Rosh Hashana Thoughts

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Barbara Green has been a volunteer for Americans for Peace Now for many years. She lives in Washington, DC.

This is an awkward time of the year for some secular Jews like me. We know it’s a time of renewal and perhaps even symbolic rebirth, but what does that mean if you don’t really think the supreme ruler is sitting in judgment and deciding your fate for the coming year? Well, it could mean a lot of things. For me it’s a time to take stock: to look back on the past year and own up to things done which shouldn’t have been, or not done which should have been, and everything in between. What could I do to put those things to right? And what do I hope to change in the coming year? A small aspiration of mine is the intention in the coming year to dial back my propensity for righteous indignation. Hardly a day passes when I’m not upset – if not downright angry – about events in the world but I’m learning that indignation no matter how righteous sometimes may be counter-productive.

Maimonides teaches the blowing of the shofar is intended to waken us from our mindless slumber, our symbolic sleep which allows us to turn away from blatant injustice. He admonishes us to “….look to our souls and better our ways and actions.” For me this means doubling down on my efforts to pursue an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the establishment of a Palestinian state. We Jews weren’t meant to be occupiers. Forty-nine years of holding another people under occupation is more than enough. Israeli security professionals have weighed in on this issue and concluded that the occupation does not provide security. It is a national security liability. The occupation is hurting not only Palestinians but Israelis as well – not equally but significantly.

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APN Mourns the Death of Shimon Peres

Shimon_Peres_AP_Photo_400Americans for Peace Now (APN) mourns the death of Shimon Peres, the former president and prime minister of the State of Israel, an icon of Israel's founding generation, a visionary of peace and security for Israel, a dedicated leader who led Israel through wars and in the quest for peace.

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Prominent American Intellectuals Echo APN on Settlement Boycotts

Over the weekend, more than 70 American intellectuals - including members of APN's Board of Directors such as Michael Walzer and Edward Witten - published an Open Letter in the New York Review of Books calling for a targeted boycott of “all goods and services from all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories, and any investments that promote the Occupation.”

APN warmly welcomes and endorses this letter. Its message echoes and validates the position that APN has proudly advocated for years, often as a lone voice of sanity in the pro-Israel Jewish community. You can find out more about our position - expressed in policy statements, opeds, advocacy documents, and more - here.

Like the signers of the Open Letter, we oppose boycotts of Israel. And like the signers of the Open Letter, we have long argued for activism targeting settlements and the occupation, which we believe to be an important and effective way to fight the occupation and fortify the foundations of a two-state solution.

We are pleased and encouraged to see that this position is gaining greater traction in the American intellectual community, especially given the fact that the conflation of Israel and the settlements is becoming dangerously mainstream. Now more than ever, we must fight to uphold the distinction between Israel and the settlements. We must reject the creeping legitimization of settlements. And, with our rhetoric and our activism, we must target the pro-settlement and anti-peace policies that fuel the occupation and endanger the two-state solution. This Open Letter is an important step in doing all of those things, and we commend its authors and signers. We also hope their action will inspire others to act as well - click here for some actions that can be taken today to fight settlements and the occupation.

US Presidents & Israel-related UNSCRs: The Historical Record, 1967-Present

Back in April 2016, the New York Times published an oped I authored regarding President Obama and the United Nations Security Council. The genesis of that oped was the assertion - made repeatedly by policy experts and pundits, by journalists, by Jewish leaders, by members of Congress, etc - that no U.S. president has ever gone against Israel in the UN Security Council.

This argument has come up repeatedly during President Obama's tenure in office. It has invariably been used in making the tendentious case that President Obama - if he were to support or permit passage of a UN Security Council resolution either critical of Israeli actions or policies or a resolution regarding Israeli-Palestinian peace opposed by Israel - he would be guilty of an unprecedented betrayal of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Whether this assertion is accurate or inaccurate is not a matter of opinion. There is a clear historical record available for verifying the facts. The April 2016 oped was a result of an exhaustive review of that historical record -- a review which found that every president since 1967 - except one - permitted passage of and/or supported numerous UN Security Council resolutions opposed by Israel. That one exception is President Obama, who as of this writing remains the only  U.S. president who during his time in office has not allowed the UN Security Council to pass a single resolution opposed by Israel.

Now, with the debate heating up over possible UN Security Council action on Israel-Palestine during President Obama's final months in office, I am posting the full data laying out the record of every U.S. president since 1967 and Israel-related resolutions in the UN Security Council.

 

 

September 26, 2016 - The outgoing year, 5776

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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 where Israel positioned itself in the Middle East during the outgoing year; how the Israel-US relationship appears to have suffered; how events in the surrounding Middle East affected the mood of Israelis; how the so-called “lone wolf intifada” affected Israelis; and the prospects for progress between Israel and the Palestinians in the year ahead .

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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.

You can support additional ads by donating here.

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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

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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 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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