Nonviolent Communication (NVC)

NVC is rooted in principles that help practitioners open up to, integrate and practice on the basis of a broader concept of justice, moving from the conventional notion of punitive justice to restorative justice. Any action based on the notion of restorative justice is deeply humanizing across divides, requiring accountability from the local community. It is uniquely effective even when dealing with the most challenging and painful problems, including the ones stemming from narrative, identity, and intergenerational trauma issues like the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. In such a capacity NVC serves as a practical model, a framework within which it is possible to break free from the cycle of violence, to help interrupt it and offer hopeful alternatives, that there are other ways open to both Israelis and Palestinians that can meet the universal human needs of both societies.

NVC processes are deeply embedded by the practice of empathy, which allows for the creation of safer spaces where difficult conversations about identity and narrative can happen in non-oppositional ways, moving from a binary “either/or”to a complexity-based “and”framework. This prevents the triggering of guilt, shame, defensiveness and reactivity. NVC processes are able to hold space for these feelings with care and acceptance, and allow for their transformation. Practices based on NVC framework help people open to change, and re-examine misconceptions and deeply seated hostile beliefs about the other, through practical processes of empathic listening. At the same time NVC supports those who are marginalized, with less access to resources or status, to find ways to express their reality to those holding privilege.

In NVC practice, listening and understanding on one hand, and expressing authentically on the other, is taken to another level, one that is more likely to move empathy among the parties, and allow them to find a place of safety and willingness to co-create their shared realities in ways that care for all. The practice of NVC will further empower Israeli and Palestinian leaders in social change to improve their relationships amongst themselves and their organizations and societies towards a more successful future.

Nonviolence is deeper than simply committing to forsake violent actions. It is a way of being, communicating and empathizing with others. Activists of Combatants for Peace are committed to achieving nonviolence in their thoughts, words and deeds. This process is one of communication and deep reconciliation.

What is Nonviolent Communication?
Nonviolent Communication is the integration of 4 things:
1. Consciousness: a set of principles that support living a life of compassion, collaboration, courage and authenticity.
2. Language: understanding how words contribute to connection or distance.
3. Communication: knowing how to ask for what we want, how to hear others even in disagreement, and how to move toward solutions that work for all.
4. Means of influence: sharing “power with others” rather than using “power over others.”

NVC serves our desire to do three things:
1. Increasing our ability to live with choice, meaning and connection.
2. Connecting empathically with self and others to have more satisfying relationships.
3. Sharing of resources so everyone is able to benefit.