APN 2017 Israel Study Tour - CANCELLED

April 20, 2017

With a heavy heart, we are writing to let you know that we have decided to suspend our 2017 Israel Study Tour, pending clarifications from the government of Israel regarding the new “Entry Law,” which could be used to deny entry into Israel to individuals and organizations that publicly support boycotting settlement products.

We are therefore canceling our planned June tour. We do not know yet whether we will reschedule this tour to another date this year or whether we’ll have to suspend our Israel Study Tour program indefinitely, until the law is either revoked, amended or applied in a way that does not impact APN, its staff members, Board members and activists.

As you know, our 2017 tour was scheduled for June 3-8. Early last month, the Knesset passed a new law, dubbed the “Entry Law” or the “Boycott Law,” which stipulates that non-Israeli individuals or individuals affiliated with non-Israeli organizations who have publicly called for boycotting either Israel or Israeli state institutions, or West Bank settlements, will be denied entry to the State of Israel. The law has not yet been instituted, but we expect it to be in place come June.

APN has contacted the Israeli government seeking clarifications as to the precise guidelines for applying the law. We were told that the modalities of this legislation are to be discussed internally, among the relevant government agencies.

Recognizing that further clarifications were not likely to be provided soon, we came to the conclusion that we cannot take the risk of planning and executing a tour to Israel, which could be thwarted by Israeli officials turning away APN staff or Board members, or any of our tour participants. 

This law is an outrage. As we stated in our press release shortly after it was adopted, the law is a stain on Israeli democracy. It betrays the democratic principles upon which Israel was established. Although hard to believe, there is a possibility that the Israeli authorities, striving to minimize anti-occupation protest in June, the 50th“anniversary” of the occupation, might choose a broad interpretation of the law and deny entry to individuals affiliated with APN, such as APN tour participants.

APN staunchly opposes boycotting Israel or Israeli institutions, but we do call for boycotting West Bank settlements. We view it as a legitimate way to express our opposition to the settlements and to the occupation of the West Bank.

For our background and analysis of the bill, see here.

For an analysis by Israel’s leading national security think tank, see here.

We don’t know yet whether we will be able to reschedule the 2017 Israel Study Tour. We frankly don’t know when the circumstances may be created – either politically, bureaucratically or through court action or – which will allow us to schedule another Study Tour.

Debra DeLee

President and CEO
Americans for Peace Now 

In Memory of Rabin

Action Alert: Don't Let Rabin's Legacy Be Forgotten!
APN's Ori Nir in the Boston Globe: What Yitzhak Rabin left behind
20 years after: Briefing call on Rabin assassination with author Dan Ephron
Book Review: Killing A King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel

 Rabin Reflections:

Click on the images below to read moving statements about the anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination.

Rabin_Testimonial_Meme3 "I have always believed that the majority of the people want peace and are   ready to take risks for peace. In coming here today, you demonstrate, together with many others who did not come, that the people truly desire peace and oppose violence. Violence erodes the basis of Israeli democracy. It must be condemned and isolated."
- Yitzhak Rabin, November 4, 1995 final speech at peace rally


"We are in the midst of building the peace... The job is difficult, complex, trying. Mistakes could topple the whole structure and bring disaster down upon us.
And so we are determined to do the job well - despite the toll of murderous terrorism, despite fanatic and scheming enemies.
We will pursue the course of peace with determination and fortitude.
We will not let up.
We will not give in.
Peace will triumph over all our enemies, because the alternative is grim for us all.
And we will prevail."
- Yitzhak Rabin, December 10, 1994, speech accepting Nobel Prize

News Nosh 11.01.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday November 1, 2015 
Quote of the day:
"Now imagine that Netanyahu said those things last night, at the 20th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's murder, in front of the tens of thousands of youth who stood there. Does a sentence like that not injure, cause despair, and lay the groundwork for violence and obliterate all possibilities of normal life? What do young people think when they hear a sentence like that, how can they continue to weave the dreams of their lives here? And why can't the Prime Minister of Israel stand on a stage like this and tell his citizens warm and empowering things.
--Top Yedioth political commentator, Sima Kadmon, asks why, instead of a prime minister who tells them they "will forever live by the sword," they don't have a leader like US President Bill Clinton, who empowered thousands in his speech at the Rabin Memorial last night.

You Must Be Kidding: 
“I have a fantasy about getting together [former Iranian President] Ahmadinejad, [Hezbollah leader] Nasrallah, [Palestinian President] Abbas and [UN Secretary-General] Ban Ki-moon and taking them on a visit to the new Temple, the Third Temple now being built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and letting them see the coronation ceremony from there of a new king of Israel. The Vatican is returning the ancient golden menorah and the high priest is rededicating it."
--From supplementary educational materials for a mandatory program at Israeli religious state schools meant to teach children 'longing for the Third Temple.' Researchers fear the curriculum could drive pupils to take violent actions to advance the building of the Third Temple on the Temple Mount.
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killing a king jpg  Dr. Gail Weigl, APN volunteer and a professor of art history, reviewed Dan Ephron's new book on Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, published on the 20th anniversary of the murder that changed Israel. 

Dan Ephron, Killing A King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel (New York and London, 2015), 257 pages.  $27.95

A heartbreaking chronicle of the circumstances leading to and following from the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Killing A King is a brilliant and comprehensive analysis of the quest for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and of the ultra-Orthodox opposition to that quest. While the subtitle, The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel, might sound grandiose to some, Ephron in fact convincingly proves the case that Rabin’s assassination catalyzed the remaking of an Israel increasingly dominated today by right-wing political and religious extremists. In his telling, even-handed though he may be, they are the primary if not the only villains of the piece.

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News Nosh 11.02.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday November 2, 2015 
Quote of the day:
"You, Israeli reader, should liberate yourself a bit from the Israeli media diet that makes the situation so shallow; you should liberate yourself from the language of the masters of “civil disorders and riots.” Instead, watch the uncensored (video) clips from the “battlefield": soldiers in jeeps running protesters over, a soldier spraying tear gas from point-blank range in the eyes of medics who come to evacuate the wounded. Soldiers setting on a store owner who brings in his wares while clashes are going on, and the soldiers kick him in an orgy of sadism."
--Haaretz journalist Amira Hass writes that the young Palestinian demonstrators with their kaffiyeh, stone and Molotov cocktail should be seen for their bravery and not the highly trained Israeli soldiers in armored jeeps with interrogation rooms and late-night break-ins into homes to pull minors from their beds.

You Must Be Kidding: 
"It is clear to all that they are not criminals, and even though they deny any connection (to the acts), even if it is determined that deviated from the guidelines, I think it betrays reality for the Military Court to define them as 'dangerous.' 
--The response by the Honenu organization, which defends right-wing Israelis, to the court decision to detain until the end of proceedings the five IDF soldiers who allegedly attached electrodes to a handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinian suspect’s neck and electrocuted him, even increasing the voltage as the detainee begged them to stop. Soldiers are also accused of filming the act on a cell phone.  
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November 01, 2015 - Not learning from Rabin’s assassination; Syria escalates



This week, Alpher discusses whether, in the wake of the mass demonstration in Tel Aviv marking the twentieth anniversary of the murder of Yitzhak Rabin and his assassin’s brother “celebrating” the occasion by suggesting that God remove President Rivlin and his associates from the world, Israel has learned anything from Rabin’s death; if diplomatic negotiations in Vienna regarding an agreed solution for Syria have any meaning, given Russian bombing in southern Syria near the Israeli border, Iran sending more and more troops to Syria, the US sending 50 commandos, and Israel reportedly still intercepting Syrian arms shipments to Hezbollah; a "compare and contrast" of US and Russian military behavior in Syria; how Russian military involvement affects Israel’s decision-making regarding Syria; and potential factors for change there in addition to the Russian and Iranian military presence in Syria and the new US token deployment;


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Peace Now rally draws over 100,000

clinton-obama320x265This past Saturday, October 31st, Peace Now and other groups organized a rally in honor of the memory of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Attended by more than 100,000 Israelis, the rally was held in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv where the late PM was assassinated by a right-wing extremist.

Speakers included US President Barack Obama on a pre-recorded video feed and former President Bill Clinton, who attended the rally.

President Clinton, who considered Rabin a personal friend, and coined the phrase shalom chaver (goodbye, friend) immediately following the murder, said: "[Rabin] refused to give up his dream of peace in the face of violence . . . The next step will be determined by whether you decide that Yitzhak Rabin was right, that you have to share the future with your neighbors ... that the risks for peace are not as severe as the risk of walking away from it. Those of us who loved him and love your country are praying that you will make the right decision."

President Obama said: "In these difficult days for Israel, for Palestinians, for the region, Yitzhak's life, his dream, inspire us still." Obama added, "A bullet can take a man's life, but his spirit, his dream of peace, will never die."

Click here  to watch video clips of the remarks by President Obama and former President Clinton.

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Rejecting any claim that settlements play a part in the current violence, Netanyahu has adopted data showing he's built less than his predecessors. But don't believe the statistics.

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20 years after: Briefing call on Rabin assassination with author Dan Ephron

Ephron-DanAuthor Dan Ephron, whose new book documents the events that led to the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the assassination’s aftermath, was APN’s guest on a briefing call on November 2, 2015.

In Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel, Ephron tells the parallel stories of Rabin and his assassin, Yigal Amir, during the two years leading up to the murder, and sets the scene to the two decades that followed.

Ephron is an award-winning writer, who has served as the Jerusalem bureau chief for Newsweek and the Daily Beast, and now lives in New York City.


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News Nosh 11.03.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday November 3, 2015 
Quote of the day:
“Enough, enough, enough! We don’t have to wait to reach a state of bloodshed. One can be an MK without being a pyromaniac.”
--Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) calls on his coalition MKs not to visit the Temple Mount. Meanwhile, the Knesset Ethics Committee forbade it and the Police Chief prohibited it.

You Must Be Kidding: 
Israeli forces detain Palestinian children, aged 7 and 8, outside their home in E. Jerusalem and take them to police station, then release them.
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