War is not a football game!

War is not a football game!

Mural Peace OasisWar is not a football game, even shortly after the Brazilian World Cup It is not for you to choose one team or another, and incite violence in one or the other direction. The only job you have, if you are not a Palestinian or Israeli, or have family there or even if you are or have, is to support those forces that de-escalate, that understand at least somewhat both sides and especially support whatever means you can, that bring the sides together for peace.

Conflict is never just one sided, or the fault of one side. It is due to methods chosen, and opportunities missed deliberately or without intent. If you do not seek out the peace makers, you are just an extension of war and its propaganda. If you are not Jewish or Palestinian or have family there, and you only get mobilised, when Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East are at each others throats, but remain silent when things happen in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Turkey, Congo, the Central African Republic, Somalia, Nigeria, South-Sudan, Ukraine and other places, than you are biased. Go and help Israelis and Palestinians to share this world meaningfully, support talks and mutual events, peace initiatives, encounter projects, shared study and work experiences, and go and support a comprehensive realignment of the mess that France and Britain created on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire in 1920, in a just and fair way, that is just as just to the Shiites, Maronites and Druze of Lebanon, the Armenians, the Kurds, the Sunni and Shiites of Iraq, the Coptic people of Egypt and other Christians minorities across the Middle East, the Zoroastrians in Iran, the nomadic tribes of North Africa, as it should be to Palestinians and Jews.


To my brothers and sisters of Bengali and Pakistani descent, I ask you to seek justice for the left overs of 1971 and 1947 too. To talk just of Israel Palestine, but not what happened to the Indian subcontinent is omitting historical wrongs there, that are enduring to this day. So yes Israel and Palestine are once again in a bloody dilemma. But there are people, organisations and ideas that need more than your disregard when you support but one side. Help people holding hands and understand the wider contexts.

People must not kill each other because of the organisation of the world at the height of colonial imperialism any longer. Let’s move post imperialism, by supporting people, and how they can come up with strategies that allow shared life, coexistence, tolerance, respect, looking out for one another and mutual prosperous growth. Only by acknowledging that the entire Middle East and much of the once colonial world needs to be redrawn, renegotiated can we grow out of all of this. Nobody who wants a Middle East without Israel or without Palestine should be supported. Nobody who can not agree that minorities should be accepted and protected with mutual neighbourly care should be aided.


Support two sides for peace, all sides for peace and resettlement and renegotiation. or please stay out. Don’t fire up the literal dead-lock. This is not football, there are real peoples’ lives at risk, and neither will the fantasy of those lunatics be just that visualize all Jews leaving the Middle East and the end of Israel, or all Palestinians going to other Arab lands. This can hardly be what some of your shouts stand for? You want justice for Palestinians? You want to guarantee secure Israel accepted and supported by its neighbours? Then support and help all those who work for mutual exchange, community build, inter-cultural, interfaith and international encounters, who help those with mixed feelings to overcome their fears and reservations and to learn how to live with the other without murder and war.

(originally posted on my facebook 20/7/14, reprinted here due to encouraging comments)

Spielend kennenlernen – Encounter made easy

Die britische Organisation 3FF ist eine der führenden interkulturellen und interreligiösen Organisationen in Europa und bringt vor allen Schülern und Schülerinnen  das Anderssein vor Augen.  Darunter auch jüdisch – muslimische Zusammenführungen.  Ich habe 3FF in ihrem Londoner Hauptquartier für die Jüdische Allgemeine besucht.


Der gesamte Bericht kann hier auf dem Archiv der Jüdischen Allgemeinen gelesen werden:  www.juedische-allgemeine.de/article/view/id/16637

ENGLISH: The British organisation 3FF is one of the leading groups in Europe that facilitates encounter with others for especially school children.  Amongst these are also Jewish – Muslim meetings.  I visited 3FF’s London HQ for the ‘Juedische Allgemeine.’

Read the full report here:  (use googletranslate to get a reasonable translation into English):


Das erste mal traf ich auf 3FF bei einen interreligiösen Seminar.  Stephen Shashoua arbeitete damals noch als Koordinator und ich war Presse und Erziehungsbeauftragter der British Friends von Neve Shalom ~ Wahat al Salam, dem jüdisch, palästinensischen Friedensdorf.  EIn paar Jahre später wurden ich und ein paar Kollegen von 3FF eingeladen ihnen die Konfliktarbeit zwischen Palästinensern und Juden zu erklären.

Über die Jahre ist 3FF von einer eher textlich fokussierten Organisation, die Ähnlichkeiten zwischen den Glauben Abrahams suchte, zu einer Organisation herangewachsen, die alle Verschiedenheiten vermitteln will und kann.  Dabei reden sie heute offen über die Unterschiede und wie man mit ihnen leben kann.

Mehr über sie kann man hier auf Englisch erfahren.  www.3ff.org.uk

ENGLISH: I first came across 3FF at an interfaith meeting and met the then director Stephen Shashoua. He was then just coordinator and I was working as a press and education officer for the British Friends of Neve Shalom ~ Wahat al Salam.  (Listen to an audio feature of mine abiut the School for Peace) Years later 3FF became interested in the way the School of Peace facilitates encounters between Jews and Palestinians and invited me along with colleagues for a talk. 

3FF has certainly matured over the years.  Starting from a biblical and textual workshop that focused on similarities, it now can handle any type of encounter it gets challenged with, and moreso focuses on understanding and accepting differences.

Find out more about them here:  www.3ff.org.uk

The Possibilities and Impossibilities of Being A Neighbour

Article on thinking about Jewish-Polish, Jewish-German relations and simply on the issue of being a neighbour, or not!  Leading Feature Open Democracy 4/11/2011

Special thanks to the editors of Open Democracy, above all R.B., and front page ed., for your interest as well as choosing this as your leading weekend feature-story.  Thanks also to Ben Gidley, James Renton and Agnieszka Piśkiewicz for their respective input and Kei Kulp for one of the pictures.