‘War and Peace’ speakers share stories, propose change

The problems between Israel and Palestine were presented at Sonoma State University’s War and Peace Lecture Series on Oct. 14 to listen and discuss the ways to make a change.

“The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Historical Context and Personal Reflections” lecture demonstrated how Israel was formed in 1948 on Palestinian land, and since then has illegally grown bigger taking even more land from Palestine.

Today, Palestinians have almost no land at all and Jewish people have invaded the land they do have. Three keynote speakers graced the stage with their knowledge of the problem. Two of them were Jewish, and one was Palestinian, yet their solutions to the problem were almost identical.

“If you have never heard this before I know it can be very shocking, but this is how Israel was made,” said the first speaker, Therese Mughannam. “I personally think it is important to know, because you have to know how it started in order to fix it.”

Mughannam continued her lecture by sharing a story about her childhood. She told the audience of a massacre in Palestine in 1948 when men, women and children were shot. This is when her family fled across the river to Jordan.

The audience was shown pictures from Mughannam’s latest trip to Palestine and Israel, of people’s homes demolished and a 26-foot wall that separated Israeli territory from everything else. There were pictures of checkpoints between every city that all Palestinians had to pass through and show their paperwork.

Mughannam believes that Israel is only a democratic country for the Jewish people that live there, but not for the Palestinians that do. She compared the Palestinian’s rights to the rights of African Americans in 1960’s America.

The second speaker was Chuck Sher, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace. He believes that Jewish people blame Palestinians for the problems and vice versa.

“The Jewish people have been severely traumatized for 2,000 years. As a Jew that history weighs on me,” said Sher.

He spoke of the Jewish people’s past with the Holocaust and how the Nazis had total control over them. This is now happening to the Palestinians because the Jewish people have control. Sher asserted that kind of power over someone or a group of people can really change a person, and usually not for the better.

Laure Reichek, the third speaker, described herself as a humanist. She explained this as a person who just loves the earth and everyone on it. She loves being human, believing there is no difference between any human and in doing the right thing no matter what.

“I am not guided by any possibility of rewards. I do not expect anything in return,” said Reichek.

Reichek pointed out that she was born in France and was loved by people free of charge. Even though being born in France, she doesn’t hold allegiance to just one country or religion because she sees the beauty and wonder in everything.

The point Reichek made when discussing Palestine and Israel was that no matter who is right or wrong in this situation, everyone is human and one should treat each other the way one would like to be treated.

Reichek closed the lecture with a few words of wisdom.

“I will not allow anyone to be mistreated because we are all human. We have a responsibility to be the best humans we can be,” said Reichek. “All I can say is [that] I wish you well.”

Sonoma State University’s War and Peace Lecture Series are held every Monday at 7 p.m. in Ives 101. 

The next scheduled lecture on Oct. 28 is titled, “Global Governance, People Power and Nonviolent Solutions,” featuring Professor of Political Science Cynthia Boaz.