Yesterday, Israelis went to the polls for the fifth time in under four years. As with the previous rounds, I followed the results with trepidation. It's too early to know yet exactly what Israel's next coalition government will look like, but what we can see now does not bode well for Israel's future.

The politician who will put together the next governing coalition will shape the character of public life in the country and determine its future as a democracy and as a member of the family of nations.

According to initial election results available as I write this article, shortly after the polls closed, that politician may again be Benjamin Netanyahu, the man who has dominated Israeli politics for the past two decades.

Israel is a multi-party system with a 120-seat parliament, the Knesset. To form a government coalition, a Knesset member (typically the leader of the largest party) must cobble together a coalition of parties with a combined total of at least 61 Knesset seats.

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(English translation of the Hebrew article in Ynet)

“Young Settlement” is a cover name used to obscure the settler movement’s construction of ten illegal outposts a year. These masters of the land understand, without a doubt, that there is no problem in breaking the law, and the results of this understanding are evident in their demonstrations.

For about two weeks now, the Hilltop Youth have been raging without restraint and the government remains silent. Why? Because above every rolled-over police car, bleeding policeman and shattered glass shines the headline “Young Settlement.”

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Haaretz: "Americans for Peace Now refuses to adopt ‘weaponized’ definition of antisemitism"

U.S. Jewish nonprofit says the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition is ‘already being abused to quash legitimate criticism and activism directed at Israeli government policies’

Dec. 4, 2020 | 

Americans for Peace Now, a nonprofit whose stated aim is to help find a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is refusing a request from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism. 

In a letter, which Haaretz obtained a copy of, the nonprofit’s leaders told the umbrella organization representing 51 national Jewish groups that while they support “joint action to confront antisemitism,” they “strongly believe that the IHRA Working Definition is the wrong vehicle for such action.” 

When it comes to “labeling people and entities as antisemitic,” wrote APN president and CEO Hadar Susskind, and the group’s board chair, Jim Klutznick, to COP leaders, the Conference would be better served “using a scalpel rather than a bulldozer. The broad-brush approach that the IHRA Working Definition suggests does not serve well the cause of fighting antisemitism or the interest of the Conference of Presidents.” 

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The Times of Israel (from JTA): Interview with APN Board Member Mandy Patinkin

Actor also links his ‘Princess Bride’ character to Yitzhak Rabin...

“You know, I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it’s over, I don’t know what to do with the rest of my life.” When you take a man like [former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin, who held every imaginable position from soldier to statesman and turned from soldier and warrior into a peacemaker, that is the greatest transformation a human being can come to. I certainly hope that no one has to be a warrior in this world.

[Patinkin this week emceed a memorial held by Americans for Peace Now, an organization that the actor has been involved with for decades, marking the 25th anniversary of Rabin’s assassination by a Jewish extremist.]

Read the entire interview HERE

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APN's Ori Nir in Ha'aretz: "Yitzhak Rabin Is Still Being Assassinated"

Published in Ha'aretz

Rabin was no saint, but he changed, and was gunned down for it. When the U.S. left refuses to remember his peacemaking with the Palestinians, they hand victory to Netanyahu and the Israeli right

Oct. 14, 2020 

In the mid-1990s, I spent most of my working hours talking to Palestinians in the West Bank. I covered Palestinian affairs for Haaretz, and during that period I was speaking day-to-day with more Palestinians than with fellow Israelis.

On the night of Nov. 4, 1995, having just heard from the news desk editor that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had been shot, I called Palestinian officials for reaction. I was on the phone with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat when I heard on Israel Radio that Rabin’s spokesman was about to make a statement. 

As Eitan Haber hushed the crowed, I started translating for Erekat: "The government of Israel announces in dismay, in great sadness, and in deep sorrow, the death of Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Yitzhak Rabin, murdered by an assassin tonight in Tel Aviv."

As I cried, I could hear Saeb’s voice crack. I had known Dr. Erekat for years, a relationship that began when he was the editorial writer of the Palestinian daily al-Quds, briefing Israeli reporters on Palestinian politics while sharing a smoke on the steps of the newspaper’s East Jerusalem office. Over the years, we laughed a lot together. Now we were crying.

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — I’ve been asked why a pro-Israel Jewish peace organization like mine is not enthusiastically celebrating the signing of a peace deal between Israel and two important Arab states. 

We do welcome the agreement that Israel will sign here Tuesday with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. In and of itself, the trend of Israel’s normalizing relations with Arab states is a positive development. 

But this is not happening in a vacuum. It’s happening at a time that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under multiple indictments for corruption and bribery, at a time when tens of thousands are gathering in protest around the nation and calling for his removal. And most important, it’s happening at a time when his government continues to entrench the occupation and undermine even the hope of a two-state solution. 

Normalization with the UAE and Bahrain is great for the venture capitalists who will benefit from it, but does nothing to remedy Israel’s existential problem: its conflict with the Palestinians and the occupation that does so much damage.

I’m sure that Tuesday’s White House ceremony will provide a beautiful photo op, but I’m not eager to take part in festivities that are intended to paper over the real threat to Israel’s national security by celebrating a “peace deal” with countries that Israel was not at war with, as Israel fails to contain even the immediate threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Shortly after the El Al jet arrived back from Abu Dhabi at Ben Gurion Airport last Tuesday, bringing the dignitaries and a large chunk of Israel’s press corps home, an Israeli radio channel broadcast a scoop: Israel and the United Arab Emirates will negotiate jointly sending astronauts to outer space. There was great excitement in the studio. “UAE and Israeli astronauts, together, in the same rocket ship,” crowed one anchor, while the other quipped that “They’ll pay for the fuel.”


Well, not really.

That same night, three Gazan siblings, a five-year-old and two toddlers, were burned to death at the Nussirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Most Gazans still get only four hours of electricity per day, so they are forced to light candles after nightfall. It was by these candles that the fire in the al-Hazeen home started, and because of the water shortage in Gaza, relatives and neighbors could not find a water source to douse the flames.

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JTA: "Mandy Patinkin lends his voice to the growing chorus of West Bank annexation opponents"

Read the JTA article below (originally posted HERE), and watch the New Israel Fund video "The Truth About Annexation" narrated by Mandy Patinkin, member of the Americans for Peace Now Board of Directors,

 (Note: The article includes a link to the Jerusalem Post coverage of his receiving the APN Yitzhak Rabin Peace Award in 2014.)

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Ha'aretz Link

Israel's leaders are sacrificing democracy and human rights on the altar of ethno-nationalism. And all those U.S. Jewish groups claiming to back a two state solution have suddenly lost their voice?

by Hadar Susskind, APN President and CEO

There was a time in our history when standing up in support of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a bold stance for a Jewish community leader or organization to take. Those who did so were often criticized and even ostracized.

Following that there was a period of time in which our community’s center and center/right organizations came around, and they too declared their support for two states as the only effective way to end the conflict. Today "mainstream" Jewish organizations all tout their support of a two-state solution.

But whether or not you support two-states is the 1990’s question. Today it comes down to this: what are you going to do about it? When actions are taken that threaten the viability of two states living side by side in peace and security, what do you say? What do you do?

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Jerusalem Post: "Hadar Susskind to lead Americans for Peace Now"

The announcement comes as liberal pro-Israel groups mount a pressure campaign to influence Washington politicians to speak out against plans in Israel to annex parts of the West Bank. 


Americans for Peace Now, an influential group on the Jewish Left that was among the first to advocate for the two-state solution, is naming as its president Hadar Susskind, a veteran senior official of an array of Jewish groups. 

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