We at Creative Community For Peace (CCFP) — an organization comprised of prominent members of the entertainment industry dedicated to promoting the arts and culture as a means to peace and to countering the attempted cultural boycott of Israel — were happy to hear of your upcoming trip to Israel.
We are aware that there are groups opposed to the trip, and feel that it’s important to note that these groups are not merely opponents of particular actions of the Israeli government; they are opponents of Israel’s very right to exist. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, though often painting itself as a human rights movement, is in fact a political campaign aiming to create a Palestinian state — and only a Palestinian state — on the ashes of the Jewish, democratic State of Israel.
BDS asserts a very black and white narrative and actively works to prevent people — particularly influential peoples such as yourselves — from seeing anything they disagree with, anything that would add some shades of gray. We, however, are of the opinion that in order to learn about such a complex and often confusing region of the world, there’s nothing quite like brushing aside the screen of the media seeing it for oneself from a wide variety of angles.
We hope that while you’re in Israel, you’ll have the chance to contribute to a more peaceful future in the region by experiencing and supporting initiatives which bring together Israelis and Palestinians through sport. One of the biggest impediments to peace is that Israelis and Palestinians simply don’t understand one another, and there are numerous sport-based projects designed to correct that.
For example, the “Twinned Peace Sports Schools,” a project of the Peres Center For Peace, foster “values of peace and coexistence amongst young Palestinians and Israelis by changing attitudes toward the ‘other’ and diffusing stereotypes” through soccer. And Peace Players International uses basketball to bring Israelis and Palestinians together in a “safe and neutral space where young people can begin to form deep personal bonds and lasting friendships.”
Sports — just like art and music — connect people across the world, allowing them to bridge even the biggest differences and to come together in peace.
We at CCFP wish you an enjoyable and illuminating trip.