Monday, 16 January 2012

Statement on OneVoice

From the committee:

The University of Birmingham Friends of Palestine society will not take part in events with OneVoice as we do not believe they are working towards a just resolution to the occupation of Palestine. The students of every single university in Palestine have signed this statement condemning organisations like One Voice because they “give a false picture of equality between the two parties by ignoring and legitimizing Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people”

On the surface OneVoice looks like a commendable organisation working towards better understanding between Palestinians and Israelis, but in its methods it pursues an agenda that seeks to marginalize Palestinian rights and whitewash Israeli violations of international law.

The idea of OneVoice is to find shared understandings between Palestinians and Israelis that can be used as a foundation for peace. In 2009 they conducted a poll that (they claim) shows most Palestinians and Israelis share a lot of common ground. For them, all that is needed to end the conflict is a grassroots movement to amplify this shared voice of moderation against a minority of extremists. The statistic used to justify this is that 74% of Palestinians and 78% of Israelis find a two state solution “tolerable” or better.

The problem is that a two state solution is very vague and can refer to a huge range of possible positions on a number of issues. If you examine the data on what kind of "two state solution" Palestinians and Israelis want the consensus relied upon by One Voice disappears. The poll finds that 87 percent of Palestinians under occupation consider the “right of return AND compensation” for refugees to be “essential” to a final agreement, but notes that this option was “rejected by 77 [percent] of Israelis as unacceptable.” And that 78 percent of Palestinian respondents considered a full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories to the June 1967 line “essential,” while 60 percent of Israelis consider that “unacceptable.”

On every important issue OneVoice, without justification, legitimates the Israeli position in the name of a fictitious moderate majority. The right of refugees to return to their homes (enshrined in international law) has to be compromised so that Israelis can live in an ethnically pure state. Palestinians must compromise their right to the West Bank and East Jerusalem so that Israel can continue to expand. The particular two state solution advocated by One Voice is not in fact a moderate position but almost identical to the one advocated by the Israeli state. This settlement, and organizations like One Voice that push it, are totally unacceptable for anyone who cares about justice or Human rights.


  1. 'Friends' of Palestine? No. Pro-Palestinian? No. Anti-Israel? Yes, and only that.

    Nothing is more shameful than refusing the opportunity of peaceful dialogue.

    Maybe you'd prefer the coward's method of dialogue again, by covering campus in chalk.

  2. What we were offered was not an opportunity for peaceful dialogue, it was an opportunity to legitimise a Zionist propaganda outfit with our participation. Read the statement again. For example we are campaigning for the right of return for Palestinian refugees, OneVoice is campaigning for that right to be forfeited. There's no benefit in us working with organisations that are against everything we stand for. Otherwise we imply that the rights of the Palestinians are up for negotiation. They are not.

    Oh and we have a statement on chalking as well, in case you missed it

  3. For such supposedly strong advocates of free speech, it's a real shame that you choose not to engage. This isn't the first time either, FoP rejected involvement in the Bereaved Families' Forum (The Parents' Circle) too.

    How saddening that the only dialogue that interests you is petty vandalism.

  4. I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks.

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