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Shared Narratives — Session 1

Session 1: Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism

Discussions of papers by As’ad Ghanem (University of Haifa) and Moshe Ma’oz (Hebrew University, emeritus). The papers are in the printed volume of Shared Narratives.

WALID SALEM: This is the second Shared Histories project, and we are happy to have you all here.

I want to say on behalf of my Palestinian colleagues, how difficult it was to get here, in order to have Palestinians participating in this process. Unfortunately, of twelve Palestinians who were supposed to come, only eight could be here. Two could not get permits to get to Ben-Gurion Airport, and were not able to go via Amman because it is time-consuming and very difficult. We missed one other because he could not get a visa due to a security check, and another whose wife is sick. So here we are, eight people, but I hope that it will be a good meeting with fruitful results.

PAUL SCHAM: Those of you who were at Shared Histories 1 know that the genesis of this project was way back in the Oslo period when we thought that we could talk about the present and future, but the past was too hot to handle. Unfortunately, now it is much more difficult to talk about the future, but the past is still frequently off limits.

So I think it is particularly important that we continue this process. There has been a significant growth of interest in the importance of historical narratives, but not nearly enough. So I hope we all share the goal of trying to disseminate beyond the people in this room the importance of understanding both narratives. And one of the themes here, beside Palestinian nationalism and Zionism, is how we are going to create some understanding among Israelis and among Palestinians, and the interested outside world as well.

I also want to acknowledge Jeff Helsing of the U.S. Institute of Peace, who has also provided support for this conference, and we very much appreciate it.

BENJAMIN POGRUND: Welcome. Our thinking has moved on since our first Shared Histories conferences. We have come to realize that if we want to change people’s attitudes, we must give attention to an extra element – dissemination. We need to make information and views known as widely as possible.


To read the entirety of Session 1, click here


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