Organization Gives Israel and Palestine One Voice
October 23, 2006 8:01 PM
Representatives from One Voice spoke Monday in the HSS building about how their work might help unite Palestinians and Israelis, changing the stereotypical images Americans have of the countries.
“I want to promote that this conflict can be resolved by getting different groups to understand each other,” Eyal Oron, 28, a One Voice youth leader, said about his work with the organization.
One Voice is a nonpartisan grassroots organization that was started in 2004. The organization works with both Palestinians and Israelis to come up with a solution to end the violence between the two nations.
SF State is the first campus the representatives visited this week. During the week they will also be going to San Jose State, UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, Sonoma State, Berkeley and Stanford.
Despite the last minute advertisement of the event’s location – it wasn’t advertised until earlier the same day – all of the chairs were filled and some people stood.
The location wasn’t advertised because, according to the event organizers who planned the event for about three weeks, it was difficult to get approval and room assignment from the administration.
Another organizer, Veronica Canton, 29, felt there was little support from the administration to bring One Voice to campus.
“It was difficult for us to get a room,” said Canton. “It seemed as though there was a little bit of concern.”
During the presentation, Oron, along with 23-year-old Dalia Labadi, another One Voice youth leader, gave their opinions on the future of Palestine and Israel and shared personal experiences that influenced their decisions to become a youth leaders.
Labadi started to cry when she spoke about the violent death of one of her friends while she attended college in Palestine. The memory upset her so much, she left the room.
Miriam Asnes, international program manager for One Voice, finished Labadi’s story.
Labadi was so upset about the death, she missed class and, as a result, her grades went down.
When she returned to school she tried to explain why she missed class so her grades wouldn’t be affected, but she was told her crying and mourning wouldn’t help her friend, only doing something about it would. This is advice she has followed, Asnes said.
Currently, One Voice has offices in Tel Aviv and Ramallah, and a headquarters in New York City. The organization recruits young Palestinians and Israelis, age 20 to 30, to become more politically involved.
Youth leaders organize events to get Palestinians and Israelis to reach a solution. This includes conferences, getting a referendum signed, and getting celebrities involved.
“I was scared at first,” Labadi said about her work with One Voice. “I really didn’t think they were going to agree.”
Both Oron and Labadi agreed they had surprises when they were trying to get signatures on One Voice’s referendum.
Once when trying to get signatures in Naples, Palestine, Labadi had to travel around mountains on donkeys to avoid checkpoints. By the end of the day she felt the donkey had worked as hard as her.
“At the end I wanted to ask the donkey to sign,” said Labadi, laughing.
SF State students felt they could relate to Labadi’s and Oron’s experiences and wanted to know more.
“Very rarely do you hear from actual people,” international relations major Lacy MacAuley, 27, said. “You hear all the time what the government and terrorists are doing.”
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