Blood Relations: Uniting Israelis, Palestinians

Saatchi & Saatchi Brings Two Sides Together With Winning Blood Drive Effort

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Saatchi & Saatchi has brought together bereaved Israeli and Palestinian parents as part of an initiative called Blood Relations, encouraging people from both sides of the conflict to come together to give blood.

The initiative is the result of "The Impossible Brief" competition, a global creative contest launched by Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide to find ideas to help bring the two sides together. The winner was Jean-Christophe Royer, a creative director from BETC Paris, who came up with this simple but powerful idea.

Blood Relations debuted Sept. 21, the UN's international peace day, with a day of donations at Israeli and Islamic hospitals. All the blood will be shared by both Palestinian and Israeli patients, underlining the project's key challenge, "Could you hurt someone who has your blood running through their veins?"

For those who are not able to give blood in person, there is a website, bloodrelations.org, that allows them to give "virtual blood" and register their support on social media. Supermodel Bar Rafaeli, who comes from Tel Aviv, has already donated virtually and urged her 60,742 Twitter followers to do the same.

Dorit Gvili, VP-head of production and content at Saatchi & Saatchi Israel, has been coordinating the project on-site. "It's a very sensitive time," Gvili says. "There were terror attacks last week, and we were afraid the initiative would not be accepted and people would be cynical; but I'm happy to say it's been a huge success. We're not saying who's right or wrong -- we are going back to basics and saying we're all equal."

Saatchi & Saatchi is working closely with the Shimon Peres Center for Peace and the Parents Circle Family Forum on the project. The agency is creating a film documenting the blood donations, which will be screened at an exhibition at the Center for Peace displaying all the Impossible Brief finalists.

"We believe the power is shifting to the people -- look what happened in Egypt, Tripoli, Libya and Syria," Ms. Gvili says. "If we can create awareness that our blood is the same, we can persuade people not to spill it. It's a powerful message."

The Parents Circle Family Forum was established in 1995 to promote reconciliation between the two sides. It operates from two offices, one in Israel and one in Palestine, and is staffed by a large body of volunteers from bereaved families.

Ali Abu Awwad, spokesman and project manager for the Parents Circle Families Forum, said in a statement, "Blood Relations seeks to provide a catalyst for dialogue by demonstrating two people's shared humanity through the common bond of blood. It is incumbent upon us to stress the need for an ongoing dialogue toward peace."

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