MideastWeb Middle East Web Log

log  archives  middle east  maps  history   documents   countries   books   encyclopedia   culture   dialogue   links    timeline   donations 

Search:

Peaceworks: Making the Business of Peace Thrive

08/25/2007

Every time a bomb goes off somewhere, someone is making money from it somehow. War is always the fruit of the search for power or money - either the money will be used to buy power, or the power will be used to accumulate money. It is true from the highest levels to the lowest "martyr" who blows himself up to get a pension for his family. Osama Bin Laden would not have invested in Al-Qaeda if he didn't think it is a good business. Armaments manufacturers, metals speculators and others get rich from from wars. Not surprisingly, interested persons will spend a great deal of money and effort to drum up support for war, and to block peace efforts.

But what if we show people how to get rich from peace? Daniel Lubetzky has done just that with his Peaceworks- Healthy Gourmet Foods initiative, as Erin Pineda explains below. It is a great model for the Middle East too.

Ami Isseroff

Making peace work
Erin Pineda

NEW YORK - Simply stated, the "peace dividend" theory holds that in times of peace, budgets and resources normally allocated for defence can be used to invest internally in housing, education, and other initiatives which improve a society and bolster an economy. In other words: in the long term, peace is more profitable than war.

But in the post-Cold War world, regional conflicts and international terrorism have proliferated, and peace has proven an elusive concept. Having thus far failed to make peace in our time, the economic gains of the "peace dividend" have largely remained in the realm of the theoretical.

Perhaps we need to utilize new tools and look at peace-making through new lenses in order to build the vibrant, viable, stable, and prosperous societies we envision for the future. Suppose for a moment that business cannot wait for peace; suppose that selling a product and turning a healthy profit could actually play a significant role in encouraging peace. In business, it is commonly acknowledged that two parties profiting from a joint venture develop a mutual, vested interest in developing and maintaining the relationship between them. What if the same could be said for "enemy" populations?

That is the theory behind the PeaceWorks LLC, a 13-year old company that has pioneered the field of the socially conscious, "not-only-for-profit" business model, and proven that peace and profit can work hand in hand. The company has a unique mission: to foster economic cooperation and peaceful business interactions in conflict regions through the manufacturing, packaging, and distributing of natural food products, all the while sustaining a growing, profitable company.

PeaceWorks was founded by Daniel Lubetzky in 1994, when, fresh from Stanford Law School, he travelled to Israel to research ways to encourage economic ventures between Israelis and Arabs. After tasting a sun dried tomato pesto made in Israel, he came up with an idea.

So what does pesto have to do with peace? PeaceWorks turned the process of manufacturing this local product into a process for conflict resolution. The line of products which includes sun dried tomato, basil, and olive pestos runs as a cooperative venture that ties Israelis and Arabs together - Meditalia, a name meant to evoke the diverse and culturally-rich region shared by both Arabs and Jews, uses olives from Palestinian farmers, tomatoes from Turkey, and glass jars manufactured in Egypt.

By providing people who are separated from one another by geography, the politics of antagonistic governments, past wars, and religio-ethnic rifts a project of mutual interest, the people involved in the production of these projects have come to see themselves as tied to one another. They benefit in a very tangible way -- profit -- from their interactions with one another, and so learn that it is in their best interest to cement these relationships. Once profitable and mutually-beneficial business relationships have been developed, the process of breaking down stereotypes and divisions becomes much easier. People begin to see themselves as interconnected.

With its distribution network now at 10,000 stores worldwide, PeaceWorks has grown significantly, and proven that business has a part to play in making the world a better place. The company now offers a number of different products made as joint ventures between "enemy" populations - in addition to the Meditalia products, Buddhists, Christians, and Muslims in Indonesia collaborate on PeaceWorks' Bali Spice line.

Furthermore, PeaceWorks' other products, the Be Natural and KIND healthy snack bars, though not made in a conflict region, donate 5% of their profits to Lubetzky's non-profit foundation, The PeaceWorks Foundation, whose OneVoice Movement works toward a non-violent end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the ground up.

After the failure of Oslo and the rise of the second Intifada, Lubetzky applied the same entrepreneurial sense and hands-on approach that started PeaceWorks to launch OneVoice, a grassroots movement which empowers the moderate majority of Israelis and Palestinians to take a more assertive role in resolving the conflict.

The globalisation of products and markets has radically changed business in the last century. Likewise, the globalisation and internationalisation of regional conflicts has dynamically shifted the framework for conflict resolution. In many ways OneVoice represents the non-profit mirror for the PeaceWorks LLC: its efforts are focused on the tangible, day-to-day processes of getting people involved in changing the political situation for the better. With field offices in Tel-Aviv, Ramallah, and Gaza, OneVoice has worked to create an alternative paradigm of politics in the region, transcending the "left vs. right" and "Israeli vs. Palestinian" divides to reveal that the moderate majority can prevail over the absolutist vision of an extremist minority, which so often succeeds in derailing the peace process.

In just five years, OneVoice has signed up over 430,000 members on both sides of the Green Line, and actively engaged the Israeli, Palestinian, and international leadership in heeding the call of their people to sit down and negotiate a resolution. In January of 2007, the World Economic Forum hosted a special plenary session featuring OneVoice activists, giving them a platform to pledge their support for a two state solution in front of Tzipi Livni, Shimon Peres, Mahmoud Abbas, and WEF Founder Klaus Schwab.

Progress towards peace, specifically in regions plagued by complex and internationalised conflicts, is slow at best, and the steps that must be taken do not point us down the path of least resistance. The PeaceWorks Group has gone a long way in working to prove that there is a necessary role for ordinary people -- for businesses, for citizens -- to play in the process of making peace work.




* Erin Pineda is the Communications Coordinator for the New York office of the OneVoice international headquarters, www.onevoicemovement.org. This article is distributed by the Common Ground News Service (CGNews) and can be accessed at www.commongroundnews.org.

If you like this post - click to Reddit!
add to del.icio.usAdd to digg - digg it

Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000615.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

by Moderator @ 11:20 AM CST [Link]

NEWS

Middle East e-Zine

Midde East News

Opinion Digest

Late Updates

REFERENCE

Middle East Glossary

Middle East Maps

Middle East Books

Middle East Documents

Israel-Palestine History

Israel-Palestine Timeline

Middle East Countries

Middle East Economy

Middle East Population

Middle East Health

Zionism History

Palestinian Parties

Palestinian Refugees

Peace Plans

Water

Middle East

  

Blog Links

OneVoice - Israeli-Palestinian Peace Blog

Bravo411 -Info Freedom

Israel News

Oceanguy

Michael Brenner

Dutchblog Israel

Dutch - IMO (Israel & Midden-Oosten) Blog (NL)

GulfReporter

Israpundit

Alas, a Blog

Little Green Footballs

Blue Truth

Fresno Zionism

Reut Blog

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Blog

Simply Jews: Judaism and Israel

Jeff Weintraub - Commentaries and Controversies

Vital Perspective

ZioNation

Meretz USA Weblog

normblog

MIDEAST observer

On the Contrary

Blogger News Network- BNN

Google Sex Maps

Demediacratic Nation

Realistic Dove

Tulip - Israeli-Palestinian Trade Union Assoc.

On the Face

Israel Palestjnen (Dutch)

Middle East Analysis

Israel: Like This, As If

Middle East Analysis

Mid_East Journal

Z-Word Blog

Dvar Dea

SEO for Everyone


Web Sites & Pages

Israeli-Palestinian Procon

End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: One Voice

Democratiya

ATFP- American Task Force on Palestine

Americans For Peace Now

Shalom Achshav

Chicago Peace Now

Nemashim

Peacechild Israel

Bridges of Peace

PEACE Watch

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Z-Word

Zionism

Zionism and Israel

Zionism and Israel on the Web

Israel - Palestina:Midden-Oosten Conflict + Zionisme

IsraŽl in de Media

Euston Manifesto

New Year Peace

Jew

Christian Zionism

Jew Hate

Space Shuttle Blog

Israel News Magazine

SEO


My Ecosystem Details
International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Link 2 us
We link 2 U.
MidEastWeb- Middle East News & Views
MidEastWeb is not responsible for the content of linked Web sites



Please do not leave notes for MidEastWeb editors here. Hyperlinks are not displayed. We may delete or abridge comments that are longer than 250 words, or consist entirely of material copied from other sources, and we shall delete comments with obscene or racist content or commercial advertisements. Comments should adhere to Mideastweb Guidelines . IPs of offenders will be banned.

Powered By Greymatter

[Previous entry: "Special: OIG Report on CIA Accountability With Respect to the 9/11 Attacks"] Main Index [Next entry: "Pragmatism and Brutality in Middle East Analyses"]

ALL PREVIOUS MidEastWeb Middle East LOG ENTRIES

Thank you for visiting MidEastWeb - Middle East.
If you like what you see here, tell others about the MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log - www.mideastweb.org/log/.

Contact Us

Copyright

Editors' contributions are copyright by the authors and MidEastWeb for Coexistence RA.
Please link to main article pages and tell your friends about MidEastWeb. Do not copy MidEastWeb materials to your Web Site. That is a violation of our copyright. Click for copyright policy.
MidEastWeb and the editors are not responsible for content of visitors' comments.
Please report any comments that are offensive or racist.

Editors can log in by clicking here

Technorati Profile

RSS FeedRSS feed Add to Amphetadesk Add to Amphetadesk

USA Credit Card - Donate to MidEastWeb  On-Line - Help us live and grow