Dialogue and resistance – mutually exclusive or parallel tracks?

Global civil society engages with Palestine/Israel.


Ben White


Since the 1990s and the Oslo peace process there has been a growth in the number of NGOs in the West – as well as on the ground in Palestine/Israel – who have invested in what has been described as a ‘peace industry’. Dialogue between Jews and Palestinians is encouraged, and boycotts are considered ‘extremist’ or unhelpful. Meanwhile, in the last few years, a significant section of Palestinian society has officially called for what is known as BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) to be adopted by governments and global civil society as a way of pressuring Israel to comply with international law and enable Palestinian rights to be realised. Does dialogue work – or is it more a matter of what kind of dialogue? Are dialogue and tactics like BDS mutually exclusive? What are the main obstacles to a just peace in Palestine/Israel?


Ben White is a freelance journalist and writer specialising in Palestine/Israel. His articles have appeared in a variety of international publications, including the Guardian online’s ‘Comment is free’, the New Statesman, Electronic Intifada, and Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. He has been visiting Palestine/Israel since 2003 for periods of between two weeks and three months, and graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in English Literature in 2005. ‘Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide’ (Pluto, 2009) is his first book. He now lives in the UK.

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