BUILDING BRIDGES VANCOUVER, WHO ARE WE?
We are a group of people deeply concerned about the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. We support the only path to the ending of that conflict: the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. This is the absolute necessity for a resolution that will include justice for Palestine, security for Israel, and peace for both.
BUILDING BRIDGES VANCOUVER is a non-partisan and non-sectarian organisation that provides a public forum for dialogue and information concerning the conflict in Israel-Palestine and its resolution by peaceful, non-violent means. We want to contribute to justice and security for both Palestine and Israel, to a future time when their two peoples will both be and feel safe. We view the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip as in violation of International Law and as breaches of human rights. We oppose violence in any form and support the rights of both peoples to live free from oppression and fear.
WHAT WE DO:
We showcase the work of those who through education, art, dialogue and constructive action seek to bridge this divide. We want to help build bridges not only between Palestinians and Israelis, but between Canada and the Middle East, between the more aware and the less aware among us in Canada, between and among different sectors of the Jewish and Palestinian communities here in Canada, between our own ignorance and our understanding, and between our hesitation about acting and our readiness to act.
ROOTS OF CONFLICT:
The conflict in Israel-Palestine is not essentially a religious conflict, as many assume. It is a struggle to do with land, justice, anger, fear, security and the effects of history. The peoples on both sides of this longstanding conflict, running continuously since 1947, are suffering as peoples from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). However, because those peoples are strongly identified as Jews and Muslims—with the Palestinian Christian minority often forgotten—there is a mistaken perception among some that it is a religious conflict.
OUR HOPE FOR THE FUTURE:
Our planning team, through this program of public engagement, is seeking to strike a balance between the encouragement of hope and the acknowledgement of difficulty. We want to reach out to Canadians in the middle, of whom, we are convinced, there is a greater number than the number of those with loud, angry and fearful voices from either edge. We affirm the profound value of people-to-people contact, and the need for a comprehensive, post-conflict vision of justice, peace and security for the entire Middle East.
We have an events page on this site and on Facebook—just search for “Building Bridges Vancouver.” Meanwhile, to you, our readers, we wish shalom (Hebrew), shelama (Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke), and salaam (Arabic) — notice how similar are those ancient words for the same thing: the well-being of all!