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Scholarly Perspective Speaker Series: Conversations on the Middle East

The Scholarly Perspectives speaker series, sponsored by the Reves Center for International Studies and Arts & Sciences, set in motion informed conversations among William & Mary students, faculty, and staff about Gaza, Israel, Palestine, and the wider Middle East.  

Experts Arnon Degani and Yossi Klein Halevi were invited by the Judaic Studies Program.  Degani presented a lecture titled “The Politics of Zionism: Conflict and Resolution.” Arnon Degani is a Fellow at Molad: Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy, and his research delves into Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Yossi Klein Halevi, a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and a widely published author, spoke on “Palestinian-Israeli Relations Before and After October 7th,” and aimed to shed light on why Zionism remains a focal point of intense debate.  Arnon Degani

Arnon Degani centered his presentation around our use of terms and concepts, and how these may create misunderstanding and perpetuate conflict. He focused on terms such as colonialism, Zionism, and settler-colonialism, positioning the frameworks on a historical timeline. Ultimately, the way in which individuals understand the concepts influences the interpersonal relationship between Palestinians, Israelis, and their governments, as well as how a broader audience interacts with the conflict. A deeper dive into his research can be found here. 

Yossi Klein HaleviYossi Halevi’s lecture explained the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, characterized by Israeli and Palestinian narratives of belonging to the same land. While challenging the audience to grapple with the mmultifaceted layers of history, ideology, and identity that have shaped this contentious issue, he also emphasized the importance of initiatives that foster dialogue, mutual understanding, and paving a path towards peace and reconciliation. 

The Judaic Studies Program was glad to contribute to a conversation that included many perspectives from experts in the field. To view the full list of speakers, the schedule and abstracts are available at the Reves Center's Website.