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Naseer Aruri To Speak
At UW-Eau Claire Forum
MAILED: Oct. 29, 2001
EAU CLAIRE — Political scientist Naseer Aruri, a longtime activist with Amnesty International who has been described as "the Elie Wiesel of the Palestinians," will speak at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire on Monday, Nov. 12.
In a presentation titled "Peace and Coexistence in the Middle East," Aruri will address, from the Palestinian perspective, the politics of the Middle East and the importance of equitable treatment for all its residents. His presentation on The Forum lecture series will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Zorn Arena and will be followed by a question-and-answer session and a reception.
Aruri is chancellor professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Born in Jerusalem in 1934, he became a U.S. citizen in 1970 and has spent the majority of his life working for peace, human rights and justice in the homeland he left more than 40 years ago. He is author or editor of 11 books, including "Revising Culture, Reinventing Peace: The Influence of Edward W. Said" (2001), and has written numerous articles and book chapters. Director of the Trans-Arab Research Institute in Boston, Aruri has appeared on PBS' "The NewsHour," CNN's "Crossfire" and ABC News, and has been a commentator on Pacifica Radio, the BBC, Radio Monte Carlo and the Voice of America.
"I am also a critic of Oslo and its architects on all sides, and continue to work for justice, not only in the Middle East," Aruri told Washington Post Live Online readers in March. His criticism of the Palestinian Authority has been described as "scathing."
"Naseer Aruri is a Palestinian intellectual," wrote Florida International University political scientist Cheryl A. Rubenberg in reviewing Aruri's "The Obstruction of Peace" (1995). "This is an important book though certainly not an optimistic one. It is also not a book that everyone will agree with. But it is a book that everyone concerned with the question of the Israeli-Palestinian relationship should read. It is crucial to listen to the ways in which others view reality, for 'reality,' after all, is not a concrete, objectively existing structure. It is a product of our values, beliefs, perceptions, experiences, etc. - it is, in fact, quite subjective. Thus it is vital to comprehend that the experiences, perspectives, needs, and aspirations of others are as valid as our own."
Aruri's recent work considers a single-state solution - a binational, secular state extending throughout historic Palestine - as a viable alternative to perpetual conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
"The future struggle is toward integration, not separation, toward a pluralistic existence, not exclusion, toward parity, mutuality, common humanity, and a common destiny," Aruri wrote recently. "This remains the new and important reality [that] might lay the foundations for a joint Palestinian-Israeli struggle, emanating from a realization that the lives of Palestinians and Israelis are inextricably intertwined. There was and remains a common interest in the economy, employment, water distribution, ecology, human rights and foreign relations....
"The goal of the struggle would have to be equal protection of the law in any such unified state," Aruri wrote, "as in the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution: the illegality of any disparity or classification in the law, the end of group segregation, and its removal from the social, economic, and legal fabrics of society. Equality for every single human being in Palestine/Israel would be the motto of the new struggle."
Aruri advocates that an all-Palestinian Congress of Return and Self-Determination be convened.
"Despite the numerous meetings held between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators ... the input of the community of more than 5.5 million Palestinian refugees has never been sought or solicited," Aruri said in a March 2001 address. "And despite Arafat's millions of miles of travel to meet with leaders all over the world, not one single mile of travel has been invested by the Palestinian leadership in consulting with representatives of its refugee constituency."
Published in September, Aruri's new book is "Palestinian Refugees: The Right of Return," a volume with major contributions from international experts, including Edward W. Said, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Ilan Pappe and Alain Grosh.
Admission is $7 for the public; $5 for those age 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty/staff; or $3 for those age 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students. Tickets are available at the University Service Center in Davies Center and will be sold at the door.
Patrons may also charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727 - or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free (800) 949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.
During his visit to UW-Eau Claire Aruri will also participate in the Student Senate's third annual Human Rights Awareness Conference, "Issues of Peace," on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 12-13. The conference will begin with a panel discussion at 2 p.m. Monday in Schofield Auditorium that will include Naseer Aruri and the following UW-Eau Claire faculty participants: Ali Abootalebi, associate professor of political science; A. David Gordon, professor of communication and journalism; Katherine Lang, assistant professor of history; and Morton Sipress, professor emeritus of political science. Admission is free and open to all.
The Forum is made possible by student funds allocated by the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate.
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Updated: Oct. 29, 2001