Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does “telos” mean?

In ancient Greek, the word “telos” describes a unique purpose, towards which all intentions and energies are singularly focused.

2. What’s your “telos”?

Our Telos is security, dignity and freedom for all Israelis and all Palestinians in equal measure.

3. What’s your mission?

By resourcing leaders at the nexus of culture, faith and enterprise, we equip Americans to build a transformative pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, pro-peace movement.

4. What’s your vision?

Our vision is a world in which leaders—and their communities—claim the requisite drive, expertise and relationships to effectively and relentlessly wage peace.

In the Holy Land, we envisage a time beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, when diverse communities of Americans will stand with both Palestinians and Israelis to sustain security, dignity and freedom for all.

We imagine that our unique model of conflict transformation will be replicated elsewhere—helping bring stability, healing and reconciliation to communities around the world, including here in America.

5. Why do you call yourself “pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, pro-peace”?

We in America have imported the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into our own communities. This is reflected in much of our activism, which expresses itself in very “one-sided” ways, rooted firmly in an either/or paradigm: To be “pro-Israeli” is to be “anti-Palestinian” and vice versa.

This kind of activism, while mostly well intentioned, often serves to perpetuate conflict. It fails to recognize that before and beyond politics, the only sustainable way forward in the Holy Land is one that will work for all people there—Jews, Christians, and Muslims; Palestinians and Israelis; believers and non-believers. Any advocacy that does not promote the fundamental rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians therefore condemns Israelis, Palestinians, the region and the world to decades more of this unnecessary conflict.

Thus, a new paradigm is needed—one that recognizes that there is no sustainable future for Israelis without a sustainable future for Palestinians, and vice versa. To be pro-Israeli therefore must be pro-Palestinian and pro-peace.

6. I’ve bought into the pro/pro/pro movement and its values. How do I take action?

Our signature “Blueprint for Pro-Israeli, Pro-Palestinian, pro-American Peacemaking” provides some suggestions for impactful action.

A. Reach Out: Pro/Pro/Pro Peacemakers must forge relationships with Israelis and Palestinians across the political and theological spectra. Otherwise peacemaking is theoretical, narrow, and/or dangerous. Reach Out includes taking signature Telos trips to Israel/Palestine, hosting speaking tours and educational events in communities at home, and engaging others’ interested in the conflict in one’s own community, even when there is forceful disagreement.

B. Stand With: Pro/Pro/Pro Peacemakers must stand in solidarity with those Israelis and Palestinians who share their values, not necessarily their politics. This web of intentional relationship creates a foundation to wage peace both in Israel-Palestine and here at home. Stand With includes fellowship, philanthropic partnerships, and investment.

C. Speak Up: Pro/Pro/Pro Peacemakers must speak up on behalf of attitudes and policies that benefit all Israelis and Palestinians. Remaining silent in the face of racism, anti-Semitism, and injustice is simply not an option for intentional peacemakers. Speak Up includes campaigning, community organizing, and advocacy.

Email us for specific ways to become active in your community: info@telosgroup.org.

7. So I’ve heard the most amazing things about your trips. How do I get on one?

If you’ve heard about our life-changing trips, it means you probably know someone who’s been on one. Ask your friend for an introduction.

We are a small organization with very limited capacity. And while we charge market rates for most trips, we only have a limited number of opportunities for leaders and their communities every year. We apologize if we’re not able to assist with your request, but will be happy to refer you to others who might be able to help.

8. Where do you get your funding?

We have three primary sources of funding: (1) American philanthropic foundations, churches, and other community organizations; (2) Individual donations; and (3) Revenue from our unique travel programs, which is our largest single-source of funding.

9. What types of organizations and people fund you?

We truly represent a broad swath of America, from left to right, with an emphasis on folks in the middle.

Currently, our largest single source of revenue comes from program fees—namely the fees people pay to participate in trips.

We also receive grants from foundations, churches and other community organizations, and individuals to help cover general operating expenses and various programs.

Most of those donations are part of the public record—including some that politically-motivated activists will label “controversial.” Yet some of our individual donors prefer to remain confidential or anonymous, as is their right, and we honor their privacy.

That said, we are unabashedly proud of the radical diversity of our funding sources. We are proud that program participants represent our largest source of funding—spending their hard-earned money for an experience of a lifetime. We are proud that we count both liberal and conservative donors in our ranks—just as our staff, board, and network includes liberals and conservatives who all recognize the need to promote security, dignity and freedom for all Israelis and Palestinians.

We feel humbled and blessed to be part of this unique community, and we are glad that so many people are keen to join this radically inclusive, yet radically principled, movement, choosing to judge us, and each other, by the fruits of our collective labors, and not by what “political” or “cultural” boxes we hail from.

We count the diversity of our support as one remarkable, and unlikely, measure of our success. Walking the walk, not just talking the talk. Together. By bringing diverse, caring people into a radically principled, action-oriented, community of peacemakers.

10. Is Telos a Christian or faith-based organization?

No, Telos is not a religious organization. We work with a diverse set of leaders and communities from a variety of sectors of American society.

That said, while much of our work is with American Christians, we are equally committed to serving other communities as well, and are adept at providing programming tailored to meet the diverse needs of all the specific communities with whom we work.

Our primary role is that of convener and translator between our different constituencies. These constituencies need to know each other, which is something we help facilitate. And they also need to engage from a place of deep individual and communal authenticity to see the transformation all members of our network yearn for.

11. Is Telos a partisan organization? Are you primarily pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian?

No, Telos is a non-partisan, non-faith-based organization. We support all Israelis and all Palestinians. And we work with Americans of all political stripes, liberal and conservative, hailing from a variety of faith traditions and none at all.

Our primary commitment is to the flourishing of all people, including all Israelis and Palestinians. Accordingly, we reject paradigms for engaging the conflict that embraces one side’s needs and rights at expense of the other’s. Instead, we promote a new paradigm—one that we call pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian and pro-peace, or “pro/pro/pro peacemaking” for short. Pro/pro/pro peacemaking holds essential the interdependency of all Israelis and all Palestinians and the need to work for security, dignity and freedom of all.

Achieving this lofty end begins by engaging the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. It means knowing, but not necessarily agreeing with, a variety of perspectives. It means being in relationship with people who are quite different from us, who sometimes hold radically opposed worldviews on the things that matter most to us. Ultimately, there is no possibility for transformation without understanding and relationship. This is the foundation of true peacemaking, as opposed to political posturing. This means that pro/pro/pro peacemakers will regularly engage people from all backgrounds. And this means that we at Telos will we aim to walk this narrow path as best we can.

12. How do I get Telos involved in my own community?

Email us at info@telosgroup.org and someone from our staff will set up a consultation.

13. Where can I learn more about Israel, Palestine, the Middle East, and pro/pro/pro peacemaking?

Check out our resource list for helpful articles, books, films, blogs and websites you might want to explore.

14. What do you specifically mean by “pro/pro/pro”? For example, do you support one or two states or some other solution?

We support mutual flourishing for both Israelis and Palestinians. We oppose policies and realities that stifle that flourishing—like terrorism, incitement, inequality, and occupation.

While we are not an advocacy organization, we do take a position on one key policy issue: We support the two-state solution—the proposal to divide the Holy Land into two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. We believe that Israelis and Palestinians, as individuals and collectives, have the right to determine their futures. And we believe, that as imperfect as it is, the two-state solution is the best way to maximize both peoples’ right.

Yet we also recognize that the realities on the ground are dramatically changing. The two state solution is now widely discredited and implementing one may soon no longer be possible. While we believe this will likely be a dangerous scenario, it is ultimately Israelis and Palestinians who will determine how they will share their future together. Should they agree and promote a new paradigm for resolving the conflict, we will follow their lead.

Nevertheless, we believe that the measure we apply to the current reality, any iteration of the two-state solution, or any other proposed accommodation, must be based on how well that scenario promotes security, dignity and freedom for all Israelis and all Palestinians.