congress was blocking $200 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA).  As is often the case when it comes to the rather arcane world of Congress and appropriations, the press reports were partly correct and partly incorrect, and also missed some rather important points.

Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) views the Israeli government's welcome of the international Quartet's call for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, without preconditions, as a positive step. APN calls on both the government of Israel and the Palestinian leadership to fully endorse the Quartet's formula, and, on the basis of this formula, to return to negotiations.

Peace Now's Hagit Ofran, who heads the Settlement Watch Team, said that though Gilo will probably be part of Israel in a final-status agreement, no building should go on until the agreement is reached. "If we don't want the Palestinians to do things unilaterally, we also can't do things unilaterally,"