So what is the answer? Where do we go from here? How do we change the hearts and minds of Jews, Palestinians, and Christians to love our enemies instead of fearing and hating them? In Palestine and Israel, there are a growing number of people responding to the status quo of fear and hate, with love and a desire for peace while addressing injustice in a non-violent way. They are made up of Christians, Muslims, and Jews. I had the opportunity to work with and provide brand and marketing help with a few of these groups while I was there.
Holy Land Trust is a non-profit Palestinian organization committed to fostering peace, justice, and understanding in the Holy Land. They do incredible work, working directly with Jews and Palestinians exploring the root causes of violence and seek to develop peaceful solutions to address them. They believe true peace is achieved through personal and spiritual transformation. The results have been impressive. They have brought together some of the most extreme adversaries and facilitated healing and a newfound sense of respect and dignity between them. They are one of the most established peacemaking organizations in Palestine and have a proven track record of peacemaking work.
Located in Bethlehem, I spent most of my time working with them to re-envision a new brand strategy that more clearly aligns with their values and future direction. This included revising their mission, vision, purpose, and values, as well as establishing brand archetypes and multiple buyer personas. From this, a new website will be created, along with a brand and content marketing strategy. Check them out and consider booking a tour to the Holy Land through Holy Land Trust.
House of Hope Is the only Waldorf inspired elementary school in Palestine. It’s located in area C, one of the poorest and most oppressed areas in the territories. They provide hope and trauma healing to the youngest and most vulnerable. Their primary mission is to build peacemakers through early childhood education and trauma healing, and an overarching commitment to nonviolence. I had the privilege of meeting the founders Milad and Manar while I was there and to see first hand the amazing and inspiring work they are doing. Everywhere we went in town Milad received warm hellos from former students, I told him he must be famous! If he is, it would be for the hope and love he and Manar have given to their Palestinian community. I'm currently working with their team to do a complete redesign of their current website. We hope to launch within the next few months. Please consider supporting House of Hope and the amazing work they are doing.
Here are a few more organizations doing important work fostering peacemaking in this part of the world. Please consider supporting them.
So how do we respond? It would be very easy to shrug our shoulders and say it’s hopeless.
Most people have.
Most people, when you get down to it, believe that love and peace are fine for Sunday mornings, but in reality; political power, brute force, money, and greed are the way of the world. Loving one another sounds nice but fear is what really rules us.
Is this true? Is fear truly more powerful than love???
This journey of peacemaking for me has been tremendously inspiring. I’ve met amazing peacemakers all over the world who actually practice loving our enemies.
But what holds us captive from doing this? I would say its fear. Fear of facing and experiencing another’s trauma, thus interrupting our life of comfort and privilege.
I’ve heard it said that the definition of privilege is the ability to walk away. Could it be that we are slaves to privilege and comfort, making us incapable to bring life, peace, and hope into a violent and fearful world?
As Americans, we have a life of great privilege that provides us the ability to walk away or ignore the profound suffering in the world.
There is nothing wrong with being privileged, but how can we use it to be peacemakers to the hurting world around us, including in our homes, our families and communities. How can we bring reconciliation to a family member you’ve sworn never to talk to again. How can we develop relationships with people who belong to an ethnic or social group you’re afraid to interact with.
My hope is that more of us would honor our life of privilege by sacrificing some of it to pursuing justice, peace, and giving hope to those who lack it.