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Archive for the ‘London’ Category

Moving Forward After Gaza: What next for Jewish-Arab coexistence in Israel? Mohammad Darawshe, London, 26 Feb.

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UK Friends of the Abraham Fund Initiatives, in co-operation with the Foreign Press Association present

Moving Forward After Gaza: What next for Jewish-Arab coexistence in Israel?
A briefing by

Mohammad Darawshe

Director of the Abraham Fund

Event Description
The Gaza war has generated a public outcry, with thousands taking to the streets in London and around the world. In Israel, tensions between the Jewish and Arab communities have risen, threatening current cooperation efforts. From a unique perspective of a coexistence organisation between the Jewish and Arab communities, director Mohammad Darawshe of the Abraham Fund Initiatives will address the situation on the ground. He will outline the much needed action from governments and other agencies and will provide examples of tried and tested model projects already successfully implemented, which demonstrate that coexistence can work, but needs to be supported.

About Mohammad Darawshe
Mr Darawshe has been the Director of the Abraham Fund Initiatives since 2005 and he has presented lectures and papers at many international and academic institutions such as the U.S. congress, the European parliament, NATO Defense College, the World Economic Forum, and most recently the Herzlia Conference. He won numerous awards, including the Peacemaker award, bestowed by the Catholic Theological Union of Chicago and the Peace and Security Award of the World Association of NGOs. In 2008, he was elected as a council member of his own hometown Iksal.
UK friends of the Abraham Fund

Written by yishaym

February 23, 2009 at 2:05 am

Expressions for Gaza: fundraiser in London, Sat. 17th Jan

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A night of peaceful, artistic expression in support of and to raise funds for the people of Gaza

Acts donating their time and performance include:

*Steve Sabella* – Palestinian Photographer; *Prof Haim Bresheeth* – filmmaker, photographer and a film studies scholar; *Soraya Boyd* – human rights campaigner; *Klezmer Klub*- jewish/Yiddish folklore music; *Poetic Pilgrimage* – Muslim sisters hip hop band; *Nour Alkawaja* – Palestinian Female comedian and director

Date: Saturday 17th January 2009
Time: 6.00pm – 8.30pm
Venue: Abrar House, 45 Crawford Place, London, W1H Nearest tube: Edgware Road/Marylebone road Minimum donation on the night: £15 Dinner will be served at 20:30 after the acts. There is a vegetarian option. PLEASE NOTE CHANGE IN START TIME. Acts will start promptly at 6:15pm

TICKETS: Minimum donation is £15.

Please purchase prior to the event, tickets are limited:

ONLINE: http://expressionsforgaza.blogspot.com/
This is updated regularly. Please scroll to donate button to purchase your ticket. Tickets are confirmed by email.
All proceeds on the night will go to Medical Aid for Palestinians
If you are unable to attend for any reason and would like to donate visit http://expressionsforgaza.blogspot.com and follow the link.
There are several events taking place and many charity collections- donations to any are appreciated.

Written by yishaym

January 15, 2009 at 4:10 pm

If it wasn’t my kid, I would laugh too

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Actually, I did laugh. Even when the joke was on me.

Alia and Yamina kindly invited me to a preview of their new show. I’m not the comedy type, I usually get my laughs from the 10 o’clock news. But these girls hit the nail, and hit it hard. If you’re around Thursday night, come see them at the goodenough.

Disclosure: Alia’s an old friend, so obviously I’m biassed, but hey – what’s the point of having a blog if you can’t promote your friends?

Alia Alzougbi and Yamina Bakiri would like to invite you to a night of quirky comedy. It’s Nothing Personal will explore at least 1001 ways of stereotyping “the Middle East” In this magic carpet ride, we will address the following:

  • Is west of the Middle East still east?
  • What are the political and health benefits of olive oil?
  • Is female emancipation down to shaving hair?
  • Would the Big Bad Wolf discriminate on the basis of religion?
  • Does it make sense to marry a brain surgeon when your father is diabetic?
  • What do the Koran and The Communist Manifesto have in common?

Unfortunately the accuracy of the answers is not guaranteed with the ticket price (£5); as such, we cannot promise you an educative night, but you might just have a chuckle (or two). It’s Nothing Personal will take place on Thursday the 19th of June at 8:30pm in Goodenough College, London House Large Common Room, WC1N 2AB. All proceeds go to SOS children  http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/children-charity.htm

Written by yishaym

June 16, 2008 at 12:25 am

breaking my oath

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As a rule, I bluntly turn down sponsorship requests. If you can show me the logical link between you bungee jumping of Victoria falls and the welfare of blind cats, I’ll pay you a tenner. Otherwise, I’m happy to pay for you not to go. If you really want to help those cats, get a job, make some money, and do what you please with it.

But rules are made to be broken:

My dear friends,

As most of you know, Barnet Refugee Service is “my” organization. I was involved with it since its conception, was pregnant with it (as a team member and as an acting-coordinator of one of its parents organizations, which I had joined first as a volunteer in January 1999), and has been active in it in different capacities from the day it was born.

In the last 2 years I have been one of the trustees of this wonderful organization, and saw it going from strength to strength, recruiting more staff for more projects, assisting more and more clients, who – due to tightening of immigration legislation and withdrawing of support from asylum seekers – are becoming more and more destitute and desperate.

One of the things we offer our clients is legal advice – an invaluable stuff in times when most of the good immigration solicitors had withdrew their services, yet again because of bad government policy. A newish piece of legislation limits Legal Aid funding to such a few hours per asylum case, that the good law firms declared that under these conditions they cannot possibly prepare a strong asylum claim or represent clients in Home Office interviews and further legal proceedings. The disastrous result of this is that many asylum seekers are being refused asylum and returned to their countries to face persecution and possible death.

Another frustrating fact which we need to address now is huge funding cuts that we recently suffered, and that is despite our commended services and successful outcomes year by year. We are not the only charity who suffered these cuts of public funding from the Lottery Fund and I guess we can thank the Olympic games for that…

SO, we need your help. I won´t go on about our great aims and ethos and won´t go into further details of the services we offer – you can read all that on our website at http://www.barnetrefugeeservice.org.uk/.

I would just ask you to sponsor me (and/or Rony…) in a 10 km walk we will join ON 19th May as detailed below,




The 4th London Legal Support Trust  sponsored walk is a 10 km circle round London’s legal landmarks which starts at the Royal Courts of Justice at 5.30 and ends at the Law Society.
Last year 1,800 walkers raised over £200,000.
Your donation will go directly to BRS and will help us to provide advice and support to  asylum seekers who have fled persecution.

To sponsor me please go to www.justgiving.com/BarnetRefugeeService

If you prefer to send a cheque, please make it payable to “Barnet Refugee Service” and send it with a completed GiftAid form (attached) to:
BRS, c/o Peter Salomon, 30 Gurney Drive, London, N2 0DG

To join the walk and find your own sponsors please contact Peter Salomon at p@kandps.co.uk .


PS. as it happens, we are also looking for new trustees to join us in our AGM in July. If I got you interested in BRS – why not volunteer a few hours per month and offer your skills and experience to better the lives of those fleeing persecution?

Written by yishaym

May 15, 2008 at 1:19 am

Bassam Aramin and Raed Al Mickawi, this Sunday (11 May) in London

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Bassam Aramin, co-founder of Combatants for Peace and Ra’ed Al Mickawi, director of Bustan, will be speaking this Sunday, 2:30-4:00 at ULU.

Bassam Aramin was a co-founder with Yonathan Shapera of Combatants for Peace.
He had spent many years in an Israel prison for his involvement with Palestinian
militancy, but came to the conclusion that engagement and dialogue are the only way
forward. Following the founding of Combatants for Peace, his new beliefs were sorely
tried by the killing of his 10 year old daughter, Abir, by the Israeli border police on
her way home from school and by the Israeli authorities refusal to investigate her
death properly. Combatants for Peace and local people are making a garden in her
name next to the school, supported by Jewish Groups across the world. A new play
featuring Bassam’s lifestory was performed in Jaffa recently, by well known Israeli actors.

Raed Al Mickawi is a compelling speaker who weaves his own personal story of growing
up Bedouin in the Negev with the larger civil and human rights issues facing Bedouin and
Arab people living in Israel—20% of the overall population. Learn more about the
“unrecognized” villages, the relationship between the situation of Palestinians inside and
outside the Green Line, and environmental and social policy towards Bedouin people.
Hear about BUSTAN’s role in building a sustainable, just future for ALL residents of the
Negev through small-scale, grassroots projects that advocate for human rights, cultural
preservation, and sustainable land use and development.

If hope, courage and determination have a face, it is the face of Bassam and Raed.

“Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to support Israel and pursue peace, democracy and human rights at the same time.”

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Rabbi Tony Bayfield comments on OneVoice, The Abraham Fund Initiatives, and others. Join the discussion!

I am a moderate when it comes to Israel but not, I hope, vacuous. It is an uncomfortable position with traffic coming at me from both sides. I am a Zionist and define Zionism as a non-negotiable commitment to the right of the state of Israel to exist and an equal commitment to the pursuit of peace as the highest value, to democracy and human rights. That exposes me to the rage of Israel’s critics on the one side and to the Jewish “realists” and cynics on the other.

(digg story)

Written by yishaym

June 27, 2007 at 11:11 am

Mega-spider at Mile’s end park

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Yesterday we thought we’ll see what’s on offer from the London Architecture Week. We ended up making land drawings in Mile’s End park:

Written by yishaym

June 18, 2007 at 1:07 pm

Posted in Architecture, art, London, UK

Academics in Wonderland: Geoffrey Smith on the Boycott and Arab Israelis

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Imagine a country with separate school systems for its two major communities, but the universities are open to both, where students and staff from both communities work and research together right across the range of the university curriculum. Their research improves the life of minority groups in their society.

Geoffrey Smith is the deputy director of Christian Friends of Israel – UK. Having met Mohammad Darawshe from the Abraham Fund, he was moved to write this article. He concludes:

Mohammed Darawashe never pretended all their problems were solved. But these examples of creative ways to tackle disadvantage and promote equality in Israel made me feel sick when I thought of British trade union attitudes. The conference decision in the universities is perverse but there is a risk that boycotts would spread from the crazy fringe to trade unions that really carry clout, like Unison. It is time to get real, to see what is really being done by people who care in Israel, and to support not boycott their endeavours.

Mohammad will be speaking tomorrow at the Goodenough College.

| digg story

Written by yishaym

June 13, 2007 at 6:05 pm

A bit of hope for a change

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Next week we’re hosting Mohammad Darawshe from the Abraham Fund for a series of talks in London.

This just came in the mail:

I’m sitting in Ben Gurion airport, just about to fly back from Israel where my wife and I had the chance to see some of the work that the Abraham Fund Initiatives is doing on the ground. We started by attending a weekly team meeting at the Fund’s offices just outside Jerusalem. What impressed us was the commitment of the team – Arabs and Jews working together – to tackle really tough issues and the talent, energy and honesty they bring to their work.

We visited a number of the TAFI initiatives. Although we’ve read about them on paper, seeing them in operation brought home the complexity of the issues, the sheer scale of the work that TAFI is doing and the positive impact it is having on peoples’ lives

We visited a police station in Lod, one of the most deprived towns in Israel, infamous for its drug problems – we saw the dealers on the street! We were taken round by a police commander. Lod is one of the areas taking part in TAFI’s police initiative. With the benefit of TAFI’s training in culturally sensitive policing and mediation, the police there are helping to tackle profound social issues. Their work goes far beyond policing and into areas of social work, both within communities and between the Jewish and Arab population.

A consequence of TAFI’s work is that it shifts the perceptions that Jews and Arabs hold about each other. As part of its ‘Language as a Cultural Bridge’ programme, we visited a Jewish School where children learning Arabic were enthusiastically engaged in a bi-lingual puppet show presented by an Arab puppet theatre ‘Diwan aL’joun, another TAFI partner. The puppeteers alternated between Arabic and Hebrew which gave the children an educational benefit and an experience of Arabic folk stories. It helps to bridge the gap between communities.

The ‘Mirkam’ project in the Galilee started as an educational initiative but has broadened its remit to cover social and economic issues affecting Arab and Jewish towns. Not only is TAFI bringing Jewish and Arab schools together, but also helping the Jewish and Arab communities to identify and meet shared needs. For example, both communities needed a facility for the visually impaired. TAFI helped both communities in the area to advocate for a facility which they could share for the benefit of their visually impaired citizens.

Whilst all of these initiatives have value in their own right, they demonstrate that communities can work together towards a more cohesive and co-operative society.

Meeting the TAFI team and their partners, and seeing their work first hand, confirmed for us the importance of TAFI’s work in helping to create opportunities for change. Our heartfelt thanks to Mohammad, Amnon and the terrific team they lead to giving us the time and opportunity to see TAFI’s work first hand.

As you all know, Mohammad is joining us in London for the week’s programme of cross community talks. It’s a great opportunity to hear more about the TAFI’s work first hand. I look forward to seeing seeing you at one or more events. If you have any friends you’d like to bring, we would be delighted to see them as well. You can see the full programme of the TAFI website – http://tinyurl.com/2gpdax and as a calendar of events at http://tinyurl.com/2y2g67

Laurie Kaye

Chair , UK Friends of the Abraham Fund Initiatives

Everyone likes to talk about injustice, discrimination, inequality etc. The reason I got involved with the Abraham Fund Initiatives (aka TAFI) was that instead of talking, it tries to do something about it.

If you want to learn more about the Abraham Fund, check out the website: http://www.abrahamfund.org

If you’re in the UK, there’s also: http://www.abrahamfund.org.uk

Written by yishaym

June 5, 2007 at 1:38 am

Ibrahim Issa talks about the Hope Flowers school in Bethlehem

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I have nothing to do with this event, except that I know the host and it sounds extremely interesting.


The Centre for Critical Education Policy Studies

The Institute of Education, University of London
20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL


jointly sponsored by the British Shalom-Salaam Trust (BSST)

‘Extension of Democratic & Peace Education into Palestinian Schools’

The Hope Flowers School in Bethlehem was founded to develop attitudes and skills that foster peaceful resolutions to conflict. The school seeks to cultivate positive values within Palestinian society and build relationships between Palestinian children and other cultures as a basis for creating understanding and peaceful relations among the peoples of the world.

The school has been working closely with private and UN schools in the Occupied Palestinian Territories on a psychological support programme for children and families. It has applied to the UK’s FCO Global Opportunities Fund to ask for funding for training teachers in Peace and Democracy teaching methods. This project will help to create a culture of peace in Palestinian society, in which human rights and tolerance to ethnicity, religion or language increasingly become the norm. It hopes to help young people manage frustration and become more effective in society, helping them to transform ‘resistance’ into peace-building.

Ibrahim Issa, the school’s Principal, will present the school’s methods for teaching Peace and Democracy.

Judith Suissa, Lecturer in Philosophy of Education, will chair the seminar

Stephen Ball, Karl Manheim Professor, Discussant

Date: Thursday March 22nd, 2007

Time: 6 – 8 pm.

Room: 822, Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London

All Welcome! Refreshments will be served, so please confirm to Lise Obi on l.obi@ioe.ac.uk if you wish to attend.

Written by yishaym

February 15, 2007 at 10:22 am


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