Title: Israel: colonial invasion, or national return?
Zionists describe the creation of the state of Israel as a return of the Jewish nation to its ancient homeland. Palestinians describe it as a colonial invasion by Europeans. In either case, it has involved the (on-going) displacement of much of the local population, or their suppression to second-class or non-existent citizenship. Is such displacement and suppression justifiable? If so, on what grounds? Is a state that privileges Jews sustainable in the long run? What about states (like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) that privilege Muslims? Should (d0) Europe and the U.S.A. privilege Christians? Are multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, and multi-religious states (like Lebanon and the U.S.A.) sustainable? Historical roots, current realities, and future possibilities.
Bio: Rev. David Smith, Catholic Priest and retired professor of theology, was founding director of the Justice and Peace Studies program at the University of St. Thomas. He first visited Israel in 1968 when he was a graduate student in Rome, and studied in Jerusalem at the Ecole Biblique for two years in the mid 1970s. He was a member of a Michigan Peace Team of third-party nonviolent peacemakers in Gaza in the summer of 2005 and in the West Bank for three months in the fall of 2007. He is co-author of the book Understanding World Religions: A Road Map for Justice and Peace (Rowman and Littlefield, 2007–currently under revision for a second edition) which studies the ways various world religions interact to support or interfere with justice and peace, with Israel-Palestine as a case study. He has traveled extensively worldwide to study poverty, justice, and peace.