Boston Partners for Peace was founded to amplify the voices of peacemakers in Israel using various methods to promote coexistence between diverse communities and to support initiatives that promote the rights of Palestinians and Israel’s Arab-Israeli minority. As in America, many of these groups employ peaceful protests as a tactic for governmental pressure, combined with developmental programs on a local level. They also provide life-altering opportunities for Israelis and Palestinians to meet and understand one another’s perspectives and challenges. Many of these organizations combine these activities with political advocacy, encouraging voters to make themselves heard through exercising this right. Over the past week, we have witnessed powerful protests across the United States and in Israel demonstrating against injustice toward minorities in both countries. Protest movements are powerful ways of making our voices heard and getting the attention of leadership that can institute change. But as peacebuilding NGO’s in Israel have demonstrated, lasting change can only be accomplished through a combination of activities that bring awareness and action at every level, from informing the general public about issues to government leaders on both sides of the political spectrum.
Boston Partners for Peace educates about organizations that work to lessen divides between communities in the hopes that mutual understanding will lead to peace in the region. Organizations that engage in this work know that barriers to equal access must be broken in order for coexistence efforts to be successful. Israeli organizations such as Women Wage Peace and Standing Together work to bring the struggles of these communities to light, and one of the most successful ways they do this is to gather those affected and their allies to raise their voices together. For example, in the past few weeks, these organizations have brought together thousands of people across the country to protest efforts of annexation of the West Bank. There has been speculation that beginning July 1, the new Knesset government will begin the process of applying Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank. There have been people are gathering in public places, standing at intersections with signs, and marching for miles to voice their opposition to this political policy for fear that it may threaten the chance of forming a two-state solution.
In the United States, we have seen people employing a similar tactic, taking to the streets to oppose systemic racism and its impacts on people of color. Many of the proposed solutions have revolved around community development to promote opportunities for minorities to lead the conversation, and for people to vote to ensure that their elected officials hear their voices. People around the country are frequenting black-owned businesses and diverse marches are bringing people together from divided communities. We know that change can happen, because we’ve seen it firsthand in one of the most complex conflict zones in the world, and we hope these same tactics can create change in this country too.
Change is an incremental process, and we have a collective responsibility to speak up in support of justice and equality. Boston Partners for Peace aims to do this by lifting up the voices of organizations that are working to raise awareness around the issues minorities face. Our partner organizations understand that change is hard and messy at times, but they work tirelessly in the hope that transformation of the system will someday be realized.