Standing Together

Standing Together

Julie Ward on Israeli-Palestinian common cause

As Israel’s brutal war on Gaza continues, internal dissent has been growing. A burgeoning anti-government movement, demanding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation and immediate elections, is seeing tens of thousands of Israelis take to the streets. Within that movement is a growing current that explicitly opposes the war and occupation, and seeks to mobilise both Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel in struggles for equality. The principal organisational expression of that current is Standing Together.

Founded in 2015, Standing Together is a grassroots organisation that works to end the occupation and for progressive change in Israel, focusing on peace, equality and climate justice. It is Israel’s fastest growing grassroots movement, and one of the few significant political forces in the country that organises on an explicitly binational basis (that is, organising both Jews and Palestinians).

Amongst other things, the organisation has protested house demolitions in Palestinian towns and villages, both inside Israel and in the occupied West Bank, organized against the deportation of African asylum seekers, supported the Bedouin communities and fought the government’s attacks on an independent judiciary as well as organising mass protests and vigils calling for a ceasefire and for the remaining hostages to be released by Hamas, and most recently organising aid convoys into Gaza.

Standing Together is comprised of both Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel and is co-directed by a Jewish Israeli and a Palestinian, Alon-Lee Green and Rula Daood, who have recently undertaken a speaking tour across the USA meeting with politicians, academics, activists, and diaspora communities. Rula Daood and another Standing Together leader, Uri Weltmann, visited London in December 2023, speaking at a meeting in the House of Commons hosted by Labour MPs Nadia Whittome and Alex Sobel.

From its inception all of the movement’s materials, including its own name, have been printed in both Hebrew and Arabic. Its colour, purple, was chosen because it is associated with new Leftist movements internationally and also with feminist movements. Purple is associated with neither the Right nor the traditional Left in Israel. That said, in recent municipal elections held in February, Standing Together supporters stood as part of local initiatives in several cities, with Sally Abed, one of Standing Together’s Palestinian leaders, being elected to Haifa council as part of the Haifa Majority slate, while Itamar Avneri was elected to Tel Aviv-Yafo council as part of the Purple City initiative.

The organisation has numerous regional chapters, including student chapters, and a nationwide climate justice chapter. In addition there are Friends of Standing Together (FOST) groups in other countries including Canada, USA, Australia, Germany and the UK, and local chapters are springing up, notably in London, Nottingham, Sheffield and Bristol, with trade union activists also working hard to bring resolutions in support of Standing Together to branches and annual conferences.

Standing Together is highly focused on creating a much-needed profound change within Israeli society, and works by connecting people from different communities despite the differences between them, driving people from indifference to activity, and offering a hopeful alternative founded on empathy and peaceful co-existence through social and economic justice. The movement stresses that co-existence can only come about through “co-resistance”, shared struggle between Jews and Palestinians for a political settlement based on equal rights for both peoples. The extensive use of social media helps to amplify the message, particularly amongst the young.

Along with organisations like Women Wage Peace, Unity is Strength, A Land For All, Breaking the Silence, B’tselem, Eco-Peace and the Parents Forum Family Circle, Standing Together proves that there are thousands of Israelis who are prepared to stand with their Palestinian neighbours against the genocidal policies of Netanyahu.

Although Standing Together is still a small movement, it is growing. At just over 5,000 members, an equivalent movement in the UK, relative to population size, would have around 37,000 members. The fundamental political reality in Israel/Palestine cannot be changed without internal pressure from such movements. That makes our solidarity with them vital; a global left which often treats Israeli society as a monolith must seek ways of practically supporting the struggles of dissidents, both Jewish and Palestinian, within Israel.

Standing Together and their allies refuse to be divided by hate and they are laying the ground for an inclusive society where Israelis and Palestinians can both live, sharing the land from the river to the sea.

For more information visit websites : Standing Together \ UK Fost

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