On April 1, 2015, Lara Friedman (Director of Policy and Government Relations) participated at the "Israel-Palestine Peace Month" event at Roanoke College. After speaking to a class about the lessons of Passover apply to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Friedman addressed a gathering of over fifty students, faculty, and community members about settlements, the occupation, and the potential for a new U.S. approach to achieving a two-state solution.
This week, a key Senate committee passed S. 615 – with bipartisan support and the approval of the White House – giving Congress enhanced oversight over any nuclear deal with Iran. That bill is expected to pass quickly into law.
It is urgent that you act TODAY.
Ernest Moniz is U.S. energy secretary.
The recent announcement of the Lausanne framework concerning Iran’s nuclear program has stimulated a lively public and political debate. This is an important discussion that the nation deserves to have, and it must be informed by clarity on the specifics of the negotiated technical parameters for a final Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
I joined Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s negotiating team in late February, but throughout the negotiations, leading nuclear experts at the Energy Department and its national labs have been involved in the careful development and thorough evaluation of the technical proposals to help define U.S. positions.
As a result, the key parameters for the agreement that was announced April 2 in Switzerland provide a technically sound path for certifying Iran’s nuclear program as peaceful, quickly determining if it is not and providing the breathing room needed to respond appropriately.
APN today issued the following statement regarding the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s passage of S. 615, amended:
APN has long opposed and continues to oppose any initiative in Congress that could undermine ongoing Iran negotiations or threaten the achievement and implementation of an agreement that could prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. We have also long pointed out that even without a single new piece of legislation, the kind of substantial, long-term sanctions relief that will be central to the success of any Iran nuclear deal cannot be achieved without the active support and cooperation of Congress – giving Congress an automatic and critical role in overseeing and implementing any Iran deal.
In the lead-up to this year’s Passover holiday, Americans for Peace Now launched a Facebook meme campaign inspired by the words of Peace Now co-founder Galia Golan. We asked that Jews who care about Israel spill some wine in acknowledgement of Israel’s “modern-day plagues”, as is traditionally done during the Seder when reading the ten plagues of Egypt.
The first modern-day plague, “continued settlement building,” was chosen because of the degree to which Israeli settlement expansion damages prospects for peace. The growth of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem threatens to eliminate the possibility of a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians – the only solution that can secure Israel’s future as a democracy and a Jewish state.
This week, Alpher discusses how religious and tribal wars in Iraq, Syria, Egyptian Sinai, Yemen and Libya, and Obama and Netanyahu being at loggerheads over the Iran nuclear deal affects the Palestinian issue; how these events serve as a legitimate distraction, including the current fighting in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus; how they serve as an excuse for Israel to do nothing on the Palestinian issue; what is Qatar doing that should command our interest, including the Gaza aspect; why, despite these tensions, the IDF is facilitating the expansion of PA security forces’ area of responsibility; and April genocide memorials of the HOlocaust and the Armenian genocide, and the exploitation of Israeli fears.
The holiday of Passover celebrates the redemption of a people from slavery- a story of redemption not only for Jews, but for many people who yearn for justice and freedom. Yet, there are still injustices to be overturned. A full glass of wine symbolizes complete joy, and during the Seder, we spill wine from our cup to remember the suffering of others that accompanied our redemption. Traditionally, we then recite the ten plagues; this year, we list ten modern plagues (starting with settlement expansion)- those that we have yet to overcome.
Our wish for this year at Passover is that, together, we will overcome Israel's #ModernDayPlagues ( you can find them on Facebook as well).
Written before the elections, our Passover letter noted how wealthy extremists like Sheldon Adelson support programs based on their right-wing values. We ask in our letter how those of us who support peace can do the same. It's time to step up.
In case you missed it, I include our passover message below, as well as a link to Israeli security expert Yossi Alpher's warning against complacency. You do not need to be a billionaire to make a difference; you only need to act!
For pro-peace American Jews and Israelis, billionaire Sheldon Adelson is the object of both fear and scorn.
He’s certainly an easy target. Crass and richer than Croesus, he seems to get a blank check for irresponsible remarks, such as calling the Palestinians “an invented people” and advocating a preemptive nuclear strike against Iran. He has made it his mission to thwart a peace deal that would bring a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
For his entire career – including three previous terms in office as Prime Minister – Benjamin Netanyahu has consistently acted to subvert Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and undermine the two-state solution. He has done so through the promotion of settlements, the laundering of illegal outposts, and various other policies that have expanded and deepened the occupation across the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. Many hoped that Netanyahu’s verbal embrace of the two-state solution in his 2009 Bar-Ilan speech marked a turning point, and that his rhetorical nods to the Arab Peace Initiative signaled an openness to a broader agreement with the Arab world. Netanyahu’s actions and policies, however, have consistently belied his words, demonstrating unequivocally that he remains committed not to achieving peace, but to implementing an expansionist, “Greater Israel” agenda.
This week, Alpher discusses the positive aspects of the agreement announced in Lausanne last week from Israel’s standpoint; Netanyahu's response; what the agreement’s drawbacks are where Israel can make a case for a tougher approach; if the Iran agreement could affect Netanyahu’s coalition calculations; and is Netanyahu more likely now to be pressured by Obama and Kerry on the Palestinian issue.