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Friday, 29 July 2011

OneVoice and the PSC

The self-proclaimed Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) is by no stretch of the imagination a liberal organisation. Its catch-all name has enabled this organisation to corner the market in pro-Palestinian campaigning, although I know many Liberal Democrats who have realised its true nature and so chosen not to actively engage with it. In stark contrast to the charmless PSC, I was delighted to receive an email from OneVoice, an Israeli/Palestinian conflict-resolution group whose approach is surely that which should most recommend itself to Liberal Democrats. There is an alternative to the politics of anger, shouting and one-sided denunciation. I reproduce the email below in full:
OneVoice Leaders Encourage Grassroots Drive for Peace at UK Events

OneVoice’s Tal Harris and Samer Makhlouf engaged a broad cross section of British society on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the power of civil society to drive the peace process at events throughout London in July.
At the Royal Society for the Arts, Samer and Tal joined the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denis MacShane MP and Dr. Claire Spencer of Chatham House to debate lessons of the Arab Spring and the potential for mobilizing the grassroots as a force for peace. Listen to an audio stream of the event. Read more »

Samer and Tal were among several noted guests invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams and Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols to discuss the situation of Christians in Israel and Palestine at the International Conference on Christians in the Holy Land.
Listen to Samer deliver his opening remarks at Lambeth Palace. Read more »

“How can you not have your demonstration feel like just a castle in the sand washed away by tomorrow’s headlines,” Tal asked the participants of the conference. “Our mission now is to set our feet down and get our hands dirty and [build] peace practically, not with words, but with legislative actions and with campaigning around specific issues.”

Watch Samer and Tal speak about religion and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
OneVoice youth leaders similarly spread the importance of grassroots mobilization to effect real change in British schools, using the popular software Skype.

Three time zones and over 2,000 miles separate the UK from the Holy Land, but distance and time need not apply when different peoples with similar passions can be in one room at the same time with the help of the aptly named World Wide Web.

OneVoice Europe conducted five school sessions in Manchester, London, and Birmingham with 10 youth leaders – one from OneVoice Israel and one from OneVoice Palestine per session – in June and July. OVE is already booking sessions for the next academic term.

OneVoice is an international grassroots movement that aims to amplify the voice of Israeli and Palestinian moderates, empowering them to seize back the agenda for conflict resolution and demand that their leaders achieve a two-state solution.

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