I was reading back issues of The Justice and I came across this story. It’s really touching – I advise you to read it.

I was reading back issues of The Justice and I came across this story. It’s really touching – I advise you to read it.

Last year, when MJ Rosenberg ’72 attended a conference for the pro-peace, pro-Israel lobby group J Street in Washington, he expected to mingle among upper-middle-class politicians and peacemakers from the United States and diplomatic officials from the Middle East. Instead, Rosenberg spent time with someone who was neither an American nor a diplomatic official. Rosenberg forged a relationship with Yousef Bashir, a 20-year-old Palestinian who had been shot by an Israeli soldier at the age of 15 and was the only person at the conference from Gaza.

“[Bashir looked] like a prosperous, athletic Jewish kid; like any Brandeis student,” thought Rosenberg, who is a writer for Media Matters, “a web based, not-for-profit, progressive research and information center,” according to its Web site.


Bashir wanted to go to Brandeis to prove to fellow Palestinians that Jews and Arabs can learn together in peace.

“I wanted to be a Palestinian who graduated from a Jewish school to go back and help his own people,” Bashir says.

Bashir’s was motivated by an interest in politics and his father’s message of peace to interview for a spot at a Seeds of Peace camp in Maine. Seeds of Peace is an organization that, according to the mission statement on its Web site, “[empowers youth] from regions of conflict with the leadership skills required to advance reconciliation and coexistence.”

In summer 2005, Bashir attended the camp with 12 other teenagers from Gaza.

The camp houses teens from all over the Middle East, specifically from areas of conflict. The camp also houses American students who are interested in learning about international conflict.

That summer Bashir lived in a cabin with Daniel Acheampong ’11. At the beginning of the summer, Acheampong said that he felt a lot of hatred among his peers in his cabin made up of Israelis, Jordanians, Palestinians and Americans. Bashir’s message of peace immediately transformed the feeling of animosity in his and Acheampong’s cabin.

“Speaking to Yousef and [hearing] his ability to forgive really inspired me,” says Acheampong.

Acheampong and Bashir are still close friends today and see each other often.

Inspiring! Read it!

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