Religion, Democracy and Peacebuilding: Reflections From the Field

April 7, 2024 Waltham Free
protests in jerusalem
(Photo: Hanay/Wikimedia Commons)

Since 2023, Israel has faced two of its biggest crises since its establishment 75 years earlier. The year began with the massive social upheaval over a proposed judicial reform that would alter the nature of Israeli democracy. Subsequently, the Hamas attacks on October 7th and the ensuing war in Gaza have had brutal consequences for Israelis and Palestinians, as well as global ramifications. “Democracy and its Alternatives: The Origins of Israel’s Current Crises,” the annual conference of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University, offers a scholarly understanding of a country and a region in crisis, and places these pivotal events in their larger historical, regional, and political contexts.

This conference is the culmination of the inaugural cohort of a new fellowship program, the Schusterman Center’s Institute for Advanced Israel Studies. The only program of its kind, each year the Institute convenes a cohort of scholars from around the world to work together on an important theme in the field of Israel studies. Our fellows will be forming the panels on the second day of the conference. This year the Institute was co-hosted by our partner, the Center for Jewish History in New York City, and we thank them for their generous participation.

About the keynote:

When asked about the Oslo peace process, the Israeli settler and peace activist Rabbi Menachem Froman quoted the Hamas founder Imam Ahmad Yassin, with whom he met several times: “[Oslo was] an agreement between our heretics and your heretics to subdue religion” and thus doomed to failure.

Religion has seen an incredible resurgence as a political force around the globe in recent decades. Evangelical Christianity in the United States, Hinduism in India, and political Islam across the Middle East have caused major shifts in political alignments. The same is true in Israeli and Palestinian society, where religious parties, sometimes dogmatic, extreme, and violent, are shaping the Israeli and Palestinian policies and strategies.

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Fact Sheet
Sunday, April 7, 2024, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
* Registration closes on March 24th
Brandeis University
415 South St
Waltham, MA 02453

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