Progressive Israel Network Statement on the Crisis in Israel and Gaza

Following is a statement by members of the Progressive Israel Network (PIN), a coalition of organizations representing Americans who are committed to pursuing democracy, equality and peace in Israel.

As we grasp the dimensions of the horror in southern Israel, the magnitude of the carnage, injury and destruction, we mourn the lives lost and wish a speedy and full recovery for those injured. We also urge the government of Israel, the Biden administration and all other stakeholders to immediately start negotiations over returning the hostages taken by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Their savage attack on Israel, beginning on Saturday, targeting civilians and murdering them in cold blood, is an inexcusable war crime.

We stand with the people of Israel in this very difficult time. Our hearts are with the Israeli public. We urge our members and supporters to assist our sisters and brothers in Israel in every way possible.

We express our deep appreciation to President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken for supporting the people of Israel and for their diplomatic efforts to prevent a regional crisis.

Following the catastrophic security failure of the Netanyahu government, we urge Israeli authorities who are carrying out military operations in the Gaza Strip to act responsibly and respect international law. An irresponsible, rash reaction that violates the laws of war is likely to result in disastrous repercussions, further civilian casualties on both sides, and calamitous political consequences. Hamas's horrific war crimes cannot justify further war crimes.

Going forward, we urge our government in Washington and the government of Israel to pave a path toward a political settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which would put an end to the ceaseless cycle of violence and suffering between Israelis and Palestinians.

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APN Outraged by Hamas Attack; Stands in Solidarity with Israel 

Americans for Peace Now (APN) is horrified and outraged by Hamas’ attack on Israel, which includes rockets fired at civilian population centers, a ground invasion into Israeli border communities and the taking of Israeli civilian hostages. 

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APN Deeply Saddened by the Passing of Senator Feinstein

Americans for Peace Now (APN) is deeply saddened by the passing of Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Senator Feinstein enthusiastically worked to advance Israeli security and democracy, and the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace. She strongly believed that the only way to secure Israel as a Jewish state and a democracy is by establishing an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

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Yesterday, Over 700 Jewish Americans sent a critical petition to Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling for the immediate release of $75 million in emergency humanitarian funding for Palestinian refugees. The funds, previously approved by Congress to provide essential food assistance to vulnerable Palestinian families via the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), are set to expire at midnight this Saturday.

In a plea to Secretary Blinken, the petition highlights the urgency of the situation. Senator Jim Risch of Idaho, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has imposed a hold on these crucial funds, preventing their release for months despite repeated appeals from concerned advocates. Without swift action by the State Department to override the hold, over 1.2 million Palestinian refugees in Gaza face an impending humanitarian catastrophe, with many vulnerable children left without access to food.

The text of the petition, delivered to Secretary Blinken, implores him to take immediate action and expedite the release of the allocated funds for emergency food assistance to Palestinian refugees. It underscores the moral duty to provide emergency food assistance and emphasizes the United States' pivotal role in advancing peace and stability in the region by addressing the fundamental humanitarian needs of Palestinians.

Americans for Peace Now’s President and CEO Hadar Susskind said "We’re sending this petition on the eve of Sukkot. We cannot in good conscience celebrate the fall harvest while crucial funding for food assistance to Palestinians is allowed to expire. The situation in Gaza is at a dire juncture, and lives hang in the balance. It is our moral obligation to do everything we can to ensure these funds are released in time."

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Statement- Prematurely Including Israel in the Visa Waiver Program is a Mistake

The Biden administration announced today that it is admitting Israel into the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP) as of this coming November.

While Americans for Peace Now supports Israel’s inclusion in the program, we believe that doing so before Israel has fully complied with all the program’s requirements is a mistake.

We realize that Israel has gone a long way toward crossing the threshold that would deem it as complying with the program’s requirements, and support those steps it has taken. But it has not crossed the threshold.

Although the US administration and the government of Israel have yet to release the full details of their understandings regarding the VWP, it is clear that important obstacles, which have been standing in the way of establishing US-Israeli reciprocity, have not yet been lifted. These problems will now be discussed by a joint committee, which will attempt to reconcile the rights of US citizens with Israeli security concerns related to its rule over the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. 

APN’s President and CEO Hadar Susskind said: “Israel has legitimate security concerns. These concerns largely stem from an illegitimate military occupation. By welcoming Israel into the Visa Waiver Program with special exceptions, the Biden administration is bending over backward to accommodate Israel’s occupation. Simply put, there is no reciprocity with occupation. And it is clear that Israel is not in compliance. Blue is blue. The Biden administration should have followed existing visa waiver law, and ensured that Israel met the program requirements before admission.”

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Statement- Netanyahu’s UNGA Speech was Dishonest and Provocative

Yet again, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to the United Nations General Assembly with an uncompromising hardline message that doubles down on the Occupation and projects Israel to the world as an annexationist state.

Netanyahu will be returning to Israel following a bizarre US visit, which did not include a trip to Washington, and featured a high-profile meeting with billionaire Elon Musk at a California car factory. His brief meeting with the President of the United States, which President Biden depicted as “candid” – a diplomatic euphemism for a rough conversation – was held on the sidelines of UNGA, and did not provide any positive headlines.

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Statement- APN mourns the death of Mary Ann Stein z”l

Americans for Peace Now mourns the death of Mary Ann Stein, a longtime member and former co-chair of APN’s board of directors, a philanthropist and an iconic leader of the American Jewish community, advancing progressive causes both in Israel and the United States.

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APN condemns Abbas’ antisemitic remarks 

Americans for Peace Now (APN) strongly condemns the blatantly antisemitic remarks by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which were published yesterday.

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Statement- APN Welcomes Lew’s Nomination; Urges Senate Confirmation

Americans for Peace Now (APN) welcomes President Biden’s nomination of Jack Lew for the important position of US ambassador to Israel. We urge the Senate to expeditiously confirm the appointment.

Mr. Lew is an experienced senior politician, who is close to the President and has demonstrated his ability to represent the United States and implement US government policies. Now more than ever, when the United States needs an assertive, senior, high-profile representative in Israel, Lew would be the right person for this position.

APN’s President and CEO Hadar Susskind said: “At this tough time, when the government of Israel attacks the state’s democratic institutions and norms and acts to annex the West Bank in violation of international law and US national security interests, America needs an experienced, high-profile envoy to Israel. We need a person who can authoritatively push against unacceptable Israeli practices and policies and at the same time manage America’s relations with the Palestinians. We urge the Senate to consider Lew’s nomination through this prism.”  

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APN condemns West Bank ramming attack; Calls for action to stop violent spiral

Americans for Peace Now strongly condemns today’s ramming attack near the West Bank Makabim checkpoint, which left one Israeli soldier dead and six other people injured. Our condolences to the soldier’s family and recovery wishes to the injured.

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