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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Published May 4

The most serious setback to peace in the Middle East has taken place under the cloud of the coronavirus and the internal Israeli political scene. A chance, however, still exists for a unified Arab coalition with action by American Jews to create a firewall that will help preserve a chance for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

As part of the deal for the emergency government between the Israeli caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political rival and former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, an Israeli government-in-the-making is on the record as supporting unilateral annexation of large swaths of the West Bank.

Israel appears to be set on a dangerous anti-peace act that will destroy the very fragile and quickly lapsing chance for a Palestinian-Israeli two-state peace deal.

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APN / Peace Now In the News - April 26-27, 2020

Jerusalem Post: "Netanyahu 'confident' U.S. will allow Israeli annexation of parts of West Bank" April 27, 2020

The West Bank is home to almost 2.7 million Palestinians and more than 400,000 Israelis, according to figures collated by Peace Now, an Israeli organization that advocates for a two-state solution. Read >>

Arab News: "Palestinians, Israelis should seek peace together" April 29, 2020

by Ray Hanania

One of the loudest voices challenging Israel’s annexation plans hasn’t been Palestinian, but rather Israeli: The liberal advocacy and activist group Peace Now. “The public did not choose for Israel to go down this extreme path; most of the public does not want annexation. The security echelon warns of the implications of annexation. Annexation costs will be much higher than the debilitating costs of the COVID-19 crisis,” Peace Now said in a statement released this week. Read >>

Ha'aretz: "Joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony Gets Unprecedented Boost From U.S. Jewish Groups" April 26, 2020

This year, the ceremony is being co-sponsored by a long list of Jewish and pro-peace groups in both Israel and the United States including the Union for Reform Judaism, the largest Jewish organization in the United States. Other sponsors and partners include J Street, the New Israel Fund, Peace Now, IfNotNow, Churches for Middle East Peace, as well as individual churches, synagogues and interfaith dialogue groups. Read >>

APN/Peace Now In the News - April 17-21, 2020

Jerusalem Post: "Trump admin. already working with nascent gov’t to implement peace plan" April 21, 2020

The Israeli left-wing group Peace Now accused both men of prioritizing a fringe concept that lacked national consensus at a time when all resources should be going to combating the COVID-19 pandemic. It warned that annexation would lead to an apartheid-like state with two different classes of citizens: Israelis and Palestinians.

In a message aimed at Gantz, Peace Now stated: “Don't sell us stories about an emergency government to fight the coronavirus when you are in fact a partner in establishing an annexation government. Anyone who bolsters the far-right now will be responsible in the future if annexation is implemented and Israel's democratic future is imperiled." Read >>

Ha'aretz: "U.S. Jewish Groups Warn of West Bank Annexation in Wake of Netanyahu-Gantz Deal" April 21, 2020

Americans for Peace Now also warned that "The meaning of this agreement is that the Netanyahu-Gantz government, allegedly established to join forces to fight the coronavirus, will be the first in Israel's history to adopt the extremist policy principle of West Bank annexation." Read >>

Time: "Israelis Just Showed the World What a Socially Distant Protest Looks Like" April 20, 2020

"What connects all the groups and causes is the shout out for Israeli democracy that is being harmed these days by Netanyahu and his allies," Shaqued Morag, executive director of the anti-occupation group Peace Now tells TIME.

Morag says she sees Netanyahu’s plan to annex swathes of Palestinian territories—a move President Trump greenlit in January—as the principal threat to Israeli democracy. Read >>

Jewish Journal: "On Israel’s 72nd Birthday, We Must Fight For The Two State Solution" April 17, 2020

By Mark Bilsky, APN Deputy CEO

Israel, we imagined, was no longer a question; it was now and forever an answer. We were evidently mistaken. The question lingers. Read >>

Published online and in the printed version of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal and also in the Washington Jewish Week, with permission.

Published online and in the printed edition of the Jewish Journal

by Mark Bilsky, Deputy CEO of Americans for Peace Now

This is not a season that invites calm reflection. Too much is in play. The agenda is crowded with controversy. New possibilities tantalize but have yet to come into focus. We are inundated with talk of “competing narratives” alongside the growing controversies over quarantine, democracy, annexation, land, peace, income disparities and ethnic disparities.

It’s easy to get lost in these issues and they have become so much the focus of not only the daily news but of Israel’s story itself that the disposition to celebrate has come to feel insensitive, requiring an apology. But a celebration that must be shrink-wrapped in an apology is no celebration at all.

What then to do? The moment you cast caution aside and start listing the achievements, you bump into checkpoints. Say that Israel has fulfilled its destiny as a Jewish haven, and you will be told that it has done so only at the expense of the Other. Say that Israel’s economy has developed, and you will be told it’s because of foreign subsidies and at the cost of a tremendous income gap. Say that brainpower has emerged as Israel’s most important resource, and you will be told about the decline in Israel’s education system. Say that Israel has no partner for peace and you will be told to look at yourself in the mirror.


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Online at Washington Jewish Week

March 25, 20200

By APN Chair James Klutznick and APN Vice Chair Aviva Meyer

As global crises typically do, the coronavirus — its spread, and the looming threat it poses to humankind — provides us with a sense of perspective.

COVID-19 does not discriminate between Israelis and Palestinians. When threatened by this deadly virus, the two peoples worry together and work together to save lives.

When the forces of nature remind us how vulnerable we are — how equally vulnerable we are — we are humbled. And humbled before these forces, we demonstrate our shared humanity.

Pictured Left: In Hebron, Palestinian women work in a factory amid precautions against the coronavirus (photo credit: REUTERS/MUSSA QAWASMA); Right: In Jerusalem, an Israeli medic arrives to test a patient with symptoms of COVID-19 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
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Letting a religious zealot like Ambassador Friedman decide the future of the West Bank is like allowing the NRA chief to distribute the U.S. army's rifles among the most fanatical gun enthusiasts 

by Ori Nir (Mar 09, 2020)

While we are following the roller coaster of American and Israeli politics, and as we seek shelter from the alarming spread of the Coronavirus, a committee representing the government of Israel and the Trump administration is carving out vast swaths of the occupied West Bank territory – some 30 percent – for Israel to annex. The mapping will apparently be completed in a matter of weeks, and an Israeli government could go ahead and annex the territory shortly after the committee completes its work.

Let it sink in: After decades of efforts by Republican and Democratic U.S. administrations to reign in Israeli governments’ West Bank settlement practices, the Trump administration is now leading the effort to determine the contours of the settlements, recognizing as them as part of sovereign Israel. 

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APN / Peace Now In the News - February 25-27, 2020

The Jerusalem Post: "Bennett advances 1,800 new settler homes, says won’t give land to Arabs" (February 27, 2020)

Peace Now said of the plans, “The caretaker government, without a public and moral mandate, sets facts on the ground for a small and extreme minority, against the will of the majority. In the battle over the settler right-wing vote, Bennett and Netanyahu are dragging Israel to invest in thousands of harmful and unnecessary settlement units. This is how a cynical and irresponsible leadership that is willing to abandon the Israeli interest for its political survival behaves."

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San Francisco Chronicle (AP): "Watchdog: Israel moves ahead with hundreds of settler homes" (February 27, 2020)

Israel is moving forward on plans to build more than 1,700 homes for settlers in the West Bank, the settlement watchdog Peace Now said Thursday.

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The Times of Israel: "UN slams ‘worrying’ Israeli plans to build in West Bank, East Jerusalem" (February 26, 2020)

The Peace Now settlement watchdog reported that Defense Ministry officials met with planners last week to prepare an outline for a new road for Palestinians that would go around E1 and Ma’aleh Adumim and allow Israel to annex the area.

“The only roads Israel paved for Palestinians in its 52 years of control over the Territories were designed to allow Israel to build settlements or barriers that block existing Palestinian routes,” Peace Now said, blasting the road plan.

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Jerusalem Post: "Peace Now: Tender issued for 1,077 homes in Givat Hamatos" (February 25, 2020)

Peace now warned that the settlement would “sever” the territorial contiguity of a Palestinian Jerusalem-Bethlehem metropolitan area.

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New York Times (AP): "Netanyahu Plans Settlement in Contentious West Bank Area" (February 25, 2020)

Israeli activist group Peace Now said in a statement that settlement construction in E1 “means that Israel is officially choosing to perpetuate the conflict instead of resolving it.”

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The Jerusalem Post: "Netanyahu: Mapping process has begun, sovereignty to follow" (February 25, 2020)

Netanyahu has pushed forward the project to help cement Israel’s hold on a united Jerusalem. Peace Now has warned that it would “sever” the territorial contiguity of a Palestinian Jerusalem-Bethlehem metropolitan area.

“Construction in Givat Hamatos is a serious blow to the two-state solution,” Peace Now said. “This is the last point enabling territorial continuity between Bethlehem and east Jerusalem.”

Read >>
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