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Israeli-Palestinian conflict is subject of upcoming event

Oct. 10, 2008

KALAMAZOO--The thorny issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be illuminated during the 2008 Winnie Veenstra Peace Lecture Thursday, Oct. 16, at Western Michigan University.

Dr. Jeff Halper, co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, will speak at 7 p.m. in 1035 Fetzer Center. His presentation, titled "An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel," is part of the WMU Center for the Study of Ethics in Society's fall programs and is co-sponsored by the Peace Center and Kalamazoo Women in Black.

Halper, an Israeli-American, organized ICAHD to challenge the Israeli policy of demolishing Palestinian homes and to organize Israelis, Palestinians and international volunteers to jointly rebuild demolished homes. He has created a new mode of Israeli peace activity based on non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to the Israeli occupation authorities.

In addition to his activities with his organization, Halper is an anthropologist, author and lecturer. He was nominated by the American Friends Service Committee for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, together with the Palestinian intellectual and activist Ghassan Andoni, for his work "to liberate both the Palestinian and the Israeli people from the yoke of structural violence" and "to build equality between their people by recognizing and celebrating their common humanity."

Halper grew up in Hibbing, Minn., and became involved in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements. In 1973, he immigrated to Israel after attending rabbinical school and was an outside lecturer in anthropology at Haifa University and Ben Gurion University. His academic research focused on Jerusalem, contemporary Israeli culture and the Middle East conflict.

Halper has written several books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is a frequent writer and speaker on Israeli politics and culture. His most recent book is "An Israeli in Palestine."

A reception that includes a book signing and refreshments will follow the lecture. For more information, call (269) 327-6400 or (269) 345-0835.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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