To return to the new Peace Now website click here.

Tolerance, please!

Our intern Benjamin Kasdan wrote the following piece about a disturbing experience, after helping us organize an event in Washington:

As I was leaving an event on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict sponsored by Americans for Peace Now earlier this month, an elderly man who noticed that I was carrying an APN sign approached me and asked me if I worked with APN. When I responded that I did, he called me a self-hating Jew, and told me that I should be ashamed of myself.

The encounter shocked me and has been troubling me ever since. Has our community really become that intolerant?
Why is it that when I tell my friends that I work for an organization that is trying to promote peaceful change in Israel, they reply that I'm not a supporter of Israel?

The Jewish community has reached a proverbial crossroads on the defense of Israel. In Peter Beinart's 2010 article, "The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment," he describes the troubling drop in support for Israel among the young Jewish generation.

Can we continue to stand firm and tell people that Israel wants peace and a two-state solution, while saying nothing as settlements are still being built in the West Bank? This dishonesty is not possible anymore.

The time has long passed when Israel could get away with calling for peace and blaming everything on the Palestinians while building settlements. Israel is now being held accountable for the discrepancy between its stated goals and its policies on the ground.

The time has long passed when groups like APN and J Street could be dismissed as representing a marginal "far left" agenda. Today, the entire world supports the two-state solution that Benjamin Netanyahu's government nominally endorses but practically undermines. American Jews do Israel no favor by attempting to exclude groups like APN and J Street from the pro-Israel mainstream.

There are many ways to be pro-Israel. Shunning others who believe that real security for Israel would be best achieved by peace is not one of them.