A group of Arab and Israeli protestors at a Standing Together event. Credit: Standing Together

‘Standing Together: A Presentation and Open Discussion’ on the Conflict in Israel and Gaza to be Held March 6, Organized by New CDD Group

A group of Arab and Israeli protestors at a Standing Together event with the words "Where there is struggle there is hope." Credit: Standing Together

As part of UMass Amherst’s Community, Democracy and Dialogue (CDD) initiative, representatives from the grassroots organization Standing Together will visit campus on Wednesday, March 6 to present on their work in Israel and engage in a discussion with the audience.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend the free event in the Student Union Ballroom, which begins with lunch service at 11:30 a.m. followed by the presentation from noon-1 p.m. Advance registration is requested.

This visit is organized by the Community, Democracy and Dialogue advisory working group, which was formed to help the campus community navigate challenging, complex and controversial subjects in ways that broaden perspectives and diminish polarization. As noted by David Mednicoff, a CDD member and associate professor of Middle Eastern studies and public policy, “One of the purposes of the CDD is to encourage and provide models for conversations on challenging topics. Standing Together is an organization that is trying to do just that among Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel.”

Mednicoff adds, “Standing Together may be the most significant grassroots movement in Israel challenging the ongoing occupation of the West Bank and the war in Gaza. I hope that this event will be one of many that provides perspectives on navigating strong disagreement, as well as on the importance and challenges of protecting and encouraging academic freedom and diverse speech even in polarizing times.”

Standing Together has received global attention for its efforts to mobilize against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the current war in Gaza. Two of the movement’s co-leaders, Sally Abed and Alon-lee Green, will talk about their work, including its successes and challenges.

The group describes itself as “a grassroots movement mobilizing Jews and Palestinians from all over Israel in pursuit of peace, equality, social and climate justice. While the minority who benefit from the current status quo of occupation and inequality seek to keep us divided, we know that we — the majority — have far more in common than that which sets us apart. When we stand together, we are strong enough to fundamentally alter the existing socio-political reality. The future that we want to see — with peace and independence for Israelis and Palestinians, full equality for all citizens, and true social, economic and environmental justice — is possible. Because where there is struggle, there is hope.”

The CDD includes a diverse group of UMass Amherst faculty, staff and campus leaders with expertise in many fields, including geopolitics, equity and inclusion, and communication and civil discourse. In addition, its work is being informed by discussions with graduate and undergraduate student leaders. The CDD is committed to pro-actively creating an ongoing, sustained effort that provides ways to support inclusion and diversity in concert with the democratic concepts of respect and compromise.

More information about the event and the speakers can be found on the Office of Equity and Inclusion website.