APN sent the following written testimony to the platform drafting committees of the Republican and Democratic parties for consideration as they draft the portion of their platforms that addresses Israel and the Middle East:
Americans for Peace Now (APN) is an American Jewish, Zionist organization. Our mission is to educate the American public and its leadership about the critical importance of supporting and adopting policies which will lead to comprehensive, durable, Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab peace, based on a two-state solution – guaranteeing both peoples security, and consistent with U.S. national interests. APN is also the proud sister organization of Shalom Achshav (Hebrew for “Peace Now”), Israel's preeminent peace movement.
We believe that it is important that the platform of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party articulate core U.S. interests and priorities in the Middle East, including with respect to Israel and the Palestinians. We believe both parties can and should use their respective platforms to articulate fundamental truths and principles which – consistent with U.S. interests, values, and national security – we all should hold to be self-evident. Specifically, the platform should reflect the following principles:
- Unshakeable support for Israel’s security. The U.S. should maintain its unwavering, non-partisan commitment to Israel’s security, including to maintaining Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME), even as conditions and threats change in the region.
- Staunch commitment to pursuing peace. America’s longstanding commitment to the achievement of Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab peace must continue, recognizing that pursuing and achieving peace is the best guarantor of security for Israel, can deny extremists a potent rallying tool, and can contribute to stabilizing the region.
- Unequivocal affirmation of the two-state solution. The two-state solution – a solution which ends the occupation that began in 1967 and results in two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and with security – is the only viable option for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the only path to Israel’s normalizing relations with other Arab states. The only alternative to the two-state solution is continued violence and bloodshed.
- Categorical rejection of violence, incitement and creation of facts on the ground which undermine the two-state solution. Violence and incitement are serious security challenges and obstacles to Israeli-Palestinian peace and Israeli-Arab normalization. Combating this problem must be a priority in U.S. bilateral relations and regional policy in the Middle East and around the world. Political grievances, claims of historical injustices, or ideological disagreements cannot justify violence, nor are they an excuse for incitement to hatred or violence, or for discrimination. At the same time, the United States must also continue to reject actions by both Israelis and Palestinians which create facts on the ground that undermine the two-state outcome.
- Standing up for Israel. The U.S must continue to stand against unfair criticism or treatment of Israel, ensuring that it does so in ways that are consistent with the core U.S. value of freedom of speech, as guaranteed by the U.S. constitution.