NEW YORK (Jun. 22)
Gail Pressberg has announced that she is stepping down as president of Americans for Peace Now, to return to more direct involvement in political activism on behalf of the organization.
Such work was at the center of Pressberg’s APN activities before she assumed the presidency in February, when former President Jonathan Jacoby left to work on behalf of Israel’s Labor Party.
During the debate in March over APN’s bid to join the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Pressberg became a lightning rod for the opposition.
Prior to working at APN, Pressberg had worked for the American Friends Service Committee and the Foundation for Middle East Peace, groups seen by many as pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel.
In a resignation letter dated May 7, Pressberg said her desire for reassignment predated the group’s election to the Conference of Presidents.
But once the campaign against APN began focusing on her past activities, she wrote, “I felt that discussion of my leaving the presidency would be misconstrued as bowing to outside pressure.”
Sources familiar with the deliberations of APN confirm that Pressberg’s resignation was not a result of the controversy surrounding her position.
APN is currently seeking a successor to Pressberg. Her resignation will be effective as soon as one is found.
And at least one staunch opponent of APN does not see the move as significant.
“The problem is not Gail Pressberg. The problem is the positions Peace Now is taking,” said Morton Klein, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Zionist Organization of America and leader of the effort to prevent APN’s admission to the Conference of Presidents.
At the conference, Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein said the move would have no impact on APN’s functioning within the umbrella group, since Pressberg had not personally attended its meetings.
Pressberg told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency her new APN post, as yet unnamed, will enable her to spend more time writing and speaking.
“I’m not going to have a lower profile at all,” she said.