Activities arranged by UKFBFF in 2005

October 2005
An Early Day Motion (EDM) tabled by our Patron Huw Irranca-Davies MP in October gathered more than 100 signatures from across the political spectrum by the end of January. See text of the motion on the right.
To see the list of signatories: Early Day Motion.

September 2005

Opening Hearts
Robi Damelin reflects on her visit to London:

London was a ground breaking adventure for Nadwa and I, and an opportunity to spread the message of the Forum to a whole new audience. We were greeted with such warmth by our newly formed ‘Friends Of’ board, chaired by the remarkable Judith with Chani, Ahlam and Fathieh doing everything possible to make this journey a success, and of course Ronnie keeping us all solvent.

On arrival we were presented with a list of media interviews which would have made a rock star jump for joy. For this we have Christian Aid to thank, and in particular Dominic Nutt for all his hard work in convincing the media that the message was an important one. In fact people stopped us on the street in London to ask if we were the ladies from the television. They did not ask for autographs. The BBC were very generous and we had no less than six radio and television interviews.

‘Opening Hearts’ was the title for a special concert for peace at the LSO St Luke’s in London on 18 September. This beautiful building was such a fitting setting for the evening of classical music and poetry. The hall was filled with people who had come to show their solidarity with the message of reconciliation and hope for a better future for the Palestinian and Israeli people. We were so encouraged by this statement of support.

The evening started with Nelly Ben-Or, a remarkable pianist, who shared the music of Chopin and Ben-Haim with the audience. Then we were treated to the magical flute of Wissam Boustany, accompanied by Benjamin Wolf on the piano. Two amazing women, Ruti Halvani and Camille Maalawy, filled the hall with their wonderful voices. Their love song from ‘The Shouting Fence’, a vocal story of a community split in two, was so powerful and meaningful. We were all so moved by the sensitive readings of Juliet Stevenson. How heartwarming to find all these wonderful artists under the same roof just there to give their support for peace. The Parents Circle-Families Forum is so grateful to them. All in all, this was an unforgettable evening. The Forum has a new and very special friend in Huw Irranca-Davies MP. Mr Irranca-Davies did everything in his power to show his support for the message of our group, both on a personal level and also by kindly hosting an informal meeting for his colleagues at Westminster. Through his kindness we were able to give hope to other politicians and policy makers that reconciliation is possible.

We thank Rabbi Daniel Smith, for arranging the Interfaith Meeting at Edgware and District Reform Synagogue, chaired by Andrew Dismore MP. There was a very large crowd and a good article in the Jewish Chronicle and the Jewish Times came out of this meeting, so the message was multiplied.

We thank Ahlam and Fathieh for arranging a meeting at SOAS which was very well attended by the Moslem community, and was chaired by Huw Irranca-Davies MP. It was so important for us to speak to this community and in fact we were invited to come back to SOAS to give a talk at a conference, ‘Fear of the Other and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict’, organised by the Birkbeck Institute, the University of London and the London Middle East Institute Outreach Programme. Here too it was important to spread a people-to-people emotional message of hope. The Forum would also like to give special thanks to Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, who had the inspiration to start the ‘Friends of’ in England.

Read BBC report of Robi and Nadwa’s visit to London.

20 September 2005
An evening with two bereaved women, one Israeli and one Palestinian, who spoke about their experiences and vision for the future. Chaired by Andrew Dismore MP.