APN's Ori Nir in Haaretz: When will the U.S. Jewish community talk peace?

How will the U.S. Jewish establishment, such as AIPAC, confront the prospect of peace for Israel when it is mired in an echo chamber of self-righteous axioms and simplistic thinking?

At the entrance to the enormous hall at the Washington Convention Center, where some 14,000 chairs were lined up for AIPAC’s conference participants, stood a television reporter holding a microphone, seeking interviewees.

"How’s it going?" I asked. “Not so good,” he replied. “I was sent to do a story on what AIPAC members have to say about prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace and nobody is willing to talk about it. All they want to talk about is Iran.”

He was right. Hard-line statements on Iran elicited long standing ovations, time after time, while hopeful comments on the possibility of peace were all but ignored. It got so bad that two prominent Israelis – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and legendary Israeli high-tech entrepreneur Yossi Vardi – had to urge the armada of pro-Israel lobbyists to applaud comments they made about peace. And when Howard Kohr, AIPAC’s executive director of eighteen years, addressed the crowd with a speech that typically sets the policy agenda for the conference, all he spoke about was Iran.

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March 13, 2014: Ori Nir and Ghaith al-Omari at Clark University - Hosted by J Street U

OriGhaithJ Street U will host Ori Nir (Americans for Peace Now) and Ghaith al-Omari (The American Task Force on Palestine) at Clark University for a talk on the current status of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

4:30 PM
March 13, 2014
Clark University (Worcester, MA)

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Secretary of State John Kerry addresses AIPAC: "It is no mystery what the endgame looks like."

Kerry_AIPAC2014_320pxSecretary of State John Kerry, in one of his strongest statements for Israeli-Palestinian peace so far, tonight addressed the conservative American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and said that the United States’ most advanced technology and the Pentagon’s know-how can guarantee the security that Israel needs to make peace with the Palestinians.

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President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu Meet in the White House

Netanyahu-Obama-March-2012-largeProspects for the success of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations were downplayed by Prime Minister Netanyahu at his photo-op with President Obama following their meeting today. Here is what Netanyahu had to say about efforts to achieve peace with the Palestinians:

  • “Twenty years of peace process were marked by many Israeli steps for peace but we got suicide bombers and rockets in return.”
  • “It’s about time the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state – we have only been there for 4,000 years.”
  • “The people of Israel expect me to stand strong against pressure and for the security of Israel.”
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Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher: March 3, 2014

This week, Alpher discusses the possible dynamics of PM Netanyahu arriving to talk with President Obama in the midst of the Ukraine/Crimea crisis; the influence of the Ukraine crisis on the Middle East; what we can expect in the weeks ahead regarding the American-sponsored framework agreement and Monday's Obama-Netanyahu meeting; and Netanyahu's thinking for the "day after" failure scenario.

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Press Release: Settlement Surge Looms Large over Netanyahu-Obama Meeting

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu landed in Washington today, the Israeli government’s Central Bureau of Statistics issued a report showing a whopping 123% surge in West Bank settlement construction in 2013, more than double the number of new settlement homes built in 2012.

The data was analyzed and highlighted today by Israel’s Peace Now (Shalom Achshav) movement. It confirms past interim reports by Peace Now’s Settlement Watch Project. Americans for Peace Now (APN), Shalom Achshav’s US sister-organization, joins Peace Now in condemning Netanyahu’s government for this reckless policy of settlement construction.

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Is a Settlement Boycott Best for Israel? APN's Lara Friedman in the New York Times

A powerful debate between APN's Lara Friedman and Rabbi Daniel Gordis in the New York Times.

Introduction

Israel’s expansion of settlements in the occupied territories has been an obstacle to the two-state solution, considered the most likely hope for peace with the Palestinians.

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Action Alert: Tell President Obama to stand firm with Netanyahu

obama-netanyahu320x265When President Obama meets Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in the White House on Monday, their conversation will no doubt focus on two issues that are central to the Obama Administration’s foreign policy agenda: Iran and Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

Tell President Obama that you are a part of his constituency for peace. Make sure he knows that Americans who care about Israel have his back.

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Steven Kaplan and Sanford Weiner in the Jewish Journal: A victory against anti-Israel BDS

Kaplan_Weiner_JewishJournal

Israelis and supporters of Israel are increasingly concerned about international pressure — and with good reason. There was last year’s directive from the European Union, which threatened important Israel-EU cooperation; the recent uproar about SodaStream, which brought Israel unflattering media attention; and the almost daily news of some European country singling out an Israeli company for negative treatment.

Are these victories for the global BDS movement — the movement calling on people and nations to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel? Absolutely not. 

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Book Review: What do you Buy the Children of the Terrorist who Tried to Kill Your Wife?

This is the eleventh in a series of reviews of books on Middle Eastern affairs. We asked Dr. Gail Weigl, an APN volunteer and a professor of art history, to review David Harris-Gershon's  new book.What-Do-You-Buy-For-the-Children-195x293

David Harris-Gershon, What do you Buy the Children of the Terrorist who Tried to Kill Your Wife? (London: One World, 2013). 325 pages. $13.70.

David Harris-Gershon has written a brave memoir that charts the traumatic and long-range impact of his wife Jamie’s near-death from a terrorist bombing at Hebrew University in 2002, and his route to healing by trying to understand the motives of the terrorist, Mohammad Odeh. 

There are several points of entry into Harris-Gershon’s story:  the opening section in which he recounts the bombing and actions of the bomber, his recollections of the aftermath interwoven with the history of his relationship with Jaime, and the summary of the historical context in which the attack took place.

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