bresler in israel320x265

David Bernstein has written an articulate defense of those who, like him, refuse to denounce the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, or in some extreme cases even admit that an occupation exists. (“Why I Don’t Call Israel Out on the Occupation,” Opinion, July 8) He argues that simply calling for an immediate end to the Occupation does not recognize the complexity of the situation and will not bring peace and security to Israel.

Sadly, however, my friend David has missed the mark. The occupation can be denounced without calling for immediate withdrawal.

The occupation is evil. It is immoral. It is un-Jewish. When I carried my JNF blue “pushka” on the streets of Brooklyn as a child, when I literally leapt for joy as I listened to the announcement of results of the UN vote in 1947, when I worked, together with David Bernstein at the American Jewish Committee and now at the JCPA, and as chair of Americans for Peace Now, for the safety and the security of the State of Israel I did not dream of a Jewish nation that would be the oppressor of another people.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

APN's Lara Friedman in The New York Times - Israel’s Unsung Protector: Obama

 

LFriedman_NYT_Collage320x130WASHINGTON — With the Obama administration in its final year, several officials have said that the president has grown so frustrated with trying to revive Middle East peace talks that he may lay down his own outline for an Israeli-Palestinian two-state peace agreement, in the form of a resolution in the United Nations Security Council.

If that happens, count on two reactions: Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, will oppose it, and a chorus of American politicians and commentators will suggest that it would be unprecedented — even unthinkable — for an American president to support a Security Council resolution that Israel opposed, rather than veto it.

Continue reading

APN's Lara Friedman in Moment Magazine - An All-Women Symposium: The Missing XX-Factor

1| What more could be done to achieve
peace between Israelis and Palestinians?

2| What might women bring to the
peace process if more were included?

with Ruth Calderon, Tamara Cofman Wittes, Nadia Hijab, Naomi Chazan, Caroline Glick, Fania Oz-Salzberger, Laila El-Haddad, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Anat Saragusti, Cora Weiss, Sarai Aharoni, Noura Erakat, Laura Blumenfeld, Lara Friedman, Simone Susskind, Felice Friedson, Leila Hilal & Galia Golan

 

When did you last hear someone say something new about the peace process? And when did you last hear someone new say it? Every day, it seems, a panel of experts—diplomats, pundits, scholars, chin-pullers of all varieties—convenes to chew over the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations. These groups all have something in common: They are overwhelmingly male. The PBS program Frontline recently attracted criticism for asking 23 male experts and three women to reflect on the career of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. We at Moment have been offenders ourselves, printing past symposia on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that featured far more male than female contributors.

Continue reading

Lara_Friedman_Huffington_Post_Collage250

"I felt sick watching Trump at AIPAC. Not for what he said - his speech was entirely predictable - and not for the fact that AIPAC gave him a platform. I felt sick because I was watching the natural culmination of decades in which AIPAC has successfully defined the terms of the "acceptable" narrative about Israel in U.S. politics and campaigns."

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Published March 22, 2016

Look on AIPAC’s Works, American Jews

For more than a decade I have been invited regularly to speak on Capitol Hill, on campuses, in synagogues, on policy panels, to foreign diplomats and to the media. On these occasions I speak, as an advocate for Israel and Israeli-Palestinian peace, about the issues on the ground in Israel-Palestine and their connection to U.S. foreign policy. And on these occasions I talk openly and critically about AIPAC, just as for years my organization has publicly challenged AIPAC’s legislative agenda at every turn.

I talk about AIPAC not because I hold any personal animus against the organization and its supporters, or because I believe in some right-wing conspiracy. I know there are good people working at and supporting AIPAC. And I know from experience - most recently with the successful Iran nuclear deal - that AIPAC is by no means omnipotent.

I also know, however, that for decades AIPAC has been actively promoting a Middle East agenda that is anathema to the values of most American Jews, to the real interests of Israel, and to peace. And I know well, from personal experience working in Washington and around the country, the enormous power AIPAC brings to bear on American Jews, members of Congress, and the U.S. political system to see its agenda enacted. That is why I cannot talk about U.S. policy and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without talking about AIPAC.

Continue reading

APN's Rabbi Alana Suskin in the Jerusalem Post: Don’t give up on Israel!

Last week, I received an email from Tikkun Magazine crowing, “Major American Jewish Leader Changes his Mind About Israel.” Rabbi David Gordis, who has served in an astonishing number of major American Jewish institutions, reflected on his years of love and advocacy for Israel, and on the rightward trend in Israeli policies. He wrote, “sadly, after a life and career devoted to Jewish community and Israel, I conclude that in every important way: Israel has failed to realize its promise for me. A noble experiment, but a failure.”

My heart sank. Many of us engaged in advocacy for Israel no doubt share Rabbi Gordis’ discontent with the trajectory of public affairs in Israel. Clearly there is reason to be troubled. Extremism has become embedded throughout every level of Israeli society. The occupation, and the racism that has grown from it, are alarming.

But, while I am sympathetic to your feelings of near-despair, Rabbi Gordis, I beseech you: don’t give up; Israel can’t afford to lose you.

Continue reading

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?”

Continue reading

Report2015SettlementsOver the weekend, Israel’s Peace Now movement published its annual report on West Bank settlement planning and construction in the past year. Following is the executive summary of Peace Now’s report, followed by a link to the full report, as well as links to several news articles about the report.

2015 In the Settlements: No Freeze At All
Settlement Watch Annual Construction Report
Peace Now's annual construction report reveals that in 2015 construction continued throughout the West Bank settlements, and especially in isolated settlements. These finding refute the argument that a "silent freeze" is currently in place. While earlier this year Netanyahu argued in English that he is the Prime Minister who has built the least in the settlements, in Hebrew he proudly demonstrated to Likud members the increase in settlement construction during his time in office. It is clear that in 2015 as well, Netanyahu's statements in Hebrew are more representative of the reality on the ground than his statements in English.
 
Continue reading

"Cotton’s bill aimed at settlements policy"

This week, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) introduced S. 2474, purportedly in order to ensure “fair” treatment by the United States of Israel and Israeli products. In truth, this bill has nothing to do with Israel or products made in Israel. It is about one thing only: reversing nearly five decades of unbroken U.S. policy opposing settlements built by Israel in territories it occupied in the 1967 war.  

Cotton’s bill is just the latest salvo in a broader campaign, taking place both in Washington and in state capitals, to exploit concerns about BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel), in order to legitimize settlements.

Continue reading

Michael Sfard in Haaretz: The Israeli Occupation Will End Suddenly

The strength of organizations working to end the occupation and their supporters is greater than we think.

One day the occupation will end. It will probably happen in one fell swoop. And when it happens, it will suddenly emerge that everyone was against it. That the politicians had actually worked to end it, that the journalists strove indefatigably to expose its injustices, that the cultural institutions condemned it courageously and that Israeli academia was a center of persistent resistance, from which the struggle drew ideological and moral backing. In short, everyone was part of the Resistance.

Continue reading
12 3 ...14 15 16