APN's Debra Shushan on CGTN's "The Heat" re: Trump and Denial of Entry to Omar and Tlaib

Check out these excerpts featuring Debra Shushan, APN Director of Policy and Government Relations, on CGTN's "The Heat" from August 19, 2019, on the topic: "Israel Denies Entry to Two Members of US Congress."

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The much-touted shared values between the U.S. and Israel no longer seem to include liberal protections for free speech.

By Debra Shushan, director of policy and government relations at Americans for Peace Now

The U.S.-Israel relationship suffered a profound setback Thursday. Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri confirmed that Israel would bar two members of Congress, Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, from entering Israel because of their support for the BDS movement, which calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions on Israel.

Thursday’s decision to deny Tlaib and Omar entrance to Israel reversed the earlier position expressed by Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, who in July said that “Out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel.”

With Netanyahu surpassing the country’s founding prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, as Israel’s longest-serving leader, Israel’s democracy is in a state of perilous decline.

The policy Dermer articulated should be expected of a U.S. ally that is also the top recipient of U.S. foreign aid ($38 billion in security assistance over 10 years). Overturning that policy can only be interpreted as a sign of disrespect for the U.S. representatives democratically elected by American voters. Worse yet, with President Donald Trump pushing the change, it also demonstrates the disrespect for democratic institutions both country’s leaders are increasingly embracing — and their willingness to turn the U.S.-Israel relationship into a political football to advance their own interests.

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APN/Peace Now In the News - July 30 - August 1, 2019

Al-Monitor: "What's behind Israel's approval of construction permits for Palestinians?" by Shlomi Eldar (August 1, 2019)

According to a July 22 Peace Now report, 32 new outposts have been established since 2012, the majority after Trump was elected, and 15 existing outposts were legalized. A process of retroactive legalization has begun for 35 more. According to a 2018 report by the organization, which monitors settlement construction, in 2017 there was a 17% increase in building starts in the settlements compared with the average of the previous eight years. Read more: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/07/israel-west-bank-palestinians-bezalel-smotrich-settlements.html#ixzz5vSTslPJS

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NY Jewish Week: "BDS ‘Has Become A Pawn’" (August 1, 2019)

"The move by President Trump and his right-wing allies to drag Israel and American Jews into unrelated issues is cynical and dangerous,” said Debra Shushan, director of policy and government relations at Americans for Peace Now... "this much is clear: the vast majority of American Jews see through and reject this new tactic. It’s dishonest, contemptible and bad for the Jews."

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NY Times: "Israel Is Expected to Approve Surge in Jewish Construction in West Bank" (July 31, 2019)

Only a few dozen permits for Palestinian buildings in that area have been approved in the last decade, the last in 2016, according to Peace Now, an Israeli left-wing advocacy group that tracks settlement construction.

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APN's Debra Shushan on Last Episode of Israel's i24 News "The Spin Room" (July 30, 2019)

Debra spoke about the Trump administration's role in guiding Israel into a one-state, apartheid-like reality, and more.

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APN/Peace Now In the News - July 22-26, 2019

Washington Jewish Week: "Israelis, Palestinians share their stories at ‘The Dove’" (July 26, 2019)

Feature article on the APN sponsored "The Dove" storytelling event held July 22 in Washington... Ori Nir, director for communications and public engagement at APN, said one of the main goals of the program is to humanize people on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict...

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American Prospect: "Disentangling from Israel" by Jo-Ann Mort, APN Board Member (July 23, 2019)

A conversation with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh...

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AP: "Israeli group says West Bank outposts boom under Trump" (July 22)

This AP story all about Peace Now's illegal outpost report released on Tuesday was picked up by numerous media outlets, including the NY Times, Washington Post, ABC News, VOA, Ynet, and Israel Hayom.

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Go HERE to read a summary of Peace Now's report: Return of the Outpost Method.

Go HERE to watch a short video of Peace Now's protest in the West Bank that coincided with the release of the report, including confrontations with the Israeli police.

Ha'aretz: At Least 16 Israeli Unauthorized West Bank Outposts Established Since 2017 (July 22, 2019)

Shabtay Bendet, who heads the settlement monitoring team of Peace Now, said: 'The two-faced conduct of the government of Israel with regard to illegal settlements continues at full pace...The law enforcement authorities ignore the theft of land and legalize that which is illegal, without government approval as required and without public discussion of the matter."

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SF Gate (San Francisco Chronicle): "Palestinians assail home demolition by Israeli forces" (July 22, 2019)

This article about E Jerusalem home demolitions included reference to Peace Now's illegal outpost report.

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Last week, J Street U, the campus arm of J Street, wrapped up its inaugural free trip to Israel for Jewish college students. The “Let My People Know” trip was conceived as a response to protests against Birthright, which does not include meetings with Palestinians on its trips, or discussions about the occupation.

While the debate around Birthright has received significant national attention, there are some Israel tours for college students that are going unnoticed. These trips are led by organizations with explicit right-wing political agendas that have a dangerous potential to affect young US Jews’ understanding of Israel and the occupation in the years to come.

Groups like Hasbara Fellowships (HF) and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) recruit to their tours Jewish and pro-Israel leaders on campuses. They attempt to inculcate in these leaders support for the occupation and illiberal Israeli policies, such as displacement of Bedouin Israelis from their villages in the Negev.

How do I know? I participated in ZOA and Hasbara tours for campus leaders. I witnessed firsthand their efforts to generate support for extremist policies and their attempts to brand dissent as anti-Israel.

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APN/Peace Now In The News: July 5-10, 2019

Forward: "These Hasbara Tours Bribe Jews To Be Pro-Israel And Make Birthright Seem Lefty" By Scott Boxer, APN Intern (July 10, 2019)

...there are some Israel tours for college students that are going unnoticed. These trips are led by organizations with explicit right-wing political agendas that have a dangerous potential to affect young US Jews' understanding of Israel and the occupation in the years to come.

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NY Jewish Week: "From Iowa To New Hampshire, Israel Policy In Play Interest groups dig into early Democratic primary states." (July 10, 2019)

For others, the details matter. Debra Shushan, director of policy and government relations at Americans for Peace Now, told The Jewish Week that Democratic candidates should offer actual plans for how to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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NY Times: "Touring the Israeli Occupation: Young U.S. Jews Get an Unflinching View" (July 10, 2019)

The ride to Har Gilo, just south of Jerusalem, took the bus through an Israeli checkpoint. Hagit Ofran, a leader of Peace Now, addressed the group over a microphone and described how soldiers decided which motorists to stop: "To look suspicious," she said, "you need to look Arab."

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Ha'aretz: "Religious Fanatics Have Hijacked America's Israel Policy. And They're Not Even Evangelicals" By Ori Nir, APN Director of Communication and Engagement (July 8, 2019)

Trump's extremist, maverick pro-settler envoys, David Friedman and Jason Greenblatt, aren't resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They're fueling it - and Congress should investigate.

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Ha'aretz: "New U.S. Jewish Group Takes 'Never Again' Into Battle Against Trump's Migrant Policy" (July 5, 2019)

"Young progressive American Jews are both value-driven and politically astute," says Ori Nir of Americans for Peace Now. "Trump's immigration policy moves them ethically while granting them an opportunity to make political alliances going into a presidential election year."

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Trump's extremist, maverick pro-settler envoys, David Friedman and Jason Greenblatt, aren't resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They're fueling it - and Congress should investigate

With ten-pound hammers in their hands and ecstatic religious-nationalist zeal in their hearts, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and White House Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt stood underneath the most religiously volatile place on earth, and smashed a wall – and with it, any last semblance of reasonable U.S. policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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APN/Peace Now In The News: June 29 - July 5, 2019

Ha'aretz: "For Progressive Jewish American Activists, 'Never Again Is Now' – and Israel Is Yesterday's News " (July 5, 2019)

"Young progressive American Jews are both value-driven and politically astute," says Ori Nir of Americans for Peace Now. "Trump's immigration policy moves them ethically while granting them an opportunity to make political alliances going into a presidential election year."

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Times of Israel: "Subterranean hammering blues: 7 things to know for July 1" (July 1, 2019)

Peace Now, which protested the event, is widely quoted calling the event "no less than American recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the sensitive area of the Holy Basin."

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Times of Israel: "Under Palestinian homes, US envoys hammer open an ancient East Jerusalem road" (June 30, 2019)

Several dozen activists from the Peace Now settlement watchdog protested outside the East Jerusalem event. The left-wing NGO has branded the Pilgrimage Road "the controversy tunnel," adding that it had "caused the evacuation of Palestinian homes in the neighborhood and increased tensions between Palestinian residents and Jewish settlers, who have been acting more intensively than ever in recent years to Judaize the neighborhood, as part of an effort to sabotage the two-state solution."

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Arutz 7: "Peace Now members to protest against US Amb. David Friedman" (June 29, 2019)

Peace Now is protesting the inauguration ceremony of a tunnel in east Jerusalem. 'This is a trampling of Jerusalem.'

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VIDEO - APN's Debra Shushan on TRT's "The Newsmakers" re: Kushner's "Peace Plan"

Debra Shushan, APN Director of Policy and Government Relations, appeared on a panel for TRT's "The Newsmakers".  See a clip of Debra speaking on the Trump Administration's "Peace Plan" and its statements and actions contrary to a two-state solution.

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APN/Peace Now In The News - June 20, 2019

Jerusalem Post: "Jewish Groups to U.S. House: Pass Resolution in Support of Two-State Solution"  (June 20, 2019)

The organizations that are standing behind the letter are Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, Hashomer Hatzair, Jewish Labor Committee, J Street, National Council of Jewish Women, New Israel Fund, Partners for Progressive Israel, Reconstructing Judaism and T'ruah.

PeaceCast Episode #83: "Attainable Alliances with Ameer Fakhouri" (June 20, 2019)

Fakhouri, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, is active in efforts to generate a closer Jewish-Arab political partnership going into the September elections and beyond. He is the director of the Research Center at Neve Shalom, Wahat al-Salam, the cooperative Jewish-Arab community in Israel, and editor of its new book "Attainable Alliances."

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