The Convivencia Alliance is an attempt to replicate the harmony between different faiths in Al-Andalus, or Muslim Spain – an era which historians have dubbed “Convivencia.”
The IHRC says the aim is for the three different communities in Palestine to work towards the formation of one democratic state with communities living side by side in harmony as they did before Zionism divided the land.
The main speakers at the launch event last week in London were led by the Jewish Network for Palestine and the Islamic Human Rights Commission.
The first speaker was Haim Bresheeth-Zabner, of JNP, who is also a professor at SOAS and an author, as well as the son of Holocaust survivors.
He spoke about the history of the three communities living together in Al-Andalus and Palestine, making the point about how this enriched the culture.
He mentioned that this year we have seen Easter, Passover and Ramadan come at the same time, which traditionally would have been a time of coming together in Palestine, but now that is impossible because of Zionism.
He also made clear that the racism and brutality of Zionism had nothing to do with Judaism.
Massoud Shadjareh, from the Islamic Human Rights Commission, spoke about how the division between faiths perpetrated by Zionism in Palestine, has affected relations between religious groups worldwide.
He said communities wanted a permanent and just peace and unity based on: “standing against injustice, standing against Apartheid, standing against illegal occupation, standing against day in, day out abuses of everyone who is not a Zionist”. He followed this up by making clear that this last part meant the oppression of all anti-Zionists regardless of faith, by all Zionists, again regardless of faith.
He also looked at how interfaith actions have been used in the past to normalize Zionism, and often held on the basis of either forcing participants to accept, or staying quiet on Zionism, making clear that to support Zionism is to support apartheid, war crimes, colonialism and the killing of children.
Reverend Doctor Stephen Sizer then spoke, saying how it has always been his dream to see Christians, Jews and Muslims working together to bring about peace, justice and reconciliation in Palestine.
He said that it is heartening to see Christian leaders in Palestine so enthusiastic to support the alliance and that he was optimistic that British Christians leaders would join themselves.
This was especially important, in his view, due to the fact that nine out of two Zionists are Christian, and therefore he believed that Christians have a responsibility to fight for Palestinian human rights.
He made clear that Christian support for such crimes was not new, and said it was painful for him to have to acknowledge how some Christians had tried to justify the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the apartheid in South Africa.