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APN's "Push for Peace" Campaign Culminates in Annapolis Rally, Mobile Billboard, Capitol Hill Event

APN's "Push for Peace, Now" campaign culminates this week in a range of activities supportive of the Annapolis conference.

For Immediate Release - November 26, 2007
Contact - Ori Nir (202) 728-1893

Washington D.C.- More than a month after launching a drive to mobilize support for the current Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Americans for Peace Now's "Push for Peace, Now" campaign culminates this week in a range of activities supportive of the Annapolis conference.

  • Tomorrow, as world leaders gather in Annapolis for the Mideast peace conference, representatives of APN and of Israel's Peace Now movement will speak at a pro-peace rally in Annapolis;
  • Today and tomorrow, an APN-chartered mobile billboard bearing the message: "The Time has Come for Peace, Now!" will cruise the streets of Annapolis to show support for the peace effort;
  • On Thursday, together with other pro-peace organizations, APN will sponsor a Capitol Hill briefing on the current peace process;
  • On Thursday, APN supporters and activists will dial in to a conference call for an assessment of the conference's achievements provided by APN founder, Professor Mark Rosenblum;
  • Throughout the week, APN and Peace Now experts will be available to the media for interviews on the current push for peace (see contact info at the end of this press release).

Commenting on the campaign, APN President and CEO Debra DeLee noted: "APN is proud to lead the Jewish community in support of the long overdue revival of the peace process that is taking place this week in Annapolis. Real friends of Israel recognize that Israelis want and need peace, not only with the Palestinians but with all its neighbors in the region. No opportunity should be missed to make progress toward this goal. As a Zionist organization, we are proud to support the Annapolis conference and we wish the attendees courage and success in their efforts."

She went on to add, "We believe it is the height of irresponsibility to deny support to an effort that holds even the tiniest promise of making progress toward peace. Sadly, in the countdown to this event, many Jewish community leaders have allowed skepticism and fear to dampen their hopes and silence their support - and in some cases even muster opposition - for this effort. While skepticism is natural and principled concern over issues like the future of Jerusalem is legitimate, failure to support this new push for peace does a disservice to the best interests of both Israel and the United States."

Over the past month, the "Push for Peace, Now" campaign included:

· pro-peace ads in Jewish newspapers;

· op-eds in the Jewish press in support of the Annapolis process and calling for greater U.S. Jewish community support for the effort;

· a campaign in Congress and among pro-Israel, pro-peace activists nationwide to mobilize support for a congressional letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calling for robust, proactive U.S. leadership of the peace process;

· a dedicated web page with Annapolis-related information, analysis, and opportunities for grassroots pro-Annapolis advocacy http://www.peacenow.org/pushforpeacenow/

· a highly-visible APN presence at the United Jewish Communities' General Assembly in Nashville earlier this month, with a strong pro-Annapolis message (and where APN distributed special "Americans for Peace Now -- Push for Peace" push-pens);

· Washington programming for Israeli experts on several of the "core issues" that Israelis and Palestinians will address when they discuss a final settlement to their conflict.

APN is a Jewish, Zionist organization dedicated to enhancing Israel's security through peace and to supporting the Israeli Peace Now movement. It's "Push for Peace, Now" campaign dovetails with a campaign launched earlier this month by the Israeli Peace Now movement, Israel's largest grassroots movement, and the Geneva Initiative. This campaign included mass demonstrations, billboards, and an aggressive newspaper and internet ad campaign.

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Reporters, producers and bookers are welcome to call Americans for Peace Now at 202-728-1893 to be referred to one of our policy experts. Please ask to speak with Ori Nir. Several of our experts will be in Annapolis on Tuesday, among them is on of the leaders of Peace Now, Israel's largest peace movement. Others will be available by phone from Washington and from other locations. Our experts are happy to talk about any issue relating to Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, including: the merits of the Annapolis initiative, the way it is playing in Israel, the way it is playing in America's Jewish community and the importance of vocal popular support for the process, both in the region and in America. Experts available are:

Debra DeLee, President & CEO, Americans for Peace Now (APN): Ms. DeLee is President and CEO of APN, a national Zionist organization dedicated to enhancing Israel's security through peace and to supporting the Israeli Peace Now movement. Since joining APN in April 1997, she has worked tirelessly to promote American support for peace in the Middle East. DeLee has traveled to the Middle East on numerous occasions on behalf of APN and discussed peace process issues with various Israeli and Arab leaders, including heads of state. In 1993, DeLee served as Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and was appointed DNC Chair by President Bill Clinton in November 1994.

IDF Lieutenant Colonel (Res.) Gavri Bargil, Former Executive Director of Peace Now: Mr. Bargil is the Director General of Israel's Kibbutz Movement, comprised of 270 kibbutzim. Mr. Bargil served in the Israel Defense Forces between 1977 and 1981. Following his extended military service, he underwent an intensive training program in the IDF to prepare him to serve as a Brigade Commander, a position he held between 1990 and 1996, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. With the outbreak of the first Intifada in 1987, he joined Peace Now. Soon after, in 1990, he assumed the position of Executive Director, organizing and coordinating major Peace Now events and programs.

Mark Rosenblum, Founder, Americans for Peace Now: In addition to his work with APN, Professor Rosenblum is a long-time faculty member of the History Department at Queens College, chair of its Jewish studies department and director of the Michael Harrington Center. The author of numerous scholarly and popular articles, Professor Rosenblum has appeared as a Middle East analyst on CNN, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and National Public Radio. Professor Rosenblum's project, "The Middle East and America: Clash of Civilizations or Meeting of the Minds," has garnered considerable acclaim and media attention for its requirement that Jewish and Muslim students immerse themselves in the opposing group's history relative to the Middle East. Professor Rosenblum was recently selected by the Clinton Global Initiative as one of two winners of an award for work in the field of Religion, Conflict and Reconciliation.

Ori Nir, Spokesperson, Americans for Peace Now: Mr. Nir joined APN following a twenty-five year career as a journalist covering Israel and the peace process. From 2002 to 2006, he was the Washington Bureau Chief for The Forward, America's largest and most influential independent national Jewish weekly newspaper. Previously, he worked for 16 years at Israel's leading daily newspaper, Ha'aretz, where he served as the Washington Bureau Chief, West Bank Correspondent, and Israeli-Arab's Affairs Correspondent. Mr. Nir's opinion and analysis articles have also been published by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, and New York Newsday. His television appearances include PBS, CNN, ABC News, and CBS.

Gail Pressberg, Senior Policy Advisor, Americans for Peace Now: Ms. Pressberg is a Senior Fellow at the Civil Society Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting breakthroughs in civil society that address pressing issues of the day, where she primarily leads its stem cell policy efforts. Prior to holding this position, Pressberg was the Director of APN's Center for Israeli Peace and Security in Washington, DC. She also serves on the Board of Directors in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Foundation for Middle East Peace, and the Shefa Fund.