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BOOK REVIEW: The Other Peace Process: Interreligious Dialogue, a View from Jerusalem By Ronald Kronish

Review By Joseph Montville

The Other Peace Process: Interreligious Dialogue, a View from Jerusalem By Ronald Kronish

Our AFR colleague, Rabbi Ron Kronish, has received considerable praise for his latest, quasi-
autobiographical work. We cite one by our esteemed friend, James Carroll, author of Constantine’s
Sword, who we think best sums up the significance of the book:

Rabbi Ron Kronish has been a heroic figure in the ongoing search for the peace of Jerusalem.
Unlike so many others, he has understood the high urgency of reckoning with explicitly religious
elements of Middle East conflicts. As his books and essays testify, he has set a high standard for
this centrally intellectual task. But he has also been a leader at the grass-roots level of authentic
religious encounter. Ron Kronish is a prophet of peace.

Given our limited space, we will focus on chapters four and five on operational lessons for interreligious
dialogue as a form of peacebuilding. There is ample evidence that well-designed and facilitated dialogue
is a reliable form of trust-building between representative of groups or nations in conflict. One point
that Rabbi Kronish emphasizes strikes us as extremely important for conflict resolution practitioners. He
reports that some of the young, professional facilitators argued that they were not trained to lead in
action projects. The best they could do is run the dialogue. Kronish writes, “…I felt that this circular and
dichotomous form of thinking limited the scope of what these young informal educators could do and
prevented them from catalyzing the participants of their [Israeli and Arab] groups to integrate action
and dialogue. “ This is a limitation that many of us in the conflict resolution field have experienced.
Because in the end, our peacebuilding goals are essentially political, and we have to have the ability to
think politically and strategically.

The Other Peace Process is a goldmine of practical information learned within Israel and from similar
collaborative interreligous efforts in Northern Ireland and the global network Religions for Peace. But
from the perspective of this newsletter, we especially value Rabbi Kronish’s reporting on his work with
AFR and International Abrahamic Network (IAN) colleagues like Jerusalem Professor Mohammed Dajani
Daudi, founder of the Wasatia movement of centrist Islam, and Kadi Dr. Iyad Zahalka the chief judge of
the Sharia courts of the State of Israel, whom we have met several times. He also cites the pioneering
interreligious work of Jerusalem’s Rabbi Michael Melchior, with whom we have also worked and may be
the closest person to Jewish sainthood if there is such a thing.

The Other Peace Process should be on the desk of every official and Track Two peacemaker for Israel-
Palestine. It is a basic reference work for all of us.