We had a debate on IRC yesterday about whether moderate voices can win over extremists. The discussion started from my post referring to extremists in Japan and Korea, but the discussion lead to a discussion about extremists in the Israeli Palestinian conflict. There was a very convincing argument made that the extremists have won and the aggression is now supported by the majority, therefore fighting until surrender was the only alternative. The idea of trying to fight against extremism was written off as naive. I am not an expert in the Israeli Palestinian conflict, but whenever I hear about what Daniel Lubetzky and One Voice is doing, I have hope. I have hope that the voice of the reason can bring peace without fighting each other to the death. It also brings me hope that we can resolve conflicts in our regions by connecting people and fighting against extremism in all of our countries.Daniel Lubetzky @ One VoiceInternational Campaign Against Extremism
After a successful pilot in Chicago with talks at four universities, OneVoice decided to roll out this fall an International Education program. The program aims to counteract polarization on campuses and communities worldwide - sending Israeli and Palestinian OV representatives with nationalist credentials from each side to college campuses plagued with divisions. They will discuss OV's work and methodology and expose students and community leaders to the imperative alternative of working together pragmatically to support their leaders' quest towards conflict resolution.
The program was conceived after the realization that extremist groups pervade outside the region even though they are out of whack with mainstream Israelis and Palestinians. Over the past couple years, destructive campaigns aimed at de-legitimizing Israel through divestment campaigns or at dehumanizing all Palestinians as terrorists have been corrosive. Hopefully as audiences hear the visions and ambitious of the people living with the consequences, extremists will be exposed as false messiahs that are not helping the cause of their people.
I agree that it is not just the extremists who harbor bad thoughts or engage in bad acts, but they are usually the source of the polarization and try to keep education and communication of the main stream from moving forward.