London, November 22, 2011—OneVoice Europe has expanded its coalition of supporters for the two-state solution this year with a mixture of high profile and community events in London. Buoyed by its success, the movement plans to grow its network beyond England into other European markets next year.
With a focus on raising the necessary funds to implement ambitious growth plans, OneVoice Europe will participate in the Big Give Christmas Challenge, an annual matched funding event. For one week only, from December 5-9, online donations to OneVoice Europe will be matched by a combination of pledges from the movement’s major donors and the Big Give’s Philanthropist Fund.
“Supporting the work of our Israeli and Palestinian branches is all about coalition building,” said John Lyndon, executive director of OneVoice Europe. “This year, we’ve made great strides in that area, engaging many people from political and religious leaders to community members and high school students.”
In October, former UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband MP joined former US Senator George Mitchell at a OneVoice event to discuss the prospects for a two-state solution in the aftermath of the Palestinian Authority’s UN bid for statehood. Both acknowledged the power of the grassroots to effect real change. “Diplomats and statesmen and elected officials or appointed officials can make peace,” said Mitchell, “but it takes hold only in the hearts and minds of the people.”
Earlier this year, Foreign Affairs Shadow Minister Stephen Twigg joined OneVoice for an event at the House of Commons to explore whether people power has been the missing element in delivering a two-state solution. Parliamentarians and concerned citizens alike packed the Wilson Room, at Portcullis House, to listen to OneVoice youth activists talk about building a movement for peace from the ground up.
“The Middle East has taught us that we ignore the wishes of the people at our peril,” said Twigg. “The people of the region, alongside the rest of the world, are fed up with this conflict, and I am proud to stand with OneVoice in highlighting the voices of the silent majority, who demand their leaders represent them by ending the conflict.”
2011 also saw the launch of a new Outreach and Education Program, with specially designed conflict resolution training for students and community members. OneVoice Europe brought several of the movement’s Israeli and Palestinian youth activists, as well as the regional executive directors, Samer Makhlouf and Tal Harris, to lead speaking tours across England.
From the Royal Society of the Arts to Lambeth Palace and the Council for Christians and Jews to Palmers Green Mosque, OneVoice Europe reached hundreds of people with a vested interest in ending the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
The movement also used technology such as Skype video conferencing to connect British students in highly polarized communities with its Israeli and Palestinian youth activists, allowing the students to hear firsthand about OneVoice’s parallel work to achieve the two-state solution.
“None of this would be possible without the support of our donors and partners,” said Lyndon. “The Big Give provides an opportunity for that support to have an even greater impact – twice as much in fact – allowing us to recruit and train more youth activists and increase our activities and events both in Israel and Palestine and here in the UK.”