This 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, DC, 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. Speakers will analyze:
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.
How voters can both support and field politicians and keep them from succumbing to the lobby’s coordinated campaign contributions and constant pressure for fealty.
Important grassroots legislative and legal battles won by peace and justice allies, how they did it, and how you can, too.
The key differences between Jewish establishment Zionism and Christian Zionism, and common misunderstandings.
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 surprise special guests for a delicious, educational and uplifting gathering the evening before the conference, on March 4! All gala proceeds go toward covering conference expenses.
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.
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.
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.
Juan Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell collegiate professor of history at the University of Michigan. For three decades, he has sought to put the relationship of the West and the Muslim world in historical context. A prominent public intellectual, Cole is the creator of the award-winning blog Informed Comment, which averages 4.5 million page views a year.
He is fluent in Arabic, Persian and Urdu, reads some Turkish, and is an expert on both Middle Eastern and South Asian Islam. Cole is president of the Global Americana Institute, a non-profit project that aims to translate into Arabic important books by great Americans and about America. He has lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years, and continues to travel widely there.
Cole is a commentator on the modern Middle East and South Asia. He has been a regular guest on PBS’s Lehrer News Hour, and has also appeared on ABC Nightly News, Nightline, the Today Show, Charlie Rose, Anderson Cooper 360, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Democracy Now! and many others.
Cole is the author of Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East (2007), Engaging the Muslim World (2010), The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East (2014) and Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires (2018)., Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East (2007), Engaging the Muslim World (2010) and The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East (2014).
Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renee Belfer professor of international affairs at Harvard University. 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 International 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 John 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).
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.
Lynn Gottlieb is one of the first women to become a rabbi in Jewish history and has been a congregational rabbi for 47 years She is a pioneer Jewish feminist, visual and performing artist, community organizer, author and Klezmer dancer. Since 1966, Rabbi Gottlieb has been involved in multifaith, intergenerational and multiracial organizing around issues of economic, racial, indigenous and gender justice, and in pursuit of Palestinian human rights for five decades.
In 1998 Gottlieb cofounded Interfaith Peace Builders with Doug Hostetter to create human rights delegations to Palestine and witness the occupation. Gottlieb is cofounder of The Community of Living Traditions at Stony Point Center, NY, and serves on the Rabbinic Council of Jewish Voice for Peace, and as board chair of Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity. Her books include She Who Dwells Within: A Feminist Guide to Renewed Judaism, Trail Guide to the Torah of Nonviolence, Peace Primer II, and World Beyond Borders Passover Haggadah.
Aman Aberra is a graduate student at Duke University and activist with Duke Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a member of the Demilitarize! Durham2Palestine (D2P) coalition. Since his undergraduate years at Arizona State University, Aberra has worked with SJP to counter the U.S.-backed Israeli occupation and apartheid of Palestine and advocate for freedom, justice and equality for the Palestinian people. Off campus, he worked with the D2P coalition, in collaboration with nine other coalition member organizations and 30 endorsing organizations, to make Durham the first city to end all militarized police exchanges with foreign governments, including the state of Israel. The D2P coalition continues to defend this victory against backlash from pro-Israel groups at the city and state levels.
Aberra also works with other organizations that promote anti-war and anti-imperialist politics, including the Democratic Socialists of America, the Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia, and Migrant Roots Media. His organizing is guided by the belief that justice for the poor, working class, black and brown people of the world requires dismantling the globalized structures of capitalism, imperialism and white supremacy.
Sumaya Awad is a Palestinian organizer and author based in New York City. She has written extensively on the politics of Palestine, and on the fight against Islamophobia and xenophobia in the United States and internationally. Awad's research on Muslim and Palestinian refugee communities worldwide has brought her to Chile, Hong Kong and Jordan. She graduated from Williams College with a B.A in history and religion. As a student activist, Sumaya played a leading role building chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine at Williams College and Columbia University. Sumaya was a founding member of the Against Canary Mission Project, which sought to defend students targeted and smeared in anti-Palestinian blacklists. While at Columbia, she joined the Palestinian Dabkeh Brigade, which expressed Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation through the medium of dance. She is co-editor of the forthcoming book, Palestine: A Socialist Introduction, from Haymarket Books.