July 20, 2011 by IJV
At one level the IJV meeting on THE ARAB UPRISINGS AND THE ISRAEL PALESTINE CONFLICT, was most encouraging. The range of people who attended was much broader than usual and it was great to see a mix of all kinds, young, old, Arab, Jew and others who just felt an interest. It was an amazingly good humoured meeting, quite a lot of laughter and everyone willing to listen to others in a sympathetic way. The questions were excellent and searching and the pain of the conflict was evident and freely expressed.
The talks were less encouraging, a feeling of pessimism bordering on despair was expressed. Rather than feeling elated and responsive to the “Arab Spring”, it seems to have sent most Israelis into a larger of fear and apprehension. The most encouraging signs for any kind of peace in the area, were the shifts in attitude among the Jews of the Diaspora, most significantly in the US, though the immediate future of the region looks bleak. All in all a bitter sweet meeting.