How to Make Peace in a Nutshell: Watch Exclusive Video
Making peace is quite easy actually. Over many years, I have had the honour and privilege of extending a hand to people from all faiths and backgrounds. Solving the Middle East problem is not simple. But peacemaking starts with a handshake. An embrace. And a positive attitude.
I learned this lesson first at my grandmother's house in Jaffa where her neighbours were a diverse microcosm of our world today.
The Abraham Global Peace Initiative (AGPI) - although not yet launched - has been conducting field work to test its approach further. In Israel this week, I had the honour and pleasure of meeting a 28 year old Arab-Israeli (self-described) who chooses to see the world differently.
With the recent Hamas-Israel conflict in mind, I was immediately drawn to this young man who likely represents a segment of Israeli society that enjoys living in Israel and has embraced his neighbours - and vice-versa.
During the conflict, Arab riots spread across Israel causing a deep wound between the two communities. Israelis are still angry at their Arab neighbours for burning synagogues, cars and neighbourhoods. They feel double-crossed, especially given this simple fact: while imperfect, the Arab Israeli community is more free in Israel than anywhere in the Middle East.
In this video, its clear that Mahmoud Said is an Arab-Israeli who has not only embraced Israel, but also his Kibbutz community in Ein Gedi. Having grown up in Jerusalem until the age of 20 and experiencing tension and probably some conflict, he has turned away from resentment to hope. He has taken an interest in his Jewish neighbours, and they have taken an interest in him.
What the leaders behind The Abraham Global Peace Initiative already know and aspire to accomplish is that peacemaking happens person to person - not necessarily nation to nation. This in fact is the very essence, the very approach AGPI is planning to take - when building peace programs in the region.
If we are going to defeat Antisemitism and to effectively challenge the defamation and slander of Israel; If we are going to change the toxic climate against Israel at the United Nations and affiliated bodies; and if we are going to promote human rights for all, we must do this through effective strategies that impact firs the heart and then the mind of everyone.
Our goals are lofty. But antisemitism on our city streets and university campuses can and will be eradicated by challenging the status quo. Albert Einstein observed: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So lets embraced a new paradigm.
The Abraham Global Peace Initiative plans to shift thinking. We want to capture the momentum of peace in the Middle East and fight hard to fight less.
A note from Avi - if you are new and interested in joining The Abraham Global Peace Initiative and being invited to our global launch, please add your name to our list here: www.avibenlolo.org
ABOUT: Avi Abraham Benlolo has been described as the nation's most prominent and noted expert in Holocaust studies, in countering Antisemitism and promoting human rights. He has dedicated nearly three decades in executive capacities, was founding President and CEO of a major organization in the Jewish community, has raised over $150 million for charities and is a leading voice in Canada. His academic research, graduate degree, Ph.D. coursework and nearly three decades of professional work has focused on these arenas in addition to peace and security in the Middle East. He has published hundreds of articles in these areas. In recognition of his national and international leadership in this area, he has received numerous awards including an Honorary Doctorate from a prestigious Israeli university for his work in Holocaust studies and combating antisemitism; an Order of Vaughan for his distinguished contribution to anti-racism, equity and diversity; the Queens Diamond Jubilee Award for his contributions to Canada and a race relations award for best practice, based on distinguished service in promoting human rights.
As a supporter of Israel, he is proud to have established "The Avi Benlolo Scholarship Fund in National Security" at Haifa University.