The Jerusalem Post features OneVoice’s meeting with Peres

The OneVoice delegation caught the attention of the Jerusalem Post, for its important meeting with President Shimon Peres.  Over the course of the meeting, Daniel, Jason Alexander, and the delegation’s prominent business leaders spoke about ways to achieve peace in the region, the need to respect opposing leaders, and a vision to unite the myriad of opinions.  It is definitely worth checking out this article.

Spotted by Daniel Lubetzky, by Adeena Schlussel

The Jerusalem Post


Jason Alexander meets President Peres
Photo by: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90

Alexander shows serious side, discusses peace with Peres

10/25/2011 23:55

President: Palestinian leadership is genuine, wants peace.

Visitors to the residence of President Shimon Peres have frequently had to wait for their host to tear himself away from a previous duty or engagement; but it’s rare for the president to have to wait for his guests.
However this was the case on Tuesday morning when Peres was due to meet with a delegation from One Voice, a relatively young organization that works closely with Israelis and Palestinians in the hope of bridging differences and boosting commonalities.

One of the better known supporters of One Voice is stage and screen star Jason Alexander – born Jay Scott Greenspan – and best known to Israelis as the obnoxious George Costanza in the Seinfeld television sitcom series.
In fact the affable Alexander in real life is nothing like the pained and painful Costanza.

“Can I call you George?” asked Peres.

Alexander chuckled.

“You can, but they can’t,” he replied gesturing in the direction of the rest of the delegation.

When he entered the room Peres headed straight for Russell Mishcon, the son of the late and celebrated Lord Mishcon, who was considered to be one of the most talented of British solicitors. Peres told Alexander of how helpful Mishcon had been during the peace negotiations between Israel and Jordan.

The Palestinian Authority leadership headed by President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, is “professional, serious and wants peace,” Peres told the group. “We must continue to negotiate with [Abbas], who represents moderate forces.”
Peres turned to Alexander and asked him his views on the two-state solution which has been endorsed by One Voice.
“One land with two ideologies – it’s very difficult,” said Alexander, “but the best advice is not to give up.
There’s been so much disappointment, but there are so many wonderful people on both sides.”

Alexander advocated doing more to engage the moderates on both sides.

“There are some extraordinary things being done,” he said as he heaped accolades on One Voice. “Every little success can be capitalized on.”

Getting back to Seinfeld, Peres commented that what he’d loved about the series was that it conveyed serious messages in a humorous manner, which in his view was quite convincing. He was curious whether humor could play a part in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“I wish humor could do the job,” said Alexander. “Of course you can’t involve Jews without a good sense of humor, but the problem is you always hurt someone.”

When there is a situation with so many feelings involved (as in the conflict), he explained, “You can’t tell what people are sensitive about.”
In a more serious vein, One Voice founder Daniel Lubetzky said that people often ask why the organization is called One Voice, when it is known that when you put Jews together, you get a lot of diverse opinions.

It’s not only Jews, but Palestinians, Americans and Europeans, Lubetzky continued.

While they may disagree on some issues, they all have one voice against extremism and in accepting the responsibility of conflict resolution.

“A lot of what drives us comes from your vision and your inspiration,” he told Peres. The mission of One Voice he added, is to empower Israeli and Palestinian young people who are fed up with extremism and want to move forward to a two-state solution.

In response, Peres noted that it was young people who had sparked the uprisings in the region. He attributed the changes that are taking place to a new generation rather to any political party.

“In addition to political negotiations, we have to talk to young people,” he said, and revealed that the Peres Center for Peace is trying to create an ongoing Internet dialogue for peace. So far there are more than 100,000 daily chats between Jews and Arabs, he said, and the aim is to have an Internet convention on peace.

With regard to that specific subject, Peres said: “Peace should be people to people and not just government to government.”
This is one of the reasons that he appreciates the work of One Voice he said, because its platform is based on people to people interaction.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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