Support Israel - Boycott the Occupation

vertical-sodastream360x540

".... 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.

They Say, We Say: "What about boycotts and divestment efforts targeting the occupation?"

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:

What about boycotts and divestment efforts targeting the occupation? Isn't this just another pretext to delegitimize and attack Israel?

We Say:

There is a growing movement seeking to focus boycott and divestment efforts on settlements and the occupation, supported by activists who are neither anti-Israel nor anti-Semitic. This effort is gaining traction as a direct consequence of Israeli policies that are deepening the occupation to the point of potential irreversibility in the near term, in tandem with the apparent inability or unwillingness of governments around the world to in any meaningful way challenge these policies.

We believe that activists who seek to focus boycott and divestment efforts squarely on the occupation and settlements deserve credit. Indeed, APN long ago suggested that activists focus on opportunities for people to "invest for peace" - supporting companies and projects whose work is consistent with peace, coexistence, and the two-state solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict - and on raising awareness about companies based in or operating in settlements, to permit people to make informed choices about their investment options. We recognize, too, that some companies play a role in enabling the occupation and supporting settlements. Some do so directly, for example by investing in settlements; others do so indirectly and perhaps unknowingly - for example through the sale of equipment used both in Israel and in settlements.

We believe it is legitimate for activists to press companies to adopt practices that deny support to settlements and the occupation, including through targeted boycotts and divestment. Narrowly targeting such activism presents serious challenges: absent a peace agreement, Israel has undeniable security needs related to the occupied territories, for example, securing its border with Jordan and preventing terrorism emanating from the West Bank into Israel. In many cases, like these, the line between contributing to the occupation and permitting Israel to address legitimate security concerns is not clear. Nonetheless, if careful enough distinctions are drawn, such activism can advance the goals of ending the occupation and promoting peace and a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In short, the legitimacy and effectiveness of settlement- and occupation-focused activism will be a function of how its proponents address these challenges. To the extent that such efforts can be portrayed by critics as ignoring or dismissing Israel's legitimate security needs, or as blurring the line between Israel and the occupied territories, they have the potential to be as problematic and counterproductive as efforts directly targeting Israel. Moreover, they risk playing into the hands of settlers and their supporters who gladly blur this same line and who are eager to denounce all anti-settlement and anti-occupation activism as anti-Israel and anti-Semitic.

They Say, We Say: "Why does APN differentiate between boycotts and similar efforts targeting Israel and the same kind of efforts targeting settlements and/or the occupation?"

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 does APN differentiate between boycotts and similar efforts targeting Israel and the same kind of efforts targeting settlements and/or the occupation? They're all part of the same effort to delegitimize and attack Israel and undermine its very existence.

We Say:

The window is closing on the two-state solution. All of us who believe peace is possible and believe it is only possible through an end to the occupation and the achievement of a credible, viable two-state solution, must vote with our feet by insisting, adamantly, on the line that separates Israel and the occupied territories. Activism, even if well-intentioned, that blurs this line is misguided and counterproductive. Clearly and unequivocally focusing activism on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 sends a powerful and unmistakable message to Israelis living on both sides of the Green Line and helps Israelis understand how great a liability the settlements are for their country and their future.

They Say, We Say: "Why doesn't APN support boycotts and divestment efforts targeting 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:

Why doesn't APN support boycotts and divestment efforts targeting Israel? Until Israelis understand that there is a real cost to their government's anti-peace, pro-settlement policies, nothing will change.

We Say:

We weigh all activism in light of our primary mission and concern: preserving Israel's future and its security and viability as a democracy and a Jewish state. From this mission, we, as a Jewish, Zionist organization, derive our conviction that settlement expansion must stop, the settlement enterprise must be rolled back, and the occupation must end - for the sake of Israel's own security and its own future. Consistent with this mission, we have always opposed boycott, divestment, and sanctions efforts targeting Israel itself. We believe such campaigns are misguided and counterproductive. They target the average, innocent Israeli citizen -- who may well support an end to the occupation and a two-state solution -- rather than the Israeli government policies that are ostensibly the target of the campaigns. They have caused many Israelis and supporters of Israel -- people whose voices are vitally needed to oppose the policies that such campaigns target -- to feel compelled to defend Israel, regardless of the policies in question.

We also categorically oppose the efforts of organizations and activists whose goal, explicit or implicit, is to undermine Israel's existence. Historically, much of the pressure for BDS campaigns originated with anti-Israel sources not interested in Israeli security concerns or Palestinian behavior, giving rise to concerns about global anti-Semitism and the perception that the campaigns are not truly (or only) about Israeli policies but rather reflect a deep-seated hatred for and rejection of Israel.

Consistent with our mission and our convictions, APN has long argued that activism should be targeted across the Green Line separating Israel and the occupied territories. We believe that for activism to be both effective and morally defensible, activists must make clear, emphatically and unambiguously, that their target is the occupation and its manifestations - like settlements and acts of collective punishment - and not Israel proper, innocent Israeli civilians, or legitimate Israeli security practices. Doing so underscores the fact that such activism is not anti-Israel, but rather is opposed to specific policies and practices related to Israeli behavior in the occupied territories.

They Say, We Say: "A boycott of settlements is not only politically misguided but also pointless."

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:

A boycott of settlements is not only politically misguided but it is also pointless, practically speaking, since it won't have any real economic impact on settlements.

We Say:

The Israeli right's reaction to settlement boycott efforts demonstrates that settlement supporters, at least, fear boycotts can have a real impact. Indeed, the pro-settler lobby and its Knesset partisans appear terrified of settlement boycotts - so much so that they pushed through a flagrantly undemocratic law against them.

The settlers and their supporters know that boycotting settlements is a big deal. They've spent decades trying to erase the Green Line. They want you to enjoy your wine and your homemade orange soda courtesy of that nifty gizmo that lets you carbonate water in your own kitchen. Pay no attention to the fact that in doing so, you're supporting an ideologically rooted political enterprise with an explicit goal to block a two-state solution. Drink up, and for the love of Greater Israel, don't worry about where it came from.

They Say, We Say: Making a big deal about settlements unnecessarily foments discord between America and 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"

Are settlements really a problem?

They Say:

Making a big deal about settlements unnecessarily foments discord between America and Israel.

We Say:

The U.S. has long opposed settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, recognizing settlements as a political and security liability for Israel and an impediment to achieving a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The policy dates back to the birth of the settlement movement and has remained consistent across administrations led by both political parties. This is entirely the correct position for the U.S. and it is unfortunate that successive U.S. administrations have failed to translate this longstanding official opposition to settlements into a coherent policy that has convinced Israel to stop settlement expansion.

For decades U.S. presidents have pressed Israel to stop building settlements. The administration of George W. Bush put settlements under the spotlight with the Mitchell Report and the Roadmap, both of which called for a complete settlement freeze (the latter of which also called for the removal of illegal outposts). The Obama Administration early on sought a settlement freeze. Both of these administrations focused on settlements because settlements are a central obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace. It should be emphasized that a settlement freeze is not and has never been an end unto itself: the goal of any peace policy is to achieve a conflict-ending agreement that renders the settlement issue moot. That said, while a settlement freeze need not be a precondition for peace negotiations, continued settlement growth cannot be dismissed or ignored.

For the sake of Israeli-Palestinian peace, the U.S. - regardless of who is in the White House - must convince Israel's leaders that American opposition to settlements can no longer be dismissed. Continued settlement expansion undermines Palestinian moderates, feeds extremism, exacerbates tensions on the ground, and diminishes the chances of achieving a negotiated agreement that could end the conflict. Likewise, Israel's failure to rein in settler renegades threatens the viability of peace efforts.

Subscribe and Get Connected!

Mel and Lior lookout360x540

Stay informed and up-to-date about the work of APN and Peace Now. News, op-eds, action alerts and more sent straight to you.

Don't miss out!
Subscribe to APN Weekly Updates   Enter your email below
Get connected to our Action Network; receive updates on important issues sent directly to your email address; and receive information about special events going on in your area!
Subscribe to our free, daily news roundup, News Nosh
Like us and Follow us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Support Our Work

girl-and-jump-rope360x540

There are always new challenges along the path to peace. Volatility in the Middle East, new policy makers and political pressure from all sides, and a continually evolving landscape in and around Israel create seemingly endless obstacles to peace. At Americans for Peace Now we believe peace is possible. But we know it takes work. Working together, we can educate, advocate, and serve as a strong voice that will lead toward peace, security, and stability for Israel.

Whatever you decide is appropriate and meaningful to you, Americans for Peace Now is grateful for your support, and thanks you for your generous commitment to achieve meaningful peace in Israel. 

Here are three ways you can help Peace Now and APN work towards a two-state solution that will preserve Israel's Jewish and democratic character.

Donate by credit card

Donate Stock

Request Free Estate Planning Guides

Planned Giving or Request a Free Estate Planning Guide

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 89 10