On Saturday June 14 at the Presbyterian General Assembly we had 3 passionate speakers speak passionately about engagement, positive investment, and a peace the respects the dignify and rights of both Palestinians and Israelis.
Introduction by John Wimberly and remarks by Ghaith al-Omari:
Ghaith Al-Omari is Executive Director of the American Task Force on Palestine. Mr. Al-Omari served in various positions within the Palestinian Authority, including Director of the International Relations Department in the Office of the Palestinian President, and advisor to former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. He has extensive experience in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, having been an advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team throughout the permanent status negotiations (1999–2001). After the breakdown of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, he was the lead Palestinian drafter of the Geneva Initiative, an unofficial model peace agreement negotiated between leading Palestinian and Israeli public figures. Mr. al-Omari is a lawyer by training and a graduate of Georgetown and Oxford universities.
Rachel A. Lerner is Senior Vice President for Community Relations at J-Street, an organization that advocates a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine. Rachel graduated with a BA in Literature from SUNY Binghamton and a Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, where she focused her studies on the role of religion in public life. Rachel has been deeply passionate about Israel and social and political justice since she can remember. She spent her freshman undergraduate year in Israel at Bar Ilan University, a summer at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem, and countless trips traveling the country. Rachel is a native New Yorker. She lives in Washington, DC.
R. Gustav Niebuhr is associate professor at Syracuse U., where he has been teaching the past 10 years in the Newhouse School of Public Communications and also in the Religion Department. Previously over a 20-year career in journalism, at the New York Times and, prior to that, at the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the Atlanta Journal/Constitution, Gustav Niebuhr established a reputation as a leading writer about American religion. His work has been published in books, magazines and on the internet. Gustav Niebuhr is the grandnephew of noted theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. Mr Niebuhr recently completed a new book “Lincoln’s Bishop: A President, A Priest, and the fate of 300 Dakota Sioux Warriors” published by HarperCollins this May.