The Palestinians & the UN

“The decision of the Palestinians to take their case to the UN reflects, first and foremost, the loss of credibility of the current peace process and their understandable conviction that as things stand today, negotiations will never end the occupation or deliver statehood. Palestinian leaders, like leaders anywhere, need to address the concerns of their people and provide them a tangible path forward.  Their decision to take their case to the UN also reflects the recognition that the situation is nearing a tipping point - the point at which developments on the ground in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in particular expansion of settlements and settlement-related infrastructure, will make the two-state solution unworkable.” (from APN Policy Statement, 7/28/11)

 

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APN resources on the Palestinians at the UN

1/27/15: APN Statement on Palestinians' International Criminal Court (ICC) Membership and Activity

Lara Friedman analysis/commentary 1/5/14: US Law & Abbas' Post-UNSC Moves - An Explainer

APN Press Release, 12/30/14: APN to Obama: Don't Block UNSC Resolution on Israeli-Palestinian Peace.

APN Press Release, 12/24/14: APN to Obama, Kerry: Now is the Time for UNSC Pro-Peace Resolution

APN's Lara Friedman, The Forward, 12/23/14: Stop Babying Israel at the U.N. Security Council.

Lara Friedman analysis/commentary 12/19/14: Calling Out Israeli Rejectionism at the UN.

APN Press Release, 12/15/14: APN to Obama Administration: Support Constructive Action at the UN Security Council to Promote Israeli-Palestinian Peace.

APN Legislative Round-Up: April 4, 2014: Item 2: Palestinians, the UN, and Congress

APN Press Release, 11/27/12: APN Calls on Obama Administration to Support Palestinian UN Initiative

Peace Now (Shalom Achshav), 11/27/12: Israel Should Welcome UN Vote on Palestinian Initiative

Lara Friedman, the Daily Beast/Open Zion, 11/14/12: Round Two At Turtle Bay

APN Legislative Round-Up 11/4/11: Item 3: UNESCO, UNESCO, UNESCO

Lara Friedman analysis/commentary 11/3/11: Hijacked by Legislative Anachronisms

APN Action Alert 11/3/11: Tell Congress to act rationally on UN and the Palestinians

Lara Friedman, Huffington Post, 10/28/11: UNESCO, Congress, U.S. Law, and the Palestinians: The Facts

APN Press Release, 9/23/11: UN Speeches Underscore Need for Leadership to End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

APN Briefing Call, 9/14/11 (AUDIO): "Que Vadis Palestine"? With Ambassador Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations

APN Statement, 9/12/11: APN Statement on Looming Crisis at the UN and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

APN Policy Statement, 7/28/11: APN Principles on the Palestinians, International Recognition & the UN

Lara Friedman, ForeignPolicy.com, 7/19/11: No choice but the UN for Palestinians

They Say, We Say: "Why shouldn’t Israel be able to build in areas that everyone – including the Palestinians - knows Israel will keep in any future peace agreement?"

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"

Are settlements really a problem?

They Say:

Why shouldn’t Israel be able to build in settlement blocs? These are areas that everyone – including the Palestinians - knows Israel will keep in any future peace agreement? Opposing construction in the blocs transforms a non-issue into an excuse for Palestinian intransigence and for people to unfairly criticize Israel.

We Say:

Construction inside the settlement “blocs” isn’t a non-issue. When Israeli and Palestinian negotiators start talking seriously about settlements, they won’t be spending a lot of time debating the future of isolated settlements, because these settlements would unquestionably have to be removed under a peace agreement. The real negotiations, the very difficult ones, will actually be over the so-called “settlement blocs”: their size and contours, the way they will be connected to Israel, and the land swaps that will be used to offset them. This is why settlement expansion in these areas is equally if not more harmful to the two-state solution than construction in the isolated settlements.

Given the facts on the ground today, reaching agreement on these blocs will already be challenging. Expansion of these blocs – of the settlements in them and of the blocs themselves (both to include outlying settlements and to create new blocs, like the “Beit El bloc” that has recently been raised in pro-settlement talking points) – threatens to make the issue even harder, if not impossible, to resolve. And notably, the blocs – which are actually large land enclaves – include not only settlements but also large numbers of Palestinians in adjacent villages.

Israeli-Palestinian Mutual Recognition

“By now everyone has realized that there’s a new issue on the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations agenda that’s not going away: The demand that the Palestinians not only recognize Israel - something they have done repeatedly, starting in 1993 - but that they recognize Israel as "a Jewish state," or some similar wording. No such “recognition-plus” demand was made of Egypt or Jordan, nor was it mentioned in the Oslo agreement or subsequent Israeli-Palestinian documents. It made a brief appearance in the Annapolis talks of 2007, but only as a marginal issue. Only In 2009 did it truly come into play, courtesy of Benjamin Netanyahu...”

 

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APN resources:

Lara Friedman, Haaretz, March 31, 2014: What Israeli Palestinian mutual recognition really means

Lara Friedman, APN Blog, April 19, 2009: The Demand for "Recognition-Plus" -- Bibi's New Pretext for Not Pursuing Peace

 

Other recommended reading:

Yitzhak Lior, Haaretz+. March 30, 2014: Abbas, don’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state

Zvi Bar’el in Haaretz+, March 26, 2014: A Jewish nation-state is for Israelis with identity anxiety

Amos Schoken, Haaretz+ March 24, 2014: The visible rejectionism of Ari Shavit

Peter Beinart, Haaretz+ March 19, 2014: Before Abbas recognizes the Jewish state, Israel must define it

Hussein Ibish, Haaretz+, March 13, 2014: How many times must the Palestinians recognize Israel?

Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+ March 12, 2014: Israelis: Peace with Arab world more important than recognition as Jewish state

Donniel Hartman, Times of Israel, March 11, 2014: A Jewish state: It’s our problem, not theirs

Hussein Ibish, NOW, March 11, 2014: The real impact of Israel's "Jewish state" demand

Reuters, March 5, 2014: 'Jewish state' recognition adds new Israeli-Palestinian trip wire

Matt Duss, Think Progress, March 5, 2014: Is Palestinian Recognition Of Israel As A ‘Jewish State’ An Insurmountable Obstacle?

Yoav Hendel, YNet, Feb. 17, 2014: When will Israel recognize the Jewish state?

Efraim Halevy (former head of the Mossad), YNet, Feb, 26, 2014: Israel, beware 'Jewish statehood' trap

Haaretz January 22, 2014: Peres: Palestinian recognition of Jewish state 'unnecessary'

Brent Sasley, Haaretz+, January 15, 2014: Israel needs borders, not therapy

Jodi Rudoren, New York Times, January 2, 2014: Sticking Point in Peace Talks: Recognition of a Jewish State

Haviv Rettig Gur, Times of Israel, October 7, 2013: The nature of peacemaking according to Netanyahu

Times of Israel, October 6, 2013: Netanyahu blames Mideast conflict on refusal to recognize Jewish state

Tal Becker, WINEP brief, February 2011: The Claim for Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State: A Reassessment

Hussein Ibish, Foreign Policy, May 25, 2011: Should the Palestinians Recognize Israel as a Jewish State?

The Geneva Accord, October, 2003: “Affirming that this agreement marks 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”

The Book of Vayikra (Leviticus), which we recently began, focuses on ritual matters, primarily, the details of offerings, including burnt offerings, sin offerings (separate ones to atone for deliberate transgressions and inadvertent failings) and guilt offerings … and what is usually translated as the “peace” offering.

Now, the “peace offering,” of course, doesn’t have to do with a cessation of hostilities, but comes from the root shin-lamed-mem, which denotes both shalom — peace — and shlemut, a character of wholeness. Wholeness is especially relevant to us in these times, when a moment of hope for the other kind of peace presents on the horizon a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians.

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Yitzhak Rabin Peace Award Dinner form

Download the form and save it.
 After you have completed the form, please mail it to apnwest@peacenow.org

On Purim, this year let's take off the masks..

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On Purim, we play dress up, we wear masks, we pretend to be people we are not. Leaders of nations that need peace like we need oxygen for breathing don’t have the privilege to play with masks. But here we are, at the end of the nine-month period allotted for the peace process to bear fruit, and politicians are still playing games of chance with their peoples’ future.

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They Say, We Say: "Why doesn’t APN support calls to cut aid to Israel?"

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"

BDS & Criticism of Israel

They Say:

Why doesn’t APN support calls to cut aid to Israel? Years of experience show that unconditional aid only encourages Israeli governments to ignore and defy the U.S. on settlements and other policies. Making clear that U.S. aid is on the line is the only real leverage the U.S. has to convince an Israeli government to behave differently. [An argument coming from the Left, as opposed to the Right]

We Say:

We categorically oppose calls for the U.S. to cut, or threaten to cut, military aid to Israel. We have long argued for the U.S. government to “play hardball” in its Middle East peace efforts. However, we believe that playing hardball does not and must not mean taking steps that threaten Israel's security. To the contrary: it is vital that the U.S. continues to assure Israel – its officials and its population – that America is unequivocally committed to maintaining Israel's security, including through military aid. Israel lives in a tough neighborhood, and unwavering U.S. military aid to Israel is a critical component in maintaining its security. Another critical component, of course, is the achievement of durable peace agreements with the Palestinians and, ultimately, with the region as a whole. U.S. support for efforts to reach such agreements, and, indeed, leadership of such efforts, is vital. But make no mistake: Israelis’ trust in U.S. support for their security is essential to giving them the confidence necessary to take the risks inherent in any future peace agreement. Cutting, or threatening to cut, U.S. military aid would threaten their trust in the U.S. and undermine their confidence that their security can and will not be compromised by future peace agreements.

The claim that the U.S. has no leverage with Israel, other than threatening or cutting military aid, is inaccurate. The U.S. has other forms of leverage which it can and should bring to bear in its Middle East peace efforts, and, specifically, to press Israel on issues like settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. These include employing with much greater force U.S. diplomatic leverage, both in the bilateral relationship or in multilateral forums. They include leveraging the many special programs and benefits that the U.S. provides to Israel, be they linked to loan guarantees or other forms of non-military aid (as the U.S. government has done in the past), or cooperation agreements. They include looking for ways to focus pressure even more squarely on settlement construction, along the lines of what some European countries are already doing – like pursuing special labeling requirements for products produced in settlements, or by launching a review of the activities of U.S. groups that support settlements. They could even include changing the U.S. approach at the UN to make clear that the U.S. will no longer veto resolutions on Israel, whether in the U.N. Security Council or the General Assembly, that are consistent with U.S. policy.

Support Israel - Boycott the Occupation

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".... The question of boycotting settlements has sparked a spectacular public display of Jewish angst. Apparently, many who view themselves as the judges and juries of what is 'kosher' progressive Jewish activism have ruled that such a boycott is simply unacceptable. This, despite the fact that most American Jews recognize that settlements are a problem in terms of Israeli security, Israel's ability to have peace, and in terms of Israel's reputation.  Wringing one's hands about settlements and the fate of the two-state solution does not substitute for actually doing something to try to stop Israel careening down this self-destructive path. Continued settlement expansion represents a clear existential threat to Israel as a democracy and as a Jewish state. Supporting Israel means taking concrete action to prevent Israel from continuing down a path that leads either to a bi-national state, which, by definition, will no longer have a Jewish character, or to an apartheid-like reality, in which Israeli democracy will be lost and Israel will become an international pariah..."

They Say, We Say: BDS & Criticism of Israel

APN Policy

7/7/16: APN’s Proud Record on BDS
5/19/16: APN policy on BDS-Related Legislation (Federal & State)
2/8/16: APN Action Alert: Tell Congress: Pro-Settlements is NOT Pro-Israel
1/19/16: Press Release: APN Welcomes EU Statement Differentiating between Israel and West Bank Settlements
11/11/15: Press Release: APN Welcomes EU Guidelines for Labeling Settlement Products
2/12/14: APN: on efforts to combat BDS by undermining academic freedoms and free speech
March 2013:  APN Weighs in on BDS, Criticism of Israel (expanding position to explicitly support boycott/activism targeting settlements & occupation)
7/19/11: APN Joins Peace Now's Call for Boycotting Settlements (press release)
4/23/10: APN on Criticism of Israel and BDS - New Policy Language

Boycotting Occupation vs. Boycotting Israel

2/20/17: APN's Lara Friedman at Huffington Post: Israeli Occupation Is Poisoning America’s Democracy

2/8/17: Abusing "Anti-Semitism" to Quash Criticism of Israel - the Campaign in Congress & U.S. States (including table tracking all legislation) [LATEST VERSION IS HERE]

12/16/16: APN's Lara Friedman: The Stealth Campaign to Use U.S. Law to Support Settlements: Taking the Battle to the States - Updated/Expanded Table (Go directly to table - state legislation, passed & pending, plus blacklists) [LATEST VERSION IS HERE]

10/5/16: APN's Lara Friedman: The Campaign to Legislate Support for Settlements: The Battle in Congress - ** including regularly updated table of legislation, passed & pending** [LATEST VERSION IS HERE]

9/12/16: APN Board members Steven Kaplan & Sanford Weiner: Governor Brown should veto flawed BDS law

7/5/16: Resources on the Question of Constitutionality & anti-BDS/pro-settlements laws

6/7/16: APN's Lara Friedman: APN Explainer: The Pitfalls of the New York Executive Order on BDS

2/16/16: APN's Lara Friedman: Setting the Record Straight (again) on U.S. Labeling Policy [UPDATED*]

2/4/16: APN's Lara Friedman on The Hill - Cotton's "Made in Israel" bill: latest salvo in campaign to change US settlements policy

2/1/16: APN's Lara Friedman in LobeLog: Obama Admin Is Right to Reject “Settlements=Israel” Conflation

1/28/15: APN's Lara Friedman: The Campaign to Legislate Support for Settlements: Taking the Battle to the States - **including regularly updated table of legislation, passed & pending**

1/27/15: APN's Lara Friedman: Settlement Product Labeling Policies, U.S. vs. EU

12/1/15: APN's Lara Friedman in LobeLog: The Stealth Campaign in Congress to Support Israeli Settlements

11/5/15: APN's Lara Friedman in Heinrich Boll Foundation (Blog): Changing the Conversation on Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions

4/27/15: APN's Lara Friedman in The Hill: Dear Congress: ‘Pro-Israel’ is not ‘pro-settlements’

4/20/15: APN's Lara Friedman in Haaretz: A defeat for Israel, a victory for settlers and BDS

3/2/14 Lara Friedman debate with Daniel Gordis in the New York Times: Is a Settlement Boycott Best for Israel?

2/4/14: Lara Friedman op-ed - Sodastream, ScarJo, and the Myth of Benevolent Occupation

1/28/14: Debra DeLee op-ed - Love Israel. Oppose BDS. Reject SodaStream.

2/12/14: Lara Friedman on Al Jazeera America's "The Stream" - episode on BDS (clips available here)

7/11/12: Debra DeLee blogpost: Upon Reflection (on APN's 7/4 statement - covered in Haaretz, here)

7/4/12: Press Release: APN to Presbyterian Church (USA): Don't support Israel-related divestment

3/29/12: Lara Friedman blogpost - Call to boycott settlements picks up steam!

3/25/12: Lara Friedman op-ed - Stop the excuses, boycott the settlements

3/1/12: Jo-Ann Mort op-ed - The Dishonesty of Park Slope Coop's BDS Debate

Israel and the Israel’s "Anti-Boycott Law"

7/28/11: Peace Now - Peace Now’s FB Page “So Sue Me – I Boycott Products of the Settlements” Ranked 5th most important Israeli Protest Page 7/20/11: Articles on APN's position boycotting settlements (JTA, Forward, JPost)
7/19/11: Hagit Ofran oped - The Forgotten Incentive of Settlement Businesses
7/14/11: Lara Friedman op-ed - Israel's New Boycott Law and U.S. Law: Like Apples and Orangutans
7/13/11: Lara Friedman blogpost - Boycotting Settlements ("Monday will go down in history as the day that the Israeli Knesset voted to suspend democracy in Israel." 

They Say, We Say: "What is the Left's obsession with bashing Israel?"

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:

The Left always wants to criticize Israel - over settlements, over statements, over everything. Why is there this obsession with bashing Israel?

We Say:

Americans for Peace Now is an American organization that has a clearly defined mission: working to advance American and Israeli policies that will lead to comprehensive, durable peace and security for Israel, consistent with U.S. national security interests. APN is also the sister organization of Shalom Achshav, Israel's peace movement. APN and Peace Now share the overarching objective of ensuring Israel's future, including its security and its viability as a tolerant, egalitarian democracy and as a Jewish state. When the Israeli government undertakes actions or policies that run counter to this goal, we and our colleagues in Israel say so. We strongly feel that it is imperative to do so publicly. Public discourse provides transparency and accountability.

We don't "bash" Israel. Our love for Israel is why we care so much about it and why we exist as an organization. What we do criticize - and we do it carefully and responsibly - are Israeli government policies that we know are destructive to Israel's own interests. We criticize violent and illegal conduct of Israeli settlers and their sympathizers, which we recognize as harmful to Israel. And we reject efforts to quash free speech and the right to protest, and to undermine the rule of law or the integrity and independence of Israel's courts, and all other efforts to threaten Israel's character as a democracy.

They Say, We Say: "Criticism of Israel, even by people who claim to support Israel, only feeds the global campaign to delegitimize Israel."

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:

Criticism of Israel, even by people who claim to support Israel, only feeds the global campaign to delegitimize Israel. Public criticism of Israel has to stop.

We Say:

A truly pro-Israel position is one that recognizes that criticism of Israeli policies and actions must be judged on its content. It is both true and deeply troubling that anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment is sometimes cloaked in criticism of Israeli government policies and actions. At the same time, it is both true and deeply troubling that some Israeli policies and actions legitimately merit criticism.

The notion that being pro-Israel leaves no room for any criticism of Israel, on the grounds that such criticism "delegitimizes" Israel, should trouble anyone who cares about Israel's future and Israel's democratic character.

It is foolish, as well as reckless and irresponsible, for anyone to deny Israel's right to exist, call for Israel's destruction, or deny Jewish ties to the land of Israel. At the same time, criticizing and challenging Israeli policies and actions - like its continued settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, its harsh treatment of non-violent protestors in Israel and the West Bank, its continued closure of Gaza, or the ongoing attacks inside Israel on democracy and democratic institutions - is entirely legitimate and, indeed, appropriate.

A vibrant debate over these issues, both in Israel and the U.S., is sorely needed. Efforts to quash all criticism/protest - whether in Israel or outside Israel - by labeling it "delegitimization" are inconsistent with the core democratic values of both Israel and the U.S. - like freedom of speech, freedom to organize, and freedom to peacefully protest.

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