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5 Helpful Resources for Discussing the Israeli-Gaza Conflict in the Classroom

Teachers share that there is some level of uncertainty discussing sensitive topics, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is no doubt an intricate and divisive issue on the global stage. This subject can be difficult, but it is incredibly important to discuss in the classroom. An important part of learning and unlearning is confronting preconceived assumptions and biases. I want to share some helpful resources for discussing this topic in a meaningful and appropriate way.

1. Prep Work

If you are uncertain about your own background knowledge, take time to do some reading, learning, and unlearning before starting a discussion in class. TeachMideast has some helpful background information that you can read here:

You might also check out the content from Ron Stockton who was a professor of political science at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He has a podcast series that is excellent if you are looking for ways to approach this topic. You can also download a copy of his resource Teaching About the Middle East: History, Memory, Myth, Narrative, Received Knowledge, Unintended Advocacy, and the Rhetoric Wars. This document covers the three narratives of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and is a helpful read before starting a discussion in class.

2. Human Rights Based Approach

A human rights based approach focuses on the equal dignity and rights of all human beings. Using this approach which focuses on common values and principles rather than differences can provide a helpful framework to assess behaviors and attitudes. I encourage you to check out the comprehensive guide from the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Review the toolkit here: Guidelines for Educators on Countering Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims: Addressing Islamophobia through Education

3. Interrupting Problematic Statements

There are times when students share something problematic. It is our job as educators to interrupt these statements. The Oregon Center for Educational Equity has a helpful toolkit for responses to comments in the classroom that are problematic. Print this PDF and have it handy.

4. Picture Books as a Tool

Using picture books can be a great tool for building understanding, compassion, and dialog. In particular, the book Rest in My Shade is a great picture book for discussing the uprooting and displacement of people everywhere.

One of the things I love about the book, Rest in My Shade by Nora Lester Murad and Dannna Masad is that it's a powerful poetic story that features the artistic works of Palestinian artists. The story centers on the olive tree and the deep connection between Palestinians and their land throughout generations and across the continents.

5. Get Involved

You may have students asking how can they can be vocal about the injustices happening in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Here are several organizations that support providing food and water, safety for refugees and much more.

The USA National Committee (USRWA USA) is holding a solidarity walk/run and digital festival on June 12, 2021

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links to make it easier for you find the books shared in this post.

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