May 28-29, 2020 at the National Press Club, Washington, DC - Earlybird tickets now on sale! Donate!

2020 Conference Speakers, Theme and Topics







Keynote Speakers

Gideon Levy

Gideon Levy is a columnist for the Israeli daily Haaretz, which he joined in 1982. He spent four years as the newspaper’s deputy editor and is currently a member of its editorial board. He is widely considered the “dean” of Israeli journalism—as well as “the most hated man in Israel.” As Levy has written, “Treating the Palestinians as victims and the crimes perpetrated against them as crimes is considered treasonous.”

Levy writes the weekly Twilight Zone feature, which covers the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza over the last 30 years, as well as political editorials for the newspaper. His columns about politics, money, how Israel’s military occupation is changing Israeli society and about U.S.-Israel relations are widely read and discussed around the world.

Levy was the recipient, with Palestinian pastor Mitri Raheb, of the 2016 Olof Palme prize for their “fight against occupation and violence.” He has also received the Peace Through Media Award, at the 2012 International Media Awards; the Euro-Med Journalist Prize for 2008; the Leipzig Freedom Prize in 2001; the Israeli Journalists’ Union Prize in 1997; and The Association of Human Rights in Israel Award for 1996.

His book, The Punishment of Gaza, was published in 2010 by Verso Publishing House in London and New York. 

Joseph Massad

Joseph Massad teaches and writes about modern Arab politics and intellectual history. He has a particular interest in theories of identity and culture – including theories of nationalism, sexuality, race and religion. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1998. He is the author of Desiring Arabs (2007), which was awarded the Lionel Trilling Book Award; The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinian Question (2006); and Colonial Effects: The Making of National Identity in Jordan (2001).  His book Daymumat al-Mas’alah al-Filastiniyyah was published by Dar Al-Adab in 2009, and La persistance de la question palestinienne was published by La Fabrique in 2009. The Arabic translation of Desiring Arabs was published in 2013 by Dar Al-Shuruq Press in Cairo under the title Ishtiha’ Al-‘Arab.

His latest book is Islam in Liberalism, University of Chicago Press, 2015. The book was translated into Arabic under the title Al-Islam fi al-Libraliyyah, Dar Jadawel, Beirut, 2018. Several forums and symposia have been published on Islam in Liberalism with many contributors and responses from Massad. In June of 2019 Massad’s article about the Israel lobby  Israel and the West: ‘Shared values’ of racism and settler-colonialism published in Middle East Eye attracted widespread applause and condemnation.

Stephen Walt

Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs. He previously taught at Princeton University and the University of Chicago, where he served as Master of the Social Science Collegiate Division and Deputy Dean of Social Sciences. He has been a Resident Associate of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace and a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution, and he has also served as a consultant for the Institute of Defense Analyses, the Center for Naval Analyses, and the National Defense University. He presently serves on the editorial boards of Foreign Policy, Security Studies, International Relations, and Journal of Cold War Studies, and he also serves as Co-Editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, published by Cornell University Press. Additionally, he was elected as a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in May 2005.

Professor Walt is the author of The Origins of Alliances (1987), which received the 1988 Edgar S. Furniss National Security Book Award. He is also the author of Revolution and War (1996), Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy (2005), and, with co-author J.J. Mearsheimer, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (2007), and The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy (2018).

 Speakers (check back for future announcements)

Sut Jhally

Sut Jhally is a professor of communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the founder and executive director of the Media Education Foundation. He has won the “Distinguished Teacher Award” at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where the student newspaper has also voted him “Best Professor.” Jhally is the producer of more than 40 documentaries on media literacy topics in cultural studies, advertising, media and consumption

Also the author of six books and numerous scholarly and popular articles, Jhally teaches both undergraduate and graduate level courses which focus on media, public relations and propaganda, as well as gender, sex and representation. He wrote Social Communication in Advertising: Persons, Products and Images of Well-Being (1988) with co-authors Stephen Kline and William Weiss, and The Codes of Advertising: Fetishism and the Political Economy of Meaning in the Consumer Society (1987).

Jhally’s documentary The Occupation of the American Mind  focuses on pro-Israel public relations efforts within the U.S. Narrated by Roger Waters and featuring leading observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and U.S. media culture, the film explores how the Israeli government, the U.S. government, and the pro-Israel lobby have joined forces, often with very different motives, to shape American media coverage of the conflict in Israel's favor.

Theme and Topics

Our annual conference at the National Press Club explores the latest research, innovations and tactics for countering the Israel lobby’s damaging policies in the U.S. and around the globe.

This conference has grown to become one of the largest educational events in Washington, attracting nearly 1,000 participants including activists, students, educators, alternative news media, nonprofits, the international community and the private sector. It also provides an excellent opportunity for face-to-face networking

1. How Americans are effectively working to overcome Israel lobby demands to violate international law, undermine freedom of speech, reward Israeli militarism and denigrate peaceful Palestinian aspirations.
2. How voters this election year can both support and field politicians and keep them from succumbing to the lobby’s coordinated campaign contributions and constant pressure for fealty.
3. Exploring Important grassroots legislative and legal battles won by peace and justice allies in 2019-2020, how they did it, and how you can, too.
4. The key differences between Jewish establishment Zionism and Christian Zionism, and common misunderstandings.
5. How to implement emerging “non-Israel-centric” regional strategies to eliminate the crippling human and financial costs of unending wars.

For the first time ever, we are opening up our traditional “speakers dinner” as a public fund-raising gala! Join keynoters, speakers and a surprising lineup of entertainers for a delicious, educational and uplifting gathering the evening before the conference, on May 28! All gala proceeds go toward covering conference expenses!

Get your discounted tickets now through Eventbrite. Make at tax-deductible contribution to cover conference costs and student travel stipends.

For more information, speaker updates, and student tickets, check back at this conference website,