Government boffins at the Department for Communities and Local Government are to host an event at the British Library showcasing their efforts to foster “constructive dialogue” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The event on 5 December will hear from three organisations that have been working to foster a greater understanding of the conflict in the UK, including in schools, by such activities as workshops led by “moderate” Israeli and Palestinian activists.
Among the three organisations is the Union of Jewish Students (UJS), one of the first Diaspora Jewish organisations to support the mutual recognition of Israeli and Palestinian states.
The government has supported the union’s Bridges not Boycotts campaign, which seeks to “foster a space for informed debate and responsible dialogue, promoting community cohesion on campus”.
A spokeswoman said: “All too often, conversations on campus are divisive and unconstructive, where those on different sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rarely come together. We recognise the complexities and nuance involved and we seek to export dialogue rather than import division.”
A spokesperson for the Union of Jewish Students said: ‘We’re honoured to have secured support from the Department for Communities and Local Government to expand our Bridges not Boycotts campaign, which enables Jewish students to nurture relationships with students from a range of backgrounds, offer intelligent and informed discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and foster cohesive campus communities. We have already impacted over 8,000 students through this work across the UK and with trips to Israel and the Palestinian Territories; we are looking forward to continuing our work in this area, ensuring that those leading the debates are responsibly educated with first-hand experience of the issues they’re discussing, and are committed to promoting responsible and respectful dialogue in place of the divisive and unconstructive rhetoric heard too often on our campuses.
‘We are particularly proud that alongside our efforts to combat attempts to demonise and delegitimise Israel, our broad, complex and multiple perspective education is being recognised as a leading approach in this field alongside FODIP and Solutions not Sides. We are determined in our work to realise our vision for a world in which all people and peoples express their religious, cultural, ethnic and national identities without fear of hate or prejudice.’
The other two organisations are Solutions Not Sides, which has run workshops for more than 6,000 schoolchildren from Birmingham, London, Bradford and Wales, and FODIP, an interfaith organisation run by Jews, Christians and Muslims.