Jewish-Muslim Relations Past and Present

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The following list of literature, novels, films, documentaries and websites attempts to give a broad introduction to the lives and narratives of diverse approaches as a source of information on the diversity and complexity of the situation in Israel and Palestine and the different ways in which individuals and groups are approaching the search for peace. Inclusion on the list of resources does not signify endorsement of the author’s opinions by me. The descriptions of the items below are generally taken from the websites they are linked to. I will update the list regularly and if any readers have more suggestions then please let me know via email.

Jerusalem Peacemakers:
The Founders of Jerusalem PeaceMakers are Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari of Blessed Memory, Haj Ibrahim Abu El Hawa and Rodef Shalom Eliyahu McLean. Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari was the head of the Naqshabandi Sufi order in Jerusalem. Sheikh Bukhari’s family came to Jerusalem from Bukhara 400 years ago, and their home has been a center for visiting Muslim pilgrims and visitors of all faiths since then. Sheikh Bukhari was a leading Muslim voice for peace and reconciliation in Jerusalem.
Haj Ibrahim Abu El Hawa is the head of a large peacemaker community in the Holy Land. He comes from a long line of community fathers who have lived on the Mount of Olives since the days of the Umayyad Caliphate, 1,300 years ago. Eliyahu McLean is the director of the Jerusalem Peacemakers, a network of religious leaders and grassroots peacebuilders in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Eliyahu was initiated as a ‘Rodef Shalom’, ‘Peace Pursuer’ by Reb Zalman Schachter Shalomi.

Just Vision:
Just Vision generates awareness and support for Palestinians and Israelis who pursue freedom, dignity, security and peace using nonviolent means. We tell their under-documented stories through our award-winning films and educational tools that undermine stereotypes, inspire commitment and galvanize action. Just Vision conducts targeted, sustained public education campaigns for Palestinian, Israeli and American audiences, amplifying the courageous efforts of ordinary people who act when government officials fail to do so. Our goal is to contribute to fostering peace and an end to the occupation by rendering Palestinian and Israeli nonviolence leaders more visible, valued and effective in their efforts.

Interfaith Encounter Association:
The Interfaith Encounter Association is dedicated to promoting peace in the Middle East through interfaith dialogue and cross-cultural study. We believe that, rather than being a cause of the problem, religion can and should be a source of the solution for conflicts that exist in the region and beyond.

Sulha Peace Project:
We are a group of Israelis and Palestinians who meet regularly to encounter the other in our full humanity. Together, we demonstrate that we, the children of Abraham/Ibrahim, share a common destiny. Twelve years ago, at the height of the El Aksa intifada, when Israel and Palestine were locked into terror of the other side, the Sulha Peace Project was born. As coffee shops exploded and soldiers fired into crowds of youths, we brought Israelis and Palestinians together in a human encounter and, through wholehearted listening, we explored and strengthened the bonds that link us with each other. We’ve been doing it ever since.

Spirit of Peace:
Spirit of Peace is a rapidly developing UK based charity, with a heartfelt vision to foster greater peace, understanding and equality in our global society. Contributing to the creation of a culture of nonviolence in our fractured world it is influenced by the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr Martin Luther King and others. We work with renowned international peace partners, the main thrust of our work currently being in the UK and the Middle East. Our work is people and heart-centred recognising that, in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “We must be the change we wish to see in the world”. This is a challenging prospect, but every step we take towards peace is significant, however large or small. Many people on experiencing our work and events describe these as ’transformational’ and ‘life-changing’. The context of Spirit of Peace is the growing global awareness of the interdependence and interrelationship of all life. You will find more about this in subsequent pages.
This website includes information on Anwar al Salaam (Lights of Peace) Society which does not have its own website:

The Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel:
Religiously-motivated violence has been a significant deterrent to the progress of the Middle East peace process, and yet little to no attention has been paid to the Israeli and Palestinian religious communities, and few attempts have been made to utilize religion as a tool for peace and reconciliation. The mission of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI) is, therefore, to harness the teachings and values of the three Abrahamic faiths and transform religion’s role from a force of division and extremism into a source of reconciliation, coexistence, and understanding. To accomplish this, ICCI works with youth and young adults, educators and religious leaders to promote Jewish-Arab coexistence and peace-building. Additionally, ICCI is an active member of “Religions for Peace“, the largest international coalition of representatives from the world’s great religions dedicated to promoting peace”, as well as the International Council of Christians and Jews, whose “efforts to promote Jewish-Christian dialogue provide models for wider interfaith relations, particularly dialogue among Jews, Christians, and Muslims”. ICCI’s collaboration with these two councils has enabled ICCI to be apart of world-wide peace initiatives.

Palestine Chronicle:
Times of Israel:

Literature (including articles available online)
Abu-Nimer, Mohammed, Amal I. Khoury, and Emily Welty, Unity in Diversity: Interfaith Dialogue in the Middle East, (Washington D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2007).
Abu-Nimer, Mohammed (ed.), Reconciliation, Justice and Coexistence: Theory and Practice, (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2001).
Abu-Nimer, Mohammed, Dialogue, Conflict Resolution, and Change: Arab-Jewish Encounters in Israel, (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1999).
Bar-Simon-Tov, Yaacov (ed.), From Conflict Resolution to Reconciliation, (New York: Oxford University Press US, 2004).
Cohn-Sherbok, Dan and Dawoud El-Alami, The Palestine-Israel Conflict, (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2001). Revised and updated 2008, reprinted 2009.
Firestone, Reuven, “Embracing the Challenge: Reuven Firestone on Jewish-Muslim Dialogue, An Interview by Joshua Stanton”, Inter-Religious Dialogue [Online]. Available at: [Last accessed: 23rd July 2013].
Freidenreich, David, M. and Miriam Goldstein (eds.), Beyond Religious Borders: Interaction and Intellectual Exchange in the Medieval Islamic World, (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012).
Funk, Nathan C. and Abdul Aziz Said, “Localizing Peace: An Agenda for Sustainable Peacebuilding” in Peace and Conflict Studies, Volume 17, Number 1, Spring 2010, Special Issue: Peacebuilding, Reconciliation, and Transformation: Voices from the Canada-EU Conflict Resolution Student Exchange Consortium.
Glick, Thomas and Vivian Mann, Convivencia: Jews Muslims & Christians in Medieval Spain, (New York: G. Braziller in association with the Jewish Museum, 1992).
Gopin, Marc, Holy War, Holy Peace: How Religion Can Bring Peace to the Middle East, (New York: Oxford University Press US, 2005).
Huda, Qamar-Ul (ed.), Crescent and Dove: Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam, (Washington, D. C.: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2010).
Hwoschinsky, Carol, Listening with the Heart: A Guide to Compassionate Listening, (Washington: The Compassionate Listening Project, 2002). Third edition.
Menocal, Maria Rosa, The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain, (New York: Back Bay Books, Little, Brown and Company, 2002).
Nathan, Susan, The Other Side of Israel: My Journey Across the Jewish/Arab Divide, Harper Collins ebooks (n.d.).
Pappe, Ilan, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2007). First published by Oneworld in 2006. Reprinted 2008.
_________, The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel, (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2013).
Peleg, Ilan and Dov Waxman, Israel’s Palestinians: The Conflict Within, (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University)
Rotberg, Robert I. (ed.), Israeli and Palestinian Narratives of Conflict: History’s Double Helix, (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2006).
Sand, Shlomo, The Invention of the Jewish People, (London and New York: Verso, 2009). Translated by Yael Lotan. Originally published in Hebrew by Resling, 2008.
Shabi, Rachel, Not the Enemy: Israel’s Jews from Arab Lands, (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009).
SHUR Working Paper Series, Case Study Report WP5, Israel-Palestine field research report, Kenneth Brown, Mediterraneans/ MSH, Paris, Laure Fourest, EHESS/MSH, Paris and Are Hovdenak, PRIO, Oslo. With the contribution of Rabea Hass, Marburg University, SHUR wp 02/08, June 2008. SHUR: Human Rights in Conflicts: The Role of Civil Society is a STREP project funded by the 6th Framework Programme of the European Commission (Contract number: CIT5-CT-2006-028815). [Online] Available at: [Last accessed: 2nd July 2013]
Simon, Uriel and David Louvish (trans.), “The Place of the Bible in Israeli Society: From National ‘Midrash’ to Existential ‘Peshat’” in Modern Judaism, Vol. 19, No. 3 (Oct., 1999), pp. 217-239, Oxford University Press. [Online] Available at: Stable URL: [Last accessed: 12th April 2009].
Suleiman, Camelia, Language and Identity in the Israel-Palestine Conflict: The Politics of Self-Perception in the Middle East, (London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2011).
Zohar, Zion, (ed.), Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewry: From the Golden Age of Spain to Modern Times, (New York and London: New York University Press, 2005).
Other material accessed online
Roi Ben-Yehuda, “False Memory: Misusing History in the Arab-Israeli Conflict” in Zeek [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 28th September, 2008]

Biographical accounts of peacemaking
Gopin, Marc, Bridges Across an Impossible Divide: The Inner Lives of Arab and Jewish Peacemakers, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).

Klein Halevi, Yossi, At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew’s Search for Hope with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land, (New York and London: Harper Perennial, 2002). Hardcover edition published 2001 by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Abuelaish, Izzeldin, I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity, (New York: Walker and Company, 2010).

Joseph, Steven, “A Jerusalem Diary” The San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal, Vol. 25, No. 1 (Winter 2006), pp. 6-23, University of California Press on behalf of The C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco. Stable URL: .Accessed: 13/03/2011. (Anyone interested in this please contact me and I can send you the pdf.)

Abulhawa, Susan, Mornings in Jenin, (London and New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010).
Palestine, 1948. A mother clutches her six-month-old son as Israeli soldiers march through the village of Ein Hod. In a split second, her son is snatched from her arms and the fate of the Abulheja family is changed forever. Forced into a refugee camp in Jenin and exiled from the ancient village that is their lifeblood, the family struggles to rebuild their world. Their stories unfold through the eyes of the youngest sibling, Amal, the daughter born in the camp who will eventually find herself alone in the United States; the eldest son who loses everything in the struggle for freedom; the stolen son who grows up as an Israeli, becoming an enemy soldier to his own brother. Mornings in Jenin is a devastating novel of love and loss, war and oppression, and heartbreak and hope, spanning five countries and four generations of one of the most intractable conflicts of our lifetime.

Jebreal, Rula, Miral, (London: Penguin Books, 2010).
In 1948, as violence erupts in Jerusalem, a young Arab woman, Hind Husseini, finds fifty-five abandoned children in the streets and faces the biggest challenge of her life. Hind establishes the Dar El-Tifel orphanage, dedicating her life to providing love, support and education to the children, changing their destiny. As the years pass and the conflict rages on, Hind finds that – despite her best efforts – some of her older students are taking part in the violent struggle for Palestinian independence, including one of her brightest students, Miral. Rula Jebreal traces the lives of generations of Palestinians in order to understand the intractable conflict. Based on fact, Hind Husseini, benefactor of thousands of children, is the figurehead in this examination of race, religion and what a homeland means. This book has now been made into a feature film. See below under films.

King, Mike, The Angel of Har Megiddo, (Stochastic Press, 2012).
This novel is only available as an ebook. If you don’t have a Kindle device you can download Kindle software for free on Amazon and read it on your PC or laptop.Mike King manages to do something very difficult with this novel and he does it magnificently. Not only does he provide us with a wealth of very well researched information on the Israel-Palestine conflict from several perspectives but he also provides the reader with a gripping thriller that makes it difficult to put the book down. I was fascinated by the workings of the Supreme Court Justices in the USA and not less so by King’s plot device which enabled him to cover key questions relating to the conflict and to have his characters discuss philosophical, religious and legal points. Simultaneously, we are in the bunker with an IDF soldier who is reviewing his own life leading up to a momentous decision. The reader is on the ground in the midst of life and its complexities in Israel while also following the theoretical discussion and decision-making in the US. It’s a powerful mixture and I would recommend this book highly to anyone who wants to know more about the conflict as well as those who just enjoy a really good thriller. It is a superb example of the informative power of the imagination.

Tolan, Sandy, The Lemon Tree, (London: Bantam Press, 2007).
In the summer of 1967, not long after the Six Day War, three young Palestinian men ventured into the town of Ramla in Israel. They were cousins, on a pilgrimage to see their childhood homes, from which they and their families had been driven out nearly twenty years earlier. One cousin had the door slammed in his face, one found that his old house had been converted into a school. But the third, Bashir, was met at the door by a young woman named Dalia, who invited him in… This poignant encounter is the starting point for the story of two families – one Arab, one Jewish – which spans the fraught modern history of the region. In the lemon tree his father planted in the backyard of his childhood home, Bashir sees a symbol of occupation; Dalia, who arrived in 1948 as an infant with her family, as a fugitive from Bulgaria, sees hope for a people devastated by the Holocaust. Both are inevitably swept up in the fates of their people and the stories of their lives form a microcosm of more than half a century of Israeli-Palestinian history. What began as a simple meeting between two young people grew into a dialogue lasting four decades. The Lemon Tree offers a much needed human perspective on this seemingly intractable conflict and reminds us not only of all that is at stake, but also of all that is possible. This book has also been made into a feature film. See below under films.

Abuelaish, Izzeldin, I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity, (New York: Walker and Company, 2010).
A London University- and Harvard-trained Palestinian doctor who was born and raised in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip and ‘who has devoted his life to medicine and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians’ (New York Times), Abuelaish is an infertility specialist who lives in Gaza but works in Israel. On the strip of land he calls home (where 1.5 million Gazan refugees are crammed into a few square miles) the Gaza doctor has been crossing the lines in the sand that divide Israelis and Palestinians for most of his life – as a physician who treats patients on both sides of the line, as a humanitarian who sees the need for improved health and education for women as the way forward in the Middle East. And, most recently, as the father whose three daughters were killed by Israeli shells on 16 January 2009, during Israel’s incursion into the Gaza Strip. It was his response to this tragedy that made news and won him humanitarian awards around the world. Instead of seeking revenge or sinking into hatred, Izzeldin Abuelaish called for the people in the region to start talking to each other. His deepest hope is that his daughters will be ‘the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis’.
Chacour, Elias, Blood Brothers, (MI: Chosen Books, fifth printing 2007).
As a child, Elias Chacour lived in a small Palestinian village in Galilee. The townspeople were proud of their ancient Christian heritage and lived at peace with their Jewish neighbors. But early in 1947, their idyllic lifestyle was swept away as tens of thousands of Palestinians were killed and nearly one million forced into refugee camps. An exile in his native land, Elias began a years-long struggle with his love for the Jewish people and the world’s misunderstanding of his own people, the Palestinians. How was he to respond? He found his answer in the simple, haunting words of the Man of Galilee: “Blessed are the peacemakers.” In Blood Brothers, Chacour blends his riveting life story with historical research to reveal a little-known side of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the birth of modern Israel. He touches on controversial questions such as “What behind-the-scenes politics touched off the turmoil in the Middle East? “, “What does Bible prophecy really have to say? “, and “Can bitter enemies ever be reconciled? ” Originally published by Chosen Books in 1984 and now expanded with a new introduction by the author, a new foreword by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, and a “Since Then” epilogue by writer David Hazard, this compelling book offers readers hope-filled insight into living at peace in the most volatile region of the world.

Karmi, Ghada, In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story, (Verso, 2009, 2nd edition).
This is an acclaimed memoir about a childhood in Palestine, leading to exile after the Nakba, and a coming of age in 50s Britain. Ghada Karmi’s acclaimed memoir relates her childhood in Palestine, the flight to Britain after the catastrophe of 1948, and coming of age in the coffee-bars of Golders Green, the middle-class Jewish quarter in North London. A gentle humor describes the bizarre and sometimes tense realities that mask her life in Little Tel Aviv and, later, her struggle, like that of many other women in the late fifties, to get a university grant to study medicine. Ghada’s personal story is set against the continuing crisis in the Middle East. In Search of Fatima reminds us that the only crime the Palestinians committed was to be born in Palestine. Its author, a committed physician, is desperate for the wounds to heal; History, however, refuses to oblige.

Gopin, Marc, Bridges Across an Impossible Divide: The Inner Lives of Arab and Jewish Peacemakers, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).
Marc Gopin offers a groundbreaking exploration of Arab/Israeli peace partnerships: unlikely friendships created among people who have long been divided by bitter resentments, deep suspicions, and violent sorrows. In Bridges Across an Impossible Divide, Gopin shows how the careful examination of their inner spiritual lives has enabled Jewish and Arab individuals to form peace partnerships, and that these partnerships may someday lead to peaceful coexistence. The peacemakers in this book have no formal experience in conflict resolution or diplomacy. Instead, through trial and error, they have devised their own methods of reaching out across enemy lines. The obstacles they face are unimaginable, the pressure from both sides to desist is constant, and the guilt-ridden thoughts of betrayal are pervasive and intense. Peace partners have found themselves deserted by their closest friends, family members, and neighbors. Bridges Across an Impossible Divide tells their stories – stories not of saints, but of singular people who overcame seemingly unbeatable odds in their dedication to work toward peace with their estranged neighbors. Gopin provides insightful analysis of the lessons to be learned from these peacebuilders, outlining the characteristics that make them successful. He argues that lasting conflict and misery between enemies is the result of an emotional, cognitive, and ethical failure to self-examine, and that the true transformation of a troubled society is brought about by the spiritual introspection of extraordinary, determined individuals.

Klein Halevi, Yossi, At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew’s Search for Hope with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land, (New York and London: Harper Perennial, 2002). Hardcover edition published 2001 by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden A brilliantly observed memoir of an unprecedented and remarkable spiritual journey. While religion has fuelled the often violent conflict plaguing the Holy Land, Yossi Klein Halevi wondered whether it could be a source of unity as well. To find the answer, this religious Israeli Jew began a two-year exploration to discover a common language with his Christian and Muslim neighbours.

Peled, Miko, The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine, (Just World Books, 2012).
In 1997, a tragedy struck the family of Israeli-American Miko Peled: His beloved niece Smadar was killed by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem. That tragedy propelled Peled onto a journey of discovery. It pushed him to re-examine many of the beliefs he had grown up with, as the son and grandson of leading figures in Israel’s political-military elite, and transformed him into a courageous and visionary activist in the struggle for human rights and a hopeful, lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

“The Lemon Tree” directed by Eran Riklis

“Miral” directed by Julian Schnabel

Five Broken Cameras” directed by Emat Burnat
Filmed from the perspective of a Palestinian farm laborer (Emad Burnat), 5 Broken Cameras was shot using six different video cameras five of which were destroyed in the process of documenting Emad s family s life as well as Palestinian and International resistance to Israeli appropriation of land and occupation. Emad, who lives in Bil’in, just west of the city of Ramallah in the West Bank, was thrust into global politics when his community peacefully resisted Israeli plans to erect a wall through their land to separate them from the ever growing Israeli settlements. Initially given the camera to chronicle the birth and childhood of his son Gibreel, the film captures Gibreel growing into a precocious preschooler against the backdrop of the many non-violent protests that have become an intrinsic part of life in Bil’in. With hundreds of hours of video footage covering a period of over six years, Emad started working with Israeli activist and filmmaker Guy Davidi to produce a film. Guy helped shape the material and compose a commentary for the film. Together, they have turned 5 Broken Cameras into a larger-than-life lyrical device that both informs and structures their personal and collective struggles in the West Bank. An extraordinary work of both cinematic and political activism, 5 Broken Cameras daringly meshes personal essay with political cinema, displaying how images and cameras can change lives and realities.
“Gatekeepers” directed by Dror Moreh
Academy Award-nominated documentary from director Dror Moreh in which six former heads of the Israeli intelligence organisation Shin Bet share their thoughts on the conflict with Palestine. Ami Ayalon, Avi Dichter, Yuval Diskin, Carmi Gillon, Yaakov Peri and Avraham Shalom have all held a job that is arguably among the most important and controversial in the Middle East. Until now, however, no members of the Israeli secret service have spoken publicly on their thoughts regarding the conflict. From the Six Day War in 1967 in which Israel first occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to the ongoing struggle over borders and boundaries, six men who were at the heart of some of the most fateful decisions in the history of the region offer their reflections on the past and their opinions on the way forward.




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