It’s Jill’s Birthday!

A note from Emet: As some of you know, last year—to celebrate Jill’s 50th birthday—we traveled to Israel and Palestine. Both of us had always wanted to see this part of the world, but we were, for obvious political and ethical reasons, uneasy about it. On a whim, Jill Googled “social justice tours Israel” and discovered both Mejdi Tours (a progressive tour company) and Combatants for Peace (CfP) (a Palestinian/Israeli peace and human rights organization). They were promoting an inaugural 10-day tour to Israel and Palestine, promising a multi-perspective experience and dual narrative with both Israeli and Palestinian tour guides. We knew immediately this was how we wanted to experience Israel and Palestine, especially during our first visit there. Our trip was life-changing. We were profoundly inspired by the compassion, empathy and courage of Palestinian and Israeli CfP activists for their rejection of hatred and fear, and their determination to be guided by humanity and hope. At the same time, we were overwhelmed—by the anguish and impacts of intergenerational trauma, on both sides of the conflict, and the awareness of all of the systems and influences working against peace in the middle east. The video below is of our tour group building a playground with CfP in a small Palestinian village outside Bethlehem. Our bus was detained by the Israeli military following this activity; the charge was that we didn’t have a permit. Combatants for Peace is laying the foundation for a peaceful future for both peoples.

Last year we spent Jill’s birthday in east Jerusalem, at the western wall. This year, I wanted to recognize her birthday by sharing a bit about our trip with our friends and family. I invite you to join me in honouring her 51st with a donation to American Friends of Combatants for Peace. This is an organization whose peace work we have experience first-hand as authentic and meaningful. Any amount can make a difference.

 

Click HERE to Donate in Jiill’s Honor!

To donate with a Canadian Address, please use the PayPal link HERE

What is Combatants for Peace?

In 2006, a group of Israeli soldiers and officers, and a group of former Palestinian prisoners founded this egalitarian, binational movement. Committed to joint nonviolence since its inception, CfP works to both transform and resolve the conflict by ending the Israeli occupation and all forms of violence between the two sides. Combatants for Peace is the only organization, worldwide, in which former fighters on both sides of an active conflict have renounced violence, laid down their weapons, and chosen to work together for justice and peace. Combatants for Peace has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Click HERE to Donate in Jill’s Honor!

To donate with a Canadian Address, please use the PayPal link HERE

More from Emet:

Many people have asked us why this issue matters to me and to us: 

  • This is complicated. For me, born Jewish, I was raised with a notion of Israel as my homeland—as a place of refuge and peace. Some of this was directly through religious text and some through the knowledge of what Jews experienced worldwide through the Holocaust. I ‘ve always wanted to see and experience Israel, especially the feeling of being among Jews. At the same time, I’ve been bombarded with media images of human rights injustices there. I truly couldn’t reconcile these two things in my heart. Both Jill and I wanted to deepen our understanding through witnessing and learning experientially.
  • The ideal of Israel and Palestine is intended to be a place where Jews, Muslims and Christians co-exist peacefully in this ancient land steeped in religious history. And there are glimpses of that, or the potential for that, especially in East Jerusalem. In reality, this is a society that has preserved one race, culture and religion at the expense of others—by stripping people’s basic human rights. Palestinians live under strict military control, in dire poverty, without clean or hot water, with their every movement restricted. And Israeli Jewish citizens are prevented by law from entering their territories, under the guise of protecting their safety, but in fact to keep them from witnessing these atrocities. The situation and conflict is perpetuated through the Israeli education system, compulsory military service for young Israeli adults, and socialization that is infused with the effects of intergenerational trauma.
  • The conflict in the middle east, and the damage to the Israeli and Palestinian people, is also perpetuated through countries that finance the Israeli military and citizens that support the  Palestinian “resistance” (often terrorist groups).
  • Jill had her own reasons for wanting to take this trip as someone not born Jewish, but with a deep connection to the religion and culture. I won’t share on her behalf but you can ask her.
  • We learned a lot on our travels.  We were inspired by the work of Combatants for Peace, even while being disheartened by the enormity of the task in front of them.
  • Finally, for those who might be interested in participating in this kind of trip, you can find out more information here.

If the work of this group inspires you, I invite you to make a donation in honour of Jill’s 51st birthday to support their peace work. You can also learn more about them by watching their documentary film, Disturbing the Peace.

There is another way.  Thank you for your donation to this extraordinary peace organization.

Click HERE to Donate in Honor of Jill’s Birthday!

To donate with a Canadian Address, please use the PayPal link HERE

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