Keep talking

As you may know last November I was privileged to be part of a trip of Muslims, Christians and Jews from across the political spectrum (as far as possible) exploring many issues, but particularly how dialogue around Israel and Palestine might be improved in the UK, acknowledging that it is often either an elephant in the room, or a discussion that destroys conversations and trust.

It is a discussion that the group continues to have, and this means a huge amount to me, as it is a conversation that people want to have, and that we need to be better at having. There are always different ways of reading stats or understanding an event through different lenses. One of the participants, Ray Gaston, whose blog and writings and general wisdom I have already hugely enjoyed learning from, posted a response by a Jewish academic I have long respected and occasionally met at interfaith conferences; Amy Jill Levine, to the Methodist Report. The report caused a lot of hurt and worry in the Jewish community, but was also the cause of a lot of productive dialogue, and had some important things to say, even if the whole was hard to hear.

For me, the trip wasn't about changing anything on the ground there, but improving our conversations here, so I really appreciate the continuing discussion we are all able to have, and I thought this post was a good example of that:


  1. I'm not aware what the Methodist report says, but I doubt that theology is the answer as there are many different interpretations of Scriptures. I have heard Naim Ateek of Sabeel speak and he clearly reads Scripture in a very different way from those Jews and Christians who believe the land Abraham inhabited was given to him and his descendant for all time - although they need to remember that Abraham had two sons.

    Somehow both sides need to learn to trust each other and work out a way to share the land and live alongside each other that is mutually acceptable. Their leaders do indeed need to keep talking, as do organisations like Sabeel, B'Tselem and Bat Shalom et al.

    The trouble is there is so much fear and mistrust, no to mention so many issues that are emotive, on both sides. I so hope to see a just and peaceful settlement in my lifetime.


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