Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Ronald Bleier: presents two papers on US Middle East Policy

Conference on US Middle East Policy, LaGuardia Community College, NYC

Friends:I'll be giving two papers on Thursday morning, May 10th at a conference on U.S. Middle East Policyto be held at LAGCC. The first, at 9:15 AM, will be on Bush-Cheney's exceptionalism with special regard to the Iraq war. The second, at 11:45 AM, will be a panel on the U.S./Israel relationship. There I’ll be debating Toufic Haddad of the (sadly defunct) Between the Lines (Jerusalem) onthe power of the Israel Lobby to control U.S. Middle East policy. The organizers have assured me that the public is welcome. Ronald***See below for directions to LAGCC. Here is their e-flyer about the Conference. United States Foreign Policy in the Middle East:

United States Foreign Policy in the Middle East Conference

Thursday May 10, 2007

LaGuardia Community College
Little Theater

The conference will provide an analysis of the domestic and
international consequences of United States Foreign Policy in the Middle
East. Scholars and activists will present, discuss, and debate their
perspectives on the history and contemporary involvement of the United
States in this region. The conference will provide students and faculty
with the opportunity to extend their knowledge beyond conventional
discourse and thereby open up further avenues for research and political


9:15 – 10:15 am – Panel 1- History and Contemporary U.S. Policy in the
Middle East
Panelists: Sara Flounders and Ronald Bleier.
Moderator: Prof. Tim Coogan
This panel will explore the history and contemporary application of U.S.
Policy in the Middle East. Panelists will examine the origin and
evolution of U.S. intervention in this region, the objectives of U.S.
involvement, the social costs of these policies, and their present

10:30 – 11:30 am – Panel 2 – Palestine: History and Narrative
Panelists: Toufic Haddad and Aaron Levitt
Moderator: Prof. Terence Julien
This panel will explore the history and contemporary narrative of
Palestine. The panelists will present both an oral and pictorial
exposition of the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe), the historical
struggle for Palestinian self-determination, and the present conditions
of life for the Palestinian people.

11:45 am – 12:45 pm – Panel 3 - The U.S./ Israel Relationship
Panelists: Toufic Haddad and Ronald Bleier
Moderator: Prof. Michael Frank
This panel will explain the unique relationship that exists between the
United States and Israel. The panelists will examine why both Democratic
and Republican Administrations provide unconditional support for
Israel’s policies of occupation, settlement, and war; the role of the
Israel Lobby in U.S. domestic politics; and the role Israel plays in the
U.S. strategic objective of dominating the Middle East and controlling
its resources.

1:00 – 2:00 pm – Panel 4 – The Assault on Civil, Constitutional, and
Human Rights
Panelists: Lynne Stewart and Maria Lahood
Moderator: Prof. Donald Monaco
This panel will examine selected aspects of the assault on civil,
constitutional, and human rights by the U.S. Government in its ‘War on
Terror’. The panelists will explain how legal protections guaranteed by
the U.S. Constitution and by International Laws and Conventions are
being subverted in the name of national security.

2:15 - 3:15 - Panel 5 - Resistance to Occupation and Oppression
Panelist: Dr. Barbara Nimri Aziz and Donia Mili
Moderator: Prof. Donald Monaco
This panel will explore the social and political context of resistance
movements in the Middle East. The panelists will examine the origin,
evolution, and contemporary manifestation of key struggles for national
liberation and self- determination that are distorted,
de-contextualized, and criminalized in Western political discourse.


Dr. Barbara Nimri Aziz is a currently a freelance journalist and
broadcaster. She received her Ph.D in 1974 in Social Anthropology at the
School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. For
eighteen years she did ethnographic research on Asian society and
history. She left that career to become a journalist, and has recently
focused largely on Iraq. Since 1988, she has spent a total of 26 months
living in the Middle East, visiting Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait,
Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia, the West Bank, Turkey, and Israel. She
has been published in the Christian Science Monitor, the Manchester
Guardian, Middle East International, the Detroit Free Press, Natural
History and numerous other publications. She is also the author of
several books including an upTigris: Real Life Encounters with Iraq and Heir To A Silent Song: Two
Rebel Women of Nepal. Since 1989 Aziz has worked on a community radio
station in New York - WBAI Pacifica Radio (RadioTahrir.org). She works
as a producer, commentator, and interviewer, and also as a correspondent
reporting from the Middle East. She donates a lot of time to non-profit
organizations that work for justice in international affairs. She has
recently been awarded a Fulbright Professorship in North Africa for the
coming academic year. Aziz, with colleague Leila Diab, founded an
organization called "Radius of Arab-American Writers in 1992, which is a
network of established and emerging Arab-American fiction and
non-fiction writers, essayists, poets, journalists, photojournalists,
and academics.

Ronald Bleier is a journalist and writer who lives and works in New
York City. He spent two years in Iran as a Peace Corps Volunteer. He
edits the Demographic, Environmental and Security Issues Project
website, and he writes on Middle East Issues, the Bush Administration,
and 9/11 analysis.

Sara Flounders is a writer, political activist, and Co-Director of the
International Action Center with former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey
Clark. Among her extensive publications, she is co-editor along with
Teresa Gutierrez of War In Columbia: Made In U.S.A., a contributor to:
Challenge To Genocide: Let Iraq Live, and a contributor to: Metal of
Dishonor: How the Pentagon Radiates Soldiers and Civilians with DU

Toufic Haddad is a Palestinian-American activist and writer who edited
the radical journal “Between The Lines”, published from Jerusalem and
Ramallah. He is also a frequent contributor to the International
Socialist Review and Znet. He is currently co-editing a book with
Dr.Tikva Honig-Parnass on the Palestinian Intifada.

Maria Lahood is an attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights,
where she specializes in international human rights litigation, seeking
to hold governments responsible for extrajudicial killings and war
crimes abroad. Her cases include Arar v. Ashcroft, against U.S.
officials for sending Canadian citizen Maher Arar to Syria where he was
tortured and detained for a year; Matar v. Dichter, against an Israeli
official responsible for a “targeted assassination” that killed 15
Palestinians; Belhas v. Ya’alon, against a former Israeli official
responsible for the 1996 shelling of a U.N. compound in Qana, Lebanon
that killed over 100 civilians; Corrie v. Caterpillar, on behalf of
Palestinians killed and injured in home demolitions and Rachel Corrie,
an American human rights defender who was killed trying to protect a
home from being demolished; and Wiwa v. Royal Dutch/Shell, for the
torture, detention and execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and other human rights
activists and protestors in Nigeria.

Aaron Levitt is a photographer, a member of Jews Against the Occupation,
and a member of the International Solidarity Movement with Palestine.
He is a member and past board member of West End Synagogue. He is also
a director of research at a New York City homeless services agency.

Donia Mili was born in 1973 in Paris, France to French and Tunisian
parents. Donia was 16 years old when she first started in television at
the grass roots level while studying in Ottawa, Canada. While pursuing
an M.A. degree in Near East Studies at NYU, she became involved in
documentary production. After contributing to several projects, she
produced and directed her first film, "Uprooted" in 2006. The film
addresses the debate of non-violent versus violent resistance in the
context of the Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation.

Lynne Stewart is a radical human rights attorney who has been falsely
accused of helping terrorists. Now convicted, she faces 30 years in
prison. This is an obvious attempt by the U.S. government to silence
dissent, curtail vigorous defense lawyers, and instill fear in those who
would fight against the U.S. government’s racism, seek to helMuslims being prosecuted for free speech and defend the rights of all
oppressed people. Ms. Stewart has a long history of representing
unpopular, politically controversial, and socially marginalized clients
who come from the most oppressed segments of U.S. Society.

We would like to thank the following:
The Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs
The Office of the Vice President for External Affairs
The Faculty Focus Group on Peace and War
The Social Science Department
LaGuardia Student Campus Anti-War Network

Directions to LaGuardia CC By SubwayVia 7 Train: Get off at 33rd Street station. Walk two blocks westbound to Thomson Avenue and Van Dam Street.
For a handy map and many more directions by train, car, and bus, etc. go to: http://www.lagcc.cuny.edu/visit/

More directions:The conference will be held in the Main Building (31-10 Thomson Ave). Enterthe front door, proceed straight ahead down the hall of flags. Go tothe end of the hall, pass through the double doors, make a quick left,walk up 8 stairs, and you are at the Little Theater.

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