Dear TalkMatters Supporters,

The tragedy continues in Gaza and Israel and with it the further polarisation of UK society.  Sloppy journalism combines with fear mongering social media to create an enemy mentality.  How many people are really informed about this very complex situation?  It is easy to take one side without considering what lies behind the story.  And why is this the story that has the focus time and time again despite terrorism and famine in many other parts of the world?  The situation is totally depressing but the grassroots initiatives that TalkMatters supports and the people who support TalkMatters still exist and that gives me hope.  We stand together to provide a different platform, a different space where we acknowledge the suffering on both sides and recognise both narratives.  We know that there are many moderate Israelis and Palestinians who through their interest in music, ecology, hi-tech, religion, etc. are meeting together and building up trust.  

Today our series of one minute video clips – Voices of Hope and Fear- concludes with four messages.  We present videos from myself and Tamara Jacobs both working on TalkMatters and two of our long-standing supporters Sharon Goldstein and Wallee Mc Donnell.  We are from very different backgrounds but we believe that peace is still possible through grassroots work with significant governmental changes.  

Jenny Nemko, Founder of Talk Matters

Jenny first became involved in projects that bring Palestinian and Israeli Jewish people together when looking for “good news” stories in the Middle East for BBC Radio. This was followed by years of supporting such projects. Jenny is the former Chairwoman and current Trustee of Oasis of Peace UK. She is co-Chairwoman of the Pinner & District Faiths Forum. Jenny believe that promoting the equality and integration of the Palestinian Arab minority is one of the most important challenges for Israeli society. 

Tamara Jacobs, TalkMatters Social Media Coordinator

Tamara is a Communications and Content Strategy Consultant for values-driven organisations. She moved to the UK from Canada in 2007 to do her MA in Publishing Studies at City University. She has worked on social media and digital media ad campaigns, as well as content-led partnerships for B2B brands including Facebook, BP, Barclays and more. Like so many of us, Tamara was feeling helpless following the tragic events of October 7th.   She reached out to TalkMatters because she wanted to do something to help, to amplify stories of hope amidst a news storm overrun by fear, and because she believes in the power of dialogue to build bridges. 

Sharon Goldstein, Longstanding TalkMatters Supporter

Sharon is privileged to share her year of birth with that of the State of Israel and has strong emotional ties with its wellbeing.  Along with her Rabbi husband, they have organised many congregational visits to Israel.  Having worked as a magistrate, the laws and rites of all Israeli citizens are of paramount importance to her.  For many years Sharon has supported people at the time of their bereavements, both Jews and non-Jews, UK country-wide and abroad and now she feels the greatest responsibility ever to offer support and comfort to those whose lives have been so bereaved by the events on and following October 7th.

Wallee Mc Donnell, Longstanding TalkMatters Supporter & Director of Celebrate Life CIC

Wallee is a Director of Celebrate Life CIC based in London where he combines his passions for social justice and raising awareness about the need for personal peace.  These passions are reflected in Wallee’s commitment to making a genuine difference in the lives of those in need. Celebrate Life uses the medium of short films and documentaries to heighten awareness of social issues such as knife crime.  This creative approach not only enriches the art community but also inspires positive change. 

Difficult Questions about Israel and Palestine on social media

Difficult Questions is the brain child of Tamara Jacobs.  Tamara, Founder of The Creative Strategist is helping with our social media content.  You can see her on the Hopes and Fears video clip above.   She is starting a conversation where concerns as well as ideas can be shared in a respectful way on social media.  Tamara hopes to create a space where people can feel comfortable to discuss their thoughts and feelings on a very tricky subject.  

Conversations, even within our own friendship groups, are difficult when it comes to talking about Gaza and Israel.  Tamara is using social media to ask difficult questions such as Why am I struggling to have open and honest conversations about Israel and Palestine? and Do I know enough about what is going on in Israel and Palestine to enter into discussion?  on TalkMatters’s Instagram, Twitter/X, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts – look for the hashtag #israelandpalestinedifficultquestions on any of those platforms to join the conversation.

With all good wishes,
Jenny and the TalkMatters team

Watch other videos from the Hopes & Fears series of clips