People in conversation

Guide to Dialogues About Israel-Palestine


This guide offers advice, general principles, and instructions to help you facilitate a constructive conversation about Israel-Palestine in multiple contexts.

In an ideal version of dialogues about Israel-Palestine—whether focusing on a specific event or discussing it more generally—the participants would meet in groups of five to eight people with a trained facilitator for a highly structured conversation that promotes careful listening, reflection, and authentic connections.

This guide is written for anyone leading a hard conversation about the topic—such as dialogue 
facilitators, college or secondary educators, and faith leaders. Use this guide to create communication agreements, intervene when necessary, and ask carefully designed prompts that invite people to speak about the complexities and dilemmas as well as their convictions and values. We encourage you to adapt this guide as needed for your unique context.

Dialogue has the most impact when conducted among members of an existing group, team, or community, rather than a group of strangers. This might be congregants in a synagogue, mosque, or church, students on a campus, or colleagues in an organization. You can use the dialogues outlined here for one-time events, as part of a series of dialogues over weeks or months, for small gatherings, and for programs that involve large numbers of people broken into multiple groups.

For highly polarized situations, a trained facilitator may be necessary. Essential Partners offers regular workshops to train facilitators, acquire new tools, practice skills, and learn the elements of dialogue design. There may also be times when an external facilitator is needed. To that end, we offer direct facilitation services as well as more in-depth, longer-term collaborations. Reach out to us for a free call to discuss these options.

However, many people will not require training to use this guide—just comfort and skill in working with groups, an ability to support participants with diverse perspectives, and a willingness to hold space during difficult moments. Whether you have never done anything like this or you are an experienced facilitator, we hope you find what you need here.

Finally, remember that this work is messy and human. You and others will make missteps along the way. Some comments may be hard to hear. People will have different levels of understanding, varied experiences, and identities that inform their perspectives. Aim to create a space of openness, hope, and care. Whatever other people may bring, invite them to meet you in that space.

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