UK Peace Now rejuvenated, 'Brits' and all

A group of young activists is planning to relaunch the British branch of the Israeli protest movement, Peace Now.

Daniel Arenson, 25, a former chairman of Oxford University Jewish Society and now a parliamentary aide to a Conservative MP, and Dan Levene, 26, a management consultant with a leading London firm, are expected to be voted in as the new chairs at the its annual meeting on Sunday. Most of their fellow committee members will be contemporaries.

The organisation is also changing its name from Peace Now UK to Brits for Peace Now.

Mr Arenson, who has served as an intern with Peace Now in Israel, said: "The peace camp is rebuilding itself in Israel in a way we haven't seen for over a decade. When I was in Israel two and a half years ago, Peace Now rallies were very small and it seemed that its best days were behind it. But that is not the case now.

"Peace Now in Israel is coming under pressure from violent threats from the far-right and legal attacks from the government. They want a strong level of support from the British Jewish community.

"They feel that often the only voice that gets heard is the government line."

Mr Arenson said that Brits For Peace Now would work with other organisations such as the alternative advocacy group, Yachad, which was set up last year. Its prospective vice-chairman Aimee Riese organised Yachad's student conference last September.

But there were differences, Mr Arenson explained. "We're going to go beyond the Jewish community. We'll also be focusing on the settlements because Peace Now is the foremost authority on the settlement programme.

"The line is often given by the Israeli government that settlements are not an issue. But we believe they are a fundamental issue. They are designed to undermine the two-state solution and they are doing just that."

Last updated: 2:47pm, January 19 2012