Major General (res.) Gadi Shamni on the necessity of ending the occupation

As part of an ongoing series, APN will feature a new ad in the Washington Jewish Week and the Baltimore Jewish Times this week. This week's message is from Major General (res.) Gadi Shamni, a former military secretary to the Prime Minister, former military attaché to the U.S., and top commander of IDF forces in the West Bank.

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Lars Faaborg-Andersen in YNet: Why Israelis should not give up on peace

Op-ed: Tonight, on the International Day of Peace, EU Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen and his colleagues will be talking to Israelis at bars in Tel Aviv, Kfar Saba and Haifa, hoping to hear how they think peace can be achieved.
Today, September 21, is the International Day of Peace. This evening, my colleagues and I —the ambassadors of five EU countries—will be talking to ordinary Israelis at bars in Tel Aviv, Kfar Saba and Haifa about peace in this region and the role of the European Union in supporting it. We are looking forward to the conversation.

It is no secret that nowadays many Israelis have lost hope in the possibility of ever reaching a resolution to the conflict with their Palestinian neighbors and have adopted a fatalistic attitude. Many in Israel do not understand why the EU, among others, keeps pushing for something that appears to them to be unattainable.

We in the EU have no illusions that attaining peace between Israel and the Palestinians is an easy task. But we certainly do not think that it is an impossible task either. Indeed, compared to other conflicts in the region—from Syria to Libya—we believe that it is actually among the more resolvable conflicts. Moreover, there are very good reasons to encourage both Israel and the Palestinians to take confidence building steps, even small ones, that would gradually pave the way back to a credible peace process.

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September 19, 2016 - Special edition – Books of note


Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

This week, Alpher discusses books! The best book on the Arab revolutionary wave, books on additional causes for the current chaos in the Arab world, books on the Arab revolutions that add a more human dimension, on the US role in the Middle East before the Arab revolutions, and on Israel and the Palestinians.

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The Jewish People’s Dual Narrative: Parshat Ki Tavo

Peace_Parsha_Logo185Rabbi Susan P. Fendrick is an editor, writer, teacher, and spiritual director. A graduate of Brown University, she received rabbinic ordination in 1995 from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and is an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship program. Her writing appears in numerous books and publications.


There is very little language of personal prayer recorded in the Torah, and even less prescribed liturgy for future Jews to recite. But one rare example of a liturgical text appears in this week’s Torah reading—a prayer that supports the pursuit of conflict resolution and peace-seeking.

The entire book of Deuteronomy is Moses’ swan song, his last chance to convey everything he must to the Israelite nation before they enter the land of Israel without him. In Parshat Ki Tavo, he offers a formula that each Israelite should recite when bringing the “first fruits” offering on the holiday of Shavuot.  That recitation was discussed in the APN Peace Parsha last June, and I want to offer a further reading of its opening words, which speaks to all that we have to bear in mind as we work for a peaceful and secure future for the state of Israel.

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Would've. Could've. Should've.






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9-Vnir-ori-withnameOn a trip to Israel last month, I visited a friend who runs a small store in downtown Jerusalem, my hometown. Outside, on the street, there were dozens of young American Birthright tourists. “Business must be hopping, with all these Birthrighters,” I said. “Not quite,” my friend replied. “Their parents send them here with pocket money, but stay home in the U.S., with their credit cards.”

To my dismay, he said that as he saw it, American Jews don’t care enough about Israel’s future. They see Israel as a Jewish Disneyland of sorts, a place where they go for its history, but they don’t do enough to secure Israel’s future as a liberal democracy. This is not an unusual view among Israelis.

Albeit blunt, over-generalizing and overstated, my Israeli storeowner friend has a point. Sure, American Jews don’t vote in Israel. They don’t serve in the IDF and don’t pay taxes. They don’t have as much of a stake and as much of a say in Israel’s future as Israeli citizens do. But they definitely could do more to advance peace, reconciliation and tolerance in Israel, particularly when upsetting things are being done in Israel in their name.

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News from Peace Now's (Israel) Settlement Watch:

The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) published its data on construction starts earlier today. The Data shows that in the first six months of 2016, 1,195 housing units started to be constructed in the settlements. This is an increase of 40% in comparison to the previous six month (July-December 2015), during which 850 housing units began to be constructed. In contrast, a 3% decrease in construction starts was noted in Israel proper (23,691 housing units in the first half of 2016 as opposed to 22,898 housing units in the second half of 2015).

Peace Now: "Netanyahu is the Prime Minister of one sector only - the settler sector, which comprises of less than 5% of the Israeli population. His investments in the settlements do not only come on the expense of the Negev, the Galilee and the rest of Israel but also lead towards a one state reality.

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Earlier this week, we called on Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, to speak out against Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement that demanding a future Palestinian state free of Israeli settlements is supporting “ethnic cleansing.” We called on our activists to urge these groups to speak up. The ADL’s CEO and national director Jonathan Greenblatt did just that in an excellent article in today’s digital edition of foreign policy.

We commend Greenblatt and the ADL for speaking up, and thank our activists for taking action. To urge other national Jewish groups to follow ADL’s suit click here.


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netanyahu_speaking320x265Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video statement in which he claimed that evacuating Israeli settlements from the West Bank in the context of a future Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is tantamount to “ethnic cleansing.” This statement, trivializing crimes against humanity and genocide, should outrage anyone who cares about international affairs and who cares about Israel.

Applying terminology borrowed from the darkest days of European history to a scenario in which Israeli settlements would be withdrawn to allow for a peace accord between Israelis and Palestinians, reached by the sovereign governments of both peoples, is abhorrent. It merits the US Jewish community’s rejection and repudiation.

Every U.S. President since 1967, both Republican and Democrat, has accepted that settlements would be removed as part of a peace agreement. Menachem Begin, who evacuated all of Israel’s settlements in Sinai as a part of a peace agreement, and Ariel Sharon, who unilaterally removed all the settlements from the Gaza Strip and a handful in the northern West Bank, made a sovereign decision to do so out of national security considerations. Controversial as these moves may have been at the time, they were not “ethnic cleansing.”

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Since March, the California legislature has struggled to draft a bill aimed at thwarting BDS - the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.  As readers of these pages know, BDS is a movement that promotes South Africa-style boycott and divestment strategies to oppose Israel and its policies. For many of its supporters, BDS is a way to challenge the very legitimacy of the Jewish state.

After a torturous path of amendment and revision, the State legislature now has in AB 2844 something it thinks it can live with.  But the revised bill, however well-intentioned, remains seriously flawed.  Governor Brown should veto it.

Earlier versions of the bill would have created a list of companies that participate in BDS – defined to include boycotts targeting Israel or settlements – and prohibited companies on the list from becoming state contractors (a blacklist). After being cautioned by its own legal counsel that economic boycotts qualify as protected free speech under the First Amendment, the legislature abandoned its original scheme and converted AB 2844 into a generic anti-discrimination law.

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