Combatants activist speaks out against Occupation
June 21, 2022

A farewell from our Founder, Beth Schuman

Dear Friends,

After nearly seven incredible years, it is time for me to move on from my role as Executive Director of American Friends of Combatants for Peace. It has been an incredible journey, and I am honored and grateful to have had the opportunity to be at the forefront of this amazing movement.

When I founded American Friends of Combatants for Peace, back in 2016, Combatants for Peace was just a small group of volunteers with very little budget, no infrastructure, and no formal programming.

I remember attending a “whole movement meeting” on my very first trip to meet our activists. There were about 30 of us sitting in a circle on the floor in Beit Jala, and we spent the whole weekend together in one very loud meeting full of arguments, laughter, and endless cigarettes. These “Steering Committee” meetings would run from 10am to 10pm, followed by late night coffee and more connecting.

No decisions ever got made back then because we always had to do everything by consensus! Those early years were extraordinary in so many ways and joining Combatants for Peace was like joining a family.

As the Movement’s very first full-time staff member, I had the opportunity to actively participate in Combatants for Peace’s blossoming. When I joined, our movement was virtually unknown. Today, Combatants for Peace has grown to become the largest joint Israeli-Palestinian group in the field. We’ve been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize – and our name is recognized throughout the world.

Together we have professionalized, expanded, and built comprehensive programming along three primary focus areas:

  1. Nonviolent Field Activism (helping sustain Indigenous Palestinian communities).
  2. Education & Leadership Empowerment (education for lay-people and strategic non-violence training for activists).
  3. The Joint Memorial Ceremonies (The Joint Memorial & Nakba Day).

It has been an incredible, whirlwind journey. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of it.

As I wind down in my role as Executive Director, I am grateful to know that our organization is in excellent hands. Tiffany Goodwin-Van Camp is our incoming “fearless leader.” She is just incredible; I knew from our first conversation that I wanted her to be my replacement. I know you are going to love her as much as we do.

Thank you for seven beautiful years.

In solidarity and hope,
Beth Schuman