StandWithUs UK annual Peace Week launches March 8-12; 2021 line-up focuses on growing relations between Arabs and Jews
Annual Event provides a counterpoint to BDS-organised “Israel Apartheid Week”
(LONDON – March 2, 2021) – An array of Arab personalities from the Gulf and Middle East will, for the first time, participate in StandWithUs UK’s annual Peace Week, whose aim is to counter misinformation and build coexistence, peace & reconciliation.
Peace Week is a StandWithUs UK initiative led by the students of the Emerson Fellowship, strategically held in early March to counter the so-called Israel “Apartheid Week”. “Israel Apartheid Week” is known as a divisive and often hateful series of events and media campaigns which have, each year, fuelled antisemitism on campus. IAW is organized by internationally-orchestrated BDS campaign – it is delegitimise and polarise opinion against Israel. Peace Week, by comparison, aims to promote peace and reconciliation between Jews and Arabs, and foster a lasting peace with Israel and its neighbours in the region.
Peace Week 2021 will be held virtually, from 8-12 March, with students from universities and 6th forms across the UK uniting to foster peace. For more information: www.standwithus.com/uk-peaceweek
“This year marks the first Peace Week held since the signing of the historic “Abraham Accords”, between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan and Bhutan, which brings a whole new dimension to the week’s events. Multiple events will build on the growing peace efforts in the Middle East to showcase how a future of normalization, mutual respect and recognition can pave the way to a more prosperous future for all”, commented StandWithUs Campus Coordinator, Raffy Lachter.
Israeli Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, Fleur Hassan Nahoum will speak alongside her partner Emirati leader Thani Al-Shirawi. Together they are the co-founders of the UAE-Israel Business Council which is leveraging the new era of regional opportunity following the signing of the Abraham Accords. Representing Bahrain at “Peace Week 2021” is Ahdeya Al Sayed, President of the Bahrain Journalists Association and board-member of the Dubai-based Arab Women Federation. She is also a former media and international news advisor and political analyst for the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Ministry of Information of Bahrain.
Israeli-Arab influencer, Yoseph Haddad, will speak about his work as CEO of Together –Vouch for Each Other, an NGO which aims to bridge between the Arab sector of Israeli society with Israeli society as a whole. Yoseph will be in conversation with StandWithUs UK Emerson students telling his story and speaking about why he opposes BDS and laying out the opportunities for peace in the year to come.
Meanwhile, at an event titled “Sport in the Service of Peace”, a prestigious panel of guests will discuss how they are working together to promote peace and coexistence through the powerful medium of sport. Tamar Hay Sagiv, Director of the Peace Education Department at the Peres Centre will speak alongside Rola Brentlin, Head of Special Projects at Chelsea Football Club and Ronit Glasman, the Head of Marketing at the Israel Football Association about how they are partnering for peace.
‘Peace Week’ was established seven years ago by a StandWithUs UK student at Exeter University as a peaceful counterpoint to the all too often aggressive nature of Israel Apartheid Week. His desire was to educate students about Israel and allow for a more balanced debate. Since that first initiative, StandWithUs UK Peace Week has become a yearly national grassroots campaign, rolled out across campuses in the UK and reaching thousands of students. The students leading the charge represent the brightest up-and-coming leaders from around the country and for part of the StandWithUs Emerson Fellowship. Together, they focus on combatting antisemitism on campus.
Executive Director of StandWithUs UK, Sara Sherrard comments, “Recent events have proved that hate on campus continues despite the pandemic and it is our students who are on the frontline to challenge misinformation about Israel. This year, terrorists have been invited to speak on campus at Leeds, professors have isolated Jewish students by propagating antisemitic rhetoric at Bristol whilst rejectionist attitudes to Israel continue to grow among the student body. Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Israel Apartheid Week fuels hate. Thanks to students like ours, we promote and inspire a concept of peace to challenge the misinformation that is so widely propagated.”
Sophie Khatskevich, Campus Coordinators for StandWithUs UK, commented “Israel Apartheid Week seeks to encourage support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctioning (BDS) of Israel at universities around the world. The PNIF, represented on BDS’ National Committee, boasts a coalition of Gaza-based terror groups including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, PFLP-GC and the PLF. In the face of aggressive antisemitism on campus, Peace Week represents a highly effective tool for students to shine a light on the true nature of Israel as a peace-seeking nation and a positive player in the Middle East.”
Peace Week 2021 will be held virtually, from 8-12 March, with students from universities and 6th forms across the UK uniting to foster peace.
Students will also be encouraged to sign “The People’s Abraham Accords”, http://abraham-peace.com/ - a short text, written – as in the original accords – in English, Hebrew and Arabic, to show their support for regional peace efforts.
Link to Peace Week website: www.standwithus.com/uk-peaceweek
StandWithUs is an international, non-profit and non-partisan Israel education organisation that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism.
Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Los Angeles, the organisation has chapters and programs on 5 continents, including the U.S., Israel, Canada, South Africa, Brazil and the UK, working closely with associate organisations such as CST and UJS to protect the rights of Jewish Students at a grassroots level.
For the last 7 years, SWU has consistently received the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator (4 stars) and Guidestar (Platinum).