April 22, 2010

Scholar to discuss prospects for Middle East peace

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- An award-winning writer and scholar will discuss the possibility of peace in the Middle East and what Americans can do to help during a presentation at Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Monday, April 26.

Anna Baltzer will present “A Jewish Witness in Palestine Speaks: What Aren’t We Hearing and How is Peace Possible” at 6 p.m. in the Student Center video lounge. The lecture is free and open to all.

Jewish-American Baltzer is a graduate of Columbia University, a former Fulbright Scholar, the granddaughter of Holocaust refugees and the author of “Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories.” She’s appeared on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and in numerous other venues.

Although raised with a traditional viewpoint regarding a democratic Israel, Baltzer took a backpack trip to the Middle East in 2003, meeting Palestinian refugees and learning from those living in the war-torn area about the history and impact of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. She researched and studied the situation first-hand. She subsequently returned to the U.S. and has since committed to informing Americans what she discovered and how they can support peace for all in Israel/Palestine.

An advocate of coexistence, she has made more than 200 television appearances and spoken at universities, churches, synagogues, mosques and other forums around the world. She supports the joint Palestinian and Israeli nonviolence movement.

During her presentation at SIUC, she’ll touch on a variety of related aspects, including checkpoints, settlements, the Wall, the occupation, Nakba, censorship, Israeli activism and more. And, she’ll discuss how people can get involved and make a difference.

Hale Yilmaz, assistant professor of history, was instrumental in bringing Baltzer to SIUC.

Learn more about Baltzer on her website, www.AnnaInTheMiddleEast.com or on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/anna.baltzer1.