The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East erupted yet again in May 2021. The violence and fight for land and rights goes back thousands of years, though the State of Israel was established in 1948. Meanwhile, thousands have lost their lives and more continue to suffer. It’s considered the unsolvable conflict. But is peace in the Middle East truly impossible?
Tony Award winner J.T. Rogers, experts Aziz Abu Sarah (National Geographic Explorer, TED Fellow, peace-builder) and Libby Lenkinski (New Israel Fund) and host Ruthie Fierberg discuss the approach to peace in the context of Rogers’ play and HBO film Oslo, how things have changed since Oslo Peace Accords, possible solutions, and, most importantly, how to ease the suffering of Israelis and Palestinians now.
Create the change
- Listen to the new podcast “Groundwork”, a collaboration between the NIF and AMEP, to hear current stories from the region and activism on the ground.
- Take a MEDJI tour.
- Read Aziz’s book “Crossing Boundaries – A Traveler’s Guide To World Peace”
- Listen to accounts from the Parents Circle and donate.
- Seek out Combatants for Peace and donate.
- Watch this discussion between an Israeli woman and Palestinian woman, who each lost a child in the conflict.
- Understand the conflict history rather than choosing sides based on religion, ethnicity, or preconceived notions.
- Read stories from multiple perspectives.
From Palestinian authors:
- Palestinian Walks by Raja Shehadeh
- The 100 Years War on Palestine by Rashid Khalidi
- Salt Houses by Hala Alyan
- Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine by Noura Erakat
- Memory For Forgetfulness by Mahmoud Darwish
From Israeli authors:
- All the Rivers by Dorit Rabinyan
- The Art of Leaving by Ayelet Tsabari
- Sadness is a White Bird by Moriel Rothman
- The Wall and the Gate by Michael Sfard
- To the End of the Land by David Grossman
From non-Israeli/non-Palestinian authors:
- Kingdoms of Olive and Ash edited by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman
- Apiergon by Colum McCann
- Dinner at the Center of the Earth by Nathan Englander
- Can We Talk About Israel? by Daniel Sokatch (out October 19)
About Our Guests:
Ruthie Fierberg, Host
J.T. Rogers, playwright
An acclaimed writer, J.T. won the 2017 Tony Award for Best Play for Oslo. He is the creator and showrunner for the upcoming series Tokyo Vice for HBOMax, starring Ansel Elgort and Ken Watanabe. His film of Oslo, directed by his longtime collaborator Bartlett Sher, premiered May 29, 2021, on HBO, starring Ruth Wilson and Andrew Scott. His other plays include One Giant Leap: The Apollo 11 Moon Landing, Blood and Gifts (Lincoln Center Theater; National Theatre); The Overwhelming (National Theatre; Roundabout Theatre); White People (Off Broadway); and Madagascar (Theatre 503, London; Melbourne Theatre Company). For Oslo he also won the New York Critics, Outer Critics, Drama Desk, Drama League, Lortel, and Obie awards, and was nominated for the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards. He is a Guggenheim fellow and has received three NYFA fellowships in playwriting. He is an alum of New Dramatists and holds an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. JTRogerswriter.com / Twitter: @stagewriter
Aziz Abu Sarah, guest expert
A recognized peace builder working around the globe as a cultural educator, travel innovator, and speaker. He co-founded MEJDI Tours in 2009—originators of the Dual Narrative™ and a leader of socially conscious travel. Aziz’s educational and conflict resolution work throughout the world has earned him the titles of National Geographic Explorer and Ted Fellow. He has written opinion pieces for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Al-Quds, Haaretz, and has been published by National Geographic, CNN, TED, and Al Arabiya. His new book, Crossing Boundaries – A Traveler’s Guide To World Peace, was released in July 2020. He announced his candidacy for Mayor of Jerusalem in 2018. Aziz has worked in 60 countries, including Afghanistan, Colombia, Syria, and the Balkans. Azizabusarah.com / @AzizAbuSarah
Libby Lenkinski, guest expert
Libby is the Vice President for Public Engagement at the New Israel Fund, where she leads all aspects of NIF’s public efforts in the United States – including communications, digital, programs, events, leadership, community partnerships and engagement, New Generations and our fellowships. Prior to joining NIF, Libby lived and worked in the Israeli non-profit field for almost a decade. There she worked as Director of International Relations at the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and as a strategy consultant for human rights organizations like Yesh Din and Physicians for Human Rights, for documentary films including Budrus and The Law in These Parts, new media initiatives like +972 Magazine, and for progressive campaigns. She is a founding member of Zazim-Community Action and The Whistle. Currently, Libby serves on the board of Comet-ME, Hashomer Hatzair North America and is a NY co-chair for the Reboot Network. NIF.org / @libbylenkinski
Referred to in this episode
- “Everything You Need to Know About Israel-Palestine” via Vox.com
- Map of present-day Israel
- Who are Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat?
- What were the Intifadas?
- New Israel Fund
- National Geographic’s “The Conflict Zone” video series hosted by Aziz Abu Sarah
- The Elders
- South Africa’s Freedom Charter
- Aziz’s run for Mayor of Jerusalem
- Palestine Walks by Raja Shehadeh
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