Haggadah Insert: The Three Symbols of Passover

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Each year at the Seder, Jews read this line in the Passover Haggadah, "In every generation, a person is obligated to see themselves as if they had left Egypt." This concept reminds us that each year we must approach the haggada with a fresh eye. It demands that we not merely read the words, but understand them afresh. We must have both empathy for what our forefathers and mothers have suffered, and – more importantly – be aware that change is possible, that we are masters of our fate, and that with determination and courage we can accomplish liberation. In our generation, liberating Israelis and Palestinians from the yoke of the occupation, which is subjugating both societies, is imperative. And it is within our reach.

This year, you can add flavor to your seder by sharing this thoughtful reflection by Rabbi Rachael Bregman. Rabbi Bregman has graciously contributed our 18th haggadah insert. In it, she asks us to reflect upon what questions we want to ask this year, offers questions for the table - to be asked when we reach the explanation of the three symbols of Passover: pesach (the offering), matzah and maror.

Since 2001, Americans for Peace Now has asked rabbis from the extended APN family to contribute reflections on the haggadah: that story which has for centuries been understood as the archetype of liberation. Many of us have made these reflections a permanent part of our seder - we hope you will, too. You can find them here.

May we all enjoy a sweet and liberating Passover,

Debra DeLee
President and CEO,
Americans for Peace Now

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Submitted by Rabbi Rachael Bregman (2018)
To be read before the three symbols of Passover.

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Ambassador Friedman's Passover Salute to Trump

As Passover approaches, our thoughts turn to liberation. An increasing number of American Jews are making the connection between the release of the Jews from bondage in Egypt and our collective responsibility to push for an end to the 50-year-old Occupation -- so that Palestinians and Israelis may be free.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has something else in mind.

When he says "Hashana haba'ah b'yerusalayim" ("Next year in Jerusalem"), he'll be reflecting on his gratitude to President Trump.

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This Passover, jump into the fray

Moving forward can involve risk. But standing still can bring disaster.

As the Exodus story tells us, the Israelites were faced with a choice at the Sea of Reeds: Enter the waters or stand still and be slaughtered by Pharaoh’s fast-approaching army.

Only one Israelite—Nachshon—had the foresight and the courage to jump into the sea. Jewish tradition says that once he moved forward, the waters parted and Israel was able to walk on dry land to safety.

It sometimes seems that it will take a similar miracle to bring peace to the Middle East.

But Peace Now (Shalom Achshav), the veteran Israeli activist organization, and its U.S. counterpart Americans for Peace Now (APN), aren’t relying on miracles. We believe in moving forward. The wind may not be at our backs, but standing still is not an option.

This Passover, you may observe a traditional Seder and may be blessed by the company of children or grandchildren. They may ask the four questions, one of which is: “Why is tonight different from all other nights?” Yes, we eat matzo; yes, we dip twice; yes, we remember the stranger, but tonight we can no longer afford to be bystanders—we all must jump into the fray.

We “jump” to feed the hungry, to defend the refugee, to protect the environment—now it’s time to “jump” for Israel’s secure future. We want you to be able to tell your family how you helped Israel be the best it can be. Helping ensure a peaceful and secure future for Israel and preserve the Zionist dream does not mean asking how Israel can survive with a Palestinian state by its side. It means asking how Israel can survive without one.

Hineni, here I am. Because of the damaging effects of occupation, I’ll jump. Because settlers build on private Palestinian land, I’ll jump. Because evicting Palestinians from the homes where they have spent their entire lives is dehumanizing, I’ll jump. Because Israel may annex settlements in the West Bank in defiance of international law, I’ll jump.

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APN Condemns Trump's Choice of John Bolton as National Security Advisor

President Trump’s pick for his third National Security Advisor, John Bolton, is dangerous for American national security and potentially disastrous for the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace. We urge our supporters, and indeed all Americans, to condemn this choice.

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The White House says it wants to help Gaza. So it punitively cuts aid to desperate Gazans, adopts one-sided policies in Israel's favor – then blames the Palestinians for 'politicizing' humanitarian assistance.

Two conferences held last week underlined the Trump Administration’s combination of bad faith and ineptitude in addressing Gaza’s severe humanitarian crisis.

The first one, convened by the White House, was dubbed a "brainstorming session" on Gaza by Trump’s special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt. At the outset, Greenblatt enjoined participants to "leave all politics at the door" in order to help Gaza.

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers (3.19.18) - What does Trump mean?

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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 President Trump's statement: “we’ve taken Jerusalem off the table”; what the prospective May summit between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un means in Middle East terms; how replacing Tillerson with Mike Pompeo and appointing Gina Haspel to take over the CIA affects the Middle East; Trump's response to Russia's use of a nerve agent in the poisoning of British spies; and where Netanyahu is on these Trump acts and statements.

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Action Alert: Tell Your Senator to Vote Against the Confirmation of Mike Pompeo

Mike PompeoYesterday, President Trump announced his choice of former Republican Congressman and current CIA director Mike Pompeo to be his nominee for Secretary of State. This is a potentially catastrophic decision that could lead the U.S. to war against Iran and threaten Israel’s national security.

Pompeo is an ultra-hawk on Iran and fierce critic of the Iran nuclear deal. After Trump was elected in November 2016, Pompeo tweeted, "I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism." He has used his post as CIA Director to push for the demise of the agreement, and we expect him to continue to do so as Secretary of State. This is despite the continued support for the deal from numerous U.S. and Israeli security figures.

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Trump nominates Iran-hawk Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State

President Trump today fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and nominated CIA Director Mike Pompeo to succeed him in heading the State Department.

What do you need to know? Here are key takeaways from the shakeup at State, including links to recommended readings.

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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 Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's upcoming, unprecedented three-week visit to the US; whether there is an Israel angle to MbS's visions; Jason Greenblatt's opinion piece last week in the Washington Post which seemingly envisioned a future Hamas role in a US-led peace process; and Hamas's upcoming mass march toward Israel’s border fence planned for May 15, the seventieth anniversary of Israeli independence and of the Palestinian “nakba”.

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Senator Schumer: Tell the Truth About Settlements

Chuck Schumer

On March 5th, 2018, Senator Schumer stood before 18,000 AIPAC activists and told them what they wanted to hear: Israeli settlements in the West Bank are not an obstacle to peace. This ridiculous statement brought the AIPAC crowd to its feet, but it further damaged the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace.

As a seasoned politician, Senator Schumer knows that settlements are a chief obstacle to peace. Settlements are not only an obstacle to a two-state peace solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they are a tool that extremists use to torpedo two-states. Yet he chose to misrepresent the facts and pander to AIPAC.

Sign our petition! Ask Senator Schumer to tell the truth about the occupation, West Bank Settlements and Israeli-Palestinian peace.

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