The Islamic Human Rights Commission has launched an interfaith initiative between Muslims, Christians and Jews who oppose Zionism.
The Convivencia Alliance is an attempt to replicate the harmony between different faiths in Al-Andalus, or Muslim Spain – an era which historians have dubbed “Convivencia.”
The IHRC says the aim is for the three different communities in Palestine to work towards the formation of one democratic state with communities living side by side in harmony as they did before Zionism divided the land.
The main speakers at the launch event last week in London were led by the Jewish Network for Palestine and the Islamic Human Rights Commission.
The first speaker was Haim Bresheeth-Zabner, of JNP, who is also a professor at SOAS and an author, as well as the son of Holocaust survivors.
He spoke about the history of the three communities living together in Al-Andalus and Palestine, making the point about how this enriched the culture.
He mentioned that this year we have seen Easter, Passover and Ramadan come at the same time, which traditionally would have been a time of coming together in Palestine, but now that is impossible because of Zionism.
He also made clear that the racism and brutality of Zionism had nothing to do with Judaism.
Massoud Shadjareh, from the Islamic Human Rights Commission, spoke about how the division between faiths perpetrated by Zionism in Palestine, has affected relations between religious groups worldwide.
He said communities wanted a permanent and just peace and unity based on: “standing against injustice, standing against Apartheid, standing against illegal occupation, standing against day in, day out abuses of everyone who is not a Zionist”. He followed this up by making clear that this last part meant the oppression of all anti-Zionists regardless of faith, by all Zionists, again regardless of faith.
He also looked at how interfaith actions have been used in the past to normalise Zionism, and often held on the basis of either forcing participants to accept, or staying quiet on Zionism, making clear that to support Zionism is to support apartheid, war crimes, colonialism and the killing of children.
Reverend Doctor Stephen Sizer then spoke, saying how it has always been his dream to see Christians, Jews and Muslims working together to bring about peace, justice and reconciliation in Palestine.
He said that it is heartening to see Christian leaders in Palestine so enthusiastic to support the alliance and that he was optimistic that British Christians leaders would join themselves.
This was especially important, in his view, due to the fact that nine out of two Zionists are Christian, and therefore he believed that Christians have a responsibility to fight for Palestinian human rights.
He made clear that Christian support for such crimes was not new, and said it was painful for him to have to acknowledge how some Christians had tried to justify the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the apartheid in South Africa.
The event can be viewed online here.
Supporters of the Convivencia Alliance
AIM (Ahlulbayt Islamic Mission)
(TCF) The Cordoba Foundationis a UK-based research and advisory group
DIN (Decolonial International Network)
ICAHD (Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions), Israel
IHRC (Islamic Human Right Commission), UK
JNP (Jewish Network for Palestine), UK
Kairos Palestine, Jerusalem
Muslim Community Helpline, UK
One Democratic State, Palestine/Israel
(PFB) The Palestinian Forum in Britain, UK
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK
Simon Bolivar Institute, Venezuela
Ahdaf Soueif, UK and Egypt
Alexei Sayle, UK
Archbishop Theodosios Atallah Hanna, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Awad Abed al Fatah, One Democratic State, Israel
Clare Short, former Secretary of State for International Development, UK
Dr. Anas Altikriti – CEO and Founder of The Cordoba Foundation – London
Imam Dawud Walid
Jackie Walker, UK
Ken Loach, UK
Linda Ramsden, Director, ICAHD UK
Mogamet Crayaanstein, UK
Mohideen Abdul Kader (Citizens International)
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, UK
Prof. Aminurraasyid Yatiban, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM)
Prof. Avi Shlaim, Oxford University
Prof. Enrique Dussel, Universidad Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM)
Prof. Hagit Borer, Queen Mary University of London
Prof. Ilan Pappe, Exeter University
Prof. Jeff Halper ICAHD, Israel
Prof. Nur Masalha, SOAS, University of London
Prof. Ramón Grosfoguel, University of California, Berkeley
Prof. Ronit Lentin, Trinity College, Dublin
Prof. Tony Booth, Centre for Commonwealth Education, University of Cambridge
Prof. Yakov Rabkin, University of Montreal
Revd. Alex Awad, retired Pastor, Jerusalem East Baptist Church
Revd. Canon Garth Hewitt, Founder, Amos Trust, UK, and Canon of St. Georges’s Anglican Cathedral, Jerusalem
Revd. Dr. Duncan McPherson, retired Principal Lecturer, St Mary’s University,
Rifat Odeh Kassis, Director, Kairos Palestine, Jerusalem
Roger Waters, US
Sandew Hira, (DIN)
Tariq Ali, UK
The Most Revd. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis, Bishop of Egypt & North Africa
The Right Revd. Riah Abu El Assal, retired Bishop in Jerusalem
Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens, UK
Zaher Birawi – Chairman if the Palestinian Forum in Britain