On Friday, 24 July 2015, Peace Now held it's annual conference in Tel Aviv under the title: Israel Now - Building an Alternative." With 1,200 participants, many of them youth, this was Peace Now's largest conference of all time. Some 60 speakers - including Members of Knesset, journalists, civil society leaders, experts and activists - participated in different panels focusing on the two state solution; international pressure; identity politics; the parliamentary opposition; and the struggle against silencing and de-legitimization of peace organizations. Another issue highlighted at the conference was the struggle against the demolition of Palestinian village of Susya, which is taking place these very days.
Watch highlights of the conference here:
Speakers at the main panel included MK Shelly Yachimovich, head of Meretz MK Zehava Galon, head of the Joint List MK Ayman Odeh, and esteemed journalist Amnon Abramovich. MK Yachimovich pointed out the large number of young people in the audience and called them to write about issues discussed at the conference on their social media profiles. [See MK Yachimovich taking a video of the audience while on stage.] During the panel, MK Yachimovich expressed the need of the Zionist Camp to act as an opposition to Netanyahu on the Iran deal, MK Zehava Galon spoke about the importance of building alliances and working as a bloc in order to succeed in the next election and MK Ayman Odeh emphasized the need to include Israel's Arab citizens in the peace camp and said peace cannot be reached without them. Read more about the main panel in this Haaretz article.
As many as 17 Members of Knesset spoke at the conference. Other speakers included Dr. Tomer Persico, journalist Raviv Druker, Attorney Talia Sasson, Attorney Michael Sfard, Journalist Ravit Hecht, former MK Ophir Pines and many others.
For more photos from the conference Click here.
At the conference, Peace Now launched its response to the government policies and the wave of boycotts in the form of a new campaign titled: "Support Israel - Fight the Occupation." To those who de-legitimize Israel we say: We love Israel. And to the government that sees criticism on the settlements as criticism on Israel we say we should and we must call of the end of the occupation. We believe supporting Israel means ending the occupation; supporting Israel as Jewish and democratic means stopping the settlement enterprise; supporting Israel's security means not controlling the lives of 4 million Palestinians; we support Israel's economy, but oppose investments in the settlements. Soon we will share further updates regarding this new campaign.