Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Israeli Palestinian Conflict in Context

A University for Seniors Course Presented at the University of Minnesota-Duluth
February 8, 15, 22 & March 1 (Tuesdays)
8:30-10:30 a.m. in Kirby Plaza 311 on the UMD campus

            The course will focus on the Israeli Palestinian conflict by placing that conflict in its historical and present day context.  This context is based on in depth study and firsthand knowledge of the issues and is aimed at providing participants with knowledge and insights that enable them to see through the often inaccurate rhetoric that permeates the issue of Israel and Palestine in the United States.
Course Content

Week 1.  Joel Sipress – The Zionist Narrative and the Historical Realities of Israel

Week 2.  Pricilla Starratt – Forces for Peace and Violence in the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict.

Week 3.  Mayra Gomez and Bret Thiele –  The conquest of Palestine: Human right violations and living conditions in present day Israel and Palestine.

Week 4.  Film: Anna Balzer – A Witness in Palestine followed by a discussion of the film and the entire course.

Joel Sipress and Pricilla Starratt are professors of history in the Department of Social Inquiry at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.  Bret Thiele is a human rights lawyer who has spent significant time travelling in and working on human rights issues in Palestine and Israel.  Mayra Gomez is a Ph.D. sociologist and human rights advocate who has also spent significant time travelling in and working on human rights issues in Palestine and Israel and recently visited Gaza as well. 

For further information call 726-7637 or visit the U. for Seniors website:

Participants must be members of University for Seniors.  

1 comment:

  1. The University for Seniors course went quite well. The course evaluation sheets seemed unanimous that they want another course later in the year or early 2012.

    While there was some push back from a vocal few, the information presented really seemed to resonate with the vast majority. Those detractors also did acknowledge the fairness of the content and that they became aware of information they hadn't been exposed to previously.

    The course evaluation sheets had several comments about participants having their perspectives change and about how they never heard the full, or real, story.

    There was great discussion, but the usual chilling effect was in the air as many of the good comments and interventions I heard were done one-on-one during the break or after class rather than presented openly.

    If we have another course, and I hope we do, I think we should explicitly state that this is a safe place for open and honest discussion and dialogue.

    The other topic I think we should discuss is the social construction of "balance", as we all know the occupation itself is not balanced but some of the detractors were caught up in the notion of "balance" as it is presented in the media, etc.