Peace After the Peace Process: Unorthodox Views from Israel/Palestine

Monday, February 6, 2017 - 6:00pm
Arch Building, Room 108, 3601 Locust Walk, University of Pennsylvania
With the election of Donald Trump, many argue that a U.S.-brokered two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict is now a practical impossibility. With old paradigms crumbling and no consensus on where to go next, could unorthodox approaches offer a way forward? Join us for a discussion with two grassroots activists from Israel/Palestine who work--sometimes in collaboration--to end the military rule that governs Palestinian lives while promoting outside-the-box political solutions that meet the needs and aspirations of both national groups. 
Sami Awad is a Bethlehem-based Palestinian activist. He is the Executive Director of the Holy Land Trust, an organization that trains Palestinians and others in the teachings of Sami's uncle, Mubarak Awad, an activist who promoted nonviolent resistance to the occupation during the first Intifada (popular uprising) and was arrested and deported by the Israeli government for his nonviolent activities.
Rabbi Yehuda HaKohen is an "alternative peace activist" who lives in the West Bank. He is the founder of Alternative Action, a group that brings together Jewish and Palestinian "radicals" whose voices have traditionally been excluded from Western-backed negotiations. Committed to the view that both Jews and Palestinians are indigenous to the land and should unite in struggle, his work promotes a single-state solution that ends military control of Palestinian society, grants full democratic rights to all inhabitants, and enables Jews and Palestinians to fully live out their personal and cultural aspirations on equal terms.
Two academic discussants will engage the speakers:
Sa'ed Atshan is Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Swarthmore College. He works on humanitarian politics and aid intervention, and has conducted research into nonviolent Israeli and Palestinian social movements, countering old characterizations of nonviolence as foreign to the region. Instead he discovers and reveals “co-resistance” or coalition and joint struggles for social justice between Israeli and Palestinian activists.
Lihi Ben Shitrit is Assistant Professor at the School of Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia, Athens, and a fellow at Penn's Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. Her research focuses on the intersections of gender, religion, and politics in the Middle East. She is currently working on a project entitled "Faithful Foes? Visions of Peace on the Israeli and Palestinian Religious Right."
The talk will be moderated by Professor Ian Lustick, the Bess W. Heyman Chair of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.
Sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program, the Departments of Political Science and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and the Progressive Jewish Alliance.
Jewish Studies Program
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