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Revealing the Hidden: A Purim message from Jim Klutznick, APN Chair

Many people think of Purim as a children's holiday, but Purim is not a Jewish Halloween with dress up and cookies. On Purim, it is said, everything is turned upside down. Topsy-turvy. Haman's plan to kill all the Jews of Persia was thwarted by the Jewish Queen of Persia, Esther. Haman was hung when Esther's plea to the King to save her people paid off. Ultimately, the Purim story is a story of Jewish survival. On this holiday, Jews throughout the world read this story from a book contained in the Jewish Bible - Megillat Esther. Megillat Esther can be understood to mean "to expose the hidden."

For nearly 30 years, Americans for Peace Now (APN) has supported Israel and, with the help of colleagues in Shalom Achshav, has exposed hidden truths. Shalom Achshav has been there in good times and bad - revealing the truths of foolish settlement building, foolish demolition of homes, settler malfeasance and the economic folly that is the settlement enterprise.

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In the Purim story, Esther's gamble to save her people paid off. No assurance exists today. Shalom Achshav is not naïve - it was founded in 1978 by more than 348 reserve commanders and combat soldiers. And ever since its founding, Shalom Achshav has had its imprint on every peace treaty signed. It remains Israel's largest peace movement, having brought hundreds of thousands of Israelis into the streets to advocate for peace.

Shalom Achshav, along with APN, has always known that in a world of masks and shifting realities, the best strategy is to hold out a hand in peace, while maintaining a defensive readiness. With so many Hamans about, Israel can't afford to get tipsy and let down its guard for even one day. It also recognizes that true and lasting security will come at the negotiating table, not the battlefield.

APN stands with Shalom Achshav whether the peace process is looking up or down. Peacemaking is a topsy-turvy business. It is our job to stay focused and point the way through the emotions and illusions. We understand the illusion of rhetoric when lip service is paid to the two-state solution vs. when real advances are made. Real advances like when the Palestinians choose a non-violent way towards statehood by requesting and becoming a non-member observer entity in the UN.

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The result of Israel's recent election reads like a story concocted for Purim. It shows an electorate that wants a strong Israel and engagement with the Palestinians. Actually this is no paradox at all - frankly, that's the straight-forward position APN and Shalom Achshav have taken all along. It's our job to stay focused and point the way through emotions and illusions. Even on Purim.

So, the story of Purim, the story of Jewish survival, resonates with me. How can it not? That's why I support APN. That's why I am honored to serve as APN's chair. I believe that a negotiated Palestinian state is a necessity for saving Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. The question that needs to be asked is not how Israel will survive along-side an independent Palestine; it is how it can survive without one?

APN survives on the generosity of people like you and me. I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart. Yet I am asking for just a bit more. I am willing to match donations made through this Purim appeal. I will do this up to $10,000. And yes, it will be over and beyond my normal pledge. No, I'm not drunk (some drinking is customary on Purim) - I do this with a sober mind and for an organization whose mission reads like the Purim story - it's about survival.

Jim Klutznick

p.s. Your contribution is tax-deductible.