This Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Gannett Auditorium, author and professor Norman Finkelstein will deliver a lecture on the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and outline possible solutions.
As the upheavals in the Middle East continue to unfold, from the Arab Spring to the simmering tension over Iran's nuclear program, several Skidmore students have decided to invite Finkelstein to campus and throw the spotlight back onto on one of the region's perennial questions—the issues of Israeli and Palestinian statehood.
Finkelstein has been writing on the subject for over two decades and has published several books since first tackling the question in his dissertation at Princeton University in 1988. His latest book, titled "Knowing Too Much," contends that the American Jewish community is becoming increasingly skeptical of Israel's approach toward several important factors of the conflict.
Finkelstein's appearance was organized by Danny Pforte '13, Salim Mohamed '15, Abdelmonem Mislati '15 and Ahmed Wheida '15. Working through the Office of Student Diversity Programs (OSPD), these students invited Finkelstein to showcase an analysis of the conflict they feel is underrepresented on Skidmore's campus.
"We urge everyone to come to this event and agree or disagree however they like. We feel that there is a real lack of engagement on this issue here. There is mostly one view that is accepted and we wish to spark conversations to challenge that view," Mislati said.
Echoing this sentiment, Wheida stated that "while there is freedom of speech here, there are things you don't speak about. That's too bad, we want to change that."
Wheida stressed the organizers' hope that Finkelstein's appearance will result in rigorous discussion and argument.
"Once people begin to talk, others offer counterarguments, then there are rebuttals, and so on. And along the way you learn more and more about the strengths and weaknesses of your own position, which is all we are interested in doing here—that is education."
On Tuesday night Finkelstein will be introduced by the organizers, deliver a prepared talk, and then open the floor up to questions from the audience.