On April 9th 1996 three socialist youth movements from Israel, Palestine and Germany decided to strengthen their ties by creating the Willy Brandt Center Jerusalem. This year we are celebrating our 20th anniversary.
We are looking back to our political cooperation, our educational programmes and social art projects. At the same time we are moving on towards our common vision of a peaceful future.
Johanna Uekermann, chairwomen of the Young Socialists in the SPD (JUSOS) opened this years ongoing festivities in Jerusalem.
Opening speech to 20 years of WBC,
by Johanna Uekermann:
“Dear comrades, dear friends of Willy Brandt Center Jerusalem,
We are starting our anniversary year on a historic date. 20 years ago our predecessors Ofer Dekel, Sabri Tomezi and Andrea Nahles signed the partnership agreement that was the foundation for the Willy Brandt Center. To be honest we are two days early with our celebrations, because the actual date 9th of April is a Saturday this year. But not only the date is slightly different, also the location of our gathering moved to the South. Our founding agreement was signed 20 years ago in Ramallah.
What was possible then, seems impossible now. It encourages us once more to continue with our joint struggle. Political realities are made by people and can be changed by people. We saw good and bad times in the last 20 years. But even in the darkest times of war and bloodshed our joint Center stood its test maintaining the ties between our movements providing hope to our members that change is possible.
Sometimes people – be it Internationals or from the region – ask me why we as Jusos are still continuing the complicated way of double solidarity. My answer is very simple: It is because of you! You as the progressive forces in Israel and Palestine seeking for peace deserve our support. Your courage believing in a peaceful future of Palestinians and Israelis living side by side is for us a big inspiration. It motivates us continuously to invest our time and resources in the Willy Brandt Center Jerusalem.
Even if the perspectives for the future not always look well we as Jusos are convinced that our partnership has an added value to the political scene in Jerusalem. Looking back on our experiences from the last 20 years we should use the anniversary year to develop our partnership further and deepen our relations. Jusos will continue the joint international struggle for a more just and more peaceful world. In our partnership we share this goal based on common values. Looking towards the future I can say: We will be at your side. Your struggle is our struggle.”