Faculty Development International Seminar begins

By Katy Petershack

A University of Michigan history professor lectured about the connection between the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the American occupation of Iraq on April 11 to launch this year’s three-part Faculty Development International Seminar. The seminar series is meant to provide a detailed exploration of a specific geographical location. The focus this year is the Middle East, with an emphasis on Iraq and the Israel-Palestine conflict.

About 25 Macalester community members filed into a Carnegie classroom to listen to Dr. Juan Cole, the Michigan professor, discuss how the violence in Palestine is related to the failure of American occupation.

Cole argued that although September 11 had little connection to Iraq, it gave the U.S. government the opportunity and justification for the invasion of Iraq.

Cole said Israel’s connection to the U.S. played a role in the War on Terror.

“The Sharon-Hamas conflict spills over into Iraq,” he read from his PowerPoint, “contributing to its destabilization.”

Part of the impetus for the Iraq war, Cole said, was the United States’ hope that the new Iraqi government would recognize Israel-a hope that went unfulfilled.

“I really enjoyed his presentation,” Becky Nieber ’08 said. “He made a lot of interesting connections between the war in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

The second talk in the series, about the struggle for Jerusalem, was held on April 12 and was given by Dr. Salim Tamari, the executive director of Institute for Jerusalem Studies in Jerusalem and a visiting professor and the University of California-Berkley.