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September 2012 Archives

A Sukkot of Peace from APN

Sukkah186x140.jpgBeginning Sunday night, September 30th, the Jewish holiday of Sukkot begins. During the week-long holiday, Jews build a special kind of home to dwell in for the week, called a sukkah. The sukkah is a deliberately temporary house, which can have no more than one permanent wall, and whose roof must be open to the sky, covered only partially by natural materials such as branches. Over the course of the week, meals are eaten in the sukkah, and people gather together to celebrate, and even to sleep.  According to tradition, we invite ushpizin - guests in Aramaic - to join us in the sukkah. These guests are the souls of seven Jewish ancestors who each represent a different value that we want to have with us in our sukkah.

APN wishes those who observe a meaningful Yom Kippur

shofar320x265.jpgBeginning this Tuesday evening and continuing through Wednesday night the holiday of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, will be observed by Jews throughout the world.  Throughout the season leading up to Yom Kippur, Jews engage in the accounting of one's soul -cheshbon hanefesh: we examine our behavior,  taking an honest measure of ourselves in the year that has passed.  This self-reflection reaches its pinnacle on Yom Kippur.

APN Event in Chicago

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Yom Kippur


Beginning this Tuesday evening and continuing through Wednesday night the holiday of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, will be observed by Jews throughout the world.

My Father, Reborn in Hebrew

(Cross-posted from Moment Magazine's blog)

I have never thought of my father as a revolutionary. But since his death last month, several of his colleagues depicted him as such and helped me better appreciate some of his professional accomplishments, which I had not fully appreciated before.

Shortly before he died, my father started writing a childhood memoir. "I was born twice," he wrote: once in Hamburg, Germany , in 1930, and then again in 1936, when he arrived with his mother and three-yar-old brother at the port of Haifa on a boat of halutzim, pioneers. The two children watched with admiration as the pioneers danced the hora on board and sang patriotic songs. He probably aspired to one day be just like them.
Alpher186x140.jpgAlpher considers why the Israel Foreign Ministry campaign to portray the "Jewish refugee issue" as "somehow akin to the narrative of the 1948 Palestinian refugees" is"yet another classic instance of misjudgment and phony nationalism on the part of the Foreign Ministry under extremists Avigdor Lieberman and Danny Ayalon, and why he predicted that if the Arab revolutionary virus strikes anywhere that we haven't seen it yet, his candidate would be Jordan.

Legislative Round-Up: weeks ending Sept. 14 & Sept 21, 2012

1.  Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2.  Hearings
3. Members on the Record  
4.  From the Press

APN calls on Romney to Repudiate Anti-Israel Comments


Washington, DC - APN released the following statement by its President and CEO, Debra DeLee:

"We call on GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to repudiate his statements suggesting that peace is not possible and that therefore the U.S. should 'kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.' 

Alpher_Letter186x140.jpgAlpher offers a review of the outgoing year, 5772, on domestic issues, including the economy and the social justice movement, international affairs of the past year, including Netanyahu's failures, and a forecast for 5773.

Statement Deploring Netanyahu's Politicization of Israel

APN condemns what can no longer be dismissed as anything other than reckless statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that inject Israel into the American presidential race.

L'Shanah Tovah 5773

shofar-and-book186x140.jpg Rosh Hashana dinners at my grandparents' Sephardi home in Jerusalem were as semantically amusing as they were delicious.

chris-stevens186x140.jpgAll of us at APN are pained and saddened by the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his colleagues in Benghazi, Libya.  We condemn the violence that took their lives and offer our condolences to their family and friends in this time of grief.  Ambassador Stevens was a champion of everything we support: tolerance, peace, security and stability, democracy, civil rights, and human rights for all peoples of the region. 

Economic Rioting in the West Bank

Westbank-rioting186x140.jpgLarge-scale economic protests in the West Bank, directed at Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority, are of major concern. The riots further weaken moderate and pragmatic Palestinian leaders, they threaten to boost the popularity of Hamas and other extremists, and they might spill over to ignite violent hostilities directed at Israel.

Alpher186x140.jpgAlpher discusses whether Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in trouble politically, how the shrinking in size and domination by right-wing tycoons and bureaucrats of Israeli print media, television and radio is affecting freedom of information and opinion about sensitive issues like Iran and the Palestinians, and if an Egyptian demand to amend the military annex of the peace treaty with Israel to allow for full Egyptian military deployment in Sinai or the violence and anarchy in the Golan threatening Israel's demilitarization agreement with Syria could affect Israeli thinking on the territories-for-peace principle that underlies past and, hopefully, future peace agreements.

Attacks Reflect Zig-Zag Line of Settlement Enterprise

It is tempting to impute retroactive intentionality to yesterday's events. As Gershom Gorenberg felicitously puts it, we mistakenly assume "that if things turned out a certain way, someone planned it that way." Looking back now, it may seem a foregone conclusion that Israel's settlement policy in the West Bank (and in Golan, too) was from the beginning an evil design, intended to encroach on Palestinian rights rather than to solve immediate problems. But the effort to draw a straight line of intentionality from then to now obscures more than it clarifies.

Top 10 Reasons Why the Migron Evacuation is a Victory for Peace

Migron_File_Collage2_186x.jpgThe recent evacuation of the illegal outpost known as Migron, following numerous decisions of the Israeli Supreme Court, is a clear victory for democracy and rule of law in Israel, notwithstanding the fact that marks neither the end of settlement activity nor the beginning of the implementation of the two-state solution.  After years of legal battles, Peace Now succeeded in having the Court compel the Israeli government to respect and enforce its own laws, despite strong political pressure not to.

Some argue that the Migron victory is nonetheless pyrrhic, given the current Israeli government's de facto policy of compensating the settlers for any eviction with even more settlement construction.  The reality is both more complicated and more promising.  There are many lessons to be learned from the Migron case, including some negative implications alongside the positive ones.  We believe that the bottom line is that due to Peace Now's indefatigable efforts to stop the settlements, the ground today is shifting in significant ways against the settlers.  The following Top 10 List does not purport to provide a full analysis of the Migron case, but offers some food for thought regarding the achievements and the successes of the story of Migron, and its implications for the future.  

The eviction of the Migron settlers, without any need to employ force, is good news for the rule of law in Israel.

Ha'aretz Editorial

Evicting someone from the house where he has lived for years, where he has tended his garden and where his children were born, is not supposed to be a joyous occasion. But the eviction of the Migron settlers, without any need to employ force, is good news for the rule of law in Israel. Despite the political pressure and many attempts to postpone implementation of the eviction order, the justice and law enforcement systems passed the test.

APN Condemns Attack on DNC over Jerusalem

Washington, DC - APN today condemned the attack on President Obama and the Democratic National Committee over language in the Democratic platform regarding Jerusalem.

Yariv-Migron-Collage320x265.jpgThis Friday, September 7, 10am, EST, Peace Now's Yariv Oppenheimer will discuss the successful campaign to have the illegal outpost Migron evacuated, and the implications.

Continue reading to receive the call-in information and more details.

migron186x140.jpg Writing in today's Hebrew-language edition of Yediot Ahronot, Peace Now Secretary General Yariv Oppenheimer challenges the despair and defeatism that gives rise to the view that the settlers' have already won and the two-state solution is dead.   Translation by Israel News Today.

It is All Reversible

Yossi Alpher 186x140.jpgAlpher responds to questions on:

  • Ramifications of the Netanyahu government obeying High Court orders and dismantling the "unauthorized" settlement of Migron
  • Israeli court decision to clear the Israel Defense Forces of responsibility for the death in 2003 of Rachel Corrie
  • Egypt's new Muslim Brotherhood leaders and some of Gaza's Hamas leaders encouraging the Gaza Strip to function as a separate Palestinian state; impact on two state peace activists
  • Muslim Brotherhood's likely behavior towards Israel