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.
Demand that Israeli authorities hold extremist settlers accountable. Join us in stopping this Price Tag campaign. Use the hashtag #StopPriceTag
When President Obama meets Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in the White House on Monday, their
conversation will no doubt focus on two issues that are central to the Obama Administration’s foreign policy
agenda: Iran and Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.
Tell President Obama that you are a part of his constituency for peace. Make sure he knows that Americans who care about Israel have his back.
In October, the JCPA published a study reflecting the challenges that rabbis face in expressing their views on Israel. According to this report, about a third of rabbis are reluctant to express these views. Despite extraordinarily deep personal connections, too many rabbis have said that they feel overtly or implicitly pressured to withhold their views and thus are unable to fully serve their communities by teaching or speaking about Israel.
Americans for Peace Now, T'ruah, and J Street believe that for Israel to have a future as a Jewish and a democratic state - living within secure, defined and recognized borders - there must be a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel’s survival as a Jewish and democratic state can only be secured through stopping settlement expansion, ending the occupation, and negotiating a two-state solution. Secretary of State John Kerry - backed by President Obama- has made heroic efforts to bring all the parties to the negotiating table. Secretary Kerry has taken up the challenge of the Psalmist to “seek peace and pursue it,” but he cannot bring peace on his own. “We really are at a critical point,” said Secretary Kerry “as Palestinians and Israeli leaders grapple with difficult and challenging decisions that lie ahead.”
Join me in declaring that you will speak up for a secure Israel; one that does not occupy another people; and one that understands that the true threat to its existence is a lack of a Palestinian state.
As Jewish moral leaders, we must not underestimate the effect our voices can have. Now is the moment when we must loudly and clearly proclaim that it is because of our commitment to Israel that we stand up and act for the two-state solution. Now, while there is still time. “For Zion’s sake, I will not be silent, and for the sake of Jerusalem I will not rest.” (Isaiah 62:1).
Add your name to our pledge, and after you sign on, we will provide you with resources from all three of our organizations that will help you communicate to your community the urgency of this moment and the necessity for all of us to speak out as Jews and as Americans.
Rabbi Alana Suskin
Director of Strategic Communications
Americans for Peace Now
We knew the fight to keep Iran-focused diplomacy alive wasn't over - and we were right. Just before the Senate went home for the holidays, Senators Menendez (D-NJ), Kirk (R-IL) and a group of 25 colleagues introduced a new and highly problematic Iran sanctions bill in the Senate - S. 1881, ironically named the "Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013." Over the holiday break, this bill was the focal point of a major lobbying effort, with AIPAC and other groups working intensively to get Senators to cosponsor the measure -- and this effort will pick up additional steam in the coming days.
We knew the fight to keep Iran-focused diplomacy alive wasn't over - and we were right. Yesterday, Senators Menendez (D-NJ), Kirk (R-IL) and a group of 25 colleagues introduced a new and highly problematic Iran sanctions bill in the Senate - S. 1881, ironically named the "Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013." This bill, introduced just before the Senate breaks for the year, will be the focal point of anti-diplomacy efforts for the coming period.
Over the past weeks and months, APN challenged you, over and over, to take action on the issue of Iran. In each case, APN activists took up the challenge, generating thousands of calls and emails to members of the House and Senate. These interventions came at exactly the right time and conveyed the same underlying message: Americans who care about Israel want Congress to give diplomacy with Iran a chance.
Only weeks ago we welcomed the achievement in Geneva of an historic agreement with Iran. This interim agreement
opens the door for a final agreement that resolves U.S. and international concerns about Iran's nuclear program and
ambitions. Such an agreement holds the promise of a more secure and stable Middle East, as well as positive impacts
outside the region.
Tell your Representative and Senators: support the Obama Administration's ongoing diplomacy with Iran.