TORONTO – Together in Hope, a group of four Arab and four Jewish women created just over a year ago to promote dialogue and understanding between their communities, includes among its diverse members a Zionist, a Palestinian who would like to see the Jewish state replaced by a bi-national one, and a Syrian who insists that life was good for Jews in Syria in the 20th century.
Founding member Dr. Karen Mock is a psychologist, teacher and currently the Liberal candidate for Thornhill in the next federal election.Actually, both "narratives" are completely complete. One is about the establishment of something good, worthy and necessary--a sovereign Jewish nation--and one takes the same event and casts it as a "catastrophe". So, really, what's the point? Especially since months of convivial chatter seems to be pushing Palestinian Amad, for one, in the wrong direction--formerly a proponent of two states, now downsized (and down-Jewed) to one lone secular state.
Mock – along with Palestinian Hania Amad, a prominent Toronto-based engineer, and Diane Mandell, former director of Programs and Communications at the Ontario Social Development Council – recently discussed the group’s initiative with the Jewish Tribune.
Coincidentally, the meeting took place on a day of great significance to the Jewish people and its roots in the Land of Israel. It was the 17th day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz, which is the first day of the annual three weeks of mourning observed by Jews the world over in commemoration of the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem.
“Really, the agenda is social justice,” said Mock.
“We agree to disagree,” said Amad, who was born and raised in Ramallah and has been living here for 30 years. “We’ve come a long, long way since the first meeting, individually and as a group.”
Among the Ontario business leaders participating in a trade mission to Israel last May, Amad had met this reporter at the time and expressed her view that a secular, bi-national state should replace the Jewish state. In Toronto, continuing the discussion, she said she had initially supported the notion of a two-state solution, but it doesn’t seem “viable” now.
Mock is convinced that the lack of understanding among local Jews and Arabs is rooted partly in language.
“Arab media would not define Zionism in the same way. If I’m a Zionist, [they assume] I must be a racist,” she said. There needs to be a “common vocabulary, not to necessarily agree, but to understand. They would never have thought of Zionism as the self-determination movement of the Jewish people.
“People have become real friends,” Mock stated. “We all want the same thing…to reduce the frustrations, bring back dignity to everyone involved…. We don’t deal with the tough issues first. We remove hateful phrases. There would have to be a compromise…. No one can deny a person’s feelings. When you have two conflicting narratives, they’re not complete.”...
Anyone else think Mock should stay as far away from Muslims as possible, since she seems to be having a most unsalubrious effect on them?