Chicago Hearing: Does U.S. Policy on Israel and Palestine Uphold Our Values?


Sunday, April 18, 2010 from 1:30 PM to 5:30 PM
University of Chicago, Ida Noyes Hall
Limited Seating, Registration Required at
Live Webcast from a link at

The Chicago Hearing is modeled after a Congressional Committee fact-finding meeting.  It will bring together witnesses to tell seldom-heard stories from Israel-Palestine that raise critical questions about the effects of U.S. policies in the region.

The Hearing highlights voices of those on the other end of the pipeline of U.S. aid to Israel.  Israeli, Palestinian, and American witnesses will testify to lives lost, freedoms denied, and property destroyed by Israeli policies buttressed by U.S. aid and support.

Witnesses include:

These witnesses will testify to the collateral effects of U.S. policies toward Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

A Listener Panel of academics and religious leaders will ask questions and make comments following the testimonies.  Members or staffs of the Illinois Congressional delegation were invited to join the Listener Panel.  Confirmed panelists include:

  • Cantor Michael Davis, Member of the Jewish Fast for Gaza and congregational cantor at the Lakeside Congregation for Reform Judaism
  • Cotton Fite, Clinical Psychologist and Associate Priest at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Evanston
  • John J. Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago
  • Barbara Ransby, Associate Professor, Gender and Women’s Studies, African American Studies, and History at the University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Zaher Sahloul, M.D., Physician at Advocate Christ Medical Center and Chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
  • Ghada Talhami, the D. K. Pearsons Professor of Politics, emerita at Lake Forest College

Helena Cobban of Just World Newswill moderate the witness and listener panel discussions.

The Hearing will center on three topics.  A speaker will provide the context for each topic and introduce the witnesses.  The topics with introducers and witnesses are as follows:

  1. Property rights: Israeli government policies on settlements, house demolitions, and property expropriation.  Mezna Qato, a Palestinian-American PhD candidate at Oxford University and human rights activist, will set the context and introduce witness Jeff Halper.
  2. Freedom of movement, association, and speech: the impact of Israeli government practices and policies on these fundamental human rights.  Lisa Kosowski, daughter of a Holocaust survivor and Board Member of the Arab Jewish Partnership, will set the context and introduce witness Jad Isaac.
  3. Military aid and armaments: explores whether Israel’s use of U.S. military aid and armaments complies with U.S. and international law, and its impact on civilians.  Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, will set the context and introduce witnesses Cindy Corrie and Amer Shurrab.

This Hearing examines U.S. foreign policy, Israeli treatment of Palestinians, and their relationships to fundamental American values and interests.  After the event, the Chicago Hearing’s organizing committee will prepare a report summarizing the findings of the Hearing with conclusions and recommendations for follow-up by public officials and the media.

For more information, contact the American Friends Service Committee, Jennifer Bing-Canar at or 312.427.2533 x19.

| Print