Tag Archives: Occupied Palestine

Scholars’ Circle – Determining genocide and other human rights violations of the law ; Dark side of democracy – April 21, 2024

April is Genocide Awareness month. Two of the worst genocides in history, the Hutu killing of Tutsis in Rwanda and the Ottoman genocide against Armenians, began in April. We explore genocide with two specific questions: Who internationally makes a determination that violence and atrocities are in fact genocide? And what if anything changes when there is a finding that atrocities are genocide?

We explore whether a legal approach is the best way to determine whether political violence and atrocities are genocide or is a political or social approach more effective. And does discourse on genocide crowd out discussions of other crimes, such as war crimes? We draw insights from history and contemporary issues. [ dur: 42mins. ]

When does democracy have a dark side? Our guest says that majorities can and do oppress minorities in the name of majoritarian democracy. [ dur: 16mins. ]

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – International Laws on occupation of territories and war crimes by state and non-state actors – January 21, 2024

What responsibilities do occupiers have in their occupation of territories? And is there a legal requirement to eventually end the occupation? [ dur: 28mins. ]

In the laws of war, countries do have the right to defend themselves. But what do those laws require in the process of waging war? How does this apply to Israel’s war in Gaza? And what legal rights do non-state actors have for self-determination? [ dur: 28mins. ]

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Which mistakes Israel is likely to make in Gaza and Book Author interview – A Fear of Too Much Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Courts – October 29, 2023

Rage and a desire for vengeance after 9/11 drove the US to violate human rights on a mass scale. What were those mistakes and what lessons do they offer to others dealing with political violence? How much does rage and demands for vengeance undermine peace? [ dur: 28mins. ]

  • Steve Swerdlow, esq. is Associate Professor of the Practice of Human Rights in the Department of Political and International Relations at the University of Southern California. A human rights lawyer and expert on the former Soviet region, Swerdlow was Senior Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch, heading the organization’s work on Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and founding its Kyrgyzstan field office. He worked as a human rights monitor for the Union of Council for Soviet Jews (UCSJ) as their Caucasus monitor in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia as well as with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Russia.
  • Brent Sasley is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Texas, Arlington. He is the author of the book Politics in Israel: Governing a Complex Society and the book chapter “The End of Oslo and The Second Intifada, 2000-2005.”

Then, How much does race and class determine legal outcomes in the United States? What role does the prosecutor play in the justice system?
We speak with the co-author of a new book A Fear of Too Much Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Courts. Co-authors are legendary death penalty opponent Stephen Bright and legal scholar James Kwak. [ dur: 28mins. ]

  • Our guest James Kwak is a former professor of law at the University of Connecticut and chairperson of the board of the Southern Center for Human Rights. His co-author is Stephen Bright. He teaches law at Yale and Georgetown Universities. He was director of the Southern Center for Human Rights and won multiple capital cases in the Supreme Court.

From the publisher:
Almost 70 years ago Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black wrote there “can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has.” In THE FEAR OF TOO MUCH JUSTICE: Race, Poverty, and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Courts (The New Press; June 20; 2023), legendary death penalty opponent Stephen Bright and legal scholar James Kwak show the myriad ways the US criminal legal system fails to live up to this ideal of fairness: Innocent people are condemned to death and convicted of crimes because they cannot afford lawyers and because of the color of their skin. Racial discrimination in jury selection still lives in communities that have substantial Black and Latino populations. The mentally disabled are incarcerated instead of given the treatment they need, while the poor are processed through many courts with little or no legal representation in an assembly-line fashion. And many courts act as centers of profit whose main purpose is to raise money by imposing fines on the most vulnerable in their community and jailing them when they cannot pay.

But Bright and Kwak also see the promise of meaningful change on the horizon. They point to jurisdictions across the political spectrum that have made significant progress. The use of the death penalty has plummeted, and the authors see a future where it will remain in only the most ardent holdouts. Public defender offices that protect clients from wrongful convictions have been established across the country, and many places have reduced the use of cash bail and stopped imposing fines and fees on people who cannot afford them.

The book makes the case that prosecutors have too much power and defense lawyers are often out-gunned and incentivized to encourage plea bargains. How should the system rectify this? What is the first step in fixing this imbalance?

This program is produced by Ankine Aghassian, Doug Becker, Mihika Chechi, Melissa Chiprin, and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Insight into the Abraham Accord between Israel and some Arab States – January 31, 2021

Several Arab states have signed normalization agreements with Israel. What do these “Abraham Accords” mean for security in the region and for the future of Palestinian people? What are the solutions to the Palestinian conflict? What are the alternatives to a two state solution and should the focus for Palestinians be on their civil rights? Hosted by Doug Becker. [ dur: 58mins. ]

This program is produced with generous contribution from Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – US role in Israel and Palestinians peace promotions -/- Modern Diseases – February 16, 2020

What’s the role of the US in promoting peace between Israel and Palestinians? What’s the likelihood of its success? Doug Becker hosts. [ dur: 36mins. ]

  • Brent Sasley is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Texas, Arlington. He is the author of the book Politics in Israel: Governing a Complex Society and the Washington Post article The White House Peace Plan Puts Israel’s Concerns First – and Shortchanges Palestinians.
  • Fayez Hammad is Lecturer in International Relations and Middle East Studies at The University of Southern California. He is a frequent commentator on Middle East politics.

Sanitation and antibiotics have saved the lives of many, but are they also the culprits behind some of modern diseases? We might have gone overboard in killing our microbes and that may be causing some of today’s epidemics. [ dur 22mins. ]

Produced by the Scholars’ Circle team: Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Humanitarian crisis in Yemen -/- Culture boycott of Israel and the BDS movement – November 18, 2018

Experts say Yemen is the worse humanitarian crisis in modern history. Warnings from the UN say the death toll from starvation could reach 18.4 million by the end of the year. Why is this happening? And what can be done? [ dur: 29 mins. ]

Guest host Sam Smith speaks with historian Mike Levine about musicians, cultural boycotts and the BDS movement. [ dur: 30 mins. ]

This program is produced with contributions from the following volunteers: Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Anaïs Amin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Human Rights / Israel / Are We Warlike by Nature – July 27th, 2014

First, what can the history of human rights tell us about the struggles of today. [ dur: 15 mins. ]

  • Michelline Ishay is Professor and the director of the International Human Rights Program at the University of Denver. She is the author of The History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era.

Then, Israel’s spiritual crisis and how it effects the Middle East. [ dur: 15 mins. ]

  • Avraham Burg, former speaker of Israel’s parliament. He is author of The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From its Ashes.

Finally, our panel argues that warring is a relatively new phenomenon in human societies and that human beings are not warlike by nature. [ dur: 28 mins. ]

  • Douglas P. Fry, is Director of Peace, Mediation & Conflict Research at Abo Akademi University, Finland.  He is author of Beyond War : The Human Potential for Peace.
  • Darcia Narvaez, is Professor of Psychology at University of Minnesota. Co-author of Evolution, Early Experience and Human Development: From Research to Practice and Policy.
  • Brian Ferguson, is Professor of  Anthropology  at Rutgers University.  Co-author of  War in the Tribal Zone: Expanding States and Indigenous Warfare.

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Scholars’ Circle – Worse than War / Peace Between Israel & Palestine – July 13th, 2014

First, we explore eliminationism and genocide in the 20th and 21st century. And address how to prevent and hold those responsible, accountable, with Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, author of Worse than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity.

  • Daniel Jonah Goldhagen was a Professor of Political Science and Social Studies at Harvard University until he decided to devote himself full time to writing. He is the author of, Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair, and Worse Than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity.

Then, on the Scholars’ Circle panel, what are the requisite pathways to building a real peace between Israel and Palestine?

  • Sami Adwan is Professor of Education at Bethlehem University and the Palestinian Director and Co-Director of Peace Research Institute in the Middle East (PRIME). His is the author of, Learning Each Other’s Historical Narrative: Palestinians and Israelis, co-author of Comparative Analysis of the Israeli and Palestinian Conflict in History and Civic Education, and Side by Side: Parallel Histories of Israel-Palestine.
  • Sarai Aharoni is Professor and research fellow of International Relations at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She is the co-author of, Where Are All the Women? U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325: Gender Perspectives of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
  • Ervin Staub is Professor of Psychology Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His numerous publications include The roots of evil: The origins of genocide and other group violence, The psychology of good and evil: Why children, adults and groups help and harm others, and Overcoming evil: Genocide, violent conflict and terrorism

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The Scholars’ Circle & Insighters Radio- Dec. 2nd, 2012

First we explore the politics of Palestine in relation to the region and in light of its new status of statehood. We began a discussion with Mark Perry about the politics of Palestine and statehood. We continue now to make sense of the new dynamics inside and outside of Palestine. Author of  Talking with Terrorists: Why America must engage with its enimies. [ Dur. 16 mins. ]

Finally on Scholars’ Circle: With more than 130 votes in the United Nations, Palestine has attained statehood, a move that is thought to empower President Mahmood Abbas’s position both inside Palestine and in future legal battles with its neighbor, Israel. This change in status along with other developments within Palestine and the region may have more ripple effects.

  • Ervin Staub, Prof. of Phycology, University of Massachusetts , Amherst. Author or  Roots of Evil : Origins of  Genocide and other Group Violence.
  • Sami Adwan, Prof. of Education, Bethlehem University , Editor of Peace Research Institute in Middle East and Author of Side by Side: Parallel history of Israel-Palestine
  • Sarai Aharoni, Prof. of Political Science, Hebrew University,  Jerusalem.

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Insighters & Scholars’ Circle – Sept. 23rd, 2012

Chauncey Bailey was the first journalist killed in the US doing his job since the 1970’s. We’ll look at the reasons behind his assassination. Thomas Peele is the author of Killing the Messenger: A Story of Radical Faith, Racist Backlash and the Assassination of a Journalist. [ Dur: 24 mins. ]

Then on the Scholars’ Circle, we look at the multiple issues behind the latest round of protests in the Middle East. [ Dur: 27 mins. ]

  • Prof. Dipak Gupta, Political Science ,UC San Diego . Author of  Who Are The Terrorist? ( The Roots of Terrorism );
  • Roger Petersen, Political Science, MIT. Author of Understanding Ethnic Violence: Fear, Hatred, and Resentment in Twentieth-Century Eastern Europe.
  • Hamoud Salhi, Prof. Political Science, CSU Dominguez Hills. Host of SWANA Region Radio on KPFK – Los Angeles.

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