Resource Wisdom and Principles for Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue

About meeting together

"Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing, there is a field.
I'll meet you there."

Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-1273)

About "story"

"An enemy is one whose story we have not heard."
Ms. Gene Knudsen-Hoffman (1919-2010)

"During the many years of my career as a Hebrew teacher for Palestinians in Gaza, and
as an Arabic teacher for the Jews and foreigners at Ulpan Akiva in Israel,
I have heard the same kinds of questions and comments expressed by both sides,
showing how ignorant we are about one another. We know nothing about each other,
in spite of being the children of sister Semitic languages and having
the same cultural roots."

Samira Shaa'ban Srur Fadil
Director, Palestinian Abraham Language School
Rimal, Gaza

"There" are two stories here and there is a quality of transcendence - seeing
beyond the 'Jewish Narrative' or the 'Palestinian Narrative' - to a perspective that can
humanize both sides and hear the 'other' story. A transcender after all has
abandoned the exclusive quality of his or her narrative of origin."

Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener, Hartford, CT

To reconcile conflicting parties, we must have the ability to
understand the suffering of both sides.
If we take sides, it is
impossible to do the work of reconciliation.
And humans want to take sides.
That is why the situation gets worse and worse.
Are there people who are still available to both sides?
They need not do much. They need do only one thing:
Go to one side and tell all about
the suffering endured by the other side, and
go to the other side and tell all about
the suffering endured by this side.
This is our chance for peace.
But how many of us are able to do that?
Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist Monk

About listening

"The Talmud says that
we were given two ears but
only one tongue
to teach us that
we should listen twice as much as we speak.
The key to all good human relations is in listening."

Rabbi Phillip J. Bentley, Temple Sholom, Floral Park, NY

"The person with the will and skill for listening
has the power
to transform the relationship."

Libby Traubman, Co-founder, Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue

About dialogue

"Dialogue is to love, what blood is to the body.
When the flow of blood stops, the body dies.
When dialogue stops, love dies and resentment and hate are born.
But dialogue can restore a dead relationship.
Indeed, this is the miracle of dialogue:
it can bring relationship into being, and
it can bring into being once again a relationship that has died.
There is only one qualification to these claims for dialogue:
it must be mutual and proceed from both sides,
and the parties to it must persist relentlessly."

Reuel L. Howe
The Miracle of Dialogue, 1963

"Suppose we were able to share meanings freely
without a compulsive urge to impose our view or to conform to those of others and
without distortion and self-deception.
Would this not constitute a real revolution in culture?"

David Bohm, Changing Consciousness, 1992

"Dialogue is about what we value and how we define it.
It is about discovering what our true values are, about
Looking beyond the superficial and automatic answers to our questions.
Dialogue is about expanding our capacity for
attention, awareness and learning with and from each other.
It is about exploring the frontiers of
what it means to be human, in relationship to each other and our world."

Glenna Gerard, 1995

About the importance of citizens in the public peace process

"There are some things only governments can do, such as negotiating binding agreements. But
there are some things that only citizens outside government can do, such as
changing human relationships."

Dr. Harold Saunders, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, and Negotiator of the Camp David Accords

Dr. Saunders clarifies this in his 1999 book, "A PUBLIC PEACE PROCESS:
Sustained Dialogue to Transform Racial and Ethnic Conflicts."

About genuine power

"We will only be mighty when we turn our enemy into our friend."
Rabbi Sydney Mintz, Congregation Emanu-El, San Francisco, October, 2000

Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group, 1448 Cedarwood Drive, San Mateo, CA 94403
Voice: 650-574-8303 Fax: 650-573-1217 E-mail:

Return to Family Homepage
Return to Main Homepage