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The mid-term elections and peace for Israel (a message from APN's Debra DeLee)

Today APN President and CEO Debra DeLee sent the following message to APN supporters:

Friend,

Today we are all still digesting the results of yesterday's mid-term elections.  Elections that for most of us, as individual voters, were not only, or even primarily, about Israel, but about a range of domestic issues dear to our hearts.  Many of us are dismayed at what these elections may mean for these issues and for the future of our families and our country. 

But even as we try to come to terms with what will be the likely impact of these elections, we can't take our eyes off the ball in the Middle East.

While support for Israel has never been a partisan issue, we all know that there are those, both inside and outside Congress, who are happy to play politics with it.  They see it as a great way to score political points.  They are already trying to leverage these election results to make the argument that the American people have rejected President Obama's foreign policy, including his Middle East policy.  This is deceitful and manipulative.  All serious pollsters and analysts agree: this election was a referendum on domestic issues, and very few Americans, including Jewish Americans, voted primarily on Israel-related considerations.  In fact, it appears that even more burning foreign policy issues like Iraq and Afghanistan played little role in voters' choices. 

Today, as Israel faces continued security threats, as attacks on its legitimacy increase, and as the viability of the two-state solution is increasingly threatened by developments on the ground, it is even more important that Americans who care about Israel's future redouble our pressure for peace.   And, it is even more important that the incoming Congress stop playing partisan political games with the issue.

This is where we - and you - come in. 

While today many of us may feel discouraged, we cannot allow ourselves the luxury of cynicism.  We need to begin engaging now to rally support for Middle East peace from both sides of the aisle.  We need to let members of Congress and their leaders know that pro-Israel credentials will not be measured in political grandstanding, but will be earned by promoting policies that support Israel's security, which includes promoting peace and the two-state solution. 

We need to send a clear message:  the most pro-Israel Congress will not be the one whose members ceaselessly try to outflank one another with dogmatically hawkish positions on Jerusalem or the peace process.  Rather, it will be the Congress that, on its own and in support of the president, works to hasten the achievement of Israeli-Arab peace.

APN has long engaged members of Congress, regardless of party affiliation, in pursuit of security, stability, and peace for Israel and the Middle East.  We provide them education, analysis, and recommendations.  We mobilize support for pro-peace initiatives and fight tirelessly against initiatives that could undermine America's credibility, limit the president's diplomatic toolbox, or create obstacles for U.S. leadership in the Middle East.

We will continue to do all these things in the next Congress.  We need you to join us.

Debra DeLee

PS: Americans for Peace Now has started this engagement today with a letter to incoming Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) (who is also the highest ranking Jewish member of Congress in history) and incoming Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).  We will be asking you, through Action Alerts, to join us this week in contacting the new Republican leadership, and will continue to ask you, in the coming weeks and months to target necessary messages and requests to members of Congress from both parties.  Thank you, in advance, for taking these actions.