Links to video highlights from Peace Now Conference

As we previously notified you, on Friday, July 24, 2015, Peace Now demonstrated its leadership of Israel’s progressive forces when it brought together 1,200 participants for its largest-ever conference on peace and democracy issues.

Please find below a download link to a video with highlights from the conference with English subtitles. We hope you’ll find it interesting and useful!

Here’s a link to the video on our Facebook page (recommended to switch to HD): Facebook Link

Here’s a link to the video on YouTube: YouTube Link

Progressives turn out in droves for Peace Now conference

Peace Now demonstrated its leadership of Israel’s progressive forces on Friday, July 24, 2015, when it brought together 1,200 participants for its largest-ever conference on peace and democracy issues. The event, held at Tel Aviv’s exhibition grounds, featured some 60 speakers from a wide spectrum of Israel’s centre-left and left, including Members of Knesset and prominent journalists, civil society leaders, experts and activists. About half the participants were under 30 years of age – highly significant in an era when youth tend to disengage from public life. The conference took place with the help of funding from Canadian Friends of Peace Now.

The aim was to re-energize the progressive movement. Discussions focused on how to more effectively oppose the right-wing agenda both through the Knesset and through social activism. The huge turnout was certainly heartening said Anat Ben Nun of Peace Now.

“People felt they were part of something big, that they are not just voices in the wilderness and that they were connecting with a broad alliance of like-minded groups working for positive change.”

“Only Peace Now is able to gather such a variety of voices in the same room,” she said.

A keynote panel featuring MK Shelly Yachimovitch (Zionist Camp), head of Meretz, MK Zahava Galon, head of the Joint List, Ayman Odeh, and renowned TV journalist Amnon Abramovitch received considerable media coverage. Yachimovitch spoke of the need to counter Netanyahu’s fear-mongering over the Iran deal. Galon stressed the importance of building alliances and working with other parties as a bloc to succeed in the next election. Odeh emphasized the need to include Israel’s Arab citizens in the peace camp and said that peace cannot be reached without them.

In addition to media stories, the conference garnered much attention on social media. Young people in particular are continuing the discussion on various social media platforms.

Thank you to our donors for the generous support which helped fund this landmark event.

For more photos from the conference Click Here……

Thousands demonstrate with Peace Now
against violence and incitement

We are horrified by the deadly attacks in Jerusalem and the Palestinian village of Duma by right-wing terrorists. It is clear that the continued occupation and the permissive attitude towards the settlements encourage extremism and destroy Israel as we know it. Unfortunately, the right wing leadership does hardly anything to prevent violence, and sadly, continues to incite for purposes of political gain.

On August 1, thousands attended the Peace Now organized demonstration in Rabin Square. Among the speakers was Nasser Dawabsheh, the uncle of the baby killed in Duma, who asked Netanyahu: “Why wasAli murdered, eighteen months old? What did [Netanyahu] do? What did he do to the IDF? What did he do to settlers? We ask that this be the end of our people’s suffering. Before Ali there was also Mohammed Abu Khdeir, and now Ali, and we don’t know who is next in line.”

Members of Knesset who spoke at the demonstration included Opposition Chief Isaac Herzog (Zionist Camp), MK Amir Peretz (Zionist Camp), Head of Meretz Zehava Galon, and MK Merav Michaeli (Zionist Camp). The other two speakers were Former Head of Shin Bet Carmi Gillon and Peace Now’s General Director Yariv Oppenheimer. Click on their names or photos for translated videos of their speeches.

For photos from the demonstration click here.
For the report on Ynetnews click here.

Peace Now launches new campaign
to advance two-state solution 

During its July 24 conference, Peace Now launched a new campaign to counter both the international anti-Israel boycott and the Netanyahu government’s pro-settler policies. Titled “Support Israel: Fight the Occupation,” the campaign presents an alternative to certain “either-or” messages.

“Netanyahu exploits fears over BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) to stifle criticism of its support for settlements,” Ben Nun explains.

By calling for the left and right to unite against boycotts, she says, Netanyahu attempts to create a situation in which you are either with him or anti-Israel. To oppose him becomes twisted to mean condoning boycotts aimed at hurting the Israeli economy and delegitimizing the State of Israel. At the other extreme, the BDS movement speaks of ending the Occupation, but its rhetoric and actions take broader shots, often condemning and harming Israel as a whole. And its effect is to push Israelis into a defensive, uncompromising stance.

Peace Now argues you can oppose BDS but at the same time oppose Israeli rule over the occupied territories. In fact, Peace Now says, fighting settlements and the Occupation is a way of showing love for country since the status quo is inimical to Israel’s long term viability. Says Ben Nun:

“Supporting Israel as Jewish and democratic means stopping the settlement enterprise. Supporting Israel’s security means not controlling the lives of four million Palestinians.”

Both BDS and Occupation/settlement expansion reinforce polarization and stalemate. Peace Now promotes a third alternative: the two-state solution to bring Israel back within the Green Line and back within the fold of the international community.

This message is not in essence new. But, says Peace Now, it is important to reframe the argument in light of the intense BDS debate. The two-state solution and ending the Occupation are the right answer to international pressure; not “circling the wagons.”

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