The Freedom Lecture with Jamil al Qassas en Assaf Yacobovitz


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The seventeenth freedom lecture is being held by Palestinian Jamil al Qassas and Israeli Assaf Yacobovitz, both active within the movement Combatants for Peace. This organization was founded in 2006 by (former) Israeli soldiers and Palestinian combatants, who decided to lay down their arms and by means of nonviolent protest speak out against the occupation. Combatants for Peace cooperates towards a peaceful solution for both populations.


The Combatants for Peace are nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize!

What makes Combatants for Peace so exceptional is that in an extremely polarized and unequal environment, people dare to think across the boundaries of their own in-group. Compassion and empathy are not only key concepts for the organization, but in the case of the Israel-Palestine conflict, almost revolutionary. Despite the huge resistance within their own group and the political reality of violence on both sides, Combatants for Peace stays committed towards a peaceful solution, because they believe in a long term strategy where eventually our common humanity will triumph.


In times of global polarization where different groups seem to live completely in their own reality and point out the other as the scapegoat, we are going to engage in a conversation between al Qassas and Yacobovitz about their radical belief in the strength of empathy.


Jamil al Qassa was born as a Palestinian in the Deheisha refugee camp outside of Bethlehem. He participated in the first Intifada, an uprising where he was consecutively jailed for thirteen times and his brother was killed. He now lives in Deheisha with his wife and children, works in construction and is active in his local community, being part of The Parents Circle – Families Forum as well as Combatants for Peace.


Assaf Yacobovitz served as an officer in the Israeli Airforce. He took part in Operation Cast Lead, which was part of the first Gaza War. After this experience, Assaf decided to join Combatants for Peace. He lives in Tel Aviv where he works as a psychologist.

In these days of global polarisation, when different population groups seem to living in separate realities, always keen to point the finger at someone else, Janneke Stegeman joins al Qassas and Yacobovitz to discuss their radical belief in the power of empathy. 



Janneke Stegeman is bible specialist and theologian of the year. After spending two years in Jerusalem carrying out research into religion and conflict, she became particularly interested in both the creative and the potentially destructive side of conflict. 


On the 30th of March Jamil al Qassas and Assaf Yacobovitz will hold the Freedom Lecture at De Balie in Amsterdam.

This Freedom Lecture is in cooperation with Movies that Matter, Vfonds, Democratie en Media, Movies that Matter en De Balie.



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