UJIA Resources for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – May 2021

This collection of sources and resources was initially collated on 14/05/21 for our Israel Fast Track Fellowship participants. Updated as a resource to support educators and parents in discussing current events on 19/05/21.

A PDF version of this collection can be found here.

‘Me’ or ‘Him’ –
Thus begins the war.
But it Ends with an awkward encounter:
‘Me and him.’

Mahmoud Darwish, Palestinian poet, ‘State of Siege’, translated by Fady Joudah, 2002

‘Who are the good guys? That’s what every well-meaning European, left-wing European, intellectual European, liberal European always wants to know, first and foremost. Who are the good guys in the film and who are the bad guys? In this respect Vietnam was easy: The Vietnamese people were the victims, and the Americans were the bad guys…

‘The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a Wild West movie. It is not a struggle between good and evil, rather it is a tragedy in the ancient and most precise sense of the word: a clash between right and right, a clash between one very powerful, deep, and convincing claim, and another very different but no less convincing, no less powerful, no less humane claim.’

Amos Oz, Israeli novelist, ‘How to Cure a Fanatic’

UJIA’s mission is to develop informed, confident Jews who are inspired by Israel. As part of our educational work, we educate towards a critical engagement with multiple narratives of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We view this as a core part of working towards our vision of a strong British Jewry with a lifelong commitment to Israel. We support young people to develop their Jewish identities and connection to the people of Israel. We stand in solidarity with the people of Israel and hope for peace and security for all its citizens.

A narrative is a story that people tell about themselves. It is an interpretative framework that allows people to understand, construct and negotiate reality, by contemplating core questions, ideas, and conflicts. Narratives are ubiquitous, unavoidable, and not the same thing as biases. Narratives are at the core of ideology and are fundamentally about: History, identity, culture, memory, sociology, psychology, self-image, self-projection, and meaning.

As educators, we believe it is important to welcome a range of perspectives into any conversation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although many students and young people may have a clear answer about who is right and who is wrong, there may also be various perspectives in the room. We strive to ensure everyone feels comfortable asking questions, and that we explore the more difficult areas with them. As educators, youth workers and parents we must resist the temptation to prove that we are “right.” Some students might be alarmed by the violence in the streets of Israel; some students might have family or friends affected; some may be distressed by the painful images of those who have been injured or killed. There are a variety of emotions that young people may be experiencing at the moment and there might be a range of narratives that young people might identify with at times like this.

 The sources included below are a range of voices and perspectives to help you and your students wrestle with narratives – their own and other peoples. The resources below come from a range of political perspectives – right, left and centre and represent a broad gamut of conversation and debate within Israel and Diaspora communities. We know that we haven’t included everything we possibly could, we may also be missing voices that you or your students find important.

This resource is offered with no expectation that this should be the resource. Please read widely and from sources with a range of experiences and expertise. Above all aim for an approach that is nuanced, multi-vocal and come to your own conclusions.

As part of our educational approach, we encourage students and young people to examine a range of voices from both Israelis and Palestinians with a variety of perspectives. We believe that engaging with these voices and perspectives helps students and young people develop their own narratives and beliefs. This also enables them to build empathy with and understanding of others, which is a crucial step towards building a shared society and peaceful resolution to the conflict.

The voices and perspectives below are offered with no specific endorsement of their viewpoints or opinions expressed.

If you would like to discuss these resources, would like further links, or would appreciate support in discussing Israel, Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict please contact either:

Eli Gaventa, Head of Youth and Students (eli.gaventa@ujia.org) or Melanie Kelly, Head of Children and Families (melanie.kelly@ujia.org)