On a wall at APN’s Washington office, there’s a Hanukkah poster that we produced years ago, which says, “It’s not about the oil, it’s about the light.” The idea was that the true miracle of Hanukkah was not the Maccabees finding an extra pint of oil, but their using it to generate the light needed at a time of severe adversity.
Today, still, it's all about the light.
Both in the United States and in Israel, we are facing ever increasing darkness in the public sphere, a growing cloud of ultra-nationalism, bigotry, and intolerance. Both here and there, we must increase the light to fight the darkness.
For me, one of the greatest sources of light in Israel is Shaqued Morag, the new, young, energetic, and charismatic leader of Israel’s Peace Now movement. She, her colleagues, Shalom Achshav’s volunteer activists, and the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who support the Israeli peace movement’s goal of two sovereign nations, Israel and Palestine, are a shining light and a beacon of hope.
Here in the U.S., it is incumbent upon us to be the light, to emulate and complement what Shaqued and her friends are doing in Israel, and to support them as they intensify their fight against the Israeli right and against the occupation.
Please turn up the light by reading Shaqued’s following letter and by joining me in generously donating to support her and her fellow Peace Now Israelis. I will match your donation, up to $15,000, through the eight days of Hanukkah.
There are times when my sheer frustration borders on the overwhelming, but the people of Shalom Achshav (Peace Now in Israel) and Americans for Peace Now (APN) are compelling sources of inspiration. I cannot abandon them. My name is Shaqued Morag and I am the new Executive Director of Peace Now.
Much has happened here in the short months since I became Executive Director, and I would like to tell you a bit about it. I’d like to share with you how I view my role at the helm of Israel’s preeminent peace movement, how I view Peace Now’s role in Israeli society, and how appreciative I am of the role that you play.
I took this position with humility. I have been a social justice and peace advocate for the better part of my life. I was fully aware of the thought, effort, sweat, tears, and blood – literally – that my predecessors have invested in making Peace Now into the leader of Israel’s peace movement.
I’m 34 years old and a ninth-generation descendant in Israel. I love Israel and I care about it deeply. And I know that Peace Now – as a movement and as a philosophy – is an integral part of the Israeli mosaic.
I came into Peace Now determined to
We face many roadblocks ahead. Peace negotiations are currently dormant, the unrest in Gaza keeps us on the brink of war, and for the past two years since the election of President Trump, an emboldened pro-settlement lobby has made unprecedented strides toward a one-state reality.
This is precisely the time for us to redouble our efforts, to assert our vision and our hope, and to challenge both Trump and Netanyahu as they collude to destroy prospects for future Israeli- Palestinian peace. We won’t let them destroy our future. The vision and quest for peace, security and normality of my fellow Israelis — Jews and Arabs — are stronger than self-indulgent politicians.
Now, we could not do what we do without the help of Americans for Peace Now, its staff, its activists and its donors. APN’s generous support enables us to continue our historical legacy of demonstrations, our West Bank tours for the Israeli public and diplomats, and our outreach efforts in the media and in the Knesset to remind our fellow Israelis every day of the costs of our government’s support for the settlements and its annexationist agenda.
The debate over our conflict with the Palestinians will again be front and center. This will be our time to equip the pro-two-state majority with the information and arguments to counter the onslaught of anti-peace voices seeking to excuse Israel’s lack of diplomatic initiative, the shrinking democratic space and government policies aimed at entrenching the occupation. We stand poised to take on the annexationist forces promoting an apartheid vision. With APN’s backing, we will be creating a more permanent presence on university campuses and in the Knesset.
Thanks to Americans for Peace Now, this past year we were able to expose the right’s shady dealings in the West Bank, funded by Israeli taxpayer money; to lead campaigns in the public square against the injustices of the government’s Gaza policy and the Nation-State Law; and to return to Palestinians their lands from the settlers of the Nativ Ha’Avot outpost near Bethlehem, while establishing a critical precedent against settlement construction on private Palestinian land.
In 2019, we will capitalize on our position as Israel’s preeminent peace movement, serve as the convener of progressive groups, and reach out to Palestinian citizens of Israel as natural allies in pursuit of peace and democracy. Americans for Peace Now stands with us in our efforts.
Please make your tax-deductible contribution to APN. Americans for Peace Now’s support is vital to us. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting them.
P.S. Quit now? Leave the field of battle to Bibi Netanyahu and Donald Trump? Not a chance. A two-state solution is not a concession; it is a matter of survival.
Shaqued Morag is the Executive Director of Peace Now since July 2018. A seasoned activist in Jerusalem, she
came to Peace Now after having served in senior positions in the Meretz party, including as the party’s acting
secretary-general, and as a longtime parliamentary adviser to MK Michal Rozin. She served as the community
coordinator in Jerusalem for Mahapach-Taghir, a grassroots Israeli Jewish-Palestinian organization for social
change, where she is now a member of the Executive Committee. Shaqued holds a B.A. in philosophy and cognitive
sciences at the Hebrew University and is currently completing her master’s thesis there in public