My readers will recall a series of posts going back to September criticizing a hawkish Seattle Jewish federation conference on Iran held at Temple DeHirsh Sinai on October 21st, which included speakers from Aipac, the Jerusalem Post, and the Israeli consul general. I made my opposition to the partisanship of this known here and also published an op ed in the local Jewish newspaper. It wasn’t easy to get my voice heard locally. But I think the fact that the conference speakers toned down the message they could have delivered came somewhat as a result of the ”pummeling” they took beforehand from me.
At any rate, I determined that I would organize a conference to address the same subject from a more pragmatic, realistic perspective. On December 16th at 7PM at Town Hall, I am organizing a community conference on Israel-U.S.-Iran relations providing a background to the current international crisis over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. In response to a growing furor in the U.S. Congress, media and specifically in the American Jewish community calling for “crippling sanctions” (Bibi Netanyahu’s phrase) and even a possible military strike against Iran, a coalition of Seattle academic, religious, and peace groups, and individual activists is organizing an event that will feature national Iran experts who present a pragmatic approach to resolving the conflict advocating diplomatic engagement and critiquing military options.
Dr. Trita Parsi, director & founder of the National Iranian American Council
Dr. Ian Lustick, political science professor, Univ. of Pennsylvania
Dr. Keith Weissman, former director of Aipac’s Iran desk
Moderator: Dr. Ellis Goldberg, political science professor, University of Washington
We hope to have an audience of 500 for this event and also to secure media coverage promoting our realist vision for improving relations between these three nations.
I am soliciting donations from my readers and event sponsors to cover costs for the evening which will surpass $6,000. Please consider as generous a gift as you can afford. If you need a tax-deduction for your gift, it can be made through American Friends Service Committee. E-mail me for information on how to do this. You may purchase tickets for the conference through Brown Paper Tickets. For further information call 206.632.0662 extension 30.
Among the issues we plan to cover:
1. What is the best way to approach the issue of Iran’s nuclear program that will secure a positive outcome for those nations opposed to it?
2. What impact might “crippling sanctions” have on Iran and the overall conflict? Will they work?
3. What repercussions might there be from an Israeli military attack on Iran and would such an attack attain its objectives?
4. If a military attack is ill-advised, how do we work to counter it?
5. How can the west support the goals of the Iran reform movement?
6. Is Iran an “existential threat” to Israel?
Middle East Center, University of Washington*
American Friends Service Committee
United Nations Association
Network Promoting Peace with Iran
Jewish Voice for Peace
Kadima Reconstructionist Community
American Muslims of Puget Sound
* The Middle East Center’s sponsorship of this event does not imply it endorses the content of the event.