Gershon Baskin speaks in Ann Arbor photograph by Gregory Fox

Gershon Baskin shares ideas about Peace at the Jewish Community Center of Washtenaw County

Gershon Baskin and Hanna Siniora are pioneers, and together they have elevated and expanded the discourse of Peace despite tremendously difficult times.

The leaders of the first joint Israeli- Palestinian think tank, Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI), shared a first-hand assessment of the state of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in these uncertain times on Saturday, March 8, at the Jewish Community Center of Washtenaw County.

Gershon Baskin speaks in Ann Arbor  photograph by Gregory Fox

Gershon Baskin speaks in Ann Arbor
photograph by Gregory Fox

IPCRI co-CEOs, Israeli Gershon Baskin and Palestinian Hanna Siniora, both authors, activists, and educators were in Ann Arbor as part of a national 10-city tour, sponsored by the national organization Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, its Ann Arbor chapter, the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County, the Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Cultural Society,and the Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Havurah.

Founded in January 1988, at the beginning of the first intifada, IPCRI served as a joint Israeli-Palestinian think-tank and “do-tank.” Its aim is to create and develop new concepts and ideas that enrich the political and public dis- course in order to influ- ence decision makers and to challenge the current political reality. IPCRI recognizes the rights of the Jewish people and the Palestinian people to fulfill their national interests within the framework of achieving national self-determination within their own states and by establishing peaceful relations between two democratic states living side-by-side.

“There has long been vigorous discussion within both Israeli and Palestinian societies, and between the two, about what shape a resolution should ultimately take ” said Aaron Ahuvia, spokesperson for the Ann Arbor chapter of Brit Tzedek v’Shalom. “Gershon Baskin and Hanna Siniora are pioneers, and ogether they have elevated and expanded this discourse despite tremendously difficult times. I hope they will similarly inspire and engage the American Jewish community to think and do.”

Gershon Baskin, the Israeli co-director, co- founded IPCRI following years of field experience facilitating Jewish-Arab relations within Israel, during which he worked for Interns for Peace, the Ministry of Education, and the Institute for Education for Jewish-Arab Coexistence. Baskin has published books and hundreds of articles in the Hebrew, English, and Arabic press on a range of topics related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During the Premiership of the late Yitzhak Rabin, he served as an outside policy advisor of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Baskin was a member of the Jerusalem Experts Committee established by the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office during the Final Status Negotiations in 2000-2001.

Hanna Siniora, a member of the Palestinian National Council since 1990, has a long and distinguished history of public service. He was the first Palestinian to officially meet Secretary of State George Schultz as a representative of the occupied territories, facilitating President Reagan’s official recognition of the PLO. He served as a member of the Palestinian Jorda- nian delegation and advised the Palestinian delegation to Madrid in the early 90s. He is the founder and publisher of the Jerusalem Times, a weekly English-language Palestinian paper, and founder and co-chair of the Israeli-Palestinian radio station “All for Peace.