“We dreamed about this for a long time, and now we are able to start this unique campaign,” a Gush Shalom spokesman said at the opening of a press conference conducted mainly in Russian. The conference took place on Sunday (19.9) in Tel-Aviv’s Press Center. The representatives of all Russian media in Israel were invited, and most of them took part.
“There lies an abysmal chasm between the Peace Camp and the Russian-speaking community,” Gush activist Uri Avnery said, “which we cannot tolerate. We do not accept the opinion prevalent in the Peace Camp that a million Russian-speakers think alike and all of them are extreme rightists, Arab-haters and Peace-Camp haters.”
The press conference was convened as a start of a wide and continuous campaign. On the eve of Yom Kippur, 60 thousand copied of the brochure “Truth Against Truth” in Russian will be distributed as an insert in the Russian-language papers “Vesti” and “Globus”. Until now, this new brochure has appeared only in Hebrew and English (and has been translated abroad in German and Dutch, with the Arab edition to appear in the coming weeks). It throws completely new light on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its origins and phases. The Russian version is an exact copy of the Hebrew original, both in content and form. It, too, bears on its cover the warning: “Caution! This is a subversive text. It undermines the very foundations on which the National Consensus is based!”
Gush Shalom, which is not blessed with abundant funds, has decided to invest the necessary resources for this campaign out of conviction that it is impossible to attain peace if important parts of the Russian-speaking community does not join the Peace Camp. “I believe that the whole Peace Camp is guilty of ignoring this important community, as we ignored the Oriental one,” Avnery commented, pointing out that all Russian-language media in Israel follow an extreme right-wing line, isolating Russian-speakers from the Israeli mainstream.
“Israeli society is divided into five big sectors – the veteran Ashkenazi, the Oriental, the religious, the immigrants from the former Soviet Union and the Arab citizens. We cannot succeed in the struggle for peace while being based only on two of them (the veteran Ashkenazi and the Arab), without winning support within the three others.”
Together with the distribution of tens of thousands brochures, the Gush Shalom campaign will include publishing banners on Russian-language web-sites, extensive public relations and ads in the Russian-language media. A Russian-language sector on the Gush web-site is soon to follow.