Tuesday, June 06, 2006

On Hope and Beyond...

Three bloggers whose personal blogs I visit regularly and contribute to occasionally have formed a teamblog. No news there then: yet another blog amongst the millions already in existence, "big deal" you might rightly say. But this is a blog with an interesting difference. Let me introduce the team members:

  • Oleh, an Israeli Jew, previously American.

  • Greg, an Israeli Jew, from the former USSR.

  • Saba, a Palestinian living and studying in Canada.

For more in dept introductions, visit their aptly named blog, Hope and Beyond.

Such cross-partisan initiatives, however small, should always be encouraged in my view. Whilst the contribution to mutual understanding and ultimately peace, will be limited, it should not be completely underestimated either. All three team members will bring with them their own readers, putting this new blog in an enviable position in terms of page views, compared to many other, still-born new blogs.

But I have concerns as well as praise.

Firstly, the motto "How We Forgot We Were Different", should perhaps have been "How We Forgot We Were Equal", because it is precisely this the Palestinian/Israeli conflict has done: it has magnified the relatively small differences between groups of people under the lens of the conflict, to the point were ordinary people have become incapable of recognising each other's humanity and common traits.

Secondly, with a two-thirds Jewish majority, the team lays itself open to criticisms of "Israeli domination". Unjustified perhaps, but to many perception is reality. Perhaps a Gentile fourth member wouldn't be such a bad idea.

Thirdly, how is the blog going to avoid the thorny political issues of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, issues which need to be addressed in order to achieve a peaceful resolution of the conflict? Oleh and Greg, on both their respective personal blogs, express sometimes very harsh, even derogatory views of the Palestinian people. I would not describe either of them as moderates, yet such a position may be better suited to a tentative bridge-builder.

Avoiding all political discussion just to keep the alliance together would be futile, but an open and frank political debate may easily fracture it along its natural fault lines.

I nonetheless wholeheartedly wish them all the luck in promoting mutual understanding.


At 8:56 PM, Blogger Oleh Yahshan said...

I will start by saying that the list of writers is by no means closed, at least in my opinion. So the "Israeli" Majority might not be for very long.. not that it matters any way... The point is to look beyond that.. something we all, Including you, have a hard time doing.

There is plenty to talk about that has nothing to do with politics.. like daily life.. Student life (we all are students in different Schools), ETC... The fact that we are fixed on politics as the point that connects us is exactly what I am trying to break.. and show that there is more to us than just our political views..
that brings me to the 3rd point.. I think that it's is part due to our "extreme" views (all on us) that makes this even better. If we can do it... ETc...
I don't agree that a non political blog would be futile as you put it.. I think it will help everyone (who reads it) that there is more to me, Saba, Greg and others than just our labels..
Anyways... you are more than welcome to contribute.. and I look forward to hearing what you have to say...

At 8:20 AM, Blogger Wolfie said...

I think this is a great idea and I wish you all the best of luck.

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Oleh Yahshan said...

thanks wolfie you are more than welcome to visit comment... and although we have not really talked about it.. I am sure we can even allow guest posts...


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