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Blog: May 2010 Archives

Tragedy off Gaza coast

An Israeli attempt to intercept one of the ships that was part of an international Gaza aid flotilla ended in disaster. At least nine people on board the ship died. Seven Israeli commandos are said to be injured.

While details of the incident are still emerging, one thing is clear: Israel's policy of blockading Gaza is untenable and increasingly indefensible. The time has come for a re-evaluation of current policies.

APN Statement on Israeli Raid on Gaza Aid Flotilla

APN Deeply Dismayed by Israeli Raid on Gaza Flotilla

Washington, DC -  Americans for Peace Now (APN) is deeply dismayed at the tragic results of Israel's interception of the international Gaza aid flotilla today and calls on Israel to thoroughly investigate the operation and to reassess its policy toward the Gaza Strip.

Arye Eliav, Peace Visionary, 1921-2010

Arye Eliav 186x140.jpgArye ("Lova") Eliav, an icon of the Israeli peace movement, died yesterday in Tel Aviv at 88. He was one of Israel's most admired leaders, a visionary, a man of principles, who combined his passion for peace with a passion for volunteerism and education.

Oren's Significant Step

Allow me to say a couple of good words about Israel's ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren.

Yes, a couple. No need to get carried away here, but he does deserve modest recognition for a small step in the right direction.

Palestinian Boycott of Settlement Goods

Disposing of Products Made in Settlements 186x140.jpgIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complained Monday that a Palestinian boycott of goods produced in West Bank settlements shows a lack of interest in peace.

It's a spurious argument,...

(Picture: Palestinians dispose of settlement goods)

Thoughts About Israel, BDS and Our Jewish Community

APN is happy to present this guest post by Rabbi David J. Cooper. This essay was written for the newsletter of Kehilla Community Synagogue in the Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont area of California. The Jewish community of the Bay Area has recently undergone several contentious interludes in regard to Israel/Palestine issues in particular a polarizing uproar concerning the showing of a film about Rachel Corrie at the local Jewish Film Festival, the promulgation of a policy by the San Francisco Jewish Federation which withholds its funding from any organization that sponsors or cosponsors an event with an organization that supports BDS, and a hotly contested resolution to support BDS in the senate of the Associated Students of the University of California (Berkeley).

Kehilla was the first synagogue to pass a resolution favoring two states and did so 24 years ago. The synagogue considers it a principle of its Jewish spirituality to identify with its Israeli cousins, and at the same time to take heed of the aspirations and fears of both the Israelis and the Palestinians. Its position on this indicates that taking such heed is not only of spiritual but of pragmatic importance in the world of real politic.
Rabbi Cooper tells us that he had not read the APN position before writing the following essay. He would agree with the kind of "hardball" efforts advocated by APN and also agrees that investment strategies should be pursued which are designed to enhance peace and cooperation, and also which target ending the occupation rather than attacking Israel.

Ma'ariv: "What Do They Want from the Palestinians?"

By Yariv Oppenheimer, Peace Now Secretary General

Those Palestinians, what ingrates. Instead of being happy that the Israeli economy has learned to exploit the lands of Judea and Samaria and to invest inordinate sums of money to build factories and industrial zones in the territories, the Palestinian Authority announces a boycott and a ban on purchasing Israeli goods that are manufactured in the settlements. We could have expected better from the Palestinians. Since we stole their land, established industrial zones in the territories and exploited the cheap labor that they were able to supply in abundance, the least they could do in return is to buy the products that are manufactured in the territories and help the Israeli economy continue to develop on the lands of the territories.

Reaffirming APN's Mission

Peter Beinart's important article in the New York Review of Books was to me a reaffirmation that Americans for Peace Now is on the right track, that it represents hope for a better Israel, for a just, secure, and democratic Israel. It was a reaffirmation that APN should stick to its mission and provides a venue for progressive Americans who want to see the values that they hold dearly implemented in a moral, peace seeking Jewish state.
Michael Steele 186x140.jpg

"Please stand for Israel. Stand for American interests. End your involvement with this event."

This was the core message of the May 17th letter APN sent to Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, upon announcement of his speaking at the pro-settlement "Israel Day" Concert sponsored by Ateret Cohenim and the Hebron Fund, among others.

Thousands turnout at Peace Now Jerusalem rally

Rally 5-15-10 320x265.jpgThousands of activists came out Saturday night to a Peace Now demonstration in Jerusalem.

Their message: Supporting peace is more pro-Israel than continued settlement activity.

Kadima's Bibi: Stop Jerusalem Sloganeering

Last Wednesday, I spoke at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. It was Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, a national Israeli holiday in which Israeli Jews mark the unification of Jerusalem in 1967. I spoke about Jerusalem and tried to demonstrate how Israeli government policies to settle Jews in East Jerusalem - including in the heart of exclusively Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem - are jeopardizing the two state solution, and therefore threatening Israel's future as a democratic and Jewish state.

About halfway through my address, a woman got up, outraged, and protested the disrespect to Jerusalem, on Yom Yerushalayim. If you are willing to give away Jerusalem, you are not Jewish she said. She was very shaken. She said some terrible things as she walked out.

Jerusalem & Proximity Talks - VIDEO

On Wednesday, May 12th, APN cosponsored a Capitol Hill Forum on Jerusalem and the proximity talks. A standing-room-only audience of Capitol Hill staff, reporters, diplomats, and activists listened to the program. One Member of Congress was also in attendance.

Here is the video footage of the event.

Help proximity talks succeed

There is good news in the quest for peace for Israel: Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, mediated by Senator George Mitchell, have begun.

These talks are sure to face many obstacles, including the risk that either side will take steps outside of the negotiations that telegraph bad faith. Israel's announcement two months ago that it planned to expand a settlement in East Jerusalem is a clear example of such an action.

There is news on that front, too.

Today APN sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulating the Administration on the launching of indirect Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and urging the Administration to hold firm in its commitment to hold the parties accountable if they act to undermine peace efforts.  APN urged the Administration to do so regardless of any outside pressure to the contrary, particularly with respect to Jerusalem. The actual letter can be viewed/downloaded here:letter to Clinton on Proximity Talks Opening.pdf.   Text of the letter after the jump.

Another West Bank Mosque Burned

A day after another West Bank mosque went up in flames again, Israeli Television (Channel One) today reported that law enforcement authorities have zeroed in on the settlers who torched another mosque, in the West Bank village of Yasouf, in December 2009.

According to the report, the Shin-Bet and the Police know who the terrorists are, but they have not been arrested yet because of intelligence considerations - whatever that means.

Lag B'omer's 'Price Tag' and a Challenge

lainer small.jpgDear Friend,

My name is Luis Lainer. I am a former National Chair of Americans for Peace Now (APN), and remain an active board member. Along with supporters of APN like yourself, I am dedicated to doing all I can to help Israel achieve a peaceful resolution to the conflicts with her neighbors, including a two-state solution with the Palestinians.