Mary Appelman was instrumental in the inception of The Other Israel. It started with successful U.S. lecture tours she organized with Matti Peled and Uri Avnery. Many of the people they met expressed the hope of keeping contact and hearing regularly about what ICIPP was doing. So when they came back to Israel, it was decided to establish a monthly fact sheet, which would be sent to several dozen American contacts. I, as a younger member of the Council with a good working knowledge of English, got the job.
As originally conceived, it would have been just a single page devoted strictly to the activities of ICIPP itself and nothing else. However, when I started working on it, I soon felt that this was far too narrow a focus. We were often acting as a part of coalitions and networks and it seemed stupid and unfair to leave out the actions of partner organizations.
At the time, we were engaged in opposing and confronting the law which forbade Israeli citizens to meet or shake hands with a member of the PLO - and violators could get up to three years in prisons for this "crime". We were not the only ones to confront this law. For example, Abie Nathan - who was not a member of the ICIPP but a very active one-man peace movement - went to Tunis, met with Arafat, came back, went on trial and got half a year in prison. He ended his term, rested three days at home - and then went again to Tunis, met again with Arafat, and then back to prison. It would have been unthinkable not to write about him, though strictly it was not "ICIPP activity".
More contentious among us was the issue of Peace Now. It was the heyday of Peace Now, which was able to get tens of thousands into the streets. It seemed very strange to report about our own much more modest actions, meetings where we got the attendance of hundreds, and not write about much bigger Peace Now actions. But some of our people objected, saying: "Peace Now is never inviting any of us to speak from the podium in their rallies. They expect us to stand in the audience as anonymous foot soldiers or extras. Why should we promote them in America? And perhaps help them get donations?"
Mary Appelman helped tip the scales in this debate in favor of the "universalist" position. She told Matti, "People in America are not interested in petty squabbles and jealousies among Israeli peace organizations. They are very interested in getting hopeful news from Israel, the more the better." Matti always respected her position.
ICIPP was the publisher, and our own activities were prominently covered, but it reported on anything that could be considered as promoting the achievement of Israeli-Palestinian peace and opposing the occupation and settlement construction. This effectively included the whole spectrum between dovish dissidents in the Israeli Labor Party, deep in the political establishment, and very radical anti-Zionist groups. These two kinds of people had hardly anything to do with each other, but we tried to keep open channels with both, get information about what they were doing and publish it - and even when we had considerable political differences with both, we tried to present them in a non-polemical, matter-of-fact tone.
Mary Appelman and the AICIPP were the most important in the network we had in various countries - including Joyce Blau's "Comité Palestine et Israël Vivront" in Paris, Misako Son-Nagasawa in Japan, and John Bunzl in Austria.
At a rough estimate, I would say that out of some 4,500 readers, which TOI had at its peak, at least a third came through Mary Appelman and her fellow American activists.
Mary kept regular contact with us by writing, phone, and occasional personal visits (she usually came to Israel once a year, and our people came to the U.S. at least as much).
ICIPP faded away during the mid-1990s after losing prominent members and achieving a primary aim: for the government of Israel and the PLO to recognize each other and embark on negotiations. Perhaps most important, in 1992 Gush Shalom came into being, at the time a younger, more dynamic movement with a program essentially identical to that of ICIPP, and became effectively the successor of ICIPP. However, The Other Israel continued to list ICIPP as its publisher on the masthead until the very last issue in November 2009, though in practice we were on our own.