The Wall Between: What Jews and Palestinians Don't Want to Know about Each Other (Paperback)
A groundbreaking book that offers concrete ways for Jews and Palestinians to speak (and listen) differently to each other.
The Wall Between is a book about the wall that exists between Jewish and Palestinian communities in the Diaspora. Distrust, enmity, and hate are common currencies. They manifest at university campuses, schools and school boards, at political events, on social media, and in academic circles. For Jews, Israel must exist; for Palestinians, the historic injustice being committed since 1948 must be reversed. Neither wants to know why the Other cannot budge on these issues. The wall is up.
These responses 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 authors have lived these principles and traveled this journey, away from their tribal traumas, through embracing the principles of justice. They 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. The book is both realistic and hopeful—a guide for anyone who is open to new possibilities within the Israel-Palestine discourse in the West.
About the Author
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.
“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
“Can’t wait for the conversations this book will generate!”
— —The Reverend Dr. Carmen Lansdowne, The Moderator, the United Church of Canada
“Khouri and Wilkinson courageously treat the difficult conflict of narratives and identities simultaneously, as one messy story rather than as two competing incomplete ones. It is essential reading for anyone concerned about the conflict, about Zionism, antisemitism, and the Nakba.”
— —Kenneth S. Stern, Director, Bard Center for the Study of Hate and author of The Conflict over the Conflict: The Israel/Palestine Campus Debate