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Blog: July 2011 Archives

Palestinian_Flag_at_UN.jpgEarlier this month, APN's Board of Directors adopted principles to guide our approach on the issue of the Palestinians and efforts for international and UN recognition.  These principles underlie my recent op-ed on the topic published on, and will be the basis of forthcoming APN statements and commentary on the topic.

Lara Friedman Appears on Viewpoint with Jim Zogby


Lara Friedman, APN's Director of Policy and Government Relations, appeared Friday on Viewpoint with Jim Zogby, where she discussed congressional action on the Middle East and its impact on peace efforts.

Watch the interview here

When the first intifada hit Israel with the shock of a tidal wave, I was living in Tel Aviv.

Many of my male friends - including the young man with whom I was in love and living at the time - found themselves called to endless rounds of reserve duty to face off against stone-throwing youth.

APN mourns the passing of Hyman Bookbinder

America's organizational Jewish community, and Americans for Peace Now with it, is today mourning the passing of Hyman Bookbinder, a pillar of the community, an advocate for Israel, and a staunch supporter of Arab-Israeli peace.

Hyman Bookbinder was one of the longest serving Washington Representative of a Jewish organization - the American Jewish Committee - and in this capacity was considered the dean of Jewish organizational representatives on Capitol Hill.

Long after his retirement in 1986, Bookbinder served as an opinion leader and as a values-based voice of reason and conscience for the Jewish community in Washington. His wisdom, his kindness and his sense of global Arvut Hadadit (shared responsibility) will be missed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Palestinian leadership seems determined to bring its case for statehood to the U.N. in September. The details remain unknown, but that hasn't stopped pundits and groups from staking out hard-line positions opposing the effort.

Washington, DC - As the Knesset prepares for a vote on yet another anti-democratic bill, Americans for Peace Now (APN) is calling on fellow American Jewish organizations to help protect Israeli tolerance, democracy and civil rights. 
Later today Israel's Knesset is set to vote on a bill that would establish McCarthy-like "parliamentary inquiry panels" to investigate human rights and social justice groups. One of the measure's chief supporters, Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, earlier this week labeled such groups "terror organizations."  This vote comes after last week's vote, in which the Knesset passed a bill that in effect outlaws calling for the boycott of products made in West Bank settlements. Many more bills targeting Israeli civil society groups, including those fighting for peace, human rights and civil rights, are awaiting Knesset approval. 

Likud's Benny Begin: "It is Dark Here"

Every Tuesday, members of the Israeli Knesset get a chance to make mini-speeches, one minute addresses to the plenum, on a topic of their choice.

Today, on the eve of a Knesset vote on yet another anti-democratic bill, a bill that would establish McCarthy-like "parliamentary inquiry panels" to investigate human rights and social justice groups, Minister Binyamin Begin addressed an almost empty house. He used the short speech to warn his fellow Knesset members: "it is dark here."

Begin, a Likud hawk with a strong commitment to democratic and civil values, opened his instant-speech by recognizing the Chairman of the house, Reuven Rivlin, who last week courageously sided with the minority against the controversial Boycott Law (Begin actually supported it). "I wanted to thank you, Mr. Chairman, my good neighbor and good friend, for your longtime steadfastness, to safeguard the honor of the Knesset even against the caprices of its own members."

Reading the Conflict - Palestinian Walks

What stands at the heart of both the Jewish and Palestinian national narratives? Land - the very land itself, the narrow space on the great green globe on which both peoples claim their home, and by which both define themselves. It's no accident that in Jewish culture, Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) is Eretz Hakodesh (the Holy Land).

On Tuesday, July 12, 2011 the House Committee on Foreign Affairs' Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia held a hearing entitled "Promoting Peace? Reexamining U.S. Aid to the Palestinian Authority."  Witnesses were the Honorable Jacob Walles, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (prepared testimony); Lieutenant General Mike Moeller, United States Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (prepared testimony); and the Honorable George A. Laudato, Administrator's Special Assistant for the Middle East.  The hearing was chaired by subcommittee chairman Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) (opening statement); ranking member Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) also delivered a statement (here).

Boycotting Settlements

Monday will go down in history as the day that the Israeli Knesset voted to suspend democracy in Israel.  Monday was the day when the Knesset effectively outlawed peaceful protest against Israeli government policies, including settlements.  

I support Israel by working for peace

This blog post was written by APN intern Jennifer Aaronson.

A few years ago I was walking down the streets of San Francisco wearing an old t-shirt that said pro-peace, pro-Israel. A man yelled back at me that I could not believe in both. I was so shocked by his outburst that I didn't know how to respond-so I chose to ignore him. I was only fifteen at the time so that was probably for the best; however, that encounter has been ingrained in my mind ever since. 

Freedom of speech

Right now the Knesset is debating a law that would make it illegal to call for a boycott of West Bank settlements, economically, culturally, or academically.  The proposed law is a severe blow to the very foundations of Israeli democracy.

Peace Now in Israel has been organizing to defeat this measure. Peace Now held a demonstration yesterday in Jerusalem outside Israel's Justice Ministry. On Friday, the movement mailed every member of Knesset a letter urging them to oppose the bill. And if the bill becomes law, Peace Now is considering an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court to get it overturned.

"Boycott Bill" Background

Israel's Knesset is set to vote today on a bill that would outlaw calling for any boycott of Israeli settlements - whether economically, culturally or academically.

Israel's largest circulation daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, yesterday published the following backgrounder on the bill:

Q: What does the bill stipulate?
   The boycott bill stipulates that any individual or organization that sponsors a geographically-based boycott against Israel will be liable for damages that can be sued for in a civil court by the party injured by the call for the boycott.

Reading the Conflict: Jewish Terrorism in Israel

Among the topics that Israeli Jews and supporters of the Jewish State are often uncomfortable discussing is terrorism.

Not Palestinian and/or Muslim terrorism - that gets discussed at the drop of a hat.

No, what is usually swept under the rug is the fact that the Jewish people itself has produced a fair number of terrorists, from ancient times up through the modern day. And so today, I recommend Jewish Terrorism in Israel, by Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger.

APN regrets irresponsible congressional resolutions

Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) regrets that a resolution passed yesterday by the U.S. House of Representatives, along with its companion resolution passed last week in the Senate, fails to take a balanced and comprehensive approach toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The two resolutions urge the administration to take punitive measures against the Palestinians for pursuing national reconciliation and international recognition.
"House Resolution 268 and Senate Resolution 184 do a disservice to the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace, and do not serve the national security interests of either the United States or Israel," said APN's President and Executive Director Debra DeLee.
"These resolutions will only exacerbate the growing U.S. and Israeli isolation on these issues, and further undermine the chances of achieving peace and security for Israel. Israeli-Palestinian peace will not be achieved through congressional grandstanding. Heavy-handed resolutions from Congress cannot stop the Palestinians' quests for national unity, international recognition of their right to a state, and independence," DeLee added.  

"It is regrettable that Congress did not choose a more pragmatic and responsible path to support Middle East peace efforts," DeLee said.

APN is a leading American Jewish organization advocating for Middle East peace. 



APN has unveiled a new booklet that provides a desperately-needed, honest assessment of the "defensibility" of borders based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed upon land swaps.

View it below.


Download the booklet for printing here.

Taking Israelis for a Ride

Peace Now recently discovered that the government of Israel heavily subsidizes public bus fares to, from and between West Bank settlements. Yesterday, Peace Now published a comparative table showing that bus fares from, to and between settlements cost half or less than bus rides of equivalent length inside Israel.