Haggadah Insert: An honest reckoning.

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Each year at Passover, Jews read this line in the haggadah, "In every generation a person is obligated to see themselves as if they had left Egypt." Why? Because each of us should understand that in our generation, just as in our ancestors' generation, the status quo is not inevitable. Societies founded on inequality, on domination of others, on ruling those who do not wish to be ruled cannot, in the arc of history, last. In every generation there is a wrong to be righted. Today, it is in our hands to right it.

This year, you can add flavor to your seder by sharing this thoughtful reflection by Rabbi Toba Spitzer. Rabbi Spitzer, who is the recipient of Americans for Peace Now’s 2015 Elizabeth Wyner Mark Peace Award, has graciously contributed our 14th haggadah insert. In it, she reminds us of the costs for freedom, and asks us to make an honest reckoning, an acknowledgment, and perhaps a commitment to make some kind of repair to those who are affected by the privileges we enjoy.

Since 2001, Americans for Peace Now has asked rabbis from the extended APN family to contribute reflections on the haggadah: that story which has for centuries been understood as the archetype of liberation. Many of us have made these reflections a permanent part of our seder - we hope you will, too. You can find them here.

May we all enjoy a sweet and liberating Passover,

Debra DeLee
President and CEO,
Americans for Peace Now

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Submitted by Rabbi Toba Spitzer (2015)
Rabbi Spitzer is recipient of Americans for Peace Now’s 2015 Elizabeth Wyner Mark Peace Award
To be read just before the recitation of the ten plagues.

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"A Bird-in-Hand" - APN Editorial Cartoon

As we all know, a picture is worth a thousand words. This is our aim: to make people think and to act for peace.

This week, we bring you a new cartoon, regarding the formation of Israel's government: “A Bird-in-Hand”

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On Passover: Spill some wine...

Galia Golan

The essence of Passover is a promise for a better future through the transformation of an entire people from slavery to freedom. This idea has sustained us, the Jewish people, for centuries.

In the wake of Israel’s recent elections we must find a way to cope with the policies of Israel’s re-elected prime minister which offer us little promise and hope.

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But what are our choices? Giving up and conceding to Israel’s nationalist extremists means being complicit in Israel’s destruction. I refuse to be complicit. I urge you to also not be complicit.

The Jewish family's table is the oldest and most important focus of Jewish continuity. And once a year, as I sit down with my my children and grandchildren and we celebrate the holiday that more than any other puts the table at its center, one of the rituals that Jews around the world observe is the spilling of wine from their cups at the mention of each plague afflicted upon Egypt. Drinking wine imbues joy, spilling it at the mention of each plague symbolically banishes joy. At my Seder, we will observe this tradition, but I may add modern-day plagues facing Israel – many our own doing or may I say, undoing.

Spill some wine for continued settlement building; spill some wine for illegal outposts; spill some for the extremist settlers’ “price-tag” attacks; spill some for continued occupation; spill for denying Rawabi water for too long; spill for racism; spill for efforts to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist; for growing anti-Semitism in Europe; for divided Palestinian leadership, for the hardened-hearts of Hamas leaders … Dayenu. Enough.

But we must do more than spill wine. We must act to end the rule over another people and stop the slippery slide to a bi-national state … or apartheid.

Galia Golan

The outlines of a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians have been largely agreed upon for decades—two states, Israel and Palestine, side by side, based on the pre-1967 borders. There will be agreed-upon land swaps that take into consideration Israeli “settlement blocs” in the West Bank. The Jewish-populated areas of East Jerusalem will be incorporated into Jewish West Jerusalem and will become part of the internationally-recognized capital of Israel. The Palestinian-populated areas of Jerusalem will be the capital of Palestine. Israel’s security needs will be addressed and anchored in a treaty and safeguarded by a powerful IDF.The Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved through an agreed upon solution.

All 22 members of the Arab League have endorsed these principles twelve years ago, when they adopted the Arab Peace Initiative, a proposal worthy of negotiations and bargaining. We should have engaged with this initiative 12 years ago. Had we done so, circumstances would be different today. We can still do it today to give our children hope for a better tomorrow.

As we mark Passover this year, we must renew our determination to realize the hope and the promise that have sustained the Jewish people for centuries – and we must renew our determination not to cede the playing field to extremists on either side.

Instead of apathy and resignation, I have chosen action and hope. Action and hope are the essence of Peace Now (Shalom Achshav).

In the United States, Americans for Peace Now (APN) is the sister organization of Israel’s Peace Now movement. APN provides nearly half of the funding for Israel’s Peace Now and helps make possible the actions, research and legal advocacy that assists Israelis in taking back the middle ground.

Whether it is former Shin-Bet leaders, Mossad officials, or former Prime Ministers, we know that continued occupation is the opposite of security for Israel—it actually threatens the very existence of the Jewish state.

Enough blood has been spilled.

Support APN now with your tax-deductible donation.

A joyous and liberating Passover,
Galia Golan

P.S. If you had said, 15 years ago, that the two-state solution would be the official position of four consecutive Israeli prime ministers, endorsed by most Israelis, that the United States would be pursuing it, that the Arab League would make it a condition for comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace, and that the entire international community would be pushing Israel's prime minister, a Likud prime minister, to make good on his original official endorsement of creating a Palestinian state, you would be dismissed as delusional. Peace Now and APN have always agitated to achieve a two-state solution. Our efforts have opened hearts and minds, and helped make the two-state solution the path that most Israelis consistently view today as the only viable path for peace and security for an Israel that is both Jewish and a democracy.

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This week, Alpher discusses how significant is it that Saudi Arabia has put together a ten-nation Sunni coalition to fight Iran-backed Zaidi-Shiite forces in Yemen; how does one explain Saudi and Egyptian alarm, given that Yemen is a poor, dysfunctional backwater parts of which are virtually unconquerable due to geography; what is unusual about the participation of Turkey, Qatar and Sudan in the Saudi-led coalition; if a joint Arab army is a serious proposition; what the Saudi-led war effort has accomplished thus far and what strategic challenges remain; if a Saudi-Iranian proxy war could spread elsewhere in the Middle East; if there is really solid evidence of Iranian participation on the side of the Houthis in Yemen; the Israeli angle to the Yemen struggle; and if there is a Palestinian angle.

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APN's Rabbi Alana Suskin at Temple Rodef Shalom, March 29, 2pm

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Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Sunday, March 29 at 2:00 PM

 

Rabbi Alana Suskin spoke about the prospects for peace following Israel's elections, the work of Peace Now in Israel and what the challenges are at this time, and what, as American Jews, our role can be in helping Israel achieve peace and security with her neighbors

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Sheldon Adelson puts his money where his mouth is.....

Mark R and Debra

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.

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APN's Ori Nir will be speaking on a panel discussion with Gabriel Scheinmann at Goucher Hillel, 7pm on March 25th

 

 

 

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APN's Lara Friedman: What Can the US and International Community Do About Settlements?

There were only a handful of Israeli settlers beyond the Green Line in 1968, when Lyndon Johnson became the first American president to express opposition to settlements in the West Bank. Now, despite protest from every subsequent administration, there are more than 350,000 Israelis living in the West Bank and 200,000 in East Jerusalem. President Johnson’s prediction that settlements would “prejudice a peace settlement” has come true, as the dramatic rise of the settler movement—in both numbers and political power—has complicated repeated efforts to achieve a two-state solution. APN"s Lara Friedman, together with other experts on American and European policy explored what steps can be taken to halt further settlement growth and entrenchment, and discuss the political and policy implications of American and European initiatives—from discouragement of Israeli settlement subsidies to the labeling or boycott of settlement goods.

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March 23, 2015 - Israeli election aftermath: US-Israel relations

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This week, Alpher discusses lessons learned by Israel's center-left following its defeat to Netanyahu; Low likelihood of a Netanyahu-Herzog unity government; The state of US-Israel relations following Netanyahu's statements on the two-state solution and on Arab citizens' voting. 

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Tell President Obama: Stand Up for Peace, Stand Up to Bibi

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The recent Israeli elections definitively unmasked the real Benjamin Netanyahu.

  • Netanyahu cynically campaigned as an adversary of President Obama
  • Netanyahu brazenly ruled out a two-state peace agreement with the Palestinians
  • Netanyahu flagrantly incited racism and intolerance in the Israeli body politic
  • Netanyahu shamelessly stoked divisions within the American Jewish community
  • Netanyahu recklessly turned Israel into a partisan issue in Congress

 

Tell President Obama:  Stand up to Netanyahu.

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