The Jacob Soetendorp Institute for Human Values is actively promoting peace and reconciliation in the Middle East and other conflict regions of the world. Please find below a list of activities that we are conducting and supporting in this core area of our work:
Rabbi Soetendorp supports the launch of Two-State Solution Caucus
To support the work of OneVoice Israel (OVI), Rabbi Soetendorp signed a letter to the members of the Knesset to applaud the launch of the Two-State Solution Caucus, taking place at the Knesset’s Jerusalem Hall on Monday, Jan. 17, 2011, at 12 pm.
The caucus was conceived and co-created by OneVoice Israel (OVI) and MK Yoel Hasson, chair of the Kadima coalition and himself a former OVI youth leader. Among its 18 other members are MK Zeev Bielski, Shlomo Molla, and Nachman Shai. It’s the first time Knesset members unite under a non partisan body to advance a direct political solution with the Palestinians.
OVI is holding the event to bolster the existing political will in Israel to end the conflict, witnessed most recently by the meeting held between a delegation of 100 leading Israelis and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. Opposition leader MK Tzipi Livni (Kadima) and several other Israeli and international dignitaries will be in attendance; the event will be televised.
Please find more information about the activities of the OneVoice Movement here.
Friends of the Earth Middle East event on ecological peacemaking facilitated by Rabbi Soetendorp
“EcoPeace – Environmental Peacemaking in the Middle East” was the title of a conference exploring the Jordan River Rehabilitation Project of Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) took place in
“I am very pleased that together we were able to organize a very successful meeting, which put emphasis on turning the
The event brought together experts, professionals and policy makers in the field of water, environment and the Middle-East and discussed strategies for sustainable regional development and collaborative water management as a necessary condition for lasting peace.
The April 2010 issue of National Geographic showed the work done by FoEME concerning the rehabilitation of the lower Jordan River that once carried an average of 1.3 billion m3 of fresh water to the
More information on the Project can be found here.
OneVoice Movement: Bringing Palestian and Israeli Youth Together
Rabbi Soetendorp serves as one of the senior international advisers of the OneVoice Movement, which is an international mainstream grassroots movement with over 640,000 signatories in roughly equal numbers both in Israel and in the Palestinian Territories, including 1,800 highly trained youth leaders. It aims to amplify the voice of the overwhelming but heretofore silent majority of moderates who wish for peace and prosperity, empowering them to demand accountability from elected representatives and work toward a two-state solution guaranteeing an end to occupation and violence, and a viable, independent Palestinian state at peace with Israel.
On January 18, only hours after the Gaza Ceasefire was announced, OneVoice brought Palestinian youth leaders to the University of Tel Aviv and engaged them in a vivid and open exchange with Israeli student. One student in the audience is reported to have said that if it was between he and the OneVoice Palestine leaders, the conflict could be solved in one hour.
Third World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace, 15 - 17 December, 2008
The Third Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace, held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, focused on the Israel-Palestine confict and was entitled "The Sacredness of Peace." Following the Congress, a final declaration was issued, together with an action plan that formally engaged the participants to work in depth and tangibly for peace. Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp participated in the Congress. During the course of the event, he was interviewed by Al Jazeera Europe where he shared his vision for peace and reconciliation. The interview received very positive reactions from the Muslim participants at the Congress.
To learn more about the Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace and to read the action plan, click here
Watch Imam Umair Ahmed Ilyasi, secretary general of the All India Organization of Imam's and Mosques giving an interview during the event and telling about his work of averting anti-Muslim backlash after the recent Mumbai attacks: Click here...
Convoy for Peace: Sderot - Gaza
The Institute is actively supporting the Convoy for Peace: Sderot to Gaza. The project was developed in the follow-up of the Third Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace, held at Unesco headquarters in Paris, from 15 to 17 December 2008, where Rabbi Soetendorp participated. A committee of congress participants, led by the Hommes de Parole Foundation is currently on the ground in Israel. Rabbi Soetendorp played a leading role in developing the plan and spreading the idea, but was unable to join the group due to his already fixed speaking obligations in Bad Honnef, Edinburgh, and Davos.
The convoy, composed of 10 semi-trailer trucks, brought in 220 tons of staple foods (flour, sugar, rice) and goods specifically for children. The entire load was stored in the Palestinian Red Crescent warehouse.
Peace Statement for the Gaza Conflict
The following peace statement of major religious institutions in the Netherlands was co-authored by Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp
Now that the two parties stated their willingness to cease firing their weapons, we jointly face the task of embarking on the path of peace, both in the Middle East and in our own country. The Hebrew word for Peace and the Arabic word are based on the same group of consonants. There is the same desire for ‘shalom’ and ‘salaam’, for ‘peace’ and ‘wholeness’.
After so many years of suspicion, insecurity, searching, hesitant attempts at living and working together across the demarcation lines, there have been many acts of violence and we see with dismay the shattered face of the other in Sderot and Gaza.
Joint Peace Statement with Prince Hassan bin Talal
In June 2007, HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan and Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp adopted the following joint statement for peace in the Middle East that suggests the creation of dialogue centers for reconciliation and healing where Jews and Muslims can come together to exchange their inherited experiences. The statement was published as a joint contribution to the book "Die Macht der Würde" edited by Christoph Quarch, Silke Lechner and Peter Spiegel.Read more...
Reconciling a Painful Past with a Hopeful Future
To Download the statement click here
As members of the faith community we salute the uniqueness of every human being and celebrate our manifold differences. We believe that all of creation is organically and spiritually interconnected, as expressed in the Islamic concept of Tawhid, or the essential Unity of Creation – a fundamental tenet of the Muslim faith - and by the whole and perfect circle of God’s creation - Kalil, in Judaism. We are one human family, bound by mutual responsibility towards one another. When one bleeds, we all feel the pain; when one suffers privation, we are all deprived.
Rabbi Soetendorp presents peace statement at the Kirchentag
Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp joined Bishop Desmond Tutu in speaking to over 10.000 people about the “Power of Dignity” at the German Protestant Church Congress ("Kirchentag") in Cologne, 6 – 10 June, 2007. Speaking against the backdrop of the majestic Cologne Cathedral, Rabbi Soetendorp opened his moving speech by quoting the Earth Charter’s call to create a global partnership to care for Earth and one another. He then read parts of a statement on peace in the Middle East that he drafted with Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan. The statement had been prepared for the main publication of the Kirchentag, a book in which religious leaders, Nobel Peace Laureates and Heads of State expressed their visions for a humane and just economic order that builds on the power of dignity instead of the power of financial capital.
Rabbi Soetendorp concluded by sharing his life story - a story of being rescued by a German-born woman who opened the door for a baby in a suit-case. “Looking at the millions and millions of children, women and men that are enduring hunger and poverty and that are looking at us in despair, I feel that we are holding the door in our hands. Will we be able to open the door and achieve the Millennium Development Goals to feed those who are in need?”
Touched by this moving testimony, the audience thanked him with standing ovations and spontaneously began singing the Hebrew song of peace and reconciliation, “Shalom Aleichim.”
Peacebuilders Award 2005 Presented to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, 12 April 2005
The Alliance for International Conflict Prevention and Resolution presented its Peacebuilders Award 2005 to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp for their tireless work in bridging the gap between the Abrahamic Faiths. The Award Ceremony was held in Washington DC in April 2005. The event symbolically took place on the 100th anniversary of Norway and Sweden's peaceful separation, but it also honored the bloodless "Velvet Divorce" in which the former Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved into the Czech and Slovac Republics. The event was co-sponsored by all four embassies and featured speeches from the Abassadors of all of these countries.
Rabbi Soetendorp closed his message to the Ambassadors by saying: "Let us celebrate that reason and friendship, and reason and trust have entered into people who were adversaries and that we are part of this hope, and will jubliate and thank God."
Download the AICPReport Vol. 3, June 2005, that covers the award ceremony.
Learn more about the Alliance for International Conflict Prevention and Resolution