Political Café “50 Years Chancellor Willy Brandt“ – October 17, 2019

October 2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the chancellorship of Willy Brandt. In the general election in September 1969, the SPD become the strongest party for the first time, and on October 21st Willy Brandt was elected as the fourth Chancellor of the Federal Republic Germany. Therefore, we dedicated a Political Café on October 17th with Kevin Kühnert, chairperson of Jusos (Young Socialists in the SPD), to look back at Willy Brandt’s Chancellorship. We further discussed the question of Willy Brandt’s policies and slogans’ relevance and usefulness for present times, and the cooperation of young political actors from Israel, Palestine and Germany within the framework of the Willy Brandt Center Jerusalem.

Kevin spoke about his personal views on Willy Brandt, and how the political and public arena have changed over the past decades, making it hard to imagine a “second” Willy Brandt today. The Political Café was concluded by a quote of Brandt from 1992: “Nothing comes by itself. And little is permanent. Therefore – remember your strength and the fact that each time needs its own answers”. This quote was adapted to the present: let’s be strong together and find our own answers for nowaday’s challenges.

Political Café “Let’s Move Together“ with Johanna Uekermann – September 19, 2019

In Israel, there’s no public transportation on Saturdays;in Germany – no public transportation in remote regions. For this reason, we hosted a Political Café on September 19th with Johanna Uekermann, Secretary of labour union EVG for train and mobility, and former chairwomen of Jusos.

We discussed not only mobility as a basic right for all citizens, whether living in metropolitan areas or the periphery; the discussion soon focused on climate protection, green mobility and the future of public transportation. In order to reduce CO2 pollution, the infrastructure and principles of public transportation need to change drastically. During the discussion with guests from Tel Aviv, we debated the issue of e-scooters: are they a supplement to public transportation, or a new threat and challenge. The conclusion of the Israeli participants was that more light rails are needed in the cities, as well as more busses on Shabbat (Saturday). A representative of the Shabus-Cooperative in Tel Aviv announced that public transportation will soon be introduced on Saturdays in Tel Aviv.

 

WBC & Hans-Böckler-Delegation: Trade Unions and Social Justice – September 11-19, 2019

Along with the abovementioned activities, from the 11th to the 19th September we also hosted and supported a delegation of 16 scholarship-holders of the Hans-Böckler-Foundation. The focus of the delegation was meeting the partners of the foundation and of the WBC, learning about the role and work of trade unions and aim attention at relevant topics like social justice.

 

New Project Coordinator for “Politics without Borders”

Welcome Tobias!

Since mid-July, Tobias Pietsch is the new Coordinator of the “Politics without Borders” project in the WBC. Tobias has been committed to the work of the WBC for over 10 years. His involvement began in 2008 as a volunteer at the WBC, and since then he has engaged with this project, as well as with the region in general. He has been a member of the board of the WBC Support Association in Germany for many years, and supported the volunteers in Jerusalem. Throughout his work as a tour guide at Alsharq, he has become acquainted with almost every corner of Israel and Palestine. Tobi has gotten to know not only the places, but also the people that make these countries so special. We are more than happy to have Tobi as our project coordinator at the WBC, and expect with confidence the challenges that we will face together.

DE:

Herzlich Willkommen Tobias!

Seit Mitte Juli ist Tobias der neue Koordinator des Projekts „Entscheider*innen der Zukunft“ im WBC. Tobias ist bereits seit über 10 Jahren in die Arbeit rund um das WBC involviert. Sein Weg begann 2008 als Zivildienstleistender im WBC und seitdem hat ihn das Projekt, aber auch die Region allgemein nicht mehr losgelassen. Er war danach viele Jahre Mitglied im Fördervereinsvorstand des WBZ e.V. und betreute seinerseits die Zivildienstleistenden, später dann FSJler*innen. Durch seine Arbeit als Reiseleiter bei alsharq kennt er inzwischen wohl fast jede Ecke in Israel und Palästina. Er kennt aber vor allem nicht nur die Orte, sondern allen voran die Menschen, die diese Länder so besonders machen. Wir können uns mehr als glücklich schätzen, Tobias nun als Projektkoordinator im WBC zu haben und blicken mit Zuversicht auf die kommenden Herausforderungen, die wir gemeinsam angehen wollen.

Farewell of Judith

EN:

Thank you for everything, Judith!

Judith Höffkes, project coordinator since 2016, has left the WBC after three eventful years. Judith has navigated the “Politics without Borders” project through exciting and challenging times. She has always been devoted to introducing young people with the WBC, and to explain the various narratives that parallel each other and allow for a mutual understanding. Judith has always been our anchor, and has left an important mark on the WBC. We would like to thank her for everything!

 

DE:

Danke für Alles, Judith!

Judith Höffkes, Projektkoordinatorin seit 2016, hat nach drei ereignisreichen Jahren das WBC verlassen. Judith hat das Projekt „Entscheider*innen der Zukunft“ sicher durch aufregende Zeiten geführt. Sie hat sich immer die Zeit genommen junge Menschen an das WBC heranzuführen und die unterschiedlichen Narrative die dort aufeinander prallen verständlich zu erklären. Judith war unser Fels in der Brandung, sie hat das WBC geprägt und wir möchten uns bei ihr für alles bedanken!

 

Ver.di Delegation visits the WBC

On July 17th we hosted a delegation of 11 members of Ver.di, the German United Services Trade Union. The delegation members were introduced to the Willy Brandt Center’s work and activities, and were then invited to a Q&A session on Palestinian and Israeli politics, economy and society.

The visiting participants were particularly interested by the overview on the various political parties, elections and economic situation in Palestine, as well as the education system and vocal trainings for young adults. Discussing the roles and challenges of trade unions in both countries, the conversation also touched on divides and ongoing debates in Israeli society. Finally, there was an analysis of the Israeli elections in April, with the intention of providing an outlook on the upcoming elections in September.

Report: New chairman and new alliances in Israeli Labor and Meretz party

Following the poor results in April’s parliament elections, both Israeli Labor and Meretz Party voted for new chairmen to lead the parties. Amir Peretz received 47% of the votes and will lead the party for the second time. Peretz lead the party from 2005 to 2007 and served as Minister of Defense, deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Environmental Protection. Stav Shaffir and Itzik Shmuli, who joined the Labor after the social protests in 2011, received 27% and 26% respectively.

Just before the Labor party, Meretz party committee has elected Horowitz, with 81% of the committee members participating in the vote. Horowitz is an Israeli journalist, a Haaretz columnist, and a politician who has served as a two-term Knesset member for Meretz in the past. Horowitz succeeds Tamar Zandberg and is supported by Ilan Gilon.

Peretz and Horowitz held talks on the question of joining their lists to run together for the upcoming elections in September. They debated joint challenges and how to fight for social justice, peace and equality, finally deciding to run separately. Peretz is running the Labor Party together with Orly Levi-Abekasis’ Gesher party. Meretz joined Ehud Barak’s Democratic Union, including Stav Shaffir, who has switched camps. Latest polls indicate Labor-Gesher could win 5 seats, the Democratic Union is expected to win 7 seats, while Likud and Blue and White both could win 30 seats in the Knesset.

WBC joined 50th anniversary of Jusos’ “turn to the left” Congress in Munich, Germany – July 5-7, 2019

In 1969, German Young Socialists decided during their federal congress in Munich to turn to the left, and became an independent youth organization of the Social Democratic Party. 50 years later, the present generation of young activists celebrated this historical step, which continues to influence the organization’s DNA. Activists and former and current coordinators contributed to the three-day congress.

In a “then and now” talk, former project coordinator Christopher Paesen, discussed with Judith Höffkes their experiences at the WBC in different points of time. Political team member Nilli Marderer and project manager Tobias Pietsch gave a workshop on the beliefs of Socialist Zionism, based on the notions formulated by Moshe Hess. Sitting under a Bavarian chestnut tree, Judith offered a Q&A session concerning current issues in Israel and Palestine, and attracted the interest of numerous participants.

Study Visit of Hans Böckler Foundation (HBS) – August 31-September 9, 2018

Work relations and the struggle for workers’ rights have had a fundamental effect on the shaping of both Israeli and Palestinian societies, and the relations between the two. These include an estimated 100000 Palestinians from the West Bank who currently work in Israel, as well as the fact that the German and Israeli trade unions have laid the foundations for the establishment of German-Israeli diplomatic relations in the late 1950s.
These are just a few of the issues the young trade union activists from the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung discussed during their delegation to Israel and Palestine. The Willy Brandt Center wishes to raise the awareness towards the role of trade unions and further strengthen relations between them. For this reason, we were delighted to welcome the Hans Böckler Stiftung, who over the course of 10 days visited many of our partner organisations such as Histadrut, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Israel, HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed, German Embassy Tel Aviv, the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions and many more.

Delegation Hans Böckler Foundation, September 2-10, 2017

We were happy to welcome our partners from the Hans Böckler Foundation for the 3rd time to facilitate a delegation for young scholars and student activists. Under the title “Amorphous borders? Conflicts, borders and boundaries within and between the Israeli and Palestinian society”, we facilitated a number of international encounters, political talks and tours and discussion rounds to give an impression of the complexity of our region.

Although 9 days are never enough to answer all the questions, we enjoyed furthering the knowledge of the group during meetings with German diplomats, discussions with trade unions from both sides and tours, and gatherings with activists. We can’t wait to continue our talks and our partnership with the upcoming delegation next year!