Symposium – Fall 2023

Symposium – Fall 2023

Fourth Israel-Palestine Symposium – Fall 2023 Series
By Lenny Grob

Partners for Progressive Israel’s fourth digital symposium in our Fall 2023 Series took place on four Sundays from October 22nd through December 3rd.  Unlike previous years, this symposium was divided into four sessions during the fall and an additional four in the upcoming spring.  As in earlier symposia, two two-hour sessions were held on each Sunday, each with 90 minutes devoted to a panel of speakers engaging in dialogue with participants and the final half-hour devoted to participants reflecting on what had just transpired. Participants were on camera during the entire time, and thus able to pose questions directly to the presenters.

The fall’s first symposium session took place just two weeks after the October 7th massacre, obviously requiring some rewriting of our original session descriptions to reflect our wrestling with new and difficult issues during wartime. Our symposium schedule was introduced as follows: “As horrific scenes of bloodshed, war, and chaos unfold before us, we at Partners find inspiration in those on the ground who refuse to dehumanize ‘the other’ or see one another as enemies.” And those “on the ground” who served as speakers for our eight sessions did not disappoint; they were points of light in the darkness. Presenters came from a variety of NGOs and movements, including The Parents Circle-Families Forum; Combatants for Peace; Roots; A Land for All; Rabbis for Human Rights; Givat Haviva; Itach-Maaki/Women Lawyers for Social Justice; and Standing Together. We intensively discussed issues centered on both Israeli and Palestinian citizens of Israel, as well as on Palestinians in the West Bank and Israelis living or working there. We also examined the roles of and difficulties faced by marginalized communities during wartime, including women and LGBTQ residents.

The spirited dialogue between presenters and participants during the fall – as well as the vigorous dialogue among the participants themselves – helped provide to all involved a sense of community during an extraordinarily emotional time.

We will notify all readers of Israel Horizons as soon as the eight sessions on four spring Sundays are scheduled. We can be sure that next spring will be an extraordinarily intense time for Israelis and Palestinians, and will do our very best to provide you with top-flight background and analysis.

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