Mr Ori Nir222x300Israel’s new government should be seen as a call to action for anyone who cares about Israel’s future, about its character and about its wellbeing. This call applies not only to citizens of the state of Israel, but also – maybe even mainly – to those who are looking at Israel from outside, and, as outsiders, are best positioned to put a mirror before the Israeli public, to serve as a reality check.

The reality is that this government distinctly represents and expresses what the enlightened world, including progressive Americans who care deeply about Israel, have in recent years grown to resent about Israel’s conservative political elite.

The reality is that this political elite, characterized by a combination of jingoistic nationalism and religious conservatism, ethnocentrism and xenophobia, intolerance of dissent and disrespect for basic democratic principles, represents a set of values that is diametrically opposed to the values that most Americans, particularly young Americans, hold dear. More to the point, the reality is that this combination of reactionary beliefs, often zealously proclaimed in the name of Judaism, is the very antithesis of what most American Jews define as “Jewish values.”

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APN CEO Debra DeLee in the Jewish Journal: When the Knesset tries to muzzle free speech

Debra-approved-headshot-study-tour-2014-245x250I am a product of the '60's. I demonstrated against the Viet Nam war, marched for civil rights and against racism. I have boycotted lettuce and grapes, in support of the United Farmworkers; Dow, for manufacturing napalm during the Viet Nam war; Coors, for discriminatory hiring practices against people of color and gays; Nestlé, for its aggressive campaign to sell breast milk substitute to young mothers in developing countries; Target, for its significant contributions to Tom Emmer, the rightwing candidate for Minnesota Governor whose agenda included positions I abhorred on everything; and Walmart, for its poor labor practices (except when my mother Ruth Epstein, who turns 100 this August, insists on going there “for the bargains”).

You get the picture. And while I don't support the boycott of Israel or Israeli-made products, I do support boycotting products made in settlements – and I urge others to do the same. In taking this position, I stand with friends, colleagues, and loved ones in Israel – including Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), the veteran Israeli peace movement. I seek out Israeli wine at my local stores, but only buy it if it comes from one of the vineyards inside the Green Line.

I boycott settlements – and urge others who care about Israel to do likewise – because settlements and their expansion is the greatest obstacle to achieving a two-state solution for Israel and her Palestinian neighbors, and thus the greatest threat to an Israeli future that is Jewish, secure, and democratic.

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Peace Now report: "The Settlers’ Dream Government"

The Settlers’ Dream Government

Analysis of the coalition agreement between the Likud and the Jewish Home party (Bayit Yehudi)

The coalition agreement between the Likud and the Jewish Home party (Bayit Yehudi) reveals the plans of the new government and indicates its intentions. Beyond increasing the budgets and development of settlements, the government intends to address sectorial interests relating to the national religious public and to finance ideological educational activities aimed to fortify the right side of the political map. In addition, the government intends to initiate actions to restrict freedom of expression, to weaken the High Court of Justice and impair Israel’s democracy.

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Lara_2011_headshot320x265blurred-backgroundCongress has a long record of supporting and defending Israel's security, Israel's economy, Israel's position and treatment in international organizations and the international community, Israel's right to self-defense, and Israel's reputation as a nation that seeks peace. For this it deserves credit. 

Congress also has a long record of refusing to affirmatively support Israel's policy of building settlements in the occupied territories, including, for example, by barring the use of U.S.-backed loan guarantees for settlement activity. For this too, Congress deserves credit.  Israel's settlements enterprise runs counter to the policy of every U.S. administration since 1967, whether led by a Republican or Democrat, and runs counter to Israel's own interests.  Settlements undermine Israel's security, erode Israel's position in the international community and belie Israel's commitment to peace and the two-state solution - and if there is no two-state solution, Israel cannot survive as both a democracy and a Jewish state.  

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APN's Lara Friedman in Haaretz: A defeat for Israel, a victory for settlers and BDS

BDS-Haaretz-Lara320x265By effectively equating Israel proper with the occupied territories, Israel's High Court has made life harder for pro-Israel, pro-peace activists.

The High Court's decision to uphold the so-called Anti-Boycott Law will, regrettably, be a boon to Israeli settlers and their supporters, whilst giving a gift to activists worldwide who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

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lara-at-JStreet320x265There were only a handful of Israeli settlers beyond the Green Line in 1968, when Lyndon Johnson became the first American president to express opposition to settlements in the West Bank. Now, despite protest from every subsequent administration, there are more than 350,000 Israelis living in the West Bank and 200,000 in East Jerusalem. President Johnson’s prediction that settlements would “prejudice a peace settlement” has come true, as the dramatic rise of the settler movement—in both numbers and political power—has complicated repeated efforts to achieve a two-state solution.

In this panel at J Street's 2015 conference, APN's Lara Friedman, together with other experts on American and European policy explored what steps can be taken to halt further settlement growth and entrenchment, and discuss the political and policy implications of American and European initiatives—from discouragement of Israeli settlement subsidies to the labeling or boycott of settlement goods.

Watch to see  Lara Friedman, together with Michael Cohen of the Boston Globe and Alon Sachar of the US State Department, with Steve Krubiner, J Street's Chief of staff,  moderating.  Aviva Meyer, Deputy Chair of APN, introduces the participants. Session begins at 10:35.

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11 Lies Netanyahu Told Congress on Iran

The case Netanyahu laid out against an Iran deal in his address to Congress revolves around 11 core arguments. Think they sound convincing? Look at those arguments one by one, and you’ll see why each of them is bogus.

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APN's Lara Friedman on HashtagVOA: US-ISRAELI RELATIONS IN CRISIS?

On March 3nd, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to speak to the US Congress at the invitation of the Republican Leadership, not the White House. It’s a decision that’s driven Netanyahu’s already strained relationship with President Obama to a breaking point. How is this playing out in Washington, Israel and the global media, especially on social media sites? This week's HashtagVOA brings in key experts to answer your questions!

Optimism, Pessimism, or - Realism?

Ori Nir

 

An article written by APN's Ori Nir, published in today's edition of the Boston Globe, reminds us that the realistic attitude -one endorsed by all six of the most recent leaders of Israel’s General Security Service (Shin Bet) - is the one that advocates a two-state solution.

Americans for Peace Now works to advance Arab-Israeli peace and to highlight that such peace is not only necessary, but also possible. Support APN's message of peace and a two-state solution.

 

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APN's Lara Friedman in The Forward: Stop Babying Israel at the U.N. Security Council

The prospect of a U.N. Security Council vote on parameters and a timeline for Israel-Palestinian negotiations, coming as it does in the lead-up to Israeli elections, is eliciting this tricky argument: “We can’t pressure Israel when Israelis are going to the polls, because it will only help the Right.”

That argument fits neatly into the list of memes that time and time again have been used to justify U.S. inaction in the Israeli-Palestinian arena. Memes like: “We can’t press for peace with the region in upheaval.” “We can’t ask any Israeli prime minister to take action that could destabilize his government.” “This is a losing issue that will cost any president and his party dearly.”

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