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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APN/Peace Now in the News - June 7-14, 2019

Forward: "David Friedman Is A Joke. He Should Be Fired." by APN's Ori Nir (June 12, 2019)

Last week, an Israeli armed with nothing but an avocado robbed two banks in the southern city of Beer Sheva. He told the terrified tellers he was holding a hand grenade...

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JTA: "David Friedman gave Netanyahu half a nod for West Bank annexation. What happens next?" (June 11, 2019)

APN's Debra Shushan: "U.S. Ambassador Friedman's green-lighting of annexation, which Prime Minister Netanyahu will find difficult to resist, will be the ruin of the Zionist dream of Israel as a democratic national home for the Jewish people."

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The Jerusalem Post (JTA): "AIPAC, J Street Support Restoring Israel-Palestine Peace Dialogue Funding (June 7, 2019)

The bill announced Wednesday has drawn support from groups that are often at odds over peace policy, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which generally aligns with the Israeli government on security issues, and J Street and Americans for Peace Now, which have frequently criticized the Netanyahu government's and Trump administration's approaches to the conflict.

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Forward Op-Ed by APN's Ori Nir: "David Friedman Is A Joke. He Should Be Fired."

Last week, an Israeli armed with nothing but an avocado robbed two banks in the southern city of Beer Sheva. He told the terrified tellers he was holding a hand grenade. And although the average Israeli eats more avocados than anyone elsewhere in the world besides Mexico, Chile, and Peru, the tellers failed to realize that they were being held up by a piece of fruit.

In a couple of weeks, politicians and business people will gather in Manama, Bahrain for an economic “workshop” to raise money for the Trump administration’s Israeli-Palestinian “peace plan” — the so-called “Ultimate Deal” or “Deal of the Century” — which is still under wraps.

Why all the quotation marks? Because Team Trump, the three people the President has appointed to lead this effort, knows that what they have in their hand is an avocado: inedible and hard today, putrid tomorrow.

(This piece originally appeared in the Forward HERE)

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APN/Peace Now In the News - May 24-June 7

Ha'aretz: "Democrats With Eye on White House Increasingly Willing to Bash Bibi While Supporting Israel" (June 7, 2019)

Debra Shushan, director of policy at American for Peace Now, told Haaretz that "Democratic presidential candidates are getting the memo: While likely voters in the Democratic presidential primaries continue to support Israel, they disapprove of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his anti-peace, pro-occupation policies..."

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Canadian Jewish News: "Shaqued Morag: You can love Israel and criticize it" (June 3, 2019)

Shaqued Morag is the executive director of Peace Now...The CJN spoke with her on May 17 in Toronto.

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Al Monitor: "Contradictory moves to rescue Palestinian economy" (May 24, 2019)

Ori Nir, spokesman of Americans for Peace Now, told Al-Monitor that the Trump administration's approach brings the conflict back to the 1970s and 1980s...

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APN / Peace Now In The News - May 3, 2019

Ha'aretz Opinion: "Kushner rejects calls to delay release of Mideast peace plan" (May 3, 2019)

Ori Nir, a former Israeli journalist with Americans for Peace Now, which supports a two-state solution, said he also has urged the Trump administration to hold off on presenting its peace plan. The concern, he explained, is that when it is likely rejected by the Palestinian Authority, it could lead the right-wing Israeli government to declare they have no peace partner and to possibly annex territory in the West Bank.

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