The Department of Near Eastern Studies will offer a panel discussion, “Understanding Events in Israel – Palestine” from 5-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26 in Room 165 of McGraw Hall. (Note: Location has changed to allow for greater occupancy, but seating is limited.)
Panelists will provide historical context for the recent developments in the region and respond to questions from the audience.
“Relying on Cornell faculty expertise, we aim to provide some context for understanding the current war between Israel and Hamas and its impact on Israelis and Palestinians,” said Deborah Starr, professor and chair in the Department of Near Eastern Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences, who will moderate the panel. “This event is an extension of the NES department’s academic mission to educate students and the wider Cornell community about the Middle East.”
Panelists will include:
Ross Brann, Milton R. Konvitz Professor of Judeo-Islamic Studies & Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, Department of Near Eastern Studies (A&S);
Alexandra Blackman, assistant professor, Department of Government (A&S); and
Paul Kohlbry, postdoctoral associate, Department of Anthropology (A&S).
Brann said he feels a responsibility during this time to engage with students and use analytical tools to understand the historical background to the current moment and what it portends for the future. His classes have discussed this topic for the last couple of weeks.
“My students are a characteristic mix of Cornell undergrads…Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Arab, and everything in between and beyond,” he said. “We work to understand how to embrace the humanity of Palestinians and Israelis, Christians, Jews, and Muslims in a zone of conflict.”
Starr said the war has been tremendously difficult for many members of the Cornell community.
“I recognize that many of our Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish, Muslim and Arab students and colleagues, and their family, friends and supporters are experiencing grief, anger and anxiety as a result of this deadly violence,” she said. “As a scholar of Hebrew and Arabic literature and film, I have many friends and colleagues in Israel and Palestine and I am concerned for them and their communities. I grieve for the Israelis and others killed by Hamas on October 7, and fear for the fate of those still being held hostage. I also grieve for the Palestinians of Gaza killed by Israeli air strikes, and fear for the fate of those living under siege without access to food, water and electricity.”
Along with Near Eastern Studies, sponsors of the discussion include the Jewish Studies Program, Co+Pos (Critical Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Studies) Comparative Muslim Societies, Peace and Conflict Studies, the Department of Government, the College of Arts & Sciences and the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies.