PAST ACTION - Tell your Senators: SUPPORT Iran diplomacy; OPPOSE new Iran sanctions

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Update: this action, now closed, ran in January 2015. 

The fight to keep Iran-focused diplomacy alive isn’t over. Last year, with your help, efforts by some Senators – backed by groups like AIPAC – to pass new, diplomacy-killing Iran sanctions in the Senate (S. 1881) were stopped in their tracks. Now, the same group is at it again, with new Iran sanctions legislation expected to be introduced in the Senate next week.

National Security Advisor Susan Rice has predicted that new Iran sanctions would “blow up” negotiations. President Obama has promised to veto the legislation if it makes it to his desk. But this isn’t stopping Senate Iran hawks and their supporters. They appear more determined than ever to move ahead with new sanctions and are working to muster a veto-proof majority.

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Book Review: Menachem Klein's History of Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron

 

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This is another in a series of reviews of new books on Middle Eastern affairs. We asked Dr. Gail Weigl, an APN volunteer and a professor of art history, to review Menachem Klein's new book on the history of relations between Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron.

Menachem Klein, Lives in Common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa, and Hebron (Oxford, 2014), 290 pages. $30.00.

Menachem Klein’s Lives in Common is an extremely important, extremely difficult book. Important because it painstakingly charts the history of the state of Israel from the dream to the implementation of a concerted campaign to erase features of a defeated culture, which was an integral part of Israel’s birth. Difficult because the author’s penchant for amassing data in support of his arguments often renders the narrative overly complex and tedious. Nevertheless, this is a valuable book for anyone who loves or is concerned about Israel. It is a clear-eyed account of the breakdown of relations between Jewish and Arab inhabitants of what once was a Palestine in which the two communities lived as one.

 

After providing the overarching narrative, supported by both primary and secondary records and voices, Klein himself at the end of his “Epilogue” offers at best the tepid wish that interaction between “equal human beings” can “enable co-existence between nations and enable them to cope with past wounds.” (290)  The “Epilogue” itself is useful for understanding the thematic shape of Lives in Common, and reading the “Epilogue” first might help the reader to grasp the outline of this often unwieldy account, its complexity perhaps a metaphor for the many-stranded threads of the conflict itself.

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January 12, 2015 - The Paris attacks and the Islamist threat, election update, and more

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 This week, Alpher discusses the attacks in Paris, and Netanyahu's comparison of Israeli and French victims of terror; confronting the Islamist threat; and notable developments of recent weeks that can be understood to suggest strategic political trends in upcoming elections.

 

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Optimism, Pessimism, or - Realism?

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An article written by APN's Ori Nir, published in today's edition of the Boston Globe, reminds us that the realistic attitude -one endorsed by all six of the most recent leaders of Israel’s General Security Service (Shin Bet) - is the one that advocates a two-state solution.

Americans for Peace Now works to advance Arab-Israeli peace and to highlight that such peace is not only necessary, but also possible. Support APN's message of peace and a two-state solution.

 

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January 5, 2015 - the PLO at the UN, Palestinians at the ICC, and the 50th anniversary of Fateh

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This week, Alpher discusses why the PLO toughened its statehood resolution at the Security Council at the last minute instead of waiting a few days for a friendlier roster of Council members; whether, with France voting for the resolution and the UK abstaining, if this is a breakthrough for the cause of Palestinian statehood at the level of international institutions; what is likely to happen now that the Palestinians are going to the International Criminal Court; possible US and Israeli punitive measures against the Palestinians’ UN and ICC moves; what does the Fateh movement, the mainstay of the PLO and PA, and which celebrated its fiftieth anniversary on January 1, have to show for its efforts and how do they tie in with the UN and ICC; and -- what about Israeli elections?

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APN Israel Study Tour 2015

collageI have written to you in past years to alert you to Americans for Peace Now’s annual Israel study tour, which I lead. These tours focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and efforts to resolve it, and examine Israel’s security and diplomatic challenges, as well as the situation on the Palestinian side.

This year’s tour is different. For one thing, it takes place earlier than the usual – April 25 to April 30 – which means that time for registration is short.

The timing of this year’s tour gives us a unique opportunity to observe Israeli society right after general elections, as a new government coalition takes shape, and with it new policies – for better or worse. By the time we start our tour, five weeks after the March 17 general elections, we should expect a government coalition to have been formed and maybe even sworn in. Considering the importance of these elections, and regardless of their results, the period following the elections will be pivotal for Israel’s future as is the ever-revolving Middle Eastern regional kaleidoscope.

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What do you want 2015 to look like?

Which vision is your Israel?

Dear Friend,

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What is your vision for 2015?

Those of us who care about Israel know that the coming year will be a critical one in determining Israel’s future character. Will Israel pursue the xenophobic vision of the nationalistic extreme-right? Or will it pursue a progressive vision, reflecting the values of its majority -- Jewish values of peace,  pluralism, and democracy?

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Israel’s policy of perpetual occupation is already causing an increase in animosity toward the Jewish people and their state. Perpetuating this policy fosters the beginning of an anti-Israel movement – from within and without the state – that will be difficult to reverse.

Casino tycoon and right-wing political patron Sheldon Adelson has finally spoken to the existential issue of Israeli democracy absent a Palestinian state. Many observers were shocked by the multi billionaire, hard-liner's recent statement proclaiming, "Israel isn’t going to be a democratic state – so what?”

While I passionately oppose Adelson's views, his remarks provided clarity by openly acknowledging that a binational Jewish state would not be a democracy, an obvious consequence largely ignored by the Israeli right wing.

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Press Release: APN to Obama: Don't Block UNSC Resolution on Israeli-Palestinian Peace

APN today called on the Obama Administration not to block the Jordanian-backed resolution in the United Nations Security Council regarding Israeli-Palestinian peace.  APN president and CEO Debra DeLee commented:

"We urge the Obama Administration, as a true friend of Israel, not to block the Jordanian-introduced resolution in the United Nations Security Council setting out parameters and a timeline for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.  Notwithstanding the misleading reports and cynical criticisms of this UN effort, the bottom line is this:  the substance of this resolution is firmly in line with longstanding U.S. policy regarding a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and passage of this resolution is consistent with the national interests of both the U.S. and Israel.  For these reasons, the Obama Administration, if it is not prepared to support the resolution, should not intervene to block its passage.

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December 29, 2014 - End of year summary, strategic developments in the Middle East, and more

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This week, Alpher discusses the primary strategic developments in the Middle East in 2014 from Israel’s standpoint; strategic lessons do you draw from Secretary Kerry’s peace process failure and the Gaza war; the US-IS conflict that emerged in 2014; the revolutionary situation in general in the Arab Middle East and US-Iran negotiations; the worsening of Israel’s growing isolation; and the bottom line for the Middle East in 2015.

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