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APN Legislative Round-Up: Sept. 13 through Oct. 9, 2013

Book Review: Jerusalem -- A Cookbook

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This is the fifth in a series of reviews of new books on Middle Eastern affairs. We asked Dr. Gail Weigl, an APN volunteer and a professor of art history, to review this newly published delicious book about the culinary culture of the city at the heart of the conflict.

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Jerusalem: A Cookbook (Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2012). 319 pages. $35.00

With the opening image of Jerusalem aglow with morning light, the reader enters the sensory feast that is Jerusalem: A Cookbook. 

As with the photograph, the Introduction anticipates the "complicated pedigree" of the recipes to follow, and alerts us to the all-encompassing approach of an Israeli and a Palestinian, chefs who met in London and became friends and business partners bound by their passion for cooking and their nostalgia for the city of their birth and childhoods. 

A Sukkot of Peace from APN

Sukkah186x140.jpgBeginning Sunday night, September 30th, the Jewish holiday of Sukkot begins. During the week-long holiday, Jews build a special kind of home to dwell in for the week, called a sukkah. The sukkah is a deliberately temporary house, which can have no more than one permanent wall, and whose roof must be open to the sky, covered only partially by natural materials such as branches. Over the course of the week, meals are eaten in the sukkah, and people gather together to celebrate, and even to sleep.  According to tradition, we invite ushpizin - guests in Aramaic - to join us in the sukkah. These guests are the souls of seven Jewish ancestors who each represent a different value that we want to have with us in our sukkah.

A few weeks ago, Americans for Peace Now sent out my letter asking you stop being defensive about what our adversaries say about us. They have been accusing us of all kinds of nonsense - when actually, APN and our sister organization Shalom Achshav, have been working for the only possible solution that will lead to peace and security for Israel. If you want to see what effect we are having, read this editorial published yesterday by the editor and columnist Yael Paz-Melamed for the Israeli daily Ma'ariv.

Oz Grossman Letter

Oz Grossman Header

Dear Friend,

From where we sit as longtime activists in Israel's struggle to define who she is, this past summer was an astonishing time. What began as a protest over the price of cottage cheese grew into mass demonstrations across Israel against the rising cost of living and our increasingly inadequate social welfare system.

The hundreds of thousands of young Israelis who took to the streets and lived in tents to demand a better future for their country shared a deep discontent with our leaders' ineptness and their dismal stewardship of the common good.

As leaders of Shalom Achshav, Israel's Peace Now movement, we take hope from the unprecedented success of the "Israeli Summer's" socio-economic protests. We draw tremendous inspiration from the energy and power demonstrated by those motivated Israelis who demanded change for the country they love.

That's the template that Peace Now has always worked from-change for the country we love. Peace Now is the rational voice calling for change that will bring us a negotiated peace settlement with the Palestinians. We advocate a two-state solution-Israel and Palestine-because it is Israel's best hope to remain a Jewish state and a democracy. We insist on security guarantees for Israel, because no Israeli would leave the country's future to chance.

Peace Now was demonstrating for change in Israel long before the summer's protests and tent cities went up in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. And now that the summer season is over and the tents (that we hope to see again soon) are gone, Peace Now is still here. And we will remain-until our country achieves peace.

David Grossman The fact is, the socio-economic woes that the "Israeli Summer" protestors brought to world attention are partly a symptom of the Netanyahu government's failure to lead us toward peace. Peace Now bears witness to just how absurd it is for the government to spend billions of dollars constructing settlements on land that will ultimately have to be evacuated to make room for a Palestinian state. Prime Minister Netanyahu has agreed that a Palestinian state is necessary for peace, and yet settlement construction continues, as if it were our country's unacknowledged addiction.

Although many Israelis might avert their eyes and change the subject, Peace Now devotes time and resources to chronicling Israel's settlement addiction. Peace Now's Settlements Watch project records and publishes information on the settlements that is so accurate that diplomats, journalists, researchers-and even Israeli government officials-rely on it.

That makes Peace Now the enemy in the settlers' eyes

So they include us in their Price Tag campaign. Price Tag is the name young militant Israeli settlers in the West Bank gave to their violent acts to deter Israeli law-enforcement authorities from removing illegally built structures from West Bank settlements and illegal outposts.

Using the reasoning that if these illegal buildings were going to be demolished, someone on the other side would have to pay the price, the settlers have attacked Palestinians and their property, torched mosques, and violently confronted Israeli military and police officers.

Recently the price tag offensive crossed into Israel proper. During the high holidays, a mosque in Tuba Zangariya, a Beduin village in the Galilee, many of whose residents serve in the Israeli military, was burned down. Nearby, investigators found the words, "Price Tag." Israel's internal security minister called it "an act of terrorism."

In mid-September, graffiti was spray painted on the home of Peace Now's Hagit Ofran. Among the messages: "Price Tag" and "Peace Now-The End is Near."

And in early September, a 19-year-old soldier was arrested for placing phone calls to Peace Now's head, Yariv Oppenheimer, threatening to murder him.

Our opponents have a very different vision of Israel's future than we do. To realize their dream of Greater Israel, they are willing to sacrifice the Jewish and democratic character of our country.

But despite our opponents' efforts, there still is hope for a viable two-state solution. And that hope-to a large extent-is due to Peace Now.

Israel needs Peace Now's continued leadership to pressure the government to return to direct negotiations with the Palestinians now. It needs Peace Now's conscientious leadership to point out the injustices of the occupation today. It needs Peace Now's agitation for Israelis to understand that time is running out on the two-state solution. It needs Peace Now to remind us all that our growing international isolation is a direct result of our leaders' failure to end our occupation of the Palestinians.

Amos Oz In the United States, Americans for Peace Now (APN), the sister organization of Israel's Peace Now, educates American friends of Israel about the importance of Middle East peace, not only for Israelis but for Americans as well.

APN works to educate American policy makers and to focus the debate in America's Jewish community on the importance of peace for Israel.

APN provides nearly half of the funding for Israel's Peace Now movement, and helps make possible the action, research and legal advocacy that assist peace-seeking Israelis in taking back the middle ground.

APN offers a wealth of resources to educate the next generation of Americans who care about Israel. Visit APN's web site. Read about the Arab Spring and the Israeli Summer and how they impact peace efforts. Read the analyses of Israeli security expert Yossi Alpher. Review APN's weekly reports on congressional Mideast action. Follow APN on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for Peace Now's updates and action alerts.

APN is your home if you're looking for hope based on a rational and moderate view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

As the year 2011 ends, we ask you to make a tax-deductible contribution to Americans for Peace Now. By doing so, you will join the peace effort and assist those in Israel who believe in the two-state solution, in peace, reconciliation, tolerance and democracy, and who are willing to fight for it.

By joining Americans for Peace Now, you will be sending a pro-peace message to Washington and to Jerusalem.

By supporting APN, you will take part in the fight over Israel's future, over Israel's soul.

Yours sincerely,

Oz Grossman Signatures
P.S. Your contribution to APN is tax deductible.


Amos Oz has been politically active since the late 1960s when he handed out pamphlets that called for peace with Israel's Arab neighbors, triggering accusations of treason. His fiction and non-fiction range from the lyrical to the political. His 2005 monumental memoir, A Tale of Love and Darkness, had a major impact on Israeli society and won him international praise and prizes. Oz has received numerous awards, including the Israel Prize for literature.

David Grossman's works of fiction, non-fiction and children's literature have been translated into thirty languages and have received widespread international praise. Perhaps his most lauded book is his most recent, the novel To The End of The Land, a powerful meditation on war, friendship, and family. The book, which focuses on an Israeli mother's concern for the life of her soldier son in battle, was completed by Grossman after the personal tragedy of losing his own son in the Lebanon War of 2006.

From Birthright to APN

In June of 2006, I went to Israel on a Birthright trip.  I cannot remember exactly what my expectations were, but whether I expected it or not, I felt a strange sense of return upon landing in the Jewish state- furthered by the "welcome home!" with which our tour leader greeted us.  Walking the streets and beaches of Tel Aviv on that first day, seeing store fronts and signs in Hebrew, all the while surrounded by Jews, the sense of belonging- of oneness- was palpable.  I could breathe it in, taste it, and see it on the faces of those with whom I had applauded when our El Al plane had touched ground.

It's an axiom that making changes takes courage. The unknown is a frightening place. It's one reason many American Jews are wary of U.S. pressure on Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians toward a two-state solution, and to finally end the building of settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, until a border can be drawn between Israel and a Palestinian state. Any push from the U.S., they fear, might create change that could threaten Israel.

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


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.

APN President & CEO Debra DeLee writes an impassioned letter about the folly and danger of Prime Minister Netanyahu's policies and the ways that APN and Shalom Achshav (Peace Now in Israel) are being effective.

Your donation will help tremendously.

Americans for Peace Now encouraged activists to call lawmakers...

JTA Blog: "Left-wing groups try to counter AIPAC"

Americans for Peace Now sent out an alert Monday stating that "thousands of 'pro-Israel' activists will be on the Hill claiming to speak for all Americans...

Resource Page for Gaza "War"

List with links to items related to the current crisis in Gaza and Southern Israel

Setting the Record Straight Regarding the Museum of Tolerance

Following a recent APN Action Alert on the topic, and an APN letter to the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) from APN, signed by a number of important Israelis and American Jews, many APN activists have been (and are still) writing to the SWC to protest the construction of the "Museum of Tolerance" on the site of the Mamilla cemetery in Jerusalem.  In response, they are receiving from the SWC an emailed document entitled "Important Facts on the Israeli Supreme Court Ruling in Favor of the Museum of Tolerance," which purports to refute the various criticisms of the project.

APN agrees that the facts are important, so my brilliant friend and colleague in Jerusalem, Danny Seideman, and I have produced a Q & A primer entitled "Setting the Facts Straight Regarding the Museum of Tolerance" -- we review all of the facts (and claims) in detail, and also provide a compendium of articles (analysis, opinion, and reporting) that may be of use to people who care as much as we do about this subject.  Enjoy!

APN offers alternative to Bush's Iran policy

Five former Secretaries of State -- Albright, Christopher, Powell, Baker, and Kissinger -- recently endorsed a position long articulated by APN.

APN Legislative Round-Up - August 1, 2008

I. Bills and Resolutions; II. Update - H. Con. Res. 362 and S. Res. 580; III. CUFI Comes to D; IV. HCFA/MESA Hearing on Lebanon

APN Legislative Round-Up - July 11, 2008

I. Bills and Resolutions; II. State-of-Play of H. Con. Res. 362; III. APN on H. Con. Res. 362; IV. Ackerman on H. Con. Res. 362; V. Hearings and Markups; VI. Spotlight on Israel-Europe Relations; VII. Kirk, Harman Push Missile Defenses for Israel

Last Chance: Ackerman-Boustany Letter on Annapolis

The new deadline for your Representative to sign onto this letter is Friday, Nov. 16. Take Action NOW!

Write President Bush to thank him for focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Back U.S. Leadership to Achieve Israeli-Palestinian Peace Senate Co-Sponsors Needed Yesterday Senator Feinstein (D-CA) and seven of her colleagues introduced S. Res. 224. This resolution signals strong support for U.S. engagement to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace. Take ...

ACTION ALERT 2/12/07: Support Pro-Peace House Resolution

Please contact your Representative to ask to cosponsor this important resolution, or to thank them if already a cosponsor