When the singer and composer Leonard Cohen left the stage, soaked in sweat, at the end of a 2009 concert in Tel Aviv, he couldn’t known he’d just funded the means of not just better understanding deeply held beliefs, but perhaps of helping to rewrite them. He’d named the concert, attended by 47,000 people in the middle of widespread calls for boycotts of Israel following its three-week Gaza war, “A Concert for Reconciliation, Tolerance and Peace.” And he gave the approximately $1.5 million in ticket sales to a newly formed charity run by a board of Israelis and Palestinians, so that they could pursue projects that promoted coexistence.
The money funded, in part, work by a pair of researchers, Daniel Bar-Tal, who teaches at the school of education at Tel Aviv University, and Eran Halperin, a conflict specialist and psychology professor at the Interdisciplinary Center in Hezliya. Their mandate from Cohen’s organization was clear: Pursue peace along paths that haven’t been walked before. So, hoping to find new ideas, they approached Israeli advertising agencies, and asked for suggestions on how to break through seemingly impossible disagreements.
From Absolutely Right: The Persuasion Technique That Could Bring Us to Our Senses, or Deepen Our Conflicts by Jacob Ward (Medium: Dec 4, 2017). The complete article is available at the link.
More posts about this concert can be found at 2009 Cohen Tel Aviv Show,