Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon of Churches for Middle East Peace hosts Jim Zogby of the Arab American Institute, Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now and myself for this discussion about the end of the Obama era and the prospects of a Trump administration for Israel and Palestine.


It still hasn’t sunk in for me. The notion that this country is going to be led by Donald Trump is tough to digest. But the fact is, he is our next president. Like so many Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegasof us, I’m left asking “how the hell did this happen?”

I am no different than a lot of other so-called experts and pundits who were confident that Trump couldn’t win. In my case, I don’t think I underestimated how much racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism or xenophobia there is in the United States. Rather I underestimated how many people were so disgusted with the Washington political elite that they would vote for Trump over Clinton despite Trump’s personification of all those traits in abundance.

This is a time for liberals, progressives, and all manner of those who consider themselves to be on the left to look inward. The one silver lining that I can see right now is that the lessons of this election are so stark that there is good reason to hope they will be learned and that a very new and different Democratic Party will be the result. Read more at Medium


On Sunday the Israeli cabinet unanimously passed a bill that would legalize settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank that were built on privately owned

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Banner reads “Every house that is demolished is a victory for Hamas.” This refers only to Jewish-owned houses in settlements.

Palestinian land. If passed by the Knesset, the law could potentially be used to raise the status of many outposts all over the West Bank to those of settlements that are legal under Israeli law. That would be a tremendous setback to the already dimming prospects of an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, and to the two-state solution. Read more at FMEP’s blog, Facts on the Ground


The shocking victory of Donald Trump in the American presidential election will reverberate around the world. One place where those reverberations will be felt trumpparticularly keenly is Israel. The biggest problem is that no one knows what they will look like. Read more at Haaretz


Earlier today, Likud Knesset Member, David Bitan, who chairs the governing faction in the Knesset, stated on an Israeli talk show that he would try to find a way to strip the citizenship of Hagai btselem-logoEl-Ad , executive director of B’Tselem. Bitan described El-Ad’s testimony to a special session of the United Nations Security Council on Israeli settlements as “explicit breach of trust by an Israeli citizen against the state, and as such he should find himself another citizenship.”

Zehava Gal-On, the Chairwoman of the Meretz party, described Bitan’s comments as “dangerously close to incitement to murder.” That characterization is important considering right wing efforts over the past two years to incite violence against peace and human rights activists in Israel. Read more at Facts on the Ground, FMEP’s blog


On Wednesday, in the wake of Israel’s announcement of hundreds of more units in West Bank settlements, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a page on its website articulating its view 640px-beitar_ilitthat building in the occupied West Bank is legal under international law and is not, as many critics claim, an impediment to peace. The fact that the MFA felt the need to make such a case indicates that rising international criticism, particularly from the U.S., is having an impact, and that case bears an examination of its key claims. Read more at “Facts on the Ground,” the Foundation for Middle East Peace’s blog.


Rebecca Vilkomerson has been a member of Jewish Voice for Peace since 2001 and the group’s Executive Director since 2009. She lived with her family in Israel from 2006-2009. In 2010 she rebecca-vilkomersonwas named one of the 50 most influential Jewish American leaders by the Forward, and was named one of “14 Women to Watch” in 2014.

FMEP: Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) has, in some ways, been a lightning rod for the global movement for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel (BDS). Many people can’t reconcile the idea of a Jewish organization advocating a boycott of Israel. Obviously, this is especially true for those who see BDS as unfairly anti-Israel, even anti-Semitic. As the Executive Director of JVP, how do you respond to those charges? And, perhaps a parallel question, what would you say are the major differences between the public perception of the BDS movement and its reality?

Rebecca Vilkomerson: Read more at Facts On The Ground, the Foundation For Middle East Peace’s blog. 

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