OneVoice channels fury

Got this by email from OneVoice:

“If you are furious about the situation in Israel and Palestine, you are not alone. Most people across the globe feel helpless seeing so much hatred, so many deaths and so much extremism.

As the situation continues to unravel, we at OneVoice are saying: enough.

The tragic events that unfolded in the waters off Gaza two weeks ago have brought into sharp focus just how dangerously unsustainable the status quo in the region is.  We call on every citizen to redouble his or her efforts to seize back the agenda for a comprehensive two-state solution – guaranteeing an end to the conflict, end to the occupation, and ensuring security and peace for the people of Israel and Palestine.

Amid these circumstances, it is almost impossible to think about the future. But now is precisely when we need to do everything in our power to ensure that such actions never happen again.

Imagine for a moment the year 2018.  What if in 2018 there was a final status agreement between Israel and Palestine?

Now imagine what life in 2018 will look like for you and your loved ones if there is continued violence, bloodshed and occupation.  Imagine if the events that we witnessed last week were to be compounded by eight more years of blockade, qassam attacks, violence, occupation, insecurity and mistrust.

Both of these futures are in fact very real.  Separated only by the willingness of people and their leaders to be courageous and take the actions necessary to achieving a two-state solution.

OneVoice Israel and OneVoice Palestine youth leaders are capturing thousands of visions for 2018 – asking people not only to visualize their future, but to create it!

OneVoice is channeling the frustrations of the millions of people who feel helpless and paralysed into concrete and constructive actions to ensure this tragedy does not repeat itself. Many Israelis, Palestinians, and concerned international observers do not agree about what took place off the shores of Gaza. Nor do they agree about what took place in 1948, 1967, or pretty much any date that marks a landmark event in this conflict’s constant downward spiral. But the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians can agree about what 2018 should look like.

We are asking three questions:

WHAT will it take to end the conflict?

– This month, Adi Grady speaks about her efforts in convincing Israelis to support their government in negotiations.

WHAT does the region look like?

– In this issue, Dalia Labadi gives her account of a special Town Hall Meeting in Jenin with Palestinian Policemen

WHAT is your role in getting there?

Mohammed Asideh gives his personal story about growing up in Nablus, why he joined OneVoice Palestine, and what he’s doing to help build a Palestinian state.

What is your 2018?

OneVoice is an international grassroots movement that amplifies the voice of mainstream Israelis and Palestinians, empowering them to propel their elected representatives toward a two-state solution. The movement works to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by advocating for a negotiated two-state solution that ends the occupation, ensures security and peace for Israel and Palestine, and solves all final-status issues in accordance with international law. The 1967 borders form the basis for the establishment of an independent, viable Palestinian state with permanent borders and any modifications to be agreed on by both parties. The movement recognises that violence by either side will never be a means to end the conflict.”

Will Norwegian universities force their employees to boycott Israel?

If “the Board of Governors of the University of Trondheim and University College of Sør-Trøndelag [were] to declare at their upcoming meeting that Israeli universities and academic institutions cannot be normal partners of any self-respecting Norwegian institution”, they would be committing an act of discrimination against fellow academics on grounds of nationality, without any prospect of affecting the conflict. As employers, they would be intervening in the scholarly work of their employees. I wonder what a trade union would make of that.

Sue Blackwell was the inspiration, it turns out. Israel unites employers and trade unionists – how beautiful is that?

Seriously though, surely these board members will throw it out. Unless, of course, they’re convinced otherwise by an Israeli academic lecturer, most recent of an series of boycotting lecturers, who will visit the institution a couple of days prior to the vote to discuss Israel’s use of antisemitism as a political tool.

(When wasn’t antisemitism a political tool?)

There’s a petition against the boycott from Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.

If Trondheim’s Rector is building opposition to the boycott on the board, it’s not public.

A piece in the Jerusalem Post.

Here’s some typical support for the boycott containing many inadvertent ironies and ending paradoxically with a call for “freedom from fear”.

Meanwhile OneVoice is starting its universities tour – more on Facebook. These events are very good because in my experience you get to see how principled peace-makers – peacemakers who are out to build something – take the trouble to respond to boycotters (among other polarising tendencies) with patient but firm refutation, for the sake of peace in their own homelands.

  • EXETER! Monday, 9th November, Queens Building Lecture Theatre 2, 6.30pm
  • SOUTHAMPTON! Tuesday, 10th November, Nightingale Lecture Theatre, 6pm
  • MANCHESTER! Wednesday, 11th November, Student Union Common Room/Club Academy, 1pm
  • BIRMINGHAM! Thursday, 12th November, The Arts Building, 5pm
  • SURREY! Monday, 16th November, School of Management Main Lecture Theatre, 5.15pm
  • LONDON! (LSE, UCL, SOAS, KING’S COLLEGE) Tuesday, 17th November, University of London Union, Malet Street, WC1E 7HY, 5pm
  • OXFORD! Wednesday, 18th November, Catholic Chaplaincy, 8pm
  • GLASGOW! Thursday, 19th November, the Debates Chamber, 6pm

Update: Should have said at the time: this is typical of what anti-Israel boycott campaigns are like – Jews under scrutiny.

Update 2: Another Observer, in the comments below, says:

“The old SUS laws (stop and serach) were universal (i.e. they applied to everyone), but, when examined in practice, was only being used by the Police against the Black population. In other words, whilst all the population of the UK could have been pulled under the laws, the vast, vast, majority of those affected were Black, In that instance, as in the case of the boycott, that “something more” was and is racism. As such, it was part of the anti-racist agenda to end the SUS laws on the gorunds of their racist application (as well as the general abuse of civil liberties).

Nowadays, of course, many, but not all, of the anti-racists openly support what is, in effect, and in practice, a policy of racist exclusion against Jews.”

Update 3: Ben Cohen at Z-Word blog has examined the Trondheim boycott campaign in more detail. At Harry’s Place Gene reminds us: “Trondheim, the city where the NTNU is located, is in the county of Sør-Trøndelag. The county council voted in 2005 to boycott Israel.”

EXETER! Monday, 9th November, Queens Building Lecture Theatre 2, 6.30pm

SOUTHAMPTON! Tuesday, 10th November, Nightingale Lecture Theatre, 6pm

MANCHESTER! Wednesday, 11th November, Student Union Common Room/Club Academy, 1pm

BIRMINGHAM! Thursday, 12th November, The Arts Building, 5pm

SURREY! Monday, 16th November, School of Management Main Lecture Theatre, 5.15pm

LONDON! (LSE, UCL, SOAS, KING’S COLLEGE) Tuesday, 17th November, University of London Union, Malet Street, WC1E 7HY, 5pm

OXFORD! Wednesday, 18th November, Catholic Chaplaincy, 8pm

GLASGOW! Thursday, 19th November, the Debates Chamber, 6pm

One Voice – resisting polarisation

OneVoice‘s priority is to resist the polarising forces of conflict, encourage Israelis and Palestinians, in parallel, out of their fixed narratives, and build a mandate for elected politicians to negotiate a settlement which establishes a Palestinian state.

Read about OneVoice Glasgow’s visit to the Israeli town of Sderot terrorised by bombs from Gaza, and the Palestinian town of Salfeet, harassed by growing Israeli settlements. Also read a Q&A session with OneVoice’s youth leaders. Dalia Labadi:

“At OneVoice, everything you’re doing is for a better future, geared toward ending the conflict and the occupation. This is a noble feeling, when you’re doing something for the people that you’re part of. Being part of the movement made me more attached to the society, because you’re caring about your people’s future. Like Lee said, the other thing I’m proud of is hearing the other side’s narrative. This is something that you can’t be introduced to through the media or watching television. OneVoice could bridge the narratives.”

One Voice in 2009: breaking taboos

By email from OneVoice:

“2009 opened with a variety of new opportunities and unforeseen challenges which have dramatically altered the political landscape in the Middle East – elections and a war, new administrations and more violence. In some ways, the greatest challenge facing us this year is not what has changed, but what has stubbornly persisted: Palestinians still live under occupation, without freedom or independence; Israelis still live under threat from rocket attacks, without security or safety. The dream of two states for two peoples has not been realized.

The tragedy of the Gaza war widened the rift between Israelis and Palestinians – a schism that was acutely felt by OneVoice’s Israeli and Palestinian teams on the ground, threatening the very fabric of the Movement. None were more affected than our Gaza staff, who had to be evacuated following the war, and who have been temporarily relocated to the West Bank. But across all staff and members, there was an enormous amount of trust lost, which needed to be rebuilt.

To confront the situation, over the past two months, OneVoice has been engaged in a deep process of introspection, self-evaluation, political assessment, and strategic consultation to address the current situation and devise a way forward – we came together as a team, Israelis, Palestinians, and internationals, and in so doing were able to reach some conclusions about how we can strengthen the Movement, address the changing realities on the ground, and effect real change this year. After conferring with the OVI and OVP Youth Councils, the International Steering Committee, the International and Regional Boards, and staff from across the offices, OneVoice’s global leadership met together in Jerusalem in late February, and agreed on the following:

OneVoice can play a key role in the process – offering a concrete way forward to both peoples. We have built an unparalleled infrastructure and youth movement based on a unique premise: each side working in its own national self-interest to achieve freedom, independence, security, dignity, viability, and international recognition for both peoples.

But nothing will ever change if we don’t have the courage to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done. Beneath the surface of the phrase “two state solution” there is a great deal of consensus that is yet to be forged within and between both societies – a great deal of understanding that is still missing. Even with our signatories and team members, we have recognized that Palestinians and Israelis have yet to acknowledge the legitimate concerns and perspectives of the other side. OneVoice has a critical role to play in civic education: in tackling the reality of the historic compromise that will be required of both Israelis and Palestinians in order to end the occupation of Palestine, to guarantee the security of Israel, and to resolve the conflict once and for all based on a formula of mutual recognition between two independent and viable states: Israel and Palestine.

Our programs for 2009 will be focused exclusively on the need to take courageous steps and break taboos on each side in order to make progress. It will certainly not be easy – but we simply have no time to lose. The window for a two state solution is closing, and this must be the year we make the critical difference.

We look forward to updating you with more detail in the coming weeks.”

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