Debra DeLee - A Career Worth Honoring

Honoring Debra DeLee for 21 Years with Americans for Peace Now
COME CELEBRATE WITH DEBRA!

Please join us on October 24, 2018 at 6 pm at the Decatur House
748 Jackson Place NW, Washington, DC 20006
as we celebrate the extraordinary career of our good friend
Debra DeLee
Please RSVP by September 15, 2018


WOULD LIKE TO HONOR DEBRA with a Tribute ad.
Tributes will be projected at the event and included in a commemorative book for Debra

 

THE SARA FUND

Debra has requested that donations be made in honor of  her friend and long time APN board member Sara Ehrman (ZTz"L):

Click on the image above to donate to The Sara Fund

Debra DeLee's 21 Years at APN

Throughout her professional life, Debra DeLee has been working to secure a better future for others. She started her career as a fourth-grade teacher in the 1970s, dedicated to her students and the imperative of quality public education. Working her way through the ranks of the National Education Association (NEA), DeLee became the NEA's Political Director and chief lobbyist in Washington. As NEA Director of Government Relations and Director of its political action committee she worked to ensure fair working conditions for teachers and quality public education for students. Prior to joining Americans for Peace Now in April 1997, DeLee was selected by President Clinton to serve as Chief Executive Officer of the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, which she designed, developed, and managed for the president. Preceding the convention, DeLee served as Executive Director and Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and in 1994 was appointed DNC Chair. As the President and CEO of Americans for Peace Now for over 21 years, DeLee has worked tirelessly to promote American support for peace in the Middle East and support for the Israeli peace movement — Shalom Achshav — working to secure a better future for Israel and her neighbors.

APN's Debra DeLee on Sara Ehrman and "The Sara Fund"

Encountering Sara Ehrman — whether for a single conversation, or a lifetime of friendship — was a life-altering experience. Sara was smart, funny, strategic, irreverent, and relentless. She crossed generations, status, gender, and just about every arbitrary boundary, excluding ideology. And for the ideology, values and organizations that Sara unwaveringly supported, she was a ferocious advocate. What a gift for APN that we were a beneficiary of that commitment and incredible life force. Sara committed herself to peace between Israel and Palestine as a teenager and had not backed away from that work as she began her 97th year!

Because I not only loved Sara Ehrman, but because I admired, respected, trusted and was in awe of her, I cannot think of any legacy that I would rather leave of my 21 years at APN, than a fund in Sara's name to support programs that celebrate and promote the cause of peace that Sara believed in and fought for. And so, APN has established The Sara Fund. Monies contributed to The Sara Fund will be used to support programs, both in the US and Israel, that foster intergenerational engagement on the issue of peace between Israel and her Palestinian neighbors, particularly focusing on women — from the youngest advocates, to the oldest among us.

I urge you to support The Sara Fund, not only because it will promote and support important and meaningful programs, but because it is an appropriate tribute to this remarkable woman. To quote my dear friend Sara, "I'm hanging up now".

— Debra DeLee, APN President & CEO

My last week and our New Year's letter to you

Debra and JimI’ll make it quick – I would rather have you read the letter below – but I do have news for you, both bad and good.

The bad news: our beloved CEO Debra DeLee has retired from APN after 21 years.

The good news: APN will remain a vibrant important player working for you as a preeminent voice for a two-state solution. And APN will continue speaking the truth in the New Year – as is our hallmark.

We will miss Debra dearly – she’s truly one of a kind. You can tell this by just reading her letter below. But we must move on and persevere, and grassroots donations from supporters like you are the foundation of our existence and efforts.

To honor Debra and APN, I am offering to double your donation of up to $25,000 until the end of this month. It is with your help that our truths will continue to be heard.

Shanah tovah,

Jim Klutznick
Chair, APN Board of Directors

 


 

A version of this essay also appeared in The Forward on August 29, 2018

By the time you receive this letter, I will have stepped down from my position as President and CEO of Americans for Peace Now (APN), after serving in this capacity for 21 years. However, I’m writing this with six weeks left in my tenure at APN, and I’m anxious to share my thoughts and feelings with you, this being the last time I will have this forum through which to speak to you.

I was hoping to put into words the many feelings I’m experiencing at this time:

Gratitude: for having the honor to serve the dedicated and supportive APN Board, my talented APN colleagues and you, our generous and committed supporters.

Pride: in the important work that APN does both here and in the Middle East.

Awe: at our colleagues in Shalom Achshav (Peace Now, the Israeli peace movement) — many of them among the signers of the original officers’ letter establishing the organization in 1978 — who work tirelessly for a future that their children, grandchildren and those of their Palestinian neighbors deserve.

Excitement: about new possibilities ahead.

But, sadly, I am also feeling rage. The targets of my rage are those who know right from wrong, yet have chosen wrong for personal or political expedience.

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APN's "3 Weeks of Contemplation" - Week 1 Book Recommendations

Week 1 Books - Exposing the divisions that exist in Israeli society between different ethnic, religious, and political groups.

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APN's "3 Weeks of Contemplation" - Book Recommendations

Americans for Peace Now invites you to join us in “Three Weeks of Contemplation: Hate, Peace, and Reconciliation,” featuring a hand-picked selection of current books by Israeli and Palestinian writers.

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My Jewish Journey, My APN Story

Stephanie Breitsman

As I get ready for Middlebury College’s summer Hebrew immersion course in preparation for beginning rabbinical school in fall 2019, I am reflecting on my APN story.

For pretty much everyone I grew up with, my Presbyterian parents in particular, my decision to become a rabbi comes as a surprise. A few years ago, before I came to work at APN, I wouldn’t have been able to imagine it myself.

I began attending Hillel events in college at the same time that I started studying Arabic and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Initially, I found it difficult to embrace conversion wholeheartedly because of the conflict between my spiritual and cultural attraction to Judaism and my strong criticism of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

While I was living in the West Bank in the summer of 2014, the IDF set off sound bombs and tear gas outside my window as it raided Ramallah at 3 am every night for a week. That first night, I was more afraid than I had ever been, but the next day at work I realized this was normal for my Palestinian colleagues. While strongly committed to Jewish values, I was deeply conflicted about embracing Judaism when I saw, up close, such abuses committed by the Jewish state. And as a person committed to ending the occupation, would I be accepted by the Jewish community?

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Whose side are you on?

Take a look at this photo.

It shows an Israeli police officer suffering a head injury yesterday in the West Bank, just south of Bethlehem. Who attacked him? A Palestinian? Hamas? No. Rock-throwing Jewish settlers. 

These hoodlums were part of a crowd of hundreds of right-wing zealots who gathered at Netiv Haavot, an illegal outpost, to protect buildings that settlers built on stolen land, privately owned by Palestinians.

Yesterday’s clashes went on for hours. Settlers gathered in the structures and on roofs, pelting police officers with rocks, bottles, and paint canisters.

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We could've told you about Roseanne

After Roseanne Barr's vile, racist tweet yesterday, ABC has cancelled her show. But we at APN know well - and personally - about Roseanne's vitriol on Twitter.

Chuck Schumer

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COMING SOON: A game-changer on West Bank settlements

Americans for Peace Now has exciting news: our new Facts on the Ground map app is almost here!

Facts on the Ground is a game-changing tool for educating the world about Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Anyone with an iPhone or Android phone can instantly access comprehensive, up-to-date information, statistics, and analysis on this topic. This one-of-a-kind tool is fueled directly by data collected on the ground by Peace Now (Shalom Achshav), the world's most reputable source on West Bank settlements.

Facts on the Ground can play a vital role in helping anyone understand how settlements prevent peace, and what must be done to preserve the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Palestinians have it circled on their calendars

Luis LainerLag B’omer is coming – the 33rd day between Pesach and Shavuot, a day traditionally for throwing off mourning and instead celebrating with music, weddings and bonfires. Lag B’omer is a minor holiday that not many American Jews are aware of. Paradoxically, Palestinians in the West Bank town of Hebron have it circled on their calendars.

It has become a Lag B'omer custom of some Jewish settlers in Hebron to vandalize and loot Palestinian property for wood with which to build bonfires. And unlike the Israeli military authority, which regularly shuts down the West Bank during Jewish holidays to minimize the possibility of a terrorist attack, the Palestinians don’t have the means to protect their communities come Lag B'omer.

Support APN and help fight back against extremist "price tag" attacks.

As Jews and friends of Israel, we recognize the dread of an approaching holiday. Those closures during Passover and other holidays are Israel’s response to horrific terrorist attacks like the suicide bombing by Hamas of a seder at a Netanya hotel in 2002. The attack killed 30 Jews and wounded 140. A similar attack was perpetrated in 2006, killing 11 and wounding 60 at another Passover seder. A number of years have passed since an attack like this has occurred, but the threat remains.

Still, we can’t leave unremarked this twisted Lag B'omer practice of terrorizing Palestinians on a day dedicated to joy and relief. Preying on Palestinians has become so routine that it is no longer newsworthy. But this can’t be the way of Jewish “celebration”: breaking into Palestinian shops and homes, damaging and looting them. And these can’t be the actions of God-fearing Jews – terrorizing Palestinian and Israel Arab towns by torching cars, slashing tires, and spray painting Stars of David and racist slogans, as was done as recently as a week ago.

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