We at FODIP (The Forum for Discussion of Israel and Palestine) are extremely concerned by the false description of us as ‘spreading the myth of an equal ‘two-sided conflict’’. We have never done so, neither do we ever deny the reality of Israeli occupation and the appalling situation for the Palestinians. This is too real to be denied, as our Study Tour itineraries show.
FODIP is a faith-based dialogue organisation whose main charitable objective is to improve relations between faith communities here in the UK. To do this it is necessary to help people have the difficult conversations, to understand something of the reality of life in Palestine/Israel and to understand why people here come to take the positions they do. We ourselves take no political position but do value the rights of each individual to live in freedom and with dignity.
When events in the region become global news, we know only too well how incidents of Islamophobia, as well as Antisemitism, rise dramatically. FODIP’s aim is to reduce these, by promoting understanding and more helpful and informed conversations. We do not encourage any conclusions or posit solutions; that is for those who participate in our programmes to decide for themselves. Among interfaith organisations and those whose work touches on Palestine/Israel, FODIP is unique and should be viewed as such.
FODIP was set up in 2008 by those with an extensive background in inter faith relations in the UK. We realised that, in spite of all the very good work which goes on in this country, the one topic which threatened to derail good relations was – Palestine/Israel
Our experience in dialogue, facilitation and issues in the Middle East led us to formulate approaches which enable positive conversations on this difficult topic, even where those engaged have radically different perspectives.
Not everyone wants to broach this topic because it is emotive, and often involves questions as diverse as identity, religious texts and British society. However, when something happens which puts the region in the headlines, or when the topic comes up in normal dialogue, responses can threaten to destroy all the goodwill which has grown up between communities.
Those involved with FODIP have their own views and experiences, coming from Jewish, Christian and Muslim backgrounds, but are committed to working for understanding of other perspectives, hearing the voices – however difficult - and being a positive force in our society.