Speakers! (Check back often for updates!)
Hanan Ashrawi was the first woman to be elected a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 2009. She served as the official spokesperson of the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East peace process from 1991-1993 and participated in the 1991-1992 Madrid peace conference as a member of the Palestinian Leadership Committee delegation. In 1993, Dr. Ashrawi founded the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens’ Rights (PICCR) to investigate Israeli and Palestinian human rights violations. She chronicled her involvement in her book This Side of Peace: A Personal Account (1995). In 1996, Ashrawi was elected and subsequently reelected many times to the Palestinian Legislative Council. In 1996, she also accepted the post of Minister of Higher Education and Research. In 1998, Ashrawi founded and continues to serve in MIFTAH, the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy. In December 2020, she resigned from the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
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 over 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. His books include 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.
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
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. Masad 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, 2015. The book was translated to Arabic under the title Al-Islam fi al-Libraliyyah, in 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.
Radhika Sainath is a senior staff attorney at Palestine Legal. Her writing has appeared in Jacobin, The Nation and Huffington Post. She's working on her first novel, set in Palestine during the Second Intifada.
Rev. Dr. Don Wagner recently retired as national program director of Friends of Sabeel-North America. Prior to that he was a professor of Middle East studies at North Park University, where he was also the director of its Center for Middle Eastern Studies. During the 1980s he was the national director of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign. An ordained Presbyterian minister, Rev. Wagner has served churches in New Jersey and Evanston, IL. He is the author or co-author of five books dealing with Palestinian human rights, Christian Zionism, a theological critique of Zionism and a history of Christianity in Palestine-Israel. These include Anxious for Armageddon: A Call to Partnership for Middle Eastern and Western Christians (1995) , Zionism and the Quest for Justice in the Holy Land (2014) and Dying in the Land of Promise: Palestine and Palestinian Christianity from Pentecost to 2000 (2003).
The history and theology of Christian Zionism is a central topic of the book he is currently writing.
Roger Waters is an English rock musician, singer-songwriter and composer best known for his work with the legendary rock band Pink Floyd. Over the last few years, he has emerged as one of the world’s most prominent advocates for Palestinian human rights and a cultural boycott of Israel.
In June 2009, Waters spoke against the wall Israel built on Palestinian land. Later that year he pledged his support to the Gaza Freedom March. In 2011, Waters announced that he had joined the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in solidarity with Palestinians. He has said he is disillusioned with UK foreign policy toward Israel.
After accusations lodged by the Anti-Defamation League and other Israel advocacy organizations, Waters responded that, "I deplore the policies of the Israeli government in the occupied territories and Gaza. They are immoral, inhuman and illegal. I will continue my non-violent protests as long as the government of Israel continues with these policies. ...It is difficult to make arguments to defend the Israeli government's policies, so would-be defenders often use a diversionary tactic, they routinely drag the critic into a public arena and accuse them of being an anti-Semite.”
Waters has also long campaigned for five indigenous groups and 80 farmer communities in Ecuador fighting energy giant Chevron’s destruction of the environment.