I organised and facilitated a diallgue at Limmud between David Newman and Gerald Steinberg. Both of them are UK-born Israel academics who, in recent years, have often been on different sides on debates about Israeli politics. The aim of the session was to encourage them to ‘talk about talking’ , to talk about the tone of debates on Israel. I also challenged them to dialogue rather than debate with each other.
You can see a video of the session here:
As you can see in the video, some of the audience members were unhappy with the session. They felt that Newman and Steinberg were debating rather than dialoguing and that they were scoring points off each other. I was more positive about the session. I felt that Newman and Steinberg were largely civil to each other and in these times that is something of an achievment! There’s no doubt though that this is difficult stuff and that public dialogues are hard to organise. Hopefully, the idea of civility will become more widespread and such experiments will become commonplace.