The Ultimate Deal or the End of the Line? The Trump Administration and the Middle East Peace Process

Daniel Kurtzer

Join us for the Inaugural Max Ticktin Lecture in Israeli Studies, 

"The Ultimate Deal or End of the Line? The Trump Administration and the Middle East Peace Process."

Featuring Former Ambassador Daniel C Kurtzer

A year after Donald Trump boasted that he could achieve the “ultimate deal” to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the peace process is in shambles. Following Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem and the decision to cut assistance to UNRWA, the Palestinians now reject a leading U.S. role in the search for peace. Is this the end of the road, or can the parties — and Trump — find an exit ramp from this crisis? Daniel C. Kurtzer is the S. Daniel Abraham Professor of Middle East policy studies at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Following a 29-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, Kurtzer retired in 2005 with the rank of Career-Minister. Throughout his career, Kurtzer was instrumental in formulating and executing U.S. policy toward the Middle East peace process. He remains active in Track II diplomacy related to the Middle East.

The event will be held on

April 10, 2018 5:00-6:15pm Lindner Family Commons, 1957 E Street, NW, 6th Floor






Jews, Zionism, and Human Rights:

The year 2018 marks the seventieth anniversary of two momentous events in twentieth-century history: the birth of the State of Israel and the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Both remain tied together in the ongoing debates about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, global antisemitism, and American foreign policy. Yet the surprising connections between Zionism and the origins of international human rights are completely unknown today. Drawing on his recent book, Professor Loeffler will discuss what the human rights movement’s forgotten Jewish past reveals about the current debates about law, justice, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

James Loeffler is Jay Berkowitz Professor of Jewish History at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Rooted Cosmopolitans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century (2018) and The Most Musical Nation. Jews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire (2010), and editor of The Law of Strangers: Jewish Lawyers and International Legal Thought in Historical Perspective (forthcoming). His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Haaretz, Tablet, and Slate.

To partake in the conversation, please join on on Tuesday, October 16th in the Media Public Affairs Building (805 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20052) in room 310. The conversation will begin at 7:00 pm and end at approximately 9:00. 


Jews Zionism and Human Rights

Judaic Studies Program

The Columbian College of Arts and Sciences offers an interdisciplinary program in Judaic Studies leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts. The program, whose purview extends from the ancient Near East to modern-day America, showcases and interprets the artistic expression, history, languages, literatures, philosophy, politics, and religion of the Jews over time and place.

The advantages of electing to major or minor in Judaic Studies are many. Our interdisciplinary nature allows students to take courses with award-winning faculty from various departments, while our traditionally small size facilitates close interaction between students and professors and fosters a sense of community and belonging. In the past, Judaic Studies’ graduates have gone on to careers as doctors, lawyers, journalists of both traditional and emergent media as well as professors and business professionals. Outside the classroom, the Judaic Studies program regularly sponsors trips to the theatre and museums in addition to hosting lectures and performances by celebrated personalities in a wide range of fields. GW is also the home of the I. Edward Kiev Collection, a wide-ranging and diverse collection of Hebraica and Judaica that spans more than five centuries and includes rare books, periodicals, Jewish graphic art, manuscripts, and archival documents.

The Program in Judaic Studies also offers two new Masters of Arts degrees, one in Jewish Cultural Arts and the other, a cooperative venture with the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, in Experiential Education and Jewish Cultural Arts. Both programs are designed to train the next generation of Jewish culture and arts professionals.     

The images on this website are drawn from GW's I. Edward Kiev Judaica Collection.

2018 Annual Frieda Kobernick Fleischman Lecture

2018 Frieda Kobernick Fleischman Lecture

Please join us for the 2018 Annual Frieda Kobernick Fleischman Lecture in Judaic Studies!
"Are 'Rights a European Invention?
New Evidence From the Cairo Geniza"

Presented By Professor Marina Rustow
Khedouri A. Zikha Professor of Jewish Civilization
in the Near East, Princeton University

Her talk is entitled "Are 'Rights' a European Invention? New Evidence from the Cairo Geniza." The Cairo Geniza, a cache of hundreds of thousands of Hebrew-script texts preserved in a medieval Egyptian synagogue, has opened a window onto the cosmopolitan Jewish community of old Cairo. It has also more recently yielded a surprise: Arabic-script documents written by government officials. Most of the documents have nothing to do with Jews: a Jewish synagogue is now paradoxically the richest known source of medieval Islamic state manuscripts. This lecture will focus on petitions addressed to caliphs, sultans, and viziers. Muslim sovereigns took their obligation to render justice to their subjects very seriously, whether those subjects were Muslim, Christian, or Jewish. Whether they always succeeded is another question, but either way, the documents invite us to ask whether "rights" were a European invention. This event is free and open to the public. 

Thursday, April 26 | 5pm 
The George Washington University
Gelman 702 (the Teamsters' Room)
2130 H St NW
Washington, D.C.






Emmanuel Levinas, Anwar Sadat's Speech, and Camp David

Morgan presentation
Please join us on Wednesday the 28th at 5 pm for the "Emmanuel Lévinas, Anwar Sadat's Speech in Jerusalem, and the Camp David Peace Process" presented by Prof. Michael Morgan of the University of Indiana. The event is co-sponsored by the Loeb Institute for Religious Freedom. The event will be held in Monroe Hall (2115 G St. NW) Hope to see you there!


Nir Arielli: Foreign Volunteers in the 1948 War A Comparative Examination

Nir Arielli


In the early stages of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the clearest manifestations of transnational involvement were Arab Liberation Army forces and the Muslim Brotherhood units that joined the fight on the Palestinian Arab side. As the conflict broadened, the most dominant transnational participants were the predominantly Jewish volunteers who travelled to the Middle East from Europe, North America, South Africa and elsewhere to fight for the fledgling Jewish state. This talk will highlight the common characteristics Israeli volunteers shared with foreign volunteers in other conflicts such as the Polish- Soviet War (1920), the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the Second World War. It will also illustrate in which respects transnational participation in the conflict in Palestine differs from other historical cases.


Nir Arielli is an Associate Professor of International History at the University of Leeds. He is the author of Fascist Italy and the Middle East, 1933-40 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), and most recently, of From Byron to bin Laden: A History of Foreign War Volunteers (Harvard University Press, 2018).

The event will be held Monday, March 19, 2019 from 2:00 to 3:30 pm at the Elliot School of International Affairs, room 512 (IMES Conference Room) at 1957 E St NW, Washington, DC 20052. Please RSVP HERE

Meet the Director

Daniel Schwartz, the director of the Program in Judaic Studies, teaches and writes about modern Jewish intellectual and cultural history. His latest book, The First Modern Jew: Spinoza and the History of an Image, appeared in 2012. It was a co-winner of the American Academy for Jewish Research’s Salo W. Baron Prize for the best first book in Judaic studies and a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in History.