Listen: Briefing call with Prof. Shibley Telhami on Abbas' trip to D.C.

TelhamiOn May 2 2017, APN held a briefing call with Shibley Telhami, an expert on Palestinian politics and on U.S. Middle East policy, to discuss Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ white House meeting with President Trump.

Professor Telhami is the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, College Park, and non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. He is the author of The World through Arab Eyes: Arab Public Opinion and the Reshaping of the Middle East, the co-editor of The Peace Puzzle: America’s Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989-2011, and a leading pollster of public opinion in the Middle East and U.S. public opinion about the region.

 

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May 1, 2017 - War and Diplomacy on the eve of Israel’s 69th Independence Day

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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 rising tensions with Syria; the outlook on Trump's upcoming meeting with Abbas and trip to Israel; whether Abbas or Netanyahu are in a position to "deal"; possible ramifications of Germany's increasing pressure on Israel; tension between Israel and North Korea; and celebrating Israel's Independence Day in light of the present mood.

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Yom Ha'atzma’ut: Hope

Hope

Ori Nir

On a recent visit to the doctor's office, the nurse asked me if I have recently felt depressed or hopeless. I paused and pondered the impact that developments in both Jerusalem and Washington have had on me. The nurse noticed my hesitation and said, "Oh, it's routine, sir. We are required to ask every patient about their emotional state." I had to think. How do you honestly reply without being sent to the psychiatric ward… Well, I said, "Hopeless? No, definitely not hopeless."

It's not hopeless. Not at all. Had I thought it was hopeless, I would have found something else to do.

Particularly today, perhaps more than any other day on the calendar, it’s important to keep this sense of proportions.

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Briefing call with Prof. Shibley Telhami on Abbas' trip to D.C.

TelhamiAPN hosted a briefing call with Professor Shibley Telhami, an expert on Palestinian politics and on U.S. Middle East policy, on Tuesday, May 2nd, at 11:00 am, Eastern Time.

One of America’s leading experts on the Middle East, Professor Telhami shed light on U.S.-Palestinian relations on the eve of President Trump’s meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, intra-Palestinian politics, and the current state of efforts to advance a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Professor Telhami is the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, College Park, and non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. He is the author of The World through Arab Eyes: Arab Public Opinion and the Reshaping of the Middle East, the co-editor of The Peace Puzzle: America’s Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989-2011, and a leading pollster of public opinion in the Middle East and U.S. public opinion about the region.

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APN Welcomes Washington's Endorsement of Dissenting Israeli Organizations

Secretary_Tillerson320x265Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) commends Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his staff for acknowledging the important role that Israel’s civil society and particularly Israeli progressive non-profit organizations play in Israeli society.

At his daily press briefing yesterday, State Department Spokesman Mark Toner was asked about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scandalous decision Tuesday to cancel a planned meeting with Germany’s foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel because of Gabriel’s meeting with representatives of three progressive Israeli nonprofits that regularly criticize Israeli government policies. The three organizations are Peace Now (APN’s Israeli sister-organization), Breaking the Silence, and B’Tselem. 
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On Yom Ha'Shoah - A Dad to us, hero to all

Yahrtzeit Candle

Our father, Arthur Stern (z”l), was a Holocaust survivor, so like many Jews, today’s Yom Ha’Shoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day – touches us personally.

The SternsDad was born and raised in Hungary as a highly-educated and traditional religious Jew, whose father was a prominent leader of the Budapest Jewish Community. While he studied law at the University of Budapest in 1944, the Germans occupied Hungary, and our father and his family were deported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Near the end of the war, he and surviving family members were sent to a refugee camp in Switzerland where he began to put his life back together. He continued his education, and best of all, met our mom Edith (he was her bridge instructor!), who had arrived in Switzerland as a refugee from Germany after Kristallnacht. Since we were young, our parents shared many stories about their upbringing in Germany and Hungary, the war, and its implications to their families.

Like many survivors, dad was able to miraculously “move on”, and spectacularly so. He became an accomplished electrical engineer and inventor, and was the first Jewish president of the International Association of Electrical Engineers, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology.

Dad applied lessons from the Holocaust to a commitment to human rights, equality and justice in the US and in Israel.

While he saw Israel's survival and security as supremely important for the Jewish people, he believed that Israel's conduct was just as crucial. As a Holocaust survivor, he saw both of these as fundamental. He started the California-Israel Chamber of Commerce to help strengthen Israel’s economy, and his most central commitment to Israel became his leadership role with Americans for Peace Now, where he served as a Board and Executive Committee member and as co-chair, and then chair of its regional activities in Southern California.

Stern Collage 400

His experience had led him to hold the Jewish people and Israel to the highest of standards with regard to their use of power and treatment of others, believing we should rise above the tendencies and inclinations towards suppression when confronted by obstacles. Dad found particularly abhorrent those in the Israeli settler movement and their supporters who elevated land over human rights and peace, and particularly those who did so using Jewish religious justifications. He would not sit idly by while such arguments were made and such actions taken. We are loathe to imagine his disappointment in the recent “Regularization Law” that transfers ownership of private Palestinian land in the West Bank to the Israeli Jewish settlers who took the land and established outposts contrary even to Israel’s own law.

On this Yom Ha’Shoah, it is profoundly troubling to think about dad in the context of the “Entry Law,” recently passed by the Knesset. This law, which prevents entry to foreign nationals who support peaceful protest by way of a boycott, including a targeted boycott of Israeli settlement products, is beyond the pale for a democracy. It ostensibly bars people from visiting Israel because they have different political views from those currently in power. In this most absurd reality, our Holocaust survivor dad, who cared so much about Israel, would actually be prevented from visiting Israel.

Americans for Peace Now has just decided to cancel its Israel Study Tour in June because of the "Entry Law." This trip has particular significance to our family. Dad participated multiple times, a couple with our mom and with one of us. Our parents gave the experience to a granddaughter as a college graduation gift, and soon after dad died, we all made plans to join the next APN Israel Study Tour. The joy that dad experienced and enrichment he received from being in Israel, meeting with leading Israelis and Palestinians from the political and activist worlds, the media, and other areas, was a highlight in his life.

Today, as we remember the Holocaust and our dad who was so fortunate to survive it, we also remember the lessons he learned and passed on to us, and we redouble our commitment to working for a better Israel, which proudly manifests the best of Jewish values, and for a better world.

Sincerely,

Claude Stern, Daniel Stern, and Jacqueline Stern Bellowe

April 24, 2017 - Israel’s most volatile borders, on Holocaust Remembrance Day

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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 the assertions of a Hezbollah spokesman that Israel is now on the defensive, fearing Hezbollah attack; whether Israel should have launched a punitive attack on Syria after Assad's Sarin gas attack on his own people; and the recent spat in the Knesset between a mother who blamed the Netanyahu government for not retrieving the body of her son, which has been held by Hamas in Gaza since the summer 2014 war, and two Likud MKs who answered her with brutal language.

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Americans for Peace Now cancels its annual summer trip: ’The law is a stain on Israeli democracy’ 

Concerned that its delegates might be stopped at Ben Gurion International Airport and denied entry into the country due to recently enacted legislation, a prominent Jewish-American organization has cancelled its annual summer trip to Israel.

Americans for Peace Now is the first organization that regularly brings groups to Israel to respond in this way to the law, passed last month in the Knesset, that would bar from Israel any foreigners who have publicly expressed support for a boycott of the country, even if that boycott only includes the West Bank settlements.

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: A New Outpost Is Being Built East of Ramallah

News from Peace Now:

For maps and pictures see here: http://peacenow.org.il/en/new-outpost-adam 

Peace Now has learnt that presently a new outpost is being established. The outpost is located beyond the fence surrounding Adam settlement (aka Geva Binyamin), southeast from Ramallah and beyond the Separation Barrier.
 
This is the first outpost that is being established since the Israeli government declared a new policy towards settlement construction. The policy stated that settlement construction would be limited to within the “built up area” or "the footprint" of a settlement and that creation of new illegal outposts would be prohibited. Needless to say is that by being constructed outside the fence of Adam, the new outpost is not only a new outpost, but also beyond the “built up area” of the settlement, regardless of the lack in a clear definition to what “built up area” means.

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Annual Study Tour Canceled - Letter to Prospective Participants

*On April 20, 2017, APN sent the following letter to prospective Israel Study Tour participants notifying them of the decision to cancel the tour. See also the media coverage of this story in Haaretz and the Jewish Telegraph Agency:

4/24/17 JTA: Americans for Peace Now cancels annual Israel trip over anti-boycott law

4/23/17 Haaretz: First Jewish – American Group Cancels Trip to Israel Over Travel Ban Against Boycott Supporters

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