A flawed but compelling narrative has taken root in the debate over SodaStream. It's the story of the politically moderate Israeli businessman building bridges to peace by providing Palestinians good employment. What could be the problem with that?

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This week, Alpher discusses the flood of policy statements from the most senior spokespersons on every side; whether Abbas is making concessions; Kerry's remarks about the consequences for Israel of not reaching an agreement; Indyk's statement in a phone briefing to American Jewish leaders that the upcoming framework agreement would address the right of Jews who fled Arab countries; and the issue of public attitudes toward the peace process in both Israel and the Palestinian Authority and whether they are changing.

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Press Release: SOTU Underscores Obama's Commitment to Middle East Peace, Security

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In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama addressed in detail the issues that are at the heart of APN's mission and activities.

APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee offered the following comments on the address:

"In his State of the Union -- his annual address to Congress and the American people highlighting the most important issues and priorities on the nation's agenda -- the President rightly singled out for special mention his Administration's efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 'As we speak,' he said, 'American diplomacy is supporting Israelis and Palestinians as they engage in difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there; to achieve dignity and an independent state for Palestinians, and lasting peace and security for the State of Israel.'

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APN CEO Debra DeLee in The Forward: Love Israel. Oppose BDS. Reject SodaStream.

As counterintuitive as it may be, when you see Scarlett Johansson’s Super Bowl ad on Sunday, promoting a product that lets you make carbonated drinks at home, try to see through bubbles and think about the future of the Middle East.

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Tbenjamin-netanyahu-settlements320x265his week, Alpher discusses Netanyahu's comment at Davos last week that he "doesn't intend to remove a single settler" and the reactions it provoked; whether Livni has joined the chorus of Israelis despairing of this peace process, and if so, why doesn't she resign; why is the Israeli security establishment returning to the tactic of targeted killings of Gazan extremist now, after a two-year lull, and a few last words in memory of Shulamit Aloni.

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APN's Mark Silverberg - Cleveland Jewish News: Proposed new Iran sanctions all wrong

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As an American supporter of Israel, I am strongly against the Iran sanctions legislation recently introduced by U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, and Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican. I deeply hope that Senate leaders will not move this ill-timed and highly problematic legislation forward.

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Shulamit Aloni RIP

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Americans for Peace Now (APN) mourns the death of Shulamit Aloni, one of the founders of Israel’s peace movement and civil rights movement, a former cabinet minister and Knesset member and one of the pivotal leaders of Israel’s progressive camp.

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Update: this action, now closed, ran in January 2014. 

In October, the JCPA published a study reflecting the challenges that rabbis face in expressing their views on Israel. According to this report, about a third of rabbis are reluctant to express these views. Despite extraordinarily deep personal connections, too many rabbis have said that they feel overtly or implicitly pressured to withhold their views and thus are unable to fully serve their communities by teaching or speaking about Israel.

As rabbis and cantors, we mustn’t be afraid. We must engage our communities and speak the difficult truths that will be necessary if Israel's future is to be secure.

Americans for Peace Now, T'ruah, and J Street believe that for Israel to have a future as a Jewish and a democratic state - living within secure, defined and recognized borders - there must be a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel’s survival as a Jewish and democratic state can only be secured through stopping settlement expansion, ending the occupation, and negotiating a two-state solution. Secretary of State John Kerry - backed by President Obama- has made heroic efforts to bring all the parties to the negotiating table. Secretary Kerry has taken up the challenge of the Psalmist to “seek peace and pursue it,” but he cannot bring peace on his own. “We really are at a critical point,” said Secretary Kerry “as Palestinians and Israeli leaders grapple with difficult and challenging decisions that lie ahead.”

Join me in declaring that you will speak up for a secure Israel; one that does not occupy another people; and one that understands that the true threat to its existence is a lack of a Palestinian state.

As Jewish moral leaders, we must not underestimate the effect our voices can have. Now is the moment when we must loudly and clearly proclaim that it is because of our commitment to Israel that we stand up and act for the two-state solution. Now, while there is still time. “For Zion’s sake, I will not be silent, and for the sake of Jerusalem I will not rest.” (Isaiah 62:1).

Add your name to our pledge, and after you sign on, we will provide you with resources from all three of our organizations that will help you communicate to your community the urgency of this moment and the necessity for all of us to speak out as Jews and as Americans.

L'Shalom,
Rabbi Alana Suskin
Director of Strategic Communications
Americans for Peace Now

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher: January 20, 2014

Alpher_gazawar This week Alpher discusses whether there is any chance of replacing Assad with a transition regime as discussed at the Geneva I talks, who else agrees with Israeli Defense Minister Yaalon's labeling of Kerry by  as "obsessive and messianic," or if this is "last week's news," and whether there is anything really new on the Israeli-Palestinian scene.

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Tu Bishvat: We are planting for the future.

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There is a story in the Talmud of a man who was walking along a road, and came upon an elderly man planting a carob tree. Seeing how old the gardener was, he asked him, "How long does this tree take to bear fruit?" The old man said, "70 years." The first man asked the gardener if he expected to live that long, and the man replied, "What I am planting, I am planting for my children, just as others planted for me."

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