People sitting on couch watching


2005   27:00

Producer/Writer/Director/Editor: Mark Freeman
Director of Photography: Dave Stewart
KPBS Executive Producer:  Pat Finn


The cycle of violence in the Middle East may seem to have no end, but in San Diego Jews and Palestinians have united despite the odds. Talking Peace takes viewers inside the Jewish Palestinian Living Room Dialogue and tells a compelling story of two sides coming together through the simple act of listening.

In the living room of Jim Rauch, a Jew, and his wife Doris Bittar, an Arab, the stage has been set to create an alternative to living with hatred. In their home, Jews and Palestinians share their stories and their pain governed by only one rule: to truly listen to each other.

Although the documentary gives viewers an insight into the history of unrest, the story is about the people, not the politics, of a region in which both side continue to exchange claims and blame and bombs. Among the participants are a businessman, a teacher, an artist, a karate instructor, a physicist and an engineer. Compelling, first-hand narratives provide a perspective of how their lives have been shaped by the violence and fear that haunts Israel and the occupied territories.

One man tells how he followed the account of a suicide bombing, only to find out his niece was killed in the blast. Another man recalls how he nearly died during the bombing of his refugee camp in Lebanon, an event that many Israelis believed never happened. As they tell their stories, those gathered around the living room overcome their fears and suspicions, put a human face to those they have considered their enemy, and lay a foundation for building friendships.

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PLATINUM AWARD Worldfest, Houston

“This is the best film in North America about Palestinian-Jewish Living Room Dialogue. What a treasure and breakthrough.” Libby and Len Traubman, Co-founders, Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue

“Talking Peace is an important film, which tells memorable, personal stories. We’re delighted to air the program. Our viewers appreciate the importance of grass roots efforts to build “bridges” between Jewish and Muslim communities in the United States.” Aasiya Zubair, Bridges TV    The American Muslim Network

“…a magnificent piece….There are moments in this film that I do not think I will forget….Its raw immediacy brings the transforming power of dialogue to new audiences.” Dr. Farid Abdel-Nour, Faculty Coordinator,  Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies at San Diego State University

” The community is a richer place when these voices are allowed to tell their stories in their own words.” Rachael Eggebeen, Concrete Magazine

“Talking Peace offers an opportunity …to consider whether we can risk being open to each other’s heartfelt beliefs and whether the stakes are worth it. It isn’t an easy video, but the conversations it will inspire offer a tremendous opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth.”  Interfaith Family

“I watched Talking Peace and was incredibly moved…”  Rachel Mamann, Director, Save a Child’s Heart

“Your film makes a great contribution to (the) human potential for understanding.” Patricia Elyse Terrell, PhD,  Oxford International Festival of Films Limited

Jewish Sightseeing

Premiere sponsored by The Lipinsky Institue for Judaic Studies and the Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies at San Diego State University

Bridges TV, American Muslim Network
Jewish Broadcasting Network
Free Speech TV
BBC/Al Jazeera

National Educational Telecommunications Association Broadcasts: WGVU-TV, WGTE TV 30,Idaho Public Television, KVCR-TV,WUSF, KTEH, KSPS-TV, KWSU-TV, KTNW-TV, Rhode Island PBS KCWC, KET, KUAT Cable, KRSC, KDHX TV

Worldfest, Houston
Non Violence International Film Festival
Middle East Studies Association
Western Jewish Studies Association
San Diego Public Library
Temple Emek Shalom
First Presbyterian Church
Congregation Ner Tamid
Congregation Kol Emeth
Mt. Miguel Covenant Village Bailey Center
North County Coalition for Peace and Justice
Jewish Family Services Senior Center
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Many still hope that there may be a renewed chance for peace in the Middle East. In our communities Jews and Arabs live side-by-side. Their children go to school with one another. Events in the Middle East affect us here. Talking Peace demonstrates that there is an alternative to hatred and violence. This half hour documentary offers a vision of hope.

Talking Peace is a useful tool for starting discussions and building community. It is used in a variety of settings–classrooms, community centers, libraries, and living rooms. See links for more information about the process of Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue.

“As soon as a several inhabitants of the United States have conceived a sentiment or an idea that they want to produce in the world, they seek each other out; and when they have found each other, they unite. From then on they are no longer isolated men,but a power whose actions serve as an example; a power that speaks and to which one listens.”  – De Toqueville

A History of the Arab Peoples , Albert Hourani (Harvard University Press, 1991)

A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict , Mark A.Tessler (Univ. of Indiana Press: 1994)

Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land,David Shipler (Penguin Books: 2002)

Palestine and the Arab Israeli Conflict (5th Edition),Charles D. Smith (St. Martin’s Press, 2004)

Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict,1881-2001, Benny Morris (Vintage: 2001)

The Jewish State: A Century Later. Alan Dowty (University of California Press: 1998.

A Call to Dialogue
Jewish Dialogue
National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation
Arab Jewish Dialogue Resources
Bibliography: Arabs, Islam, Palestine-Israel, Middle East and Zionism
Timeline of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Historical documents
UN documents on Palestine
Middle East News, Views, Maps, History and Culture

Mark Freeman Papers, 1997-2017, University Archives, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.  Special Collections may be contacted via telephone (619-594-6791), fax (619-594-0466) or