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Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue: Turning enemies into partners
an article by Libby & Len Traubman

We are part of a 10-year-old Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group here on the San Francisco Peninsula -- 30 women and men; young and old; Holocaust survivors and 20th generation Palestinians -- preparing for our 134th meeting, learning to change strangers into friends, "enemies" into partners, while initiating concrete projects that help people and invigorate the public peace process, here and overseas. Now there are 10 dialogue groups in our area, and the idea is moving into new towns and campuses nationwide.

We find that the "action" of Dialogue is citizen-to-citizen, face-to-face relationship building, beginning with compassionate listening. People hear each other's stories, begin to see one another as human and equal, and finally start to want the best for each other. This has been dearly missing in life. The next "action" is to expand the depth and numbers of those circles of women, men, and youth. Dialogue is not about taking "sides" and political "positions." It is about listening to everyone and excluding no one.

Hoping to extend the dialogue process, we can mail to interested readers our 25-page printed "Reconciliation Resource" booklet, as well as two shorter pamphlets, "Building Relationship: Basis for Change" and "Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue." A 10-minute VHS or PAL format videotape of recent MSNBC coverage of the Dialogue here is also available. You can view this on our webpage at

We urge you to do what you can and encourage others to "be for both people's equally" and try not to "take sides." As Einstein once said, "We cannot solve today's problems with the same kind of thinking that produced them."


Question(s) related to this article:

Jewish-Palestinian dialogue, How is dialogue different from conversation, discussion, or debate?

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Latest reader comment:

Len and Libby Traubman have sent in the following important addition to their year-end review of the public peace process for Palestiinian-Jewish dialogue.


    In December, 2003, a delegation of 33 of America's most prominent Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders met in Washington, DC to announce their new, unprecedented, collaborative effort -- The National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East.

    These citizen-leaders of their faiths, and their plans, are described at:

    They will continue working within their communities and together "to mobilize broad public support for active, determined and effective U.S. leadership in pursuit of peace between Israel, the Palestinians and Arab states."

    They insist on a viable, independent, democratic Palestinian state alongside the existing state of Israel with enduring peace and security for both sides, thus amplifying the voices of increasing numbers of courageous Arabs and Jews of goodwill.

    The Washington convergence was initiated by A Different Future (, the U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East
(, and the United Religions Initiative ( with initial financial support from the Nathan Cummings Foundation.

This report was posted on June 6, 2003.