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Credit: Ayin leZion | wikimedia commons
Two Views on the Founding of Israel, Understanding Yazidis, and More
August 22, 2014
Summary: Why Palestine was partioned in 1948, and what happened afterwards. Plus, the religious beliefs of the Yazidis, the tiny Kurdish minority under attack by the Islamic State.
Credit: Rudi Weissenstein | Wikimedia Commons
The 1948 Partition: A Jewish View August 22, 2014
We can see the violence in Israel and Gaza as aftershocks of a decision made nearly 70 years ago: to split the British Mandate of Palestine in two--one part Jewish, one part Arab. This week, two experts take us back to the years leading up to the late 1940s, when arguments flew back and forth about why and how to create a homeland for the Jewish people on that particular parcel of land. We begin with the Jewish perspective, and the desire to find a safe haven after the Holocaust.

Pictured: David Ben-Gurion announcing the new State of Israel on May 14th, 1948. He stands beneath a portrait of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism.

Michael Brenner, director of the Center for Israel Studies at American University
Credit: gnuckx | flickr
The 1948 Partition: An Arab View August 22, 2014
Every year, Jewish Israelis celebrate Israel Independence Day, the day in 1948 when Israel was founded as a homeland for Jews. But Palestinians call it by another name: Nakba Day, which means “Day of the Catastrophe.” To many of them, this day marks a time when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were uprooted from their homes. A Palestinian peace activist shares the Arab view of Israel's creation.

Aziz Abu Sarah, Executive Director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University
Credit: Alberto Alvarez-Perea | flickr
Self-Reflecting on the Gaza Crisis August 22, 2014
What lessons can we learn from Israel's founding that might lead us towards a more peaceful path? We bring back our two guests for some honest reflections on what their own sides can do differently.

Michael Brenner, director of American University’s Center for Israel Studies
Aziz Abu Sarah, Executive Director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University

Credit: Rachel Unkovic | International Rescue Committee
The Plight of the Yazidis August 22, 2014
The Yazidis represent a religion that's older than Islam; some consider the tradition the original faith of the Kurdish people. But their insular community and taboos against converts have long made them misunderstood by outsiders. Two scholars of Kurdish society introduce us to the Yazidi's beliefs, and tell us why they're being targeted by Islamic State rebels in Iraq.

Pictured: An Iraqi Yazidi girl with her family at the Newroz refugee camp in Syria, on August 15th.

Matthew Barber, Ph.D student in the department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago
Christine Allison, Professor of Kurdish Studies at the University of Exeter in Great Britain