Overview

Peace Now (Shalom Achshav) is the largest and most effective peace movement in the history of Israel. Belonging to the Zionist peace camp, Shalom Achshav was formed in 1978 during a foundering moment in the peace talks between Israel and Egypt. At that time 348 reserve officers and soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces petitioned their government not to lose an opportunity to make peace with both Egypt and the Palestinians. Tens of thousands of Israelis supported their position and the Shalom Achshav movement was born.

Shalom Achshav works to promote peace with security for Israel, and a healthy democracy, through educational, advocacy and dialogue activities. Shalom Achshav’s mission is to help achieve what it believes to be the only solution to the conflict – a negotiated Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territory and the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza — otherwise known as the two-state solution.

Support groups in the United States, Great Britain and France, as well as Canada, rally peace activists on behalf of Shalom Achshav. Within Israel, the movement is endorsed by prominent intellectuals such as Amos OzDavid Grossman and A.B. Yehoshua, and former Members of Knesset including Yossi BeilinAvraham BurgTzali ReshefNaomi ChazanYuli Tamir and Mossi Raz.

Canadian Friends of Peace Now (CFPN) supports the agenda of Shalom Achshav and raises awareness here in Canada of the need for a viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. CFPN is the largest Jewish organization in Canada that is Zionist and dedicated entirely to promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace on the basis of the two-state solution.

With branches in Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa, CFPN sponsors public talks and other events on Israeli-Palestinian peace issues, helping broaden the debate on major issues of peace and security. A registered Canadian charity, CFPN also holds fundraising activities to support Peace Now’s educational programs in Israel.

Our donors receive tax receipts for their contributions.

Achievements of Shalom Achshav

Best known for its large-scale public rallies, Shalom Achshav has demonstrated that continuous pressure can influence the peace process. Much of Israeli society’s openness towards dialogue with the Palestinians is due to Shalom Achshav’s relentless advocacy over time: Shalom Achshav initiated dialogue with moderate Palestinian leaders in the late 1980’s, paving the way for official negotiations in the early 1990s;

  • In 1982 Shalom Achshav spearheaded the largest protest in Israel’s history, mobilizing 400,000 demonstrators in Tel Aviv, forcing the establishment of the Kahan Commission and the subsequent resignation of Ariel Sharon as defense minister following the Sabra and Shatilla massacres;
  • Peace Now led a massive demonstration in support of negotiations between the PLO and Israel. This was a key factor in the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords;
  • Shalom Achshav helped forge the Palestinian-Israeli Peace Coalition following the Second Intifada;
  • Shalom Achshav has helped establish opportunities for civil society cooperation among Israel, Egypt and Jordan.
  • Shalom Achshav was lauded by the U.S. State Department as a “key” player in changing Israeli public opinion on the peace process. In 1988, less than one in five Israelis were willing to compromise on territory, and fewer accepted the idea of a Palestinian state. Today, a majority endorses both ideas in the context of a viable and secure two-state solution.

Programs – Canada

CFPN’s vibrant program of public events has been held in major synagogues and other venues in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, and has brought prominent guest speakers to share different historical and political perspectives with the Jewish community and the wider public in Canada.

Speakers have included: Prof. Naomi Chazan (former Labour Member of Knesset), Ophir Pines-Paz (former Labour MK and former Minister of the Interior), Yossi Beilin, (former Labour Minister of Justice and co-architect of the Oslo Accords), Ami Ayalon, (former head of Israel’s Shin Bet, and former MK), former IDF senior officers Shlomo Gazit, Maj. Gen. (ret.), Shlomo Brom, Brig. Gen. (ret.) and Shaul Arieli, Col. (ret.), Yossi Alpher (Israeli commentator and former Mossad officer), Prof. Sari Nusseibeh, (President of Al-Quds University), Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish (Palestinian physician and author of “I Shall Not Hate”), Amos Oz and David Grossman, (Israeli novelists), Akiva EldarAluf Benn and Tom Segev (columnists for Ha’aretz newspaper), Michael Karpin (Israeli broadcaster), Irshad Manji, (Muslim reformer), Michael Bell (former Canadian Ambassador to Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan), the late Shira Herzog (Israeli-Canadian commentator), Patrick Martin (Globe and Mail journalist), Yariv Oppenheimer (General Director of Shalom Achshav), Hagit Ofran (Director of Shalom Achshav’s Settlement Watch Program), Mark Rosenblum (founder of Americans for Peace Now); and Daniel Seidemann, renowned expert and activist on Jerusalem.

CFPN has also shown ground-breaking films that shed light on the complexities of Israeli-Palestinian relations and present courageous attempts to build bridges between the two peoples. Examples include: The Gatekeepers, Dancing in Jaffa, Encounter Point and Two-Sided Story.

CFPN’s events have often been co-sponsored by Jewish institutions such as Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist synagogues, ARZA Canada, New Israel Fund Canada, Na’amat Canada, the Canada-Israel Committee, Hillel and the Toronto Jewish Book Fair.

The organization’s newsletter, PeaceMatters, presents a wide range of interviews, feature articles and opinion pieces on peace-building developments and obstacles.

We also conduct regular fundraising activities such as telethons and mail and email appeals to support our Canadian programs and our educational programs in Israel.

Programs – Israel

“The importance of [Peace Now’s] Settlement Watch work cannot be exaggerated”

Dennis Ross, Chief U.S. Middle East Negotiator, 1997

Peace Now’s Settlement Watch Program monitors and protests the building of Jewish enclaves beyond the 1967 borders of Israel. The project’s aerial and ground data are regarded as an authoritative source of information by the public, the media, and foreign governments. Shalom Achshav contends that continued occupation and settlement building in the Palestinian territories damages the entire fabric of Israeli society.

Shalom Achshav holds regular demonstrations to protest encroachments on Palestinian lands, the demolition of Palestinian homes, incitement against progressive organizations, and unjust laws and policies. Shalom Achshav’s responses promote awareness and democratic debate over Israeli actions that undermine international conventions on human rights.

Shalom Achshav engages Israeli high school and university students through seminars, online dialogue projects, workshops and more.

Shalom Achshav delivers educational activities on behalf of CFPN such as conferences, discussions and panels.

Where We Stand

  • We are for Israel’s security, democracy and Jewish character, along with equality for all its citizens. We are for a viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza living in peace and security alongside Israel.
  • We vigorously oppose Israeli settlement creation and expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlement enterprise undermines the possibility of a Two-State Solution. The settlements cause Israel to rule over a large disenfranchised Palestinian population contrary to the country’s basic democratic values. And, impeding peace, they are an obstacle to Israel’s long-term security.
  • We know that neither Israelis nor Palestinians will – or should be expected to – give up their desire for self-determination in their own state. Both peoples will have to make painful compromises and give up maximal demands. Their agreed upon borders must be based on the 1967 lines, and with any changes in those lines achieved through mutually agreed-on land swaps. Solutions to the Palestinian refugee issue will have to be found largely outside the borders of the state of Israel. Jerusalem would be the capital for both states: a solution based on demographic breakdowns with a special agreement for the Old City.
  • We insist without apology that any peace agreement must be predicated on recognition of Israel’s legitimate security needs and the right of the Jewish people for a national home in the land of Israel, alongside recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to dignity, independence, and self-determination in a sovereign, independent state of Palestine to be founded through a peace settlement with the state of Israel. The only alternative to the Two-State Solution is prolonged violence and bloodshed.