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Debate | Panel and Q&A session

The United States and the War in Gaza: History, Politics, and Culture

Wednesday 6 December 2023
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

All Leiden University students and staff are welcome to attend.


Jessie Morgan-Owens, University Lecturer, Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society. 

“Biden’s War: Continuity or Change in U.S. Policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”  
Andy Gawthorpe, University Lecturer, Leiden University Institute for History  

“How American Studies Offers a Toolkit for Understanding and Talking About the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”  
Sara Polak, University Lecturer, Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society. 

“George Floyd in Bethlehem: American Domestic Politics and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”
William Michael Schmidli, University Lecturer, Leiden University Institute for History 

“U.S. Strategic Goals in the Middle East”  
Jonah Schulhofer-Wohl, Universitair Docent, Leiden University Institute of Political Science 

The United States plays a unique and powerful role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The U.S. supported the creation of Israel in 1948, forged an exceptionally strong alliance with Israel in the Cold War era, and remains Israel’s most important ally today.  Israel has received more U.S. foreign assistance since the Second World War than any other nation, and U.S. policymakers have repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to defend Israel and its security.  The United States has also been the most important external player in the struggle between Israel and the Palestinians living in the Israeli-occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank.  American policymakers have played a defining role in the effort to orchestrate a peace process, and, in recent decades, U.S. officials have signaled support for the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.  The October 7, 2023 terror attack on Israel orchestrated by the Palestinian group Hamas, and the Israeli Defense Forces’ retaliatory military offensive against Gaza, has complicated United States’ policy toward Israel and the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.   

This panel will examine U.S.-Israeli relations in an unparalleled moment marked by violence, political unrest, and cultural upheaval.  Featuring a panel of Leiden University experts on the United States, we aim to situate the role of the U.S. historically and in the current moment. This is an opportunity for students and staff to think through our role as academics and how academic tools can help us reflect on and understand current events.  

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