Dear friend of APN,
The past few days have been incredibly difficult. Bibi and his coalition have moved forward with their
judicial coup, and Israel has moved into a very sad and scary situation. As I said on Monday, “While we saw the
trainwreck coming, it’s still horrific to see the carnage.” We knew this was possible. It hurts anyway. It’s
painful to see what’s happening in Israel, a country that we love, a country that we want to believe
Over the past 48 hours or so, our staff and board have found catharsis in sharing our thoughts, in grappling
with this situation together instead of sitting and stewing alone with our thoughts. We’ve found comfort in
community, in feeling this communal loss, and we’ve found strength in our communal commitment and
And you are part of our community.
Dear Friend of APN,
Today marks my third anniversary as President and CEO of Americans for Peace Now. These three years have seen a change in government here in the United States and “The Change Government” (and a few others) in Israel. We’ve seen threats of annexation, promises of peace that turned out to be the signing of trade deals, and tragically, a great deal of violence and death.
But we’ve also seen almost 5 months of protests, with hundreds of thousands of Israelis taking to the streets in opposition to Netanyahu’s judicial coup. The protest movement, for all its imperfections, is a sign of hope.
We at Americans for Peace Now have taken that hope, that willingness to stand up and speak out, and brought it here to the United States. Starting in January we organized and mobilized to speak out against this government of fascists, felons, and fundamentalists. You joined us and together we made your voices heard-- whether at the Israeli embassy in Washington DC, at the Consulate in New York City, in front of the White House, or when Bezalel Smotrich came to town.
Of course it’s not only about the in-person protests. Our voices are heard in Congress, in State Houses and at the State Department, and in the White House. And guess what? There are people who not only hear you, they are listening.
More and more leaders in our community and our country are understanding that there must be change. There is hope for a better future for Israelis and Palestinians. Hope for peace. Hope for justice. Hope for equality and prosperity. And our job is to take those grains of hope and nurture them until they ripen into action and results.
But we can’t do it alone. We don’t do it alone. We do it with your allyship, together, as a movement of people seeking peace and justice. So today, as I reflect on my three years at APN, I want to thank you for being partners in this movement that we are building. I promise you that I will keep nurturing that hope and fighting for a better future.
When the APN trip to Israel-Palestine, originally planned for last November, was postponed, little did we know that by rescheduling for early March we would be arriving in the middle of the largest protest movement ever seen in Israel.
It was powerful to join the hundreds of thousands of Israelis in what has become a weekly, and now even daily, show of anger and protest against the ultra-right-wing Netanyahu government. We also went to the weekly Sheikh Jarrah protest, which took place down the block from our hotel, only to quickly turn back in the face of police violence including the use of Skunk Water and water cannons that left protesters battered and bloody.
The recent Israeli election resulted in what will likely be the most right-wing government to ever take office. This, combined with the prospect of Republican gains in Congress, may have alarming consequences concerning Americans' right to express dissent.
In the past seven years, 34 states passed laws or implemented executive orders penalizing boycotts of Israel. These laws are, in large part, the outcome of a close and troubling relationship between the Israeli and U.S. right-wing. Alarmingly, Republican state legislators have begun using these laws as a template to stifle dissent on other issues. Legislation has now been introduced in 15 states penalizing boycotts of the fossil fuel and firearms industries. Four of those states have passed such bills into law. At the end of the month, the conservative lobbying group ALEC will propose legislation for states to enact at a closed-door summit, which would protect all businesses from boycotts. With the shifts taking place in both governments, and with ALEC's new "model legislation," which of my constitutionally protected political freedoms will be next on the chopping block?
Yesterday, Israelis went to the polls for the fifth time in under four years. As with the previous rounds, I followed the results with trepidation. It's too early to know yet exactly what Israel's next coalition government will look like, but what we can see now does not bode well for Israel's future.
The politician who will put together the next governing coalition will shape the character of public life in the country and determine its future as a democracy and as a member of the family of nations.
According to initial election results available as I write this article, shortly after the polls closed, that politician may again be Benjamin Netanyahu, the man who has dominated Israeli politics for the past two decades.
Israel is a multi-party system with a 120-seat parliament, the Knesset. To form a government coalition, a Knesset member (typically the leader of the largest party) must cobble together a coalition of parties with a combined total of at least 61 Knesset seats.
*This op-ed ran in Haaretz on July 7, 2022. Read the original HERE.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaking on Wednesday. Image source: Haaretz.
Everyone likes ice cream. And everyone believes that they support peace. It’s just a question of what that
peace looks like. And in the case of the American Jewish community, and American political leaders, the vast
majority of people will tell you that the peace that they support is a two-state solution, with Israel and
Palestine living side-by-side as independent nations. Sounds good, right?
But alas, while many of our national organizations and political leaders espouse their belief in peace and two states, when it moves from the realm of the theoretical into the practical, when someone has the nerve to point out that in the two-state solution, one of those states is Palestine, then things get “complicated.” And, of course, “complicated” is a polite code-word for “I have no good answer for why I suspend my erstwhile values and support endless illegal occupation, but I would still like to call myself progressive.”
A two-state solution isn’t the only possible option for Israeli-Palestinian peace, but it is the one with the
broadest support. But let’s be clear. If you (honestly) support two states, that means supporting the creation of a
viable, independent Palestine. And where do you think that is going to be? Hint, it isn’t Uganda. In order for that
thing that you theoretically support (a 2SS) to happen, the Occupation has to end. In order for that to happen, we
must be clear that the Occupied Territories are not Israel.
You know who did just that? Ben & Jerry’s. That’s right, an ice cream company has, at considerable cost,
used its voice and its business to remind people that the Occupied Territories are not Israel. They were
clear and honest about what they believe. They support Israel, and they oppose the Occupation.