For the last few weeks we have all been watching the devastating news from Israel and Gaza. The situation is far from easing and the fear, loss of life, and pain is greater with each day. We’ve seen the debate and conversation about the war slip to new levels of hatred, racism and anti-Semitism, deeply lacking in compassion on all sides. In times of crisis we retreat to tribal lines, lending our unquestioning support to whichever team we feel a part of.
We want to do something different
We want the world to know, however tough it is at the moment, British Jewish supporters of Israel refuse to be blinded by the narrowness of the debate here, and the violence in the region. We must remain, together, committed to our quest for peace. For only a long term and sustainable peace can provide the safety and security that we all so desperately wish to see.
We want you to do two things
1. Please add your name to the statement below by clicking here. We want this message to reach the rest of the world: journalists, politicians and opinion formers. As you add your name please print out the statement (you can download it here), take a picture of yourself and email it to others, and/or tweet it using the hashtag #webelieve. We need you to tweet it at journalists, politicians, newspapers. You can find a list of twitter handles here. Over the next 48 hours we are going to do all we can to show the world that significant numbers support the statement below. The more of you that sign, the more impact we will have.
We believe all people should have the right to live free from fear and violence
We believe in Israel’s right not just to exist, but to flourish, and we stand against those who defame her
We believe that in the absence of a peace agreement this war will be repeated again and again
We believe that if we lack compassion we are part of the problem, not the solution
We believe that those who dehumanise the other undermine the possibility of peace
We believe that there are partners for peace on both sides and that we must reach out and strengthen their voices
We believe that Israel’s best hope for long-term security lies in a stable, enduring, comprehensive peace agreement with the Palestinians
We believe peace is still possible and we must deepen our efforts to achieve it
2. On Friday 1st August the We Believe statement will appear on a full page advert in The Jewish Chronicle, The Jewish News and The Jewish Telegraph. In order to fund these adverts we are asking you to chip in whatever you can to make it possible. We don’t want to take the funds out of our core costs which means we will be able to do less work. If anything we want to be able to do more. To help us pay for the adverts click here.
On Tuesday 29th July 100 people gathered in Hampstead Town Hall for a live link up to Israelis and Palestinians in the region. We were joined by:
A female Palestinian journalist based in Gaza, who has covered the last war and other internal issues related to the Gaza strip in a variety of publications
Dr Gershon Baskin is the initiator and the person responsible for the secret back channel between Israel and the Hamas that successfully negotiated the release of Israeli abducted soldier Gilad Shalit. You can read about the plan Gershon will discuss for ending hostilities here.
On Wednesday 23rd July 100 people gathered in Hampstead Town Hall for a live link up to Israelis and Palestinians in the region. You can listen here to a recording of our conversations:
Dr Gershon Baskin is the initiator and the person responsible for the secret back channel between Israel and the Hamas that successfully negotiated the release of Israeli abducted soldier Gilad Shalit. You can read about the plan Gershon discussed for ending hostilities here.
Bassam Aramim co-founded Combatants for Peace in 2005, an organisation of former Israeli and Palestinian combatants leading a non-violent struggle against the occupation. In 2007 his daughter was shot and killed by an IDF solider.