Upcoming Events

The Wall Between: A Conversation with Authors Raja G. Khouri and Jeffrey J. Wilkinson

Tuesday, October 3, 2023 | 4-6 PM EDT
80 M. St. SE, Washington, DC 20003

About the Event.

Join us for a moderated discussion of the book with Telos Program Coordinator, Sarah Sturm, and open time for audience questions with the authors.

There will be time for book signing and light refreshments will be served.

About the Book

The Wall Between is a book about the wall that exists between Jewish and Palestinian communities in the Diaspora. Distrust, enmity, and hate are common currencies. They manifest at university campuses, schools and school boards, at political events, on social media, and in academic circles. For Jews, Israel must exist; for Palestinians, the historic injustice being committed since 1948 must be reversed. Neither wants to know why the Other cannot budge on these issues. The wall is up.

These responses emanate, primarily, from the two “metanarratives” of Jews and Palestinians: the Holocaust and the Nakba. Virtually every response to the struggle, from a member of either community, can be traced back to issues of identity, trauma, and victimhood as they relate to their respective metanarrative. This book examines the role that propaganda and disinformation play in cementing trauma-induced fears for the purpose of making the task of humanizing and acknowledging the Other not just difficult, but almost inconceivable. The authors utilize recent cognitive research on the psychological and social barriers that keep Jews and Palestinians in their camps, walled off from each other. They present a clear way through, one that is justice-centered, rather than trauma-and propaganda-driven.

The authors have lived these principles and traveled this journey, away from their tribal traumas, through embracing the principles of justice. They insist that commitment to the Other means grappling with seemingly incompatible narratives until shared values are decided and acted upon. This book is a call to justice that challenges the status quo of Zionism while at the same time dealing directly with the complex histories that have created the situation today. The book is both realistic and hopeful—a guide for anyone who is open to new possibilities within the Israel-Palestine discourse in the West.

Recent Past Events

Peacemaking and the Politics of Collective Memory: Tantura, Israel, 1948 and Today

Thursday, May 4 | 1:00 PM EDT

From the US to Israel, nations around the world wrestle with how to interpret and respond to the present in terms of competing understandings of their past.

Tantura is a groundbreaking Israeli documentary. It asks what is past, what is present and what is our responsibility. And it exposes deep rifts on how to ignore, bury or reframe the deeply troubling events that took place in Tantura – -and in many other Palestinian villages – -surrounding Israel’s independence in 1948. In the lead up to the 75th anniversary of Israel’s founding and the massacre at Tantura, this conversation will use this award-winning film to explore these questions as they relate specifically to Israelis and Palestinians, and more broadly, all of us.

The panel discussion will unpack why it is important to honestly engage the past in order to build a better future for Israelis and Palestinians, and what the barriers are to doing so in Israel. This theme, along with other themes from the film will be unpacked in the context of peacemaking in Israel/Palestine today, as well as what we can learn from it about our own history and present in the US. Panelists will include film director Alon Schwarz, Vice President for Public Engagement of the New Israel Fund Libby Lenkinski, owner of Hilweh Market Adrieh Abou Shehadeh, and Telos Group President Greg Khalil.

The Borders of American Evangelicalism: US Christians on the Global Stage

Thursday, October 6th | 4:30 PM EDT

American evangelicals have long been fascinated by the Holy Land, building theologies, cultural artifacts, and a multi-billion dollar industry of pilgrimage that have profoundly impacted the lives of Israelis and Palestinians for decades. How has this interest shaped US foreign policy in the region? What difference has it made in global politics? And how might this complicate traditional narratives often told about evangelicalism broadly?

Join us to hear from author and expert, Dr. Melani McAlister, Professor of American Studies and International Affairs at George Washington University. Dr. McAlister’s research focuses on the ways in which cultural and political history intersect, and on the role of religion and culture in shaping US “interests” in other parts of the world. She is the author of Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, and U.S. Interests in the Middle East since 1945 and The Kingdom of God Has No Borders: A Global History of American Evangelicals.