On May 8, Moment Magazine Editor-in-Chief Nadine Epstein and Senior Editor Dina Gold sat down with Mohammed S. Dajani, the political science professor who made waves by taking the first-ever field trip to Auschwitz with a group of Palestinian students last month.
Prof. Dajani told them a story that hasn’t been in the press. For years, he has run workshops with the theme “Big Dream/Small Hope,” he said. In the workshops, he asks Israelis and Palestinians for their “big dream” and “small hope.” Israelis’ big dream is they will wake up and there will be no Palestinians in the West Bank, while Palestinians’ big dream is to wake up in the morning to find no Jewish-Israelis. Neither dream can ever come true. So he asks them for their “small hope.” Both say: two states for two people with two nations living side by side.
So he says, let’s work on that.
A proponent of tolerance, reconciliation and a two-state solution, Dajani has repeatedly underscored the need to engage Israelis and understand their perspective if a solution is to be found. In fact, the Auschwitz trip was one half of a research project entitled “Hearts of Flesh–Not Stone,” which also had Jewish-Israeli students listen to Palestinians from the Dheisheh refugee camp south of Bethlehem in the West Bank.
“Part of the religious animosity in general, and anti-Semitism in particular, is due to ignorance,” Prof. Dajani told Moment as a contributor to a symposium on the roots of modern anti-Semitism in our March/April issue. “Interfaith dialogue here is an important tool to bridge the wide gap among various religious communities and to dispel stereotypical images, myths and misperceptions.”
Stay tuned for a full profile of Prof. Dajani in the pages of Moment!