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Friends of Israel hosts Israel Peace Week

Published: Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 07:03

FOI

Andrew Schneer / The Tufts Daily

Tufts Friends of Israel (FOI) is currently hosting its second annual Israel Peace Week.

Tufts Friends of Israel (FOI) this week is wrapping up its second annual Israel Peace Week in an effort to support peace in the Israel−Palestine conflict.

Israel Peace Week, which began last Wednesday, will end tomorrow and is part of a larger campaign on over 75 college campuses across North America, according to FOI Co−President Shira Shamir.

"All of the events really highlight the fact that we want to show the campus that Israel wants peace," FOI Co−President Erica Feldman said. "Israel has in the past made painful sacrifices for peace and will continue to do so in the future."

Shamir, a sophomore, believes that Israeli and Palestinian supporters should join together to find solutions for the issue rather than build tension between the two sides.

"It's more about how we can move forward. That's why our message is ‘Peace Takes Two,'" Shamir said. "It's about coming together and coming up with new and different ways to move forward because that's the only direction to go."

FOI has three events planned for Israel Peace Week, Feldman, a sophomore, said, adding that FOI tried to diversify its events by offering multiple perspectives from which to assess the conflict.

The first event, which happened last Wednesday, was a screening of the documentary "Israel Inside," a film that is meant to explore Israel's impact on the world outside of the conflict as well as offer an inside look at the everyday life of an Israeli citizen.

"We wanted to start off the week on a positive note and to show that there's more to Israel than the conflict," she explained.

Shamir said for the second event, which occurs this afternoon, Israeli journalist Ben Dror Yemini will discuss anti−Israel media bias and give his opinions on what some view as apartheid in Israel.

According to FOI Vice President Ayal Pierce, tomorrow's final event features David Keyes, the Executive Director of Advancing Human Rights, who will speak about the Arab Spring and its impact on human rights and revolution in the Middle East.

"He really does fit in with our theme, our messages for Peace Week, as far as Israel's consistent pursuit of peace and Israel being the only democracy in this unstable region now," Shamir said.

Feldman believes that Keyes will help provide the campus different perspectives of the conflict that students might not have realized before.

"Israel actually has one of the best human rights records in the world despite being in a state of war for sixty−four years," she said. "That's something that's definitely not talked about in the media. It's definitely not common knowledge."

All three FOI leaders said they hope Israel Peace Week will encourage discussion among Tufts students.

"I think it's a lot more ‘Tufts' in talking about the conflict and talking about positive and progressive ways to move forward with this instead of fighting like a lot of campuses tend to do," Pierce, a freshman, said.

Feldman hopes that by next year, the respective governments of each side will have reached an agreement settling the conflict.

"I think our overall message is that we want to see productivity on the campus about the Israel−Palestine issue and hope that we will get together … and that we can be cooperative together," Feldman said.

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