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Last updated: 2005-06-17

Jews unite to Make Poverty History

Jews unite to Make Poverty History

What is the Make Poverty History Jewish Coalition (MPHJC) all about?

In the UK, 2005 will be a unique year of opportunities to get development messages onto the political agenda and drive forward the struggle against poverty and injustice. These opportunities include the UK holding the presidency of the G8 and the EU, and the likelihood of a general election. To seize these opportunities, a growing number of UK organisations and networks have decided to work together in a joint mobilisation to MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY.

The MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY Jewish Coalition is an exciting, unprecedented venture for the UK Jewish community. The coalition has forged a unified group of many varied sectors of the UK Jewish community including most of the larger synagogue movements, youth and student groups and civil society organisations in the Jewish community. This sort of cooperation is not unprecedented, however it is amazingly rare.

As the focus of the campaign is outward looking, it has enabled many organisations to overlook the theoretical difficulties involved with cooperation and coordination. This campaign has no barriers of religion, ethnic origin or other factors that divide the society we live in. It is an important time for the Jewish community to stand up and be counted.

The aims of the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY campaign are part of Jewish tradition. The coalition has adopted the phrase from Deuteronomy “Justice, Justice, Shall you pursue” as its logo. The word for justice in this case is Tzedakah, and the same word is commonly used in Jewish circles to denote charity. Its true meaning embodies both charity and justice. The eminent twelfth century philosopher Maimonides, when talking about Tzedakah explains (in his Eight Degrees of Charity) that the most effective way to help the poor is to empower them to overcome their poverty, just as the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY campaign is trying to do.

The twin goals of this mobilisation are to achieve specific policy reforms in 2005 and lay firm foundations for policy reforms beyond 2005, in the linked areas of trade, aid and debt. Success will depend on demonstrating popular support for development in 2005. It is our aim that the Jewish Coalition will both raise awareness within the Jewish communities we represent as well as mobilise individuals to make their voices heard throughout 2005.

Events and Activities
Throughout  2005 mobilisation-based and educational-based programmes will be launched, supported by educational programmes and materials produced by the MPHJC. There will be a large mobilization for community participation in the Edinburgh rally on July 2, 2005.