To return to the new Peace Now website click here.

Blog: May 2009 Archives

Responding to readers' comments

Wow! So many comments!

I would like to thank all of those who took the time to comment.

Let me briefly address some of the comments and questions.

New op-ed: Netanyahu faces stark choice

Check out my new op-ed on Prime Minister Netanyahu's coices following his meeting with President Obama, published in today's edition of the Washington Jewish Week.

Reactions are welcome

Pictures from 2009 APN Fact-Finding Trip to Israel

APN leaders and L.A. residents Sandy Weiner and Irwin Levin participated in this special trip in May, 2009

Abbas Starts Washington Visit on a Positive Note

Coming to Washington on the heels of a thorny, sour visit by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas seemed determined today to show that he and his Palestinian Authority are not a problem but a part of the solution.

Abbas briefed a small group of Middle East policy shapers at a Washington area hotel. Attending were analysts at Washington think tanks, a couple of representatives of Arab-American groups and representatives of three pro-Israel organizations, including Americans for Peace Now.

Obama and Bibi: Disagreements in the Oval Office

Benjamin Netanyahu is known (and often mocked) for his blunt depiction of how he saw Israel's relationship with the Palestinians in the post-Oslo years of the late 1990's. "If they give, they will receive. If they don't give, they won't receive," Prime Minister Netanyahu said back then (1998), suggesting that the burden of delivery was on the Palestinians and that Israel will act on its commitments under the Oslo agreements only once the Palestinians fulfill theirs.

In the Oval Office Monday, the comeback prime minister experienced some giving and receiving Obama style. After weeks of preparations, having leaked to the media that he was bringing to Washington a new plan for Mideast peace, Netanyahu ended up giving President Obama very little with which the U.S. could work to advance peace in the Middle East. And he received very little in return.

Phone in on Thursday, May 21st, 3:00 p.m. (Eastern) to hear from a top Middle East expert

Danny Seidemann in the Forward: Loving Jerusalem, With Maturity

Danny Seidemann, the preeminent expert on all things related to Jerusalem and the quest for peace, has an extraordinary op-ed in the current issue of the Forward.   His central thesis?  "American Jews are singularly unprepared to engage in sober, rational discourse on the city's political future. But it is now imperative that the Jewish community replace sloganeering about Jerusalem with a more nuanced approach, rooted in a familiarity with the complexities of the city and the genuine Israeli and Jewish interests embedded in it. In reacting to the prospect of an engaged White House and progress toward a final-status agreement, American Jews should not abandon their love and devotion to Jerusalem, but they must undergo a process that many Israelis have already undergone: transforming devotion to Jerusalem from a teenage infatuation into a mature, adult love."

Benjamin Netanyahu will arrive politically bruised in Washington Sunday.

His first fifty days in office have not been successful. The media criticized the manner in which he constructed his government and depicted it as too large, wasteful and poorly staffed. Then Netanyahu flip-flopped on the budget and now he is perceived as putting at risk Israel's relations with the United States - its chief national security asset.

It is unsurprising, therefore, that most Israelis are unhappy with Netanyahu's performance: 52% disapprove of his performance as prime minister according to a Friday Haaretz poll. Only 28% of those polled said they were satisfied with Netanyahu. Only 27% said they think Netanyahu is a better prime minister than his disgraced predecessor, Ehud Olmert.

An evening of film, discussion and learning about Jerusalem and the layers of this holy, ancient and capital city and diverse metropolis

Heavy Heart and Hope in Tel Aviv

In the next two weeks, Prime Minister Netanyahu will try to do the impossible: to devise a peace initiative that is substantial enough to avert a major conflict with the Obama administration, yet conservative enough to avoid the breakup of his government coalition.

Always Longing for the Proposal Recently Rejected

Jetlagged, over the weekend in Jerusalem, I had time to scan the dailies' special Independence Day supplements. There was quite a lot to read, including a retrospective re-evaluation of Israel's Declaration of Independence in Yedioth Ahronoth and a charming reportage in Maariv that focused on beautiful places and people across the country. I was especially moved by Yair Lapid's essay in Yedioth, headlined "I Have Another Dream."

This week saw the introduction of new major Iran sanctions legislation in the form of HR 2194 and S. 908, "the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act."  The bill is likely to be the main focus of AIPAC lobbying efforts during their Policy Conference next week.  Indeed, AIPAC has already published a (link has expired) FAQ sheet in support of the bill.  In introducing the House version of the bill, Chairman Berman (D-CA) (link has expired) made clear that he did not intend to move the bill in the near future.

APN strongly opposes this legislation and sent a message to all Hill offices this morning laying out our concerns.  That message stated:

Next week a major lobbying effort will get underway in support of new Iran sanctions legislation in both houses of Congress - HR 2194 and S. 908.  I want to make sure you know that Americans for Peace Now (APN) opposes these bills.  We urge members to refrain from cosponsoring them and to urge their leaderships to make a public commitment that these bills will be kept off the legislative agenda.