Happy Lag BaOmer

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Lag B'Omer - the 33rd day between Pesach and Shavuot- is a minor Jewish holiday that celebrates (among other things) the cessation of a divinely-sent plague that resulted from people not showing one another adequate respect. It is celebrated with bonfires, and great joy. Let us also look forward to a cessation of all the ills that Israel suffers from, and look forward to joy, peace and security.

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Peace Now win against illegal settlements!

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Israel's High Court of Justice issued an order in November that the state must remove homes on private Palestinian property in the unauthorized West Bank outposts of Ma’aleh Rehavam, Mitzpe Yitzhar and Givat Assaf by Sunday. The order was issued in reponse to a 207 petition by Peace Now, and targeted six unauthorized West Bank outposts: Ma’aleh Rehavam, Mitzpe Yitzhar, Givat Assaf, Mitzpe Lachish, Givat Haroeh and Ramat Gilad.

The state, had responded that it had plans to authorize the six outposts, if legally possible, but had not yet done so, and in November, the High Court ordered the state to quit dragging its feet, and that  the homes, on private property in three of the outposts, must be removed by May 18.

Settlers in the Ma’aleh Rehavam outpost are planning to fight the order. The Gush Etzion Regional council head wrote to the court, saying, "Most of these Ma’aleh Rehavam residents do not intend to willingly evacuate their homes."

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Demand that Israeli authorities hold extremist settlers accountable. Join us in stopping this Price Tag campaign. Use the hashtag #StopPriceTag

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#stoppricetag

May 8, 2014
APN campaign to stop Price Tag attacks

“King David is for the Jews, Jesus is garbage." This is today’s graffiti found on a Jerusalem church the day after the Vatican called on Israel to protect Christian sites.

This is happening nearly every day. No longer just in the West Bank but in Israel proper.

These Price Tag attacks, perpetrated primarily by extremist Israeli settlers and their supporters, have escalated focusing on Arab towns and villages inside Israel. Private property and places of worship are targeted with grotesque destruction and graffiti. Whether it is a Church or a Mosque—it doesn’t matter. Jewish sites have been vandalized in retaliation.

Some may dismiss these attacks because they “just” focus on buildings and cars but as Yossi Alpher writes in this week’s Hard Questions Tough Answers although no Palestinian has been physically attacked or killed in the price tag actions, it is almost certainly only a matter of time until that happens. It is pathetic that it has gotten to this point. It is disgusting that these perpetrators haven’t been caught and dealt with. And it is pathetic that it is only a matter of time...

Price Tag
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Alpher goes on to say: This will not end well. We need to bring world-wide attention to these criminal acts. Join us and demand that Israeli authorities hold extremist settlers accountable. Join us in stopping this Price Tag campaign. Please use the hashtag #StopPriceTag. Please share on Facebook too. Because if the security officials don’t bother, we must...

Because if we don’t, this will not end well.

L'Shalom,
Rabbi Alana Suskin
Director of Strategic Communications
Americans for Peace Now

P.S. Price tags are not a new phenomenon; We have tracked this escalation in recent years online – have you?

The American Prospect: The Bitter Truth about the Settlements

by Matthew Duss

How can talks succeed when, throughout the negotiations, Israel is building on the very land that would comprise a Palestinian state?

There are a lot of reasons for the peace effort's failure, but people in Israel shouldn't ignore the bitter truth—the primary sabotage came from the settlements.” This is what anonymous U.S. officials told journalist Nahum Barnea, a prominent columnist in Israel’s most-read newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, in a candid interview about the collapse of Secretary of State John Kerry’s nine-month-long effort to broker talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. 

It’s not just people in Israel who shouldn’t ignore this bitter truth; it’s people in America, and particularly in Washington, where there’s an entire industry dedicated to casting the Palestinians as eternal rejectionists and downplaying the impact of the settlements and occupation that sustain them. Basically, these officials are telling us more explicitly what both Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama have told us more diplomatically: Netanyahu’s unwillingness and/or inability to reign in the settlements poisoned the negotiations, and is killing any chance of a final, two-state agreement.

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Repairing the Internal Palestinian Rift

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Palestinian reconciliation - fixing the cleavage between Hamas and Fatah, and between the West Bank and Gaza - is vital to achieving peace. A Palestinian government that represents all Palestinians, and with security and governance capacity in both the West Bank and Gaza, is vital to any future peace agreement. A peace agreement negotiated in the context of Palestinian unity will have much greater legitimacy and be much harder for Hamas or any party to renege on, at least without appearing hypocritical in the eyes of its people. A peace agreement that involves all parties, leaves neither people feeling humiliated, and leaves both peoples significantly better off, will likewise be stronger, with peoples on both sides having an interest in rejecting anyone who tries to undermine the new status quo. (Excerpt from APN’s “They Say, We Say” entry on this topic.)

 

APN's They Say, We Say: What about Hamas and Gaza?

6/3/14: Lara Friedman: Setting the Record Straight: U.S. Law & the new PA government

6/2/14: APN Press Release: APN Welcomes Formation of Palestinian Government; Calls to Judge it by its Positions and Actions

4/25/14: APN: The Potential Benefits of a Pause in Israeli-Palestinian Talks

4/23/14: APN Welcomes PLO-Hamas Reconciliation Agreement

 

5/27/11: Grandstanding won't stop history (Lara Friedman in Haaretz)

4/29/11: Peace Now’s Yariv Oppenheimer on Reconciliation deal (video)

4/27/11: APN: Palestinian Reconciliation Deal is an Opportunity for Obama

4/27/11: APN on the Gaza-Hamas Challenge

 

3/11/09: APN: Time for a Rational Approach in the Israeli-Palestinian Arena

Rabbis For Peace

Here are a collection of resources to help you discuss Israel with your community.

Feel free to email any of us at APN, J Street or T’ruah for help or support: creating programs and divrei torah, inviting speakers  -or whatever assistance  you need.

APN

News, Resources, and Analysis:

Sign up for News Nosh, a free, daily round-up of Israeli news.
Yossi Alpher: Hard Questions, Tough Answers, a weekly analysis of national security developments in Israel and the Middle East.
They Say, We Say: A question-and-answer-format response to the arguments of the religious and political right-wing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The APN Research Center. A go-to resource on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, our APN Research Center gives anyone seeking reliable information the facts from a balanced, credible, and comprehensive source.
The Peace Process Resource Page: Everything you need to know, updated regularly, about what is happening now in the peace negotiations.
Additional resource pages on the issues:
Jerusalem on the U.S. Passport
Israeli-Palestinian Mutual Recognition
The Palestinians & the UN
The Price Tag Escalation Timeline. A timeline of major "Price Tag" attacks (as reported by Israeli sources). It documents a clear escalation in attacks, and the increasing spread of attacks inside the Green Line.
Facts on the Ground: The APN Map Project.
Speaker's Bureau: APN offers expert speakers for any venue. Click here for more information on how to book a speaker.

Please join us on our annual Israel Study Tour 

Rabbinic Resources:

Peace Parsha: A collection of divrei torah on Israel and peace, and a collection of haggada inserts from last year and all prior years.

T'ruah

A Prayer for Israel, by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman
Justice for Jerusalem Resource Packet
Submit Your Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem
Al HaNisim: A Prayer on Miracles for Yom Yerushalayim: By Rabbi Gilah Langner for Yom Yerushalayim 2012/5772.
Justice for Jerusalem Human Rights Shabbat Packet 2013/5774, By Joshua Bloom, Ilanit Goldberg, Megan Goldman, and Rocky Salomon.
Three Prayers for the State of Israel

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
A supplemental discussion guide to Just Vision's documentary film "My Neighbourhood," written by Rabbinical Student Ilanit Goldberg, Joshua Bloom, and Rabbi Jill Jacobs, November 2012.
Full Text Study Packet

Jerusalem: A City of Beauty, Suffering, Might, Wisdom, Hypocrisy, and Torah
A supplemental discussion guide to Just Vision's documentary film "Home Front: Portraits from Sheikh Jarrah," written by Rabbinical Student Ilanit Goldberg, Joshua Bloom, and Rabbi Jill Jacobs, November 2012.
Full Text Study Packet

Justice for Jerusalem Text Study Packet
Written by Rabbinical Student Megan Goldman, Joshua Bloom, and Rabbi Jill Jacobs, May 2012.
Full Text Study Packet

J Street

Get involved. Be invited to private rabbinic meetings with top Israel experts and scholars, and receive news and information specifically designed for you by becoming a member of the J Street Rabbinic Cabinet.

Teach peace. Download J Street resources for rabbis and clergy.

Stay informed. Sign up for J Street's Two-State Alerts and our daily NewsRoundup.

Host an event. Programs, lectures, films, J Street has educational resources to meet the needs of your community.

Jerusalem on the U.S. Passport

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"Our government's policy of refusing to formally recognize Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem is difficult for many of our fellow members of the American Jewish community to accept. But recording someone's birthplace as "Jerusalem" rather than "Israel" in no way threatens our religious, spiritual, and historical attachment and claims in the city. In our hearts, 'Yerushalayim shel Ma'lah - celestial Jerusalem - is and will forever be Israel's capital. However, 'Yerushalayim shel Matah - mundane Jerusalem of daily life on the ground - poses extremely delicate and volatile foreign policy and national security challenges. These challenges cannot be addressed through heavy-handed Congressional declarations or legislation, and they cannot be resolved by the courts. They can only be resolved through Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and a peace agreement that delivers a two-state solution to the conflict."

 

6/8/15: APN Press Release -- Press Release: APN Welcomes Supreme Court Ruling on Jerusalem
7/25/13: APN Press Release -- APN Welcomes Court Decision on Jerusalem
11/7/11: APN Oped --  Why We Have Taken a Stand with the US Supreme Court  (Original Hebrew version here)
10/4/11: APN Press Release -- APN Files Amicus Brief Supporting Obama Administration on Jerusalem
10/4/11:  APN Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court of the United States of America -- full text)

They Say, We Say: "Is there any way to reconcile the Israeli and Palestinian positions on the recognition issue?"

They Say We Say We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.

Go HERE for all installments of APN's "They Say, We Say"

Is Peace Possible?

They Say:

Is there any way to reconcile the Israeli and Palestinian positions on the recognition issue, or is this a case of irreconcilable differences and, potentially, an insurmountable obstacle to peace?

We Say:

The demand for “recognition-plus” and its rejection go to the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They embody the shared desire of Israelis and Palestinians for self-determination in their own countries, and for acknowledgment of their core narratives. Recognizing what this argument is really about opens the door for Israelis and Palestinians to start grappling with the challenge of finding a recognition formula that addresses the needs, and respects the sensitivities, of both sides. Such a formula will require not just recognition of the fact of Israel’s existence, but some element of recognition of Israel as a home for the Jewish people in their historic homeland, alongside explicit recognition of the rights of non-Jewish citizens of Israel. On the flip side, such a formula will require not just grudging acceptance of a Palestinian state as the outcome of negotiations, but some element of recognition of the suffering and sacrifices that Israel’s creation and nearly 50 years of occupation have wrought on the Palestinian people.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders, negotiating in good faith to achieve a two-state solution, can certainly agree on a recognition formula – as was done by negotiators in the 2003 Geneva Initiative, which affirmed that the agreement marked, “the recognition of the right of the Jewish people to statehood and the recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to statehood, without prejudice to the equal rights of the Parties' respective citizens.” Conversely, if Israel and Palestinian leaders don’t start dealing with this question seriously – respectful of the nuances and sensitivities involved for both sides – then the recognition question will haunt us all, and ensure that an agreement is likely never reached. .

They Say, We Say: "Why is the demand that Israel be recognized “as a Jewish state” a problem for the Palestinians?"

They Say We Say We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.

Go HERE for all installments of APN's "They Say, We Say"

Is Peace Possible?

They Say:

Why is the demand that Israel be recognized “as a Jewish state” a problem for the Palestinians? Isn’t their rejection of this Israeli demand proof they aren’t really interested in peace and don’t accept Israel?

We Say:

For Palestinians, rejection of the “recognition-plus” demand – as that demand has thus far been articulated – is a function of their own historical and political narrative. According to this narrative, they are an indigenous people living for generations in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, only to be unjustly expelled or occupied as the result of the creation of Israel and subsequent disastrous wars. Israeli insistence that the Palestinians adopt the Israeli-dictated formula of “the Jewish state of Israel” or similar wording is thus understood by many Palestinians as effectively requiring them to renounce their national narrative and accept the delegitimization of their own history, suffering, and grievances. It is viewed as asking them to recognize, in essence, prior Jewish claims that erase their own rights, both in terms of lands lost and as refugees. Moreover, this demand is seen by many – on both sides of the Green Line – as requiring Palestinian President Abbas to “sell out” the more than one million Palestinians who are citizens of Israel, sabotaging their own efforts to play an effective role in influencing the future character of the state of Israel and break down the barriers to equality inside Israel.

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