April Lecture Series: “Israel-Palestine from Bush to Obama: Health, Human Rights, and Foreign Policy” featuring Professors Noam Chomsky, Rita Giacaman, and Graham Watt (April 5th-7th)

April Lecture Series Flier

Professor Noam Chomsky of MIT

Professor Noam Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This April 5th through 7th a joint educational series sponsored by community and university organizations will feature three experts in health, human rights, and foreign policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Lecture Series entitled “Israel-Palestine from Bush to Obama: Health, Human Rights, and Foreign Policy” will be featuring Noam Chomsky, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology and notable for his commentary on US foreign policy. Professor Chomsky will be speaking at the Orpheum Theater, 216 State Street at 7:30pm on Tuesday, April 7th in a lecture entitled, “Assessing the role of US Foreign Policy, Israeli Security, and Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” Tickets to this event are $10 and can be purchased from the Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative on 426 W. Gilman Street, the Lakeside Printing Cooperative on 1334 Williamson Street, the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice on 122 State Street #402, or the Orpheum Theater Box Office on 216 State Street.

Professor Rita Giacaman of Birzeit University in Ramallah, the West Bank

Professor Rita Giacaman of Birzeit University in Ramallah, the West Bank

As part of the April Lecture Series, the Center for Middle East Studies at UW-Madison will be hosting Dr. Rita Giacaman, a professor of public health at the Institute of Community and Public Health at Birzeit University in Ramallah, West Bank, and Dr Graham Watt, a professor of General Practice at the Medical College at University of Glasgow, Scotland. Both have contributed to the March 2009 Issue of the Lancet Medical Journal featuring a series of articles on health and humanitarian conditions in Palestine.

Dr. Giacaman will be giving a lecture entitled, “Health Conditions and Medical Service under Siege, 2006-2009” at First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive on Sunday, April 5th at 1:30pm.

Dr Watt will be giving a lecture entitled, “Human Rights, Dignity, and Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP)” at 3:30 pm on Monday, April 6th in room 206 Ingraham Hall, UW-Madison, 1155 Observatory Drive.

Professor Graham Watt of the University of Glasgow

Professor Graham Watt of the University of Glasgow

Professors Chomsky, Giacaman, and Watt will all be participating in a panel entitled, “Balance and Intimidation: Silencing the Debate on Palestine—the Lancet, March 2009, and other case studies” sponsored by Edgewood College. The Panel will be held on Tuesday, April 6th at 7:30pm at Anderson Auditorium, Edgewood College, 1000 Edgewood College Drive.

Co-sponsors for the lecture series include: American Jews for a Just Peace; Association of Hispanic, Asian & Native American pre-med students; Campus Anti-War Network; Colombia Support Network; Dane County United Nations Association; Edgewood College Student Peace Group; Edgewood College; First Unitarian Society; Geoff and Reihana Robinson; Harvey Goldberg Center for the Study of Contemporary History; Haymarket Books; International Socialist Organization; Israeli Committee against House Demolitions-USA; Joe Deane; the Lakeside Printing Coop; Madison Area Peace Coalition; Madison-Rafah Sister City Project; Multicultural Students Organization; Persian Students Organization; Physicians for Social Responsibility; Playgrounds for Palestine; Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative; Students for Justice for Palestine; The Madison Institute; The Progressive Magazine; UW Center for East Asian Studies; UW Center for Global Health; UW Comparative Literature Graduate Student Association; UW Department of Comparative Literature; UW Distinguished Lecture Series; UW Havens Center; UW Middle East Studies Program; UW Population Health Studies; Wisconsin Network for Peace & Justice; WORT 89.9fm Community Radio

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Lecture: Israel’s First Sixty Years: Achievements and Challenges by Dr. Robert O. Freedman on April 1st

Jewish Heritage Lecture Series 2009 Flier

Dr. Robert O. Freedman of Johns Hopkins University will be discussing the challenges facing the State of Israel over the past 60 years. He will be speaking at Memorial Union at 7pm on April 1st.

Professor Robert O. Freedman of Johns Hopkins University

Professor Robert O. Freedman of Johns Hopkins University

“In the nearly sixty-one years of its existence, Israel has faced numerous challenges. First has been the challenge of integrating immigrants from many different countries and cultures, most recently from the Former Soviet Union and Ethiopia. Second has been the need to develop a military force of sufficient strength to deter outside attack from unfriendly neighboring Arab States, and if deterrence failed, to win the wars that followed. Third has been the challenge of creating an economic system able to transform Israel from an agricultural economy to a high tech industrial one. Fourth has been the challenge of working out the proper balance between Synagogue and State. Fifth has been the challenge of working out a modus vivendi with Israel’s Arab minority. Sixth has been the challenge of securing a secure peace with Israel’s Arab neighbors. Finally, and perhaps most important of all, has been the challenge of creating a political system sufficiently flexible to meet these challenges, yet at the same time one strong enough to be seen as legitimate by the vast majority of Israel’s population. So far, Israel has been able to meet all these challenges, albeit imperfectly, and its political culture has proven to be one of the liveliest in the world.”

Dr. Freedman is Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University where he teaches courses on The Middle East and on Russian Foreign Policy. He is the author of five books on Soviet and Russian foreign policy, the latest being Russia, Iran and the Nuclear Question: the Putin Record (US Army War College, 2006). He is also the editor of 14 books on The Soviet Union/Russia, Israel and the Middle East, most recently The Middle East Enters the 21st Century (2002) and Contemporary Israel: Israel’s Political, Economic and Security Challenges (2008). A past president of the Association for Israel Studies, Dr. Freedman has served as a commentator on National Public Radio, the BBC and the Voice of America, and is a consultant to the US State Department and the CIA.

The events is sponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies and the Department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies. The event is free and open to the public.

Lecture: “The UN’s Protection of Human Rights on the Ground: Dilemmas from Rwanda, Darfur, Nepal, Lebanon and Beyond” by Ben Majekodunmi of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on March 26th

Ben Majekodemi of the UN High Commission for Human Rights will be speaking on his experience working with the UN to protect human rights in Rwanda, Darfur, Lebanon, and Nepal. He will be speaking Thursday, March 26 from 4pm-5:30pm in 206 Ingraham Hall.

Ben Majekodunmi has undertaken human rights work with the United Nations for 15 years, principally with the the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, but also with UNICEF and the Department of Political Affairs. He has worked in Rwanda, Burundi, Darfur, Nepal, Italy, Lebanon, Geneva, and New York, among other places. He is Nigerian and British, and completed his university education in Britain and France. He is the author of “The protection of children’s rights in situations of armed conflict – the example of Burundi.”

This event is co-sponsored by the Global Legal Studies Center, the African Studies Program, and WAGE.

Eyes on Palestine Panel Discussions on March 24th and 26th

The UW Chapter of Justice for Palestine will be hosting to panel discussions on the ongoing conflict in Gaza. The first panel will be held at 7pm on March 24th in 2650 Humanities and will feature insight and discussion from a number of student organizations and UW Departments.

The second panel will take place at 7pm on March 26th in 2650 Humanities and feature of showing of the documentary “Checkpoint”. This documentary (directed by Yoav Shamir) demonstrates the impact of the enforced boundaries known as checkpoints on the Israeli border guards drafted to monitor them and the Palestinian citizens who must pass through them daily. Shows that these anonymous, one-time encounters between both sides and the lasting political, social and cultural effects. “Checkpoint” gives a chilling look at the destructive impact on both societies.

Lecture and Film Screening: “The Other Faces: Documentary Filmmaking in Israel” with Ruth Diskin on March 26th

Documentary film curator and distributor Ruth Diskin will be speaking on March 26th at 7pm in Room L160 Chazen Museum of Art.  She will be discussing the exciting and illuminating world of documentary film in Israel. Documentary films allow unheard voices to be heard, and bring into discussion the complexities of identity and political life in Israel. Excerpts from recent Israeli documentaries selected for this talk will be shown, along with the award winning 2008 documentary LADY KUL EL ARAB (Ibtisam Marana, 2009, Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles).

Her documentary, “Lady Kul El-Arab) tells the riveting story of Duha-Angelina Fares, the first woman of the Druze community in Israel to attempt to enter the Miss Israel beauty contest as a venue for self realization, and contrary to her community’s normative roles for women. Duha, a young woman from the village of Sagur in the Galilee, was one of the 12 finalists in the beauty pageant for Israeli-Arab women – ‘Lady Kul el-Arab.’ Framed as a glamorous story of a beauty pageant, this documentary tells the moving story of a family caught between cultures. Made by a woman, the documentary filmmaker Ibtisam Marana, this film offers a unique perspective on the lives of women in Israel and the Middle East.

This event is free and open to the public and sponsored by the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies, the George L. Mosse Program, the Department of History and the Madison Jewish Community Council.


Lecture: “The Palestinian Refugees as a Jewish Question: The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz” by Professor David Myers on March 26th

Jewish Heritage Lecture Series 2009

History Professor David Myers of the University of California-Los Angeles will be giving a lecture entitled “The Palestinian Refugees as a Jewish Question: The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz” on March 26th at the Pyle Center (702 Langdon Street) at 4pm.  In addition to being a Professor in the History Department at UCLA, Professor Myers is the director of the Center of Jewish Studies at UCLA.  He has authored numerous books, including ‘Re-inventing the Jewish Past’ (Oxford, 1995), ‘Resisting History: The Crisis of Historicism in German-Jewish Thought’ (Princeton, 2003), and ‘Between Jew and Arab: The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz’ (Brandeis, 2008). Myers has also edited or co-edited six books, including the recent ‘Acculturation and its Discontents: The Italian Jewish Experience between Exclusion and Integration’ (Toronto, 2008). At present, he is engaged in two major research projects: a book tentatively titled “Is there a Jewish Nation?: Reflections on the State of Jewish Collectivity;” and together with Nomi Stolzenberg, a book-length project on the Satmar Hasidic community of Kiryas Joel, New York.

The lecture will focus on early Jewish reflections on the Palestinian refugee problem by recovering the lost voice of Simon Rawidowicz (1897-1957). Rawidowicz was a wide-ranging Jewish scholar best known for his distinctive view of Jewish nationalism. In the early 1950s, Rawidowicz came to believe that the age-old Jewish Question had been transformed by the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. Once a national minority themselves, Jews now had to deal with an Arab national minority in their midst. Rawidowicz further believed that it was a matter of urgent political and moral necessity for the State of Israel to arrive at a just and equitable solution to the Palestinian refugee problem.

This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by UW Center for Jewish Studies.

Global Hot Spots: Dynamics of the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict featuring UW-Madison Professor Nadev Shelef on March 13th

As part of the Global Hot Spots Lecture Series, UW-Madison Political Science Professor Nadev Shelef will be speaking on the dimensions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on March 13th at 1:30 in room 121 at Pyle Center (702 Langdon Street). The Global Hot Spots Series is a free, thought-provoking lecture series designed to encourage Madison-area learners to engage in current events and global affairs.

Nadav Shelef (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 2005) is the Harvey M. Meyerhoff Assistant Professor of Israel Studies and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science. His current project, Evolving Nationalism: Homeland, Religion, and National Identity in Israel explains how and why Zionist movements changed their conception of the Land of Israel, who can be Israeli, and the appropriate role of Judaism in the Jewish state. Extending beyond Israel, his teaching and research interests involve theoretical approaches to nationalism and the intersection of religion and politics in the Middle East and beyond.


NOTE: The Registration Deadline for this event is March 11, 2009. Visit  The Global Hotspots Series Webpage for more information.