Today, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress. His goal? To scuttle the ongoing diplomacy that seeks to achieve a diplomatic agreement and verifiably curb Iran's nuclear program. After his speech, AIPAC conference-goers are flooding the Hill, meeting with Members of Congress and staff, with the goal of amplifying Netanyahu’s arguments.
In recent weeks, attention has focused on the outrage surrounding Netanyahu’s March 3rd speech to Congress, and House Speaker Boehner's invitation to Netanyahu. After Netanyahu's speech, focus must revert to the real issues: Iran negotiations, deal or no deal, war or peace. Prime Minister Netanyahu has made clear that any viable, reasonable deal – a deal that both Iran could accept and one that meets the red lines of the P5+1 negotiators – would never reach his standard. With the deadline for a framework agreement with Iran approaching (March 23rd) and with AIPAC getting into gear, pressure is mounting on members of Congress to proceed with new legislation – sanctions and other initiatives – that could kill a deal before it is reached or render any deal dead on arrival.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ohio Republican John Boehner, has issued an invitation for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress on March 3. According to his own account, Boehner did so in coordination with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu has drawn criticism, bafflement, and outrage from across the political spectrum – in the U.S., in Israel and around the world. This invitation was made without coordinating with the White House, in violation of protocol – but it violated much more than that.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ohio Republican John Boehner, has issued an invitation for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress on March 3.
Speaker Boehner issued this invitation without coordinating with the White House, in violation of protocol – but he violated much more than that.
The fight to keep Iran-focused diplomacy alive isn’t over. Last year, with your help, efforts by some Senators – backed by groups like AIPAC – to pass new, diplomacy-killing Iran sanctions in the Senate (S. 1881) were stopped in their tracks. Now, the same group is at it again, with new Iran sanctions legislation expected to be introduced in the Senate next week.
National Security Advisor Susan Rice has predicted that new Iran sanctions would “blow up” negotiations. President Obama has promised to veto the legislation if it makes it to his desk. But this isn’t stopping Senate Iran hawks and their supporters. They appear more determined than ever to move ahead with new sanctions and are working to muster a veto-proof majority.
As you know, last week the parties to the ongoing negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program agreed to extend talks. This extension underscores the important progress that has been made in talks so far, as well as the shared understanding of the very serious risks failure will entail, for everyone. All those who are genuinely concerned with the challenge posed by Iran’s nuclear program should continue to stand with the Obama Administration and its P5+1 allies in supporting this extension in negotiations.
Tell your Senators and Representatives in Congress: “I support continued diplomacy with Iran -- and I want you to do the same.” Call 855-686-6927*.
It is time for the U.S. to act like a real friend to Israel, rather than an enabler of Israel's own worst
Today, an increasing number of governments around the world – including the EU and member states that are strong supporters of Israel – are finally adopting policies of refusing to support settlements, occupation, and the de facto annexation of territory occupied in 1967 by Israel. The U.S. should do the same.
The current devastating round of Gaza-Israel fighting shows no signs of ending, with both Israel and Hamas apparently viewing the conflict in increasingly zero-sum terms. While there have been fitful attempts at short-term humanitarian “pauses” in the fighting, it is clear that now, more than ever, Israelis and Palestinians alike urgently need outside help to find an off-ramp from the destruction, fear, and anger that has taken over their lives. Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama understand this, which is why they have been working to achieve a ceasefire. In doing so, they are acting as true friends of Israel and its citizens.
Having urged a ceasefire for the past week, APN was excited at the news of an agreement Monday night, and then
deeply disappointed when Hamas and other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip rejected it and intensified their
rocket fire. Now that the Egyptian ceasefire initiative has collapsed, We must redouble our efforts to urge for a
credible ceasefire agreement to prevent further bloodshed and devastation and to clear the path for leaders to
pivot from war to peace talks.
We therefore ask once again for our supporters to write to President Obama and ask him to use his influence with other world leaders to continue to work for a ceasefire – one which will lay the groundwork for resumed negotiations leading to an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
These are difficult and painful times. Fear and violence have overtaken both Israelis and Palestinians. Rockets from Gaza are threatening Israelis in every corner of the country, sowing terror and anger; intentional attacks on Israeli civilians by Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists should rightfully be condemned. Israeli military retaliation, irrespective of its intended targets, is causing destruction, death, and injury across Gaza, including the deaths (so far) of scores of innocent civilians, among them many children.
In the face of this crisis, all of us who care about Israel feel terribly powerless. Powerless to stop the violence and suffering. Powerless in the face of the simplistic, false narrative that military force - combined with a metaphorical Iron Dome - can provide Israel real security. Powerless, when we know that the only thing that can provide Israel security is a negotiated agreement that ends the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But we are only powerless if we choose to be. I urge you: Do not be powerless – Take action. We can and must tell the Obama Administration: Work for a Ceasefire NOW.
On the 47th Anniversary of the Occupation: Time for Hard Truths, Tough Actions
Forty-seven years ago this week, Israel won a stunning victory in the 1967 War. This was not a war of Israel’s choice or making. It was a defensive war, with Israel facing threats by armies from countries on all sides seeking Israel’s destruction. Repelling and defeating these armies, Israel sent a resounding message to the region and the world: we are here to stay.
Israel’s victory in the 1967 War left it with a pressing question: what to do with the additional land now under its control: the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Golan Heights. As recognized by many Israelis – and demonstrated in the Camp David Accords with Egypt – these lands offered Israel the opportunity to normalize its position in the region through agreements with its Arab neighbors, based on the principle of land for peace.
Forty-seven years later, such normalization remains a distant dream. Rather than act in good faith to seek agreements based on land-for-peace, for 47 years successive Israeli governments have actively and passively collaborated with Israel’s own extremists in their efforts to take land-for-peace off the table in favor of fulfilling their own grandiose, messianic vision of Greater Israel. And now they’ve succeeding in killing what many believed was the best chance for a negotiated peace agreement with the Palestinians that has ever existed, and the best chance that may exist for a long time to come.