Brandeis University’s Emet for Israel supported group Judges for Israel (JFI) recently hosted a panel of speakers from The Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) who discussed the topic of peace and how it can be achieved. The three panelists arrived early to introduce themselves to the JFI board and to explain in further detail what SPME does nationwide.
Asaf Romirowsky, the executive director of SPME presented the many intricacies of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the history of the peace process, and the outlooks for peace today. He went into great detail regarding how complex the situation remains and the amount of work that must be put into fixing it, even if only slightly.
Alexander Joffe, the second panelist, then discussed the problems experienced in the Middle East at large and the regional politics on a case by case basis. Some of these included the US-Israel relationship and the various military threats Israel faces on its borders.
Finally, Gabriel Brahm presented statistics associated with Israeli-Arab and Palestinian society based on objective studies done to assess Palestinian attitudes toward peace. Most of the figures presented seemed to indicate that the Palestinians with religious affiliations were more opposed to the peace process than those who are secular.
The program then opened up for questions, and there were definitely some difficult ones posed for the speakers, including “What is the single biggest obstacle to peace for the Israelis and Palestinians?” “In light of the Arab Peace Initiative, is it really fair to say that the biggest obstacle to peace is Arab Rejectionism?” “How do you feel about the temporary banning of Israeli MKs from parliament in light of their meetings with the families of slain Palestinian terrorists?” A passionate conversation between a left leaning student and the panelists broke out when talking about the occupation. The student’s position held that in order to attain peace, that particular issue must be seriously addressed and dealt with.
In contrast to other Israel-related events held on campus, JFI was able to provide an environment that brought meaningful and constructive dialogue on Israel.
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