APN to Congress: Reject Pro-Settlement Legislation

Washington, DC – APN Today released the following statement regarding pro-settlements legislation in the House and Senate:

“As a pro-Israel, pro-peace organization and the sister organization to Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), Israel’s veteran grassroots, Zionist peace movement, Americans for Peace Now (APN) rejects and condemns efforts in Congress, backed by AIPAC, to legislate U.S. support for Israeli settlements. We urge Congress to recognize the danger and folly of this approach and to hold firm in its well-established support for Israel and its equally well-established refusal to endorse Israeli settlements – and to reject HR 825 and efforts to pass similar language in the Senate.

"We commend Congress for its longstanding support and defense of Israel’s security, Israel’s economy, Israel’s position in international organizations and the international community, Israel’s right to self-defense, and Israel’s reputation as a nation that seeks peace. We likewise commend Congress for standing firm for decades and refusing to affirmatively support and defend Israel’s policy of building settlements in the occupied territories – a policy that undermines Israel’s security, erodes Israel’s position in the international community and belies Israel’s rhetorical commitment to peace and the two-state solution. And without the two-state solution, Israel’s future as a democracy and a Jewish state is in very real jeopardy.

"Today, Congress appears—disastrously – to be shifting course. This shift comes in the form of AIPAC-backed legislation in the House (HR 825) a version of which is now also in play in the Senate, in the form of an amendment to a key trade bill (S. 995), being marked up in the Senate Finance Committee today. Backers of this legislation characterize it as simply being about pressing U.S. trade partners to refrain from supporting or engaging in anti-Israel boycotts-divestment-sanctions (BDS) activities.

"In reality, this legislation is equally, if not more, about shielding Israeli settlements from pressure, seeking to codify in U.S. law the view that there is no distinction between Israel and the settlements. AIPAC and members of Congress who support this legislation are, in effect, adopting a view that is the mirror image to the one held by BDS activists and advocates, who insist that there is, in fact, no difference between the settlements and Israel.

"APN unequivocally opposes the efforts of the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement to promote activism targeting Israel. At the same time, APN and Shalom Achshav strongly support and encourage activism and policies that draw a clear line at the 1967 border (aka “the Green Line”), targeting settlements and the occupation. Such activism and policies are the only real challenge to the global BDS movement, demonstrating that supporting Israel need not be synonymous with supporting settlements. Such activism and policies are unequivocally pro-Israel and pro-peace.

"These efforts by AIPAC and some in Congress will not insulate Israel from pressure over settlements. Rather, they will only put the U.S., along with Israel, further out of step with virtually the entire international community, including close allies of both the U.S. and Israel who are out of patience with Israeli governments who give lip-service to the two-state solution while forging ahead with actions on the ground that disclose a Greater Israel agenda. Likewise, this legislation will only fuel BDS targeting Israel, energizing activists – including those with a genuinely anti-Israel agenda – by bolstering their argument that settlements and Israel are one and the same."