After spending almost a full week in Israel learning about the unfathomable complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, some of us (me included) expressed growing pessimism and even despair about the prospects for peace here. So it was uplifting to start our last full day of the Academic Partners for Peace DR Law Faculty Seminar talking with representatives from Shorashim (“roots”), a group located in the West Bank that is “fostering a grassroots movement of understanding, nonviolence and transformation among Israelis and Palestinians.”
I am delighted to announce that my new book is now available. Smart & Savvy: Negotiation Strategies for Academia is based on my experience training scientists and doctors in negotiation.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) just issued a new rule prohibiting financial service providers from using forced arbitration to prevent their customers from suing the company in class actions. While many of us believe this rule is a “great win for consumers,” others are trying to gut it in Congress, in the courts, or through administrative action by the Comptroller of the Currency.
Observers of the conflict rightly are concerned with the education systems in Israel and Palestine. When Israelis do not learn about the Nakba or the Palestinian view of history, they are less likely to understand why Palestinians view themselves as victims.
Another new meeting this year was with Oshra Friedman of Tebeka legal services, an organization that provides specialized legal services for the Ethiopian immigrants to Israel. As we learned on our last trip, Israel has welcomed thousands of immigrants from Ethiopia of Jewish heritage and assimilation into the modern society of Israel can be very challenging.
One other new visit this year was with Dr. Ofer Merin, a commander of the Israel Defense Force (IDF) Medical Field Unit and emergency room doctor at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. As student Margo Clark notes, his roles often require both flexibility and understand beyond our immediate biases.
As we did the last trip, we visited with Lydia Aisenberg at Givat Haviva to understand the peacebuilding work that the kibbutz did. (More about that here.) And we also walked into the town of Barta’a–divided once by the green line in 1949 and again with the security fence a few years ago. Student Lauren Koehler explains the history and impact of the town.
This year we were able to meet with two different former Israeli Supreme Court Justices–at the beginning and at the end of the trip–which provided great bookends to our week of learning. Student Celeste Borjas reflects on the visit to the Supreme Court…
We stopped at Old Gesher as twilight fell over the valley of the Jordan River on our way to Tiberius. Standing on the grounds, we could see the fence demarcating the border between Jordan and Israel near the confluence of the Jordan and Yarmuk rivers, as well as the standing remains of three historic bridges (gesher is Hebrew for “bridge,” an obvious metaphor for conflict resolution).
Our visit with Riman Barakat, a former Marquette Fulbright scholar who has worked in many different Palestinian-Israeli peacebuilding NGO’s is always a highlight of the trip. Student Adrianna Hromadka reflects on the questions and answers of her talk.
Israel Reflections 2017–Should a Bartender be the next Mediator for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?
Six hours after landing in Israel, I found myself amid an impromptu conflict resolution at Dublin Bar in Jerusalem. How could this be happening? I was only kidding when I told my friend we couldn’t leave Israel until we came to a two-state solution! Yet, there I sat, with my Jack and Diet half-full in front of me, as I pretended to not hear the commotion going on between him and two attractive Israeli women sitting next to him at the bar.
I have always loved ruins. Ruins tell a story and bring an appreciation of the past. However, a forgotten aspect of ruins is the stories that surround them. The combination of beauty and history converge at the ruins of Masada. The utter beauty of the sight whether it was the preserved ruins or the breathtaking views atop the rock cliff brought me to a place of deep peace.