Links of Interest for Interfaith
Dialogue, Middle East Peace and in General
The Raoul Wallenberg Institute is
involved in Interfaith work in a big way.
The Salaam Shalom Educational
Foundation has been consistently supported by The Wallenberg and for
good reason. The work of the SSEF in Israel involving Jewish/Muslim coeducation
is a positive and exciting development. We are so glad to have SSEF
President Shepha Vainstein on the Wallenberg board.
The extraordinary results of the
spring 2005 online group dialogue Finding Our Common Humanity are
Wallenberg Institute of Ethics in Malibu, and the Islamic
Center of Southern California co-sponsored the dialogue.
The Finding Our Common Humanity
dialogue had its roots in a 2002 Arab / Jewish dialogue with a similar
design. There is a considerable amount of material on the 2002 dialogue
Mehnaz Afridi is on the Wallenberg
Board. Her article,
Diversity, Walking and the City in Ruins, is worth a read. What
we can take from this article is a sense of adventure that can be applied
to interfaith dialogue. We are the dialogue!
Rebecca Tobias, current Wallenberg
Director, is connected
with the Elijah School for the Study
of Wisdom in World Relgions -- their impressive website is well worth
a visit. Pages not to be missed include the work of their Interfaith
Academy and the list of Board
The Wallenberg has been accepted
as a Cooperation Circle of the United Religions
Initiative. The URI is a dynamic global Interfaith movement that
clearly has a big role to play in the 21st Century.
for a UN Decade of Interreligious Cooperation for Peace has a very
impressive list of supporting organizations, including URI. Needless
to say, we are hoping this Decade will take off in a big way.
Actor Michael Landon was one of the original founders of the Raoul
Wallenberg Institute of Ethics along with Rabbi Dr. Benjamin Herson of
the Malibu Jewish Center. See the Michael
Landon Remembrance Project website.
The Raoul Wallenberg Institute
of Ethics has adopted the award winning documentary Encounter
Point as the keystone of its 2008 Middle East peace education project.
Point is produced by Just Vision.
of Faith radio interview with Robi Damelin and Ali Abu Awwad.
Robi lost a son and Abu a brother to the conflict between Israel and Palestine,
but far from hating each other these two have teamed up to work for a nonviolent
resolution to that conflict as documented in the Encounter Point video.
Ralph Nader mentions Encounter
Point in his hard hitting Counter Punch article: The
Silent Violence of Gaza's Suffering That Candidates and Congress Ignore.
The Wallenberg Encounter Point initiative has been endorsed by Neighbors
for Peace and Justice San Fernando Valley (after their regular Peace Vigil
on March 19, 2008. Also by Muslims
for Progressive Values.
the Encounter Point showing at the Unity-and-Diversity General Assembly
downtown LA, March 15, 2008. The audience was small but highly appreciative.
Rule Across the World's Religions is both an interfaith and an ethics
web page of great interest. Linked pages include the text
of the Golden Rule as found in thirteen religions.
Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN):
Ethical Framework Institute Of Ismaili Studies
- Responsibility, Respect, Realistic Expectations
Fundamental Documents for Humanity and the Earth
Declaration of Human Rights is a must read. The
UDHR, adopted and proclaimed in 1948 by the U.N. General Assembly, is the
founding document of a united world community. Eleanor
Roosevelt was the driving force behind the UDHR.
Charter is the founding document of the global environmental community,
which means all of us!
Millenium Development Goals are the no-brainer of the century.
Underpinned by an ancient and shared ethical view, global social justice
is now a necessity as well -- we need every human being in top form if
we are to manage the impact of humanity's numbers and technology on the
Los Angeles Interfaith
and Diversity World Council is one of the many Los Angeles Interfaith
groups and the primary sponsor of the Global
Assembly Dialog, which the Wallenberg is proud to co-sponsor.
Center for Religion and Civic Culture is proud to announce the beginning
of The Center
for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (CMJE) made possible by the generosity
of the Righteous Persons Foundation and the collaboration of the Omar Ibn
Al Khattab Foundation, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion,
and USC's Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the College of Letters,
Arts, and Sciences. The Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement is a community
resource for training in inter-religious outreach, an online resource center
for materials on Jewish-Muslim relations, and an academic think-tank. The
Center seeks to address all three of these areas in an organized and comprehensive
manner through training, outreach and resource development.
Ground initiative is an exciting new (as of January 2008) Los Angeles
Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change, a joint project of the Jewish
Progressive Alliance and the Muslim
Public Affairs Council.
Locally, here in Los Angeles, the
United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP) has been meeting for years now.
They have a great calendar
(that our conference needs to be listed on).
The Soka Gakkai International (SGI-USA)
Culture of Peace Resource Centers have launched the Culture
of Peace Distinguished Speaker Series to engage young people and older
citizens alike in a dialogue on the values, attitudes and behaviors that
reject violence and inspire creative energy towards the peaceful resolution
of conflicts. Lecturers in this series focus on one or more of the eight
action areas defined by the 1999 United Nations Declaration and Program
of Action on a Culture of Peace: (1) Fostering a culture of peace through
education; (2) Promoting sustainable economic and social development; (3)
Promoting respect for all human rights; (4) Ensuring equality between women
and men; (5) Fostering democratic participation; (6) Advancing understanding,
tolerance and solidarity; (7) Supporting participatory communication and
the free flow of information and knowledge; and (8) Promoting international
peace and security.
Middle East Related
Coming out of the Middle East is
a Conflict Resolution program under the name Putting
Peaces Together. Facilitators Barbara and Richard Dash lived
in Arab villages in the West Bank as well as living in Israel for over
eighteen years. They specialize in translating quality systems of communication
into extremely tangible and practical tools that can be accepted and used
by diverse organizations and individual participants. The Dashes
will be holding a seminar
in Los Angeles January 16-18, 2008.
Don't miss the Encounter
Point links above.
The Middle East Peace social site
has lively conversations and good people. It is billed as "Interaction,
Information and Inspiration for Middle East Peace".
In an important development, The
World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace declares "2008 to be the
year of Peace Initiatives for Reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians".
From September 2007 to December 2008, The World Congress of Imams and Rabbis
for Peace undertakes and supports Peace Initiatives for Reconciliation
between Israelis and Palestinians. Citizens from all over the world who
desire and want peace are invited to join this action.
We are in close contact with Hommes
de Parole, sponsor of the Imams
and Rabbis for Peace, Hommes de Parole is a foundation whose aims are:
To renew dialogue between Men.
To act on the causes of conflicts
and on the principal problems of our times, relative to our concerns for
the future of the planet and peace in the world..
Palestine Center for Research and Information or IPCRI, founded in
Jerusalem in 1988, is the only joint Israeli-Palestinian public policy
think tank, and is not affiliated to any political party. It is devoted
to developing practical solutions for the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Their articles, reports and studies, in Hebrew, Arabic, and English, are
widely considered serious and significant resources.
for Middle East Peace has a well thought out toolkit.
The mission of Brit Tzedek v’Shalom,
the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
is to educate and mobilize American Jews in support of a negotiated two-state
resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
for Peace Now [APN] was founded in 1981 to support the activities of
Shalom Achshav (Peace Now in Israel). APN is the leading United States
advocate for peace in the Middle East. APN's mission is to help Israel
and the Shalom Achshav movement to achieve a comprehensive political settlement
of the Arab-Israeli conflict consistent with Israel's long-term security
needs and its Jewish and democratic values.
East Dialogue Resources page from MidEastWeb
is a must see for anyone interested in dialogue on Middle East issues.
Encounter Association is "dedicated to promoting peace in the Middle
East through interfaith dialogue and cross-cultural study ... religion
can and should be a source of the solution for conflicts that exist in
the region and beyond." Don't miss the impressive list
of projects being carried out by the IEA.
of Arava -- The Arava Institute for
Environmental Studies is the premier environmental teaching and research
program in the Middle East, preparing future Arab and Jewish leaders to
cooperatively solve the region's environmental challenges. Its unique
undergraduate educational experience brings together students from across
the region and around the world. Its goal is to create an active,
skilled workforce that meets the urgent environmental needs of the Mideast
through peaceful cooperation.
the Road to Peace is a U.S. organization working for peace through
interfaith efforts in the Middle East. Our dialogue might consider
affiliating and joining or building a "Local
Interreligious Leadership Team".
Peace is an innovative way to get Israelis and Palestinians talking
one-to-one -- on the phone - over 230,000 calls so far. If you're
in Israel, the West Bank or Gaza, you can pick up the phone and talk
to someone on the other side about reconciliation, tolerance, and peace.
A project of the Parent's Circle
- Families Forum.
Road Home - an affecting Israeli movie opening in Los Angeles on May
6. The deeply moving story of Israeli filmmaker, Danae Elon's quest
to find Musa Obeidallah, the Palestinian man who helped raise her from
the time she was a baby until she joined the Israeli army. Danae's
emotional and physical journey takes her from her current home in New York
to an Arab-American neighborhood in New Jersey, and finally to the West
Bank and Jerusalem. This evocative documentary reaches out with deep
affection to all who believe in the power of family, trust and friendship.
a global network connecting women's circles, has devoted their current
newsletter edition to the Middle East. Lots of good stuff here.
presents Israeli and Palestinian viewpoints on prominent issues, focusing
on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and peace process. It is produced,
edited and partially written by Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian, and Yossi
Alpher, an Israeli. Its goal is to contribute to mutual understanding through
the open exchange of ideas. See also BitterLemons
Shalom ~ Wahat al-Salam - (ne-'vé shal-'om / 'wah-at
i-sal-'am: Hebrew and Arabic for Oasis of Peace [Isaiah 32:18]):
A village in Israel established jointly by Jews and Palestinian Arabs of
Israeli citizenship and engaged in educational work for peace, equality
and understanding between the two peoples. The Wallenberg Institute
of Ethics supports the Oasis of Peace Village.
Center for National Strategic Studies (PCNSS) is a new, non-profit,
non-violent, non-factional, non-governmental organizational think tank
based out of the Dheisheh Refugee Camp that facilitates student-based research
guided by PhD mentors, so as to force Palestinian college students to be
more critical of national political and socio-economic policies. Thus,
we are primarily fueled by youth, specifically students. We also host and
foreign researchers in conducting their studies in Palestine, and conduct
social experiments of our own in the form of projects. One project
of interest "Birthright Palestine"
brings Palestinians from the Palestinian Diaspora to Palestine for visits
of two or three months to learn about conditions there.
Here is a whole list of best Peace
groups/sites for 2008 from Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish Alliance for
Justice and Peace - see
8 lights of courage.
Haramati led a yearlong project with Israeli leaders from across the
political and religious spectrum to imagine a variety of scenarios for
an Israeli future that is environmentally sustainable, and sees an active
engagement between Israel's Jewish and its Arab citizens, the country's
Palestinian neighbors, and the wider Arab community.
Ofran from Jerusalem-based Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) documents and
publicizes the extent of settlement activity across the West Bank as part
of Shalom Achshav's "Settlement Watch" project. In her words: "Love for
the land of Israel ought not blind one to the best interests of the state
of Israel and to the moral values on which it stands."
Raviv is a 20-something Israeli who has created a social networking
site with over 1000 members, predominantly young people who share an interest
in working for peace across borders.
# Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari, head
of the Naqshab and Sufi order in Jerusalem, and Israeli-American Eliayahu
McLean work together at Jerusalem
Peacemakers, a network of religious leaders and grassroots peace builders
in the Holy Land. Aziz, a leading Muslim voice for peace and reconciliation
in Jerusalem, believes that Judaism, Christianity and Islam all have significance
in God's message, and "no basis of religion asks people to kill each other."
McLean travels internationally to promote co-existence between Arabs and
# Ibtisam Mahameed and Elana Rozeman
are religious women involved in various interfaith dialogue and peace initiatives.
Ibtisam, a devout Muslim from the village of Faradis near Haifa believes
that "if I consider myself a peace activist, then all my words and actions
must be devoted to peace. For me this is Jihad, and if I die doing this
I will be considered a martyr." Elana, a Jew, became involved in
interfaith peace work in order to help bring an end to regional violence,
following the recovery of her son from a Palestinian suicide bombing in
Jerusalem, in 1997.
# Ihab Balha and Gabriel Meyer work
together at the Sulha Project, which
fosters healing and reconciliation among the "Children of Abraham". "Sulha"
is an indigenous Middle-Eastern ritual used to heal the past and end conflict.
The organization hosts an annual multicultural gathering, "On the Way to
Sulha" that incorporates listening circles, multicultural workshops, sacred
interfaith rituals, and celebration through music and dance.
# The Israeli and Palestinian singers
and musicians who perform the Hebrew-Arabic
song "Hevenu Shalom Aleinu" (We Brought Peace Upon Us) - "Ma Ana Ajmal
Min Salam" (There is Nothing More Beautiful Than Peace). Sung in both Hebrew
and Arabic (English subtitles provided), this song inspires us to overcome
stereotypes and see the common humanity of Israelis and Palestinians.
# The Arab
and Muslim communities in metropolitan Detroit, home of the largest
Arab community outside of the Middle East, have long partnered with the
Jewish community in building bridges of understanding through dialogue
and other programs. Activist Brenda Naomi Rosenberg writes, "May
my Arab friends and I serve as an example and inspire other individuals
and communities to work together and replace ignorance, fear and hate with
understanding and hope."
# Organizations devoted to preparing
the next generation of leaders to live together in peace: Seeds
of Peace, Givat Haviva, Neve
Shalom/Wahat Salam and the Ketura
Institute in Eilat.
for the Right of Entry/Re-Entry to the Occupied Palestinian Territory
(RTE) is a grassroots campaign for the protection of foreign passport holders
residing in and/or visiting occupied Palestinian territory. Israel increasingly
denies entry and/or re-entry to many foreign nationals who want to visit,
live, or work in the occupied Palestinian territory, especially those of
Palestinian descent. RTE provides counsel to visitors and family unification
applicants, documents cases, and advocates for policy change.
for Peace are former Israeli and Palestinian combatants who are now
committed to a peaceful two-state solution. This past year, they built
"Abir's Garden," a playground dedicated to the memory of Abir Aramin (daughter
of co-founder Bassam Aramin), killed in 2007 by Israeli soldiers as she
walked home from school. "The opening of the playground symbolizes our
joint opposition and resistance to the present reality in the occupied
is an Israeli organization that seeks to protect the freedom of movement
of Palestinian residents of Gaza, as guaranteed by international and Israeli
law, through legal assistance and public advocacy. Because freedom of movement
is a precondition for exercising other basic rights, their work has a multiplier
effect in helping Gazans access education, jobs, family members and medical
women of Machsom Watch volunteer at military checkpoints throughout
the West Bank, monitoring the behavior of Israeli soldiers and border guards.
They have been spat on, mistreated, and verbally abused, but their presence
has changed the atmosphere at the checkpoints, as well as the behavior
of those guarding them.
BaGalil Circus brings together Israeli Arab and Jewish youth in a circus-skills
training workshop, giving them the opportunity to learn to take risks,
overcome fears, and share responsibility as equals.
X Peace is an international organization which connects women directly
to one another across cultures to create a more balanced, peaceful world.
In the safe environment of its online Global Network, Israeli and Palestinian
women (as well as women from other backgrounds) form supportive friendships,
educate and mentor each other, share expertise, design projects and initiatives,
and deepen their commitments to peaceful conflict resolution.
(Peace Research Institute of the Middle East) is a project which organizes
Israeli Jewish and Palestinian high school teachers to write parallel narrative
histories of the important dates in their conflict. The resulting document
is used by each side to teach both narratives to students on either side
of the divide.
is a loosely orgainized group of Israeli-Jewish conscientious objectors
who refuse to serve in the Israeli military in order to not support the
ongoing occupation. Many have served, or are serving, jail time for their
act of civil disobedience.
Peace organize Israeli athletes who organize Israeli and Palestinian
youth in Ultimate Frisbee teams in order to allow lifelong enemies to learn
how to play together, forge new connections, and develop a deeper understanding
of one another, bonding through shared athletic experience
General Interfaith Links
There is good advice for interfaith
dialoguers at "Dialogue
in Our Time", an article published New Year's Day 2005.
For a truly astonishing compendium
of links about dialogue see Selected
Websites on Dialogue. This page has a good section on interfaith
Peace Academy Links
The Raoul Wallenberg Institute has
a (not so very) long range goal of creating a Peace Academy. These
links relate to that goal.
Peace site has useful tips and resources..
Interfaith and the Environment
United for Sustainable Energy (FUSE) out of Miami Beach is looking
at the big picture and beginning to make things happen: "Our vision is
for faith and spiritual leaders to be catalysts in the movement towards
clean and sustainable energy."
Jewish Sites of Interest
coming from the Jewish tradition, is a spirited international community
of people from many faiths and traditions calling for global democratization,
economic justice, and individual freedom.
Muslim Sites of Interest
on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has an excellent website that
keeps up with human rights issues in America, particularly as they relate
to the American Islamic community. Don't miss CAIR's "Not
in the name of Islam" petition, which begins, "We, the undersigned
Muslims, wish to state clearly that those who commit acts of terror, murder
and cruelty in the name of Islam are not only destroying innocent lives,
but are also betraying the values of the faith they claim to represent."
Also worth a look is their MUSLIM
CONDEMNATIONS OF THE SEPTEMBER 11 ATTACKS page.
Mail is worth a look. Here is an Ismaili
Mail link to an online conversation with participation by Wallenberg
Program Director Rebecca Tobias.
Prof. Shah-ul-Hameed has words of
wisdom concerning the role of the internet in the Islamic world, and yes,
interfaith dialogue is one mentioned usage, though "a step towards the
unity of the Ummah" is perhaps the central point. He quotes Samer
Hathout, cofounder of the Muslim Women's League in Los Angeles, saying
"I think for the first time for a lot of Muslim women they can be equal
partners in a discussion on anything..." It is worth a look at Welcome
to "Cyberia" - I and Welcome
to "Cyberia - II".
send suggestions for additional links, including your brief annotation,