Gershon Baskin addresses the Center for Citizen Peacebuilding and International Studies

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Paul L. Scham

Paul L. Scham

“Gershon Baskin can be optimistic when all others are profoundly depressed, which is how he’s managed to stay in the peace biz so long.”

Paul L. Scham
Executive director
Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies
University of Maryland

Robert C. Blitt

Robert C. Blitt

“Gershon’s knowledge and experience undoubtedly qualify him as an expert able to address the complex nature of the Israeli-palestinan conflict. But what sets him apart is his ability to weave together a sweeping historical narrative with detailed “insider” insight into present day local and regional challenges. More impressive still, in a era subject to increasingly shrill debate, Gershon maintains an uncanny ability to cut through the bluster and approach the conflict with sensitivity and objectively, all the while maintaining a critical eye. Audiences will benefit from his perspective.”
Robert C. Blitt
Professor of Law
College of Law
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville, TN 37996

Elizabeth Harris-Sawczenko

Elizabeth Harris-Sawczenko

“Gershon recently briefed a diverse group of Christian and Jewish leaders at a Council of Christians and Jews meeting in London. Gershon gave a magnificent and balanced overview of the current issues facing Israelis and Palestinians and possible scenarios towards resuming Peace negotiations. Gershon is probably the only person I know who can really bring alive both narratives to reveal the complexities and sensitivities for both Israelis and Palestinians in their daily lives and in the challenges they face in building peace and security for both peoples.”
Elizabeth Harris-Sawczenko
Deputy Director
Council of Christians and Jews
London

Andrea Kupfer Schneider

Andrea Kupfer Schneider

“My students were absolutely riveted by your story and your assessment of the current situation.
One student told me that after a decade of studying the conflict and four different classes in college and law school, he felt for the first time that he had a coherent understanding after hearing from you.”
Professor Andrea Kupfer Schneider
Director
Dispute Resolution Program
Marquette University Law School

Milwaukee, WI 53233, United States

Chris Leppek

Chris Leppek

“One can exhaust the resources of the thesaurus trying to come up words to describe Dr. Gershon Baskin — determined, stubborn, resolute, resilient, indefatigable…Not to mention very, very optimistic.”
Chris Leppek
Intermountain Jewish News
Recepient of Rockower Award for Excellence in Jewish Journalism

Paul Plotkin

Paul Plotkin

“We greatly appreciated your two lectures.
People are still talking about how much they learned, and enjoyed your talks.
You speak with passion and knowledge, and your many personal stories take us behind the headlines, telling us much about the people we read about in the paper.
I hope your sense of optimism for a peace breakthrough comes about, but if it doesn’t, it won’t be for any lack of work on your part.”
Paul Plotkin
Rabbi, Temple Beth Am
Margate, Florida, United States

Ariela Weinberger

Ariela Weinberger

“Not only are you a fascinating man and a wonderful speaker but your presence on campus has truly begun to open a discussion on campus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
I can only wait to see what is going to happen next!”
Ariela Weinberger
Muhlenberg College
Allentown, PA 18104, United States

Rachel Streitfeld

Rachel Streitfeld

Thank you for your powerful words, your wonderful presentations, and for the boost you’ve given us in Sarasota, Austin and Houston.
In all three cities, your visit inspired new people, reinvigorated longtime activists, and we’re capitalizing on the momentum across the board.
Rachel Streitfeld,
South Regional Director
J Street

Mark Joel Mahler

Mark Joel Mahler

What a memorable and moving presentation I had the privilege to attend this afternoon.
Yashar Koach!
Please accept my deep admiration, appreciation and gratitude for your heroic efforts in fulfilling this great mitzvah of Pidyon Shuyim.
You are a Rodef Shalom.

Mark Joel Mahler
Rabbi, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Pittsburgh, PA

Yaniv Yaffe

Yaniv Yaffe

I wanted to thank you one more time for coming to Vassar and speaking with us.
Your story was very inspiring particularly to Jewish Americans such as myself to continue to work to effect change on the conflict and take an active role in the resolution process.
Additionally, I think that your message that a two state solution is possible and attainable was very important for the members of our community to hear and understand.
Yaniv Yaffe
Co-Founder and President
J Street U Vassar
Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, NY United States

Rabbi Ed Stafman

Rabbi Ed Stafman

Through his deep knowledge and personal experience with Israel-Palestine issues, Gershon left so many of our community with real hope that a two state solution is possible, in the midst of so much despair.
Even those who disagreed with Gershon on some issue acknowledged that his passion and personal on-the-ground commitment to Israel-Palestine peace were refreshing and inspiring.
American Jews and our friends desperately need to understand these issues so that we may deepen our love for Israel and the Jewish people in a way honors our simultaneous commitment to Jewish values and ethics.
Ed Stafman
Rabbi, Congregation Beth Shalom
Bozeman, MT

Warren Clark

Warren Clark

Gershon Baskin was a featured speaker at our advocacy conference in Washington, DC in June 2010.
He is a recognized expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a keen insight into the political and strategic issues involved.
He is also an eloquent and articulate speaker.
I can recommend him as a speaker without reservation.
Warren Clark
Executive Director
Churches for Middle East Peace
Washington, DC 20002, United States

Gerald Sorokin

Gerald Sorokin

When he visited Iowa City in 2010, Gershon Baskin spoke to a mixed audience of university students and community members, both Jewish and non-Jewish, representing a number of perspectives on the Middle East.
He demonstrated a thorough knowledge of historical and contemporary facts. He presented a progressive and realistic agenda that respects the legitimate aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians alike.
He challenged the audience to move beyond slogans and consider realizable proposals for resolving the conflict.
Please feel free to give out my contact information (319-338-0778, gerald-sorokin@uiowa.edu) if someone wants to check with me.
Rabbi Gerald Sorokin
Executive Director, University of Iowa Louis Shulman Hillel Foundation
Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242, United States

Elissa Tivona

Elissa Tivona

I have known Dr. Gershon Baskin personally since I participated in the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information’s (IPCRI) Walk the Green Line Program in 2008, and have been an avid follower of IPCRI’s exceptional work on behalf of Two States for Two Peoples in the Middle East long before that. Largely due to efforts by co-CEOs, Baskin (Israeli) and Hanna Siniora (Palestinian), IPCRI has emerged as a leading think and do tank in the region.Gershon’s prize-winning column in the Jerusalem Post, called Encountering Peace, is widely cited on both sides of the Green Line for its authority and insight on necessary pre-conditions for peacefully negotiating a border along the 1967 border. As a fluent Hebrew and Arabic speaker, Dr. Baskin has earned the trust and regard of diverse individuals, some serving at the highest levels of government on both sides, and countless numbers serving the cause of peace and coexistence on the ground through practical economic, environmental and strategic projects. I cannot name any individual with more devotion to and greater knowledge of the complex issues involved in laying a foundation for lasting peace between the Israeli and Palestinian people.

In 2009 I had the privilege to organize speaking venues for Dr. Gershon Baskin across Colorado’s Front Range. I can say without reservation that any program featuring Dr. Baskin as a keynote speaker is certain to provide diverse audiences with penetrating insights and an unflinching assessment of prospects for an achievable peace process in the Middle East. His presentations, grounded inyears of personal experience at all levels of Israeli and Palestinian politics, unravel the issues behind the propaganda, and his commitment to the cause of peaceful coexistence for two peoples in the Holy Land is unassailable. Audiences across the Jewish political spectrum in the U.S. will benefit greatly from the refreshing voice he brings to a very difficult conversation.
Dr. Elissa J. Tivona
J-Street Colorado

Reena Lazar

Reena Lazar

Gershon Baskin is a articulate and passionate speaker, with immense insight and knowledge of the Israeli –Palestinian conflict.
He appealed to diverse audience members because he is clear about why Israelis and Palestinians are at an impasse, and how to get past the impasse in a way that meets the needs of both peoples.
Audience members found his perspective and analysis both sound and fascinating, and were captivated by his accounts from decades of working with Israeli and Palestinian people and governments.
Reena Lazar
Peace it Together
Vancouver, Canada

Edward Haley

Edward Haley

“Gershon Baskin’s arguments for a move away from violence and toward reconciliation in Israeli-Palestinian relations are timely, lucid, and winningly presented. Gershon is generous with his time on and off the podium and is an outstanding guest commentator capable of addressing a broad spectrum of audiences, from expert analysts and practitioners to adults and young people seeking a clearer understanding of issues and choices in today’s conflict-ridden Middle East.”
Director, Center for Human Rights Leadership
W.M. Keck Foundation Professor of International Strategic Studies
Chairman, International Relations Program
Claremont McKenna College
Claremont, CA 91711, United States

Nahma Nadich

Nahma Nadich

“Our appreciation for your presentation to the Boston JCRC Christian Clergy Study Tour. Our participants found your presentation to be extremely informative and useful – and they interjected a much needed note of hope into our experience.”
Nahma Nadich
Associate Director
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC)
Boston MA 02110, United States

Sheila Clever

Sheila Clever

I wanted to share with you a response to the comment made at dinner where you were told you were “very optimistic.” A few weeks ago, in a class that the Institute for Jewish Christian Understanding here at Muhlenberg is offering along with the Shalom Hartman Institute in Israel, we read and discussed the Proclamation of Independence of the State of Israel. This is such a powerful document; anyone who holds the State of Israel as their beloved homeland can’t help but feel optimistic and full of pride when reading this Proclamation. A few weeks ago, I might have agreed with my colleague that your optimism is perplexing, but not now. As my pastor would say, “It’s in the DNA of your beliefs.” This morning I ran across this statement in a book I’m reading:
“Peacemakers [are] sustained by a willingness to suffer if necessary, to endure abuse without retaliation, to overcome hatred of the enemy, and to keep hope and patience alive during a long period of struggle.” You demonstrated the last portion of this statement so well in last night’s talk. Thank you so much for giving us American peaceniks a demonstration of the endurance necessary to achieve peaceful, thoughtful, practical approaches that honor life. I feel I’ve been given a great gift and I’m honored and somewhat fearful of it.
Sheila Clever
Peace and Justice Team of First Presbyterian Church in Allentown

Didacus Ramos

Didacus Ramos

Gershon Baskin spoke with us at Congregation Netivot Shalom about hope for the future in Israel and Palestine. I always enjoy hearing Gershon make his presentation. He has the ability to give us hope despite some very dark days. Is peace possible? Yes. What can we do to bring it about? Meet some one on the other side–and listen to what they have to say. Hearing is the first step to peace.

Didacus Ramos
CEO of Green Earth Systems Inc.
Hayward, California

Deborah Blank

Deborah Blank

I am so happy I was able to attend Gershon’s talks both days. He is such a gifted speaker and I left with more hope than I have felt in a long time about “the situation.” I also greatly appreciated his analysis of what we can learn from the mistakes in past “peace talks” and what needs to happen now. His encouraging us to connect with others on the so-called “other side” was so important.

Deborah Blank
Congregation Netivot Shalom

Berkeley, California 94702

Serena Heaslip

Serena Heaslip

I left his talk on Shabbat full of tears. I am so grateful for the work that Gershon Baskin is doing and for the message he is sharing! Humans CAN treat each other with respect and humans CAN figure out how to share space and live in diversity. I know that this is possible but often feel that this view is perceived as naive. Gershon Baskin believes it and he is far from naive. Bless the peacemakers!

Serena Heaslip
Berkeley, CA, USA

“We are still getting wonderful responses by phone, email, and in person. The attendance at your event was very high given that it was a holiday weekend. Your presentation spoke to the hunger that many have for information from and about Israel that isn’t focused on either feel-good jingoistic advocacy or on relentlessly withering criticism. People tell me they were spellbound, and that your presentation was overall excellent, fascinating, and enlightening. They were in awe of what you had accomplished, and many noted in particular that they left the event with a feeling of greater optimism about Israel’s future than they have felt for a long time. They were taken with the idea that back-channels even exist, and that many seemingly intractable issues can potentially be solved this way; they credit you for bringing decades of knowledge and experience to those back-channels, helping to account for their success. They commented on the extent to which your observations did not fit neatly into a single ideological box, and they found this very refreshing. You may recall that many of them simply thanked you at the end of the presentation, and didn’t even have questions or comments. “I could have sat there listening forever,” has been said to me frequently, and some of the most positive comments came from people who weren’t even in attendance, but heard from their friends what they had missed!”
Sherry Rosen
The Jewish Center
Princeton N.J.

“I find it odd that you are offhandedly categorized as a leftist peacenik. I would say that your remarks were that of a Peace Pragmatist and extremely pro-Israel. In the same breath you are equally pro-Palestinian in that there must be a way for both States to live in peace as neighbors… It takes enormous courage to carry out your mission in life. I can only imagine the strain and toll on you and your family to work for five years to free Gilad Schalit. Especially when it appeared that there was little hope of success. Your creativity in finding solutions to a multitude of hurdles and your ability to look beyond the obvious for solutions shows a clear headedness that seems to be lacking in many difficult situations. Your passion and historical understanding of the background of the Middle East leading up to the present resonated profoundly with the audience. It was clear that you spoke from the heart which made the evening all the more insightful. It takes enormous courage to carry out your mission in life. I can only imagine the strain and toll on you and your family to work for five years to free Gilad Schalit. Especially when it appeared that there was little hope of success. Your creativity in finding solutions to a multitude of hurdles and your ability to look beyond the obvious for solutions shows a clear headedness that seems to be lacking in many difficult situations. Your passion and historical understanding of the background of the Middle East leading up to the present resonated profoundly with the audience. It was clear that you spoke from the heart which made the evening all the more insightful.”
Jack M. Platt, CPA
Trustee
Friends of the Arava Institute

“ It was one of the most profound discussions I’ve had on the subject of Israel-Palestine relations in nearly seven years of radio broadcasting. This master negotiator, who orchestrated the release of Gilad Schalit, an IDF soldier kidnapped by Hamas and held for seven years, favors ceasefire over blood-letting. The clear-eyed pragmatist imparts as hopeful a message as I’ve heard in a long time. Can his approach change the algebra of the region? Here’s link for interview with Gershon:
http://kruufm.com/node/15134
James Edward Moore
Tell Somebody, A weekly public affairs program on KKFI-FM 90.1, Kansas City community radio

“Cannot begin to describe how much I enjoyed your presentation in Houston on Wednesday evening. My only regret is that many people who should have been there were not.”
Alan Livingston
World Affairs Council of Houston

“Gershon Baskin spoke to a spellbound audience about the current situation in the Middle East. He addressed  both Palestine and Israel’s need to protect themselves from violence and terror as well as the desirability of continuing negotiations towards a sustainable and viable peace. Baskin was an eloquent guest speaker, bringing the audience to their feet numerous times. Both before and after his presentation, he was both cordial and courteous with his time and very amiable and friendly in meeting many of our community members. We were honored to have him as our special guest speaker and gratified by the reception that his ideas received.”
Chaim Cohen
PeaceChannels

“Dr. Baskin provided an even-handed and engaging lecture on the important relationship between Israel and Hamas. His personal narrative highlights an unique approach towards reconciliation that replaces the often rash and irresponsible dialogue that currently surrounds Hamas. We thank him for graciously sharing his experience.”
Mary Doe
University of Maryland

Leslie Cheron Garrison

Leslie Cheron Garrison

It was a pleasure working with you, and if I didn’t say it before, I’ll say now that you were the absolute best speaker we’ve had to date!

Leslie Cheron Garrison
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Pittsburgh, PA

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