Friedman Lights Menorah at the Western Wall and Whitewashes the Occupation

One week after Donald Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem – which triggered unrest in Israel, the Occupied Territories, and the broader Middle East – Ambassador David Friedman was stoking the flames. At a menorah lighting at the Western Wall, Friedman kvelled in Hebrew, “It is a huge honor for me and I am extremely excited to be standing here at this holy site and to light the second Chanukah candle in Jerusalem, the holy city and the capital of the State of Israel.”

Friedman’s emotional visit to the Western Wall, in his official capacity as US ambassador, added a religious dimension to Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It also provided reason to think that the United States government was for the first time accepting Israeli sovereignty in part of East Jerusalem, which Israel conquered in 1967 and Palestinians desire as their capital in a negotiated peace deal with Israel.

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American Jews shouldn't take their cue from an Israeli left which is veering rightwards and indoctrinated by the false slogan of an 'eternal and undivided Jerusalem'. Trump's move sabotaged peace, and we U.S. Jews must push back against it

If President Donald Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem had a silver lining, for me it is this: many progressive, pro-Israel American Jews saw Trump’s gambit as the narrowly self-serving, reckless move it was, and rejected it

For this reason, I read with great interest the recent Haaretz op-ed by Rabbi Eric Yoffie, a former president of the Union for Reform Judaism (U.S. Liberal Jews Read It Wrong. Trump’s Call on Jerusalem Was Good for the Peace Camp).

An ardent Trump critic, Yoffie’s "default position is to resist every word on foreign affairs that comes out of [Trump’s] mouth." So what brought Yoffie to conclude that President Trump’s new Jerusalem policy is “generally responsible”?

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I'm writing this as an American and a Christian


The festivals of light, in the various traditions, fall during the darkest time of the year - or so it seems to this Christian on Christmas Eve. The darkness, of course, is what makes the light shine brightest. In a similar way, hope has its truest power when things appear to be hopeless. Hope is a choice.

My train of thought, I admit, is running along the track of contemporary desolation. I am writing this letter on behalf of Americans for Peace Now. Peace Now is the heroic - and deeply patriotic - Israeli organization that has steadfastly stood for peace between Israelis and Palestinians for a generation. Recent turns in the old story, taken in Washington and Jerusalem both, have made the struggle for such peace seem more difficult than ever, but that only makes it more precious.

The end is as clear as ever, and so are the means: a two-state solution arrived at through agreed negotiations, enshrined in a secure Israel living side by side with a fully recognized Palestine, formed in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Good will, self-interested mutuality, respect by each side for the absolutes of the other, arrived at through compromise - these remain the elements of peace, and they are still possible.

As if the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians were not searing enough, the recent intervention from abroad - the U.S. administration’s feckless short-circuiting of final status negotiations by its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital - has complicated the peace process immeasurably. That defines the darkness of this moment. But that also defines the fresh importance of Peace Now, whose commitment has never depended on a shallow optimism that cannot survive when intolerant religious fanatics of whatever stripe seem ascendant. As a Christian, I am especially aware of the negative influence of Jesus-proclaiming American zealots whose End Time fantasies and Biblical literalism pre-empt both Israeli democracy and Palestinian nationhood. That such voices are heard in the White House only makes their rebuttal the more urgent.

That is why this is the time, more than ever, to support both Peace Now, and its U.S.-based sister organization Americans for Peace Now. Peace Now most emphatically affirms the Jewish and democratic character of the State of Israel. That means, with equal emphasis, that Peace Now opposes the Occupation of the Palestinians. Peace Now continues its crucial work of tracking and opposing the ongoing settlement project in the West Bank, especially when settlers seize land owned by Palestinians and illegally build on it. And Peace Now brings its power to the streets, as it did last summer, convening a throng inTel Aviv’s Rabin Square to reject the Netanyahu government’s disastrous anti-peace policies.

Peace Now receives nearly half of its funding from Americans for Peace Now. APN’s informative website ( offers a wealth of information and analysis for Americans to think more clearly - and pragmatically - about Israel’s challenges and about the role that our nation should - and still can - play as a peacemaker.

I am writing this letter as an American and as a Christian - at a time when detached uninvolvement, whether at home or abroad, amounts to a gross failure of civic and moral responsibility. Our religious and political texts; our doctrines and policies; our triumphalist dreams; our assumption of national innocence; our habits of racial and religious contempt; even our naive wishes for an easy peace - these are threads in the Holy Land’s still untied knot. Historically part of the Israeli-Palestinian problem, we are obliged now to be part of its solution. We must choose hope.

That is the invitation we have from Israel’s Peace Now and its U.S. sister organization. Please join me in supporting both Shalom Achshav and APN. Please make a generous tax-deductible contribution to Americans for Peace Now. Even in the present darkness, this is what the light of the possible peace looks like. Please commend Peace Now to everyone you know - now more than ever.

Thank you.
James Carroll

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APN's Statement Regarding Today's UN Vote on Trump's Jerusalem Move

Today's vote by the United Nations General Assembly, rebuking President Trump's irresponsible move to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, underscores Trump's flawed understanding of diplomacy and the heavy price the US pays when it subjugates a calculated foreign policy and national security interests to domestic politics.

The UNGA vote – 128 countries voting against Trump's move, with only 9 in favor and 35 abstaining – is a slap in the face of the US, a reality check for Israel, but also a welcome endorsement of the two-state solution and of diplomacy as a tool for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is a rebuke of Trump's unilateralism and a bitter blow our country's global leadership role. "This is the price we pay for President Trump acting on a whim and reversing a fifty-year-old policy carefully implemented by past presidents, Democrats and Republicans alike," said Debra DeLee, APN's President and CEO.

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New report from Peace Now: "The Truth about the Nativ Ha’Avot Outpost"

On September 1st, 2016, the Supreme Court ordered that 13 illegal houses the were built on private Palestinian land in the outpost of Nativ Ha’avot will be dismantled by March 6th, 2018. Since this ruling, the settlers have imposed tremendous pressure on the government to resist the implementation of the ruling. They issued a public campaign full of misleading information, inaccuracies and downright lies, in order to raise public support for their struggle.

Peace Now, which petitioned the court together with the Palestinian landowners, sets the record straight in the following “Nativ Ha’Avot File” – replete with all the facts and proof regarding the land grab and the illegality of the outpost.

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Kenneth Marcus, President Trump’s nominee for Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights in the Department of Education, has made it his mission to suppress speech critical of Israel on campuses by labeling it “anti-Semitic.”

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions is due to vote on Marcus’s confirmation today, December 13, 2017. In keeping with our defense of free speech related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and our commitment to opening the debate on this issue in American society, Americans for Peace Now strongly opposes Marcus and calls on senators to vote against his confirmation.

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Just in time for Chanukah - A terrific book and a terrific offer!

For a donation of $108 or more, APN will send you "City on a Hilltop: American Jews and the Israeli Settler Movement", by Dr. Sara Hirschhorn, who has written a Chanukah message for APN below.

Please note that all but $30 of your donation will be tax deductible and please be sure to put “Hilltop” in the comment field. We can send it to you or to the Chanukah-gift recipient of your choice, which you should also indicate in the comment field.

This Chanukah, it may seem to many of Americans for Peace Now’s supporters that the light of peace has snuffed out in the region. Will all the stakeholders somehow be able to burn the midnight oil to achieve a peace deal? Can the beacons of liberalism, democracy, and justice outshine forces of illiberalism, racism, and despair in Israel/Palestine? It seems like we may truly need a miracle to save the two state-solution this year.

On the 50th anniversary of the 1967 War.

Many of us have watched with consternation as the current U.S. administration (with a new cast of characters in the White House that have long been associated with the right-wing) has changed enduring policies regarding the status of Jerusalem and possibly the settlements question. Yet, the story of American Jews and the Israeli Settler Movement is one far deeper than a small circle advising the sitting president over the past few months. Iit is the saga of over 60,000 American Jews who chose to leave comfortable lives in the United States to settle at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict and make history over the past half-century. This Chanukah, we need to listen to scholars and policy-makers who can shed new light on these pressing issues for Israelis and Palestinians.



Dr. Sara Yael Hirschhorn is the University Research Lecturer in Israel Studies, Faculty of Oriental Studies and the Sidney Brichto Fellow, at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University of Oxford

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Resist the policies of Netanyahu and Trump

It took Donald Trump less than a year. Now – after setting ablaze every sensitive issue in American public life and after alienating some of our closest international allies – he has tossed a firebomb into Jerusalem, the most combustible place on earth.

For those who had illusions about his ability to strike what he calls "the ultimate deal," Trump’s unilateral, reckless and diplomatically useless recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital serves as a bitter reality check.

Since Trump’s announcement last week, I’ve heard many doomsday expressions. The hyperbole, as well as the cycle of disappointment, violence and bloodshed make it easy to succumb to "hope fatigue."

Please read the following letter I’ve written for Americans for Peace Now about the remedy for such fatigue - it is being mailed now to tens of thousands of American households - and please consider including APN in your end-of-year giving.

If APN represents your voice, as it does mine, please consider joining me in making a generous year-end donation.

In peace,

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers (12.11.17) - In the aftermath of Trump’s Jerusalem declaration


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 Arab and Muslim reactions to President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem; some interesting responses from independent-minded Israelis and others; what everyone is fighting over and what "Alpher's Jerusalem"looks like; what it might look like if the Palestinian chief negotiator declared, “the two-state solution is over” and Palestinians begin to seek Israeli citizenship in a one-state solution.

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On December 7th, 2017, APN hosted former US consul General in Jerusalem, Jacob (Jake) Walles. Ambassador Walles spoke about the repercussions of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his decision to start preparations for transferring America’s Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  

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