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Center for Israel Studies

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(is)Real Talk Explores Conflict and Narratives within Israel

Updated: Feb 25, 2019

Announcement by José  Eriel Muniz Gomez and Jessica Horst


Returning for a second semester, the (is)Real Talk discussion series will expand into two separate topic groups to explore the multifaceted history and culture of Israel and its people. This is an opportunity to get real, to hear the multiple narratives within Israel and explore your own feeling around Israel. We need your voice in the conversation.


Israel is often a divisive issue of conversation, so this series hopes to provide a space for students to hear from real people, share a dialogue with peers, and develop their opinions based on the narratives presented. By identifying the alignments and tensions among the different narratives, the goal is for students to practice navigating their own feelings on the topic within the context of a broader discourse.

Narratives and Conflict

The Narratives and Conflict discussion group meets on Wednesdays, 6:00-7:30 PM, starting February 13 and ending on March 20. Over the course of five sessions, the group will engage with some of the most prominent narratives embedded within the conflict, including those of secular Jewish Israelis, Palestinians, Israeli settlers, and Palestinian Citizens of Israel. Each week, speakers such as Rawan Odeh, a Palestinian who advocates for the Palestinian cause on Capitol Hill, will meet with the group to share their stories and perceptions of the conflict.

“This is an experimental educational series, the first of is kind. We are going to explore the contemporary thoughts of scholars (such as Coline Guedj, Elkana Bar and Rawan Odeh) in Israel in meetings with different people,” said AU Israel Fellow Bar Galin, “A Jewish citizen of France who just immigrated to the US because she does not see her future in France, a Palestinian Activist that works on Capitol Hill, and a former Jewish settler who now works for Birthright Israel.”


More details and registration here. Dinner is included at all sessions.

Nationalism and Liberalism: The Paradox of Statehood

The Nationalism and Liberalism: the Paradox of Statehood discussion group meets on Thursdays, 6:00-7:30 PM, starting February 28 and ending March 28. Over four sessions, this group will explore the idea of Jewish statehood and offer a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the foundations that shape Israel today. Embedded within both the historical conversation surrounding Jewish statehood and the modern day state of Israel are several paradoxes. East or west? Religious or secular? Modern or old? Universalist liberalism or particularist nationalism? How, if at all, is it possible for these competing ideas to work together?


“This is a chance for students to dive into the issue of Jewish power and the consequences of it,” said AU Israel Fellow Bar Galin, “For 2000 years, many Jews were stateless and powerless against other nations. Now they have a state, and the effect of creating a modern Jewish State brought the concept of Zionism back to the world. But can it work? Come learn about the tensions of having a Jewish concept state in the modern time.”


Bar continued, “the concept of a State for the Jews and a Jewish state got a bit tangled up. Herzl, who's the father of modern political Zionism, asked for a ‘State of the Jews,’ but today the current Israeli Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, refers to it as the Jewish State. In today’s discussion those two concepts are very different from each other and clash again and again in contemporary thoughts and politics in Israel. Therefore, please come to learn more about what is the real essence of Jewish Statehood, and what it means for Jews to have power after 2000 years with no land to refer to.”


More details and registration here. Dinner is included at all sessions.

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