Occupy San Miguel will begin a series on the Israeli-Palestinian Crisis

By Jim Carey

Henry Siegman

Many perceive Israel as one of the most educated, successful democratic/capitalist societies in the world. US taxpayers pour billions of dollars annually into Israel to support that state. Sadly, even with their vast nuclear arsenal and the most sophisticated army in the Middle East, peace is not how we would describe the past 60 years. To quote Fareed Zakaria: ”Wise Israeli politicians, from Ariel Sharon to Ehud Olmert to Ehud Barak, have wanted to take risks to make that peace because they have worried about Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state. This is what is in danger, not Israel’s existence.” Is there a way out of the conflict? Monday we begin the series with Democracy Now’s interview with Henry Seigman.

Mon, Feb 2, 1pm
TV room
Quinta Loreto Hotel
Loreto 15

Given his background, what American Jewish leader Henry Siegman has to say about Israel’s founding in 1948 through the assault on Gaza may surprise you. From 1978 to 1994, Siegman served as executive director of the American Jewish Congress, long described as one of the nation’s “big three” Jewish organizations along with the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League. Seigman was born in Germany three years before the Nazis came to power in 1933. His family eventually moved to the United States. His father was a leader of the European Zionist movement that pushed for the creation of a Jewish state. In New York, Siegman studied the religion and was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi by Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, later becoming head of the Synagogue Council of America. After his time at the American Jewish Congress, Siegman became a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He now serves as president of the US/Middle East Project. Siegman discusses the assault on Gaza, the myths surrounding Israel’s founding in 1948, and his own background as a German-Jewish refugee who fled Nazi occupation to later become a leading American Jewish voice and now vocal critic of Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories. After the movie, there will be a discussion. There is no charge.


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