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Progress on Campus; More Needed to Create Narrative of Peace for Israelis and Palestinians

As a recipient of material from The Third Narrative (TTN), we hope you found the tools, analysis and advocacy to be a source of strength and hope for a truly progressive response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  TTN seeks to break the dead-end of competing Israeli and Palestinian narratives and offer a third approach to support the legitimacy of Israel while fighting for a peaceful solution with the Palestinians.  I am writing today to ask that you make a gift to support The Third Narrative as we fulfill this important mission.

Since its inception just over one year ago, TTN has reached over 250,000 people through online and in-person outreach, developed a dedicated website (thirdnarrative.org) with wide-ranging online resources, published The Third Narrative: Progressive Answers To The Far Left’s Critiques of Israel and distributed thousands of copies to campuses, synagogues, churches and other institutions and widely circulated TTN information and resources within the Jewish, American and international communities, reaching 22 countries.

But the most exciting accomplishment of TTN so far has been the creation in May of the Academic Advisory Council (AAC) — a group of over 100 leading liberal and progressive academics who are combating academic boycotts and blacklists, and promoting a vision of peace and justice for Israelis and Palestinians, on campus and in the broader community.

TTN chose to focus on campus because our colleges and universities are both hotbeds of boycott and blacklist activism, and are the arenas where the next generation of young leaders will either be engaged in a constructive manner with Israel or will simply walk away.

As The Third Narrative has engaged Rabbis and other Jewish community leaders across the country, the common refrain we have heard is that students are clamoring for the type of material TTN provides because it frames an Israeli-Palestinian agenda in a way that is consistent with their core Jewish and human values. It provides the kind of complexity and middle-ground that liberal students who are committed to human rights, democracy, social justice and Tikkun Olam require if they are to be brought into the pro-Israel tent.

The focus on campus has already begun to pay off as you can see from the case of CUNY below. I hope that this story inspires you and that you will consider becoming TTN donor.

When Doctoral Students at CUNY Graduate Center faced a boycott resolution, we sprang to their aid. By building a progressive bench of committed academics, who provided guidance for the students in creating their campaign and  members from CUNY to speak out forcefully against the proposal. Prominent TTN/AAC members including Michael Walzer, Eric Alterman, Todd Gitlin and Susannah Heschel explored the Third Narrative approach with students struggling to prepare for the upcoming vote and handed out written tools explaining how boycotts violate core principles of academic freedom and fail to serve the values of peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis.

I am happy to report that the CUNY advocacy was successful.  The Doctoral Students rejected the boycott resolution.  And the success has provided TTN, together with the students, a model to implement on campuses across the continent.

However even with these initial successes, it is clear that so much more needs to be done to see the vision of TTN succeed, and to change the debate over Israelis and Palestinians from discord to cooperation.   With your help, TTN will:

  • Build the academic coalition as a core activist structure of TTN, and apply the CUNY model on campuses across North America
  • Develop an affirmative alternative to boycotts and begin to implement it with progressive and liberal students and faculty
  • Expand outreach to progressive organizations and media by providing The Third Narrative to hundreds of thousands of additional progressive readers and activists online
  • Create new materials to assist activists in further developing their ability to counter biased narratives against Israel from the radical left
  • Utilize social media to encourage a constructive progressive approach to Israel and the Palestinians instead of dead-ends like the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement

Conditions on the ground in the Middle East continue to deteriorate. The debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Europe, North America and around the world continues to polarize the diminishing hopes for peace and justice in for a solution to the conflict.

TTN is poised in its second year to make great contributions to address these disturbing conditions.  We need YOUR help to make this a reality.  

With bleak headlines and great fear for what will happen in the days ahead, we urge you to join with us as activists of TTN.  Through The Third Narrative your values and your commitment to a strong Israel, peace with the Palestinians and a new generation of engaged activists for justice can be served.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Gideon Aronoff
Executive Director, The Third Narrative

P.S. Please support the work of TTN.  You can make your tax deductible donation via our secure online portal at: https://thirdnarrative.org/get-involved/donate/

To learn more about TTN’s work on campus visit: thirdnarrative.org/community/campus