Book choices are a matter of consensus. For the most part, groups allow a no-questions-asked veto power for someone to veto a book about their own religion. Vetoes across religions require discussion. Once women know one another, the discussion about why a book bothers someone in the group can yield very good fruit.
Some books that the Daughters of Abraham read contain passages that are offensive to someone in a group. When these passages come up, it is beneficial for women to discuss how the author's statements affect their lives or the lives of their own families, and why they give personal offense. That approach has proven to be more productive than arguing over history, or the actions of governments. When we stick to the ground rules and talk about ourselves, we are on a ground where we can share.
What is political and what is personal/family experience?
Our first priority as Daughters of Abraham is getting to know and respect one another: that creates the environment where these personal stories can be heard. That is why we start with more neutral books and avoid going head-first into the contentious ground of Middle East politics.
Many Daughters of Abraham groups have read histories which include wars between religious groups. When this is long-ago history, tensions don't run as high. There are many books that are valuable reads about inter-Christian wars of Europe, the Crusades, the Spanish war against Muslims (and the Jewish expulsion), or histories of Muslim expansion. But what about the lives of women who have been hurt, in recent personal or family history, by geo-political forces. How do we separate the experience from the politics?
There are ways for the Middle Eastern members to find ways to say that the Israeli (or other) government or has done them wrong. It could even come up within a story about refugees from the Holocaust. This would not be inauthentic for them, nor would it be political. It would be good for American Jewish women to hear first-hand accounts that are coming from women they have come to know and respect. But our first priority as Daughters of Abraham is getting to know and respect one another: that creates the environment where these personal stories can be heard. Personal stories are the mission of the group. National politics is not.
What is "political" in this context is getting into discussions about the rightness or wrongness of Israeli government policy, its right to exist, or how to achieve peace there. That kind of discussion does not lead to the core of our mission: to learn about the living experience of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian women of faith. Discussion of how to achieve peace and restore justice in the Middle East leads to high negative emotions -- even in all-Jewish groups -- and certainly within Jewish-Christian-Muslim discussion groups. We avoid these conversations because there are other places to hold them. We are seeking what binds us, not the politics of Nations and Money that divide us.
The goal of all Daughters of Abraham groups is to create a safe environment, using books, where women can discuss the experiences of their lives as women of faith. In that place, we come upon hard subjects. But, by discussing them from our experiences, and not through more global ideas and principles, we come to a unique and deep "women's way of knowing" one another. That action, in the long run, is an action towards peace.