Dear Friend of APN,
One of the first lessons imparted by the Haggadah, the telling of the story of Passover, is that the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years before they could reach the promised land. The other lesson imparted is that this legacy commands Jews the world over to tell this story, every year, as they gather around the seder table.
We are storytellers.
This year, Americans for Peace Now is marking 40 years of working towards securing a just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike, and we are going to use this celebration as a chance to tell our story.
For four decades, APN has been bringing together Americans who are committed to the path to peace and supporting our Israeli partners, who are on the ground, every day, fighting for an end to the conflict that has been battering the lives of Israelis and Palestinians alike.
APN acts as both an interlocutor, bringing home fast breaking news about the peace movement in Israel, and an advocate, harnessing the power and energy of peace-seeking Americans who want to give voice to their concerns and their anger at the unending Occupation and the roadblocks to peace that have been hampering progress for over four decades.
You have been by our side for those 40 years, partners in peace, supporting the work of APN and Shalom Achshav. Together we have been marching, singing, advocating and fighting for the peace that all Israelis and Palestinians deserve. Together, we have been keeping the flame lit, the pressure on, and reminding those in power that abandoning the road to peace is not an option.
As we kick off this 40th anniversary year, we want to bring you some of the voices of our leaders, those who have been at the helm of the peace movement for these four decades. Our founding director, Mark Rosenblum. Debra DeLee, who worked tirelessly for over 20 years during the post-Oslo years to keep peace moving forward. Our board member, Aviva Meyer, who stepped in and took over at a moment when APN was in transition. And today’s CEO, Hadar Susskind, who is building a new movement for peace, with a new generation.
We also want you to meet some of our Israeli partners at Peace Now, whose daily work on the ground ensures that peace never slips from the agenda.
As you read our current-day stories, and once again relay the story of the Israelites who crossed the desert to freedom at this year’s seder table, please consider making a gift to APN to commemorate our legacy and empower our ongoing commitment to freedom and peace today.
Together, we are building a new movement, and telling a new story on the road to peace. We are grateful for your support over the past 40 years, which has gotten us to this day. And we are grateful for you as you help lead us into the next decades of peacebuilding and justice.
From all of us at APN, we send warmest wishes to you, your family and your friends for a happy and healthy Passover.
Americans for Peace Now
Read stories from:
Why Am I Here?
I have had a life-long love affair with Israel, and care deeply about its democratic nature and about peace and have long been affiliated with organizations that work on these issues. I’ve been a donor to Americans for Peace Now since 1999, when I was still the Associate Director of New Israel Fund. And almost immediately after I retired, I joined the APN Board of Directors.
So many people told me how surprised they were to see that after working for so long on the never-ending struggle for social justice and democracy in Israel, I still had enough energy and hope to jump right into the challenges inherent in the continuing struggle for peace and a two-state solution for Israel. For me, the answer is very simple: no peace, no social justice. The alternative is unthinkable.
And if that weren’t enough, when Debra DeLee, the long- time Executive Director of APN, retired, she asked if I would be willing, in addition to serving as Vice Chair of the Board, to lead the organization until we could hire her replacement. She promised it would be only three months. Of course, I said yes. And I enjoyed it! I wound up serving for 20 months and was proud to be at the helm of APN.
And then we struck gold. We were able to hire Hadar Susskind, our new President and CEO, who was the ideal next leader for APN. I was delighted to bring Hadar on board—whose love for Israel and determination to make it a stronger, more peaceful and just state matches my own.
I am flattered and happy to add my two cents to this letter. The subject of a two-state solution has gone on for longer than any of us expected and it is not for the faint of heart. But consider any alternative that you can imagine...and it is not acceptable. So I will stick with APN and the challenges we continue to bravely face. I hope you will too. Why? Because the only solution for those who want both a Jewish and a democratic Israel, however much longer it may take, is a two-state solution.
On behalf of both the board and staff of APN—and I’ve been both—I am deeply grateful for your past...and continuing support.
To sum up my time at APN: it’s all about the people.
I’m writing this a few days after 43 Republican senators voted to acquit Donald Trump. I’m thinking less about the cowardice of the elected officials who put party before country than about the remarkable democratic hearing managers, and particularly, Congressman Jamie Raskin. Because, in fact, Jamie Raskin embodies all the traits I so admire, respect and love about the APN Board of Directors, officers and staff: honesty, integrity, unfailing commitment, humor and courage.
In all my years at APN, during intense discussions of critically-important issues, we were never urged to avoid taking a position because it was too controversial, or likely to turn off donors, or just pushed the envelope too far. Decisions were made and positions were taken because they were the right thing to do. Testifying on the threats of settlement expansion before the UN Security Council. Boycotting settlement- made products. Urging President Obama to refrain from vetoing a UN resolution which simply reiterated US policy in support of two states. Testifying on behalf of—and successfully moving through Congress— conditioning US loan guarantees to Israel based on spending over the Green Line. Or even taking on the JNF for its campaign to evict Palestinians from their homes in the City of David to move settlers in.
In almost every instance, APN stood alone in these battles. Battles which we asked you, our supporters, to take on as well. My colleagues and I remain deeply grateful that so many of you joined us and boldly supported those efforts.
And what a gift it was to work side-by-side with our partners—our brothers and sisters in Shalom Achshav! They continue to inspire me. They are the true patriots of the state of Israel and they are my heroes.
So yes, it was, is and always will be all about the people. I can’t think of anyone better qualified to take APN into these challenging times than Hadar Susskind, who will lead boldly and courageously with our board, and joined by you, our partners in the journey ahead. Count me in!
I began my term as the Founder and first Director of Americans for Peace Now with the mindset of hope without delusion.
That hope was based, in part, on an electrifying event several months prior to the founding of Shalom Achshav in March 1978. I was visiting my family in Israel and attending a conference. With the help of Philip M. Klutznick—the distinguished community builder, diplomat, philanthropist, American Jewish leader, and father of our current Board Chair, Jim Klutznick—I was able to join the historic trek of President Anwar Sadat to Israel.
I had the honor of escorting Sadat as he walked somberly through Yad Vashem, standing by his side as he looked at the photographs of naked Jews being shoved into Nazi gas chambers. He stopped, lowered his head slightly, patted his face with a handkerchief, and rested his head on my shoulder as he shed tears.
He apologized and said he was “spent” after his tour at Yad Vashem. He inscribed in a special guestbook: “May God guide our steps toward peace. Let us end all suffering for mankind.” President Sadat thanked me profusely for my time and gave me his personal contact information. I had the honor of being in touch with him a number of times before his tragic assassination on October 6, 1981.
The founding of Shalom Achshav, several months later, was a calculated attempt to help salvage the 1978 Camp David negotiations, which led to the signing of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in 1979.
Today, Shalom Achshav continues to try to turn the gruesome into the awesome, and combines a sense of urgency with endurance in helping work toward a Palestinian state that lives in peace next to Israel. Wanting to extend that partnership across the ocean, I founded Americans for Peace Now 40 years ago to organize like- minded American Jews to fight for that peaceful future for our Israeli and Palestinian partners and continue the long path to peace for generations to come.
For 40 years, Americans for Peace Now has been working towards a single goal—Peace. Now.
We have been working for a just and lasting solution to the conflict and a better future for Israeli and Palestinians alike. Those 40 years have seen high moments and low moments. There were times when progress felt tangible and solutions seemed visible, if still off on the horizon.
As I write this, Israel is readying for its fourth election in two years. I don’t know which party will win the most seats, nor do I know who will sit in the Prime Minister’s chair. What I do know is that whichever party emerges victorious and whoever leads the next government will face a fundamental question: what is your vision for the future of Israel?
We are at an inflection point. There are those, including unfortunately many in leadership in the Israeli government, who are devoted to the vision of Greater Israel—the idea that Israel and Israel alone will control the land and the people from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. They will sacrifice democracy on the altar of ethno-nationalism.
But this is not the only option. We all face a choice. My choice, my calling, the reason that I came to Americans for Peace Now, is because I believe not in a Greater Israel, but in a better Israel.
I believe that, together, we can build a movement for peace. We can build a movement based on justice and equality. We may not be at the next handshake moment. It may be just around the corner, or it may lie years down the road. But that moment, that better future, is out there. We don’t know exactly what form it may take, but we know that, in order to get there, we need a movement.
Together, we are building that movement that will move us forward towards peace and justice. This is our vision for the future. And I am grateful that you are a part of it.
The past and present directors of Shalom Achshav celebrate 40 years of partnership with APN.
Shortly after Peace Now’s establishment in the late 1970s, a group of dedicated American peace activists created a small organization to support Israel’s peace movement. Although Americans Friends of Peace Now eventually became Americans for Peace Now, the friendship has only grown stronger over the years.
Since 1981, APN has supported our struggle against the occupation, against the Israeli government’s unnecessary use of force, in support of diplomacy and peace, in support of Palestinian rights and Israeli democracy.
APN has been with us every step of the way, with utter dedication, and in many forms. APN’s advocacy in Washington complemented our efforts to influence Israel’s political establishment. APN’s outreach to America’s Jewish community and to the US media echoed our efforts to educate and persuade the Israeli public to support peace. APN took our message and our spirit to campuses, synagogues and churches throughout the United States, to Capitol Hill, the State Department and the National Security Council. They worked to change hearts and minds in America just as we did in Israel.
APN is a financial lifeline for us. Without its financial support, without donations that APN sends us— donations from people like you—we would not be able to maintain a staff, organize demonstrations, to document West Bank settlement activity, and to take the settlers and the government to court and win.
Now, more than ever before, our close friendship with APN is crucial to our ability to build a constituency for peace in Israel and to fight the destructive efforts of the Israeli government and the settlers to deny us and our Palestinian neighbors the peace that we so need and deserve.
On the 40th year of its existence, we are honored to thank APN, and to thank you for the unyielding support. Thank you for supporting us, through thick and thin. Thank you for your partnership. Thank you for believing in us and believing in peace.