March 2, 2018 at the National Press Club, Washington, DC
"So what explains the special relationship if there is no strategic or moral imperative and if most Americans do not favor it? 
Our answer, of course, is the lobby." - John Mearsheimer


Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi is the director and senior scholar in the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas; associate professor of Ethnic Studies/Race and Resistance Studies; and affiliated faculty in Sexuality Studies graduate program at San Francisco State University. She is a co-founder and editorial board member of the Islamophobia Studies Journal for which she is co-editing the forthcoming special issue on “Gender, Sexuality and Racism.” She is co-author of Mobilizing Democracy: Changing U.S. Policy in the Middle East; and co-editor of Arab and Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence and Belonging, winner of the 2012 National Arab American non-fiction Book Award; American Quarterly Forum on Palestine and American Studies (2015); and a special issue of MIT Electronic Journal of Middle East Studies. Her work has appeared in 7 languages (Arabic, English, Farsi, French, German, Italian and Spanish in academic journals (International Feminist Journal of Politics; Gender and Society; Radical History Review; Peace Review; and Journal of Women's History); anthologies (This Bridge We Call Home; New World Coming: The 1960s and the Shaping of Global Consciousness; Shifting Borders: American in the Middle East/North Africa; We Will Not Be Silenced: The Academic Repression of Israel's Critics; Righting Injustice: The Case for the Academic Boycott of Israel; and With Stones in Our Hands: Reflections on Racism, Muslims and Empire); social media outlets (Mondoweiss, Al-Shabaka, Jadaliyya); and newspapers and magazines (The Guardian, Al-Fajr; Womanews; Palestine Focus; Voice of Palestinian Women; Christianity and Crisis; Falasteen Al-Thahwra; Al-Hadaf; and Al-Hurriyah). (Full bio)

Ali Abunimah is a journalist and the co-founder and executive director of the widely acclaimed publication The Electronic Intifada, a nonprofit, independent online publication focusing on Palestine.

A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Chicago, he is a frequent speaker on the Middle East, contributing regularly to numerous publications.

He is the author of One Country, A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse and The Battle for Justice in Palestine.

He has been an active part of the movement for justice in Palestine for 20 years.

He is the recipient of a 2013 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship.


Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and activist. She is an assistant professor at George Mason University. She is a co-founder/editor of Jadaliyya e-zine and an Editorial Committee member of the Journal of Palestine Studies. Prior to joining GMU's faculty, she served as legal counsel for a Congressional Subcommittee in the House of Representatives, as a legal advocate for the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Refugee and Residency Rights, and as the national grassroots organizer and legal advocate at the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, where she helped seed BDS campaigns nationally as well as support the cases brought against two former Israeli officials in U.S. federal courts for alleged war crimes. Most recently, Noura released a pedagogical project on the Gaza Strip and Palestine. The centerpiece of the project is a short multimedia documentary, Gaza In Context, that rehabilitates Israel’s wars on Gaza within a settler-colonial framework. She is also the producer of the short video, Black Palestinian Solidarity. Noura is currently working on a book project tentatively titled, Justice for Some: Law As Politics in the Question of Palestine.


Thomas Getman is partner in a private consulting group that specializes in international, United Nations and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) affairs and university seminars, on U.N. Reform and humanitarian interagency partnership building. He was World Vision’s executive director for international relations until March 1, 2009. He managed World Vision’s liaison activities with the U.N. and the World Council of Churches and was responsible for diplomatic relations with U.N. member missions in Geneva and with countries on sensitive tax, staff and protocol negotiations. He served until 2009 on the board of principals for the U.N. Deputy Secretary General for Emergency Relief in the U.N. Office of the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as chair of a premier NGO consortium, the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA).

From 1996 to 2001, Getman was director of World Vision’s programs in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, where he was responsible for a staff of 30 for relief and development projects in Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and advocacy for peace. Previously, Getman served for 12 years as director of government relations for World Vision United States, at which time he founded WV’s office in DC. He interpreted U.S. government policy, pressed for needed foreign assistance, and advanced human rights, relief and development concerns with Congress and the White House. From 1976 to 1985, as a congressional legislative assistant and then director for Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-OR) his primary assignments were African and Mideast foreign policy and social justice - human rights. His most notable legislative contribution was to participate in the drafting of the Anti-Apartheid Act of 1985 (Law of ’86) after participating in the legal sanctions against Rhodesia and Uganda. Getman helped negotiate protocols with the presidents of Uganda and Zambia and encouraged warring African factions in their peace negotiations.

Getman holds a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College (Illinois) and a master’s in theology (equivalency certificate) from Fuller Seminary.

Andrew Kadi is an organizer and Steering Committee member of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

Kadi is a blogger at the Electronic Intifada, a member of Al-Shabaka: the Palestinian Policy Network, and has written for or appeared in The Guardian, USA Today, The Forward, TRT, CityLab, Mondoweiss, the New York Daily News, and the BBC.

He has been active for the past 16 years in support of Palestinian rights, mobilizing at the grassroots level and organizing digital campaigns, challenging mainstream media coverage, and harnessing popular education approaches to raise awareness and advocate change.

Gideon Levy is a columnist for the Israeli daily Haaretz, which he joined in 1982. He spent four years as the newspaper’s deputy editor and is currently a member of its editorial board. He is widely considered the “dean” of Israeli journalism—as well as “the most hated man in Israel.” As Levy has written, “Treating the Palestinians as victims and the crimes perpetrated against them as crimes is considered treasonous.”

Levy writes the weekly Twilight Zone feature, which covers the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza over the last 30 years, as well as political editorials for the newspaper. His columns about politics, money, how Israel's military occupation is changing Israeli society and about U.S.-Israel relations are widely read and discussed around the world.

Levy was the recipient, with Palestinian pastor Mitri Raheb, of the 2016 Olof Palme prize for their “fight against occupation and violence.” He has also received the Peace Through Media Award, at the 2012 International Media Awards; the Euro-Med Journalist Prize for 2008; the Leipzig Freedom Prize in 2001; the Israeli Journalists’ Union Prize in 1997; and The Association of Human Rights in Israel Award for 1996.

His book, The Punishment of Gaza, was published in 2010 by Verso Publishing House in London and New York. Video of Levy’s presentation at our 2015 conference was translated into Arabic and has gone viral, receiving more than 200,000 views.

Jefferson Morley is a veteran Washington investigative reporter and the author of the 2017 St. Martin’s Press book, The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton. The book sheds new light on Angleton’s close relationship with Israeli intelligence, citing such cases as Israel’s 1967 attack on the USS Liberty and the diversion of U.S. government-owned weapons-grade uranium from Apollo, PA to Israel in the 1960s.

A native of Minneapolis, Morley attended Yale University and worked as an editor at The New Republic, The Nation and Spin Magazine before joining The Washington Post in 1992 where he worked for 15 years. His reporting has also appeared in The New York Review of Books, Reader’s Digest, The New York Times Book Review, Rolling Stone, the Los Angeles Times, The American Prospect, and Salon.

Morley is the author two other books, Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA, and Snow-Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key, and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835.

Dr. Virginia Tilley, a professor of political science at Southern Illinois University, is co-author of the report, “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” commissioned by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) of the United Nations. The report, co-authored by Prof. Richard Falk, finds that Israel is imposing an “apartheid regime” on Palestinians.

Professor Tilley holds an MA and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an MA from the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown. She specializes in the comparative and international politics of ethnic and racial conflict, and has research experience in Central America, Israel-Palestine, post-apartheid South Africa and Oceania (Fiji and the small island states of the south Pacific). Her research examines how the social construction of ethnic, racial and national identities has been used by political actors to gain power, build nations and shape conflict. In addition to numerous articles and policy papers, she is author of The One State Solution, (U of Wisconsin Press, 2005), a pragmatic analysis of the two-state solution in Israel-Palestine; and editor of Beyond Occupation: Apartheid, Colonialism and International Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Pluto Press, 2012). At SIU she teaches courses on racial ideology and conflict, international relations, nation-building, and global comparative studies, with special attention to Middle East studies focusing on current events.

Dr. Barry Trachtenberg is the Michael R. and Deborah K. Rubin Presidential Chair of Jewish History and an associate professor of history at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. On Nov. 7, 2017, he testified before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on “Examining Anti-Semitism on College Campuses.”

A scholar of Jewish history and the Nazi Holocaust, Dr. Trachtenberg told the committee: “Legislation such as H.R.6421-Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016 is not a genuine attempt to contend with actual anti-Semitism, but rather is more correctly understood as a means to quell what are in fact protected acts of speech that are vital and necessary both to the scholarly missions of educational institutions and to the functioning of democratic societies.” He cautioned that “many studies are based on a definition of anti-Semitism that de facto defines criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic….Yet as within American Jewry as a whole, Jewish students hold a wide range of views concerning Israel, from unilaterally supportive to sharply critical.”

Dr. Trachtenberg earned his Ph.D. in history at UCLA and a post-graduate diploma in Jewish Studies at Oxford University. Prior to joining Wake Forest in 2016, he was an associate professor and director of programs in Judaic Studies and Hebrew Studies at the State University of New York’s University at Albany and interim director (2010-2012) of the university’s Center for Jewish Studies. He is the author of the 2018 Bloomsbury Publishing book, The United States and the Nazi Holocaust: Race, Refuge, and Remembrance.

Ian Williams, U.N. correspondent for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, is the author of the new book UNtold: The Real Story of the United Nations in Peace and War. Mr. Williams is a senior analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus, he was a columnist for The Nation, the Guardian-American online and an editor for the World Policy Journal. Williams has won many awards for his exposés of U.N. malfeasance, as well as supporting and defending the U.N. He has personally known four secretaries general, and innumerable diplomats and officials worldwide.

Williams has covered the United Nations since 1989 and twice served as president of the U.N. Correspondents’ Association. In 1995, for the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, while he was president of the U.N. Correspondents’ Association, Williams wrote U.N. for Beginners.

An associate professor at Bard Center for Globalization and International Affairs, he lectures on the U.N. and the Responsibility to Protect.

Born in Liverpool, UK, Williams played in the rubble of bomb sites left over from the war that inspired the founding of the United Nations. He graduated from Liverpool University after being suspended for several years because of his protest against the university’s investments in South Africa.

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson's last position in government was as Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff (2002-05). He previously was associate director of the State Department's Policy Planning staff under the directorship of Ambassador Richard N. Haass, and member of that staff responsible for East Asia and the Pacific, political-military and legislative affairs (2001-02).

Before serving at the State Department, Wilkerson served 31 years in the U.S. Army. During that time, he was a member of the faculty of the U.S. Naval War College (1987-1989), special assistant to General Powell when he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-93), and director and deputy director of the U.S. Marine Corps War College at Quantico, Virginia (1993-97). Wilkerson retired from active service in 1997 as a colonel and began work as an adviser to General Powell. He has also taught national security affairs in the Honors Program at George Washington University. He is currently distinguished visiting professor of government and public policy at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and working on a book about the first George W. Bush administration.