- Ruqaiyah Damrah and Gall Sigler
Fall 2022 Editor's Note
Updated: Feb 14
You’ve probably heard this word tossed around often if you follow discussions about Israel and Palestine.
However, the concept of “dialogue” is too often misunderstood in the context of political debates. Importantly, in an asymmetric conflict, the assumption that two sides can converse on equal footing – can be just as silencing as the absence of dialogue in the first place.
Any opinions or personal experiences that are threatening to the status quo can easily be construed as disruptive or inflammatory. “Dialogue” is much more pleasant and palatable to most people when long-held truths and deep-seated beliefs are not challenged.
We see this type of “dialogue” too often on Ivy League campuses like Yale’s. American universities train the world’s future leaders. So it’s incredibly disheartening to see that genuine dialogue about Israel and Palestine is often discouraged and stifled. As long as institutional power is used to censor and control students’ discussions around this issue – more specifically, criticisms of Israel or institutional ties to Israeli human rights abuses – any “dialogue” will occur only within the confines of dominant political narratives.
Perspectives: Yale’s Journal on Israel and Palestine attempts to make space for a deeper, truly constructive form of dialogue—a dialogue rooted in good-will and genuine desire to challenge one’s convictions; a dialogue that highlights the power imbalance on the ground, and tackles the inevitable restrictions it imposes on inter-communal conversations; and, perhaps most importantly, a dialogue that embraces the lived experiences of Israelis and Palestinians.
The diversity of opinions and forms represented in the pieces in this issue aim to challenge you, the reader, to ask yourself: What is true dialogue? And are you willing to challenge and relearn the historical and nationalist myths you were taught? Do you favor comfortable and conforming types of “dialogue” over ones that challenge hegemonic, nationalist narratives?