Lecture series offers new perspectives on Israel-Palestine conflict

by Adriana Millar, Senior Staff Writer

A lecture series presented by the Charles Hostler Institute on World Affairs set to begin Feb. 15 will offer new insights into the Israeli-Palestine conflict.

The series will cover the history of dissenting Jewish Zionist positions, or those that opposed having a Jewish nation state, said Jonathan Graubart, director of the Charles Hostler Institute on World Affairs. The series is linked to a class also taught by Graubart.

The purpose of the lecture series and accompanying class is to give a new perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that looks at it from the side of those deeply connected to the Jewish community and to the idea of Jewish self-determination, but worried about the direction that Israel took, Graubart said.

“I want them to know two central things: One, that there is a long-standing internal Jewish opposition to an exclusive nation state that doesn’t seriously come to terms with the Palestinians, and secondly, that this tradition continues on in the Jewish dissenting tradition, including within Israel,” he said.

Discussions of the Israel-Palestine conflict have heated up at SDSU since 2008, Graubart said.

“I wanted to bring an angle that lets people know there are actually are alternative traditions you can be connected to the Jewish community without being hostile towards Palestinians,” Graubart said.

Business administration junior Stephen Weinberg recently returned from visiting Israel over winter break and said he would probably not attend one of the events.

“I have done so much research on the issue already … and I know that something like this would probably just frustrate me because no one’s opinion on the issue is really going to change anyway, unless they literally know nothing about it,” he said.

The series will begin on Feb. 15 with filmmaker and journalist Lia Tarachansky. Her presentation, “Collective Denial, Moral Responsibility and the Naqba of 1948” will follow a screening of her documentary “On the Side of the Road.”

Other lecturers include writers Peter Beinart, Amira Hass and Ran Greenstein, as well as the Jewish Relations Coordinator for Breaking the Silence, Avner Gvaryahu. The series runs through April 18 and covers many Israel-Palestine issues like the significance of Zionists, the military occupation of Israel, and new forms of dissent in the region.

Past lectures have covered topics such as moral responsibilities in world affairs. intervention in Syria, national security concerns, international law and global justice, and American Foreign Policy. In Fall 2015, former American University of Beirut President Peter Dorman spoke about “The Challenges of the U.S. Higher Education Model in a Dynamic, Contentious Middle East.” The lecture was co-sponsored by the Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies.

The annual lecture series is put on by the Charles Hostler Institute on World Affairs. In 2012, Hostler and his wife gifted $3 million to SDSU to support international studies.

These events are free and open to the public. More information on the lectures and speakers is available at hostler.iwa.sdsu.edu.