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Belsize church hosts joint Israel/Palestine fundraiser concert this weekend

Music without frontiers,a music and culinary event at St Peter's church to promote Israeli/Palestinian unity, has been organised by Anna Marks, Violeta Barrena and Muna Ileiwat. Picture: Nigel Sutton Music without frontiers,a music and culinary event at St Peter's church to promote Israeli/Palestinian unity, has been organised by Anna Marks, Violeta Barrena and Muna Ileiwat. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Friday, August 1, 2014
9:57 AM

A joint Israeli and Arab fundraiser promoting Muslim and Jewish unity is set to take place at a church following what organisers say is a rising number of “hateful online posts” about the conflict in Gaza.

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Music Without Frontiers, takes place on Saturday at St Peter’s Church in Belsize Square, and will feature the music of Arab, Jewish and Christian musicians, with a buffet of Arab and Israeli cuisine.

Organisers Anna Marks, 24, Violeta Barrena, 28, and Muna Ileiwat hope the fundraiser will “bring communities together” and stop “the spread of hate”.

Ms Barrena, a musician from Greencroft Gardens, West Hampstead, said: “We both saw hateful posts about the situation in Gaza getting worse and worse so wanted to do something to help spread understanding and unity. The worst thing we can do in this situation is to create more hate. The best thing to do is help the victims of this terrible conflict.

“Both Palestinians and Israelis want to live in peace but it’s the people in power that are preventing this from happening.”

Food has been donated by celebrity Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi as well as Palestinian families.

The event will raise money for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), a charity that sends doctors and drugs to troubled areas.

Organisers say there will be “some dialogue” about events in Israel and Gaza at the event, but stressed it will be a “politically neutral” space. A MSF representative will also speak.

Ms Marks, 24, from Clapham, said: “The event is neither pro-Palestinian nor pro-Israeli. It’s also not ‘anti’ either side.

“It’s about using music and food to get people to realise we are all essentially the same and want the same things.

“We started seeing the protests around the country and the things people were saying, and wanted to make sure that people knew members of the Jewish community also cared about the humanitarian side of this conflict.”

Tickets cost £10 (£15 inc. food and drink) and can be bought at violetaviolin.com

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