Reaffirming Our NewGround Values

In the midst of unimaginable suffering and loss of life we’ve witnessed in Gaza and Israel, we hold a core value: Human life is precious and sacred, and each individual, no matter who they are, should be able to live in dignity and safety. This value is affirmed in both Muslim and Jewish traditions: as the Quran (5:32) and the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 4:5) remind us — to take a life is as if destroying all of humanity. And to save a life is as if saving all of humanity. 

With this value in mind, all of us at NewGround are looking for an immediate end to the violence: this means an end to the bombardment of Gazans, an end to the violence against Israeli civilians, the release of all hostages, and humanitarian relief that will meet both the urgent short-term and important long-term recovery needs of those Palestinians who are still alive.

Brain science and social science tells us that when we feel an overabundance of empathy for our own tribe, our own people, we are more likely to justify causing harm to others, whether intentionally or unintentionally. In this moment, NewGround is uniquely positioned to counteract this, by exercising empathy for others, not just for ourselves

Another core value for NewGround is radical listening connected to courageous truth-telling. In the past several months, we have increasingly fallen into closed circles of information and narratives. NewGround is one of the few spaces where people are safe and affirmed in getting curious about each other’s narratives. That only happens when we as an organization place relationships above politics – when we leave as much space as possible for all to come to our table and share their stories. We don’t shy away from challenging perspectives – instead, we go deeper. 

As a community of Muslims and Jews, we strive in our spaces to ensure the freedom and safety of Palestinians and Muslims, and ensure the freedom and safety of Israelis and Jews. We know that the fates of our peoples are intertwined, that we help guarantee freedom and safety for each other, not at the expense of the other. 

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