May 24, 2017 – News of Abrahamic Interest


Citizen Initiatives for Israeli-Palestinian Peace and Aid to Syrian Refugees

We have noted that our editorial bias is psychological and focused on stories of political healing. This statement by Yoav Peck, one of our Israeli partners in the International Abrahamic Network, presages the 50th anniversary of the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war. But it goes back to the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 with an exercise in sober acknowledgement and contrition toward the Palestinian people.

“We crush insects and plants underfoot when we hike in the woods. For the insects and plants, we are bad news. We inevitably do damage when we live our lives. We damage nature, we hurt the ones we love.  Question is, what do we do about that sad fact?

We crushed Palestinians when we created the State of Israel. This is Nakba Day. Nakba, the Palestinians’ catastrophe. 700,000 children, women, and men fled their homes, in trucks, on foot, ushered out of their land so that the Jews could establish a homeland after 2,000 years of exile. As the Palmach conquered area after area, there was little thought of the horror of what we had done, from the other’s perspective.

What’s wonderful about time, about history, is that even now we can take responsibility for the catastrophe our liberation has wrought. We can say “Sorry” in a way that brings with it a devotion to justice and humanism, without compromising our security. We can reach out, from our position of strength, and say to the Palestinians, “Hey, we are ashamed that the joy of achieving our state rests on your suffering and loss. We wish it hadn’t gone this way. We are listening to your pain. Now, we Israelis are strong and secure, and we are here to assist you in creating for yourselves what we have built for ourselves. We know that only when you can finally live your lives freely will we truly be liberated.” – Yoav Peck


We follow with the announcement of the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees created by Dr. Georgette Bennett, founder of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, with which we have had an advisory relationship since its beginning.

And we finish with a valuable fact sheet for Americans who worry about Syrian refugees entering the country. This is a keeper.

Joseph V. Montville

Chairman of the Board

TRACK TWO: An Institute for Citizen Diplomacy