Learning about 'good enough' through 'bad enough': A story of a planned dialogue between Israeli Jews and Palestinians

Ifat Maoz, Dan Bar-On, Zvi Bekerman, Summer Jaber-Massarwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


This study analyzes a dialogue process aimed at building relationships between Jews and Palestinians in Israel using an innovative research approach of following the story of the encounter. It attempts to explore whether such dialogue groups are able, in practice, to actually get away from the unbalanced political-structural conditions of the conflict between them. Usually we try to learn about such processes through successful 'good enough' encounters. This study takes the opposite position of looking at what we can learn from an unsuccessful encounter: A 'bad enough' one. Analysis of the dynamics that evolved in this dialogue shows the different tactics that were used by two Jewish-Israeli students to control the dialogue and emphasize themes of 'togetherness', 'we want quiet' and 'we are all human beings'. We follow the futile attempts made by both other Jewish and Palestinian participants to counter these control attempts and to center the discussion on national identity and conflict. Finally, we discuss ways in which such a dialogue process could have been improved and could have served as a learning experience for its participants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1075-1101
Number of pages27
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Dialogue
  • Group processes
  • Intergroup relations
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • Jewish-Arab relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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