Today is Giving Tuesday, and I am writing to ask you to consider donating to Americans for Peace Now and to Israel’s Peace Now movement, two organizations that work together to advance the liberal values championed by the founders of both the U.S. and Israel.
I just returned from Israel after an exciting week with APN’s annual Israel study tour.
During my stay there, I had dozens of conversations with progressive Israeli friends. All of them – in one way or another, sometimes basking in schadenfreude – welcomed me to their club.
For almost a decade, liberal Israelis have felt as if they had been hijacked by a democratically-elected leader who has very little respect for democracy, who treats the media as an enemy, who believes in paranoid conspiracy theories, who systematically manipulates the public’s fears for political gains, who consistently prefers demagoguery and spin over the truth, and who incites sectors of the public against each other.
Now, an Israeli friend told me, we’re in the same boat. And we must row in sync.
While some Israeli liberals have withdrawn from the public sphere, many are determined to continue fighting, to fight for an Israel that lives up to its founders’ values as articulated in its 1948 Proclamation of Independence.
In Israel, I met with organizers of the Israeli-Palestinian Women Wage Peace march, who mobilized thousands to march for two weeks from Israel’s northern border to the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem, demanding peace with the Palestinians. Together with participants in APN’s Israel Study Tour, I met with members of a peace movement in the south, which mobilizes Israelis to demand a diplomatic resolution for Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Our Study Tour group visited a bilingual Hebrew-Arab school, in which Jewish and Arab students study together. On the day we met with the school’s principal and students, parents demonstrated against a Haifa coffee shop that banned its Arab workers from speaking Arabic in the workplace.
And then, on the last day of our tour, we met with Peace Now’s staff and several of its many young activists. They showed us how they rally support for the two-state solution and how they expose the Israeli government’s efforts to thwart Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Last week, one of our tour participants wrote to me: "the meeting with the 'kids' at Peace Now was a wonderful and hopeful high note on which to end. I wish we could clone them and involve them here in the four years that lie ahead."
There’s no need for cloning. What we do need to do, and can do, is what Israel’s Peace Now and Americans for Peace Now have done for more than three decades: Work together, across the ocean, Americans and Israelis together, to fight the darkness both here and there.
Now, more than ever before, your donation can help American and Israeli progressives come together and advance our common values.