Date and Time
Oct 4, 2023 5:30 pm
A Conversation and Book Signing of The Wall Between: What Jews and Palestinians Don’t Want to Know About Each Other by Raja Khouri and Jeff Wilkinson
The Wall Between: What Jews and Palestinians Don’t Want to Know About Each Other, released on October 3, 2023, is a rejection of dialog that doesn’t acknowledge imbalances of power between oppressor and oppressed. The book, which Peter Beinart calls “wise, engaging and deeply humane,” promotes a justice-centered approach to deep conversation and provides concrete ways for Jews and Palestinians to speak (and listen) to each other differently.
Distrust, enmity, and hate emanate, primarily, from the two “metanarratives” of Jews and Palestinians: the Holocaust and the Nakba. Virtually every response to the struggle, from a member of either community, can be traced back to issues of identity, trauma, and victimhood as they relate to their respective metanarrative. This book examines the role that propaganda and disinformation play in cementing trauma-induced fears for the purpose of making the task of humanizing and acknowledging the Other not just difficult, but almost inconceivable. The authors utilize recent cognitive research on the psychological and social barriers that keep Jews and Palestinians in their camps, walled off from each other. They present a clear way through, one that is justice-centered, rather than trauma-and propaganda-driven.
The book's authors, Raja Khouri and Jeff Wilkinson, a Palestinian, one a Palestinian and the other a Jew, insist that commitment to the Other means grappling with seemingly incompatible narratives until shared values are decided and acted upon. This book is a call to justice that challenges the status quo of Zionism while at the same time dealing directly with the complex histories that have created the situation today.
Raja G. Khouri is CEO of Khouri Conversations, a human rights and inclusion consultant, the founding president of the Canadian Arab Institute, board member at Project Rozana (Canada), and a former 10-year commissioner with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. He is Canada Committee member of Human Rights Watch, and co-founder of the Canadian Arab/Jewish Leadership Dialogue Group.
Jeffrey J. Wilkinson, PhD, is an American Jew who lives in Canada. He holds a doctorate in Education from the University of Toronto and works actively in the Jewish community and beyond on issues relating to trauma and the Israel/Palestine struggle. Jeff’s partnership with Raja, borne out of deep listening and learning together, has become central to his work.
This inspiring book presents Arabs and Jews with the challenge of seeing the “other” as we want them to see us - fully human, with our hurts, history, and hopes for the future. It is a pure application of Martin Buber on the importance of forming ‘I-Thou relationships’
because when we recognize the humanity of others, it enhances our own humanity, as well. – James Zogby, president and co-founder of the Arab American Institute
That this book even exists is remarkable. It’s extraordinarily difficult for a Palestinian and a Jew to write a book that fairly conveys the dominant mood in both communities about
Palestine - Israel. But this book not only exists - it’s wise, engaging and deeply humane. It will prove an essential text in bringing diaspora Jews and Palestinians together in the justice movement that this moment demands. – Peter Beinart, author of The Crisis of Zionism
“If you are serious about building empathy and understanding between Jews and Palestinians in the diaspora, this book by Khouri and Wilkinson must be your first step on that journey. It captures the really tough core dynamics and constraints anchored in past and present issues of identity, vulnerability, and trauma; and it suggests mutual steps forward to overcome them, in a manner that is at once pioneering, courageous, vital, and a blessing to all concerned who dare to set out on this path.” — Rami Khouri, co-director of Global Engagement at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and non-resident senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School