Tu Bishvat: We are planting for the future.


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


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


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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APN's Ori Nir in The New Jersey Jewish News: Doubters miss the meat in Kerry's mission

Ori Nir 186x140.jpg

Israel-Palestine pundits often seem to compete over who will be more skeptical, if not dismissive, of new diplomatic initiatives. Given past peace-making failures, they know that predictions of failure are their best bets.

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APN's Lara Friedman at The Huffington Post - Thwarting Iran Diplomacy: Not Good for the Jews


Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer got it wrong when they laid blame for the Iraq War on the "Israel Lobby" (in their book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy). However, a war with Iran could be a different story. As I warned back in March 2012, a much clearer line can be drawn between the efforts of U.S. Jewish groups and hawkish Iran policies. "For more than a decade," I wrote, "the same forces that Walt and Mearsheimer erroneously blamed for America's Iraq debacle have openly led efforts to convince Washington and the American people that war with Iran is necessary and inevitable."

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Be Hopeful! The Anti-Peace Squad is Freaking Out

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is known for the quip "If you can't solve a problem, enlarge it." Opponents of Israeli-Palestinian peace have their own spin on that quip, best summed up as, "If you don't want to solve a problem, pile on more problems." As a result, a valuable metric for gauging how seriously things are going in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts - or, at least, how worried anti-peace folks are getting that things are going seriously - has long been the extent to which opponents of peace are ginning up discredited, specious, or disingenuous arguments. And a look at current headlines indicates that opponents of peace are taking the Kerry peace effort very seriously, indeed.

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Settlement Watch Update: Troubling Developments in Hebron

Today, Peace Now's Settlement Watch issued the following update regarding new settlement-related developments in Hebron:

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Peace Now to Israeli Government: Remove Belligerent West Bank Outpost


Israel's Peace Now (Shalom Achshav) movement today sent a letter to the Israeli government, demanding that it enforce the law and remove Esh Kodesh, a West Bank settlement that was established in violation of Israeli law, whose residents have repeatedly attacked neighboring Palestinians.

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