Press Release: APN Mourns the Passing of Elaine Hoffman

Elaine_Hoffman_Senator_George_Mitchell320x265Americans for Peace Now (APN) mourns the passing of Elaine Hoffman, a longtime senior member of its Board of Directors, a staunch advocate for peace for Israel, a devoted leader of Los Angeles' Jewish community, and a longtime political activist. (Picture: Elaine with Senator George Mitchell at the APN Yitzhak Rabin Peace Award Event).

APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee said: "The APN family lost an important member. We all admired Elaine and were inspired by her commitment to public life, to our community and to a peaceful, progressive Israel.

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Note from Jerusalem Re: 2016 APN Israel Study Tour

Greetings from Jerusalem! I’m here to prepare APN’s Israel Study Tour, which will be November 12-17, 2016. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve met with Israelis and Palestinians, and discussed plans for the tour with my friends at Israel’s Peace Now movement. 

I grew up in Jerusalem, spent most of my life in Israel, and usually travel here twice a year. Still, I’m always amazed at how much I learn each time I come here, particularly when I accompany an APN Study Tour group. Israel is incredibly dynamic. It’s full of contradictions. It’s ever-changing. It’s both exhausting and comforting. It’s troubling and inspiring. It's both emotionally and intellectually provoking. At APN, we try to pack this complexity into five overloaded days of tours and meetings with Israelis and Palestinians throughout Israel and the West Bank.

Our tours typically end with a meeting with Peace Now’s young activists. I had a chance to meet with seven student activists at Peace Now’s Tel Aviv office. They came in for a briefing and left with “activist kits” – t-shirts, flags, stickers and more -- to use on campus (I snapped a photo of a couple of them on their way out). Some will march today, Thursday, in Jerusalem to show solidarity with participants at Jerusalem’s Pride and Tolerance Parade, to protest the homophobic violence that led last year to the murder of 16-year-old Shira Banki, a Jerusalemite high-schooler, who marched in solidarity with her gay friends and was stabbed to death by an ultra-Orthodox Jewish zealot.

I spent several hours with Peace Now’s young activists. There’s nothing better if you’re looking for a dose of inspiration and hope for Israel’s future. 

I can’t wait for our November 12th-17th tour. I hope you’ll join us. We know that, as usual, it will be an engaging, fascinating tour. And as you'll see below, our home base, the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem, offers the chance to unwind in the heart of this unique city.

Please feel free to write to me or to my colleague David Pine with any questions you may have about the tour. Below are links for more information and how to reserve your spot. We’d love to see you in Jerusalem in November.

Ori Nir
APN Director of Communications and Public Engagements


Go HERE for more about the Study Tour, and HERE for a working schedule of this year's trip.

To secure your place on this unique, small-group tour experience, print out and complete this FORM and return to APN by mail or email with the deposit (payable by check or credit card). Deposit deadline is August 31, 2016, after which we will be able to accept participants if space allows.



Americans for Peace Now (APN) joins its sister organization, Israel's Peace Now movement, in strongly condemning the recent deadly terrorist attacks against Israelis in the West Bank and in pointing out that ultimately, the only way to end such violence is ending the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip by achieving a two-state solution.

This imperative was further underscored in today's report by the international Middle East Quartet, the body that brings together the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace.

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Tel Aviv Mayor Huldai on Terrorism and Occupation

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai was interviewed today by IDF Radio, following yesterday’s shooting attack in Tel Aviv. Huldai’s words, albeit not the most eloquent, were unusual in the environment of inflammatory rhetoric that typically characterizes Israeli politicians’ reactions to terrorism. Here are selected quotes, translated into English:

“This is the most central question that we face, the question that the state of Israel and the Israeli society has been facing throughout the years: Is this a matter of fate, are we destined (to live with terrorism)? Are there things that we can do to temper and minimize the motivations of enmity between the two peoples? The leader of Egypt, where there was immense enmity, understood, that it was imperative to arrive at a certain political settlement to reduce these motivations and to channel the energies for the benefit of other issues.”

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APN Statement: Terrorist Attack in Tel Aviv

Four people were shot dead and six badly injured when two young gunmen, Palestinian terrorists, opened fire at a Tel Aviv coffee shop. One of the suspects was shot dead and the other apprehended. 

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Americans for Peace Now (APN) today sounded the alarm over the imminent appointment of Israeli serial provocateur and extremist firebrand Avigdor Lieberman as Israel’s new Minister of Defense. APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee commented: 

“Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is today once again showing the world that he puts politics and personal political survival above the national security of Israel and its people.

“Avigdor Lieberman has a long and ugly track record of irresponsible, reckless, and deliberately inflammatory rhetoric and actions. As foreign minister in Netanyahu’s previous government, he caused severe damage to Israel’s foreign interests, creating crises in Israel’s relations with regional and global allies.

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Yair_Golan.President_Reuven_Rivlin,_visited_The_Kirya._April_2,_2015.III_(cropped)On May 4th, the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, Israel’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Yair Golan spoke at Israel’s Massuah Institute for Holocaust Studies. He called for national introspection on Holocaust Memorial Day and warned that processes witnessed in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s are budding in Israel today.

Golan’s bold speech created a storm. Right-wing politicians brutally attacked him, as did some pundits.

Israelis heard and read portions of Maj. Gen. Golan’s speech. English speakers saw short quotes, taken out of the broader context.

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Happy Birthday, Israel. May it be Happier Next Year

Ori-speakers-bureau-picBy Ori Nir

Israel has always suffered a water shortage. Seven years ago, the shortage turned into a crisis. The Sea of the Galilee receded to an unprecedented low, as did the mountain aquifers. Under the slogan “Israel is drying up,” the government ran terrifying television ads, featuring Israeli celebrities whose photoshopped skin was cracking like arid earth and peeling off. My mother used to cover her eyes when these ads ran. “I can’t see it,” she would say. Concerned citizens took shorter showers and stopped using garden hoses to water their plants or wash their cars. Consumption dropped but not enough. The country’s dwindling reserves couldn’t meet demand.

Today, the state of Israel has solved its water problems. Four large water desalination and purification plants were built (two more are under construction), including one that until recently was the largest in the world. Today, more than half of Israel’s drinking water is desalinated Mediterranean water. There is a surplus of water, even as consumption grows.

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Avi Buskila Named New Director of Israel's Peace Now

Avi_Buskila-smIsrael’s Peace Now movement today announced that Avi Buskila, a seasoned social activist and an advertising and public affairs professional, has been hired as Peace Now’s new Director General. He is replacing Yariv Oppenheimer, who has been the leader of Peace Now and the most recognizable public face of Israel’s peace camp in the past 14 years.

Following is Peace Now’s statement:

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For many of my American friends and former colleagues in the media, I am the Israeli they know and therefore a go-to person on Israeli affairs. They contact me with questions on Israeli politics, Jerusalem restaurants, Hebrew slang and Israeli popular culture.

Recently, their curiosity is turning into bewilderment and astonishment. Their lovingly inquisitive approach toward Israel is turning into exasperation. Their focus now is on trying to decipher Israel’s shifting character, on its changing face, on the fading vision of the Israel they grew up loving and hoped to see thriving — a state that embodies progressive, democratic, pluralistic, tolerant values.
“What the hell is going on there,” I’m often asked, “have they totally lost it?”

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