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

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

The separation wall I described in the first incident in this chapter plays a central role in our friendship; it is both a physical and symbolic way of separating between us. There are checkpoints in order to pass to the Palestinian Authority, and throughout its territory. Therefore, going regularly to the Palestinian Authority, this was not the first time I was stopped at a checkpoint. However, it was the first time I was detained. In fact, it was the first time in my life that I felt threatened by the law. From my naïve point of view, the notion that giving my friend a ride brought me to the “wrong” side of society was difficult to digest. The shock came in waves. First, there was the arrest, which by itself was humiliating. Then, there was the painful understanding that I am paying a high price for my friendship, now having a police record and facing trial. In subsequent months, dynamics of cognitive dissonance created substantial psychological discomfort (cf. Festinger, 1957) and required that I revise my self-image, the image of my friends and the image of the country I had been living in for almost thirty years. The cognitions I had of myself as an appreciated member of society, and of my environment as relatively fair and supportive, just did not fit together with what I experienced around the incident.

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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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