We live in troubled times. Those who visit this website are well aware of that harsh reality. Many of us are struggling to find reason to hope in these hard times. I’m thrilled to be able to share with you a bright ray of light shining in the darkness.
I’ve just met some new friends doing important work in difficult circumstances. It is a rare gift to meet people who have a clear and inspirational vision of what must be done to make the world a better place. It becomes even more significant when they are also already underway doing the hard work to make that vision real.
In the occupied town of Hebron, an ancient city of deep importance, there are over 550 schools and just 15 music teachers. Take that in for a moment. We regularly focus appropriately on the suffering of our Palestinian sisters and brothers in deep and profound ways. The occupation (which three major groups have declared fits the legal definition of apartheid) impacts precious humans’ lives in far too many ways to list here.
Even for me, someone who has spent decades studying the region and a lover of music, this was a need I knew nothing of before meeting Maali Tamimi and Aboud Qawasmeh the founders of SOUL. We were brought together through our wonderful partner HIRN and will now be raising up their work on our website. You can learn more about SOUL through our latest interview with Maali and Aboud, and the infomation about them below.
To get a sense of the impressive clarity of vision they bring to this work, please see this document and these brief excerpts below:
SOUL fills an evident and important gap as the first social non-profit forum in Hebron that puts music at the heart of its mission and vision. Placed in this strategically and economically important centre of Palestine’s South, SOUL offers a space that will enhance the outreach and expansion of music in the region. In the context of the persistent Israeli military occupation, music, and arts more broadly, offers the chance to increase social cohesion and resilience among the population, allows individuals to seek refuge and relief in a safe space and to find meaning and belonging in the frame of Palestinian music culture and heritage.”
SOUL is a place that brings together artists and music professionals locally, regionally, and internationally to enable knowledge exchange and collaboration. Cooperating with other music and cultural organisations in Palestine and beyond allows to find synergies in this field. The creation of a music archive symbolises the bridge between the past and the present, as it will allow to capture, record, preserve and catalogue the rich variety of historical, traditional Palestinian pieces of music that face a threat of getting lost.
At the core of SOUL’s activities lies an inclusive, accessible and gender-sensitive approach to welcome everyone who has an interest in music with open arms.
I hope you are as inspired as I am about their work. If so, please take three simple steps.
Spread the word. Tell people who already agree with us that Palestinians are fully human and deserve the same basic rights as all people. Let them know of this shining example of grounded hope. Urge them to tell others and together we can demonstrate the power of the multiplier effect of energetic organizing.
Use this unusual program as a rare opening to at least two people who don’t yet agree on this issue. Experiment with using the beauty and power of music as an opening to have the hard conversations we so often avoid. Deep in our hearts we know that activating people who already agree with us is only part of the challenge before us. We must also reach out - ready to listen and learn, not just teach - and call people into the conversation. Together, we can and we must change the conversation about Palestine and Israel so that we can change policy and impact people’s lives.
Donate here on this site. Consider becoming a monthly donor to this exciting project that is still in its infancy. Having met these wonderful leaders, I am confident that this project can become a groundbreaking force raising up the power of music to heal and repair our broken and beautiful world. By giving now, at whatever level of personal comfort works for you, or by becoming a monthly donor, you will be in on the ground floor of something already having an impact and full of the potential to become even more powerful if we take these simple steps together.
To learn more about their work, we are pleased to offer you this short video and bios below and ask that you check back on this page for future updates about SOUL’s still unfolding contribution to building a world of peace with justice for all.
SOUL is a "Cultural Forum for Music and the Arts"
Maali Tamimi is the Supervisor of Music Education for the Ministry of Education in the north of the Hebron Governorate and herself a volunteer music teacher of many years through the French Cultural Association in Hebron focusing on voice and piano.
Aboud Qawasmeh is a graduate from the music program at the Bethlehem University and an ongoing student at Dar Al Kalima College's music program, he is also a music teacher of Oud, Qanoon, Guitar, Darbuka (drums), and voice of 7 years.
They have pioneered projects in the Old City of Hebron, including a children's choir in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron, and they have taught children with disabilities music - which will be a focal point of SOUL's work. They do amazing work bringing music into particularly marginalized and conservative communities in the Hebron area.
Artist Ashley Lukashevsky
Western Sahara Occupation and Efforts to Break the Siege of the Khaya Sisters
For those new to this topic, please scroll down to learn from the many resources below.
Human rights organizations have recorded widespread detentions, the torture of dissidents, and violent suppression of peaceful protests by Moroccan forces in Western Sahara. In addition to the oppression of peaceful protestors, since November 2020, Moroccan occupation forces have been forcibly confining the Khaya Sisters to their home and the family is facing many forms of abuse, including home invasions, sexual violence and injections of unknown substances. We cannot allow this abuse and violence to continue. We are called to expose these human rights injustices and join together to build peace in Western Sahara. At the invitation of the Khaya family in Boujdour, Western Sahara, US-based volunteers have arrived at their home to protect them from human rights abuses and break the almost 500-day siege of the house imposed by Moroccan occupation forces.
Follow on Facebook LIVE
Follow updates on the siege here
Donate to support our ongoing efforts to promote nonviolence in Western Sahara here.
UCP Volunteer Adrienne Kinne with Sultana Khaya and friends.
Supported by the Human Rights Action Center (HRAC) and a network of other human rights groups, the international unarmed civilian protection (UCP) volunteers, Ruth McDonough, Adrienne Kinne, and others, are currently guests in the Khaya family home.
Since November 2020, the Khaya Sisters have been forcibly confined to their home and the family has faced many forms of abuse, including home invasions, sexual violence and injections of unknown substances. The Khaya sisters have been raped by Moroccan security forces in front of their 84-year-old mother. Furthermore, their water has been poisoned, furniture and property destroyed, and electricity cut-off.
Referring to her experience, Sultana Khaya shared, “I am not the first Saharawi woman to be raped by the occupiers. I am simply the first woman to speak publicly about it. I have to expose the reality of the occupation. And I need to pave the way for the next generation of Saharawi women.”
Sultana Khaya is a Saharawi human rights defender whose work focuses on promoting the right of self-determination for the Saharawi people and ending violence against Saharawi women, through active participation in nonviolent efforts and demonstrations. She serves as the president of the Saharawi League for the Defense of Human Rights and the Protection of Western Sahara’s Natural Resources, and is a member of the Saharawi Commission against the Moroccan occupation (ISACOM). She is a nominee for the Sakharov Prize and winner of the Esther Garcia Award. As an outspoken activist, she has been targeted by the occupying Moroccan forces while engaged in peaceful protests, enduring abductions, beatings, and having one eye gouged out.
According to Ruth McDonough, “Violence against women must stop everywhere. I am here to support Saharawi women who are demanding their rights.”
Jack Healey, founder of HRAC and former Executive Director of Amnesty International, USA, said, "I insist that the U.S. government stand up for human rights in Western Sahara."
The HRAC visitors call for an end to the rapes, freedom of movement for the Khaya family and all visitors, and an independent international investigation of these human rights abuses. HRAC supports a more detailed list of demands made by the Khaya sisters which include removal of forces and barricades around their house and neighborhood and the remediation of their poisoned water reservoir.
Grounded in international law, Unarmed Civilian Protection is a nonpartisan strategy that revolves around the use of nonviolent methods by civilians to protect other civilians under threat. Such protection is provided on invitation from local actors and supports local agency and infrastructures for peace.
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and other highly respected investigative groups have documented widespread detentions, the torture of dissidents, and violent suppression of peaceful protests by Moroccan forces in Western Sahara.
On 1 July 2021, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, condemned the reprisals against Sultana Khaya and expressed “particular concern about the apparent use of violence and the threat of violence to prevent and obstruct women human rights defenders in their peaceful human rights activities.”
Morocco invaded the Western Sahara in 1975, and has occupied it since then. The Western Sahara has UN status as the world's last major non-self-governing territory. In 1991, the United Nations promised to hold a referendum for self-determination for the people of Western Sahara. To this day, the referendum has not transpired.
Please Take Action
Sign Our Petition to End the Siege
TAKE ACTION: Make some urgent phone calls!
Support HRAC in their Demands of the Moroccan Forces
- We call for and end to the rapes.
- We call for the freedom of movement for the Khaya Family and all visitors.
- We call for an independent international investigation of these human rights abuses.
- Insist that our Break-the-Siege US and International tourists not be attacked and permitted freedom of movement.
Please pick up your phone and speak to someone:
Moroccan Desk, Joseph Debernardo +1 202 647 1724
Morocco Citizens and anyone anywhere:
Prime Minister of Morocco:
Europeans and Global Citizens: Please contact your foreign ministry.
Nonviolence International's History of Nonviolent Action in Western Sahara
(Mubarak Awad & Jonathan Kuttab in Western Sahara in 2015)
NVI has been concerned about Western Sahara for over 3 decades. NVI's co-founders Mubarak Awad and Jonathan Kuttab are some of the few Palestinians and Americans who have gone and done solidarity work with them in the occupied territory.
April 2022: In Nonviolent Strategies and Stories in Israel-Palestine and Western Sahara, Michael Beer and Osama Elewat speak with the Metta Center for Nonviolence on the power of nonviolence.
January 2022: Stephen Zunes writes in Foreign Policy in Focus that President Biden's refusal to reverse President Trump's policy on Western Sahara has dangerous global implications.
Zunes piece in The Progressive warned that the threat of further Russian aggression against Ukraine was real and noted that the Biden administration is in a weak position to lead an international response.
December 2021: Khaya Family Update
March 2021: Nonviolence International is proud to make connections across boundaries that for far too long we have allowed to divide us. This NVI webinar connects those resisting occupation from Palestine to Western Sahara. We believe in the power of active nonviolence and offer this conversation as a way to celebrate brave nonviolent leaders and our shared use of creative Nonviolent Tactics and Training to make us even more impactful.
(Video above shows Sultana Khaya - while under heavy surveillance - joining our webinar through Salka Barca. Note the 22-minute mark, at which Sultana Khaya dramatically confronts those who besiege her house.)
CNN featured Sultana Khaya’s powerful op-ed on a difficult topic that rarely gets the attention it deserves (Morocco: Western Sahara Activist Raped)
November 2020: NVI's Director, Michael Beer co-wrote this piece calling for an End to the Conflict in Western Sahara) and encouraging the US Government to change it policies towards Western Sahara.
Nonviolence International supports international law and opposes the unlawful and violent occupations of its neighbors by Israel, Morocco and Russia.
Resources on Western Sahara
A BATTLEFIELD TRANSFORMED: FROM GUERILLA RESISTANCE TO MASS NONVIOLENT STRUGGLE IN THE WESTERN SAHARA
Dr. Maria J. Stephan and Jacob Mundy.
War Resisters International’s January 2021
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy's nine minute video on Western Sahara
Democracy Now's hour long documentary: Four Days in Occupied Western Sahara: Africa's Last Colony.
For my first Spotlight interview, I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Sarah Lockwood, a social scientist and lecturer at the Center for Development Studies at the University of Cambridge. Dr. Lockwood’s research focuses on political violence and other forms of democratic accountability, particularly in the context of developing countries. In her interview, she discussed the dynamics behind why people protest, how some protests turn violent, whether protests can effectively hold governments and corporations accountable, as well as Dr. Lockwood’s personal journey from journalism into academia.
Despite the uprisings against racial injustice in the United States and globally in the summer of 2020, we still live in a world where structural inequities negatively impact many lives. My interest in Dr. Lockwood’s work comes from wanting to understand why, even when people mobilize at massive scales, social movements often struggle to enact necessary changes. On that note, Dr. Lockwood’s research on protests, one of the ways social movements demand change, points out the many costs to organizing successfully, such as sharing information and gathering enough people who support the cause and believe their actions will bring about change. In other words, protests are rarely spontaneous, and may need months, perhaps years, of advanced planning and coordination to be successful. Unfortunately, marginalized communities will often face challenges gathering the resources necessary to mobilize even as they may be facing the worst deprivations. Moreover, protests from these communities, such as in informal settlements in the developing world, are unlikely to receive attention from the media or local councilors unless they are disruptive enough, such as using barricades or damaging private property. While I remain committed to nonviolence, acknowledging the disparities that protestors from marginalized communities face in having their voices heard is crucial to designing effective nonviolent protest strategies.
I appreciate how Dr. Lockwood’s research can help us look at the dynamics of protest activity more objectively. As an academic, Dr. Lockwood strives to keep her research relevant to a public audience through consultancy work and engaging the communities she studies with her research findings. I found our conversation thought-provoking, and I hope you will too.
Article Discussed in Interview: Lockwood, S. J. (2022). Protest Brokers and the Technology of Mobilization: Evidence from South Africa. Comparative Political Studies, 55(4), 628–656.
A few years ago we were told that computer algorithms would serve us. Now we have learned that we serve them. So, we are compelled to ask you to “please like and subscribe” to our new YouTube channel so that others will be introduced to the work you already support.
2022 Joint Nakba and Israeli-Palestinian Joint Memorial Day Ceremonies
Nonviolence International is excited to announce we will be co-sponsoring the American Friends of Combatants for Peace's 2022 Joint Nakba Day Ceremony and Israeli-Palestinian Joint Memorial Day Ceremony. During the Joint Nakba Day Ceremony, we will take time to express our belief that reconciliation, freedom, and respect involves a sincere reckoning with history. Together, Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals, we will recall the horrors and pain of the year 1948. We must acknowledge and honor this pain, the only path to forging a peaceful future with true equality, freedom and dignity for all.
The Joint Nakba Day Ceremony, hosted by Combatants for Peace, brings together Palestinians, Israelis, and the international community to remember, honor and acknowledge the Nakba, when more than half a million Palestinians were displaced from their homes in 1948. Translated from Arabic as ‘the Catastrophe’, this experience is central to Palestinians’ collective memory and to the history of the wider conflict. On May 15, 2022 at 1 PM ET, we will mourn and bear witness together and by doing so, we aim to create a better future for all.
Join Us. Register Here
In the Joint Nakba Ceremony, personal testimonies from everyday people will replace political statements, providing an in-depth and emotional account of historical events. Honoring this reality and sharing in it is the only path to forging a peaceful future with true equality, freedom and dignity for all. Together we remember the past, in order to shape a peaceful future.
On May 3, 2022, we will gather to call for peace, freedom, and human rights for all. The Joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony is hosted by Combatants for Peace and The Parents Circle–Families Forum, and we are proud that Nonviolence International is an official sponsor this year.
Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, is a solemn day on which Israelis remember those they have lost in the years of war and conflict. Traditionally, the Palestinian narrative is erased, leading both sides into deeper despair. By acknowledging the pain of those living on the other side, the Ceremony offers us all the choice to walk a new path: the path of respect, equality, freedom – and ultimately peace. In this time of immense anxiety and separation, the upcoming Joint Memorial Day Ceremony offers hope for a better future.
We hope you join us at both of these events.
Please see below a message from NVI founder Mubarak Awad
Thank you for your interest in the Combatants for Peace memorial event. This page lists several things you can do to help build a better future.
First, I want to ask you to feel free to be in touch with me with your ideas and suggested action steps. None of us have all the answers, but together our collective wisdom is strong. Please contact me here.
There are two books that can help guide us forward. Jonathan Kuttab wrote Beyond the Two-State Solution to spark a new conversation about the future of both our people and the region as a whole. I ask that you read this book, share it with others, and invite Jonathan to speak with groups you think would be interested in helping us break out of the unsustainable status-quo. Get your free copy here.
Creative nonviolence is always evolving and growing. So we are launching Michael Beer’s new book along with an interactive database of nonviolent tactics. This database celebrates our collective wisdom and our capacity to come together - in the face of massive challenges - and find powerful nonviolent ways to protest and to help build the new emerging world.
We know that effective nonviolence doesn’t just happen, but is enhanced by both knowledge of tactics and training. Please see our nonviolence training archive developed in partnership with Rutgers University International Institute for Peace
We hope you will be inspired by these books and our online tools. Please use these tools to come up with creative, constructive nonviolent actions and let us know what you are doing so we can spread the inspiration to others.
If you believe, as I do, that the world needs to learn about the power of nonviolence, please consider helping us build the organization I founded and have given much of my life to - Nonviolence International. If you can make a gift to support this work, please do so here.
- Mubarak Awad
16th Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony (2021)
Below, please see the full ceremony. Mubarak is introduced at 56:50. See also the video below featuring Sami Awad.
Written by Nimesh Wijewardane
Thich Nhat Hanh at the Plum Village monastery in southern France | Credit: Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism
On January 22, 2022, the world lost an extraordinary spiritual leader. Thich Nhat Hanh was a world-renowned Vietnamese Buddhist monk, peace activist, and prolific author and poet. He was a beloved teacher and a guiding light, affectionately called Thay by his followers, the Vietnamese word for teacher. I count myself among the many people whose lives have been touched and profoundly transformed by his wisdom and compassion. Thay coined the term “Engaged Buddhism”, arguing that Buddhism, properly understood, is not merely about individual liberation but collective liberation, that Buddhists cannot simply retreat from the world and all its concerns and attain Nirvana in isolation but instead must engage in political and social struggles against oppression and injustice. Thay recognized that a religious community cannot simply stay on the sidelines but must take a stand. He tirelessly promoted nonviolent solutions to conflict and encouraged us to open our eyes to the interdepence of all living beings on Earth, and once aware of this state of “interbeing” to not only avoid harming human life but to also avoid harming nonhuman animals and the natural world. For Thay, nonviolence was a way of life, rooted in this idea of interbeing. He wrote, “Nonviolent action, born of the awareness of suffering and nurtured by love, is the most effective way to confront adversity.”
Thich Nhat Hanh was born Nguyen Xuan Bao in the city of Hue in central Vietnam. At age 16, he joined a Zen monastery. After several years, he took the official vows of monk and became active in the youth-led Buddhist reform movement in Vietnam. Thay taught and wrote about Buddhism, seeking to make Buddhism more relevant to the modern world. Thay’s growing popularity threatened the conservative Buddhist establishment, who discontinued a journal he had been editing and canceled his classes.
In response to this opposition, Thay went to the United States in 1961 to study comparative religion at the Princeton Theological Seminary and later became a lecturer in Buddhism at Columbia. Yet aware of the suffering in his homeland, he returned to South Vietnam in 1963 to engage in peace work alongside fellow monks. Since 1954, Vietnam had been divided between the Communist North and the pro-West South, with ongoing armed struggle between the government of South Vietnam and the communist guerrillas. Thay founded the School of Youth for Social Services, a grassroots relief organization consisting of over 10,000 volunteers which established schools and health care clinics in rural South Vietnam and helped rebuild bombed villages. In 1964, Thay published an anti-war poem titled “Condemnation”, writing "whoever is listening, be my witness: I cannot accept this war...". The poem was denounced as pro-communist propaganda. Thay’s conception of Engaged Buddhism grew from the bloodstained soil of the war in Vietnam. In an interview with the Buddhist magazine Lion’s Roar, Thay said, “When bombs begin to fall on people, you cannot stay in the meditation hall all of the time. Meditation is about the awareness of what is going on—not only in your body and in your feelings, but all around you.”
In February 1966, Thay ordained six leaders who had been part of the School of Youth for Social Services and established a new religious order, the Order of Interbeing, a community of Buddhist monks, nuns, and laypeople based on the Five Mindfulness Trainings and Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, modern versions of the precepts Buddhists have practiced for centuries. These mindfulness trainings include living with a vocation that harms neither humans nor nature; and living in accord with the ideals of compassion, protection of life, and prevention of war. Since the 1960s, The Order of Interbeing has grown into an international movement.
Thay traveled to the US in May 1966 to enlighten the American public about the Vietnam War’s devastating impact and appeal the US government to cease its bombing campaign. During that visit, Thay met with Martin Luther King Jr. and urged him to publicly denounce the Vietnam War. At a press conference with Thay, King spoke out against the war for the first time. In 1967, King gave a famous speech at Riverside Church boldly articulating his opposition to the Vietnam War. Later that year, King nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize, writing “I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of [this prize] than this gentle monk from Vietnam. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity.”
Thay’s 1996 trip to the US was only meant to last a few weeks, but turned into decades of exile. After he presented a peace plan urging America to stop bombing and to offer reconstruction aid without ideological strings, the government of South Vietnam declared him a traitor and banned him from returning. After the Communists seized control of the South in 1975, he was again refused permission to enter Vietnam. His principled anti-war stance had made him an enemy of both sides.
In exile, Thay settled in the south of France and established the Plum Village Monastery, which would be his new home for decades, and remains the largest Buddhist monastery in Europe and America. Thay became one of the main ambassadors of Buddhism to the West, writing more than 100 books and bringing the concept of mindfulness into the mainstream. Thay spoke out against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying, “We know very well that airplanes, guns and bombs cannot remove wrong perceptions. Only loving speech and compassionate listening can help people correct wrong perceptions. But our leaders are not trained in that discipline, and they rely only on the armed forces to remove terrorism.” He encouraged us to address the root causes of violence and cultivate peace in our hearts. Thay brought together Israelis and Palestinians for peacebuilding retreats at Plum Village, continuing his lifelong commitment to ending conflict. Thay also spoke out about the urgency of addressing climate change, writing, “There’s a revolution that needs to happen and it starts from inside each one of us. We need to wake up and fall in love with Earth. Our personal and collective happiness and survival depends on it.” Throughout his writings, interviews, and speeches he continued to draw connections between the personal and the collective, promoting mindfulness not merely as a tool for self-help but as a necessary precondition for avoiding war and climate catastrophe.
Thay’s teachings have had a significant impact on me. In my Sri Lankan American family, I was raised as a Buddhist, but in my teenage years, I had begun to drift away from Buddhism, questioning whether I truly believed in its precepts, whether it was truly applicable to my life, and unsure of how Buddhism aligned with my political convictions. Buddhism, at least the kind practiced by those in my Sri Lankan American community, seemed to be apolitical, almost entirely detached from and unconcerned with issues of oppression and injustice. But as a high school student on the Internet, I was lucky enough to stumble upon some of Thay’s writings in the online Buddhist magazine Lion’s Roar. I was struck by the beauty and simplicity of Thay’s words, the ease at which he distilled the abstract and somewhat complicated ideas of dharma in a clear and compelling way. Each perfectly crafted sentence seemed intuitively true. Engaged Buddhism gave me a framework with which to reconcile my faith and my political activism. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I am a Buddhist not merely because of my upbringing but because of Thich Nhat Hanh. During my freshman year of college I struggled with loneliness and depression but on one bright February afternoon I found “The Pocket Thich Nhat Hanh”, a small collection of some of his writings, in an independent bookstore in Georgetown and bought it. In spring, I would sit outside in the quad of George Washington University’s Mount Vernon campus and read Thich Nhat Hanh’s words, which brought me comfort, reminded me of the temporality of all things, and encouraged me to bear witness to the miracle of life. Sitting on a wooden bench, watching the world ablaze with sunlight and contemplating Thich Nhat Hanh’s words, I felt pretty close to enlightenment. Thay has a beautiful phrase-“No mud, no lotus”, a reminder that happiness and suffering are deeply intertwined, that you can’t have one without the other. Whenever I find myself dealing with a difficult situation, I chant that phrase to myself, over and over- “No mud, no lotus.”
Thay wrote that birth and death are but illusions, that we are never really born and never really die. I know that Thay will continue to live on in in the hearts and minds of all the people who have been awakened and inspired by his life and his teachings.
Thich Nhat Hanh's calligraphy
Nonviolence International is excited to share Jonathan Kuttab's timely and important book
Beyond the Two-State Solution.
You can learn more below and get a free PDF by clicking these buttons.
Click any item in this list to go to that part of the page.
For those interested in getting the book in formats other than the free PDFs above, it is available as an ebook and printed book as well.
As an organization, we strive to support local mission-driven bookstores such as our friends at Middle East Books and More. Please consider supporting us and Middle East Books and More by purchasing Beyond the Two State Solution.
If you are inspired to support this work, consider making a donation or becoming one of our sustaining monthly donors.
An Introduction to the Author and the Book
Jonathan Kuttab is a co-founder of Nonviolence International. A well-known international human rights attorney, Mr. Kuttab has established himself as a prominent speaker on nonviolence. He is also a co-founder of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq and is President of the Board of the Bethlehem Bible College.
Beyond The Two-State Solution is a short introduction to the current crisis in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism have been at loggerheads for over a century. Some thought the two-state solution would resolve the conflict between them. Jonathan explains that the two-state solution (that he supported) is no longer viable. He suggests that any solution be predicated on the basic existential needs of the two parties, needs he lays out in exceptional detail. He formulates a way forward for a 1-state solution that challenges both Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism. This book invites readers to begin a new conversation based on reality: two peoples will need to live together in some sort of unified state. It is balanced and accessible to neophytes and to experts alike.
The video directly below is under five minutes long.
Book Launch Webinar
Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism have been at loggerheads for over a century. Some thought the two-state solution would resolve the conflict between them. In this webinar, Jonathan explains that the two-state solution (that he supported) is no longer viable. He suggests that any solution be predicated on the basic existential needs of the two parties, needs he lays out in exceptional detail. He formulates a way forward for a 1-state solution that challenges both Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism. This book invites readers to begin a new conversation based on reality: two peoples will need to live together in some sort of unified state. It is balanced and accessible to neophytes and to experts alike.
We are just starting to roll out the Arabic and Hebrew translations of Beyond The Two-State Solution, and already we are thrilled with the overwhelmingly positive response we are getting. These days many of us are looking for hope in hard times. Jonathan gives us just that.
This video is in-depth and we think raises up key voices.
Please watch it and let us know what you think.
In Conversation with a respected Jewish leader, Peter Beinart
In this episode of “Occupied Thoughts,” host Peter Beinart is joined by Palestinian human rights lawyer Jonathan Kuttab, who recently published the book Beyond the Two State Solution. Kuttab argues that a Palestinian state with no sovereignty or substance cannot deliver freedom or independence and it is time to look beyond the “false mirage of the Two State Solution.” He lays out in detail how a single, shared Palestinian and Jewish state would be structured – from roles in the military to language learning in schools – and how it answers the urgent needs for justice, equality, and security.
Why We Need Your Help to Dream Beyond the Two-State Solution
NVI is under-resourced for the challenges before us including doing justice to this mission-critical book launch. So, we must do what activists do, and that is ask for your help.
We have several key goals in mind related to this book launch. One is a strong desire to get this book into the hands of those who need it most. Are you a teacher who might know how to go about getting books into the classroom from high school through graduate studies?
We still do not have an active Communications Action Team (nor a Development Action Team). If you believe, as we do, that the world needs to learn about the power of nonviolence, please consider helping us make this book launch impactful. If you can volunteer your time and talents, please contact us or fill out this simple Google Form. If you can make a gift to support this work, please do so here.
How You Can Help
NVI had an internal meeting that gave our core team hope that we can achieve our stretch goal of changing the conversation around Israel / Palestine and by so doing having real-world impacts on policy and thus on people’s lives.
35 wonderful leaders each with networks of their own joined us to strategize about how we can leverage the power of Jonathan’s inspirational book. Those of us who have been watching this issue for years or decades are well aware that the conversation has been stuck for far too long. This has led to unnecessary and totally avoidable human suffering. We are committed to breaking out of this old tired pattern and are thrilled that our own co-founder has offered such a well thought out powerful booklet.
Those who gathered on the call came up with a range of good ideas and even more importantly some key leaders made specific comments to carry this vital work forward. With the deep inspiration coming out of that meeting, we ask for your help with this effort. Please contact us to let us know how you’d like to be involved.
We are fully committed to your success and are creating a Toolkit to make this easy for you.
2) A shareable social media graphic
3) Sample text for your promotional emails
Dear <First Name>,
When it fits your busy schedule, I’d love to partner with you on getting our co-founder, Jonathan Kuttab, on a networking webinar. As you know, we are just getting started with the promotional effort for his timely and important new book.
Learn more and get your free advance copy at https://www.nonviolenceinternational.net/b2ss_book
Here is a bit about the book from the author:
After decades of work promoting creative nonviolence, I am about to publish a book which I hope, with your help can address the current impasse, and perhaps change the conversation around Israel / Palestine. Many activists are frustrated, despondent, and floundering with no clear vision or direction. We need some fresh out-of-the-box thinking. This is true for Palestinians, Israelis, and our friends in the international community. I’ve asked Nonviolence International, a group I co-founded and value deeply, to lead the effort to get this book into the hands of people across the political spectrum and across the world. Even with everything else already in their established plans, the team is going above and beyond to ensure this book gets the attention we believe it deserves.
Beyond The Two-State Solution is a short introduction to the current crisis in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism have been at loggerheads for over a century. Many thought the two-state solution would resolve the conflict between them. In this book, I explain why the two-state solution (that I supported) is no longer viable. I suggest that any solution must be predicated on the basic existential needs of the two parties. I formulate a way forward for a 1-state solution that challenges both Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism. This book invites readers to begin a new conversation based on reality: two peoples will need to live together in some sort of unified state. I have tried hard to make it balanced and accessible to neophytes and to experts alike.
Thanks again for your impressive leadership in building the network. Really inspirational to see this growing into a powerful global much-needed force.
4) Sample Twitter and Facebook posts
- Beyond The Two-State Solution, by Jonathan Kuttab, is a short introduction to the current crisis in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This book invites readers to begin a new conversation based on reality: two peoples will need to live together in some sort of unified state.
- In this book, Jonathan Kattab formulates a way forward for a 1-state solution that challenges both Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism. Download full PDF book:https://www.nonviolenceinternational.net/b2ss_book
Beyond The Two-State Solution, by Jonathan Kuttab, is a short introduction to the current crisis in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This book invites readers to begin a new conversation based on reality: two peoples will need to live together in some sort of unified state. Some thought the two-state solution would resolve the conflict between Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism. In Beyond The Two-State Solution, Jonathan explains that the two-state solution is no longer viable. Jonathan Kattab formulates a way forward for a 1-state solution that challenges both Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism.
Download the full PDF of the book now: https://www.nonviolenceinternational.net/b2ss_book
Please let us know what else you need to be successful in joining our growing team promoting this important text.
If you are inspired to support this work, consider making a donation or becoming one of our sustaining monthly donors.
Founder, Nonviolence International
“The Palestinian / Israeli conflict has had many ups and downs with hopes for peace, times of war, and relentless subjugation of Palestinians. Many people including myself and Jonathan Kuttab supported the peace initiative of a 2 state-solution even though many Palestinian leaders were initially reluctant to settle for 22% of original Palestine.
In his new book, Jonathan Kuttab, explains why, unfortunately, the two-state solution is no longer viable. Jonathan Kuttab articulates the fundamental needs of both Palestinians and Israeli Jews and then proceeds to think in a new one-state box about how a win-win future might be possible. This book is the start of a renewed conversation, a new frame, to end the current impasse which is causing so much suffering. It is for the reader to decide and to commit themselves to be part of real solutions to the conflict rather than irrelevant discussions about antiquated solutions."
Thomas R. Getman
Former Legislative Director to Senator Mark O. Hatfield & Past National Director of World Vision, Palestine
"The Two-State – One-State debate continues with new urgency inflamed by faux "peace treaties." More and more progressive and even Zionist Israeli and American Jews are expressing the fact that occupation and annexation of Palestinian people, homes and lands are a violation of core Talmudic values, and guarantee self-destruction of the State of Israel.
Jonathan Kuttab's Beyond the Two-State Solution is a treasured pathway to peaceful and just change. It is a gift of love to all who are suffering with this 73-year conflict. Indeed, none of us is free and at peace unless all are liberated from apartheid oppression. Jonathan Kuttab is a Palestinian American who has listened carefully and responded deeply, giving all of us who have worked and prayed for the imprisoned on both sides of the crumbling Green Line a possibility of a seizing together a Kairos moment. This carefully crafted monograph is a trail marker for real change and reduction of heart, soul, and physical suffering."
Dr. John Quigley
Professor at Mortiz College of Law (OSU)
"Whatever your position about the conflict between Arab and Jew, Kuttab will make you re-think it.” “A brilliantly even-handed assessment of what might work in Palestine/Israel.” “Based on Kuttab’s many years of first-hand involvement with what is happening on the ground."
Director, Center for Jewish Nonviolence
“This text is a great and an excellent contribution and pushes toward the conversation shifts that are emerging--yet still so lacking--in this moment. The writing and thinking is incredibly grounded, thoughtful, and detail-oriented, while simultaneously very accessible and easy to read. The attention given to a huge swath of factors, possibilities and perspectives is quite impressive. I look forward to seeing this booklet become an important part of the paradigm shifts we deeply need!”
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Pioneer Feminist Rabbi
“Wow, it’s amazing. I am deeply impressed and absolutely encourage, even insist, that people read it. I am completely inspired by Jonathan Kuttab's clear, concise and much needed vision of the future grounded in the realities of history and the longings of both people for equity, dignity and security.”
Kimmy Baggelaar, former NVI Intern, is teaching English in Prague.
She kindly shared her take on Ukraine from that vantage point.
"The sound of bombs rang out over the cities of Ukraine." Using his new vocabulary words, my English student created an aptly harrowing sentence to describe the past week's events. We moved on with the lesson as if he had just told me what he had for lunch.
Here in Prague, about 1000km away from the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, an existential dread grips the city. Over 1,000,000 Ukrainian civilians fled their homes as 2,000 Russian civilian protesters were arrested in what is now the most significant war in Europe since WWII. Last Saturday, newspapers reported a vast mobilisation effort across the Czech Republic as Prague witnessed the first train of Ukrainian refugees (predominantly women and children) arrive after their journey through Poland. Hospitals prepared to treat civilians and soldiers while neighbours quickly readied emergency accommodations, converting buildings into shelters and offering up beds in their homes. Czech Railways enlisted trains to help transport Ukrainian citizens to safety as donation sites materialised across the city, providing food and medical necessities to the new refugees.
Beneath this widespread humanitarian effort is a growing fear within former Soviet bloc countries. Many Czech people see the violent imperialism of Putin's regime as a threatening reminder of the occupation they endured not so long ago. Organisations throughout Prague are fundraising for Ukrainian military aid. Both domestic and international news media highlight the unwavering resolve of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has received public admiration for his courage this week. Instead of evacuating Kyiv at the directive of the United States, Zelenskyy responded, “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride,”.
This story, as well as Zelenskyy’s recent public addresses, have helped shape a charismatic narrative in support of the Ukrainian army's 'struggle for freedom and democracy'. It paves a well-defined path with a clear enemy and an arch towards justice. Of the 80,000 war protesters that took to the streets in Prague last Saturday, it seemed that most were open to US intervention and further militarisation of the region. It is difficult to find perspectives that challenge this discourse.
Another one of my English students fought back tears when I asked about her 19-year-old son. "He is still a child, he can't be called on to fight this war, '' she told me with warranted trepidation.
The time is overdue for us to collectively interrogate the roots of this conflict and commit ourselves to anti-imperialism. International solidarity will require us to divest from the global killing apparatus of US militarism and condemn NATO aggression in the 30 years leading up to its hegemonic power struggle with Russia. The implications of Western interventionism have not only contributed to the invasion of Ukraine, but also the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine and more. Peace from these global wars must include divestment from the weapons profiteers that influence state violence and maintain the Military Industrial Complex. We must work towards a world that is free from nuclear threat. It is vital for the US government to shut down its military bases abroad. The Pentagon is currently deploying US armoured combat teams to eastern Europe as NATO is moving multinational battalion-size battlegroups further east- a move that is certain to escalate tensions in neighbouring NATO countries. We have an opportunity to confront Russian warmongering and Western interventionism with international support for all people who endure the violent impacts of imperialism. In the EU and US, we can provide safe refuge for the working class, youth and all vulnerable people who find no honour in sacrificing their lives for territorial expansion or patriotic duty.
As their bodies are brutalized by bombs and pierced by bullets, it is the masses who will suffer the death tremors of this war and the next. International solidarity with refugees of war starts with acting against imperialism.
Artist Ashley Lukashevsky
In this Spotlight interview, I had the opportunity to speak with Magaly Licolli, a labor rights activist organizing poultry workers in northwest Arkansas. Magaly is the Executive Director and co-founder of Venceremos, a human rights worker-based organization that works to ensure the dignity of poultry workers. We discussed how these "essential workers" are treated as expendable, how Magaly initially became involved in labor organizing with the International Workers of the World (IWW), the way the US government and big corporations like Tyson have endangered the health of poultry workers during the COVID pandemic, and how workers are taking action.
As a vegan, I'm deeply interested in the injustices of our modern system of industrial animal agriculture and in our interview Magaly highlights the human cost of the poultry industry. Magaly shares the horrific story of a woman who was disabled due to a chemical accident at a poultry plant, lost her job, and was then unable to receive disability benefits because of her immigration status. An immigrant herself, Magaly is fierce in her criticism of poultry companies and the government's negligence, with the clear-eyed confidence of someone who knows their fight is a righteous one. Magaly was an actress before she was an activist and speaking to her I got a glimpse of her deep reservoir of empathy, her ability to feel the pain and suffering of poultry workers as her own. Once a young radical, Magaly has grown in her activism to fighting for more achievable goals- paid sick leave, PPE, bathroom breaks, not the overthrow of capitalism but the basic human rights of workers. I appreciate how Magaly approaches labor organizing not from a place of paternalism but from a place of solidarity. She co-founded Venceremos alongside workers and follows their lead, not presuming to know more than them just because she is more educated. In her activism, Magaly travels the path blazed by Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, and the farmworkers' movement, doing the hard and unglamorous work to build a better world. I found our conversation insightful and inspiring and I hope you will too.
0:00 Introducing Magaly
1:07 Magaly's Start in Labor Organizing
7:00 The Plight of Poultry Workers During COVID
14:20 Holding Companies Accountable
20:54 Workers Engaging in Nonviolent Direct Action
Follow Venceremos on Twitter- https://twitter.com/venceremosar
Follow Venceremos on Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/venceremosarkansas/
A few years ago we were told that computer algorithms would serve us. Now we have learned that we serve them. So, we are compelled to ask you to “please like and subscribe” to our new YouTube channel so that others will be introduced to the work you already support.
By Paige Wright and Lea Hilliker, Nonviolence International Interns
Gender-based violence and domestic violence have plagued the lives of women across the world. Lea and I take the opportunity in this article to walk through the ties between the stereotypes of masculinity and gun violence and how nonviolent action can promote nonviolent masculinity. We spoke with Ivan Marques and Amelie Namuroy of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) on masculinity and violence to better understand the causes of gender-based violence and what can be done to stop it.
Masculinity and Gun Violence
On February 19th, 2020, a shooter opened fire at a shisha bar in Hanau, Germany. The shooter killed nine people and injured more before returning home, to kill his mother and committing suicide. Before his death, the shooter wrote a manifesto detailing his racist and patriarchal motivations for the attack. The manifesto titled “Topic Women” contained 24 pages of misogynistic conspiratorial tropes in which the shooter objectifies women and believes they should be submissive to men. These patriarchal beliefs are widespread and are learned from an early age.
Men are socialized under misguided norms of masculinity in which they must be tough, unemotional, heterosexist, and aggressive. Boys live under this intense pressure to be “masculine” and develop more dominant, aggressive behaviors into their adulthood. Males use aggression and violence to assert their power over another or to defend their masculinity when it is threatened. Ivan notes that forcing men to identify with the “warrior” or “soldier” perception urges them to act aggressively and use guns to execute their. Men are overwhelmingly more likely to commit more gun violence than women.
Domestic Violence and Guns
In addition to widespread beliefs and socialization in male supremacy, the widespread availability of both legal and illegal guns in many countries often leads to high rates of gun violence and domestic violence. In the USA, women are five times more likely to be murdered by an abusive partner when the abuser has access to a gun. This problem extends beyond the U.S., and impacts many societies around the world.
In Australia, after a decade of violence and a terrifying climax of this individual’s partner threatening behavior, this survivor was brave enough to leave her husband. During her abuse, the abuser threatened the survivor with a gun on more than one occasion by holding the gun to her throat. While domestic violence is not always carried out with guns, guns in the household put women at greater risk of firearms violence perpetrated by an intimate partner.
A sign stating "Believe Survivors" at an anti-Kavanaugh protest in October 2018. The paid leave proposal in the Build Back Better plan would specifically provide paid leave for people who need to "find safety from assault, stalking and sexual violence." (Source: Ms. Magazine)
Moreover, women are not the only demographic group impacted by gun violence. The easy access to household guns poses a risk to young children. Around 41,000 individuals under the age of 24 are injured or killed by individuals that use firearms. Many of these casualties occur when weapons are not properly stored and secured in a household. These guns lead to accidental shootings and numerous suicides. We communicated the risks guns pose in school settings in our last article following the tragedy in Oxford, Michigan, USA. This incident is one of many examples of gun violence involving children, and unfortunately will not be the last. NVI believes that the heightened risk of gun violences and domestic abuse on women and children, and the potential for larger scale violence in their communities resulting from guns, demands significant reform to restrict the accessibility to guns.
Interview with IANSA
After researching information on the ties between masculinity and violence, Lea and I turned to Ivan and Amelie from the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) to discuss their work in ending gender-based violence and creating a nonviolent masculinity.
Ivan notes that the stereotypes of masculinity, a societal concept, identifies with the character of a “warrior” and “soldier.” Not only does toxic masculinity favor aggression, but it also favors the use of guns to express that aggression. The stereotypical version of masculinity prevents women from being part of the conversation on guns and gun violence– a problem IANSA seeks to solve through their advocacy.
When asked about the purpose of IANSA and their gender-based work, Ivan and Amelie noted that IANSA represents the voices of civil society on the proliferation and misuse of small arms. IANSA also addresses a deep flaw in gun violence discussions, as Ivan notes, “Violence affects the whole population which we know 50% is composed of women and women are not granted access to any of these decision making processes (i.e. conferences on violence, debates, etc.).” In response. IANSA created the Women’s Network, a project run by women, to push for this change.
The Women’s Network’s gender project continues efforts to “mainstream gender into this international agenda on small arms.” In particular, the gender project seeks to involve youth in the discussion of gender stereotypes and the pressure that surrounds masculinity and gun violence. Amelie described two creative projects the organization is working on: creating a coloring book that teaches boys and girls that do not have to adhere to gender stereotypes and publishing a comic book that transforms ideas of gender norms. Both of these resources counter the education of aggressive masculinity and encourages the inclusion of all genders.
While advocating against toxic masculinity, Ivan and Amelie note that it is important to pass effective legislation on firearms and domestic violence, provide educational material on what gender is and the transformation of gender norms, and promote the role of women and other gender identities in gun violence discussions. As Amelie says, “We must recognize there is gender equality… to masculinity, there is femininity.” While guns are part of reality for a majority of countries and the guns are tied to masculinity, IANSA examining gun violence through a gender perspective calls us to transform our notions of masculinity and promote a form of nonviolent masculinity where men’s emotions are valued and guns are not the solution to aggression.
Efforts from groups like IANSA will break the link between violence and masculinity while preventing gun violence around the world. IANSA recently launched their 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence that seeks to raise awareness to the issues related to gun violence. The Women’s Network also began the Gun Free Valentine’s Day campaign (February 14th - March 8th, 2022) to raise awareness of intimate partner violence, the increased risks to women when a gun is present in the home, and how laws can be used to save lives. We seek to challenge the status quo, and support initiatives that undercut gender based violence.
IANSA's Gun Free Valentine's Day Advertisement (Source: IANSA)
Educating men on male supremacy and showing how some of their behavior perpetuates the oppression of women all help prevent male supremacy and violence against women from continuing. Cultures and societies that push hypermasculine values must also shift their value system. Men must be allowed to be emotionally vulnerable and give space to have open and honest conversations about their struggles with their understanding of masculinity. It is a process of unlearning that must be made available to all men.
Here is what you can do to help:
- Join, Support, and Donate to our partner organizations like IANSA , Control Arms, and to Nonviolence International.
- Educate yourself on toxic masculinity and how you can contribute to nonviolent masculinity.
- Support men and women around you by giving them a safe space to share their emotions.
We are calling for action to change the socialization of men to allow men to be human and ensure women are protected and valued in society. We call for society to allow for men to be openly emotional and accept themselves beyond the oppression of ideal masculinity. We call for gun reforms to protect women and give them the right to live without harassment, assault, and death caused by male violence. We call on our leaders to raise women’s rights and take into account their perspectives on guns and gun violence. We call you to stand with us as part of all collective humanity, and may we collectively cut the ties between gun violence and masculinity.