Rich Forer’s book offers hope for a ‘breakthrough’ in building a future of ‘peace-with-justice’ for ALL who share ‘the holy land’, meaning Jews, Arabs and everyone else who cares for this unique part of earth’s geography. — John T. Berg

Breakthrough: Transforming Fear Into Compassion – A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict

After more than sixty years, the Israel-Palestinian issue is as intractable as ever. Groups and individuals on either side reflexively point to the other as the cause of conflict. Blame and intense emotion permeate virtually any discussion of the subject. In this book, Richard Forer explains that no action occurs in a vacuum, that we all play roles in the suffering of others and that only an honest intention to discover the history for ourselves can alleviate the suffering. Through meticulous research Forer examines and reframes the most common and misunderstood arguments on both sides of the conflict. He shows that the real enemy is the unexamined mind that projects its suffering onto the other. 

Though not a religious Jew, Forer had been a loyal defender of Israeli policy all his life and zealously supported Israel s 2006 invasion of Lebanon. In response to what he perceived as growing global anti-Semitism, he became a member of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Angry that two of his most trusted friends resisted his views, and surprised that a long-time Jewish friend would suggest that his opinions were not as factually based as he assumed, Forer began an intensive study of the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict, determined to discover the facts for himself. With an uncompromising commitment to the truth, he went far beyond his original intention, even challenging his very identity. Reaching into the depths of himself, in a remarkable moment he underwent a spontaneous spiritual transformation in which he awoke to his true identity, beyond the limits of the ego and its enforced loyalties. Feeling how his attachment to Israel had blinded him to the human dimension of the conflict and had led him to reject the other in a heartless way, Forer realized that the true root of conflict is one s presumed identity and the beliefs and images that emanate from and reinforce that identity, and that these presumptions are false and unnecessary. He discovered that in Truth we are all Muslim and Jewish, Palestinian and Israeli. Forer had recognized the heart of Judaism, which embraces the Universal and identifies with all of humanity.

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Forer also includes interviews with a Palestinian refugee and a Jewish woman living in a large settlement who has created a conversation group between Jewish Israelis and W. Bank Palestinians. This was particularly moving because it shows that before she actually met Palestinians, she thought of them as essentially different from Jews. Establishing communication has changed her perception of the entire situation and allowed her to access her compassion. – Kathy Felgran