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French Jews and Muslims Vow to Stop Conflict by Baking

In Paris a group of Jewish and Muslim French women get together to bake pastries and not talk about politics in the Middle East. They call themselves Les Bâtisseuses de Paix, or Peace Builders, and they hope to prevent the spread of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to France, where 5 million Muslims and 600,000 Jews live.

The International Herald Tribune profiled the group, whose members say they don't want the problems in the Middle East to ruin their relationships with their neighbors. The women will travel to New York to meet their transatlantic counterparts this fall.

French Jewish and Muslim community leaders alike praise their "courageous work" with one Islamic TV show host saying that their "tenderness and maternal sentiment" make them "the best agents for stopping conflict." But some aren't all that impressed. To see why,


Critics think the embargo on talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict among the women makes the "peace builders" hypocritical.

Other groups like Children of Abraham and Seeds of Peace have been bringing together Jews and Muslims, young and old, from around the world, in attempt to spark an interfaith dialogue. Do you think relationships between everyday Jews and Muslims, revolving around pastries or something else, have a potential to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before politicians do?


Join The Conversation
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Ooh, challah is great. Thanks for reminding me I should buy a loaf soon, zeze :)
hartsfull hartsfull 8 years
Sounds good to me! I definately think it's worth trying.
zeze zeze 8 years
Carbs (especially good Jewish "challah") can fix anything!
rabidmoon rabidmoon 8 years
Precisely! :)
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
The first step is to recognize shared humanity with the "other" side. In this case, that's being done, and beautifully.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
IMO they've already conquered their conflict by not giving said conflict any power over them selves. What I see with the Palestinian Israeli situation is a conflict which is inherited and passed on from generation to generation. Well just like any other inheritance it is our prerogative whether we want to accept it or not. These people have simply made a decision that a perpetual tit for tat that does nothing but destroy opportunities for peace is ridiculous and that if you truly want peace you simply live it.
stephley stephley 8 years
Why should you stop???
rabidmoon rabidmoon 8 years
Hehe thanks MartiniLush! problem is I never know when to stop. :P
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
Rabidmoon, you said it all!
rabidmoon rabidmoon 8 years
And this...along with many other things, is why women are so very, very cool. At the end of the day its easy to fling about opinions and beliefs about people whom we do not know, about cultures or societies to which we have not been exposed. Sadly though, the opportunities to remedy that in ways that are easy and/or comfortable are not always to be found. I applaud this for that very this small way, people are connecting, and even if they do not agree on everything, (why should they?), they can find common ground. Its easy to judge the Palestinians, but I am sure there are uncomfortable truths which go unspoken, that I wish could be spoken. But its about one step at a time. Decades forged this conflict, and I do not think some immediate solution will just land upon people and this "go away". Even if a political "resolution" was forced upon individuals, it takes time to erase the emotional, intellectual/educational and economic wounds inflicted upon these communities. And it is in these ways that I think such gatherings are critical. So what if the topic is taboo for now? I can understand that. What IS important is the intent, the desire to find common ground. Out of that...comes an eventual comfort zone by which those wounds can be repaired. Small steps eventually can walk the earth, if you know what I mean. Why anyone would think this would be solved quickly, when its thousands of years old, is beyond me. You have to start somewhere, and I for one applaud these women.
Eilonwy Eilonwy 8 years
It's a step in the right direction. It may chip away at the conflict, but major reconstruction and political action is ultimately needed...
stephley stephley 8 years
The people certainly have the potential to speed things along. I've heard of a group of about two dozen Palestinan and Israeli women who determined they would remain friends and keep talking no matter what, and have done so for more than a decade. I'm told in times of crisis, they'll gather at someone's home and hold hands as they watch the news unfold.
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