To return to the new Peace Now website click here.

December 2011 Archives

New APN op-ed on HuffPo: The Cost of Appeasing Settler Terrorism

The Netanyahu government isn't serious about stopping settler violence.

This is the only possible conclusion. While Netanyahu and his cohorts denounce Jewish extremists and promise to get tough, actions speak louder than words. And their action this week on outposts sent an unmistakable message to the settlers: not only won't you pay a price for terrorism, but you'll be rewarded.

I was sent to preserve life!


"Now, do not be grieved or angry..." With these words, Joseph forgives his brothers. In this week's portion, we learn a powerful lesson about the power we have to forgive and move forward- seeking peace and mutual survival over seeking revenge and becoming mired in past wrongs.

Today's Year End Top Ten: PR Failures!


Inspired by Gershom Gorenberg's "contest" between candidates for worst political PR, we have for you a round-up of our top ten PR failures!

Top 10 PR flubs (in addition to Gershom's)

APN's Top 10 Wackiest Congressional Actions on the Middle East of 2011

top_ten186x140.jpgAnyone who reads the Round-Up knows that Congress gets up to a lot of wacky stuff when it comes to the Middle East.  Below is a subjective list of the top ten outstanding examples of this.  Enjoy!

The State of Israel is changing before our eyes dramatically, and the prime minister must decide whether he wants to stop the deterioration or remain a partner to it.

They are not "anarchists" by Yariv Oppenheimer

The State of the Anarchists 

By Yariv Oppenheimer

Maariv, 28 December, 2011

(Tanslation courtesy of Israel News Today)

In the past weeks, when the "price tag" riots peaked, right wing MKs hurried to disassociate themselves from the extremist minority and to protest against the generalizations aimed at the settler public, most of which is law-abiding. In his public response to the incidents in the Ephraim Brigade, the prime minister called the rioters "anarchists," an extremist handful that does not represent the general population in the territories.

Today's Top Ten: Ways you help APN Build Peace


Today's top ten!

Have you ever wondered what Americans for Peace Now does? Today's top ten list explains what you support when you donate to APN. Every dollar you donate sustains essential work building peace for Israel and its neighbors.

Top ten quotes for 2011

This week, we are closing out the year with (what else?) a few top ten lists. Today's offering: our top ten best quotes for 2011 - unranked, and completely subjective. We believe that these quotes underline the urgency of moving forward and reaching out to create peace in Israel and the occupied territories.

Alpher 320x265.jpg

Alpher discusses whether there is a connection between the the hill youth/price-tag attacks and those of the ultra-orthodox against women, the strategic ramifications for Israel of the US military withdrawal from Iraq, and the strategic consequences for Israel of the leadership transition in North Korea.

APN Legislative Round-Up December 1-23, 2011

1. Bills, Resolutions and Letters

2. Consolidated Appropriations Passes (Israel, Egypt, Palestinians and more)

3. Iran Sanctions Bills Pass in House

4. Defense Authorization Passes (Israel, Iran and more)

5. Odds and Ends

Peace Parshah: What is the miracle of Chanukah?

peace_parsha_logo186x140.jpg The miracle of Chanukah is that we can achieve the seemingly impossible - if we take the first steps.

This week as we celebrate Chanukah, we celebrate a miracle. The miracle we celebrate is not simply the miracle of the oil, but the celebration of achieving the seemingly impossible. We celebrate the ability of humans, doing the right thing, with conviction, to upend the status quo and to serve the interest of their people and the will of God.

If you felt that somebody has been stealing your country in the past few weeks, it's apparently true. If you thought that you are trapped in a nightmare and will soon wake up and forget about it in the morning, it won't happen. This nightmare is reality. This is our life.

....Let's make no mistake about it: What we saw was not a one-time event or a fleeting episode; an incident that one can look away from and forget about. This is a rolling process. These young people are fuelling each other and stretching the boundaries to see how far they can go.

Holiday Letter from Leonard Fein

There's a reason I have been a devoted supporter of Americans for Peace Now since its inception 30 years ago - and, indeed, of Shalom Achshav, Israel's Peace Now movement, since 1978. In the course of those years, other organizations that care about Israel's peace and safety have come and have gone, some much glitzier than APN, some stodgier. None, in my view, has been clearer in its positions, nor bolder, nor more innovative, nor more sophisticated, nor more productive.

AFP: "Israel plans more than 1,000 new settlement homes"

Settlement watchdog Peace Now said the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was pursuing the well-worn path of creating facts on the ground in a bid to block any two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Netanyahu's government not only is not promoting peace, but it is doing everything it can to prevent it by setting facts on the ground that will prevent a two-state solution," said Peace Now's Hagit Ofran.

"Generally speaking, since Netanyahu gave his speech to the US Congress (in May), and since there was no official decision against Israel in the UN, he is allowing himself to do whatever he wants to continue preventing the peace process," she told AFP.

read more
According to information published by the Construction and Housing Ministry on Sunday, 500 of the units will be located in Har Homa, a Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem. Left-wing activists see Har Homa as one of the most controversial Jewish neighborhoods in the capital, because it was started after the Oslo Accords were signed and because it creates a barrier of Jewish homes between east Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods and Bethlehem. "[Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu is not only attempting not to make peace, he's also going forward with plans that will make peace impossible in the future and make it impossible to have two states for two peoples," said Hagit Ofran, who heads Peace Now's Settlement Watch team.

read more
Israel's release of 550 prisoners on Sunday concluded a controversial two-stage swap that freed Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,027 Palestinians....As the prisoner release was being carried out, Israel's Housing Ministry said it would construct another 1,028 housing units in the West Bank and Jerusalem area. The expansion includes 500 units in Har Homa, 348 in Beitar Ilit and 180 in Givat Zeev. "Some countries around the world may not be happy about this, but they shouldn't be surprised," Housing Minister Ariel Atia told the Israeli news site Ynet. He said the move would lower home prices and increase supply, assisting young Israeli couples looking for affordable housing.
Opposition to the campaign mounted after Yariv Oppenheimer, director general of Peace Now, announced on Facebook that he was closing his Bank Leumi account...The rules of the campaign clearly stated that no political organizations were allowed to participate, and opponents of Im Tirzu (from both the left and the right) contended that the organization's attempt to disguise its right-wing political agenda is disingenuous.

read the article
Alpher186x140.jpgAlpher discusses the new levels of settler youth extremism, confusion surrounding the closing and reopening of the access ramp to the Temple Mount, and the significance of the upcoming Likud leadership primaries.

Listening to Joseph

peace_parsha_logo186x140.jpg Is it possible to hear those we hate?

At the beginning of this week's Torah portion Vayeshev (which means "he dwelt"), the patriarch Jacob is living in Canaan with his children. Jacob has many children, but Joseph, the elder son of his beloved wife Rachel, is favored.

ACTION ALERT: Don't play politics with Israel!

Presidential_Campaign_Collage2_186x140.jpgThe issue of Israel has a legitimate place in the debate and discourse of a US election. As part of a serious discussion, we expect to see how each candidate would advance Israel-Palestinian peace. In order to promote such a debate, APN has launched its "Elections 2012: Responsibility over Rhetoric" campaign.

The Belated Awakening to Settler Extremism

Graffiti Collage2-thumb-186x140.jpg

Recent attacks on the IDF have led to an abrupt awakening in Israel and abroad. Suddenly people are realizing the danger posed to Israel by a generation of settlers who respect neither Israeli law, nor Israel's army, nor the Israeli state, and who are prepared to use violence against not only Palestinians (which has long been the case) but also against fellow Jews.

Americans for Peace Now today sent the following letter to the Republican presidential candidates, to President Obama, to the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee:

Mustafa_Tamimi186x140.jpgSarit Michaeli of B'Tselem, the Israeli information center on human rights in the Occupied Territories, explains why the death of a Palestinian demonstrator in the West Bank, who was shot by an Israeli soldier at close range with a tear gas canister, is both unusual and alarmingly routine. (photo: Haim Scwarczenberg)

Educating Mr. Gingrich


GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich said in an interview with the Jewish Channel last week that the Palestinians were an "invented" people. Later, at a GOP presidential debate, he refused to retract, and said, "It's fundamentally-- time for somebody to have the guts to stand up and say: Enough lying about the Middle East."

Why Peace is Possible - new piece in J. Weekly

Why peace is possible: the Hiriya garbage dump theory

Thursday, December 8, 2011 | by Ori Nir

As an Israel Defense Forces soldier in the late 1970s and early '80s, my favorite spot to hitchhike back to my home in Jerusalem was the Ganot junction near Ben Gurion Airport. I spent dozens if not hundreds of hours standing there, waiting for a ride, gazing at the jets landing and taking off.

Unfortunately, the tantalizing view of the jets' bellies came with a nauseating odor of garbage. Why garbage? Because on the other side of the junction was Hiriya, Tel Aviv's main garbage dump, literally a mountain of garbage.
Alpher addresses Newt Gingrich's claim that the Palestinians are an "invented" people, examines the impact of African labor migrants on Israel's national security and updates his ongoing analysis on PLO-Hamas reconciliation talks.

The Palestinians are Not a Real People?


They say:The Palestinians are not a real people. They are just Arabs from other places who settled in the Land of Israel over the years, without any cohesive national identity. There never was a Palestinian state and efforts to create one now are unjustified.

Peace Parsha: Jacob's Journey to Wholeness


Peace Parsha is a new feature of the Americans for Peace Now website. Every week, we will explore the Torah reading and learn how it is relevant to the ongoing effort to find peace in Israel.

In this week's Torah portion, Vayishlach, the Torah sets up a dramatic moment: Jacob is about to meet with his brother Esau after many years. Fearing that his brother is still angry about his stolen birthright, Jacob sends a lavish gift, consisting of hundreds of heads of cattle and sheep.

Partisans of the hardline "Israel, right or wrong" crowd are overflowing with righteous indignation over comments made in recent days by three Obama Administration officials (see here, here, and here, for example).  They are outraged over comments by Secretary of State Clinton - a staunch defender of Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship - in which she expressed concern about the degenerating status of women in Israel and the anti-democratic trend in the Israeli Knesset.  They are dismayed by a speech delivered by Secretary of Defense Panetta - a longtime central player at the CIA and the Pentagon in U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation - in which he urged Israel to "reach out and mend fences" with some countries in the region, and called on both sides to "get to the damn table."  And they are apoplectic over remarks by U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman - an American Jew whose father spent World War II in Europe hiding from the Nazis - suggesting that there is a linkage between Israeli policies and the growth of anti-Semitism.

How dare these officials say such things about Israel?  

Maybe the answer is this simple: they dare because they care.  And because they know that caring about Israel means speaking some hard truths - not to hurt Israel but to save it.

New route would link northeast neighborhoods to capital's main Begin Boulevard; Peace Now: Plan is illegal use of occupied land, endangers two-state solution.

By Akiva Eldar

Abe_Foxman.jpgFoxman is the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League

There are many reasons why the recent spate of domestic legislation in Israel -- regarding non-governmental organizations, the media, Israel as a Jewish State, the Supreme Court -- is disturbing.

Amos_Oz_Interview186x140.jpg Israeli author Amos Oz talks about how American Jews who support the peace movement are loyal and devoted to Israel - "no less, and perhaps more than their militant bretheren." He says "there is more than one way to be pro-israel, there is more than one way to support Israel, there is more than one way to love Israel."

Yossi Alpher 186x140.jpg
Alpher discusses the Saban conference, the Islamist electoral triumphs in Egypt, and the tendency to describe right-wing violence as the product of mentally ill individuals, rather than representative of political trends.