Competing Narratives and Competing Truths of Israeli-Palestinian Peace and Conflict

Call to Dialogue:

            Israeli-Palestinian dialogue is often criticized as a method of “normalizing” the conflict or “preaching to the converted.” Goals to reconcile disparate narratives between “Palestinian” and “Israeli” positions are frequently cited as impossible, if undesirable, owing to the sensitivity of the past and the desire to maintain the independence of the narratives involved. Efforts to foster tolerance are continually viewed as cloaked tactics of perpetuating uneven power relations, maintaining the status quo, and furthering “facts on the ground” that are inimical to brokering final and lasting peace, security, and justice. Together, these criticisms of Israeli-Palestinian dialogue are indicative of, on the one hand, a desire to respect the disparity between so-called “Israeli” and “Palestinian” narratives and historiography and, on the other, a growing need for alternative models of dialogue that focus on mutual understanding, respect, and dignity, rather than striving for what are increasingly considered chimerical aims of reconciliation and tolerance.

            In view of these criticisms, the “Competing Narratives and Competing Truths” (CNCT) project has three main goals: (1) to engage in dialogue as an end in itself, viz., for participants to enter into dialogue as a means to bring about greater mutual understanding, dignity, and respect for the multitude of narratives and truths endemic to Israeli-Palestinian peace and conflict; (2) to develop a model of dialogue as a corrective to the salient criticisms of traditional dialogue of Israeli-Palestinian conflict noted above; and (3) to provide qualitative information about the assumptions, reasoning, logic, and mythoi behind the competing narratives and competing truths of Israeli-Palestinian peace and conflict that can advance interlocutors’, facilitators’, and researchers’ understandings of the inherited, Diasporic, trans-generational, and inter-generational perspectives of  Israeli-Palestinian peace and conflict in a Canadian context. 

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