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Blog: February 2012 Archives

Alpher_Letter186x140.jpgAlpher discusses what will be on the agenda for the March 5th meeting between Obama and Netanyahu, what the United States could do to stop the slaughter in Syria, what Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was talking about when he warned publicly that the current "security silence" could collapse at any moment and how seriously we should take him,  and what will happen in the aftermath of Israel's high court overturning the Tal law which had regulated a slow trickle of voluntary military service on the part of ultra-orthodox yeshiva students.
Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) expresses concern about the deteriorating situation in Syria and urges the Obama Administration to engage urgently to end the crisis. 

Biggest West Bank settlement since Netanyahu took power approved

shilo186x140.jpgYesterday the Israeli government sent yet another signal that it when it comes to settlements, rule of law is optional. It also gave another sign that this Israeli government prefers settlements to peace. It did this by approving the biggest West Bank settlement since the Netanyahu government took power - in a settlement and illegal outpost located deep since the West Bank, far east of Israel's separation barrier, in an area that could not possibly remain under Israeli control under any future peace deal. The approvals come in response to Peace Now petitions to the Israeli High Court against illegal construction at these two sites. Rather than implement the law, the Israeli Government responded to the petitions by taking action to post-facto legalize the settlers' illegal construction and now has added insult to injury by approving this additional construction. Peace Now's report on the approval is available here.

Tone down the religious rhetoric!

This week, a national coalition of several religious organizations today issued an "Interfaith Statement of Principles" calling on presidential as well as all other candidates to tone down the religious rhetoric that has been so prevalent in this election cycle.

 The coalition calls on candidates to, among other things, "reject appeals or messages to voters that reflect religious prejudice, bias or stereotyping," and "avoid statements, actions or conduct that are intended primarily to encourage division in the electorate among religious lines."

Shaking the Kaleidoscope in Iran (Foreign Policy)

Iran_Kaleidescope186x140.jpgDiscussion of military action against Iran is again taking center stage. It takes me back to a late September 2002 meeting, when I brought a former senior Israeli official to see the late Congressman Tom Lantos, then the ranking minority member of the House International Relations Committee. Our meeting focused on Iraq, with Lantos arguing passionately for pre-emptive U.S. military action against Saddam Hussein, who he compared to Hitler.

Khader Adnan to be Freed, but Admin Detentions to Continue

khader_adnan186x140.jpg Yesterday I wrote that Israel should charge Khader Adnan or set him free.  Perhaps recognizing the danger that a martyred Adnan poses to its own interests, Israel has done so, sort of. That is, Israel has not charged Adnan.  Nor has it set him free.  But it has committed to release Adnan at the end of his "term" in Administrative Detention on April 17th.

In response, Adnan has ended his 66-day hunger strike.  Hopefully he will survive.

Israel Should Charge Khader Adnan or Set Him Free

khader_adnan320x265.jpgFor weeks now I have been tweeting about the case of Khader Adnan, a Palestinian who is dying in an Israeli hospital as he enters the 10th week of a hunger strike. 
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Alpher discusses why Russia is propping up the Assad regime and how this affects Russia's relations with Israel and the rest of the Arab world, the state of the revolution in Syria, and whether the right-wing organization "Im Tirzu" is fascistic in nature.


We are all concerned about the threat of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. An Iran armed with nuclear weapons represents an alarming scenario that neither the U.S. nor Israel, nor for that matter, the world, can afford to dismiss, and one that the U.S. and the international community must exert all efforts to avoid.

Most of us are also concerned - and increasingly so - over the growing frenzy of talk about military action against Iran. Military action is unlikely to do more than delay Iran's nuclear program and is almost certain to have far-reaching unintended consequences for the U.S., Israel, and the region.


The fate of Migron, an illegal outpost in the heart of the West Bank, is about to be decided. The implications of this decision are about far more than the future of a handful of settlers in a single outpost. This decision will be a litmus test of Israeli rule of law and, ultimately, of Israel's capacity to make peace with the Palestinians.

How can one outpost be so important?


The Rabbis always understood that the Torah is a document that must be interpreted. Throughout our history we have always understood that we cannot have direct access to God's meaning but are always bounded by the need to put it in human terms. Therefore, insisting that any particular meaning is the only meaning - whether it's about the borders or settling the land, how to dress, or anything else -- is dangerous.

City of Layers - Guest Column


Brian Reeves, a graduate student who interned with APN over the summer, is pursuing his graduate studies at Jerusalem's Hebrew University. Following is the first in what we hope will be a series of blog posts commenting on his experience in Israel. Brian is a graduate of Brandeis University, where he was the President of J Street U.


Alpher discusses how Hamas and Fateh signing the "Doha declaration" and moving their reconciliation project a step forward influences the peace process, what international military intervention in Syria might look like, what else, if anything, can Israel do about the daily slaughter in neighboring Syria, and what was the general strike that the Netanyahu government just settled and why is this significant?

Don't Say We Didn't Know


Today, February 10, is the 29th anniversary of the murder of Emil Grunzweig. Grunzweig was a reserves paratrooper in the IDF, who fought in the Six-Day War, and served as a reserve officer in the War of Attrition, the Yom Kippur War, and the 1982 Lebanon War. After his discharge, he became an educator and peace activist. Emil was killed during a 1983 Peace Now rally when right-wing activist Yona Avrushmi lobbed a grenade into the crowd.

Two additional price tag attacks in recent days

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In the last two days, two more price tag attacks were made against a monastery, a Jewish-Arab bilingual school and the offices of Peace Now in Jerusalem.

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APN made online history this week. Our active Facebook page now has over 30,000 fans, more than any US Jewish organization. We use our Facebook page to feature activities, news and views, and to encourage open discussion on the issues. Americans for Peace Now has been leading the pack in providing a fresh voice on Facebook about Israel for over two years.

If you have not done so yet, join our Facebook page and be a part of APN's online conversation.

Peace Parsha: Becoming Truly Free


Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg is the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek ("house of peace/pursuers of justice!") in Chester, CT. She serves as co-chair of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America and is a member of the Rabbinic Cabinet of JStreet. She is also an alumna of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality.


Alpher discusses why there is such a fuss being made over the 23 percent that Moshe Feiglin won in the Likud leadership primaries, what "confidence-building measures" in the West Bank the Quartet is asking Netanyahu to offer, whether Bashar Assad resembles his father in terms of the violence currently being perpetrated by him, and what the Israeli angle should be on Congress threatening to withhold foreign aid to Egypt unless Cairo stops cracking down on American and other foreign-sponsored democracy-advocacy groups in Egypt.

Settlements in Focus: What's All the Fuss over Migron?

Migron_File_Collage320x265.jpg Q: There is a lot of talk in the Israeli media these days about the outpost of Migron, and Peace Now has launched a major campaign around the issue, with the publication of its document "The Migron File."

Brady, Manning, Ofran and Oppenheimer


This was a winning week for Israel's true patriots, Peace Now's dedicated staff and activists.

Earlier this week, Hagit Ofran, the director of Peace Now's Settlement Watch project, won an esteemed prize, named after her grandfather, iconic philosopher and anti-occupation activist Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz.


A new presentation by Jerusalem expert Daniel Seidemann demonstrates how planned Israeli settlement construction in East Jerusalem could make the two-state solution impossible by 2013