Draft

The Dialogistic Manifesto

Jews and Arabs Get Together

 

Discords and Hardships

Both Jew and Arab, experience each a harsh discord with humans that belong to the other public.

It involves:

Rights and interests,

Disadvantage and discrimination,

Fears and worries,

Differences in knowledge and understanding of the past we share,

Each public's priorities and practiced policy.

The varying religious denominations contribute to the discords.

The contacts of each public to fellow nationals beyond the borders affect the life within the state and raise problems in the publics' mutual relations.

The current events as well as what can be foreseen arouse concern, pain and anger - and even despair.

Recognition of Differences

Every person is acquainted with many differences that exist among members of one's own society and public - and does realize that they cannot all be described in generalities, particularly such made by an outsider.

Some of us understand that the situation must be similar for the other society as well. However we find it hard to do without generalizing, while explaining events to ourselves.

Information on the other society arrives through the communication media and various organizations and people. We have good reasons to understand that the picture we get is not reliable enough.

To the same extent we understand that in the other society as well, people get a false picture of our society: the various natures of men and women, personal beliefs and opinions, character traits, sensitivities, intellectual ability, moral perception, real needs, concerns and hopes.

Choosing to Meet

It is quite possible to ignore all this, to continue the status quo, and let the relations between the publics be formed on the basis of the existing images - without seeking out what's really there about the others, without trying to let others realize what is there about us.

We choose to do more, in order to meet humans of the other public in person, learn and teach as much as we can.

We do not know if this will bring about agreements, calmness, a cessation of distress. It is not certain that strife and fighting will thus be avoided. We might even discover that true peace is not within reach.

On the other hand, we see no reason to believe that the encounter will not beget good eventually. We are ready to be surprised. We look forward to new insights.

We seek dialogue with no promises as for the expected results.

The dialogue will be based on frankness and courage as well as on mutual respect.

Challenges of Dialog

Experience shows that meetings are liable to fail in terms of the purposes mentioned:

Sometimes because people tend to avoid tough issues that might "upset the atmosphere"

Sometimes because the meeting management fails to prevent "explosion" due to anger or hurt feelings,

Sometimes because presumptuous domination of the discourse suppresses voices that should be heard,

Sometimes because of asymmetry of status between Jews and Arabs that impairs the dignity and the equality of the participants.

Therefore, a method for the management and guidance of meetings is being formed in order to overcome these difficulties and direct the dialogue in the spirit of the present paper.

Capable and Willing

We realize that not everyone is ready or able to function under the challenges and limitations of the appropriate method, but we believe that in every public, and in each camp within the publics, there are those men and women who can and want to heed the call for a clean, fair and bold dialogue - with ones unlike them, even such opposing and hostile - without stipulating about tangible results.

Wrap-up

A number of questions with which we remain:

How many and where are those Jews and Arabs that can start now?

Will the active groups serve as an example of success?

Will they bring about a spread of Dialogue?

Is there a chance for a "community of dialogue"?

And in particular:

What can be done as for now in order to further expand the activity in this way?

 

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Asher Shla'in

P.O.Box 36242 Tel Aviv  61362

Voice Mail:  [972]-(0)3-5608150

E-Mail: asher.shlain@gmail.com
Home Phone: [972]-(0)3-5609573 (not on Sabbath)

http://www.Asher.HopeWays.org

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