OneVoice Movement

OneVoice is an international grassroots movement that amplifies the voice of mainstream Israelis and Palestinians, empowering them to propel their elected representatives toward the two-state solution.

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Statement on escalation of violence in Israel and Palestine

We at OneVoice are united in asking our political leaders to recognize that the preservation of life must always be paramount. This dangerous escalation and the tragic loss of civilian life are proof that the status quo is unsustainable. That is why we are calling for a mutual ceasefire to ensure the safety of innocent lives. Those of us committed to an end to conflict and occupation, and the realization of a two-state solution, understand that violence can never achieve a just peace.

09 July 2014 See Post

Statement from CEO Marc Ginsberg on Recent Events

On behalf of the OneVoice Movement and its Israeli, Palestinian, European and American staff, I wish to express our sincerest condolences to the families and friends of all those who were slain without cause. 
OneVoice is a movement for and on behalf of the youth of Palestine and Israel, who yearn for the day when they will live side by side in peace and security, with no more fear from reprisal or intolerance. The young Israelis and Palestinians who lost their lives in recent days remind us that their hopes and aspirations can only be fulfilled by ending the occupation and bringing to a quick end the latest cycle of violence and reprisal.
There is only one true path forward, as difficult as it may seem, in these mournful hours…courageous leadership that leads Israelis and Palestinians back from the precipice of more violence to the negotiating table in good faith. We at OneVoice know that the challenges before us are greater than ever before. But as we mourn the loss of these young lives, we rededicate ourselves with conviction and fortitude to their memories so that their young Israeli and Palestinian brothers and sisters face better days and greater comfort in the weeks and months ahead.

Marc Ginsberg
CEO, OneVoice Movement  
Statement from the OneVoice Movement
We at the OneVoice Movement are deeply worried and saddened by the recent escalation and violence and the tragic news of young Israelis and Palestinians who have needlessly lost their lives.
We recall the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”
As the only solution to violence is the end of the occupation and conflict and the realization of the two-state solution, we call upon both parties to refrain from violence, and to return to serious negotiations based on clear references and a timeframe, bringing bloodshed to a permanent end.
Together, we pledge to re-double our efforts; doing everything that we can to ensure that no more lives are lost as part of this tragic conflict

03 July 2014 See Post

OneVoice Europe panel discusses Israel-Palestine & extremism in the UK

On 16 June, OneVoice Europe’s Outreach & Education Program held a panel with Usama Hasan, OVE board member and senior researcher at the Quilliam Foundation; Vidhya Ramalingam of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue’s Program on Far-Right Extremism and Integration; Palestinian PhD student Hitham Kayali; Israeli PhD student Smadar Cohen-Chen; and Sharon Alsoodani, OneVoice Europe’s Education Director, to discuss Israel-Palestine advocacy in the United Kingdom and the challenges that peace activists face from extremists.

Held at the Royal Society of Medicine, the hopeful tone of the evening underscored OneVoice’s work to amplify the moderate voices on both sides of the conflict. Sharon addressed the activism of the far left, noting that a resolution to the conflict can only be viable if it is based on realistic expectations rather than on abstract, idealistic notions such as the ‘one-state’ solution.

“The two-state solution is realistic because it has the rare and precious consensus of the international community and is the only solution that a majority of Israelis and Palestinians would accept,” Sharon said.  

Another topic was the appropriation of Zionism by far-right English Nationalists. Vidhya pointed out the tendency of British far-right groups to assert that Israel, in the context of its conflict with the Palestinians, serves as the front line in the fight against Islamism, a mistaken and dangerous correlation. Usama also described how his own youthful involvement with Islamist extremism included burning Israeli flags, emphasizing the need for British Muslims to guard against anti-Semitic narratives in their approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The panel spoke in consensus about the need for the British people to form a united response to these kinds of associations. As evidenced in Israel and Palestine, no group’s right to self-determination needs to be at the expense of another’s. As Hitham put it, “I try really hard to see the core differences between Judaism and Islam, and I really don’t see them.” And Smadar said British Jews should feel confident about their Israel advocacy, but it should be aimed at creating a viable Palestinian state, which is in Israelis’ long-term security interests.

Look out for a follow up event where nationalism and the two-state solution will be discussed further.

25 June 2014 See Post

IIE Goldberg Prize for Peace Awarded to OneVoice Leaders

OVI’s Tal Harris and OVP’s Samer Makhlouf were awarded the 2014 IIE Victor J. Goldberg Prize for Peace in the Middle East June 9 from The Institute of International Education (IIE). The award was for their parallel work with OneVoice’s Youth Leadership Program, which gives young activists the skills to mobilize the moderate, non-violent majority in their communities to press for the two-state solution. The award, which includes a $10,000 prize, was presented by the Chairman of IIE’s Board of Trustees, Thomas S. Johnson, at the U.S. cultural center in Jerusalem.

“This award recognizes innovation, and rewards those who are courageous and committed enough to work to overcome the religious, cultural, ethnic, and political issues which divide the Middle East,” said IIE Trustee Victor Goldberg. “We hope that the dedication shown by our prize winners will inspire others to join together across these divides to advance the cause of peace in the coming years.”

11 June 2014 See Post

Regional Activity Wrap Up - May 2014

While disheartening, the peace talks' recent collapse have inspired our activists to redouble their efforts to mobilize everyday Israelis and Palestinians to change the dynamic for a negotiated two-state solution.

OneVoice Palestine (OVP) held town hall meetings and trainings for over 200 Palestinian students, community members, and activists throughout the last month. In an effort to encourage greater local-level political engagement, OVP organized Women of Influence seminars in Bethlehem and Jenin with Hanan Ghashah of the Women’s Empowerment Center in Qalqilya. Senior youth leaders also met in Ramallah for a training series on non-violent activism by South African diplomat Rafique Gangat, and Lindsay Levin, founder of Leader’s Quest, conducted leadership workshops. OVP also hosted a town hall meeting on national reconciliation for 150 students with Mohammed Almasri from the OVP board and Abu Khalid Shihada of the PLO.

In parallel, over 160 Israeli youth leaders and university students took part in OneVoice Israel (OVI) events across the country, including several at Tel Aviv University. In one seminar, veteran Palestinian journalist Elias Zananiri spoke to a packed room about the conflict through Palestinian eyes. At a subsequent forum, members of the European Delegation to Israel, Mark Gallagher and Luigiandrea Pratolongo, discussed the economic advantages of peace between Israel and Palestine. And Amram Mitzna, chair of the Education, Culture, and Sports Committee in the Knesset, visited Tel Aviv University for an event on teaching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Israeli schools; Tel Aviv Radio later interviewed OVI project manager Elanit Green on Mitzna’s presentation and how the Israeli education system should not ignore the conflict. OVI also hosted a debate at Bar Ilan University between MKs Omer Bar-Lev (Labor) and Zvulun Kalfa (Jewish Home) on the status of Jerusalem in a final peace agreement.

And closing out the active month, over 60 OVI activists travelled to Ramallah with the Peace NGO Forum to hear Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speak of the need for continued dedication to the resolution of the conflict.

“I assure you that there is absolutely no other way to achieve peace between the Israeli and Palestinian people but through peaceful negotiations. Both of us have tried everything in the past and paid a heavy price. We have realized that there is no way but peace,” Abbas said in The Times of Israel.

Josh Rutstein is the OneVoice US summer 2014 communications intern.

09 June 2014 See Post

OneVoice Europe to host panel on extremism on 16th of June

Community cohesion is currently at the forefront of public consciousness in the United Kingdom and across Europe. Election success for the far right is disquieting for immigrant communities who fear a return to a more divided society, and violence against Jews and Muslims alike have sparked a need for frank discussions.

On the 16th of June, OneVoice Europe will host a panel of academics to discuss the responses of far-right, far-left, and Islamist organizations to the current situation in Israel-Palestine. The panel will include Hitham Kayali, a Palestinian PhD candidate and former director of the Palestinian Authority’s program to combat settlement expansion, and Smadar Cohen-Chen, an Israeli PhD candidate and former OneVoice Israel Youth Leader whose research examines the role of hope in intractable conflicts. You can read Smadar's op-ed on the subject here.

The recent political shift and acts of violence have invested our work here in the UK with a new urgency, as the fight against extremism reflects ever harsher realities. As we address these issues, the shadow cast on British society by events on the world stage – and particularly in Israel and Palestine – cannot be overstated. Every time Israeli settlers encroach on Palestinian land, there will be British people who feel that their anti-Semitic prejudices are confirmed. And each time Hamas fires a rocket into Israel, people in certain sections of British society will feel vindicated in their Islamophobia.

In Britain and Europe, we need to keep alive the hope that a tolerant, multicultural society is still possible if we are to stop people from defensively retreating into sequestered groups with increasingly maximalist views. In these communities, dialogue that fosters understanding between marginalized groups is the only way that we can keep this hope alive.

The event will take place at 7pm on Monday, 16th of June at:

The Max Rayne Auditorium,

The Royal Society of Medicine,

1 Wimpole Street, W1G OAE.


04 June 2014 See Post

Gershon Baskin Visits OneVoice Supporters in London

From April 28-May 2, OneVoice Europe (OVE) hosted Dr. Gershon Baskin, a senior Israeli government advisor who secured the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from Hamas after five years of captivity (June 2006-October 2011). Baskin toured London, reaching 94 people at 18 events in the short time span, with OVE to share his perspective on the current breakdown of negotiations, the Palestinian reconciliation, and the future relations between Israel and Palestine.

Dr. Baskin argued that it won’t be pressure from the international community that changes the status quo – rather Israelis themselves must begin to feel that the occupation can no longer be morally justified, and this is when pressure will truly mount on their leadership. 

"I love Israel very much and I am proud to be an Israeli," Baskin said. "The words I will say pain me very much: If Israel does not end its occupation over the Palestinian people, sooner, not later, Israel will become a new form of apartheid. No, not apartheid like South Africa was, but a new type of political discrimination, forced separation, with separate legal systems, separate roads and more…"

After hearing Dr. Baskin speak at number of events, many participants felt eager to alter the status quo in Israel and Palestine and advocate for a two-state solution.

“I found Gershon Baskin fascinating and I will do everything to encourage those that have the means and energy to help bridge the divide between Israelis and Palestinians,” said one participant. Another remarked, “The general despair that the two-state solution is dead as a prospect is so pervasive at the moment that it was uplifting to hear how OneVoice is working to make it a reality.”

For Yoni Amias, OVE’s Director of Development, this was the most pertinent point of the speaking engagement.

“As an advisor to three Israeli Prime Ministers, Dr. Baskin clearly outlined the rationale as to why the two-state solution is the only viable solution to this conflict. We must work harder to help the silent majority on both sides to make this their reality.”

16 May 2014 See Post

OneVoice Palestine holds town hall on Palestinian reconciliation

Over 150 students from Arroub College in Hebron took part in a OneVoice Palestine town hall meeting on the reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas Sunday, May 4. OVP Board Member Dr. Mohammad Almasri and PLO Central Committee Member Abu Khalid Shihada served as panelists in the lively discussion.

Shihada said that reconciliation was long overdue and is not an irrational reaction to the impasse in the negotiations. “The consequences of Palestinians failing to reach a national reconciliation are very high,” he said. Shihada insisted that talks this time will be fruitful.

The students were very vocal on the issue, asking:

“Is reconciliation really, truly a Palestinian choice?”

“Will we organize another town hall meeting next year to discuss reconciliation again?”

“If President Abbas supports negotiations and Hamas obviously doesn’t, how will this work?”

Samer Makhlouf, OVP’s Executive Director, explained to the students the importance of bridging the gap between the leadership and the public and openly discussing issues important to Palestinians. “At OneVoice, we believe in the need to establish a platform for positive communication between the leadership and the grassroots, and we are working hard to empower young Palestinians your age to participate and take part in decision making in Palestine.”

12 May 2014 See Post

OVE Board Member Dr. Usama Hasan in BBC Debate

OneVoice Europe’s new board member, Imam Dr. Usama Hasan, senior researcher in Islamic studies at the Quilliam Foundation, appeared on an April 27 live broadcast of the BBC’s “The Big Questions” for a panel discussion on extremism, which included audience participation.

The debate ranged from the importance of differentiating between Islam as a religion and Islamism as a political ideology to community cohesion in the UK, and, as is often the case when discussing political and religious fundamentalism, turned ultimately to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Responding to some angry and heated comments from fellow panellists, Dr. Hasan carefully outlined the power asymmetry and the need for the international community to do more to address this imbalance while advocating for a win-win outcome where justice and peace are achieved for both sides. Highlighting the problematic way in which views about Israel and Palestine feed into extremist narratives outside the region, Dr. Hasan said, “There are millions of devout Muslims who are fed up of the politicisation and extremism in our religion, the high jacking of religion for political purposes.”

The panel agreed that hatred preached in any form of extreme religion—be it Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam or any other— should be challenged.

Dr. Hasan will speak at another panel debate on British extremism and the Israel-Palestinian conflict in London on June 16. More details to be released shortly.

30 April 2014 See Post

OneVoice Europe trains London refugee workers on Middle East narratives

On April 2, OneVoice Europe Education Director Sharon Alsoodani ran a training session for Counselors at the Tavistock and Portman National Health Service Foundation Trust. The counselors work with refugees seeking to make their home in the UK. The refugees have a variety of perspectives on Middle East narratives, including about the UK’s involvement - both historically and in the present day. OVE sought to help the counselors understand the complexities surrounding various narratives, particularly of the Middle East. 

Alsoodani and a member of London’s Somali community ran the training session, where the group discussed the background, views, and involvement of refugees from a number of different countries with regards to conflict in Syria, Israel-Palestine, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, and Kashmir, and British foreign policy related to those conflicts.

Particular emphasis was put on the need to encourage constructive and non-violent expressions of political activism within the British system so that UK citizens and residents from all backgrounds have a meaningful voice within our society. Examples of OneVoice’s grassroots political activities in Israel and Palestine were used to demonstrate how positive civil society empowerment can be, particularly among the youth, and how they could non-violently affect change. The group concluded that young immigrants who are making their home in our country should be guided and encouraged to participate politically and become an active and valued part of our society – which includes having a voice regarding Middle East issues. Participants gave feedback about how stimulating and informative the session had been.

“We are global citizens in the 21st Century - what happens in the Middle East affects us in Britain and vice-versa,” said Alsoodani. “We all have a responsibility to be informed and active citizens and to ensure that everyone in our democratic society has the opportunity to participate equally.”

17 April 2014 See Post

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