OVERVIEW OF PARENTS CIRCLE FAMILIES FORUM
Parents Circle Families Forum is a unique, grassroots organisation made up of more than 600 Israeli & Palestinian families who have all lost an immediate family member in the conflict. Members believe that if they, who have paid the highest price in the conflict, can work together, then surely others can too. The focus of the work is on getting both sides to sit together so that an emotional breakthrough can be made. Often these meetings are the first opportunity that Israelis & Palestinians have had to see each other as ordinary human beings who share the same hopes, the same dreams and the same pain.
Their long-term vision is to create a framework for a reconciliation process to be an integral part of any future peace agreement.
OVERVIEW OF TWO-SIDED STORY & BLOOD RELATIONS FILMS
Two-Sided Story is a 75-minute documentary which tracks the relationships over a series of meetings between a diverse group of Israelis & Palestinians who have rarely if ever before had the opportunity to sit down and talk to each other about the difficult issues in the conflict. Orthodox Jews & religious Muslims, Israeli settlers & Palestinian activists, Holocaust survivors and former Palestinian security prisoners all come together to meet each and talk. Watching the individuals who participate shift their views over the course of the conversations is fascinating.
If there is not enough time in the school day to screen Two-Sided Story there is also a shorter 8-minute film called Blood Relations, which can be used to stimulate debate and discussion. This is a very moving film about forum members who donated blood to each other. The reasoning behind this is that people cannot harm someone who has their donated blood running through the recipient’s veins.
WHY JEWISH TEACHERS SHOULD WANT TO SCREEN THESE FILMS
The films are both very thought provoking and explore a view of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that is not often heard in the UK – the message is: ‘don’t take sides but be part of the solution by helping to bring both sides together to work for peace & reconciliation.’ This message of the courageous individuals and families trying to help to end the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a refreshing one and offers grounds for hope.. As a teaching tool it has wider application when instruction about conflict resolution and dismantling prejudice against the unknown and little understood ‘other’, whoever that ‘other’ may be.
WHERE COULD THIS FIT INTO THE CURRICULUM
This work could be used in many different parts of the curriculum – community cohesion & combating extremism, conflict resolution, modern history, religious studies, citizenship & politics. We hope that the message of the forum will encourage students to look at other conflict situations as well as the Israeli/Palestinian one with fresh eyes.
I’D LIKE TO SCREEN THE FILM: WHAT NEXT?
Diane Taylor, UK manager of Friends of the Bereaved Families Forum, is happy to come into schools to host/facilitate discussions triggered by the films, to offer a exercises in getting to understand the ‘other’ better and to examine prejudices , why the students have these prejudices and where they come from.
HOW ELSE CAN I GET INVOLVED IN THE WORK OF THE FORUM
Both teachers and students can go on the forum’s UK mailing list and receive our regular newsletter, events listings etc. There are also opportunities to volunteer and to support the charity in other ways.
Contact info@families forum.co.uk for more information or call 07966 145098 or visit the UK website and the Israeli/Palestinian one.
Click here to view a powerpoint about Understanding the ‘Other’; a programme for 16-18 year-olds to tackle prejudice, prevent extremism and teach conflict resolution skills.