APN Legislative Round-Up: January 13, 2017

1. Bills & Resolutions Related to the Recent UNSC settlements Resolution/Obama Abstention
2. Hill Initiatives Related to Moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
3. Bills & Resolutions Related to Cutting Off UN Funding
4. Bills & Resolutions Related Iran
5. Bills & Resolutions Related to Other Things
6. Confirmation Hearings – Key Excerpts
7. On the Record

Many Americans doubtless believe that the policies of the next president regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have nothing to do with them. They’re mistaken. Rash action by Trump in this arena is preordained to trigger a dangerous political dynamic, the results of which will have nothing to do with Israel and the Palestinians. Those results will, however, have far-reaching and potentially devastating implications for the security, health, and economic well-being of all Americans.” Read more: Think Trump’s Policies On Israel-Palestine Have Nothing To Do With You? Think Again

 

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APN Legislative Round-Up: January 6, 2017

1. Bills & Resolutions Related to the Recent UNSC settlements Resolution/Obama Abstention
2. Bills & Resolutions Related to Moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
3. Bills & Resolutions Related to Cutting Off UN Funding
4. Bills & Resolutions Related Iran – AUMF & Sanctions
5. Congress Panders to AIPAC et al on Settlements UNSCR
6. Congress on David Friedman Nomination
7. On the Record on Other Things

Welcome to the 115th Congress! Based on this first week, it seems safe to say: fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a very very very bumpy ride (which is probably what Hill watchers/analysts/advocates are right to expect on pretty much every issue, but for those of us working on Middle East/Israel-Palestine, expectations have already turned into a raft of new legislation).

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Ambassador-nominee David Friedman, In His Own Words

Much has been written about the views of David Friedman, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee as the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel. We have compiled this collection of quotes from his articles and speeches, so people can better understand and judge Mr. Friedman’s views, based entirely on his own words (downloadable pdf of this document is available here).

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In 2014, opponents of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel began promoting legislation in various U.S. states denouncing the BDS movement. In 2015, these efforts shifted/expanded to mirror efforts in the U.S. Congress to hijack concerns about BDS against Israel in order to pass legislation mandating that Israeli settlements be treated, in effect, as part of sovereign Israel.

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APN Legislative Round-Up: December 8-16, 2016

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APN Legislative Round-Up: December 7, 2016 [Corrected]

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On May 29, 2015, Abraham Foxman, then the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, authored an op-ed published by the JTA, entitled, "Comprehensive approach to fighting BDS is needed."  With respect to the question of legislation seeking to quash BDS and other activism critical of Israel - both at the state and federal levels - Foxman notes (among other things):

Legislation that bars BDS activity by private groups, whether corporations or universities, strikes at the heart of First Amendment-protected free speech, will be challenged in the courts and is likely to be struck down. A decision by a private body to boycott Israel, as despicable as it may be, is protected by our Constitution. Perhaps in Europe, where hate speech laws exist and are acceptable within their own legal frameworks, such bills could be sustained. But not here in America.

Full text of that op-ed is included below, or can be viewed on the JTA website.

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APN Legislative Round-Up: November 18, 2016 (Lame Duck)

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(published 10/21/16 at Haaretz - here)

Last Friday, the UN Security Council held a meeting organized under the title “Illegal Israeli Settlements: A Threat to Peace and the Two-State Solution.” Americans for Peace Now proudly took part in that event, offering testimony grounded in love for Israel and expressing an unwavering commitment to Israel’s security and its survival as a democracy and a state rooted in the Jewish values expressed in its Declaration of Independence. Of course, that testimony also dealt with the settlements, explaining why they are detrimental to the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace and therefore to Israel’s national security interests.

Many people, both inside and outside Israel, were happy to see a pro-Israel, pro-two-state organization delivering a nuanced, fact-based presentation at this event. Others were less enthused, most notably Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, who accused APN of participating in “diplomatic terror” against Israel. Likewise, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to social media to call APN’s arguments “deluded.” And now, in this newspaper, the former head of the Union of Reform Judaism, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, criticized APN’s testimony as a “mistake” – not for the facts it conveyed or its tone, but for the timing and location of its delivery.

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Illiberal Support for Israel: Antithetical to Jewish Values & Israel’s Interests

In the beginning, “pro-Israel” meant something clear and uncomplicated: supporting Israel’s miraculous establishment as the homeland of the Jewish people, on the heels of the horrors of the Holocaust, and defending Israel’s very right to exist and thrive, in the face of violent rejection of that young country by its neighbors.

After the 1967 War, the definition of “pro-Israel” began evolving. It gradually came to mean – for much of the American Jewish establishment – defending Israel from all criticism and pressure, even if this meant in effect supporting policies designed to cement Israeli control over the lands Israel conquered in 1967, and even if it meant turning a blind eye, especially in recent years, to an escalation in illiberal policies targeting Israeli civil society itself. And it came to mean demanding that American political leaders and elected officials adopt this same approach to “pro-Israel,” or risk finding themselves labeled “anti-Israel” or “anti-Semitic.”

A direct line exists between this “pro-Israel” illiberal orthodoxy and the positioning of too many in the Jewish establishment today.

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