Spring 2004


 

  University Takes Its Traveling Seminar to Five U.S. Cities
Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston
Learn About ‘Israel Behind the Headlines’
 

 

Following the success of the workshop-seminars in Boca Raton and Houston last September, the University in December took its Mid-East experts to five major U. S. Mid-West and East Coast cities, where local residents and media got backgrounders on the critical issues of the Middle East conflict. 

         “Israel Behind the Headlines” was the guiding theme of the academic road show, which kept to its tight schedule despite the snow and ice that covered the American northeast the second week of December, leading to canceled flights and make-shift travel arrangements for the University’s team of scholars and officers.  Led by President Prof. Yehuda Hayuth, the seminar staff included Prof. Arnon Soffer of the Dept. of Geography; Prof. Amatzia Baram, Dept. of Middle East History; Prof. Gabriel Weimann, Dept. of Communication; Dr. Ami Pedahzur, Dept. of Political Science; Mr. Dan Schueftan, National Securities Studies Center; Ms. Yael Metser, the University’s Vice-President for Development; and Mr. Yitzhak Dagan, Head of the Division of Public Affairs and Information.

        The “critical issues” being discussed received an added fillip, as it was the week in which the American army captured Saddam Hussein. Amatzia Baram, one of the world’s leading experts on the Iraqi dictator, suddenly found himself in great demand.  Stormy weather or not, the U.S. media caught up with Baram, who even gave interviews on his cell phone while trudging through icy puddles between lecture hall and the vehicle that was to take him to his hotel or to the airline.

        Baram and Weimann are spending this year in Washington as Senior Fellows of the United States Institute for Peace.

        The University’s panel of experts covered in formal lectures and smaller, interactive workshops such topics as “Israel and the Middle East: Whom Does Time Work for?” “Recent Trends in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict,” “Israel and the Middle East after the Liberation of Iraq,” “Modern Terrorism and the Internet,” and “The Population Bomb and Israel’s Limited Resources.”

        UH President Hayuth outlined the purpose of these traveling workshops.  “The current tide of Israel vilification can be turned back with knowledge,” he stated.  “Effectively and confidently espousing factual formulations is the only certain way to expose and undermine untruth and inflammatory rhetoric.”

        Engaging in another type of mobilization campaign, Professor Hayuth explained: “We seek to recruit those ethical and moral persons who oppose racism and discrimination and to present the tools for using the right of freedom of speech in a productive manner.”

        Vice-President Metser added: “The University of Haifa believes it can help guide American Jewry through the complexities of the Arab-Israel conflict.  To that end, the University in conjunction with the American Society of the University of Haifa crafted a symposium, a ‘knowledge and action seminar’ actually, that provides substantiated information and an Israeli perspective about the conflict, as well as tools to advocate on behalf of Israel.” 

            Public Affairs Division Head Yitzhak Dagan commented that the seminars were in effect an extension of the University’s vaunted services to the community.  They gave Americans, Jews and non-Jews alike, a unique opportunity to hear Israeli—University of Haifa—professors, not government mouthpieces, speak on current matters of concern.

   

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