Review of our Annual Conference 2015 ” Two Narratives-One Future”
It were difficult times as activists and officials from Israel, Palestine, Germany and over the world gathered in Jerusalem for Willy Brandt Center’s Annual Conference. The headline “Two Narratives – One Future” was more current than ever before in 2015. Facing the outbreak of violent clashes and terrorist attacks in both Israel and Palestine it became very clear that there are huge differences between the perceptions of the recent events. This needed to be of course reflected within the agenda of the Annual Conference.
The trilateral organization team took a lot of effort to adapt the planned workshops and discussions to the current situation. After the informal Get-Together on Friday evening in the Willy Brandt Center the conference began on Saturday with an expert input on the developments on Temple Mount/Haram as Sharif. Afterwards the participants reflected on how different recent events are shown in the Israeli and Palestinian media and discussed reasons for it. In the end workshops about social struggles worldwide were held with the question how people in Israel and Palestine can relate to it and what can be learned for the own activism.
All photos by Yam Vignola
Review of our event: Facing the future together – more than 50 years of political youth exchange
The history of political youth exchange between Germany and the Middle East dates back longer then the official establishment of the diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel 50 years ago. On occasion of this anniversary the Willy Brandt Center Jerusalem hosted a BarCamp to take a closer look how the relations evolved that lead to the trilateral ties between young Israeli, Palestinian and German political activists. The BarCamp opened a space for direct and non-formal exchange. Therefore Willy Brandt Center invited representatives of three generations of political youth exchange: The generation of pioneers from the 60s and 70s, the generation of Oslo in the 80s and 90s and the generation of today enhancing an exchange of knowledge between all of them.
The generation of pioneers was impressively represented by Walter Haas a trade-unionist who came to Israel the first time in 1962. Because his visit happened before official relations were established it was very hard for him to travel. But despite the obstacles it was his fascination about socialist and collective ways of living together that made him travel anyways. He was willing to face the hard task to come as a representative of the people who committed the Holocaust to the jewish people. But the aim to build a better future gave him a continuous motivation to go on with his idea. Luckily he found partners that welcomed him and were willing to visit him in Germany. This visit and the return visit one year later laid the foundation for the political youth activities in the Middle East.
The generation of Oslo faced new challenges in their relation with each other. The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians went after the war of 1967 into a new stage, since the occupation of the West-Bank began and the PLO was pushing from outside Palestine towards an independent state. This debate was reflected in Europe and Germany by a political division with people taking side for either the Israeli or the Palestinian cause. In the light of the upcoming Oslo agreements some key actors in the political youth movements like Harald Schrapers took an important step by creating the idea of double solidarity. A double solidarity with both the legitimate needs of the Israeli and the Palestinian people to live in an independent state, with an equal life in peace and security with the chance of economic prosperity. In times when real peace was very close this principle helped to engage a trilateral dialogue between Israelis, Palestinians and Germans.
For political activist that are representing political youth movements today like Johanna Uekermann and Uri Keidar the trilateral idea of the 90s became reality. It is a guiding idea to address the complicated situation we are facing in the Middle East today. Even though current developments make a direct exchange hard from time to time, activist of today are convinced of the added value the dialogue across the borders has. They see it as their task today more than ever before to bridge the gaps that are dividing people. Because if there is one lesson to learn from the past it is that real peace can be reached not by dividing people but only in a cooperation that unites people for the struggle for liberty and equality.
Photos: Tobias Pietsch
Yasmini Fahimi, the SPD General Secretary visited the Willy Brandt Center in Jerusalem for a lecture and discussion with participants of our “Social Justice” project. She reported on the current political situation in Germany. The minimum wage already is an important achievement, but there is still a long way to go. The changes of working routines in the digital age bring major challanges for politics and our society.
Barcamp 29.10.2015, 16:00 pm
Facing the future together – 50 years of political youth exchange
Willy Brandt Center , 22 Ein Rogel St, Jerusalem (Abu Tor)
On occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel” Willy Brandt Center invites you to take part in a BarCamp on political youth exchange between Israel and Germany. A BarCamp is an interactive form of presentation, in which you as participants decide how to shape this event. Invited are witnesses and activists from Israel and Germany – the pioneers of the first encounters in the 60s, activists of peace movements at the time of the Oslo negotiations and young people, who represent the political spirit of the new generation. Together we will to initiate a dialogue between cultures and generations!
In order to cope with the upcoming societal challenges and to lay the foundation for sustainable peace, we need to produce and share innovative knowledge linking creative thinking and politics.
The team of WBC presents its current activities and invites you to take part in workshops and discussions on labor rights, natural resources, education and other current topics.
Um die bevorstehenden gesellschaftlichen Herausforderungen bewältigen zu können und die Grundlage für einen dauerhaften Frieden zu legen, brauchen wir neue Ideen. Wir müssen innovatives Wissen, kreatives Denken und Politik miteinander verbinden.
Das WBC präsentiert seine aktuellen Aktivitäten und lädt euch zur Teilnahme an Workshops und Diskussionen über aktuelle Themen ein.
23.10.15 Willy Brandt Center Jerusalem
Reception (open from 4 pm) and Concert (8pm)
Empfang (ab 16:00) und Konzert (20:00)
Ein Rogel St. 22, Jerusalem (Abu Tor)
24.10.15 Tantur Ecumenical Institute
Opening und workshops throughout the day (open doors 9:00, Start 10:00)
Offizielle Zeremonie und Workshops (ab 9.00 Registrierung, 10:00 Beginn)
HaRosmarin St., Jerusalem (Beit Safafa)
For further information please follow our updates.