On May 29, 2015, Abraham Foxman, then the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, authored an op-ed published by the JTA, entitled, "Comprehensive approach to fighting BDS is needed."  With respect to the question of legislation seeking to quash BDS and other activism critical of Israel - both at the state and federal levels - Foxman notes (among other things):

Legislation that bars BDS activity by private groups, whether corporations or universities, strikes at the heart of First Amendment-protected free speech, will be challenged in the courts and is likely to be struck down. A decision by a private body to boycott Israel, as despicable as it may be, is protected by our Constitution. Perhaps in Europe, where hate speech laws exist and are acceptable within their own legal frameworks, such bills could be sustained. But not here in America.

Full text of that op-ed is included below, or can be viewed on the JTA website.

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Transcript of Secretary Kerry's Comments on Israel at the Saban Forum, December 5, 2016

On December 4, 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at Brookings’ Saban Forum. He was interviewed by the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. Kerry’s comments included sharp criticism of the Israeli government’s failure to pursue a two-state peace settlement with the Palestinians. The entire interview can be found here. Following are Kerry’s comments relating to Israel.

So what we have is an opportunity to redefine the Middle East, to redefine the region to meet the security needs of Israel and the security needs of the rest of the region. Now, I can talk about that ad infinitum. I’ve spent four years now in the most intensive effort I think – I don’t think – I asked my staff to go back and read the record. I have talked to Bibi Netanyahu more than 375 times in this term. That’s only the public recording, because I was in the habit of picking up the phone and calling him at home or calling him here and there and just getting him eating. I’ve talked to him in those public transactions more than 130 hours. My wife accused me of having talked to him more than I’ve talked to her in these four years.

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For Argument's Sake

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In our jointly authored book, my father, a writer, and I, a historian, took a fresh look at the mystery of Jewish survival. "Ours", we wrote, "is not a bloodline but a textline."

Book pullJews are not a people forged by blood and swords, but we are nevertheless an ancient nation. This belonging can cross international borders today; it tackles the religious-secular divide and the Israel-diaspora divide. Ours is a uniquely textual nation, whose sense of belonging comes from the Bible and a myriad of subsequent books, interpretations, arguments and questions. For many centuries, ours was the only pre-modern culture with universal male literacy, alongside significant female literacy.

Tell your Child"Tell your child": this is our oldest and best survival technique and cultural instrument. But we do not only teach our children to read and remember. We also encourage them to think afresh, and to challenge their elders with questions and ideas. Also to laugh: at ourselves, at authorities, and even at the Almighty.

As you know, all good Jewish families argue. Humor, irreverence, debate, originality, and text-based inventiveness: these are the ancient codes of Jewish survival. They explain our global sense of cousinhood - or at least a shared sense of humor - in today's world. It is the key to our three-millennia survival.

Does 'textual nationhood' mean that the Land of Israel is unimportant? That Jews ought to have remained stateless? Not in my book. The State of Israel, which my four grandparents helped build in the fields of the kibbutz and in the libraries of Jerusalem, is a miracle even to secular Jews like us. It came into being when young Jews of the 20th century transformed longing into activism, memory into state-building, and Talmudic reasoning into modern invention.

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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 what's new about Fateh's long-delayed seventh conference in Ramallah and unanimous reelection of Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) to head the movement; what’s wrong with Abbas remaining in power and what are the alternatives; has this at least provided an extension of peace and quiet on the West Bank; If France’s decision last week to label all goods from the West Bank and the Golan as “settlement products” rather than “made in Israel” is a blow to Israel; the "flawlessness" of the French/EU approach; and where Yossi Alpher, himself, stands on boycotting settlement goods.

NOTE: For full details of APN's policy - which advocates boycotts of settlement products and supports other activism targeting the occupation - see our dedicated policy webpage, here.

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News from Peace Now:

This morning (December 2) a plan for temporary housing on three plots of absentee property near the illegal outpost of Amona was deposited. This was done through a special order - originally used for the Migron settlers - which allows for the promotion of plans in an expedited process. It is now clear that the government is promoting temporary housing for the Amona settlers in the nearby absentee property, despite Israel’s legal interpretation since 1967 according to which absentee property cannot be used for the establishment of settlements.

It is important to note that while the plan is for eight months only, in the settlements what is temporary usually becomes permanent. For example the two year long temporary housing for the Migron settlers from in Givat HaYekev (or the New Migron) is still in place.

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APN Board Book - December 2016

The December 2016 Board Book features a sampling of APN’s work in 2016 towards the following objectives:

  • Standing Up Against the New Political Order
  • Taking Our Case to the United Nations
  • Mobilizing Action to Preserve the Two-State Solution
  • Preserving Israel’s Democratic Character, Defending Jewish Values and the U.S. Constitution
  • Regular Publications (Legislative Round-up; Hard Questions, Tough Answers; They Say, We Say; fundraisers, etc.)

Read the full Board Book here.

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Former Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin, "Real security can only be achieved through peace."

APNlogo_donateAs part of an ongoing series, APN is running this message this week in the Washington Jewish Week and the Baltimore Jewish Times from former Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin .

You can support additional ads by donating here.

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News from Peace Now:
With an expected vote on the regulation bill at the Knesset tomorrow (November 30), Peace Now exposes the scope of construction on private Palestinian lands and the implication of the bill on the two state solution in a new report. 
According to a Peace Now count the regulation law will result in the retroactive legalization of 55 illegal outposts and of approximately 4,000 housing units in settlements and illegal outposts. 

Peace Now views the regulation law as a grand land robbery, which will lead not only to the expropriation of 8,000 dunams of private Palestinian lands but might also rob Israelis and Palestinians of the possibility of arriving at a two state solution. 

To read the full report click here.

Key findings:
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Fight the Darkness

Debra DeLeeToday is Giving Tuesday, and I am writing to ask you to consider donating to Americans for Peace Now and to Israel’s Peace Now movement, two organizations that work together to advance the liberal values championed by the founders of both the U.S. and Israel.

I just returned from Israel after an exciting week with APN’s annual Israel study tour.

During my stay there, I had dozens of conversations with progressive Israeli friends. All of them – in one way or another, sometimes basking in schadenfreude – welcomed me to their club.

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November 28, 2016 - Forest fires raise strategic issues; so does Golan clash with ISIS

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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 what we have learned from Israel's recent emergence from a week of battling massive forest fires; climate change as a national security issue for Israel; "pyro-terrorism;" the state of Israel’s emergency services; the strategic significance of all this regional and international aid to Israel for the fires; and how significant is Sunday's IDF clash with an ISIS force on the Golan.

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