Convivencia Launch Conference

Convivencia Launch Conference

In the last decade public opinion in Britain has swung far more pro-Palestinian than ever before, and an outcry for Palestinian human rights has also been seen by many different activists, including by the youth. The existing Palestinian movement has become unable to deal with this huge shift in the reality of the issue, and has been unable to capitalize on it as effectively as they can do. This could be due to a myriad of reasons, but amongst these is a failure to accept the different ideological views of humans who are concerned with human rights, and therefore support the issue of Palestine.

It was therefore a breath of fresh air to see the Convivencia initiative being launched, attempting to replicate the harmony between different faiths in Al-Andalus, an era which historians have dubbed “Convivencia”. This alliance of Muslim, Jews and Christians within the British anti-Apartheid movement, could then go a long way to working with the three different communities in Palestine and work towards the formation of one democratic state with the three communities returning to the state of living side by side in harmony as they did before Zionism divided the land.

The main speakers were from different organisations, being led by the Jewish Network for Palestine and the Islamic Human Rights Commission.

The first speaker was Haim Bresheeth-Zabner, of JNP, who is also a professor at SOAS and an author, as well as the son of holocaust survivors. He spoke at length about the history of the three communities living together in Al-Andalus and Palestine, making the point at how this enriched the culture. He mentioned how the Jews and Arabs of Al-Andalus reintroduced ancient Greek texts, which had been lost to Europe during some very extremist forms of anti-Classical philosophy-Christianity had taken hold over the continent, and that this year we have seen Easter, Passover and Ramadan come at the same time, which traditionally would have been a time of coming together in Palestine, where everyone passed gifts to each other of different faiths, but now that is impossible, the reason being Zionism.

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