August Dialogue – The Conflict in Israel and Gaza

Many of us in the Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society of Washington are becoming deeply depressed by the fighting in Israel and Gaza.  As a result, a number of folks in the JIDS community have requested that we hold a dialogue regarding the situation as soon as possible.  The decision has been made to engage in such a dialogue on the afternoon of Sunday, August 10th.  You can assume that the central activity in this event will involve small group discussions.  The Muslim Community Center, 15200 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MC, has graciously agreed to host the event.  It will begin at 2:30 p.m. and continue until roughly 5:00 p.m.. To ensure that such a dialogue will be productive, we will approach this topic with extreme sensitivity.  For most of us, the emotions are still raw and will surely continue to stay that way for a while.  We are also cognizant of the fact that our interfaith community is diverse in many ways and that our views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict span quite a range.   All this suggests that everyone who comes must agree to honor some basic principles. First, those who speak must be succinct and those who listen must be respectful. Second, let’s please try to avoid picking verbal fights with one another. Third, the goals here are to express what you’ve been feeling and to listen lovingly to perspectives that are different from your own.  Please resist the urge to lecture people on this topic. As for the content of what you might want to talk about, consider addressing some of the following: a.What are your connections to Gaza or Israel or both? b. Where is your heart breaking? c. Where do you find that you have conflicting values when thinking about this? d. What is one thing you can think of doing personally that might help the situation? The coordinators of this event will try not to approach it with the rigidity of 19th century schoolteachers.  But nor can we allow the event to get out of hand and permit a few voices to attempt to drown out and dominate the others.  In a situation like this one, where the fighting is continuing, surely every person’s heart has something to teach the rest of us, and just as surely, none of us – including the Israelis, the Palestinians, and the professors among us – has a monopoly over the truth. Take care, and I look forward to seeing many of you on August 10th.