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Talking with family & friends about Israel/Palestine

January 2 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Talking with Family & Friends about Israel & Palestine

Practicing Nonviolent Communication when feeling intense emotions

On Zoom, Tuesday, January 2, 7-9pm  Limited to 12 participants

Free admission. Participants must pre-register here. I will email the Zoom link the morning of January 2.

In 1972 I wrote a letter to my sister saying, “How could you vote for Richard Nixon? He’s a war criminal.” 

She wrote back, “How could you be so self righteous?”

It wasn’t until I encountered Nonviolent Communication thirty years later that I got clear on how to express my deepest convictions without self righteousness.

Witnessing the war unfold in Israel/Palestine is painful for many of us. Some of us have versions of the following thoughts:

  • How could you be so heartless to oppose a ceasefire?
  • How could you be so dangerously naive to want a ceasefire before Hamas is defeated?

In this workshop participants will have a chance to reflect on the root needs behind our pain. For some it may be:

  • What can I do to contribute towards peace and security?
  • How can I find inspiration when I feel discouraged and depressed?
  • How can I understand why some people don’t see the problem the way I do?

We will observe what needs are held in common and where  our strategies differ. For example, my sister and I shared the same need for peace and justice. We supported very different strategies to bring that about. 

We will use role plays to practice empathy with people who disagree with us. Empathy is not to be confused with agreement. It is simply acknowledging the real human needs motivating the other person. When strategies differ, participants may decide to take a next step, e.g., joint exploration of the effectiveness of the strategies.

My priority in leading this workshop is to maintain an emotionally safe environment. When hearing a statement that contains a moralistic judgment of another person’s motivations, I will interrupt and attempt to restate the person’s concern, using an I-message. For example, upon hearing the statement, “You’re being irresponsible…” I will interrupt and suggest a possible restatement, “I am having a hard time hearing your idea. I’m afraid that the results will be catastrophic.” In registering for this workshop I am asking people to agree to stop speaking when I interrupt.

The desired outcome for this workshop is not to persuade another to change their mind. That can happen, but it’s not the goal. The goal is to have an experience of connection where we understand the deepest needs motivating the other person, and how others arrived at their position. My hope is that participants may experience their moral indignation towards their opponents shifting to sadness.


January 2
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm




Rick Longinotti