Dr. Baskin Maintains his Hopes for Peace between Israelis and Palestinians
On Monday, February 8, Dr. Gershon Baskin came to Gannet Auditorium to give an informative lecture about the ongoing devastating conflict between Israel and Palestine. The audience, which was composed of Skidmore students, many members of the Jewish community, and anyone with interest on the subject, had the opportunity to ask questions on this matter and Baskin had more than enough knowledge to answer the questions and comments presented.
Dr. Gershon Baskin started his lecture by emphasizing that the conflict between Israel and Palestine has nothing to do with religion. Although this fact does not make the conflict any easier, it does bring forth the crucial notion that it is solvable. He emphasized that these two countries are disputing over the fact that one land cannot be shared by two very different states. In other words, their dispute is purely political. He says that neither side has successfully lived up to its agreements, nor do they want to even sit down and negotiate an agreement. Dr. Baskin mentioned that if the conflict were all about religion, then there would be no means of fixing it. He strongly believes that this conflict will be solved, even though a lot of time will pass before a resolution can be achieved. It was very interesting to hear his firm statement, especially because it came from someone who has already taken a step forward towards solving this dispute. Baskin was the mediator between Israel and Hamas for the release of an Israeli soldier that had been captured and imprisoned. He gives a full detail of this in his book: The Negotiator: Freeing Gilad Shalit from Hamas.
Dr. Gershon Baskin is well known for various accomplishments, which include awards, such as the Histadrut Prize for Peace in 1996, the Tribute of Honor and Courage from the World Movement for Democracy in 2004 and many more. He is an advisor for both the Israeli and Palestinian International Prime Ministers. He founded and co-directs the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI). Right now, he is in the middle of a speaking tour across North America.
This well accomplished person came to Skidmore and brought us a topic to ponder on. He clarified many misconceptions and informed the audience that anyone can help with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict simply by not being ignorant on the subject. One of the audience members asked him to expand on that statement; Baskin said that informing people of what is really going on puts the conflict on a very different level, and on a very different view in the public’s eyes. A lot of the issue has to do with what the public hears and how maliciously it spreads. The media has been the most to blame, since it has the tendency to project biases as it manipulates what’s really going on. This is another solvable issue. Baskin asks us to diversify our sources and to search for different perspectives, both in the media and in conversation. Baskin argues that by talking to people with different views, and listening to what they think and how they feel, one can better understand the situation and eliminate the ignorance that creates so much chaos. Peace is possible. One simply has to listen and find a space for clarity.