Newsletters

February 3, 2020

No art in the deal
The sad state of Israel-Palestine affairs

by Simon Rosenblum

The Trump “Deal of the Century” is many things, but a peace plan it’s not. In this regard, it was dead on arrival. In reality, it’s a deal between Donald Trump and Bibi Netanyahu, gifting Israeli right wingers almost everything they ever wanted.

But how can that be? The plan proposes a Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem, does it not? Hasn’t that been the Palestinian dream? And didn’t Benny Gantz, leader of Israel’s Blue and White party, hail the Trump plan as “historic” and call it “entirely consistent with the principles of state and security,” as espoused by his party? So what could be so bad with a plan so enthusiastically supported by Netanyahu’s primary opposition? In a word: everything.

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January 26, 2020

Where we stand on two key issues

In 2019, Courts in Canada and Europe ruled in favour of labelling products from Israeli settlements so as to distinguish them from goods considered legitimately ” Made in Israel. ” The Israeli government decried these decisions as discriminatory and supportive of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement. Are BDS and labelling two sides of the same coin? Below we present Canadian Friends of Peace Now’s take on the issues.  

BDS: A frank discussion 

The global BDS Movement against Israel has gained traction in recent years. Some people, most notably on the left, trumpet BDS as a non-violent way of supporting the Palestinian cause. Others accuse BDS of being anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. There’s much crying of ” foul ” on both sides. To gain some perspective, let’s look at the stated BDS vision.

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December 22, 2019

This is how we shine on!

What a strange and troubled year it’s been. Political gridlock in Israel. Two elections down and another to come. An indicted prime minister clinging to power. Meanwhile, right wingers press for annexation of the West Bank, settlements proliferate and the U.S. throws oil on the fire with talk of settlements not being illegal. A resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems more elusive than ever. 

But, as we celebrate Chanukah at this dark time of year, we should remember the ” miracles ” : the human qualities of faith, determination and courage that can dispel darkness, no matter how deep.

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December 17, 2019

Vote Early and Often

by Simon Rosenblum

Israel prides itself on being the only democracy in the Middle East, but surely it’s taking democracy a bit far. Once again, the country is about to head to the polls. The third national election in less than 12 months!

Most observers, including myself, did not foresee this third election round. Other outcomes seemed more likely. One possible outcome was Avigdor Lieberman eventually supporting Likud and its allies, thereby giving Benjamin Netanyahu enough seats for a stable government. Instead, Lieberman intensified his defiance of Bibi and firmed up his battle with the ultra orthodox. A national unity government seemed much more likely, and I was surprised when negotiations to produce one failed. I thought President Reuven Rivlin would succeed in his bid for a national unity government via a rotation agreement between Likud-plus-allies and Blue and White. Under such an agreement, Netanyahu would remain prime minister for six months, then turn the position over to Benny Gantz, and later, possibly, return to being PM if he managed to avoid conviction on the three legal charges he faces. But Netanyahu never gave up trying to get immunity in his legal battles, while Blue and White distrusted Bibi to keep his word about handing over the PM position. So the proposed deal went nowhere.

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September 24, 2019

Bibi living on borrowed time, but little else will change

by Simon Rosenblum

Let’s start with a quick review of the election results and do so by  placing the parties into their appropriate blocs. 

Blue-White has 33 Knesset seats; Labour 6 and Democratic Union (essentially Meretz) 5. Total: 44.

Likud 31, Shas and United Torah Judaism (the two ultra-orthodox parties) 9 and 8 respectively, and Yamina (hard right) 7. Total: 55.

Joint Arab list 13

Yisrael Beiteinu (Avigdor Lieberman) 8

These results are not much different from those of the April election and almost spot on with the polling data leading up to this one.

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August 7, 2019

What if they held an election and nobody won?

by Simon Rosenblum

The deadline for mergers/coalitions and party lists has passed, so we now know the lineup for Israel’s September 17 do-over election. There will likely be nine groupings in the next Knesset – fewer than usual! 

The so-called mergers are really like-minded parties coming together in coalition so as to better their chances of obtaining the minimum votes required to enter the Knesset. For Knesset status, a party must receive at least 3.25% of the popular vote, which guarantees four Knesset seats. Votes for parties that fail to meet the threshold are “wasted” in that they yield no parliamentary representation.

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July 24, 2019

Hypocrisy revealed
Peace Now exposes spike in unauthorized settlements, meanwhile East Jerusalem homes demolished

This week, Israel’s double standard regarding settlers and Palestinians was on full display. On July 22, Peace Now released a bombshell report exposing how new illegal settler outposts have mushroomed across the West Bank in recent years, mostly with direct or tacit government support. The same day, Israeli authorities began to demolish Palestinian homes deemed illegal in an East Jerusalem neighbourhood. Quite a contrast to their laissez-faire attitude towards settlers.

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July, 2019

Silwan tunnel undermines two-state solution

On Sunday, June 30, Peace Now activists protested the inauguration of a new archeological tourist site dug under Palestinian homes in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan. The site is a tunnel exposing an ancient pathway from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount and was purportedly used by Jews of antiquity ascending to the Temple. Titled the Pilgrimage Road, the project has been funded by the right-wing organization Elad, with generous state support. Peace Now however has dubbed it “the controversy tunnel,” charging it has caused damage to Palestinian homes, forcing some evacuations, increased tensions between Palestinian residents and Jewish settlers in the neighbourhood, and is part of an effort to sabotage the two-state solution.

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June 18, 2019

Electoral impasse in Israel: What’s next?

by Simon Rosenblum

On April 9, the slogan “Bibi, King of Israel” seemed right on the mark. That’s when Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and the far right parties won a clear majority of Knesset seats (65 out of 120) and Netanyahu declared “a great victory.” Yet here we are once more, headed into new fall elections. What happened, in retrospect, is easy to describe, but would have been extremely hard to predict.

Divisions on the right proved more problematic than previously thought. Not on settlement expansion, West Bank annexation and/or eroding Israel’s democratic institutions. On these matters the right-wing parties could make peace – with one another! Instead, the bone of contention was the secular/religious divide, most particularly on exemptions to compulsory military service for yeshiva students. During the tricky coalition-building process, Avigdor Lieberman and his five-seat Yisrael Beiteinu Party stuck to their secular guns. They threatened to torpedo a coalition unless Netanyahu forced the ultra-orthodox parties – who won 16 seats – to agree to more ultra-orthodox men in the military.

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May 28, 2019

Shaqued Morag speaking tour – 7 take-aways

Shaqued Morag, leader of Israel’s Peace Now movement, visited Canada May 13-19, to speak in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, about the urgency for Israel to change course. Here are some of the highlights of her talks.

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April 23, 2019

Israel’s at a Tipping Point:
Peace Camp Needed Now More Than Ever

by Simon Rosenblum

Bibi is King of Israel – unless/until he goes to jail that is! The election results should not have come as a surprise, as the polls consistently pointed to a right-wing government. Let’s examine some of the major factors that will determine what is to come.

Donald Trump was merely being Trump when he tweeted that Netanyahu’s re-election “improves the prospects for peace.” With whom? Quite possibly with himself, considering what will be forthcoming in his long awaited “Deal of the Century” Middle East peace plan. But as regards Israel’s relations with the Palestinians there is only grief ahead. The question is how bad will things get.

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March, 2019

Peace Now film designed to remind Israeli voters of need to end conflict

Peace Now/Shalom Achshav has just released a compelling and insightful short film aimed at  prompting Israelis, who go to the polls on April 9, to think about the need for a peace process with the Palestinians. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has largely been absent as an issue in this election race. Peace Now has come up with a creative way to draw attention to the subject by leveraging the 40th anniversary of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty (March 26).

The film, titled “Why I am still alive” looks at the history of war between Egypt and Israel, the huge price Israel paid through those wars, the deal that was finally reached with Egypt – hitherto its most dangerous enemy – and the great benefits Israel has enjoyed because the deal has held.

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March, 2019

Alas, Israeli election outlook bleak

by Simon Rosenblum

A recent poll by The Times of Israel on the overall political orientation of Israelis – both Jewish and Arab – is a significant indicator of what lies ahead in the April 9 general election. The survey, done end of February 2019, is based on the responses of over 700 Israelis who said they intended to vote.  It found Israelis characterized themselves as follows:

-30% right wing
-21% centre-right
-17% centrist
-10% centre-left
-9% left wing
-12% don’t know

The above shows that, setting aside the “don’t knows,” almost 60 percent of those identify with a political orientation see themselves as either right wing or centre-right.  This must be kept in mind in any analysis of election prospects.

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February, 2019

Emil Grunzweig memorial testifies to horrors of hate and Shalom Achshav resilience

Adi Berkovich, recipient of first Emil Grunzweig Fellowship (funded by CFPN) speaks at memorial marking Grunzweig’s murder by right-wing extremist

Every year Shalom Achshav holds a memorial to mark the anniversary of the murder on Feb. 10, 1983 of one of its activists, Emil Grunzweig, by a right-wing extremist. This year’s ceremony took place in the midst of a high-stakes election campaign and at a time when ugly new waves of extremism are rolling through the Israeli political landscape. But this year’s event was special for a more positive reason as well. It marked the launch of the Emil Grunzweig Fellowship, a new Shalom Achshav initiative to bring more Israeli youth into the peace camp.

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January, 2019

Peace Now warns against dangerous new settlement project

Peace Now/Shalom Achshav has sounded the alarm about Israeli government plans to create a new settlement project that could destroy chances for a two-state solution.

The government has allocated a huge area – 1200 dunams (300 acres) – for a new Jewish neighbourhood south of the Palestinian city of Bethlehem and beside the village of a-Nahla. Known as Givat Eitam, this project would expand the settlement of Efrat in a manner that “would surround Bethlehem with settlements,” according to a Ha’aretz report. If implemented, says Peace Now, the new encroachments would cut the southern West Bank in two and make it impossible to create a viable, contiguous Palestinian state.

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Click HERE for all archived Newsletters (2015 – 2018)

News Releases

  1. Trump’s plan of the century is sham of the century 01.29.20
  2. Some Great Resources 01.20.20
  3. Not your ordinary jelly donut! 12.30.19
  4. Message from Shaqued Morag Executive Director of Peace Now 12.03.19
  5. CFPN applauds Canada’s UN message on two-state solution 11.21.19
  6. New U.S. statement on settlements undermines peace 11.19.19
  7. CFPN condemns rockets, urges restraint 11.18.19
  8. Stop arms sales to Myanmar 11.12.17
  9. The dangerous consequences of Israel’s brilliant victory 6.7.17
  10. Israel’s new travel ban is neither Jewish nor democratic 3.10.17
  11. New settlement announcement spells dangerous folly 01.26.17
  12. Paris Peace Conference hits the mark– 01.17.17
  13. CFPN opposes Green Party’s BDS campaign– 08.15.16
  14. CFPN supports EU guidelines for labelling settlement products – 11.13.15
  15. CFPN condemns decision to build 800 new settlement units – 7.31.15
  16. The struggle for peace continues – 3.18.15
  17. CFPN comments on Israeli elections in today’s Globe and Mail – 3.17.15
  18. Lieberman’s latest attack on Israeli Arabs beyond the pale – 3.10.15
  19. Netanyahu does not speak for us – 3.03.15
  20. Peace Now slams new settlement construction – 3.03.15
  21. CFPN Condemns Abductions and Netanyahu Agenda – 6.23.14
  22. CFPN Condemns Netanyahu for Breaking Off Peace Talks – 4.28.14
  23. CFPN Praises Abbas’s Indication Of Flexibility On Right Of Return Issue – 2.18.14
  24. CFPN Condemns Israeli Government’s Settlement Housing Approvals – 8.12.13
  25. CFPN Condemns Extremist Rhetoric At Palestinian Rally – 8.08.13
  26. CFPN Welcomes Resumption of Israel-Palestine Peace Talks;Urges Leaders to Negotiate in Earnest. – 7.23.13
  27. Palestinians must not abandon two-state idea, says peace now – 6.03.13
  28. CFPN Condemns Israeli Retaliation against Palestinian Authority – 12.03.12
  29. CFPN urges Israel, Palestinians to resume Peace Process – 11.22.12
  30. CFPN urges restoration of Gaza ceasefire – 11.14.12
  31. Peace Now Protests Government Dismissal of Abbas Peace Overture – 11.8.12
  32. + English excerpts from Abbas’ interview…
  33. + David Grossman’s open letter to Netanyahu…
  34. CFPN urges Israeli P.M. not to Strike Iran – 9.13.12
  35. CIJA’s Outrage is Outrageous, Says CFPN – 8.16.12
  36. United Church Resolution is a Wakeup Call, Says CFPN – 8.13.12
  37. CFPN criticizes Levy Commission on Settlements – 7.12.12
  38. Confronting the Lords of the Land – 6.7.12
  39. Two York University grad students share 2012 Peace Fellowship – 5.25.12
  40. YARIV OPPENHEIMER’S three city tour – a great success – 5.25.12
  41. PEACE NOW conference – KADIMA MK’s speak out – 5.19.12
  42. CFPN Cheers Release of Gilad Shalit – Toronto – 10.19.11
  43. CFPN calls for meaningful direct talks on Palestinian Statehood – 9.19.11
  44. CFPN Voices Cautious Hope in Palestinian Unity Deal – 5.4.11
  45. Peace Now Praises Peace Initiative – 4.21.11
  46. Peace Fellowship Awarded To University Of Toronto Student – 4.20.11
  47. Peace Now condemns comments of Queen’s student Rector – 3.10.11
  48. Peace Now Renews Call For Ceasefire-Plus – 1.9.11
  49. CFPN Urges Israeli Knesset To Reject “Loyalty Oath” Proposal – 10.14.10
  50. CFPN Condemns Renewed Settlement Construction – 9.27.10
  51. Peace Now Welcomes Renewal Of Direct Israeli-Palestinian Talks – 8.23.10
  52. Peace Now Welcomes Flotilla Inquiry, Urges End Of Gaza Siege – 6.14.10
  53. Canadian Friends Of Peace Now Condemns Attacks On The New Israel Fund – 2.10.10
  54. Canadian Friends Salute Nobel Laureate Amos Oz – 10.8.09
  55. Israeli Security Dove On Three-City Tour – 5.11.09
  56. Peace Now Condemns Israel’s Plans For 73,300 New Homes In West Bank – 3.3.09
  57. Peace Now Urges Renewed Truce, Opposes Ground Offensive – 12.29.08

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