One event, hosted by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, was a Zoom conversation between Prof. Ron Robin, president of the University of Haifa, and Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, chancellor of the United Arab Emirates University, moderated by Dr. Shahar Sadeh.
It drew 220 people on Zoom, at least 40 views on Youtube and 490 on Facebook. There was a very good feeling generated in this webinar, with Chancellor Nusseibeh and President Robin enthusiastically discussing joint projects being planned between their universities.
Dr. Nusseibeh is actually of Palestinian origin. His daughter, the UAE’s ambassador to the UN, was interviewed a couple of months ago. Both are impressive for their obvious erudition, their warmth and their flawless command of English.
Dr. Nusseibeh did not shy away from mentioning the need to end the occupation, but there was no rancour in his tone, and he emphasized the need for a two-state solution.
Another, on Thursday April 29, featured a liberal Christian Evangelical minister (there is such a phenomenon!), Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon (pictured above). An audio recording can be accessed at the Americans for Peace Now podcast web page: https://peacenow.org/podcast
Dr. Cannon is executive director of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP). CMEP is a coalition of 30 national Church communions and organizations that works to encourage pro-peace U.S. policies, and which opposes the occupation and the settlements.
Ordained in an evangelical denomination, Dr. Cannon has first-hand experience in evangelical engagement with Israel. Her doctorate, “Mischief Making in Palestine,” focused on the historic engagement of American Christians in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. She is the editor of A Land Full of God, a book that discusses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a Christian perspective, which is pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian and pro-peace.
She explained that “Christian Zionists” support the settlements largely out of ignorance of the issues, and also acknowledges that the settlers are courting a philosemitism that is ultimately antisemitic. Although an Evangelical, Dr. Cannon rejects the eschatological role the Jewish people are supposed to play in returning to Israel, to be faced with the choice of embracing Christ or being subjected to eternal damnation.
Dr. Cannon supports a two-state solution and emphasizes that the occupation is bad for both Israelis and Palestinians. She readily agreed with a questioner concerned that Evangelicals who support Israel out of ignorance of Palestinians may turn hostile toward Israel when they learn the ugly truths of the occupation.