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Upcoming info session on Israel and Palestine

There will be an information session on the Israel-Palestine conflict on Tuesday, Nov. 14 from 6-8 p.m. in DOW 641. Todd Holmstrom will be leading the discussion and students will have opportunities to ask questions. Holmstrom previously worked for the U.S. Department of State and has experience in U.S. foreign policy on Israel and Palestine. There have been several demonstrations on campus and in Houghton since the conflict broke out. On Nov. 7, the Keweenaw Socialists held a rally in Veteran’s Memorial Park to show solidarity with Palestine and to urge lawmakers to work towards a ceasefire. 

Holmstrom served as Acting Director for Israel and Palestinian Affairs in the U.S. Department of State during the first Gaza War. Holmstrom also held other U.S. diplomatic roles in parts of the Arab world, such as Syria, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia. Holmstrom said, “During the 2008-9 war, we drafted the diplomatic strategy to help end the conflict. Post conflict, we coordinated U.S. government efforts to secure peace as well as reconstruct Gaza.” He also said the current war in Gaza has the danger of expanding into a larger regional conflict. Holmstrom will also be teaching a course during the spring semester about the current war in Gaza. He hopes the course will be able to teach students about how these conflicts start, but also how they can be avoided. 

The event was organized by the USG Political Affairs Committee. Matthew Staats, USG Representative for the College of Sciences and Arts, wanted to hold this event in order for students to have an opportunity to learn more about what’s happening. Staats said, “Our goal is to predominantly allow an open discussion on the issue to promote and encourage education and

the sharing of ideas in a neutral setting.” Staats hopes the event will help students learn more about the conflict. He also hopes that it will expose students to different perspectives on the subject.

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