Tbenjamin-netanyahu-settlements320x265his week, Alpher discusses Netanyahu's comment at Davos last week that he "doesn't intend to remove a single settler" and the reactions it provoked; whether Livni has joined the chorus of Israelis despairing of this peace process, and if so, why doesn't she resign; why is the Israeli security establishment returning to the tactic of targeted killings of Gazan extremist now, after a two-year lull, and a few last words in memory of Shulamit Aloni.

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APN's Mark Silverberg - Cleveland Jewish News: Proposed new Iran sanctions all wrong

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As an American supporter of Israel, I am strongly against the Iran sanctions legislation recently introduced by U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, and Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican. I deeply hope that Senate leaders will not move this ill-timed and highly problematic legislation forward.

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Shulamit Aloni RIP

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Americans for Peace Now (APN) mourns the death of Shulamit Aloni, one of the founders of Israel’s peace movement and civil rights movement, a former cabinet minister and Knesset member and one of the pivotal leaders of Israel’s progressive camp.

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For Zion's Sake... Ask your rabbi or cantor to speak up for a secure Israel

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In October, the JCPA published a study reflecting the challenges that rabbis face in expressing their views on Israel. According to this report, about a third of rabbis are reluctant to express these views. Despite extraordinarily deep personal connections, too many rabbis have said that they feel overtly or implicitly pressured to withhold their views and thus are unable to fully serve their communities by teaching or speaking about Israel.

As rabbis and cantors, we mustn’t be afraid. We must engage our communities and speak the difficult truths that will be necessary if Israel's future is to be secure.

Americans for Peace Now, T'ruah, and J Street believe that for Israel to have a future as a Jewish and a democratic state - living within secure, defined and recognized borders - there must be a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel’s survival as a Jewish and democratic state can only be secured through stopping settlement expansion, ending the occupation, and negotiating a two-state solution. Secretary of State John Kerry - backed by President Obama- has made heroic efforts to bring all the parties to the negotiating table. Secretary Kerry has taken up the challenge of the Psalmist to “seek peace and pursue it,” but he cannot bring peace on his own. “We really are at a critical point,” said Secretary Kerry “as Palestinians and Israeli leaders grapple with difficult and challenging decisions that lie ahead.”

Join me in declaring that you will speak up for a secure Israel; one that does not occupy another people; and one that understands that the true threat to its existence is a lack of a Palestinian state.

As Jewish moral leaders, we must not underestimate the effect our voices can have. Now is the moment when we must loudly and clearly proclaim that it is because of our commitment to Israel that we stand up and act for the two-state solution. Now, while there is still time. “For Zion’s sake, I will not be silent, and for the sake of Jerusalem I will not rest.” (Isaiah 62:1).

Add your name to our pledge, and after you sign on, we will provide you with resources from all three of our organizations that will help you communicate to your community the urgency of this moment and the necessity for all of us to speak out as Jews and as Americans.

L'Shalom,
Rabbi Alana Suskin
Director of Strategic Communications
Americans for Peace Now

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher: January 20, 2014

Alpher_gazawar This week Alpher discusses whether there is any chance of replacing Assad with a transition regime as discussed at the Geneva I talks, who else agrees with Israeli Defense Minister Yaalon's labeling of Kerry by  as "obsessive and messianic," or if this is "last week's news," and whether there is anything really new on the Israeli-Palestinian scene.

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Tu Bishvat: We are planting for the future.

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There is a story in the Talmud of a man who was walking along a road, and came upon an elderly man planting a carob tree. Seeing how old the gardener was, he asked him, "How long does this tree take to bear fruit?" The old man said, "70 years." The first man asked the gardener if he expected to live that long, and the man replied, "What I am planting, I am planting for my children, just as others planted for me."

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APN to US Jewish Groups: Condemn Yaalon's Comments

APN Urges US Jewish Groups to Condemn Yaalon's Anti-Kerry, Anti-Peace Comments

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Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) urges American Jewish organizations to join it and its Israeli sister organization, Israel’s Peace Now movement, in condemning Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon’s offensive comments, lambasting Secretary of State John Kerry for his efforts to broker peace for Israel.

Yaalon was quoted this morning in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth as criticizing Kerry for “acting out of misplaced obsession and messianic fervor” in his efforts to advance a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Yaalon did not deny the quotes, and in a public appearance later in the day continued to criticize the US peacemaking efforts, stating that Israel’s government strives not to resolve its conflict with the Palestinians “but to manage it.”

State Department Spokesperson, Jennifer Psaki, called Yaalon’s remarks "offensive and inappropriate, especially given all that the U.S. is doing to support Israel's security needs." She added that “to question Secretary Kerry's motives and distort his proposal is not something we would expect from the defense minister of a close ally."

Several members of the Israeli cabinet also criticized Yaalon’s comments, as did Israel’s Peace Now movement, Shalom Achshav.

APN, the US sister-organization of Shalom Achshav, is outraged at Yaalon’s comments, and urges fellow American Jewish organizations to join it by speaking out against his tirade.

APN’s President and CEO Debra DeLee said: “This is a moment that calls for American friends of Israel to state clearly: We support peace for Israel. We recognize that it is in the national security interest of Israel and of the United States. We support our President and Secretary of State’s efforts to advance this goal. We do not support the vision of Israel living by its sword and ruling over another people in perpetuity, by ‘managing’ its conflict with the Palestinians.”


To read more about Yaalon’s comments, click here

To read the State Department’s reaction, click here

To read Peace Now’s statement, click here

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APN Urges Congress and US Jewish Groups to Stop Pushing New Sanctions

As Iran Diplomacy Advances, APN Urges Congress and US Jewish Groups to Stop Pushing New Sanctions

Washington, DC - Responding to news that the Obama Administration and its international partners had reached an agreement with Iran to implement the Joint Plan of Action signed in November 2013, Americans for Peace Now (APN) is calling on Congress to support President Obama’s diplomatic effort and is urging fellow American Jewish organizations to stop their campaign in support of new Iran sanctions.

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Alpher_gazawarThis week, Alpher discusses how the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships are positioning themselves in anticipation of being presented with some sort of framework agreement by US Secretary of State John Kerry, the story of Ariel Sharon's meeting with Alpher in 1994 to discuss his use of the settlements to "divide and rule" the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, what he thinks of the Palestinian allegation that Israel could do far more to prevent settler attacks, and whether there is a broad strategic significance to the internecine fighting in Sunni areas of both northern Syria and western Iraq.

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Book Review: David Ehrlich's Collection of Short Stories

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This is the tenth in a series of reviews of books on Middle Eastern affairs. We asked Dr. Gail Weigl, an APN volunteer and a professor of art history, reviewed David Ehrlich's new collection of short stories.

David Ehrlich, Who Will Die Last: Stories of Life in Israel, edited by Ken Frieden (Syracuse University Press, 2013). 147 pages. $19.95

Sardonic, witty, poignant, resigned, this extraordinary collection of short stories is a welcome addition to the canon of Israeli literature in translation.

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