CAMERA fellow at Arizona State University Samantha Weinberg shares about a recent More Hamas Less Humus event held on campus, featuring Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, and offering students a partial screening of the film, “The Arab World in Its own Words”
The More Hamas, Less Humus event took place on November 12th. The majority of the audience was composed of members of Sun Devils for Israel as well as students in the Jewish Studies department and the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies. The event consisted of two segments: The first, a partial screening of the film The Arab World in Its Own Words, and the latter, a discussion with Middle East expert Dr. Jonathan Shanzer.
Prior to Dr. Schanzer’s lecture, students watched the Jihad section of the film, “The Arab World in its own Words.” After the screening, Dr. Schanzer discussed the history of Hamas. Dr. Shanzer is an expert on Middle East history. He holds his Ph.D from Kings College London, and joined the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) in 2010, where he conducts extensive research on the Middle East that has lasting impact on politics in Washington and abroad.
As Samantha reports, Dr. Schanzer “explained how they [Hamas] started, how they got into power, and answered any questions the audience had. The focus of the event was to educate the attendees about Hamas and the Middle East.” Indeed, it was important to give students a better understanding of politics in Israel in the region, and the role Hamas plays as an internationally recognized terrorist organization. Samantha added that she hopes that “people walked away feeling like they were better educated on the subject of terrorism in the Middle East; I know I did personally.” Samantha expresses that students reacted to the event with great interest, and it certainly seems that they walked away from the event having learned a lot on Israeli and Middle East politics.
The fact that the audience at the event was not large meant that students were able to ask all the questions they wanted, and to have them answered by Dr. Schanzer. Many interesting questions were asked, and they only thing that got in the way was the fact that time ran out by the end of the night! Dr. Schanzer facilitated a discussion that truly engaged the audience.
Samantha says that she “received a lot of positive feedback from the attendees. Our program ran longer than expected because there were so many good questions being asked. I couldn’t end it and Dr. Schanzer was more than happy to continue answering them. Many people came up to Jonathan afterwards and thanked him for the wonderful presentation.”
While Samantha is pleased with the overall turn-out of the event, she wishes that more people had been in attendance. In the future, she would like to ensure that as many students as possible attended her events. Samantha says that “although the size and discussion nature of the event was what made it work so well, I wish that more people would have had the opportunity to learn from such an expert in counter-terrorism. Other than that it was a great event and one that everyone enjoyed.”