Americans for Peace Now (APN) commends President Obama for eloquently articulating the strong bond between core American values and progressive Jewish values, and for expressing his frustration with the growing gap between these values and those that are increasingly manifesting themselves in Israeli public life.
Israel’s new government should be seen as a call to action for anyone who cares about Israel’s future, about its character and about its wellbeing. This call applies not only to citizens of the state of Israel, but also – maybe even mainly – to those who are looking at Israel from outside, and, as outsiders, are best positioned to put a mirror before the Israeli public, to serve as a reality check.
The reality is that this government distinctly represents and expresses what the enlightened world, including progressive Americans who care deeply about Israel, have in recent years grown to resent about Israel’s conservative political elite.
The reality is that this political elite, characterized by a combination of jingoistic nationalism and religious conservatism, ethnocentrism and xenophobia, intolerance of dissent and disrespect for basic democratic principles, represents a set of values that is diametrically opposed to the values that most Americans, particularly young Americans, hold dear. More to the point, the reality is that this combination of reactionary beliefs, often zealously proclaimed in the name of Judaism, is the very antithesis of what most American Jews define as “Jewish values.”
On Shavuot, we celebrate the giving of the Torah and the Ten Commandments.
In the spirit of this holiday, let us all remember that the two-state solution we seek is anchored in a two-slate imperative…
Americans for Peace Now wishes you a Hag Sameah, happy Shavuot.
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to APN on this holiday, to help us work even harder to advance the two-state solution – the only way to achieve long-lasting peace, security, stability and dignity for both Israelis and Palestinians.
Thank you from all of us at APN.
This week, Alpher discusses whether Netanyahu’s new right-wing governing coalition-of-61 survive, or if it is possible that it will expand to include the center-left; why Labor leader Isaac Herzog angrily condemned the new coalition as a “circus;” how the US and the Palestinians are dealing with the fact that this new government is almost certainly not a candidate for a peace process; were US efforts to smooth ruffled Middle East feathers regarding Iran last week (when President Obama hosted Arab leaders from the Persian Gulf at a Camp David summit and he reassured them about American intentions toward Iran and offered more security coordination) in any way significant; and whether Palestinian economic progress promotes peace.
On May 14, 2015, just as Benjamin Netanyahu's new government was being sworn-in in the Knesset, Israeli political expert and Peace Now founder Galia Golan was APN's guest on a briefing call analyzing the domestic and foreign policy challenges facing the new government.
Israel’s new government - which, at least in its initial composition, is one of the most hardline in Israel’s history - will be sworn in within days.
This government brings together Israel's ultra-nationalist and ultra-Orthodox parties along with a new centrist party. Past positions of this government's members suggest future policies that are the antithesis of what we stand for. This government seems bound to act to further hinder the viability of a two-state solution, to further exacerbate Israel's isolation internationally, to intensify West Bank settlement construction, promote undemocratic legislation and to act to stifle dissent. The Palestinian question is not even mentioned in the government’s guidelines! The cabinet’s super-important Justice portfolio has been given to The Jewish Home’s Ayelet Shaked, who for years has been pushing legislation to dry up the funding sources of Israel’s pro-democracy, pro-peace nonprofit organizations such as Peace Now.
Peace Now News Flash: Analysis of the Coalition Agreement between the Likud and the Jewish Home Party
The coalition agreement between the Likud and the Jewish Home party (Bayit Yehudi) reveals the
plans of the new government and indicates its intentions, including:
1. Granting the settlers control over the construction of settlements and over Israel's authority in the West Bank, while allocating more funds to the settlements.
2. Passing legislation and reforms that change the democratic rules of the game.
3. Allocating public funds to bolster the political power of the Israeli Right.
This agreement, which includes a Jewish Home stronghold on a variety of positions directly related to settlement development, constitutes a clear danger to the possibility of arriving at a two state solution and illustrates the true intention of the current government - massive settlement expansion and the silencing of opposition to the occupation.
Read the full report or download Peace Now's analysis of the coalition agreement as a PDF here
I am a product of the '60's. I demonstrated against the Viet Nam war, marched for civil rights and against racism. I have boycotted lettuce and grapes, in support of the United Farmworkers; Dow, for manufacturing napalm during the Viet Nam war; Coors, for discriminatory hiring practices against people of color and gays; Nestlé, for its aggressive campaign to sell breast milk substitute to young mothers in developing countries; Target, for its significant contributions to Tom Emmer, the rightwing candidate for Minnesota Governor whose agenda included positions I abhorred on everything; and Walmart, for its poor labor practices (except when my mother Ruth Epstein, who turns 100 this August, insists on going there “for the bargains”).
You get the picture. And while I don't support the boycott of Israel or Israeli-made products, I do support boycotting products made in settlements – and I urge others to do the same. In taking this position, I stand with friends, colleagues, and loved ones in Israel – including Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), the veteran Israeli peace movement. I seek out Israeli wine at my local stores, but only buy it if it comes from one of the vineyards inside the Green Line.
I boycott settlements – and urge others who care about Israel to do likewise – because settlements and their expansion is the greatest obstacle to achieving a two-state solution for Israel and her Palestinian neighbors, and thus the greatest threat to an Israeli future that is Jewish, secure, and democratic.
Galia Golan, a co-founder of Israel’s Peace Now movement, is professor of government and chair of the Program on Diplomacy and Conflict Studies at the School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, and professor emeritus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
An expert on Israel’s international relations, Golan will comment on Israel’s future relations regionally and globally under Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, which will be sworn in this Wednesday.
To receive a link of the recording, please email Katherine Cunningham at firstname.lastname@example.org. APN will send you a link to the recording of the call as soon as it is available