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Session R4861 (Navigating Jewish Campus and Community Debates on Israel/Palestine in the Age of Trump), 2017
The rise of White Nationalism in the wake of the Trump election raises important historical questions about the rise of ethnic nationalisms in Europe, the emergence of Zionism as a response to these exclusionary trends, the impacts of the resulting Jewish ethnic nationalism on Palestine and Palestinians, and evolving (and often contradictory) perceptions of Zionism among both White Nationalists and among opponents of White Nationalism. These transnational overlaps and parallels are particularly productive to explore in my case, as someone holding an Israel/Palestine studies professorship that is housed in a Jewish Studies program. I’ll talk about my experiences integrating Palestine-related perspectives into Jewish Studies courses and contexts and engaging with campus and community Jewish groups around these highly provocative (and, to them, extremely interesting) questions.

An important goal for me (and a challenge in our field generally) is connecting with and teaching a diverse range of students and community members who may be deeply suspicious of or even hateful towards each other. I'll reflect in the panel about trying to meet different groups of people where they are, and functioning as a professor not only as a source of information and political analysis but as a facilitator for a variety of ongoing conversations. I find that a historical lens that encompasses both European (both European Jewish and colonial) and Middle Eastern trends (both Arab and Jewish) decenters and complicates the insistent presentism of so much campus and community debate. Moreover, historical texts and perspectives help communicate to university students and community audiences the utility of thinking comparatively about Israeli and Palestinian societies that they might otherwise consider unique.