This past week saw the shortest and darkest day of the year. But now, going into the new year, we see the light beginning to return to us. A new administration offers a brighter future for the United States and for its global allies. A vaccine has begun paving the way for an end to the pandemic that has robbed us of over 300,000 American lives, and nearly 2 million globally. And as we live through the havoc climate change is wreaking on our world, the U.S. is about to reenter the Paris Agreement. And of course we are on the verge of new elections in Israel, where the possibility of change seems stronger every day.
There is no question that it has been a year of darkness and despair. But there are bright spots to note, even in the most bitter of times.
Seven months ago when I became CEO of Americans for Peace Now, I knew a fair amount about Israel and working for peace. But I didn’t know a lot about APN. I didn’t know about all of you – the peacebuilders – who have been here, with us, marching this work forward for nearly 40 years.
I didn’t know about our extraordinary staff who, from its founding days to today, have worked tirelessly for peace, relentless in their job to educate, inform and advocate. I didn’t know about our Board of Directors, many of whom have been with us on this journey for nearly all of the 40 years of our existence, inspiring and guiding us. And I didn’t know about you, our supporters, who have been the backbone of APN.
But over these seven months I have had the honor to meet many of you – virtually, of course – and learn from you about your passion for peace and your deep connection to our movement. It is your commitment to the mission that keeps us vital and moving forward every day. It’s your energy that sustains our movement when things seem most difficult. You are the lights in the darkness.
We have begun to carve out a new space for ourselves, bringing APN’s scholarship, knowledge and experience to the next generation of peace activists.
And in doing so, we have shown ourselves not afraid to take a stand for peace:
We also publicly called for then-nominee Joe Biden to speak out clearly in opposition to annexation. And of course we helped get 191 Members of Congress to raise their voices in opposition to annexation.
» We hosted the first webinar with journalist Peter Beinart where he laid out his bold and controversial theories on the prospect of one-state. Over 900 donors and supporters joined in to learn about and wrestle with his ideas.
Our goal is clear. We’re not here to argue among ourselves. We’re here to build the movement for peace and justice
» We became the first member organization of the Conference of Presidents to publicly call out Mort Klein, head of the Zionist Organization of America, for his racist tweets regarding the horrific killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the Black Lives Matters protests of the spring and summer. Klein is a right wing, racist Islamophobe and I’m not afraid to say it.
» When the Conference of Presidents called on its members to endorse the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, we were the only ones to stand up and say no. We won’t stick our heads in sand and pretend that all is well while this definition is used across the globe to squash legitimate criticism of Israeli policy and to attack those who speak out.
» APN had the great honor to host a commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, MC-ed by our Board member, Mandy Patinkin, who was joined by a panoply of activists, educators, singers and storytellers coming together to mark the moment and offer hope for the future.
Finally, as we move towards the final days of the year, I am pleased to tell you that we have been working closely with the incoming Biden administration and its transition team to ensure that peace remains a priority on their agenda. They are smart, qualified, and good people. But they are going to need to be pushed. And together, we will do just that.
Change is coming. But we cannot take advantage of this moment without you by our side.
As you consider your final year-end donations, please include APN in your plans. If you have already made a gift, consider making another. And if you haven’t yet given to APN this year, there is still time.
Our work is more critical than ever before; our voice never more needed. You are an essential part of our future – together we are the peacebuilders, a movement forged in a desire to make the change we want to see.
Thank you for your generosity and your commitment. All of us at APN send you and your family warmest wishes for a healthy, safe and peaceful new year.
President and CEO
Americans for Peace Now