Jewish-Arab/Palestinian dialogue. Yael Skorkowich et al.

By Yael Skorkowich

In designing the dialogue program, the leaders (faculty and students) considered one main dilemma:  Should the dialogue openly grapple with political discussions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or not? The article seeks to reveal the patterns of the power relationship between the initiators/facilitators of the program, who were female students (one Arab and one Jewish, both citizens of Israel), and the academic researcher (Jewish Israeli) during the negotiation process and the impact on the decisions taken.

The paper presents insightful reflection on the ‘positionalities’ of those leading the process. It makes explicit power processes which are described so we may better understand the power dynamics of such interactions. It offers suggestions for how to engage participants in designing participation intervention programs.

ARJ Associate Editor Victor Friedman who led the review of this paper explains why he recommends the paper:  “This paper is really superb! It breaks new ground in taking a very deep and studied look at the intricacies of power relationships at the intersection of conflict transformation and action research processes in dealing with difficult ethnic-political conflicts. It is a critical guide for anyone wanting to initiate and guide such processes, especially (but not just) in academic settings.”

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