On 10 and 11 June, dozens of participants gathered at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, for a conference titled “Seeking Peace in the Holy Land.”
Among the speakers were staunch supporters of Israel, including former US ambassador in Tel Aviv Daniel Kurtzer, Lara Friedman of the liberal Zionist group Americans for Peace Now and Warren Clark, director of Churches for Middle East Peace.
But there was not one single Palestinian on the program. That wasn’t supposed to be the case. Just days earlier, Mubarak Awad, the Palestinian founder of Nonviolence International, was disinvited as keynote speaker after pressure on organizers from the Jewish Federation of Columbus.
Awad would have been a good person to educate those gathered at the Christian college. It was precisely because of his advocacy and practice of nonviolence that the Jerusalem native was infamously forcibly exiled from Palestine by Israeli occupation forces in 1988, during the first intifada.