In 2016 a group of friends in Geneva, hailing from diverse backgrounds – among them Jewish, Christian and Muslim – but each inspired by a dialogue and non-violence activist, Ali Abu Awwad, decided to found an association:
B8 of Hope (to be pronounced Beit as in the Arabic and Hebrew word for home and 8 because we were 8, but we hope that the 8 of B8 becomes Infinity).
B8 of Hope promotes established initiatives led by Israeli and Palestinian activists which work hand in hand together on projects that bring about discussion and reconciliation and which reject all recourse to violence. A first and important step towards renewed mutual trust.
Our Association was registered in Geneva on May 20th 2016 and we are happy to announce that in one year’s time we have managed to mobilize a considerable network of contacts, through which we help the initiatives we support.
From May until December our focus was individual fund raising activities in Geneva and in San Francisco. We dedicated the funds to the main projects and core budget of Judur-Shorashim-Roots and Taghyeer.
We supported Roots by helping them put it place a better structure and administrative support so that the activists can concentrate their efforts where they are most needed, in the field, as well as bringing greater transparency to the use of their funds.
Taghyeer/Change, the Palestinian national non-violence movement was launched in Jericho in September 2016, B8 of Hope covered parts of the expenses of the launching event that gathered more than 4000 Palestinians who rallied the movement.
March 2017 was the peak of our activities since our creation :
We took part in the coordination of different conferences in Geneva for different speakers from the flagship initiatives we support :
Ali Abu Awwad participated in a panel about Israelis and Palestinians working hand in hand together to pave a path for peace at the Festival et Forum du film des droits humains and at the University of Geneva Global Studies.
Huda Abuarquob and Yael Treidel presented Women Wage Peace at the Graduate Institute.
B8 of Hope launched its first series of activities in Paris :
Presentations about Roots were given by Ali Abu Awwad and Jean-Marc Lilling at the Ecole active bilingue, Science-Po Paris and Cercle Bertrand Lazare and the Mouvement juif liberal de France. A small fund raising evening was organized at a private home. The funds were partially allocated to essential construction work at the Karama center where Roots activities take place.
Our work in promoting our initiatives resulted in different media coverages in March:
A nice article by Julien de Weck in the Tribune de Genève about B8 of Hope.
Ali Abu Awwad and Shaul Judelman got a full page in Le Monde, a very shap article by Piotr Smolar.
A small documentary by Stephane Amar was shown in the evening news on RTS
Interview of Ali by France 24.
Last but not least :
Our main event was the B8 of Hope Gala, on March 23 at the prestigious Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva, in presence of activists from Roots and Women Wage Peace, and 470 guests from the Geneva Arab and Jewish diasporas and others. The activists talked about the work on the ground. Shaul Judelman gave a moving description of why Roots ‘ work is needed. Huda Abuarquob, the regional director of the Alliance for Middle East Peace gave her perspective of the work on the ground. Yael Treidel talked about the high light moments of the Women Wage Peace march in October.
The singers and musicians Yael Deckelbaum , Miriam Toukan, Adam Ben Ezra and Liron Miyuhas put their voices and art at the service of Peace and contributed to the exceptional atmosphere of the evening.
Thanks to the immense generosity of our guests, we were able to collect enough funds to help different projects of Roots, Taghyeer, Women Wage Peace and a specific Children’s program by the Peres Center for Peace.
In June B8 of Hope members are going on the ground to meet with the activists and follow up on the projects we raised funds for at our gala and also explore new possibilities make new connections.
B8 of Hope tries also to create a synergy between the initiatives we help on the ground and the friends of this initiatives abroad. The impact can be only bigger … !
More conferences and events are coming up in the first week of October, featuring The Combatants for Peace and the screening of the amazing documentary Disturbing the Peace ! Stay tuned for the exact dates…
Ali Abu Awwad, our friend, reminds us that :
When violence is put aside, dialogue becomes possible and we don’t have to agree in a dialogue, it is just the “secure place for argument”. Dialogue is a place where “two truths can meet”, it is the place where one can accept that “the painful price of peace is cheaper than the terrible price of war”, it is the place “where peace can be achieved”. And finally, peace is a place where “we can live by respecting our differences”.
Us, here in Geneva, we live in peace. Whether Jews and Arabs of the diaspora, whether Swiss or foreigners, we must remember these words. The issue concerns us. Just as racism shouldn’t be the concern of a specific race only, antisemitism not the concern of Jews only, islamophobia not the concern of Muslims only. Peace in the Middle East should concern us all, not by adding to the conflict and taking sides but by helping paving a path for a solution.
So please, imagine Peace and be part of the dream !
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The B8 Team