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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APN condemns West Bank shooting attack, the second in two days

Americans for Peace Now strongly condemns today’s shooting attack in the southern West Bank, the second in two days.

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APN condemns Huwara shooting attack

Americans for Peace Now strongly condemns the murder of two Israeli citizens, father and son, at the West Bank town of Huwara near Nablus on Saturday, August 19th. We send our condolences to the Nigerker-Nir family.

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Americans for Peace Now (APN) today sent a letter to President Biden signed by 163 Jewish leaders who care about Israel’s future, calling on the President to take concrete action to safeguard Israeli democracy.

The letter is unique in going past generic statements and calling for specific actions that the President can take to assert his concern about the Israeli government damaging its shared values with the United States. By doing so, the letter says, Biden would “protect Israel's future and its relationship with the United States.”

APN urged prominent American Jewish leaders to endorse the letter, and within days gathered an impressive group of signers. 

Alex Soros, Chair, Open Society Foundations, said: “Americans who care about Israel are horrified to see the government assault on the state’s democratic norms and institutions.  President Biden’s concerns went unheeded. The time has come to take action to protect Israel's democracy and America’s interests in the region.”

Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers President and APN Board of Directors member said: "President Biden stands for democracy at home and around the world. Israel needs him now, to embrace all who are fighting to protect and deepen democracy at such a critical time." 

Hadar Susskind, Americans for Peace Now’s President and CEO, said: “We sent this letter because Prime Minister Netanyahu made it clear that he will not heed President Biden’s words, so it is time to move to actions. We are gratified to see that so many Jewish leaders joined us in signing this letter and we hope that President Biden will follow our advice.”

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