Peres Alexander 311.
(photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)
Visitors to the residence of President Shimon Peres have frequently had to wait
for their host to tear himself away from a previous duty or engagement; but it’s
rare for the president to have to wait for his guests.
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However this was
the case on Tuesday morning when Peres was due to meet with a delegation from
One Voice, a relatively young organization that works closely with Israelis and
Palestinians in the hope of bridging differences and boosting
One of the better known supporters of One Voice is stage
and screen star Jason Alexander – born Jay Scott Greenspan – and best known to
Israelis as the obnoxious George Costanza in the Seinfeld television sitcom
In fact the affable Alexander in real life is nothing like the
pained and painful Costanza.
“Can I call you George?” asked
“You can, but they can’t,” he replied
gesturing in the direction of the rest of the delegation.
When he entered
the room Peres headed straight for Russell Mishcon, the son of the late and
celebrated Lord Mishcon, who was considered to be one of the most talented of
British solicitors. Peres told Alexander of how helpful Mishcon had been during
the peace negotiations between Israel and Jordan.
Authority leadership headed by President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam
Fayyad, is “professional, serious and wants peace,” Peres told the group. “We
must continue to negotiate with [Abbas], who represents moderate
Peres turned to Alexander and asked him his views on the
two-state solution which has been endorsed by One Voice.
“One land with
two ideologies – it’s very difficult,” said Alexander, “but the best advice is
not to give up.
There’s been so much disappointment, but there are so
many wonderful people on both sides.”
Alexander advocated doing more to
engage the moderates on both sides.
“There are some extraordinary things
being done,” he said as he heaped accolades on One Voice. “Every little success
can be capitalized on.”
Getting back to Seinfeld, Peres commented that
what he’d loved about the series was that it conveyed serious messages in a
humorous manner, which in his view was quite convincing. He was curious whether
humor could play a part in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
wish humor could do the job,” said Alexander. “Of course you can’t involve Jews
without a good sense of humor, but the problem is you always hurt
When there is a situation with so many feelings involved (as in
the conflict), he explained, “You can’t tell what people are sensitive
In a more serious vein, One Voice founder Daniel Lubetzky said
that people often ask why the organization is called One Voice, when it is known
that when you put Jews together, you get a lot of diverse opinions.
not only Jews, but Palestinians, Americans and Europeans, Lubetzky
While they may disagree on some issues, they all have one
voice against extremism and in accepting the responsibility of conflict
“A lot of what drives us comes from your vision and your
inspiration,” he told Peres. The mission of One Voice he added, is to empower
Israeli and Palestinian young people who are fed up with extremism and want to
move forward to a two-state solution.
In response, Peres noted that it
was young people who had sparked the uprisings in the region. He attributed the
changes that are taking place to a new generation rather to any political
“In addition to political negotiations, we have to talk to young
people,” he said, and revealed that the Peres Center for Peace is trying to
create an ongoing Internet dialogue for peace. So far there are more than
100,000 daily chats between Jews and Arabs, he said, and the aim is to have an
Internet convention on peace.
With regard to that specific subject, Peres
said: “Peace should be people to people and not just government to
This is one of the reasons that he appreciates the work of
One Voice he said, because its platform is based on people to people
interaction.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.