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Journalist Peter Beinart @ Skidmore

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Peter Beinart’s lastest book, The Crisis of Zionism

Tomorrow, political journalist Peter Beinart will be spending the day at Skidmore as part of the Jacob Perlow Lecture Serie. Beinart has written extensively on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and his book, The Crisis of Zionismhas garnered praise and controversy from across the political spectrum. He was formerly the editor of The New Republic and has written for a wide range of publications. He currently writes for The Daily Beast, where he edits the blog “Open Zion.”

Beinart’s most recent book The Crisis of Zionism, has its origins in a highly polarizing 2010 article published in The New York Review of Books, titled “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment.” Beinart argues that liberal American Jews—long-committed to principles of democracy, human rights, social justice, and the avoidance of military force—are moving further and further away from Israel in the face of an increasingly virulent, undemocratic strain of Zionism championed by the ultra-Orthodox, the settler movement, and their political allies.

He argues that there is a growing divide between older, secular Jews—those willing to “check their liberalism at Zionism’s door”–and their children, who:

“…have no memory of Arab armies massed on Israel’s border and of Israel surviving in part thanks to urgent military assistance from the United States. Instead, they have grown up viewing Israel as a regional hegemon and an occupying power. As a result, they are more conscious than their parents of the degree to which Israeli behavior violates liberal ideals, and less willing to grant Israel an exemption because its survival seems in peril. Because they have inherited their parents’ liberalism, they cannot embrace their uncritical Zionism. Because their liberalism is real, they can see that the liberalism of the American Jewish establishment is fake.”

Beinart will be speaking at two events. The first will be an afternoon student panel focusing on the state of political journalism in America. The second  lecture will take place in the evening, where Beinart will be interviewed by Professors Robert Boyers and Jennifer Delton about Israel, Palestine, and the future of Zionism.

Incidentally, I will be sitting on the student panel, along with Jean-Ann Kubler ’13 and Tye Stien ’13. But don’t let my shameless self-promotion dissuade you from going, because Beinart is going to be GREAT.

Student Panel: Thursday November 8, 3:30pm @ Ladd 307
Lecture:  Thursday November 8, 8pm @ Gannett

(via Skidmore)

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to Speak

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Imam Rauf

Tomorrow, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf will be speaking on campus. The topic of the lecture is “Advancing Peaceful Coexistence Between Christians, Jews, and Muslims.”

Rauf is an author and peace advocate who studies the key role that religion plays in seeking solutions to conflicts in the Middle East. As a leader of the Cordoba Initiative, Rauf spearheaded the proposed Park51 Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan, which caused a silly season tempest in 2010 after opponents claimed the mosque was “too close” to Ground Zero.

According to Skidmore propaganda:

“On the practical front, Imam Feisal has dedicated the Cordoba Initiative to the promulgation of innovative solutions to conflicts in the Middle East in which he sees a large role for the religious communities. Principally, he challenges American Muslims to become leaders in a world-wide Islamic movement to reclaim the Quran in support of modern, moderate, just, open, and egalitarian societies. But he has also challenged Christianity and Judaism to take peacemaking roles as well by delivering justice not religion. The interfaith nature of his concerns underlies his vision to create Cordoba House, a center along the lines of the 92nd Street Y or the Jewish Community Center in NYC.”

Rauf has received numerous awards, and has been named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World and one of Foreign Policy‘s Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2010. If anything, he is a somewhat controversial figure speaking on an issue that is endlessly fascinating. This event is free and open to the public.

Saturday, September 22 in Filene @ 7:30pm

(Via Skidmore)