APN's Ori Nir in Haaretz: When will the U.S. Jewish community talk peace?

How will the U.S. Jewish establishment, such as AIPAC, confront the prospect of peace for Israel when it is mired in an echo chamber of self-righteous axioms and simplistic thinking?

At the entrance to the enormous hall at the Washington Convention Center, where some 14,000 chairs were lined up for AIPAC’s conference participants, stood a television reporter holding a microphone, seeking interviewees.

"How’s it going?" I asked. “Not so good,” he replied. “I was sent to do a story on what AIPAC members have to say about prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace and nobody is willing to talk about it. All they want to talk about is Iran.”

He was right. Hard-line statements on Iran elicited long standing ovations, time after time, while hopeful comments on the possibility of peace were all but ignored. It got so bad that two prominent Israelis – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and legendary Israeli high-tech entrepreneur Yossi Vardi – had to urge the armada of pro-Israel lobbyists to applaud comments they made about peace. And when Howard Kohr, AIPAC’s executive director of eighteen years, addressed the crowd with a speech that typically sets the policy agenda for the conference, all he spoke about was Iran.

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President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu Meet in the White House

Netanyahu-Obama-March-2012-largeProspects for the success of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations were downplayed by Prime Minister Netanyahu at his photo-op with President Obama following their meeting today. Here is what Netanyahu had to say about efforts to achieve peace with the Palestinians:

  • “Twenty years of peace process were marked by many Israeli steps for peace but we got suicide bombers and rockets in return.”
  • “It’s about time the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state – we have only been there for 4,000 years.”
  • “The people of Israel expect me to stand strong against pressure and for the security of Israel.”
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Press Release: Settlement Surge Looms Large over Netanyahu-Obama Meeting

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu landed in Washington today, the Israeli government’s Central Bureau of Statistics issued a report showing a whopping 123% surge in West Bank settlement construction in 2013, more than double the number of new settlement homes built in 2012.

The data was analyzed and highlighted today by Israel’s Peace Now (Shalom Achshav) movement. It confirms past interim reports by Peace Now’s Settlement Watch Project. Americans for Peace Now (APN), Shalom Achshav’s US sister-organization, joins Peace Now in condemning Netanyahu’s government for this reckless policy of settlement construction.

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Press Release: APN Applauds House Letter Supporting Diplomacy with Iran

Washington, DC – Americans for Peace Now (APN) thanks the 104 members of the House of Representatives, Republicans and Democrats, who today sent a letter to President Obama supporting the current diplomatic efforts to resolve concerns over Iran's nuclear program.

APN strongly supported the letter and urged House members to sign it.

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31 Years since Grunzweig Assassination, Incitement Continues

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Thirty-one years ago, on February 10th 1983, Peace Now activist Emil Grunzweig was murdered by an extreme right Jewish terrorist at a Peace Now demonstration in Jerusalem.

Not far from the Prime Minister’s Office, the terrorist, Yona Avrushmi,  lobbed a hand grenade at the front row of the Peace Now marchers. It killed Emil and injured several of his friends.

It was the first in a series of terrorist attacks by extremist right-wing Israelis against the Israeli peace camp. This campaign to crush peace efforts culminated with the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin twelve years later.

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Press Release: SOTU Underscores Obama's Commitment to Middle East Peace, Security

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In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama addressed in detail the issues that are at the heart of APN's mission and activities.

APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee offered the following comments on the address:

"In his State of the Union -- his annual address to Congress and the American people highlighting the most important issues and priorities on the nation's agenda -- the President rightly singled out for special mention his Administration's efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 'As we speak,' he said, 'American diplomacy is supporting Israelis and Palestinians as they engage in difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there; to achieve dignity and an independent state for Palestinians, and lasting peace and security for the State of Israel.'

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Shulamit Aloni RIP

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Americans for Peace Now (APN) mourns the death of Shulamit Aloni, one of the founders of Israel’s peace movement and civil rights movement, a former cabinet minister and Knesset member and one of the pivotal leaders of Israel’s progressive camp.

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Press Release: APN to Netanyahu, Abbas: Engage Seriously with Kerry's Plan

Washington, DC - Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) welcomes news that Secretary of State John Kerry will in the coming days present Israeli and Palestinian leaders with an outline for a peace deal. APN urges Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to seriously engage with Kerry's initiative, in order to achieve a breakthrough for peace.

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Statement: APN Condemns New Iran Sanctions Bill in Senate

APN today issued the following statement on the introduction of new Iran sanctions legislation in the Senate on Thursday:

"We condemn in the strongest terms the introduction of new Iran sanctions legislation in the Senate (S. 1881) by Senators Menendez (D-NJ), Kirk (R-IL) and a 25 of their colleagues.  We urge Senate leaders to refuse to move this ill-timed and highly problematic legislation forward.  We likewise call on Senators from both parties to refuse to cosponsor it, and Senators who have already done so to recognize their error and retract their sponsorship.   

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APN Opposes ASA's Boycott of Israeli Universities

Americans for Peace Now opposes boycotts of Israel and of Israeli institutions, such as the American Studies Association's decision to boycott Israeli universities.

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 objectionable Israeli government policies. 

The ASA's boycott of Israeli universities underscores the merits of our position. Israeli universities are the ultimate Israeli environment in which dissent and critical thinking flourishes. Boycotting them only damages efforts to encourage internal Israeli opposition to objectionable Israeli government policies. 

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