by mgopin on July 21, 2008 · 4 comments burst onto the scene of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking very recently. This is a crowded field of many fledgling and worthy groups, each seeking to make change in their own way. These groups have one overriding challenge in this most lasting Middle East conflict. That is the challenge of equality and equal voice. There is no greater or more important task today than to create a platform and envision a space in which Jews and Palestinians can engage in equality as they struggle to make positive change. There has been a lot of language thrown around in this conflict, language about coexistence, about dialogue, and about reconciliation. All good words. But we have come to understand that much of this framing is inadequate to addressing the deepest roots of the conflict, as well as a methodology of change that will really make a difference.

The platform provided by, the nature of its conversations that are constantly evolving, are creating a space for deep dialogue, for the evolution of friendships, for networking to engage in positive joint actions. But above all it is in the nature of the platform that all voices are equal. And that is the key to the method of engaging the present moment, the key antidote to the tragedies of the past, and the key to hope in the future.

As with much of web-based relationships, there is a certain nakedness to the engagements, these two peoples at war with each other are represented by such diversity in all its glorious imperfections. But this is the real world of indigenous peoples, of expatriates, of old and young, of the passionate and the loving, of the intellectual and the rash, all searching with biases in tow. This is the real world, not the artificial constructs of academia or foreign ministries. What moves Jewish and Palestinian people here is likely to be moving, what appalls people here is likely to be appalling, and what makes sense to a spectrum of both peoples here is likely to be sensible.

This is rare, in terms of serious peacemaking, conflict resolution and diplomacy. It is the equality of voices, young and old, seasoned and biased, naïve and idealistic, male and female, spiritual and agnostic, intellectual and activist, that makes it the most compelling place today to test out new ideas and new approaches.

It is also the new way of organizing the future. It occurs to me of late, with the violence and self-destructive behavior reaching such absurd levels, that more than anything Palestinians and Jews need a future, and actually need to believe that there is a future. is a vision of that future. It is the embodiment of what we Jews and Palestinians, Arabs, Christians, and Muslims, Europeans and Americans, would be doing with each other if we had no weapons but were armed only with our over-active minds, our quirks, our stubbornness, our biases, our anger and pain, our memories, our love and passion, our yearnings for each other–and our hopes. This is a gift.

© Marc Gopin

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