[Action Alert] Thank the Obama Administration for standing up for Israel at UNESCO

aerial-view-temple-mount-wikicommons-Andrew-Shiva320x265Last week, UNESCO’s  Executive Board ratified a shocking resolution that refers to the Holy Basin in Jerusalem’s Old City only by its Muslim title, the Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), does not mention the Temple Mount, the way Jews refer to the site, mentions the Western Wall Plaza in quotation marks while using its Muslim name, Al-Buraq Plaza without quotation marks, and uses other inflammatory language.  By so doing, UNESCO ignored the Jewish – and Christian – ties to Jerusalem.

Click here to thank President Obama and his administration for rejecting the anti-Israel bias of UNESCO’s resolution.

We also applaud the actions of Mexico’s ambassador to UNESCO. We were dismayed to hear that the Mexican diplomat, Andrés Roemer, was fired for taking the unusual step of  walking out of the vote because he disagreed with his government’s  decision to support the resolution.

Write to President Obama today and let him know you appreciate that the US is standing up for Israel.


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With the 50th anniversary of the occupation upon us, the hope for a two-state solution is dying. If there was ever a time to speak the truth about the settlements, it’s now.

Lara-UNSCspeech-haaretzpiece320x265Last Friday, the UN Security Council held a meeting organized under the title “Illegal Israeli Settlements: A Threat to Peace and the Two-State Solution.” Americans for Peace Now proudly took part in that event, offering testimony grounded in love for Israel and expressing an unwavering commitment to Israel’s security and its survival as a democracy and a state rooted in the Jewish values expressed in its Declaration of Independence. Of course, that testimony also dealt with the settlements, explaining why they are detrimental to the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace and therefore to Israel’s national security interests.

Many people, both inside and outside Israel, were happy to see a pro-Israel, pro-two-state organization delivering a nuanced, fact-based presentation at this event. Others were less enthused, most notably Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, who accused APN of participating in “diplomatic terror” against Israel. Likewise, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to social media to call APN’s arguments “deluded.” And now, in this newspaper, the former head of the Union of Reform Judaism, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, criticized APN’s testimony as a “mistake” – not for the facts it conveyed or its tone, but for the timing and location of its delivery.

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Washington, DC – Americans for Peace Now (APN) denounces a resolution adopted last week by the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and ratified this week by the body’s Executive Board.

APN agrees with critics of the language used by UNESCO’s resolution, which refers to the Holy Basin in Jerusalem’s Old City only by its Muslim title, the Haram al-Sharif (the Nobel Sanctuary), does not mention the Temple Mount, the way Jews refer to the site, mentions the Western Wall Plaza in quotation marks while using its Muslim name, Al-Buraq Plaza, without quotation marks, and uses other inflammatory language.

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October 19, 2016 - The UN, the US and the Palestinian issue


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 in particular in last week’s UN Security Council discussion of the settlements angered the prime minister; B'tselem's Hagai El-Ad's and APN’s Lara Friedman's testimony before the Council on the settlements issue; at the broadest strategic level, what the Security Council discussion contributes toward a two-state solution; and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's suggestion that a “Potemkin” Israeli-Palestinian peace process would be better than none at all.

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"Deluded" - Because we dared.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu loves to use social media as a tool to settle accounts with those who dare to challenge his policies, often in demagoguery that panders to the online mob both in content and style.

Donate TodayOn Sukkot Eve, it was us, Americans for Peace Now, who were the target of Netanyahu’s bluster. Why? Because we dared to highlight his West Bank settlement policy at a special United Nations Security Council session.

At the gathering, APN’s Lara Friedman delivered a measured, fact-based analysis of the damage that West Bank settlements inflict on Israel’s national security. We are proud of Lara’s performance at the security Council and gratified to have been given the opportunity to share with the world our deep concerns about the direction in which Netanyahu’s policies are leading our Jewish homeland.

Netanyahu, in a misleading Facebook post, falsely accused us of alleging that the settlements are the cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We never make this argument.

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Lara_Friedman_Micahel_Sfard_Beige_BackgroundIn the October 14, 2016 briefing call with APN's Lara Friedman and Israeli Legal Expert Michael Sfard on the UNSC Session on Israeli Settlements, they discussed the threat to Israel's security and the two-state solution posed by settlements, the dangers of unilateral withdrawal, and the possibility of further action at the UN.

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By APN Intern Naomi Tamura

Naomi_Tamura250x445Every Shabbat, Jews around the world ask God to “spread over us a sukkat shalom – a sukkah of Your peace.” We express our hope for the protection of our dignity and our rights, and to live in a just and peaceful world with our neighbors. As the Jewish festival of Sukkot begins just days after Yom Kippur, Jewish communities come together to celebrate, among other things, the freedom of the people of Israel – and to build their individual and communal sukkahs as physical representations of this peace and protection that we seek.  Unfortunately, there are other homes being built that only serve to prevent both peace and freedom.

Naomi_Tamura_Israel_SukkahThree years ago, I lived on Kibbutz Ein-Dor in the north of Israel as part of my gap year program. There, I and 37 others helped build a sukkah (pictured).  Although it was little more than a simple, open-roofed structure with only one permanent wall, we rejoiced in our sukkah’s vulnerability. Our collective efforts to hang pictures of our families, lace colorful streamers around the few tree branches that served as our roof, and stake PVC piping into the ground as the sukkah’s base all brought us closer together as a community. Yet, it was the way that we ate, sang, joked, and dreamed together that allowed us to understand the true meaning of community filled with members who are at peace with one another.

This Sunday evening, as we prepare to celebrate Sukkot in a new year, we should be reminded of the connections between the sukkah and peace. The openness of the sukkah not only reminds us to share our homes with others, but asks us to open our hearts and minds towards building inclusivity and tolerance. In doing so, the sukkah becomes a communal structure sustained only by the shared commitment and vigilance of all its guests.

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Briefing Call: UN Security Council special session on Israeli settlements

Friedman_SfardAPN hosted a briefing call on Friday, October 14th, at 3:00 pm Eastern Time with Lara Friedman, APN director of policy and government relations, and Israeli legal expert Michael Sfard. The call was moderated by APN's Aaron Mann.

Friedman and Sfard discussed the content of a UN Security Council special session, entitled “Illegal Israeli Settlements: An Obstacle to Peace and a Threat to the Two-State Solution,” at which Friedman spoke.

Listen to the briefing call here.

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APN’s Lara Friedman to Address the United Nations Security Council on Settlements

Americans for Peace Now (APN) today announced that its director of policy and government relations, Lara Friedman, will be speaking October 14, 2016 before the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) at a special session organized to examine the issue of “Illegal Israeli Settlements: An Obstacle to Peace and a Threat to the Two-State Solution.”

 APN President and CEO Debra DeLee commented:

 “We are extremely proud that Americans for Peace Now has been invited to address the Security Council on the issue of Israeli settlement policies. This is an issue on which APN and our Israeli sister organization, Shalom Achshav, are justifiably recognized as the leading experts, both in terms of knowing and in terms of explaining the facts about settlements and their implications for peace and the two-state solution. And the facts point to a clear conclusion: the Israeli government’s policy of prioritizing settlements threatens the vital interests of Israel – its people and its national future. This Security Council meeting is a welcome opportunity to highlight the damage settlements are doing to Israel and the quest for peace.” 

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APN at the UNSC October 14 - full statement

Statement by Lara Friedman, Americans for Peace Now
Delivered at the United Nations Security Council – October 14, 2016

The full statement can be viewed as a pdf here
Watch the full testimony here
View the post-meeting press conference here.


Distinguished members of the Security Council,

As a representative of Americans for Peace Now – an organization that is committed to Israel’s existence and its future – it is not easy for me to speak before this body today.

It is not easy because while this forum will focus in large part on human rights violations by Israel, there are states represented here whose own human rights records are abysmal. There are even states in this forum that still do not recognize the existence of Israel, 70 years after that nation’s birth and despite its membership in the UN’s General Assembly.

It is also not easy for me to speak here today because of the deteriorating political climate in Israel as far as democracy is concerned. For some time now we have been witnessing an ugly campaign against courageous Israeli human rights and civil society NGOs – carried out by reactionary groups in Israel and by the Israeli government itself. Campaigns that target the legitimacy of NGOs like our Israeli sister organization, Shalom Achshav – Peace Now.

These groups are being targeted because their work reveals facts that some prefer to hide – facts that challenge the official Israeli government narrative.

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