Humanising Palestinians in Anglo-Jewish Contexts

by Nicole Munson, Joel Stokes, Joe Haidar and Adnan Mahmud

Storytelling has long been utilized by humans to keep histories alive and to preserve cultural identities. Although sometimes a source of conflict, storytelling has also been an effective tool for cross-community communication. The ability to create, keep, modify, and retell stories is unique to humans, and therefore the act of storytelling is by definition humanizing. This means that storytelling has great remedial potential for contested contexts.

In some contexts, such as Israel and Palestine, it can be difficult to engage the ‘other’ in dialogue. However, due to its ubiquitous nature, storytelling provides the opportunity to do so, even in extreme contexts such as Israel-Palestine.

This project aims to bring humanising stories of Palestinian individuals, cultures, and experiences to UK-based Jewish communities. For many Jewish individuals and communities in the UK, ‘Palestinian’ evokes ideas of conflict, violence, and threat. Therefore, through bringing non-conflict Palestinian stories to such communities, this project seeks to foster a deeper understanding and empathy towards the Palestinian culture and experience as a whole.

This will be achieved through workshops, exhibitions and a website. Ultimately, the project aims to promote community engagement between Palestinians and UK-based Jewish communities.

The project will be partnering with young, upcoming Palestinian ‘storytellers’ (photographers, journalists, artists) who will in turn help to shape the project. The storytellers will provide a narrative of their daily experiences through photographs and videos. Each ‘story’ or narrative will be carefully curated to bring an underrepresented aspect of Palestinian culture into the Anglo-Jewish context.  These narratives will then be brought to the Anglo-Jewish community through the means outlined above.

To ensure authenticity and accuracy, the project’s Palestinian partners will be involved in the initiative throughout. Once designed and produced, the project will produce the following products as showcases: while presenting them in a well-rounded manner. The project will be organized in the following ways:

  1. A website that will act as a central hub for the project.
  2. Workshops in Jewish communities and UK university University Jewish Societies, as well as through partnering University departments within UCL and SOAS.
  3. An exhibition showcasing photographs and videos from the project.
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