Listen in on a conversation between Bay Area Palestinians and Jews

Jul 22, 2014

The daily news of violence from the Gaza strip is gripping people around the world. Here in the Bay Area, hundreds gathered in downtown San Francisco over the weekend, calling for an end to an Israeli military incursion that has so far killed more than 600 people, most of them civilians.

Meanwhile, Jewish congregations around the Bay gathered to stand in solidarity with what they see as Israel's right to defend itself against Palestinian rocket fire.

It’s perhaps not surprising that the conflicts that divide the Middle East would play out here in California. But it’s not that way for everyone.

For the past 16 years, the San Francisco chapter of the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue has gathered under one roof. The group has included Israelis and Holocaust survivors, Palestinians exiled after the 1948 founding of Israel and more recent immigrants from Gaza and the West Bank. Together, they debate the politics and mourn the bloodshed. It can get heated at times, but the group mantra is always to listen.

Michael Bernstein, a Jewish American, and Melek Nasr-Totah, a Palestinian American, were at a recent dialogue. 

MICHAEL BERNSTEIN: I think it’s tragic because these people who are creating so much violence are my people.

Click the audio player to hear the rest of the dialogue.

You can also hear a 2009 KALW interview with the founder of the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue by clicking here.