This blog offers thoughts about conflict and collaboration from noted thinkers, scholars and practitioners. Continue Reading »
by Imran Khalid
With Palestinian deaths (overwhelmingly civilian) nearing 700, it is time for a global rethink vis-à-vis Occupied Palestinian Territories. The current crisis comes on the heels of the 2009 invasion of Gaza which resulted in over 1500 Palestinian and 13 Israeli deaths, and the 2012 crisis in which well over 100 Palestinians were killed. We don’t need a statistician to inform us of the enormous discrepancy between the two sides militarily, economically and geopolitically. Indeed, Israel’s hold on Palestinian people and land has been likened to the apartheid regime in South Africa of yore. Yet, I am increasingly shocked and awed by the heavily biased coverage of crisis by the media in the United States and beyond. While social media has been integral in highlighting their plight, major media entities in this country continue to present the Palestinians as the “other,” with lesser values. Continue Reading »
by Timothy Rodriguez
(Published on the blog “Edgy World Affairs,” July 16, 2014)
It has come again. Something that comes every couple of years now – an Israeli assault on Gaza. To see images and video of the horrific bloodshed is pain enough – around 190 Palestinians killed (80 percent civilian), up to 1,485 injured; 1 Israeli killed and about 10 injured – but to make matters worse, the lack of journalistic and intellectual integrity on the topic has been appalling to listen to and read.
Contrary to the official Israeli line – which too many unquestionably follow as if it were gospel – the current assault did not begin with Hamas shooting rockets or the abduction of three Israeli teenagers. Continue Reading »
(Published in The Times of Israel, July 16, 2014. A link to this blog was featured in Sean Kirst, “In Syracuse, Grieving the Death of Innocents: Muslims and Jews Share a Meal, Dream of Harmony,” The Post Standard, July 16, 2014)
It was last Thursday when I happened to come across the initiative to transform July 15, the Jewish fast day of 17 Tammuz (Shivah Asar B’Tammuz) and the 18th day of Ramadan, into a joint fast for peace. I’d been spending a few hours that day trolling the web, looking for information about how Israelis were coping with the steady barrage of Hamas rocket fire and how Palestinians were holding up on the fourth day of Israel’s retaliatory aerial strike.
Notice of the interfaith fast was buried at the very end of a Forward article. I might’ve missed it completely were I not so engrossed in the story: Rachel Fraenkel touching hearts by welcoming a group of Hebron-area Palestinians to her shiva; a group of courageous Palestinians, defying Hamas and BDS, going to offer comfort to a bereaved Jewish Israeli family. Continue Reading »
(Published in The Times of Israel, July 20, 2014)
Only 11 days into “Operation Protective Edge” and already analyses that twist and ignore the facts to pin all the blame on Israel are being published in major newspapers of record. Of course, this is nothing new when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where so-called experts have long presented a distorted picture of Israel as a perennial villain. But it’s disappointing when it’s written by a top-notch analyst at an award-winning think tank whose prior published reports on the conflict have been both relatively fair to all sides and superbly researched.
I’m referring here to Nathan Thrall’s opinion editorial published yesterday in the New York Times, and endorsed today by the paper’s editorial column. Thrall, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, slams Israel for failing to embrace the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas back in early June, a grave error which he views as the root cause of the current crisis. In particular, Thrall argues that Israel should have done more to get Hamas’s 43,000 civil servants paid. Does Thrall actually believe that 3.5 million Israelis are spending their summer in bomb shelters because of a labor dispute? Continue Reading »
by Mehrzad Boroujerdi and Louis Kriesberg
At the very time remarkable progress is being made in negotiations with Iran to prevent the emergence of a new nuclear-armed nation in the most militarized and dangerous region in the world, many members of the Senate are supporting legislation that would irresponsibly undermine this progress. The authors of S. 1881, seemingly without any recognition of the implications of this move, propose new unilateral demands, buttressed by enhanced sanctions and threats toward Iran.
While the Iranian and the U.S. governments have had legitimate, historical grounds for mutual mistrust and grievances since 1979, it would be imprudent for policy makers not to also acknowledge the growing shared interests and concerns of both parties. Continue Reading »
By requiring all federal agencies to be more transparent, collaborative, and participatory, the Obama Administration’s Open Government Initiative promised to bring watershed changes to government. While much progress has been made since the release of its first National Action Plan, advances in the arena of public participation have been disappointing. Champions of public participation had high hopes for the second National Action Plan, which was released by the White House on December 5, 2013. While the second plan has numerous commendable and important commitments that increase transparency and collaboration, it falls flat with regard to public participation, perhaps with the exception of its promotion of participatory budgeting. Continue Reading »
The voices calling for universities to reinvigorate their significance to local communities are growing louder. Renewed interest in community-centered teaching and learning is being driven by an increase in campus engagement offices, and students and academic staff committed to connecting their studies with community engagement. All this is driving universities to find new ways to work with their communities in the 21st century. Sometimes, that means redefining their relationship to the local community. Imagining America is a consortium of artists and scholars opening pathways for these new forms of engagement and scholarship in community. Continue Reading »