The Center for Jewish Civilization is pleased to announce its lineup of Spring 2024 courses!
- The Vatican and Nazi/Axis War Criminals | Prof. Suzanne Brown-Fleming | JCIV/INAF 1030
- When the archives from the pontificate of Venerable Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) opened in March 2020, additional documentation for a long-debated aspect of World War II, Holocaust and postwar history became available: documentation related to Axis and Nazi war criminals who escaped from Europe postwar. Many fled to Latin America, but also to other continents, some with the help of Catholic priests and prelates. New studies and documents bring to light more detail about the so-called “ratline,” and address how much the Vatican Secretariat of State knew or did not know about such activity. In this course, students will read newly published primary source documents, as well as testimonies and films, describing the process of escape. Course meets Jan 17, Jan 31, Feb 7, Feb 21, and March 13.
- From Resolution to Management and Prevention: The Evolution of the UN’s roles in the Israeli Palestinian Conflict | Director Jonathan Lincoln | JCIV/INAF 1751
- Class meets Jan 18, Jan 25, Feb 1, Feb 8, Feb 15. Upon completion of his term as UN Secretary-General in 2006,
the late Kofi Annan told the Security Council that the region has “shaped the Organization like no other.” Indeed,
despite the many wars and deep political changes that have occurred in the Middle East since the UN’s founding, it
is the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and its lack of resolution that continues to cast the longest
shadow. Although the UN has not been at the center of every effort to resolve this most intractable of conflicts, its
engagement in favor of partitioning Palestine into two states, one Arab and one Jewish, and intervention in the
aftermath of every major Arab Israeli war, have all solidified its presence on the ground and enmeshed it in the
region’s tragic politics in unprecedented ways. This course will examine the different phases of UN engagement in
the Arab Israeli conflict, up to the present. It will focus on the role of member states, the institutional bodies of the
UN, and that of successive Secretaries-General and their envoys, in the various efforts to manage, resolve and
prevent violent conflict. The course will also analyze the prerogatives of the actors on the ground, the Israelis, the
Palestinians, regional stakeholders, and their interplay with the UN’s political, development, humanitarian and
human rights mechanisms in relation to the conflict. Finally, the course will look at the future of the UN’s
engagement on the ground in the context of the overall goal of the UN, to maintain international peace and
- Class meets Jan 18, Jan 25, Feb 1, Feb 8, Feb 15. Upon completion of his term as UN Secretary-General in 2006,
- Countering Violent Extremism: The Role We All Play | Prof. Farah Pandith | JCIV/INAF 1752
- Over twenty years since the attacks on 9/11, this course will examine the evolution of countering violent extremism (CVE) to the present day and explore the question of where CVE could be 20 years from now. What is the problem we are trying to solve? Why focus on ideology? How and why did CVE come about? Students will gain a historical understanding of how we got to where we are today to answer these questions, as well as explore case studies to understand the roles various sectors play. CVE is a tool that can be activated across sectors (NGOs, gov, multilaterals, tech companies, corporate, etc.), so students of varying academic focus, and as global citizens, are encouraged to join to learn how we can all win against extremism. The course will meet five times over the course of the semester (TBA).
- Among the Nations: Israel and the Global South | Prof. Grace Wermenbol | JCIV/INAF 2002 (CRN 46548)
- This course analyzes Israel’s relations and foreign policy objectives in the Global South, with a specific focus on Israel’s relations with Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Through this one-credit course, students will examine Israel’s overarching foreign policy aims across the Global South. Moving from the Yishuv’s quest for international legitimacy in the late 1940s to the newly founded state’s focus on “peripheral” security, students will study Israel’s relations with prominent Global South nations. Students will also gain insight into how Israel leverages contemporary relations with small and middle powers to enhance its international standing and influence. This course will meet for 2.5 hours 5 times throughout the semester on the following dates: 17 Jan, 3:30-6pm 31 Jan, 3:30-6pm 14 Feb, 3:30-6pm 28 Feb, 3:30-6pm 13 March, 3:30-6pm.
- Intro to Jewish Civilization | Prof. Meital Orr (point of contact) and CJC Faculty | JCIV 1990
- This course will provide a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to understanding Jewish Civilization, and will be taught by a different faculty member from the Center for Jewish Civilization (CJC) every we ek, each of whom will teach the area of their expertise. Students will learn the history of the Jewish people from ancient times to modern-day Israel, including coverage of the Holocaust and the development of Zionism. Students will learn about Judaism through major Jewish texts, denominations, holidays and life-cycle events – and about Jewish culture, through a global lens on Jewish literature, film and music. Students will learn about historic relations between Islam and Judaism, the Arab world and Israel, as well as how to think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Students will also learn about Jewish engagement with American democracy, and global Jewish realities impacted by increasing antisemitism and white supremacism in the 20th and 21st centuries. Having learned about the many foundational aspects of Jewish civilization, students will then have the opportunity to pursue further knowledge in any area of the course, through thematically-based classes at the CJC by any of the experts from whom they have learned in this course. Professor Orr will be the point of contact for students in the class, and help guide them through this multi-disciplinary journey.
- Jewish Civilization Senior Colloquium | Prof. Anna Sommer | JCIV 4960
- As part of the Minor in Jewish Civilization students complete a capstone experience: either a traditional research thesis or a project with a creative component. The capstone project will be a topic related to Jewish civilization, prepared under the supervision of a faculty member associated with the Center for Jewish Civilization, the Visiting Professor of Jewish Civilization, Goldman Visiting Israeli Professor, or if appropriate special permission may be granted by the program director for another Georgetown faculty member to serve as essay advisor.
- CLab: Holocaust Forensics | Fr. Patrick Desbois and Prof. Andrej Umansky | JCIV 3100
- While many students are familiar with the Nazi extermination of Jews in Western Europe during World War II, few know that a parallel effort was waged in the East. There, Nazis killed Jews methodically, but not in mass camps built for extermination. Learn about the forensics of the Holocaust and other mass killings with Fr. Patrick Desbois, a forensic anthropologist and author of “Holocaust by Bullets,” and “The Terrorist Factory.” This course (3cr) and the associated lab (1cr) will train students to analyze forensic investigations of genocide and mass killings, and prepare them to conduct similar investigations on the ground.
- CLab: Holocaust Forensics fieldwork | Fr. Patrick Desbois and Prof. Andrej Umansky | JCIV 3110
- Instructor approval required. This course has an associated 3 cr course: JCIV 3100. Coursework for JCIV 3100 will be enhanced by this class (JCIV 3110) with travel to and fieldwork in Europe (TBD) over spring break. Students will conduct deep, on-the-ground student research and to look more closely at the people, policies, places and socio-cultural happenings relevant to the course. Students must be enrolled in JCIV 3100 to be eligible for a seat in this class. Admission to this course (JCIV 3110) and the associated 3 cr course (JCIV 3100) is by application and interview. Applications are open September 7-October 3, 2023. Please see JCIV 3100 for more information, requirements, and eligibility.
- A History Of the Jewish People through Literature and Film | Prof. Meital Orr | JCIV/INAF 1140
- According to American writer, Pearl S. Buck, “If you want to understand today you have to search yesterday.” This course is a vibrant, comprehensive journey through history that uses a multi-disciplinary approach to bring to life the people, movements and events, that shaped the Jewish nation and left a lasting impact on the world at large. Using not only historical texts, but also documentaries, films, fiction and autobiographical works of literature which communicate a people’s lived experience, the course will comprehensively cover the history of the Jewish people, in detail from ancient to contemporary times. As a result, students will gain a thorough understanding of important movements and events which continue to be of worldwide importance: the birth of Judaism, the creation of the Hebrew Bible, the ideology of Zionism, the experience of the Holocaust, the establishment of a Jewish state and the development of the Middle East conflict. Comprehensive historical coverage will make accessible these complex events, endowing students with both thorough knowledge and the ability to navigate media coverage of these issues in the news today. No prior knowledge of Jewish history or culture is necessary. This course fulfills both the SFS survey history course requirement and early history course requirement, as well as the HALC requirement.
- Re-Examining the Israel-Palestine Crisis through Literature and Film | Prof. Meital Orr | JCIV/INAF 1770
- This course will examine how Israeli and Palestinian literatures depict the “other” through text and image, from the early years of Zionism to the twenty-first century. Using the methodologies of comparative studies, we will attempt to understand how each nation’s views evolved and changed over time, with a focus on works which shifted these perceptions in revolutionary ways. Various depictions of the “other” will be examined, such as the criminal, noble hero, sexual predator, the lover, the suicide bomber and the ally. We will also discuss how both art forms grappled with the many issues which together contribute to the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, including: identity, language, class and the deceptively simple task of defining homeland. Weekly theoretical readings will provide an analytical framework for understanding, discussing and writing about these works of literature and film at the college level. Among the authors covered are: Yosef Chaim Brenner, S. Yizhar, Benjamin Tammuz, Sami Michael, A.B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz, Savyon Leibrecht, David Grossman, Eli Amir, Etgar Keret, Hanna Ibrahim, Emile Habibi, Atallah Mansour, Ghassan Kanafani, Mahmoud Darwish, Tawfiq Fayyad, Salah Tamari, Sahar Khalifeh, Sayed Kashua and Samir El-Youssef. All readings and films, literary and critical, will be read in English translation.
Genocide and Theology Studies
- Holocaust: Gender & Racial Ideology | Prof. Anna Sommer | JCIV/INAF 1763
- This course will explore the daily lives of men, women and children in Nazi Germany and occupied Europe, both from the perspective of victims, perpetrators and onlookers. The class will discuss to what extent pre-World War II gender roles helped victims not only develop important survival skills, but also affected the decisions of ordinary men and women to become killers. Using primary, secondary sources and film, we will analyze the experiences of men, women, and children during the Holocaust both from the perspective of victims and perpetrators. The different source materials will be historically contextualized to strengthen and expand the understanding of how Nazi policies affected both men and women, while examining how racial theory and the concept of a “master race” contributed to the suffering of Jews and other victims before and during World War II.
- God and the Goal Posts | Prof. Ori Soltes | JCIV/INAF 2753
- One football player crossing the goal line with the ball in hand, bends on one knee, crosses himself and looks heavenward, thanking God; a second, having dropped what would have been the winning touchdown pass, tweets angrily the next day: “I praise you 24/7 and you do me this?!?!” Sports and religion repeatedly interweave each other in a range of ways. But this is not new–it goes all the way back to the Bible and the Iliad, and the interwoven relationship has cascaded down through history. Moreover, sports has always been a surrogate for war, and war has been dictated by politics–which has often justified itself through religion. And one way we see this clearly is in art, across history and geography. This course will consider the dynamic and fascinating interweave between sports and religion through history, together with the more complex ways in which these two disciplines are interwoven with war, politics, race, gender, and art. It should be an exciting ride, with plenty of twists and turns.
- The Forensics of Mass Killings | Fr. Patrick Desbois and Prof. Andrej Umansky | JCIV/SEST 4445
- The Forensics of Mass Killings: Holocaust and Terrorist Crime Scenes. How do you conduct forensic investigations of genocide and mass killings on the ground? How do you examine the killing techniques of genocide and crimes committed in public or secret? How do perpetrators use propaganda for terrorism, genocide and follower recruitment? In the class, Fr. Patrick Desbois, a forensic anthropologist and author of “The Holocaust by Bullets” and “The Terrorist Factory” will answer these questions. Fr. Desbois will familiarize students with his recent investigation of crimes committed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria against the Yazidis and the crimes carried out by the Einsatzgruppen during the Holocaust. The class will compare ground investigation techniques, crime methodology and outcomes.
- Hitler, Putin, Ukraine | Prof. Diana Dumitru | JCIV/REES 4462
- Embark on a profound journey through Ukraine’s history as we delve into the haunting topic of genocide, tracing its roots from the era of Hitler to the present day under Putin’s regime. Through meticulous examination of historical events and political dynamics, students will gain a profound understanding of the tragic occurrences that have shaped Ukraine’s destiny. Engaging with primary sources and expert analyses, participants will critically evaluate the far-reaching impact of genocidal actions against Jews, Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war on the nation’s culture, identity, and its relationships with neighbors. The course will also shed light on the complex politics of memory surrounding the Holocaust in Eastern Europe and its relevance in Russia’s war against Ukraine, offering insight into how historical narratives can be manipulated for political purposes.
International Affairs and Diplomacy Courses
- Untangling the Middle East: Religion, Politics, and Ethnicity | Prof. Ori Soltes | JCIV/INAF 1759
- This course will approach the Middle East quagmire by way of a historical discussion that centers on the problem of conflicting and confusing definitions and aspirations, both for those within the region and for those outside trying to understand what is operative within. The starting point will be theological, but the endpoint will be the interweaving of religion with other issues, such as politics, ethnicity, nationalism and economics. The goal is less to presume to solve the problem than to have a clearer understanding of why it is so difficult to solve.
- Israel and World Politics | Amb. Zion Evrony | JCIV/INAF 2762
- This course will focus on Israel’s foreign policy and diplomacy from 1948 until the present. We will discuss the main characteristics of its foreign policy, the tension between ideology and “realpolitik” and the decision making process. We will analyze Israel’s relations with the United States, the European Union, Russia, the Arab states, Iran, Turkey, Africa, and the Vatican. Key documents of Israel’s diplomatic history will be analyzed. The course will include a discussion of “diplomatic language”, the functions of Israeli embassies and consulates, diplomatic ranking and protocol, public diplomacy and diplomatic immunity.
- Global Secularisms | Prof. Jacques Berlinerblau | JCIV/GOVT 2916
- Secularism stands as one of the most controversial and convoluted -isms in the global political lexicon. Not a day goes by without a religious leader, usually of the Fundamentalist variety, decrying the scourge of secularism. Conversely, in many countries, secular nationalists demand that their governments adopt, or abide by, secular principles of governance. The latter are assumed to assure equal rights for women and LGBTQ communities, while protecting religious minorities and guaranteeing freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and freedom from religion. In short, secularism is tasked with delivering a lot of goods! The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the exceedingly complex, but exceedingly fascinating concept of political secularism.
- Race, Religion, and Terrorism | Prof. Ed Husain | JCIV/INAF 3352
- Going beyond America, this course takes a global approach to identity, race and religion. We do this through history, ideas, political movements, narratives, geopolitics, and assess the consequences for world order. We seek to understand race, religion, and terror not as the past, but as a study of the patterns and causes of change. Students are then able to connect the dots between the past and present of major terrorist movements and/or conflicts. We evaluate future trajectories for the intersection of race, religion, and terrorism.
- Combating Terrorist Financing 20 Years after 9/11 | Prof. Matthew Levitt | JCIV 3910/SEST 4444
- This course explores how terrorists and terrorist organizations—from Foreign Terrorist Organizations like al Qaeda and the Islamic State to Domestic Violent Extremist groups like anti-government militias and white supremacist organizations—are funded and resourced, how they move and access money, and how governments and other international actors seek to combat the financing of transnational threats. The course considers what the goals of counter-terror financing efforts are or should be, and whether these efforts are effective, worthwhile and how to improve them. It investigates how terrorist groups finance their activities and transfer funds, and analyses key choke points through which illicit funds may flow.
- Fascism and its Legacy | Prof. Diana Dumitru | JCIV/REES 4464
- What are the origins and manifestations of fascism? Why did fascist ideology entice so many Europeans from different social backgrounds between World Wars I and II? Is fascism something that belongs to the history of the 20th Century, or are thereparallels with what some call fascism today? In this course students will find responses to these and related questions, learning about the nature of fascism as an ideology and as a set of practices. The course will explore the birth and first flourishing of fascism in interwar Italy, Germany, Romania, Hungary, and other regions, before turning to its legacy for today’s far-right populism and debates about fascism’s resurgence.
- Statecraft and Negotiation | Amb. Dennis Ross | JCIV/INAF 4750
- This course will look at American foreign policy through the lens of statecraft. Statecraft involves the orchestration of all the instruments of power and influence to protect against threats and to promote broad national interests. Key elements of statecraft include developing strategy, defining objectives and purposes, identifying the means available for pursuing that strategy, and then knowing how best to employ those means. If there is one instrument or policy tool that is central to nearly all forms of statecraft, it is negotiations. This course will thus take a closer look at the American approach to negotiations and how best to pursue them. It will also explore mediation as a policy tool for helping to settle or defuse local and sectarian conflicts and as a means of promoting a more favorable image of the U.S. internationally. In doing so, it will present a practitioner’s guide and set of specific rules for negotiations and mediation.
- The Middle East: Society, State & International Relations | Prof. Avraham Sela | GOVT 4452 (X-listed, fulfilling JCIV elective requirements) (CRN 46893)
- The course introduces the social and political history of the modern Middle East, which had long been marked by domestic instability, regional conflicts, and intensive intervention of great powers politics. These attributes are especially identified with the Arab states, many of which are identified with authoritarianism, economic underdevelopment and resistance to democracy. These characteristics will be analyzed in a historical-thematic and comparative approach with special attention to social, economic, and political processes, including state- and nation-building, state-society relations, the shaping of state power and political economy, all of which had a long-term impact on the recent Arab uprisings and their consequences. Attention will also be given to regional interactions among states and nonstate actors in the context of domestic and regional conflicts and the built-in tensions between supra-state Arab and Islamic visions and identities, and the sovereign states as particular international players. In this context, the course also addresses the structural transformation of the Arab-Israeli conflict, oil and politics, the rise of political Islam and jihadism, and the question of ‘exceptionalism’ concerning the region’s inclination toward authoritarianism and rejection of democratization.
- Conflict Management & Resolution-Arab Israeli Case | Prof. Avraham Sela | GOVT 5419 (X-listed, fulfilling JCIV elective requirements) (CRN 46894)
- The course aims to attain a better understanding of the human phenomenon of international and intra-state conflicts and the conditions that might enable their management and/or resolution by peaceful means. Based on the broad body of theoretical literature and the accumulated experience of practically addressing varied types of conflicts since the end of the Cold War, the course explains the causes of conflicts on both international and intra-state levels and the conditions determining the forms and processes of their management and settlement. Moreover, it strives to identify the development of the literature in this field as a process of trial and error and lessons learned from ongoing experience in conflict resolution. The course thus scrutinizes the existing approaches to and instruments of conflict management and resolution such as ripeness, learning, and legitimacy, mediation, negotiations and international intervention, official and unofficial diplomacy, and more. In this context, the course examine the role of social psychology, memory and identity in determining the results of peacemaking processes, especially at the phase of implementation of signed agreements. Against this conceptual background, the course offers a critical examination of the long and rich experience of the international efforts of managing and resolving the conflict between Israel and its neighbors, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It thus examines empirical examples and case-studies based on the Arab-Israeli experience of conflict and diplomatic processes, especially the long-lived American role of mediation in this conflict, its successes and failures. Indeed, much of the literature on conflict resolution is based on the case of the Arab-Israeli conflict in both theory and practice. This is due to the high-profile of international interest in Israel and the Middle East coupled by the long history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the relative abundance and availabiltiy of documents on ist wars and peace-making efforts, all of which keeps attracting the interest of scholars in the fields of conflict and peace studies.
- Intensive Beginning Modern Hebrew II | Prof. Sara Grayson | HEBR 1002
- This course assumes prior knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet and grammar covered in HEBR 1001 or equivalent ability on the placement exam. It builds upon the foundational reading, writing, comprehension and speaking taught in the fall semester, and covers a wider range of vocabulary and grammar, including the present and pasttense of the most common verb types. The course is an intensive, interactive program, meeting four times per week and equivalent to 6 credits per semester. The semester is equivalent to 1 year of college Hebrew at most institutions (which offer 3 credits per semester of Hebrew).
- Intermediate Modern Hebrew II | Prof. Meital Orr | HEBR 2002
- This course develops students’ language skills taught in HEBR 2001. Expanded verb conjugations in the past, present and future tenses for additional verb types are taught, and proficiency is developed through conversations using increasingly complex grammar and vocabulary, reading and discussing passages and newspaper articles, and viewing and analyzing Israeli songs, films and TV shows. Five attendances per semester at conversation hour are required. Requirement: One year of Intensive Beginning Hebrew, or equivalent proficiency on the Hebrew Placement Exam.
- Advanced Modern Hebrew II | Prof. Sara Grayson | HEBR 3002
- This course builds upon the advanced grammar and verb paradigms taught in HEBR 3001, to attain a high level of proficiency. Students utilize the knowledge they have gained the previous semester to read and analyze un-adapted Israeli newspaper articles and works by Israeli authors, engage in extensive writing exercises, and review movies and Israeli TV shows. Fluency in speaking and knowledge of the formal vocabulary used in the media is a main goal of conversations, and foundational preparation for the proficiency exam. Requirement: Intensive Beginning and Intermediate Hebrew, or equivalent proficiency on the Hebrew Placement Exam.
Listen to Goldman Visiting Israeli Professor Avraham Sela and CJC Director Jonathan Lincoln discuss the current situation in Israel and Gaza.
The CJC and the Security Studies Program (SSP) hosted a conversation with Mohammed Dajani Daoudi, a Palestinian academic and social activist, about the importance of coexistence, dialogue, and mutual understanding and how Israelis, Palestinians, and the region as a whole can benefit from agreements such as the Abraham Accords, moderated by CJC Director Jonathan Lincoln.
Taken from the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service website
By Anna Broderick, Oct. 2, 2023
This fall, Jonathan Lincoln joins SFS as the interim director of the Center for Jewish Civilization (CJC) and the Andrew Siegal Visiting Professor. Lincoln takes over the role of director from Professor Bruce Hoffman, who has led the center since 2020. Lincoln has taught courses at SFS before, on the history of the United Nations and the Arab-Israeli conflict as well as the impact and evolution of Israel’s relations with the Arab and Muslim World. As he transitions to his role as director, he brings his perspective from an extensive career with the United Nations to his approach.
“It is my sincere aspiration that the CJC, through its wide range of course offerings ranging from the humanities, Hebrew language, international affairs and Holocaust studies, helps its students and the wider Georgetown community to better understand and appreciate the multifaceted aspects of the past, present and future of Jewish Civilization,” Lincoln says.
The CJC is an interdisciplinary teaching and research unit at SFS that strives to create and promote scholarship on Jewish Civilization. The Program for Jewish Civilization (PJC) was founded in 2003 by the SFS, under the leadership of Georgetown’s Jewish chaplain, Rabbi Harold White, and Georgetown professors Robert J. Lieber and Yossi Shain. The PJC was relaunched as the CJC in 2016, and has continued to promote a deeper understanding of the world’s religious communities.
Bringing Global Experience to the Hilltop
Lincoln spent fifteen years with the United Nations Secretariat where he had a varied career, most recently as the head of office for the UN deputy special coordinator based in Jerusalem, working on the coordination of UN and international development assistance to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
Prior to his appointment in Jerusalem, Lincoln served as the senior political affairs officer for North Africa, managing a team of political affairs officers covering Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and support for the personal envoy of the secretary-general on Western Sahara. Before that role, Lincoln was a political affairs officer with UNMIS/S and the UN special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, working primarily from Juba, South Sudan.
“These experiences, alongside my academic training at the University of Wisconsin Madison and at SOAS at the University of London, are what informs my teaching as well as what I hope to bring to the study of Jewish Civilization,” Lincoln says.
Lincoln has also worked with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Crisis Group.
“Having worked for most of my career on various aspects of conflict resolution and prevention and having engaged in inter-communal and inter-religious dialogue, I see these as core values for the CJC that are also entirely consistent with Georgetown’s mission as embodied in its Jesuit heritage.”
Fostering the CJC on Campus
Lincoln aspires to grow the CJC and share facets of Jewish civilization with more students on campus. In the short term, this means working closely with CJC faculty to amplify the center and its mission.
“I also want to ensure that the CJC is well positioned to contribute effectively to the many debates, on campus and beyond, concerning the Jewish experience in the United States, as it relates to global affairs and of course the impact of the unprecedented political crisis taking place in Israel,” Lincoln shares. “I see the CJC as a collaborative center, working closely with the other centers and programs of the SFS and the University to foster these discussions and to enhance our course offerings.”
Over the long term, Lincoln hopes to see the CJC’s enrollment grow, including in the Hebrew language program. Additionally, he would also like to see more students participate in at least one CJC course during their time at Georgetown.
Coinciding with a Changing Climate
In the current uncertain global political climate, Georgetown’s continuous investment in the study of Jewish Civilization serves as an important hub for academics to come together and exchange ideas and research. Lincoln’s extensive experiences from his career also serve as a unique resource for curious students.
“In addition to academic sources, I like to share anecdotes from my experiences, and offer an insider’s perspective on events that the students are reading about,” he says. “Given the dramatic changes taking place across the world that have such an outsized impact on Jewish Civilization, I think it is important to produce events for students that help explain the implications of phenomena such as rising anti-semitism and shifts in Israeli politics on the areas of study at the CJC. And it is just as important to expose students and our community to the latest scholarship on Jewish Civilization including History, the study of the Holocaust, art, music, literature and film. It is this combination of offerings that makes the CJC unique within the broader framework of the SFS and helps to complement the CJC’s already robust academic programming.”
As Lincoln transitions to director, he reflects on his time thus far at Georgetown and his future with the CJC.
“Admittedly, what I didn’t expect was to feel as connected to the students as I have over the past two years. What I am looking forward to most is to work closely with the students and faculty to see how we can uphold and improve the reputation of the CJC as fostering strong and vibrant academic and social engagement within the wider Georgetown community.”
The Center for Jewish Civilization invites you to register for the following special event, co-sponsored by the BMW Center for German and European Studies and the Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.
Thursday, September 21st 12:30pm-1:30pm EST
ICC 270, Georgetown University
In this book, Dr. Steven Kramer explores the complex, triangular relationship between the French Republic, Jews, and Muslims. It is the first book to compare the experience of French Jews and Muslims over the longue durée, tracing their experiences and interactions in both metropolitan France and the colonies under the evolving regime of laïcité. This historical and comparative approach does more than illuminate past and current tensions, it suggests how they may be resolved.
If you would like to join this book talk over Zoom, please email Laurie Batschi at email@example.com for the Zoom link.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: 120 years of Antisemitic Propaganda
Panel Summary – What is to be Done, Part 2: The Challenge and Promise of Technology
The last panel of the symposium considered the double-edged sword of networked communication technology, where powerful platforms enabled and inspired communication, collaboration, and creation unimaginable just a decade ago and today face a new threat landscape that benefits from its connective tissues. Daniel Byman of Georgetown University moderated a conversation between Justin Erlich, Elizabeth Neumann, and Cynthia Miller-Idriss as they discussed the current threats and what we must do about them. Our panelists established that antisemitism is not just an isolated threat or restricted to a defined community but is instead a deep-seated virus that is a starting and end point to all forms of radicalized hate online in the ‘propaganda train:’ misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, among others. Next, panelists discussed ways to stop the spread of hateful ideologies online and prevent youth from becoming radicalized, discussing solutions from short-form ‘pre-bunking’ videos that teach people how to recognize when they are being manipulated to on-the-ground initiatives with parents, coaches, teachers, faith leaders, and other communities to create behavioral change. Tech companies like TikTok also seek to address harmful content online through five vectors – policies, enforcement, empowerment, education, and partnerships – and to strike a balance between empowering users and institutionally removing content. Community solutions were designated as some of the most foundational and impactful aspects of CVE/CT work, supplementing online tools and education. As the threat landscape has changed since 9/11, government structures to fight dangerous content have failed to update, and the focus of advocates has thus shifted to grassroots initiatives and education. Furthermore, technology has made CT harder, as our society faces increased exposure to online content available at all times. The politicization of content and words like ‘disinformation’ have also complicated the panelists’ and other advocates’ work as they navigate learning curves in publicizing and advertising information about combating harmful online content to the public. A further complicating factor is the lack of government investment in community-based solutions, with panelists noting that questions about long-term projects like building community trust and reducing recidivism rates for radicalization remain unasked and unanswered.
Justin Erlich – “Coded words are one of the great challenges here. We’re constantly trying to keep up without overkilling content that may be used in counterspeech or that may have some sort of neutral context. So this is some kind of the ongoing work that we (TikTok) rely on our partners – trusted NGOs and civil servant groups – to help us with.”
Elizabeth Neumann – “Most companies trying to police their terms of service are limited by usually leveraging government designations of what a terrorist group is – and it’s not necessarily focused on movements. And so, Seamus (Hughes), in the previous panel, talked about how there is this artificiality in the way that the government functions: we designate terrorist organizations, we don’t designate terrorist movements. And the law is structured around organizations, not movements. So a lot of the tools, both in the federal government and the tools that the tech companies rely on, are not there to address antisemitism as a movement or as a type of content that we want to prohibit. So we have to get more creative.”
Cynthia Miller-Idriss – “One of the things that strike me is that we are often talking about antisemitism, or antisemites, or even ‘The Antisemite’ as if it’s some kind of bounded or very recognizable and identifiable thing. I think that one of the things that we find in the (Polarization and Extremism Research & Innovation) lab is that antisemitism tends to be not just a starting point for the propaganda that we see online but it’s also the endpoint as well. It doesn’t matter where you get on the ‘propaganda train,’ whether it’s antisemitism or anti-immigration or male supremacism, it always ends up on antisemitism. You go far enough down the rabbit hole, and you get there.”
Daniel Byman, Georgetown University
Daniel Byman is a professor in the School of Foreign Service with a concurrent appointment with the Department of Government. He is an editor at Lawfare and a member of the Department of State’s International Security Advisory Board. He served as Vice Dean of the SFS undergraduate program from 2015 until 2020 and before that as director of Georgetown’s Security Studies Program and Center for Security Studies from 2005 until 2010. He also led a Georgetown team in teaching a “Massive Open Online Course” (MOOC) on terrorism and counterterrorism for EdX. Professor Byman is also a part-time Senior Fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. From 2002 to 2004 he served as a Professional Staff Member with the 9/11 Commission and with the Joint 9/11 Inquiry Staff of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Before joining the Inquiry Staff he was the Research Director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy at the RAND Corporation. Previous to this, Professor Byman worked as an analyst on the Middle East for the U.S. government.
Justin Erlich, TikTok
Justin is the Global Head of Issue Policy and Outreach & Partnerships for the Trust & Safety team at TikTok. He leads teams that develop global policy framework, engage with civil society and communities, and incubate Responsible Innovation practices. He also regularly teaches courses on Disruptive Technology & Regulation at the UC Berkeley Law School. Harnessing his strategic and policy background, he focuses on building organizations that operate in highly-regulated environments. He combines big-picture thinking with executive leadership to deliver tangible impact. He is driven by a passion to ensure tech platforms bring us together rather than drive us apart. Prior to joining TikTok, Justin worked in the urban mobility tech sector at Uber as Global Head of Policy for Autonomous Vehicles & Urban Aviation and the V.P. of Strategy, Policy & Legal at Voyage. He served as the Principal Tech Advisor for the former California Attorney General and current Vice President Kamala Harris, overseeing the Department’s work on privacy, data, tech platforms, and the regulation of emerging technologies. He also spent 5 years at McKinsey & Co. as a consultant, with a focus on cities and the social sector. He has a degree in Government with related fields in economics and behavioral psychology from Harvard University, and holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law. He is a member of the California State bar.
Elizabeth Neumann, Moonshot
Elizabeth Neumann is the Chief Strategy Officer for Moonshot, a tech-driven solutions provider harnessing the power of the internet for good. We develop new technology and methodologies to expose threats, disrupt malicious actors and protect vulnerable audiences online. We work to end online harms – such as violent extremism, disinformation, child sexual exploitation, gender-based violence, and human trafficking – making communities, governments, and businesses safer, both online and off, around the world. Previously, Ms. Neumann served as the Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention at DHS where she led eight program and policy teams addressing a range of issues including domestic violent extremism, screening and vetting, countering terrorism and transnational criminal organizations, countering hostile UAS (drones), and human trafficking. Over the past two decades, Ms. Neumann created and implemented multiple government-wide reforms, primarily in the areas of security and public safety. Ms. Neumann began her homeland security work in the aftermath of 9/11, serving on the inaugural staff of the White House Homeland Security Council (now part of the National Security Council). Ms. Neumann is a Board Member of the National Immigration Forum, founder and member of the Council on National Security and Immigration, and a National Security Contributor at ABC News.
Cynthia Miller-Idriss, Polarization and Extremism Research & Innovation Lab (PERIL), American University
Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss is a Professor in the School of Public Affairs and in the School of Education at the American University in Washington, DC, where she is also the founding director of the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab (PERIL). She is a Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation Entrepreneur and recently served as the inaugural creative lead for the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s residency program on social cohesion in Berlin, Germany. Dr. Miller-Idriss regularly testifies before the U.S. Congress and briefs policy, security, education and intelligence agencies in the U.S., the United Nations, and other countries on trends in domestic violent extremism and strategies for prevention and disengagement. She is the author, co-author, or co-editor of six books, including her most recent book, Hate in the Homeland: The New Global Far Right (Princeton University Press, 2022). She is currently at work on a new book on the gendered dimensions of violent extremism. Dr. Miller-Idriss writes frequently for mainstream audiences, as an opinion columnist for MSNBC and in other recent by-lines in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, Politico, USA Today, The Boston Globe, and more
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: 120 years of Antisemitic Propaganda
Panel Summary – Overcoming Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism: The Abraham Accords
The symposium’s lunch roundtable in the second half of the conference analyzed how historic accords between Israel and Arab states served to help combat antisemitism worldwide. The panelists, Ambassador Dennis Ross, Ed Husain, and Michael Doran, participated in a conversation led by the Director of the Center for Jewish Civilization, Dr. Bruce Hoffman. An underlying current of the panelists’ opening presentations was that the regional shift to see Israel as a contributor to the shared Abrahamic and Quranic heritage of the Middle East did not happen in a vacuum; rather, it was a process over the last seven years primarily led by Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. From a 2015 celebration of Hanukkah between King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain and a rabbi from New York to the thriving Jewish communities living and practicing their faith in the UAE, there are many cultural- and faith-based narratives that laid the foundation for the Abraham Accords, despite the extremist messaging from Iran and al-Qaeda claiming that Jews and Christians don’t belong in the Arabian Peninsula. Our panelists noted that establishing normal relations with Israel from the ground up, rather than the bureaucratic top-down ‘normalization’ of relations, is opening the door for Saudi Arabia to gradually publicize its relationship with Israel – in pursuit of its broader attempts to increase tourism and influence – thus opening the door for other states like Jordan and Egypt to follow suit. However, the US is seemingly missing an opportunity to use the Abraham Accords as a springboard for creating a new security dynamic in the Middle East, with its allies – Israel in particular – stepping up to combat Iranian influence through regional cooperation. This is key to countering the Iranian critique of Israel as an illegitimate state, especially as the US’s own conception that progress cannot be made in the Middle East until the Israeli-Palestinian problem is resolved additionally hinders regional cooperation. Yet it is important to note that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict undoubtedly amplifies tension, China is inserting its influence in the region, and the Biden Administration must weigh its choices with the risk of consequences related to Iranian oil or military escalation if they take a more aggressive policy stance. Our panelists sought to balance sobering reality, driven by recent headlines, with hope for the future, leaning on the shared heritage and historic tolerance and diversity of the Middle Eastern region.
Dennis Ross – “I get asked the question, ‘How are the Abraham Accords changing the region?’ And what I say is that it’s a good question but not the right one. The right question is, ‘How did the region change to make the Abraham Accords possible?’ And what we know, what we see, is that increasingly, especially among the Gulf States but not exclusively there, you have more and more Arab States come to the realization that they have their own interests that they need to pursue, and they looked at Israel as actually being a country that could contribute greatly to that.”
Ed Husain – “The Abraham Accords was called a word called Abraham for a reason: and that is because there is a common inheritance across the Middle East that celebrates our fathers – Ishmael and Isaac. Both lines, as the Bible says, will produce great civilizations and great nations. And we see that Biblical and Quranic inheritance at play here.”
Michael Doran – “There is an opportunity that’s being missed by the Biden Administration right now with regard to the Abraham Accords. When they came into power, they didn’t even want to acknowledge the Abraham Accords; they downplayed it because it was an achievement of the other team, an achievement that they had always said was impossible without an advance on the Palestinian track. And they’ve come around on that, which is all for the better, and they now are embracing normalization. But what’s missing from their approach is the security dimension, a full development in the security dimension. They don’t want to actually aggressively contain Iran. So the Abraham Accords is there as an integration of Israel into the region – especially an economic integration, but it’s only partially there with regard to missile defense. We can now see the foundation being laid for a region-wide missile defense network, but you can’t have a real containment of Iran without aggressive countermeasures. And I think that this is hindering the development of the Abraham Accords as the nucleus of a really serious defense relationship.”
Dr. Bruce Hoffman, Georgetown University
Bruce Hoffman is the Shelby Cullom and Kathryn W. Davis senior fellow for counterterrorism and homeland security at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has been studying terrorism and insurgency for four decades. He is a tenured professor at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, where he is the director of the Center for Jewish Civilization. Hoffman was previously director of both the Center for Security Studies and the Security Studies program from 2010-2017.
Ambassador Dennis Ross, Georgetown University
Ambassador Dennis Ross is Counselor and Ziegler Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Ambassador Ross played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process within the H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations. He was instrumental in assisting Israelis and Palestinians to reach the 1995 Interim Agreement, successfully brokering the 1997 Hebron Accord, and facilitating the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty. Ambassador Ross has worked closely with Secretaries of State James Baker, Warren Christopher, and Madeleine Albright. He was awarded the Presidential Medal for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service by President Clinton.
Ed Husain, Georgetown University
Ed Husain is a British writer and political advisor who has worked with leaders and governments across the world. He has held senior fellowships at think tanks in London and New York, including at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) at the height of the Arab uprisings (2010-2015). While at CFR, his policy innovation memo led to the US-led creation of a Geneva-based global fund to help counter terrorism. Husain was a senior advisor to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (2015-2018). From 2018-2021 he completed his doctoral studies on Western philosophy and Islam under the direction of the English philosopher Sir Roger Scruton. He is the author of The Islamist (Penguin, 2007), The House of Islam: A Global History (Bloomsbury, 2018), and Among the Mosques (Bloomsbury, 2021). His writing has been shortlisted for the George Orwell Prize. A regular contributor to the Spectator magazine, he has appeared on the BBC and CNN and has written for the Telegraph, The Times, the New York Times, the Guardian, and other publications. He has traveled to more than forty countries.
Michael Doran, Hudson Institute
Michael Doran is a senior fellow and director of the Center for Peace and Security in the Middle East at Hudson Institute. He specializes in Middle East security issues and co-hosts the Counterbalance podcast. In the administration of President George W. Bush, Doran served in the White House as a senior director in the National Security Council, where he was responsible for helping to devise and coordinate United States strategies on a variety of Middle East issues, including Arab-Israeli relations and US efforts to contain Iran and Syria. He also served in the Bush administration as a senior advisor in the State Department and a deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Pentagon. Born in Kokomo, Indiana, Doran went to elementary school in Carmel, outside of Indianapolis, before his family moved to Fullerton, California, where he graduated from Sunny Hills High School. He received a BA from Stanford University and an MA and PhD in Near Eastern studies from Princeton University. Before coming to Hudson, Doran was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He has also held teaching positions at New York University, Princeton University, and the University of Central Florida. His latest book, Ike’s Gamble, was published by Free Press in 2016. He appears frequently on television, and has published extensively in Foreign Affairs, the American Interest, Commentary, Mosaic, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.