On this Rosh Hashanah, we wish you a year of light, hope, and peace

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Tonight, as we hear the ram's horn, we are called to review our individual and communal experience in the year that passed.

As we look back, this past year has been a particularly dark one.

Secretary Kerry’s peace initiative crumbled. Against the background of a diplomatic lull violence erupted after the kidnapping and murder of four teens, three Israelis and a Palestinian, and the violence triggered a war, from which both Israel and Gaza emerged devastated and desperate.

So it is with relief that we can turn our faces forward, and place our hope in a fresh beginning. In this spirit we remind ourselves that while darkness encompasses and blinds you, it takes only a tiny candle to banish the dark and see.  

We hope, at this time of new beginnings, you will choose to light a candle, and to recommit yourself to the cause of peace and to the work of APN and Shalom Achshav.

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APN/Peace Now in the News: July 18-July 25, 2014

Sun Sentinel - July 21, 2014
Rabbi Bruce Warshal praises APN and other peace groups for not losing hope
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/florida-jewish-journal/opinion/fl-jjps-warshal-0723-20140721,0,5120809.story

Global Research (online) - July 22, 2014
Peace Now mentioned in article about attacks on Israel's peace movement
http://www.globalresearch.ca/israeli-peace-movement-members-shouted-down-and-physically-attacked/5392698

The NY Jewish Week - July 23, 2014
APN's statement on Gaza War quoted
http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/new-york/fault-lines-open-civilian-deaths-mount

LA Jewish Journal - July 23, 2014
APN's David Pine quoted on Gaza War
http://www.jewishjournal.com/cover_story/article/los_angeles_reaction_to_gazan_fighting_ranges_from_anxiety_to_empathy

Jews and Muslims join in fast for peace around the world

In the past month, the Jewish and Muslim communities have been shattered by the terrorist killings of four boys: Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer, Eyal Yifrah, and Muhammed Abu Khdeir.

On Tuesday, July 15th, the Jewish and Muslim calendars are united in a day of fast:
Traditionally, the 17th of Tammuz is a fast day commemorating the breach of the walls of Jerusalem before the destruction of the second temple, and beginning the 3 weeks leading up to the observance of Tisha B'Av.  The 17th of Tammuz is a minor fast day, lasting only from dawn to dusk. The fasts of Ramadan are also dawn until dusk fasts, done daily through the ninth month of the Islamic calendar (which this year began on the evening of June 28th). It is a holiday of sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate (APN's intern, Hamze Awadeh, wrote about what Ramadan means to him)
For both traditions, this is a day designated for soul-searching, an opportunity for people to take responsibility, and
for self-reflection, communal purification, and repentance.

Across the United States, in Israel and the West Bank, and internationally, Jews and Muslims are gathering together to observe this day in the hope of ending the cycle of bloodshed. Although it is not an answer, it is a hopeful gesture. We encourage you to participate in this day of reflection.

APN/Peace Now in the News: June 20 - June 27, 2014

The Forward - June 24, 2014
APN expresses understanding for PC-USA's divestment move
http://forward.com/articles/200647/after-presbyterian-win-bds-advocates-trumpet-dives/?p=all

The Third Way (Mitchell Plitnick's blog) - June 23, 2014
Reprint of APN's press release on PC (USA)'s divestment decision
http://mitchellplitnick.com/2014/06/23/americans-for-peace-now-statement-on-pcusa-divestment/

APN/Peace Now in the News: June 3 - June 13, 2014

The Forward - June 3, 2014
APN's Lara Friedman quoted on the Palestinian unity government and U.S. Funding
http://forward.com/articles/199414/us-warms-to-palestinian-unity-as-israel-fumes/?p=all

New York Times - June 12, 2014
APN's Ori Nir letter to the editor commenting on Dani Dayan op-ed
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/13/opinion/abandon-the-two-state-solution.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&_r=0

Arutz 7 - June 8, 2014
Peace Now's Yartiv Oppenheimer exchanges Twitter jabs with settler leader Dani Dayan
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/181472#.U5tTPfldU71

San Diego Jewish World - June 12, 2014
APN condemns Israel's approval of 1,084 homes (reprinting of press release)
http://www.sdjewishworld.com/2014/06/12/apn-condemns-israels-approval-1084-homes/


Reclaiming Israel's Future

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Logo250(6/16/14) Americans for Peace Now (APN) is proud to announce the launch of our new campaign, "Reclaiming Israel’s Future." The objective of this campaign is to re-focus energy and attention on the challenges that Israelis must face in order to secure a future as a democracy and a Jewish state.

This campaign comes in the context of the failure – or the pause of indefinite duration – of the U.S.-backed peace effort. Despite the sincere efforts of Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama, their recent initiative fell apart because, like so many efforts before it, it morphed from a political process who purpose was to resolve the conflict, into a political process that simply continued for its own sake. Along the way, this process was exploited, as has happened so often in the past, to provide cover for developments on the ground that are antithetical to any negotiated, two-state resolution of the conflict.

APN’s mission is the achievement of peace and security for Israel, and to ensure Israel’s viability as a Jewish state and a democracy. While we believe that only negotiations can deliver a final resolution to this conflict, in the form of a negotiated two-state solution, we do not believe in process for its own sake. We hope that serious negotiations can be launched again in the future, but we will not sit by, waiting and hoping for a new process to be launched. We believe that now more than ever, it is time to face unflinchingly and without apology the hard truths about Israeli policies and actions that perpetuate this conflict and seek to prevent its resolution. In this way, we are taking action now to Reclaim Israel’s Future – before it is too late.

This is a six-week initiative. Each week, we will focus on a different core issue in this conflict: settlements, Jerusalem, borders and security, hatred and incitement, issues pertaining to the conflicting narratives of Israelis and Palestinians, and a final week that looks to the future and talks about what we can do to support a two-state solution. In the coming weeks, look for notices from us about new resources and activities related to our campaign, including opportunities to take action. Make sure to read our landmark statement, "On the 47th Anniversary of the Occupation: Time for Hard Truths, Tough Actions."

Please check our website often; you can also keep track of the campaign by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter.


Week 1: Settlements 

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Week 2: Jerusalem

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Week 3: Borders/Security

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Week 4: Hatred/Incitement

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Week 5: Recognition & Narratives

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Week 6: Moving Ahead

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Dror Moreh and the Gatekeepers

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Dror Moreh, an award-winning Israeli filmmaker, recently wrote a letter exclusively for APN underscoring the importance of the work we are doing.  His most recent film, The Gatekeepers, was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 2013 Academy Awards. Dror Moreh wrote this letter for Americans for Peace Now, because the only reasonable way to resolve the conflict is a two-state solution. And that's the message former Shin Bet directors make in his documentary The Gatekeepers. The Gatekeepers won several awards, including Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Documentary/Non-Fiction Film.

Read Dror Moreh's important letter here

Listen here for an APN briefing call with Moreh.

The three video clips below are interviews of Moreh talking about his work.

The Siren Call of Unilateral Withdrawal/Annexation

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With Israeli-Palestinian efforts at an impasse and immediate-term hopes for progress toward any agreement fading, the appeal of new ideas is understandable. This is no doubt why discussion of Israeli unilateral options—generally in terms of unilateral “withdrawals” from [or annexations of parts of] the West Bank—is in the air. In this context, it’s essential to distinguish between ideas that are genuinely new and constructive, and ideas that simply perpetuate the avoidance and denial adopted by successive Israeli governments. The former are welcome.  The latter are predicated on the belief that catering to the settlers is preferable to confronting them, even if doing so comes at the expense of the best interests of Israel. This latter approach is antithetical to peace and a two-state solution, now or in the future.


They Say, We Say: "Why shouldn’t Israel be able to build in areas that everyone – including the Palestinians - knows Israel will keep in any future peace agreement?"
They Say, We Say: The Gaza experience proves that "land for peace" doesn't work


The Illusion of the Unilateral Solution
(Shaul Arieli, Walla.co.il, 5/27/14)
Lapid: Unilateral annexations will lead coalition to collapse (YNet, 5/27/14)
Are we about to witness a new Israeli unilateral initiative? (Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher, 5/27/14)
One state, two states (Jerusalem Post editorial, 5/18/14)
Paved with Good Intentions, Lined with Settlements (Lara Friedman, Open Zion, 3/14/13)
Killing the Two-State Solution Through the Suspension of Disbelief (Lara Friedman, Huffington Post, 3/7/13)
The Siren Call of Israeli Unilateralism (Lara Friedman, the Daily Beast, 6/18/12)

Israel's security depends on peace!

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"I've been in this game for most of my adult life. In the end, the security forces have to do the hard work, sometimes also the dirty and unpleasant work. But the job of the security forces is to create the conditions so that the political echelon can do something with it, and the quiet that was achieved in recent years was an opportunity that the political echelon should not have missed. So you can call Abu Mazen a peace rejectionist. I say that he is not a peace rejectionist. He is not an easy partner for peace, but let's admit the truth--are we easy partners?"  -Yuval Diskin, former head of the Shin Bet, in a 2013 interview in Yediot Ahronot by Dror Moreh, director of the documentary film "The Gatekeepers."

Yuval Diskin is one of the six living heads of the Shin Bet, Israel's security force, who were interviewed in the 2013 Israeli film the Gatekeepers. All six have come to state the obvious: Israel will be secure only when there  is peace with the Palestinians.

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