This Symposium wishes to highlight the voices of joint Palestinian-Israeli Grassroots movements and activists who stand for civil rights, equality, peace, and justice. The event also intends to address the gap between theory and practice by providing a window to dialogue, listening, and attempting to create a respectful eye level discussion.
Thousands of Palestinians and Israelis wish to live a peaceful and just life. It would make sense to hold the Israeli/Palestinian discourse on the conflicting territory itself, but nowadays it is nearly impossible, although wished by many. Indeed, the nationalist discourse doesn’t leave space for any peaceful dialogue, to the point that any sort of dialogue is associated with terms as treason, deformation of reality, Antisemitism and Auto-Antisemitism. At the same time there is no space either for a public discourse opposing the existing order of things dictated by the occupation or addressing the deep corruption and beneficiaries of the permanent state of war.
This same radicalism is also taking hold of the discourse here in Europe and especially in Germany and Austria. It is this lack of criticism coming from the outside that enables the Israeli and Palestinian nationalist radicalism’s control over the public discourse to grow. We are left in a vicious circle that needs to be interrupted. Critical voices on both sides willing to hold a dialogue for peace need to be given space, and Europe has the duty to make sure of that.
Austria is in fact a key place to hold this discourse in, given its role in the second world war and therefore its responsibility to stand up against any sort of anti-democratic disruption. Austria has accepted this responsibility by establishing in its Constitution in 1955 its commitment to Neutrality, based upon the concept of peaceful coexistence, of living on a common ground, where different communities of differing ethnic and religious backgrounds stand together for civil rights and equality. Neutrality has become a deeply ingrained element of people´s identity, but – in what way is it really practiced in Vienna on a political level, in the public discourse and in civil life?
Austria is a member of the United Nations, it hosts the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency, as well as the executive organ and headquarters of the OPEC. As to the civil life in Vienna, we see divisiveness and fear, separation, resistance and protest between the communities, alienation and geographic segregation. This reality does not in any way reflect the idea of Neutrality.
This event intends to address this gap between theory and practice by providing a window to dialogue, listening, and attempting to create a respectful eye level discussion. This event shall hold a dialogue concentrating not on solving the problem, but on reorganising the possibility of the discourse. Letting opposing viewpoints be able to stand next to each other and engage dialectally and peacefully. Seeing the ongoing respectful communication unfold, the main aim is to keep communicating without cancelling each other out.
Having a safe neutral space forms the basis of the idea of neutrality. A space where conflicting opinions, opposing arguments, and different sets of values can coexist in synergy for a common goal.
Organised by transform! europe and Artist collective Onestate embassy
Venue: KSŠŠD - Klub slovenskih Študentk in Študentov na Dunaju, Mondscheingasse 11, 1070 Wien
Venue: Cafè 7*Stern, Siebensterngasse 31, 1070 Wien