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February 2013 Archives

Why Textbooks Don't Matter That Much


When I decided to major in Arabic at my West Jerusalem high school in the mid-1970s, my Arabic teacher sent me to East Jerusalem to purchase al-Munjid, the mother of all Arabic dictionaries. This behemoth encyclopedic Arabic-Arabic dictionary was imported from Beirut through Jordan for Palestinian students, and available only at two East Jerusalem book stores. The day after I bought it, I took this incredibly heavy book to school because I wanted the teacher to help me solve a mystery: Why was "The State of Israel" rubber-stamped on al-Munjid's maps, not inside the Land of Israel but rather in the Arab Peninsula, in the Atlantic Ocean, in the Egyptian desert and on the shores of western Turkey?


Alpher discusses whether with West Bank unrest growing, we are on the cusp of a third intifada, why Israeli coalition negotiations are stalled, what Netanyahu can do at this point, and why Israel has granted a license to drill for oil on the Golan Heights, which under international law is occupied Syrian territory.

Did you know?

Who will be the next to join?


Tzipi Livni's Hatnua party was first to sign a coalition agreement yesterday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. According to the agreement, if Netanyahu forms the next coalition, Livni will be the next minister of justice and will coordinate the peace negotiations with the Palestinians. Her six-member party will also receive another portfolio: Former minister of Defence Amir Peretz will be minister for environmental affairs. This development brings Netanyahu only slightly closer to the 61 Members of Knesset that he needs to secure a government coalition, but it puts pressure on the parties that are playing hard-to-get (Lapid's Yesh Atid, Bennet's Habayit Hayehudi, Shas and Torah Judaism), to go ahead, join, and secure meaningful portfolios.


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This week, Alpher discusses how last week's North Korean nuclear test impacts Israel's calculations regarding Iran's nuclear program, whether we should be concerned, considering President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Cairo earlier this month, posing the specter of Iranian collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood against Israel, and why Russia continues to prevent more serious international measures against the Assad regime.

APN Legislative Round-Up: Weeks Ending 2/8/13 & 2/15/13

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2. Leahy on the PA, UNESCO, and Timbuktu Antiquities
3. AIPAC Memo on Iran to the Hill - Foreshadowing Policy Conference Focus?
4. Hearings
5. Members on the Record
6. From the Press

Plan for the people you love and plan for peace


APN is launching a planned giving program. Donors are invited to take us into consideration when thinking about their future. We tell them that our cause is a marathon rather than a sprint. It's not a struggle we'll win overnight. We will win it, though, if we continue to support the Israel we love and the goal of a two-state solution. APN remains the best hope for Israel's future. Please take a look at our new legacy giving program - another way you can support APN.


Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) welcomes President Obama's commitment in yesterday's State of the Union address to "stand steadfast with Israel in pursuit of security and a lasting peace."

Although APN always seeks a clear, firm articulation of America's unequivocal support of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we appreciate the President's inclusion of a positive reference to Israel's pursuit of peace in the State of the Union address. We strongly encourage President Obama to elaborate on last night's message of security through lasting peace during his visit to Israel, and subsequently, as his administration pursues the vital goal of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and comprehensive Middle East peace. We encourage the President him to work with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority's leadership to create the next steps toward a lasting peace.

APN recently sent several messages to the President regarding the pursuit of peace for Israel and its neighbors during his second terms in office.

Read APN's statement welcoming Obama's planned visit to Israel

Read APN's statement welcoming the confirmation of John Kerry as Secretary of State.

Read APN's Obama inauguration statement, urging him to save the two-state solution.

Obama's Upcoming Visit to Israel: A Game-Changer

During last night's State of the Union address, Obama's comments regarding Israel were brief. He stated: "...we will stand steadfast with Israel in pursuit of security and a lasting peace. These are the messages I'll deliver when I travel to the Middle East next month." These words feed the frenzy of speculation surrounding the upcoming Obama visit to Israel and Palestine. Why now? Is Obama signaling a renewed focus on the Israeli-Palestinian file? Does he have a peace plan? Or is this trip really about Iran and Syria?

The answer is almost certainly more mundane. After failing to travel to Israel in his first term, Obama and his advisors would be right to assess that there probably won't be a better time to go than now, and there will certainly be worse times. However, the actual reasoning behind Obama's visit became academic the moment the visit was announced, because the mere announcement of the visit put Israeli-Palestinian peace back on the agendas of both the U.S. and Israel.

Book Review: Jerusalem -- A Cookbook

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This is the fifth in a series of reviews of new books on Middle Eastern affairs. We asked Dr. Gail Weigl, an APN volunteer and a professor of art history, to review this newly published delicious book about the culinary culture of the city at the heart of the conflict.

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Jerusalem: A Cookbook (Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2012). 319 pages. $35.00

With the opening image of Jerusalem aglow with morning light, the reader enters the sensory feast that is Jerusalem: A Cookbook. 

As with the photograph, the Introduction anticipates the "complicated pedigree" of the recipes to follow, and alerts us to the all-encompassing approach of an Israeli and a Palestinian, chefs who met in London and became friends and business partners bound by their passion for cooking and their nostalgia for the city of their birth and childhoods. 

Professor Klein's advice for Obama on Mideast peace


On February 11th, APN sponsored, together with the Foundation for Middle East Peace, J Street, the Middle East Institute and Churches for Middle East Peace, a Washington event with Israeli Mideast expert Menachem Klein of Bar-Ilan University. Professor Klein structured his address as public advice to President Obama on how the President should re-energize America's brokership of Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

To listen to the full audio recording of Professor Klein's address, click here:

Peace Now marks 30th Anniversary of Grunzweig Assassination


Israel's Peace Now movement on Sunday marked the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Emil Grunzweig, one of the movement's leaders, at an anti-war rally in Jerusalem.


Alpher discusses the interaction of the dynamics of President Obama coming to Israel shortly after PM Netanyahu is expected to present his new coalition, where does Netanyahu's coalition-forming project currently stand, the positions Netanyahu and Obama will present to one another on the key issues at stake, and what should the administration consider proposing when Obama comes to Jerusalem, in order to ensure a degree of harmony and the prospect of progress on the Palestinian issue.

America must seize the chance to advance the peace process


If I were the freshly re-elected prime minister of the State of Israel or the re-elected president of the United States, I would pay attention to a lovely piece of public art in downtown Ramallah. It features the ethos of a reformed Palestinian society.


Benjamin Netanyahu Failed With His Most Pandered-To Crowd

How did Benjamin Netanyahu do in West Bank settlements?

Considering his party's pro-settlement policies and the staunch pro-settlement positions of its leading Knesset members, you'd expect Netanyahu's Likud-Beiteinu list to perform better among West Bank settlers than it did in Israel proper. It didn't.

A new country: a view from the Left

Jo-Ann Mort is vice chairperson of Americans for Peace Now and CEO of the New York City-based strategy firm ChangeCommunications.

(This essay first appeared in on January 31, 2013)

This election was a failure for the sitting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his young guard in the Likud, especially Education Minister Gideon Saar and Environment Minister Gilad Erdan, both of whom took leading roles in the campaign. It was an astounding success for former journalist Yair Lapid and his centrist Yesh Atid party, and a resounding comeback for the Zionist-left, especially the Meretz Party.

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On February 6, Americans for Peace Now sponsored, Together with the Foundation for Middle East Peace, Just Vision, and the Telos Group, a special event on the threat that Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem are posing to the two-state solution.

APN Troubled by Attempts to Stifle Discussion on Israel

Americans for Peace Now strongly supports an open conversation on Israel-related affairs. We categorically oppose efforts to stifle discussion related to Israel, particularly on university campuses. We have struggled since our establishment to create space for a broad variety of opinions on Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians, and pushed back against those who would limit or censor public debate on Israel in order to shut out views with which they may disagree - including the kind of pro-Israel, pro-peace views held by APN.

APN Welcomes Obama's Planned Israel Visit

Obama_at_Western_Wall_2008_186x140.jpg Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) today warmly welcomed President Obama's plans to visit Israel in the spring, and called on the President to use his leadership skills and his gravitas to re-accredit America's leadership role in pursuing Mideast peace and his administration's commitment to saving the two-state solution. 

(Picture: Then candidate Obama at the Western Wall in Jerusalem in 2008)

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Alpher discusses last week's IAF attack on strategic weaponry inside Syria, whether it is a one-off warning shot or a harbinger of things to come and what can we expect in the months ahead, what we can make of last week's - later denied- reports that Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal asked Jordan's King Abdullah II to inform the United States that Hamas accepts the two-state solution, how important the economic dimension is to stability in the Israel-Arab context

APN Legislative Round-Up: Week Ending 2/1/13

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2. Hagel Confirmation Hearing Focuses on...Israel and Iran
3. Upcoming Hearings
4. Members on the Record
5. From the Press