Podcasts for Peace: Six Shows That Feature Nuanced Conversations about Israel/Palestine

By | Feb 21, 2024
Culture, Israel-Hamas War, Latest

In our Winter 2024 issue, Moment featured a variety of Muslim and Arab voices committed to building bridges between Palestinians and Israelis and speaking out against antisemitism. These bridges require dialogue, and countering extremism requires building a shared, nuanced, reality through conversation. These dialogues have never been easy—and since October 7, opportunities to talk about peace have taken a serious blow. Many people around the world have felt compelled to close ranks and adopt a very simple view of the conflict. 

Yet like their Muslim and Arab counterparts featured in Moment, many Israelis, Palestinians and Jews abroad are actively working to provide nuanced perspectives to their respective communities—and other listeners. 

Six podcasts on which Israelis and Palestinians discuss difficult topics and share their stories of coexistence and friendship

Unsettled—Four American Jews have hard conversations with different Israelis and Palestinians on the Israel-Palestine conflict 

Unsettled was launched in 2017 by four Jewish co-producers— Ilana Levinson, Emily C. Bell, Asaf Calderon and Max Freedman. Unsettled describes itself as a platform for conversations about controversial topics “that are all too rare in institutional American Jewish communities.” Since the premiere episode on August 4, 2017, Unsettled has bolstered both Israeli and Palestinian voices, and its 91 episodes cover a myriad of topics, from a deep dive into Hamas and its origins to a discussion about publicly grieving without negating the grievances of the other side, to a thorough profile on comedian Noam Shuster-Eliassi, who uses social media to oppose the war and share her “unique perspective as an Israeli Jew with a deep connection to her Palestinian neighbors.” Before starting the podcast, Bell, Calderon, Freedman and Levinson were each part of the American Jewish anti-occupation movement IfNotNow, but they strive for nuance in their deeply personal approach on the show.

Recommended episodes: “Kathleen Peratis: Visiting Gaza” (July 12, 2021), “Naomi Shihab Nye: Poetry as a Refuge” (October 12, 2021) and “Tareq Baconi: ‘There’s No Going Back’” (October 13, 2023).

Israel Story—a podcast about the different personalities and life stories of Israelis and Palestinians living in Israel

Israel Story was created in 2011 by childhood friends, Mishy Harman, Yochai Maital, Shai Satran and Ro’ee Gilron, who grew up in Israel. The first English episode aired three years later in 2014, and since then, it has evolved into an award-winning podcast based in Israel, with biweekly episodes sharing stories in both Hebrew and English. According to the website, the podcast was developed to achieve the goal of combating stereotypes and shining a light on a “diverse” and “more nuanced” Israel. The podcast frames itself as nonpolitical and focuses on representing Israel’s diverse citizens. Episodes include stories of Israelis and Palestinians coexisting in peace, from an episode dedicated to a YMCA in Jerusalem where Muslims, Christians and Jews come together, to another episode that tells the story of the unexpected friendship between Israeli war hero Moshe Dayan’s wife, Rut Dayan, and Raymonda Tawil, the mother-in-law of the former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Recommended episodes: “Besties” (January 27, 2016), “Jarab” (July 28, 2017) and “Wartime Diaries: Faiz Abu Sabehan” (November 12, 2023

Unapologetic: The Third Narrative—a podcast featuring two Palestinian-Israeli citizens advocating for a better future for both groups of people 

Unapologetic was created by peace activists Amira Mohammed and Ibrahim Abu Ahmad, two Palestinians who are also citizens of Israel. Unapologetic’s first episode premiered on October 29, 2023, just three weeks after October 7, with the most recent episode airing on February 19. Their podcast has since accumulated more than 20,000 plays across all podcast streaming platforms and more than 11,300 followers on Instagram. Mohammed told religionnews.com that they created the podcast to provide a voice on issues important to Israelis and Palestinians that is neutral and unbiased and is “looking to the future and not only being dragged by the pain and suffering of our ancestors.” So far, they have released nine episodes on topics ranging from navigating their complex identities to their first hand experiences of historical moments in the conflict.

Recommended episodes: “Pilot—A New Narrative is Born” (October 29, 2023), “The ‘Day After’—What Happens Next?” (November 20, 2023) and “Uncensored Voice from the West Bank” (December 30, 2023)

From The Yarra River to the Mediterranean Sea—a post-October 7 podcast that offers nuanced conversations on Israel-Palestine 

From The Yarra River to the Mediterranean Sea was co-founded by Australian Jews Ittay Flescher and Hannah Baker in December 2023. The podcast was created so that they could direct their nuanced conversations towards Zionist Jewish communities who were exposed to only one narrative growing up. The podcast currently has eight episodes in which Flescher and Baker answer questions like “who is indigenous to the land?” and “should Zionism be considered a colonialist movement?” 

Recommended episodes: “Episode 2.1: Where Did it all Begin?” (December 4, 2023), “Episode 6: Creating Hope with Maoz Inon” (January 21, 2024) and “Episode 7: One State, Two States or a Land for All?” (January 26, 2024)

Groundwork—a podcast looking into how Israelis and Palestinians coexist in different cities in Israel

Groundwork was launched in 2021 by the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP), a coalition of Israelis and Palestinians whose stated mission is to build “people-to-people cooperation, coexistence, equality, shared society, mutual understanding, and peace among their communities,” and the New Israel Fund, a foundation that advances democracy in Israel. The podcast ran from August 2, 2021, to August 21, 2023, but its 16 episodes—covering stories about Israeli cities that are home to both Jewish and Arab communities, and how Israelis and Palestinians coexist while coping with inequality, injustice and a painful history—remain relevant. Groundwork’s three hosts were Palestinian activist Sally Abed, journalist Dina Kraft and Yoshi Fields. 

Recommended episodes: “Haifa” (August 2, 2021), “A Crisis that Unites Us” (July 6, 2023) and “Two States, One Homeland” (August 3, 2023)

The Branch—a podcast that tells the stories of Israelis and Palestinians forging strong friendships under challenging circumstances

The Branch is a podcast that was also hosted by Dina Kraft and produced by Hadassah, a women’s Zionist organization in America that dates back to 1912. Running from 2018-2021, the Tel-Aviv-based podcast  includes 29 episodes that each highlighted ordinary Israelis and Palestinians and the friendships they’ve forged. In an interview with OnWisconsin—the alumni magazine for the University of Wisconsin, Kraft said the close friends she has spoken to for The Branch, who are divided by things such as religion or nationality, are “the ones who do not shy away from having hard conversations about identity, politics and government policies. They share a profound respect for one another, even when they don’t agree on everything.” 

Recommended episodes: “The Parent’s Circle” (April 10, 2019), “From Gaza to Tel Aviv” (June 12, 2019) and “The Midwives” (August 5, 2020).

This article is part of a package of stories highlighting projects committed to building a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians since October 7. Other stories in this package include:

From the Editor’s Desk: A Podcast for Those in Search of Nuance

Six Israeli/Palestinian Peace Projects Active Since October 7

From 2005 | Breaking the Barrier: A Look at All Peace Radio



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