Palestinian and Israeli Reconciliation – Musalaha Organization

Musalaha was founded bySalim J. Munayer (an Arab Christian) with a desire to bring reconciliation among Palestinians and Israelis through a Christianity-based program. The Musalaha board is diverse an represents Palestinians, Israelis, and people from different faiths.

“Musalaha is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians as demonstrated in the life and teaching of Jesus. We endeavor to be an encouragement and advocate of reconciliation, first among Palestinian and Israeli believers and then beyond to our respective communities. Musalaha also aims at facilitating bridge building among different segments of Israeli and Palestinian societies according to biblical reconciliation principles.” (Source: From the video description as posted on YouTube.)

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Arab-Israeli Peace Projects

(Source: Reprinted from the Wikipedia article on Arab-Israeli Peace Projects, as of 22 July 2014)

Arab-Israeli peace projects are projects to promote peace and understanding among Arabs andIsraelis in different spheres.

Policy groups

Organizations or institutions which address and analyze policy issues in a wide range of areas. Also includes major projects or efforts which are officially carried out by regional institutions, governments, orNGOs.

Valley of Peace initiative

The Valley of Peace initiative is an official joint effort of the Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian governments to promote economic cooperation, and new business initiatives which can help both sides work together, and create a better diplomatic atmosphere and better economic conditions. It constitutes a co-existence project, as it is mainly designed to foster efforts in the private sector, once governments provide the initial investment and facilities.[1]

Joint economic cooperation between Israeli officials in Gilboa and Palestinian officials in Jenin has begun to have major results and benefits. In October 2009, a new project got underway promoting tourism and travel between the two areas. Major new business efforts and tourist attractions have been initiated in Jenin.[2]The two regions are planning a joint industrial zone which would bridge the border. Palestinians would produce locally-made handicrafts and sell them through Gilboa to other regions of the world. Another possible project is a joint language center, where Israelis and Palestinians would teach each other Arabic and Hebrew, as well as aspects of their cultural heritage.[3]

In early 2010, President Shimon Peres took an active and personal role in efforts to promote local business initiatives. Peres personally led a tour of top Israeli executives through the West Bank, and told them about many new Palestinian businesses which show much growth potential.[4] One company highlighted by Peres was the New Generation Technology incubator, a joint Jewish-Arab effort founded in 2002 which encourages new ideas and projects in technology and biotechnology.[5] As of 2011, according to Naftali Bennett, there are about 50 factories in the West Bank industrial region where Jews and Palestinians work together.[6]

Israeli-Palestinian Chamber of Commerce

The Israeli-Palestinian Chamber of Commerce was founded in 2009. Its chairman is Eival Gilady, and its CEO is Ofir Gendelman. It has already held its first conference, at which Tony Blair was the keynote speaker. It is dedicated to promoting development of joint economic initiatives and businesses.[7][8]

Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP)

The Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) is a group comprising over 70 leading non-governmental organizations that work to foster reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as Arabs and Jews in the Middle East.[9]

One of ALLMEP’s proposals is an independent International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace to support and encourage efforts to build peace in the region.[10]

Friends of the Earth Middle East

Friends of the Earth Middle East is an organization which brings together environmental activists from Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories, to work on common issues.

One of FOEME’s major efforts is a regional advocacy project to promote discussion and sharing of water resources.[11]

Mejdi

Middle East Justice and Development Initiatives (Mejdi) is a local grassroots Palestinian organization which was founded by Aziz Abu Sarah, a young Palestinian activist who seeks to advocate cooperation and reconciliation efforts. Mejdi seeks to promote dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. one part of its peacemaking efforts is to promote local economic development, and strengthening of economic cooperation and Palestinian small businesses.[12] Abu Sarah has been consistently involved in a range of workshops and efforts in which he has promoted greater efforts towards reconciliation and dialogue between individual Israelis and Palestinians.[13]

Peres Center for Peace

Peres Center for Peace was founded by Shimon Peres and carries out various policy analyses to advance efforts for peace.

Aix Group

Formed is 2002, the Aix Group is an Israeli-Palestinian-international economic study team that conducts research on the economic dimension of the conflict. Areas of focus include Palestinian refugees, the construction of a territorial link between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, development of the Jordan Valley, infrastructure cooperation, the economic status of Jerusalem.[14]

Foundations and projects

Organizations which promote specific projects aimed at promoting co-existence and dialogue between the two sides.

Ta’ayush Arab-Jewish Partnership

Formed in the fall of 2000, Ta’ayush (Arabic for “coexistence”) is a grassroots movement of Arabs and Jews working to break down the walls of racism and segregation. It engages in daily actions of solidarity to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and to achieve full civil equality for all Israeli citizens.Ta’ayush

Givat Haviva’s Jewish-Arab Center for Peace

Givat Haviva is an education, research and documentation center, founded in 1949 by Ha’Kibbutz Ha’Arzi Federation; it is located in the northern Sharon Valley of Israel. According to its website ” The mission of Givat Haviva today is to cope with the major issues that are on the agenda of Israeli society, and to foster educational initiatives, research and community work in the fields of peace, democracy, coexistence, tolerance and social solidarity.”

Givat Haviva sponsors the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace. “Established in 1963, the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace is one of the oldest and most prominent institutions in its field. The common bond of the dozens of projects conducted in the Center is the struggle for better relations between Arabs and Jews, better understanding of the essence of democracy and citizens’ rights in Israel, and building bridges with our Arab neighbors.” One of the Center’s leading dialogue projects is Face to FaceGivat HavivaHa’Kibbutz Ha’ArziJewish-Arab Center for PeaceGivat Haviva peace projectsFace to Face

The Parents Circle-Families Forum

The Parents Circle-Families Forum (PC-FF) is a grassroots organization of Palestinian and Israeli families who have lost immediate family members due to the conflict. Together, they transform their pain and bereavement into the catalyst for a joint mission of reconciliation and coexistence in the midst of ongoing violence.

PC-FF was founded in 1994 by Yitzhak Frankenthal who’s son Arik was killed by the Hamas.[15] Today, PC-FF includes more than 500 members, half Israeli and half Palestinian.[16] The members conduct dialogue sessions, give lectures, and engage in projects to support tolerance and reconciliation.

Parents Circle creates innovative projects to spread its message of hope and reconciliation. The Forum firmly believes that without reconciliation, there will only be a cease fire and not peace. PC-FF members from Israel and the Palestinian Territories regularly meet even under nearly impossible circumstances such as right after the Gaza war of 2008-9.[17]

The PC-FF’s flagship program for the general public is its educational program. High school “Dialogue Encounters” bring two forum members, one Israeli and one Palestinian to classrooms in Israel, East Jerusalem and the West Bank to talk to students about the possibility of peace and reconciliation. Close to 40,000 students are reached each year.[18]

Green Action

Green Action is an Israeli non-governmental organization which advocates for environmental activism and social change,[19] and has brought fair trade and organic Palestinian olive oil to the Israeli market.[20] Avi Levi, the director, travels frequently to the West Bank to work with Palestinian farmers, helping them set up and maintain cooperatives[21] and obtain organic and fair trade certification. The products are packaged under the SAHA label. SAHA is an acronym for Sachar Hogen, fair trade in Hebrew, and is also the Arabic word, Saha, meaning well-being or good health.[22]

In addition to olive oil, the main agricultural product of Palestinians in the West Bank, Green Action also sells za’atar, dibbes, organic fruit jam, herbal infusion and pressed olives.[23] The olive oil is also sold in bulk worldwide including to Australia and the US. In the US, Olive Branch Enterprises of Seattle, Washington buys Green Action in bulk and bottles it under the Peace Oil label.[24]

The Green Action – SAHA Fair Trade Website

Peace Oil

Olives of Peace

Olives of Peace is a joint Israeli-Palestinian business venture to sell olive oil. Through this project, Israelis and Palestinians have carried out joint training sessions and planning. It has also led to Palestinian oil production being enriched by Israeli components.[25] It has produced olive oil which has been sold under the brand name “Olives of Peace.”[26] This is related to Peace Oil (UK) and Peace Oil (USA).

Neve Shalom-Wahat Al-Salam (Oasis of Peace)

The Israeli Jewish-Israeli Muslim Village of Neve Shalom – Wāħat as-Salām(NSWAS) means “Oasis of Peace” in Hebrew and Arabic. NSWAS provides a remarkable model of longterm coexistence. Formed in 1970 on land donated by the Roman Catholic Church, NSWAS sits between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. They organize humanitarian projects, including providing medical assistance for Palestinians.

They are also butts to chairs in schools, two for village and other area children, and they have a training facility called the School for Peace. The children’s classes run from pre-school through Middle School and are all taught by both Muslims & Jews in their native languages. The School for Peace however is designed for adult Arabs and Jews from all over the area to learn about each other in controlled seminars run by trained Peace Facilitators.

NSWAS has had many notable visitors over the years. Jimmy CarterHillary Clinton, and many others including Roger Waters (aka Pink Floyd) who has performed several benefit concerts in the small village urging Israel to “Tear Down the WALL!”

An American branch recently incorporated under the name “American Friends of Neve Shalom” they are a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that raises funds in the US for NSWAS programs (similar support groups also exist in the EU, and elsewhere).

Hamidrasha Jewish-Arab Beit Midrash

Hamidrasha, a center for study and fellowship, works to address alienation, estrangement, and mutual ignorance between Jews and Arabs. Hamidrasha is establishing an inter-cultural Beit Midrash (Hebrew, “House of study”), which will serve as a basis for mutual personal and communal encounters, and for the study of cultural narratives and modern texts of both peoples. Jewish, Muslim and Christian men and women will engage in a true inter-cultural learning experience, with the goal of making a significant contribution to the ongoing dialogue between Jews and Arabs, and strengthening their reciprocal ties.

Ir Shalem co-existence program

In many ways the city of Jerusalem has been at the center of the conflict. The Israeli political movement Peace Now in 1994 has created an initiative called Ir Shalem, the goal of which is to build a peaceful equitable and inspiring future for this city, with Jewish and Arab citizens working together to find solutions based on equity and justice. This program brings together volunteer architects, planners, lawyers and other professionals to analyze problems, and offer solutions. Among other efforts, Ir Shalem is developing the first-ever planning model for East Jerusalem that will equitably meet the needs of the Palestinian community. Ir Shalem

Seeds of Peace

Founded in 1993, Seeds of Peace brings together hundreds of emerging young leaders and educators from conflict regions at the Seeds of Peace International Camp in Otisfield, Maine, USA, including thousands of IsraeliPalestinian,Jordanian, and Egyptian teens. The mission of Seeds of Peace is to provide new generations of leaders in conflict regions with the relationships, understanding, and skills needed to advance lasting peace. There are over 5,000 graduates of the Camp from 27 countries.

Seeds of Peace

Oseh Shalom – Sanea al-Salam Palestinian-Jewish Family Peacemakers Camp

From 2003-2007, the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group partnered with Camp Tawonga over five-years to bring hundreds of adults and youth from 50 different towns in Palestine and Israel to successfully live and communicate together at the Palestinian-Jewish Family Peacemakers Camp—Oseh Shalom – Sanea al-Salam.[27]

Children of Peace

Children of Peace is a UK-based, non-partisan, international conflict-resolution charity that aims to build friendship, trust and reconciliation between Israeli and Palestinian children, aged 4–17 regardless of community, culture, faith, gender or heritage through arts, education, healthcare and sports projects and programmes, so that a future generation and their communities might live in peace, side-by-side.

Founded in 2004 by the charity’s President, Richard Martin, Children of Peacereceives personal support from world leaders including Pope Francis, American Vice-President Joe Biden, Quartet Envoy Tony Blair, British Prime Minister David Cameron, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, British Labour Leader Ed MilibandBill Clinton, French President François Hollande, former Mayor of Hebron Khaled Osaily and Palestinian Envoy to the UK Dr Manuel Houssassian. Three UK parliamentarians from each major political party are Goodwill Ambassadors – Louise Ellman MP, Toby Ellwood MP and Ed Davey MP.

In 2012, one of the charity’s Goodwill Ambassadors & Director of its Youth Ambassador Programme, Sally Becker carried the Olympic Flag into the stadium at the Opening Ceremony of London 2012, in Children of Peace‘s name. Currently there are 20 Youth Ambassadors, from ArmeniaIsraelPalestineQatar, the UKand the USA.

The charity’s approach is to build understanding between grassroots communities in the region. The charity works with more than 140 affiliate organisations in a unique Coalition of Peace in GazaEgyptIsraelJordanLebanonTurkey and theWest Bank (and in every continent).

Cultural and scientific works and groups

Arab Israeli Dialogue

Lionel Rogosin filmed Arab Israeli Dialogue in 1973, an early attempt at unlocking the cultural and political issues between Palestinians and Israelis. It is a filmed debate between the Palestinian poet Rashed Hussein and Amos Kenan, shot in New-York as they were both exiled.[28]

Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization

The Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization is a nongovernmental nonprofit established in 2004 to support collaborative research between scientists in Israel and Palestine. Founding members of IPSO include Nobel prize winning neuroscientist Torsten Wiesel.[29]

The West-Eastern Divan

Founded in 1998 by Israeli-Argentinian pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboimand Palestinian-American author Edward Said, the West-Eastern Divan(named after an anthology of poems by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe) promotes a cultural dialogue between Israelis and Arabs. A principal activity is an orchestra composed mostly of young Israeli and Arab musicians, who are demonstrating the potential for collaboration between the two cultures on the universal ideas that are communicated by great classical music. They have performed throughout the world. Barenboim has also made this point by going into Palestinian areas and giving piano recitals and master classes.

Comedy For Peace

Comedy for Peace is a non-political effort to use humor to build trust, understanding and a vision for peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

Comedy for Peace was conceived and is being organized by Ray Hanania, a Palestinian-American stand-up comedian – who is married to a Jewish woman. It is Ray’s hope that the power of comedy combined with the power of two peoples coming together on one stage will help Palestinians and Israelis find the courage to look past the pain and the suffering of the conflict and see each other as human beings, as partners and as people who have no other choice but to struggle together to achieve a lasting peace.

Tolerance Monument

Tolerance Monument sculpted by Czesław Dźwigaj in collaboration with Michal Kubiak is situated on a hill marking the divide between Jewish Armon HaNetzivand Arab Jabel Mukaber, standing opposite the United Nations headquarters inJerusalem in a park near Goldman Promenade. Unveiled in Jerusalem in 2008, it was funded by Polish businessman Aleksander Gudzowaty as a symbol to promote peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.[30]

Educational efforts

Act Beyond Borders

The Project,[31][32] is generously funded by the European Commission’s, European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) for Strengthening the role of civil society in promoting human rights and democratic reform, in supporting the peaceful conciliation of group interests and in consolidating political participation and representation (Transnational and regional actions). It is implemented by Future Worlds Center based in Cyprus with the collaboration of the Association for Progressive Education in Honor of Meir Ya’ari (YAARI) and the Palestinian Dialogue Center. The action aims to enhance the capacity in CSOs to actively promote Human Rights within their community, on a national as well as a trans-national level. It actively engages civil society actors from Israel and Palestine to collaborate on jointly developed community action projects that aim to foster mutual understanding, to promote and advocate for the implementation of Human Rights standards in the region. one of the aims is to bring together stakeholders from countries in the same region with the view of facilitating the peaceful conciliation and management of group interests and promoting solutions on divisive matters or controversial areas.

MEET – Middle East Education through Technology

Middle East Education Through Technology (MEET) is an innovative educational initiative aimed at creating a common professional language between Israeli and Palestinian youth. Working together with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), MEET enables its participants to acquire advanced technological and leadership tools while empowering them to create positive social change within their own communities.

Program founders Yaron Binur, Anat Binur, and Assaf Harlap became aware that many Israelis and Palestinians never get a chance to interact with one another on a personal level, even though they grow up and live a few short miles from one another. Inspired by their experiences of multicultural cooperation in international educational institutions, the founders decided that a fast-paced, intensive program in technology would be an ideal medium to bridge the divide. With this vision, they created MEET in the summer of 2004.

MEET seeks excelling Palestinian and Israeli high school students; admission into the program is very competitive. Once admitted, students meet continuously for three years. Their first summer includes instruction in basic Java programming; this extends into the first yearlong segment of the program. The second summer includes more advanced topics in computer science and introduces a business and entrepreneurship curriculum. The program is capped by a long-term project beginning in the second yearlong segment and extending into a final summer term. Alumni activities maintain the student network after graduation.

MEET graduates have been accepted into top universities in the region and abroad, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[33] The skills and bonds of friendship forged by MEET students, combined with the students’ natural talents, prepare them for a successful future of leadership, achievement, innovation, and cooperation.

Aside from its partnership with MIT, MEET has been supported by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (which has donated lab space for the summer sessions since MEET’s inception), Al-Quds UniversitySun MicrosystemsHewlett-Packard, and other national and international organizations,[34] as well as many individual volunteers from around the world. MEET’s Website

Hand in Hand Bilingual Arab-Jewish Schools

Hand in Hand runs a network of four bilingual (Arabic and Hebrew) schools that serve more than 800 students in Jerusalem, the Galilee (Galil Jewish-Arab School), Wadi Ara (Hand in Hand “Gesher al HaWadi” School) and Be’er Sheva (the Hagar School). Half the students are Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the other half are Jewish citizens of Israel. Students study in both languages simultaneously, and plans call for an eventual expansion to the 12th grade.[35] To Hand in Hand’s Website in English

The Institute for Circlework

The Institute for Circlework organizes workshops in Israel that unite Jewish and Arab women, with a particular focus on women leaders. The intention of these workshops is to awaken global consciousness, that is, the awareness of our commonality as members of the human family and of a single planetary community.

Circlework is a method developed by a German-Jewish author and seminar leader, Jalaja Bonheim (www.jalajabonheim.com), which she has been practicing and teaching in the United States for 25 years, and in Israel since 2005. Circlework uses circle gatherings to create a field of open-heartedness and love powerful enough to heal individuals and communities. Circlework is based on the assumption that the root causes of violence and war lie within us, and that our own consciousness is where change must begin.

The Institute for Circlework offered its latest series of circles in Israel during the Gaza war. To read an account, visit their web site.

TEC-the Center for Technology, Education and Cultural diversity

TEC-the Center for Technology strives to build trust between Arabs and Jews, religious and secular through joint online courses and initiatives between college students and school children. The center established in 2003 by the heads of ICT in 3 teaching colleges is funded by the Mofet Institute Tel Aviv. visit their web site.

Political activists and community groups

Groups of political activists or community activists who work for peace through efforts based on political goals and measures, or community efforts. Includes some groups which are composed of activists from one side of the conflict, and some groups which include activists from both sides.

OneVoice, a project of the Peaceworks Foundation

According to their website “OneVoice is a global undertaking to: “Amplify the voice of moderates; Empower Palestinians and Israelis at the grass-roots level to seize back the agenda away from violent extremists; Achieve broad-based consensus on core issues, configuring a roadmap for conflict resolutions. OneVoice…was developed by over two hundred Palestinian, Israeli and international community leaders…dedicated to strengthen the voice of reason.”

This group rejects what they see as left-wing appeasement of Palestinian terrorism by leftist groups; they reach out to moderate liberal and centrist Israelis who want to advance the peace process; they reach out to Palestinian moderates who reject terrorism and suicide-bombings; they work to cultivate a moderate political leadership on both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and are trying to pressure both the Israeli government and Palestinian Authority into reaching a just peace.One Voice: Silent No Longer One Voice FAQ

“Seeking Peace, Pursuing Justice”

The Union of Reform Judaism, the congregational arm of American Reform Judaism, has created a project called Seeking Peace, Pursuing Justice. According to their website, their goal is: “to educate and mobilize North American Jewry to support peace efforts and social justice causes in Israel…. This campaign will encourage the North American Jewish community to examine the risks and rewards of peace for Israel and the Palestinians, and to undertake critical, constructive public dialogue on the most pressing social issues facing Israel today—including the status of Arab citizens of Israel and other minorities, as well as other issues of inequality and discrimination.” Seeking peace, Pursuing Justice

The Abraham Fund

According to their website, “The Abraham Fund Initiatives is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting coexistence between the Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. Through advocacy and awareness campaigns, and by sponsoring coexistence projects, The Abraham Fund Initiatives fosters increased dialogue, tolerance and understanding between Arabs and Jews….” The Abraham Fund

Brit Tzedek v’Shalom

Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, “is a national organization of American Jews committed to Israel’s well-being through the achievement of a negotiated settlement to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It believes the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians long for an enduring peace and that security for Israel can only be achieved through the establishment of an economically and politically viable Palestinian state, necessitating an end to Israel’s occupation of land acquired during the 1967 war and an end to Palestinian terrorism. Brit Tzedek believes that many American Jews share this perspective, but are reluctant to express themselves for fear they may bring harm to Israel and the Jewish people. Through education, advocacy, local chapter activities, and work with the media, it seeks to generate greater dialogue within the American Jewish community in order to direct U.S. foreign policy toward the realization of a just peace.” Brit Tzedek v’Shalom

Brit Shalom/Tahalof Essalam

The Jewish-Palestinian Peace Alliance consists of both Jewish and Palestinian peace activists working for reconciliation. It generally favors binational confederation or two-state coexistence, drawing upon fringe historical and contemporary movements as varied as Uri Avneri‘s pan-SemitismBuberianZionism, and even aspects of rightist Canaanism for inspiration. Contributors to its website include Gideon LevyDoron RosenblumAvraham BurgBatya GurMeron BenvenistiShahar SmoohaYossi SaridDavid GrossmanYitzhak Frankenthal,Tony Judt, Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human RightsGilad Atzmon, andBaruch KimmerlingBrit Shalom/Tahalof Essalam

Combatants for Peace

Combatants for Peace (Hebrewלוחמים לשלום‎) is an organization of Israelis andPalestinians who are veterans of armed conflict, and have concluded that there can be no solution through violence. The Israeli members served as combat soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces, while the Palestinian members “were involved in acts of violence in the name of Palestinian liberation.”

The organization, founded in 2005, supports a two-state solution to the conflict. A statement on their website says, “We call for the establishment of a Palestinian State, alongside the State of Israel. The two states can exist in peace and security beside each other.”[36]

Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (JIPF) is a small group founded in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1982, for Swedish Jews who want to actively work towards a peaceful solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

JIPF’s platform include demands for a full Israeli withdrawal, including the evacuation of the Jewish civilian population, from all territories that came under Israeli military control as a result of the Six-Day War, the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state with East Jerusalem as capital and a “solution” to the issue of the Palestinian refugees.

JIPF also advocates and participates in dialogue with Hamas and other designated terrorist organizations.

Arab-Israeli peace diplomacy and treaties

Jewish-Muslim dialogue

The American Jewish Committee

While forcefully speaking out against Islamic anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli rhetoric, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) has worked since 1985 to enhance relations between Jews and Muslims. The AJC encourages and engages in dialogue on many levels with like-minded groups committed to fostering tolerance and cooperation.

Their website states that “The American Jewish Committee has demonstrated a profound commitment to enhancing relations between Jews and Muslims, a vital part of its fundamental dedication to the promotion of interreligious understanding in the United States and around the world. Rejecting the inevitability of a “clash of civilizations,” AJC has instead insisted on the possibility of a “community of civilizations” by encouraging dialogue on the highest levels with like-minded groups committed to fostering tolerance and cooperation. In so doing, we have achieved a number of breakthroughs in this vital arena. For well over a decade, AJC has dedicated itself to forging significant relationships with Arab and Muslim leaders around the world. AJC has traveled extensively in the Muslim world – from Morocco to Mauritania, through the Middle East and the Gulf states, to Indonesia. We have met with scores of Muslim leaders, including top officials of Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Tunisia, Bosnia, Kuwait, Qatar, Malaysia, and Indonesia, to discuss topics ranging from relations with Israel and the United States to the promotion of international Muslim-Jewish dialogue.” Seeking to advance Jewish-Muslim relations

In 1986 the AJC publicly condemned the murder by bomb attack of Alex Odeh (in Oct. 1985), a leader of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Santa Ana, California. The AJC had a meeting with the Federal Bureau of Investigationdirector William Webster about this incident; they urged action to identify and punish those responsible for anti-Arab bigotry. In 1986 the AJC submitted testimony to the United States House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, on the topic of violence and discrimination towards Arab-Americans.

In 1991, on the brink of the Allied war against Iraq, the AJC issued a statement warning the public not to engage in discrimination towards American Arabs or Muslims. In part, they stated, “We are ever mindful of what happened to Japanese-Americans as a result of war hysteria shortly after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. Some 120,000 Japanese-Americans, two-thirds of whom were American citizens, were evacuated and incarcerated in internment camps… without any evidence whatsoever that they were a threat to U.S. security. This must not happen again.” (AJC statement by executive director David Harris)

From 1992 to 1995 the AJC worked to lobby the United States government to intervene on behalf on Muslims in Bosnia.

In 1993 the AJC sponsored the first national conference on “Muslims and Jews in North America: Past, Present and Future” with the Institute for Islamic-Judaic Studies at University of Denver in October. In 1994 they sponsored the second such conference. The third conference had to be canceled, when the AJC could not found Muslim partners who were willing to publicly condemn the current wave of terrorist attacks on Israel.

In 1999 the AJC helped aid Muslims in Kosovo.

In 2001 the AJC initiated a new project designed to advance understanding between Muslims and Jews by publishing two books: Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism for Muslims, by Professor Reuven Firestone, a scholar of Islam at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, was written to describe Judaism to Muslims; Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Islam for Jews, by professor Khalid Duran, was written to describe Islam for Jews.

Children of Abraham

Children of Abraham seeks to build an international community of Muslim and Jewish youth that celebrates their religious identities. Through an engaging project involving a photographic exploration of Jewish and Muslim communities around the world, and honest, unflinching online dialogue, participants form a network of advocates and ambassadors for ground-breaking Muslim-Jewish relations in six continents.

Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish Relations

In July 2007 a new Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish Relations was opened in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is partly financed by a £1 million contribution from Richard Stone, a Jewish philanthropist. In the first instance its students they will study common areas between the two religions. Eventually work will extend into more controversial areas, including the Israel-Palestine question.[37]

The Unification Movement

Reverend Sun Myung Moon has initiated several peace projects attempting to defuse hostilities between Muslims, Jews and Christians. In 2003 28 clergy from the United States toured Gaza in September 2003, despite the American Consulate’s warnings of rocket attacks. They were warmly welcomed by local Muslim clerics.

American Muslim leaders

  • Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, imam of Masjid al-Farah in New York City and founder of the American Sufi Muslim Association (ASMA) Society.
  • Khalid Abou El Fadl, UCLA law professor, works with Jewish and Christian groups to promote inter-faith cooperation and dialogue.

See also

References

  1. ^ A Mideast Valley of Peace, by Jennifer L. Schenker Businessweek article, May 29, 2008.
  2. ^ Jenin now open to Arab-Israeli and foreign tourists, By RON FRIEDMAN, jpost.com, 10/9/09.
  3. ^ Mutually assured prosperity, By RON FRIEDMAN, jpost.com, 10/15/09.
  4. ^ Your guide today is… Shimon Peres, by Ron Friedman, Jerusalem Post, Jan 13, 2010.
  5. ^ New Generation Technology (NGT) Company Profile.[dead link]
  6. ^ Do West Bank Realities Defy Perceptions?, by Gary Rosenblatt, Jewish Week, Tuesday, January 25, 2011.
  7. ^ Israeli-Palestinian Chamber of Commerce, Peres Center for Peace.
  8. ^ Israeli-Palestinian Chamber of Commerce website.
  9. ^ ALLMEP Grows to Over 70 Organizations news, ALLMEP news, Thursday, 29 October 2009. [dead link]
  10. ^ 20009 ALLMEP Summit, group website.
  11. ^ Jordanians, Palestinians and Israelis gather for a regional advocacy meeting, February 2011, FOEME website
  12. ^ Mejdi website; Our Philosophy, accessed 12/25/09.
  13. ^ To Fatah and back, By LAUREN GELFOND FELDINGER, jpost.com, Nov 19, 2009.
  14. ^ Dwoskin, Elizabeth (August 11, 2011). “Trying to Put a Price on Middle East Peace”. Bloomberg Businessweek.
  15. ^ “Leonard Cohen concert proceeds to benefit reconciliation work”, Jerusalem Post
  16. ^ “She’s Israeli, he’s an Arab. War has made them like mother and son.”, The Observer
  17. ^ Parents Circle Newsletter
  18. ^ Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue Between Cultures
  19. ^ Green Action is About Environmental and Social Change, By KAREN CHERNICK, Greenprophet.com, 7/1/2008
  20. ^ Fair Trade In Israel, By KARIN KLOOSTERMAN, Treehugger.com, 6/7/06.
  21. ^ Green Action Events: The SAHA Project Takes Off, Greenprophet.com, 12/10/2008
  22. ^ The Official Website of Green Action – SAHA Fair Trade Fairtrade.org.il
  23. ^ The Official Website of Green Action – SAHA Fair Trade Fairtrade.org.il
  24. ^ Peace Oil Lubricates Cooperation Between Israelis and Palestinians By DAVID SOKAL, Culture of Peace News Network
  25. ^ “Israel-Palestinian cooperation a decision that makes sense from the economic point of view”, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) a political foundations in Germany for Mideast dialogue and cooperation, Oct. 26, 2008.
  26. ^ New joint Israeli-Palestinian olive oil brand launched, Ynet news, Published: 03.20.07.
  27. ^ Peacemaker Camp 2007, website
  28. ^ [1], by Michael Rogosin, March 3rd 2013.
  29. ^ “Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization”.
  30. ^ KERSHNER, Isabel (2008-10-17). “Symbol of Peace Stands at Divide Between Troubled Jerusalem’s East and West”New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-18.
  31. ^ Act Beyond Borders Website
  32. ^ Act Beyond Borders documentation in FutureWorlds.eu
  33. ^ Article about first MEET alumnus admitted to MIT
  34. ^ Partial list of MEET’s supporters
  35. ^ Eli Ashkenazi, “The Jew comes to learn from the Arab – and it works,”Ha’aretz English Edition (Israel), September 21, 2005.
  36. ^ Combatants For Peace website
  37. ^ The Times, June 28, 2007http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article1996488.ece

External links

Group websites

Articles and coverage of various specific efforts

Articles on societal issues

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Haifa Cultural Center Builds Community Among Arabs and Jews

(Source: “Life Together: Haifa Cultural Center Builds Community Among Arabs and Jews,” OnBeing.org, By Christin Davis | Wednesday, May 11, 2011 – 5:14am)

“I was raised in a pluralistic house,” said Assaf Ron, a Jewish man from Haifa, Israel. “An Arab was not cursed, he was a person.”

In a country where separation — even physical walls — between Arabs and Jews is common, Mr. Ron’s perspective stands out. News headlines included the murder of a Jewish settler family in the West Bank as Ron, 51, sat in his Haifa office, flooded by a strong sea breeze. Mr. Ron discussed his work as the executive director of Beit Hagefen Arab Jewish Center, a nonprofit cultural center in Haifa. Though he has no written job description, Mr. Ron said his overall role is to promote a need for mutual respect between people, specifically Jews and Arabs.

“My definition of coexistence is normalization, to respect the other’s narrative,” Mr. Ron said. “This is the biggest and hardest step on the way to coexistence.”

Beit Hagefen, according to Mr. Ron, is a “window to a multicultural community” where Jews and Arabs interact together. Despite living in the same city, he said, the two groups do not interact, so the center encourages and facilitates connections through activities in the local area.

The center has an art gallery, a library, and an Arab theater. It recently began a women’s walking club, a program bringing Arab and Jewish families together in each others’ homes, and a photography class that allows for young people to connect through their work. Founded in 1963, it is a non-profit organization supported by the Haifa municipality; the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport; and private donations.

Read the full article at the OnBeing.com website.

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No Winners, Just Broken Hearts

Listening to the rhetoric of this war reminds me of a sports tournament. We beat them by however many points, or they beat us by however many points. But it is not points we are talking about and there is no trophy. The points are human beings with families and loved ones fleeing their daily lives, sometimes succeeding and sometimes not.

Whose side shall we take in the tournament? After all, we feel very good about ourselves when we have a side to back. Will we pick the green in Lebanon — they are the underdogs — or shall we pick the blue in Israel? We would perhaps feel better about the blue if they lost more men. Is this how the world looks at a conflict, as a glorified tournament?

In this tournament we must of course have a winning side, otherwise how can we ever sit down and talk to each other? So the green and the blue will go on claiming victory until the very last man, or until they realize that no one wins. And then what? Shall we all leave the battle to lick our wounds? Shall we go back to life? For some, a life after that will never be the same. What about all the loved ones we will never see again? For what did they give up their lives? A further status quo? A life of uncertainty, a roulette of survival. My heart aches for every picture of the victims I see in the paper. I understand what is waiting for the mother and father and all the family and friends. I know the longing, the pain and the eyes constantly brimming with tears, anguish and hurt. There is no winner, only a greater collection of broken hearts.

Mothers of Israel, Lebanon and Palestine: How many more graves until we shout stop?

Continue reading the full article at OnBeing.org.

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No More Taking Sides – Robi Damelin and Ali Abu Awwad

Robi Damelin lost her son David to a Palestinian sniper. Ali Abu Awwad lost his older brother Yousef to an Israeli soldier. But, instead of clinging to traditional ideologies and turning their pain into more violence, they’ve decided to understand the other side — Israeli and Palestinian — by sharing their pain and their humanity.

They tell of a gathering network of survivors who share their grief, their stories of loved ones, and their ideas for lasting peace. They don’t want to be right; they want to be honest.

Click here for the NPR Radio special report.

Portraits At The 5th Annual Tribeca Film Festival

Urgent Appeal for Peace in Palestine and Israel

URGENT… Friends, Regardless of your position on the current conflict in Palestine and Israel, we need to do what we can to help the innocent people who’ve been impacted by the war. In recent days, over 100,000 Palestinians have been asked to vacate their homes in Gaza in preparation for a comprehensive air, land, and sea bombardment. Yet, they aren’t able to cross the border into Egypt or Israel and they can’t escape by sea — so they have nowhere to go.

Homes, hospitals, schools, water treatment facilities, and news media offices have already been bombed — so Gaza is becoming unlivable. In one area, water has been cut off from a refugee camp that has a population of 70,000 people (35% of these people are women or children under the age of six months).

At present, global emergency humanitarian aid groups are mobilizing to increase aid to the area. According to the United Nations, “Only 50 percent of sewage pumping and waste-water treatment systems are believed to be operational and 900,000 people lack any water supply.” This is a serious crisis which unfortunately may have substantial negative repercussions for everyone. It will take years to recover from what has transpired in just

Please do what you can to help promote peace in the area as soon as possible.

I’m not going to flood my Facebook page with appeals and news. Having Palestinian and Israeli friends, I’m also sensitive about offending either side by simply expressing concern for both sides.

For those interested in following the news, including forceful appeals from both sides, as well as those calling for unity and peace between both sides, you can visit the following Facebook page. It’s a resource for those in the middle, working to promote peace, and attempting to understand the divergent narratives.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Palestine-Israel-News/904929696190105

Palestinian and Israeli Narratives of History and Conflict

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Summary

The following videos present various narratives and comments about the history of Palestine and Israel from differing perspectives. Some of the videos below would be considered dishonest propaganda by those who oppose whatever view is being presented. Some of these videos will likely contradict what you believe. Others will affirm what you believe. We’d like to include more videos on this page to balance out the overall message and provide a diversity of opinions. Please contact us to submit a video for inclusion here.

Introduction

This introductory text is an excerpt from “Palestine and Israel: How do you pick a side when both are wrong?” and it conveys the difficulty most people have in deciding who they should support in this ongoing conflict.

For the last few days, ever since the conflict escalated yet again with some intense fighting, the topic of Israel and Palestine has been up for discussion all over the world once more. Some people are outraged by Israel, some by Hamas, and nostrils are flaring.

Any argument about Israel and Palestine tends to be a futile affair. If one side points to rockets and suicide bombers, the other points to tanks, soldiers and airstrikes, and everyone has a point. Whichever way you look at it, the side you pick tends to depend on the propaganda you believe.

The Palestinians can’t be trusted because they fire rockets and hide in highly populated civilian areas. Israel can’t be trusted because it’s their military action that triggers the violence. The Palestinians are Muslims and Muslims stone women, behead adulterers, and use children as suicide bombers. It doesn’t even matter if the Muslims responsible for such mayhem are Palestinian or not. Jews are Zionists who destroy homes, enslave people, and drive over them with tanks. The accusations are endless. (Source: Cor Rautenbach, 14 July 2014, News24.com Blogger)

The Palestinian Narrative

The video below is possibly the best short documentary narrative that includes understanding of the Palestinian suffering and oppression.

The Israeli Narrative

The video below presents the Israeli story and attempts to convey the Israeli side of the story.

Anti-Zionist Orthodox Judaism

The following videos presents an example of the views held by a group called True Torah Jews.

UK Parliament Commentaries

Historical Narrative

The video below conveys (through dark humor) the story of many civilizations that have reigned and then fallen in the region called Palestine and Israel.

The Birth of Israel

Below is a BBC documentary that attempts to present various views regarding the history of Palestine.

The Zionist Story

The following is a documentary offers a less than glorious portrayal of the history of Zionism and the current conditions for Palestinians today.

Budrus

Budrus is an award-winning feature documentary film about a Palestinian community organizer, Ayed Morrar, who unites local Fatah and Hamas members along with Israeli supporters in an unarmed movement to save his village of Budrus from destruction by Israel’s Separation Barrier.

Louis Therous: Ultra Zionists

Louis Theroux spends time with a small and very committed subculture of ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers. He discovers a group of people who consider it their religious and political obligation to populate some of the most sensitive areas of the West Bank, especially those with a spiritual significance dating back to the Bible. Throughout his journey, Louis gets close to the people most involved with driving the extreme end of the Jewish settler movement – finding them warm, friendly, humorous, and deeply troubling.

Israel Vs Israel: A Film About Israeli Peace Activists (2010)

One grandmother, one rabbi, one anarchist and one ex-soldier – four Israelis trying to put an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The documentary Israel vs Israel is a film about Jewish peace activists who in both words and actions take a stand again 40 years of occupation and illegal settlements. This is a film about the desperate struggle to somehow change the current situation and improve life for the Palestinians. In return, these activists face scepticism and hatred from fellow Israeli countrymen. Israel vs Israel reveals both sensitive family discussion as well as secret testimonies from former combat soldiers. These Israelis are often portrayed as naïve, unreliable and dangerous for the Jewish state. They are often ridiculed and demonised for their honest commitment. The fight for peace divides Israel in Terje Carlsson’s new documentary.

The Israel Lobby

Is the pro-Israel lobby so strong, financially and politically, that the U.S. relationship with Israel is taboo and therefore unmentionable? And what happens to those who dare expose the unmentionable? In March 2006 the American political scientists John Mearsheimer (University of Chicago) and Steve Walt (Harvard) published the controversial article ‘The Israel Lobby and US foreign policy’. In it they state that it is not, or no longer, expedient for the US to support and protect present-day Israel. Together with the power shifts in Congress and the increasing doubts about the current Middle-East policy, this could become the fuse in the powder keg. Backlight talks to the people concerned in this ‘new realism’ debate. The documentary sheds light on both parties involved in the discussion: those who wish to maintain the strong tie between the US and Israel (Neocon Richard Perle, the Lebanese Christian Brigitte Gabriel and evangelist John Hagee, the lobby club AIPAC), and those who were critical of it and not infrequently became ‘victims’ of the lobby. Member of Congress Earl Hilliard from Alabama advocated a rapprochement with the Arab world and was promptly ousted by a political adversary who had the support of Aipac money.

Palestine is Still the Issue

In a series of extraordinary interviews with both Palestinians and Israelis, John Pilger weaves together the issue of Palestine. He speaks to the families of suicide bombers and their victims; he sees the humiliation of Palestinians imposed on them at myriad checkpoints and with a permit system not dissimilar to apartheid South Africa’s infamous pass laws. He goes into the refugee camps and meets children who, he says, “no longer dream like other children, or if they do, it is about death.”

Life in Occupied Palestine (2009)

Anna Baltzer, a Jewish American, gives her eyewitness perspectives on average citizens living in occupied Palestine. Baltzer spent 5 months in the West Bank working with the International Women’s Peace Service. Her presentation highlights how the Israeli government’s policies have drastically and negatively affected normal Palestinian life, and how this perspective has been omitted from most news outlets in America. A must-see for anyone interested or curious in Israel/Palestine relations.

Peace, Propaganda And The Promised Land (2004)

Provides a striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This pivotal documentary exposes how the foreign policy interests of American political elites–oil, and a need to have a secure military base in the region, among others–work in combination with Israeli public relations strategies to exercise a powerful influence over how news from the region is reported.

With God on Our Side (2010)

With God On Our Side takes a look at the theology of Christian Zionism, which teaches that because the Jews are God’s chosen people, they have a divine right to the land of Israel. Aspects of this belief system lead some Christians in the West to give uncritical support to Israeli government policies, even those that privilege Jews at the expense of Palestinians, leading to great suffering among Muslim and Christian Palestinians alike and threatening Israel’s security as a whole.

This film demonstrates that there is a biblical alternative for Christians who want to love and support the people of Israel, a theology that doesn’t favor one people group over another but instead promotes peace and reconciliation for both Jews and Palestinians.

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Much of the video content and descriptions above are from FilmsForAction.org.

Palestinian and Israeli Initiatives For Peace

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