Building a movement

Gun Free Kitchen Tables (GFKT) has emphasized collaborative work from the outset. We pool expertise and share resources with an array of organizations and individuals. Some of these are formal members of the GFKT Coalition (currently numbering 16 feminist and civil society organizations) while others join forces with us for particular projects and activities. This flexible format enables consistent conversation with a wide range of activists and groups.

In 2017, the report Loose Guns, laid foundations for challenging multiple forms of arms proliferation in the civil sphere and paved way for coordination with Palestinian feminist organizations in Israel. The living, active network facilitated by GFKT affords sound, nuanced knowledge on the “gun realities” experienced in diverse communities in Israel. It also makes for democratic, yet swift and efficient decision making on new strategies or plans and for increased engagement in implementing these plans.

Beyond the formal GFKT Coalition, we are in close contact with organizations such as Altufula, Women Against Violence, Noam – Association for Arab Women Center, as well as the Israel Organization of Murder Victims’ Families, Mahapach-Taghir, along with independent activists, all of whom take practical roles in carrying out key strategies. This loose but coordinated network is taking the lead in the struggle for responsible gun laws, against the non-enforcement of gun laws in Palestinian communities in Israel and against the current government policy of mass civilian armament.

Small arms disarmament and gun control was almost a non-issue in Israel’s civil society before the foundation of GFKT. By now, largely through our collaborative work, it has been prioritized on the agendas of a growing number of civil society organizations. Today, the movement’s messaging is presented through multiple channels and a growing number of groups have are acquiring recognition as authoritative sources on small arms policies.

GFKT Lectures and Workshops

Gun Free Kitchen Tables regularly provides lectures and workshops on small arms policies, small arms proliferation, gun laws, the current reality of gun violence monitored by GFKT and its gender and group specific aspects, the work we do at the GFKT project itself and the GFKT Coalition, and the growing small arms disarmament and gun control movement in Israel. The format of each gathering – whether a lecture, a participatory workshop etc. – is largely determined by the inviting group or individual(s), the venue and the prospective audience.

Since GFKT was founded in 2010 we have given about forty talks, lectures and workshops. These have been hosted by university and college courses (at Oranim College, Tel Hai College, Tel Aviv University, Haifa University, Bar Ilan University), by academic conferences (at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva, by Sabanci University in Istanbul and SOAS in London), by a high school group (from Natanya), by sister organizations (in Nazareth, Haifa, Mghar, Lod, Tel Aviv), by activist gatherings (in Ramallah, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Nazareth), at a book launch, a Herzlia parlor meeting and at large public events. In 2019 we also held a first webinar, initiated by a group from the Assembly of Conservative Rabbis from the US and Israel and galvanizing a lively online conversation. Audiences at GFKT’s talks have ranged from several hundred (at public events and students’ events) through a few dozen (at university courses, academic conferences and activist gatherings) to small intimate groups geared to in-depth dialogue (a group of 3 high school students preparing a research paper). We present in Hebrew, Arabic and English.

סדנה-עם-מייסא
Workshop by atty. Meisa Irshaid for 20 Palestinian students from al-Jazur organization in Lidda,
13 March 2018

GFKT Findings Studied in Academia

Till recently, Israeli academic fields such as law, gender studies, sociology, anthropology or epidemiology, public health were oblivious to small arms issues, in stark contrast to academic research of small arms throughout the world. The emerging small arms movement is now generating interest in these questions in local academia and the void is beginning to fill up, firstly with GFKT findings and publications. Sections of the GFKT report Loose Guns as well as our groundbreaking petition to the High Court of Justice have been included in the syllabi of several academic courses for discussion in class. GFKT materials and lectures feature in courses at Haifa University, Tel Hai College and Ono Academic College. In addition, perceptions of small arms form part of a comprehensive study-in-progress by feminist researchers Sarai Aharoni, Amalia Saar and Alisa Levine.

Coordination with Palestinian feminist organizations

We conduct ongoing coordination and shared knowledge building with two Palestinian feminist organizations from Israel, Altufula and Women Against Violence. Another Palestinian feminist organization, Noam, joined our petition to the High Court of Justice along with Women Against Violence.

Partnership with Mahapach-Taghir

Following several GFKT workshops hosted by the Jewish-Palestinian critical education organization Mahapach-Taghir, for staff and for activists, we are now developing a new, exciting partnership. In collaboration with Mahapch-Taghir, GFKT is co-leading a group of activist women from the Galilee town of Mghar in the first steps of an action-research project. Along with these activists we are conducting a mapping of gun violence in the town, towards identifying recurring characteristics and patterns and locating potential points of intervention through which to promote change.

Workshop for coordinators of Mahapach-Taghrir, Haifa, 23 December 2017. Photo: Fida Tabouni
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