See 2010 U.C. Berkeley student-initiated CROSSING CULTURAL LINES campus dialogue


Humanizing the Israel-Palestine Conflict

University of California, Berkeley   *   International House Auditorium
Sunday, May 4, 2003   *   1:00-6:00 p.m.       

Limited seating. Tickets required. No charge.
(see Reservations information below)

The afternoon's events:

Student welcome
(VIEW 16-minute video)

PANEL: Berkeley students' statements of recognition and empathy
(VIEW the exemplary 47-minute student panel)

Both Israelis and Palestinians feel deeply afraid, threatened, and wronged, and both need desperately to hear acknowledged their fears and suffering, as well as their dreams and basic goodness as a people. In advance of the event, a small panel group of Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish, and Arab students will together first on deeply hearing each other's stories. Each panel participant will share a piece of her or his own story at the Day of Mutual Recognition, including how this person's understanding of the other has evolved, and a recognition of the other as a human being.

Rabbi Michael Lerner

Rabbi Lerner, a peace activist, human rights advocate, and Zionist, will deliver a "compassionate history" of the Middle East conflict, explaining the hurtful things each side has done from within its very particular historical context, thus humanizing and making sense of actions that seem barbaric and inhuman to those on the other side. One cannot walk away from his telling of history with an attitude that either group is a monster, despite monstrous actions emerging from both people's very legitimate fears and struggles to survive.

Children of Abraham
(original music played and sung by student composer)

Mohammed Al-Atar

Mr. Al-Atar, Director of Palestinians for Peace and Democracy, grew up in a refugee camp in Jordan, though his family roots are in Jenin and Haifa for many centuries back. Just as he welcomes opportunities to learn about Jews' history, humanity, terrors, and dreams, he asks that people listen as he shares the intelligence and beauty of his own people, as well as the terrible pain and loss of life under military domination. Mr. Al-Atar was nominated this year for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award in recognition of his tireless efforts on behalf of his people, and continues to be an ardent advocate for democracy and human rights.

Palestinians and Jews in Dialogue
The Jewish-Palestine Living Room Dialogue Group will bring a panel of Palestinians and Israelis/Jews who will speak from the heart, sharing their personal narratives and the stories of their people. The Dialogue is famous for helping people to listen - to hear and understand those on the "other side" -- and to begin to soften from a purely defensive, fearful, and angry position into an ability to see the other as a human being with fears, pain, deep humanity, and legitimate needs, capable of equal excellence, affection, creativity, and cooperation.

Public dialogue
The dialogue group's founders will then facilitate as Berkeley audience members publicly share their questions, testimonials and thoughts -- and listen to one another.

Middle Eastern Dialogue Dinner
Dinner at 6:00 p.m. will follow the event, with continued small group dialoguing and sharing, and especially listening to one another.

Tickets to this event are FREE (with donations welcomed!) and can be picked up at the I-House Program Office, 2299 Piedmont Avenue, during business hours Tuesday, April 22 thru Friday, May 2, and by Wednesday, April 30 to secure a dinner ticket. Dinner tickets are reserved for those attending the full sequence of events. Seating and meals are limited, so we encourage people to pick up their tickets well in advance.
If you have questions, or cannot pick up your tickets
Write to
Directions to the Cal campus and I-House
On the Web at

This day is sponsored by Berkeley Tikkun.
Co-sponsors include: Center for Middle Eastern Studies   *   ASUC Middle East Educational Programs Fund   *   ASUC Educational Activities Committee   *   International House   *   Graduate Assembly   *   Tzedek.


A new type of Middle East activism is emerging at U.C. Berkeley's traditionally divided campus, one committed to creating security and justice for both Israelis and Palestinians. Berkeley Tikkun, a progressive student group comprised of Jews, Arabs, and other concerned Cal students, is forging a path that is both pro-Palestine and pro-Israel, and which recognizes all lives as equally sacred. We reject the current polarization in which people must pick one "side" to support by de-legitimizing the other. We are listening to everyone, learning from each other.

The students at Berkeley Tikkun have organized an afternoon symposium to give campus and community Arabs and Jews a chance to listen to each other's stories. Most Jews and Palestinians, here and in the Middle East, have never had an in-depth, sustained relationship with the other. Instead, there is a disconnect that allows people to live by their stereotypes and inherited agendas, and to continue to disregard, dehumanize, discredit, and disenfranchise one another, to commit or support continued acts of violence.

By focusing our attention on the equal humanity, the legitimate needs, and the pain and hopes of both peoples, we are breaking through the extreme polarization that currently exists, providing a safe and positive space for concerned people to engage together for the good of all involved. We see the process of humanization as fundamental to the non-violent resolution of all large-scale human conflicts, and invite anyone interested in peace to attend.

Contact information:

Berkeley Tikkun
Debra Berliner,
Mehammed Mack,
Ofer Sharone,
Ana Villa-Lobos,

Our keynote speakers
Michael Lerner:
Mohammed Al-Atar:

Founders of the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group
Libby and Len Traubman,

Pre-event article and photo published April 30, 2003 in The Berkeleyan and distributed to the faculty and staff by UC Berkeley's Office of Public Affairs:
   There's no monopoly on Mideast emotion
   Student group to host I-House event devoted to 'compassionate listening'
Jews, Arabs turn conflict to dialogue at U.C. forum reported the Jewish Bulletin of Northern California the following Friday, May 9, 2003, on the Web at:
      U.C. Berkeley is not exactly known for its harmonious relations between Jewish and Arab students. In fact, it is widely considered one of the most hostile environments in the country.
      But that image was shattered on Sunday, with more than 300 students and community members attending a conference called "Humanizing the Israel-Palestine Conflict: Day of Mutual Recognition" at the International House.

PHOTOS of the day attended by 300 are on the the Web at:

Streaming video of the first 3 hours of the day's presentations was filmed by the U.C. Berkeley Educational Technology Services who took care of audio and video capture services. Information Systems and Technology originally managed the webcast database and streaming media serving/hosting infrastructure until mid-2011. The webcast capture and archive technology was based on the Berkeley Internet Broadcasting System (BIBS), developed by the Berkeley Multimedia Research Center.
This page is for archival purposes. The campus multimedia servides have since been reorganized.

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