I have been writing and researching about Israel and Palestine since 1986. For over three decades, I have worked with dozens of Palestinians and Israelis, and have traveled and worked throughout the Middle East. Here is a timeline of my publications and a description of the evolution of my thinking about these issues.
From 1986-1997, I researched and wrote about Israel and Palestine in a variety of venues. I began as an activist supporting Palestinian rights when I attending Goshen College, influenced particularly by the life and work of Mubarak Awad, who was a family friend. I worked in Chicago at a human rights group to research Israel’s role in the Iran-Contra Affair in the summer of 1990. My BA thesis was on Israeli foreign policy for an Honors Degree in International Relations and Political Science at the University of Waterloo, Canada.
From 1997-2010, I taught nearly two dozen Israeli and Palestinian graduate students while I was faculty at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. I have kept in regular contact with many of these colleagues. Via Common Ground Press and Huffington Post, I published the following articles on Israel, Palestine and the Middle East:
- A “right” to defence is not a “strategy” for peace. Common Ground News Service. 15 January 2009.
- Egypt and the US “We Know Best” Syndrome. Huffington Post. January 2011
From 2010-2012, I oversaw and raised funds for the Israel-Palestine Congressional Forum in my role as Director of 3P Human Security, a policy advocacy initiative that is now a part of the Alliance for Peacebuilding. Jennifer Kuiper directed this program. The Israel-Palestine Congressional Forum created an opportunity for Congressional staff to hear from and talk to Israelis, Palestinians and those working to address difficult issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The following policy briefs emerged from that work.
- Palestinian Appeal for Statehood at the United Nations
- The Palestinian National Reconciliation Agreement
- Israeli Politics and Public Opinion- Potential and Pitfalls for US Peace Efforts
- The Arab Peace Initiative – Can it make a difference?
- Gaza- Finding Opportunities in the Current Crisis
In 2012 and 2013 I was part of a small group of people invited by the Obama White House to consult on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and peace process. I contributed ideas to the report on An Inclusive Peace Process for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by Alma Jadallah. I had opportunities to describe the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and what life is like under the Gaza siege and occupation at the Pentagon and several military conferences. I also spoke on these topics as a peace process expert on CNN and Fox News.
From 2016-2017, I provided input and advice into the MCUSA Resolution on Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine.
From September-November 2017, I co-led a study abroad program in Israel and Palestine for 20 students from Eastern Mennonite University with my husband Bill Goldberg. We lived, worked with, and met with dozens of Jewish Israelis and Palestinians from Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza over 3 months. We split our time between living and traveling in the West Bank and Israel. Our lectures and studies focused on peacebuilding, social justice, environmental sustainability, trauma, religion, and the arts. See below for a series of blogs from this trip.
Coinciding with the timing of our trip, new research and books were published outlining the role of Mennonites and the Mennonite Church in the Holocaust and German Nationalism. (See Ben Goossen’s book Chosen Nation). As a Mennonite married to a Jew, I have been trying to come to terms with Mennonite antisemitism and this awful history. In May 2018, I wrote, “Rethinking Mennonites’ Approach to Israel and Palestine” for The Mennonite, a church publication. In response, The Mennonite published an article that makes absolutely false accusations about my article and my motivations. I received from Mennonites, including leaders in the church, hate mail, threats, and calls for a boycott and ban of everything I have ever written. Then The Mennonite decided to remove my article, an article they had commissioned, because of opposition in the church to my concerns about antisemitism. Then when I attempted to teach a course at a Mennonite university, a group of Mennonites called for a boycott of my books and teaching.
During our time in Jerusalem, our group studied the history of antisemitism for two weeks. I realized that unlike the widespread training on racism and sexism I received at Mennonite institutions, I had never received training on antisemitism. The long history of antisemitism set into motion the Jewish exodus out of Europe and Arab countries to historic Palestine, where Palestinians have suffered the loss of their homes, farms, and businesses to make way for the creation of Israel and Jewish migrants.
I have come to understand that addressing antisemitism is an important element in finding a just peace for both Jews and Palestinians.
As with any conflict, I am never done learning or listening to people. As a writer and researcher, I attempt to reflect what I hear people saying and attempt to find ways for strategic nonviolent action and peacebuilding to move the situation toward justice.
Recent Blogs on Israel and Palestine
- An Open Letter to MCC on Iran and Israel, Muslims and Jews
- An Open Letter of Complaint to The Mennonite
- Progressive Christians and Antisemitism: From Arrogance to Ignorance on Israel and Palestine
- Building a Trauma-Sensitive Change Movement to Address Israeli and Palestinian Interests
- Pros and Cons of BDS
- Identifying Antisemitism and Racism in Talk about Israel and Palestine
- Mennonites, Nazism, White Supremacy and the Holocaust: A Summary
- Antisemitism and Israel: The real and the not real in supporting Palestinian rights
- Dialogue, BDS, and Anti-Normalization: Israeli & Palestinian Change Makers
- Spiritual Nausea, Two States, One Homeland: New Insights from a Dialogue between Jewish Settlers and Palestinian Activists
- “We Refuse to be Enemies” – Tranquility Surrounded by Tension
- Learning Hebrew and Arabic with Grey Hair
- Being Called a Traitor in the Land of Milk and Honey
- Rachel is Weeping at the Separation Wall
- Reflections on Kibbutz Life and Environmental Sustainability in the Arava
- The Spirituality of the Desert
- From the Shenandoah Valley to the Arava Valley