My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: XVI. Friendship and Politics

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: XVI. Friendship and Politics

Cognitive Dissonance

I believe that most friends in Western Europe or North America do not consider the relationship between their friendship and politics, even if such a relationship may exist. In Israel, national politics are more in the foreground and may create heated discussions on divergent points of view, over which friendships could fall apart. Politics are inescapable when the friendship concerns an Israeli and a Palestinian, even if the national politics are not discussed within friendship, as in our case. This could already be learned from the story about the netstick, but it never became as clear as in the story I just described.

In recent years, in many parts in the center and north of Israel one may succeed to live one’s daily life relatively undisturbed –consciously – by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but when living in Jerusalem (or in the south of Israel, near Gaza) this conflict cannot be ignored. In the last years – since the building of the separation wall – things seem calmer, but even today the threat of death is always there. There were years that I feared driving behind buses, wary that they would explode by means of a suicide bomber. Once on my way to university, I had the scary experience of arriving at a bus stop at which a few hours before a bomb had exploded. Furthermore, I had friends and clients killed in terrorist attacks. In French Hill, the neighborhood I live in now, there were several terrorist attacks. From my home I can hear at nights loud noises from the adjacent Palestinian village, but I cannot always identify whether these are from fireworks at weddings or from shooting by soldiers to disperse a riot. In order to keep one’s peace of mind, one has to repress this kind of thing.

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About the Author

Daniel WeishutDaniel J.N. Weishut, born in the Netherlands but living in Jerusalem, is a professional with a diverse background. He holds an MA in Clinical Psychology and an MBA in Integrative Business Administration, both from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a PsyD in Clinical and Organizational Psychology from the Professional School of Psychology (Sacramento). He has about thirty years of experience in consultation and therapy with a wide variety of clients and issues, more than twenty years of practice in group facilitation, and over fifteen years of know-how in governance and management in various organizations.Daniel Weishut offers his services as a "Partner on the Way", while taking a world-view that people are diverse but equal. He works with a variety of clients, but his special interest is in work with those who have found themselves persecuted or otherwise in conflict with their social environment, because of their culture, identity or belief system. For example: migrants, expats, refugees, Holocaust survivors, soldiers, pacifists, and individuals from religious, cultural or sexual minorities. Daniel Weishut is a social activist and in this capacity he volunteers as Chairperson of the Israeli Association of Group Psychotherapy, as Member of the Membership Appeals Committee of Amnesty International and as forensic expert for the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. He also is involved in raising awareness about the situation of Bedouins around Jerusalem; awareness which led among others to the writing of his dissertation "My friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: Challenges and opportunities in intercultural friendship".

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