We, the RECE steering committee, condemn the recent and unfortunately recurring escalation of violence in Palestine and Israel. While we welcome the current ceasefire, we are appalled by the killing of children and add our voices to the global calls for a permanent end to the violence.
RECE stands in solidarity with all children, families, communities and educators affected by violence, war, oppression, discrimination, marginalisation, racism and injustice and inequality.
While we express our disgust about the indiscriminate violence against the people of Palestine and Israel, we are aware of our responsibility, as educators, to address all forms of oppression and discrimination, where- and whenever they occur. We emphasise that our responsibility as a collective of critical early childhood educators cannot be limited to this call for an end to violence, important as it is. Our responsibilities go deeper, they connect to our ability to act, as educators and scholars, in our own local and global contexts. Our first responsibility is to educate ourselves, i.e., to build our knowledge about the history and the politics of what is too often portrayed as a local ‘conflict’ between Palestine and Israel, and about its connections with our own histories and politics.
From this follows our second responsibility: to build on our knowledge to educate children and engage in pedagogies that proactively address all forms of oppression.
RECE wants to honour these responsibilities and will provide spaces for critical consideration and exploration. We will soon announce a first webinar on the role and potential of early childhood education in the context of violence.
Concerning the situation in Palestine and Israel, and the complexities that underpin it, we will offer a first opening and invitation to critical debate in our RECE blog. Soon we will publish a first blog post on the settler-colonialist project in Palestine that dates back decades if not centuries before the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948. It is deeply connected to centuries of both global colonisation and systematic anti-Semitism in ‘Western’ (European and US) history. In this extended blog post we will argue that our role as critical educators requires us to engage with this shared history.