Israeli Journalist Speaks to MU

Israeli Journalist Visits University

Students, faculty, and community members had the opportunity to attend a presentation held in Pozycki Hall on the future of Israel-U.S. relations by a famous Israeli journalist and political analyst, Michael Tuchfeld on Mar. 22.

The first part of his presentation focused on the major points and issues between Israel and the United States of America, including the Iran Nuclear deal, the possibility of Israel’s nuclear capability, settlements, and financial deals between the governments of the U.S. and Israel. He highlighted former U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration’s poor or unfair treatment of the State of Israel from an Israeli point of view. He then discussed the differences and the treatment that can be seen so far between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and newly elected U.S. President Donald Trump.

Tuchfeld also highlighted some key points regarding the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Mainly on how Obama centralized the issue and the so-called “two state solution” around the settlements. He pointed out agreements between then U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the Israeli government in which Israel stopped settlement building for nine months and released prisoners, but negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian leaders in charge didn’t resume.

He concluded the presentation calling for more cooperation between the two governments and working together in areas where both sides will benefit as well as mentioning that “presidents don’t lie, but sometimes they forget.”

“It [the presentation] was informative, gave an interesting perspective, was more realistic and pragmatic”, said sophomore political science student Michael Manning who attended the presentation.

Domonique Williams, a junior political science student said, “His presentation was very informative. I learned a lot regarding the history of American-Israeli relations. The speaker’s discussion was very interesting not to mention highly relevant.” She also mentioned that the “message was not only impacting, but also engaging.”

Saliba Sarsar, professor of political science, who introduced the key speaker by the event and currently teaches the course on Comparative Politics in the Middle East said that it is important to keep in mind/note that Mr. Tuchfeld only presented one side of the various different viewpoints and narratives of the issue. He continued to explain that the “Palestinian-Israeli conflict is complex and took decades for the conflict to materialize and that cannot be resolved in a speech or a day. It necessitates a generational commitment to peacemaking and peace building to do so.”

Williams agree that also said, “that the university should have more speakers on the issues with the United States, Israel, and the Middle East. With the way that the world is going, these are crucial topics.”

Manning agreed and also cited the importance of getting more presenters and speakers from Israel and the Middle East since they offer different insights and perspectives.

Sarsar agreed and expounded, “what is important is that we are introduced to a variety of viewpoints and we can disagree agreeably with the other. Hence, it is important for any institution of learning, like Monmouth University, to host speakers of different backgrounds and opinions so that students, faculty, and others can become familiar with, reflect upon, and act on the critical issues in our interdependent world.”

Michael Tuchfeld has an M.A. degree from Bar Ilan University in Communications and Political Science. He is currently working for Maariv-Makor Rishon as a correspondent and political analyst. He was previously the parliamentary correspondent of Kol-Israel and host of the daily talk show on The Knesset Channel- Channel 2 News.