A Beacon of Hope in Troubled Times: An Interview with Stephen Zunes

In an era marked by escalating tensions and complex geopolitical dynamics, the Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV) remains steadfast in its mission to foster peace and justice through understanding. Upholding the philosophy of nonviolence and the values of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Beloved Community, RCNV is hosting a pivotal event, “Shadows of War: Decoding U.S. Role in the Israel-Palestinian Conflict,” featuring the esteemed Professor Stephen Zunes, a leading authority on Middle Eastern politics and U.S. foreign policy.

During an insightful conversation with RCNV’s Executive Director, Silvia Morales, Professor Zunes shared his nuanced understanding of the Israel-Palestine conflict and its alignment with RCNV’s principles of nonviolence and justice. Reflecting on the Jewish community’s involvement in RCNV and their connection to Israel, Zunes observed, “Jews have played a disproportionate role in RCNV leadership and activism. Jews feel an attachment to the state, often rationalizing war crimes committed by Israel.” His perspective resonates with RCNV’s long-standing approach to international conflicts, emphasizing human rights and international law over ideological debates.

Morales, resonating with Zunes’ insights, reflected on the broader human impact of such conflicts. “These human experiences have created a tremendous amount of trauma, and I’m also reminded that we haven’t paid sufficient attention to what it does to the individual to witness violence against another person,” she said, highlighting the often-overlooked personal toll of global strife.

Addressing the U.S. role in the conflict, Zunes critiqued its contradictory position as both mediator and supporter of one party. “The US has had the contradictory role of being the sole mediator of the conflict, but also the primary military and diplomatic supporter of one of the two parties. No agreement has ever taken place when the mediator is supportive of the more powerful party. That is why there is no peace,” he explained.

This stance, Zunes argued, necessitates a change in policy, emphasizing the power of popular movements to enact such change. “There’s a critical need to change US policy. Popular movements have changed US policy before, on Iraq, and we really have reached a critical mass involving a wide variety of progressive activists,” he remarked.

The RCNV, through events like this and its ongoing efforts, continues to be a leader in nonviolent action and strategy. As a center for learning and activism, we provide a platform for critical discussions and a meeting point for like-minded individuals committed to making a difference.

For those unable to attend the main event, RCNV provided a livestream, extending the reach of these vital discussions. In continuing its mission, the RCNV invites everyone to engage in their programs and initiatives, paving the way for a more understanding and nonviolent world.

Event Details:

“Shadows of War: Decoding U.S. Role in the Israel-Palestinian Conflict”

Date: Thursday, January 11, 2024, at 7:30 PM

Location: 612 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Register Here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/shadows-of-war-decoding-us-role-in-israel-palestinian-conflict-tickets-791617016807?aff=oddtdtcreator

Livestream: RCNV YouTube Channel

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