This course provides a rare opportunity to examine one of the most important and contentious issues of our time. For more than seven decades, the Palestine-Israel conflict, the “most fundamental fault line” in the Middle East, has stood at the epicenter of political debate in the region --- and beyond. The persistent failure to resolve the competing visions of the inhabitants of a land that is sacred to three great religious traditions is a tragedy of the modern age, not only for Arabs and Jews but also, by extension, for peoples and governments around the world. In many ways, the Palestine-Israel conflict has become a lightning rod --- a measure by which the efficacy of public policy and respect for international law are measured and evaluated.
Through classroom lecture, discussion, handouts, guest speakers, and the medium of film --- including interviews, documentary and dramatic films --- participants will explore the context of this conflict, analyze its historic roots, untangle the complex and deeply-held convictions of protagonists on both sides of this issue, examine widely-held misconceptions, analyze the effects of policies that impact the inhabitants of the Holy Land, and consider the role and implications of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East as it relates to this conflict, including the impact of Christian Zionism.
Student participation, including the sharing of individual perceptions and insights, will enrich the conversation. Please be advised that while all opinions and points of view are welcome, it is expected that classroom discussion will be characterized by measured discourse and mutual respect.