Message from the Editor

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Message from the Editor:

I welcome our readers to the latest edition of the Faculty Forum. For the present, we are using the traditional layout but we do plan to use our new template in the newsletter which will soon follow. We have decided to classify the articles according to subject and content. We have created different categories of features so that the reader may form a coherent impression of the SPME world and develop an appreciation of the kinds of problems which concern academics and students on the American campus and abroad. For example, some of the feature categories which we have selected are: “Title VI Issues,” “Civil Discourse,” and “Keeping Track of the Other Side.” We have also divided the newsletter into five sections, based mainly on the type of subject matter on hand: I. “From SPME,” II. “From the Campus,” III. “From Our Members,” IV. “From the News,” and, V. “Staying Connected.” (Some of these sections are not complete at present.) This arrangement will make it more convenient for the reader to follow subjects and issues of special personal interest. It will also provide continuity between editions. For this issue, we shall publish Sections I and II, plus two reviews from Section III. More will follow in our next edition.

Here is the list of feature headings for the Faculty Forum:

I. From SPME

  • SPME Initiatives and Interventions: Campaigns and Petitions
  • SPME in the News

II. From the Campus

  • Campus News and Tolerance Report
  • Title VI Issues
  • Civil Discourse
  • In the Courtroom: Legal Precedents and Decisions
  • Keeping Track of the Other Side

III. From Our Members (and Subscribers)

  • Essays and Opinion
  • Book Reviews
  • New Ideas and Interpretations
  • Personal Initiatives
  • Letters from our Readers

IV. From the News

  • News and analysis
  • Regional Concerns
  • News from Abroad
  • Background to the News

V. Staying Connected

  • Resource Materials
  • Blogosphere
  • Social Networking

Although much of the information in this edition comes from electronic publications, we are glad to include some original contributions, including several book reviews. We would like to increase our original content and do welcome contributions from our readers. It is our plan that the Faculty Forum should be rich in content and responsive to our readers’ preferences. It may take a little time to find the right combination, but it is a continuous process, and we are doing our best. If you wish to contribute, please be in touch with me. We also welcome feedback.

Our editorial policy supports the principles set out in the SPME Mission Statement of August 2, 2011:

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, [SPME), is a grass-roots community of scholars who have united to promote honest, fact based, and civil discourse, especially in regard to Middle East issues. We believe that ethnic, national, and religious hatreds, including anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism, have no place in our institutions, disciplines and communities. We employ academic means to address these issues.

We welcome scholars from all disciplines, faiths, and nationalities who share our desire for peace and our commitment to academic freedom, intellectual integrity, and honest debate.

One can gather from the reports below that SPME is a proactive organization, which, during the past quarter has booked some outstanding accomplishments. SPME is a vital organization comprised of individuals and individualists. Our members are committed to their ideals and are frequently busy with their personal initiatives. SPME has a solid representation of self-starters. In the current environment, the initiative of a single person, having leadership ability, creative talent and “sticktoitivity,” can make a real difference.

SPME is an organization where the individual still counts. It offers its public the opportunity to form new friendships, to exchange ideas, and even to have a good argument. We encourage our readers and subscribers to join now. Just send an e-mail to our Director of Administrative Services, Elizabeth Gaither [email protected]. Elizabeth will provide the necessary information.

I wish to thank those who have encouraged me and offered helpful suggestions. Special thanks go to the head of the SPME Communications Committee, Richard Cravatts, for his helpful suggestions and friendly guidance.

Joel Fishman, Ph. D., Editor of the Faculty Forum

Message from the Editor

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AUTHOR

Joel Fishman

Biographical Statement:

Joel Fishman was born in Winston-Salem, N. C. and has lived in Israel since 1972. He grew up in Brookline, MA, received his B.A. from Tufts University, and his Ph. D. in modern European history from Columbia University. From 1968-1970, he was a Fulbright scholar at the Institute for History of the State University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. His dissertation was published under the title, Diplomacy and Revolution; the London Conference of 1830 and the Belgian Revolt. He is married and has three children and four grandchildren.

Like many of his generation, the unsettled conditions of the seventies interrupted his academic career. By the time he completed his doctorate in 1972, the job market had evaporated. During the following years, Fishman researched and published several pioneering articles on the postwar reconstruction of the Dutch Jewish community and from 1975-1978 carried out post-doctoral work at the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation in Amsterdam.

After returning to Israel in 1978, Fishman found that he was “overqualified” for nearly all manner of salaried work, so from 1980 to 2000, he worked as a photographer until the Second Armed Uprising ruined business conditions. Fortunately, an opportunity arose to join the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, so Fishman made the transition into a new field, contemporary history, or, better stated, the history of the present. His research applies the historical method in order to explain contemporary events. One of his pioneering accomplishments was the publication of the policy paper, “Ten Years since Oslo: The PLO’s ‘People’s War’ Strategy and Israel’s Inadequate Response,”[1] which analysed the strategy of the other side, many aspects of which were borrowed from the North Vietnamese, and the failure of Israel’s military and leadership elite to understand and adapt to the new situation. His findings appear in a series of articles, which are posted on the web. A selection of his articles has also appeared in book form, in French, under the title, La Guerre d’Oslo (Prof. Efraim Karsh was the coauthor).[2] Since 2004, Fishman has been a Fellow of the JCPA.

Independently, Fishman served as Chairman of the Center for Research on Dutch Jewry at the Hebrew University (2006-2009). There, he introduced sound fiscal practice and oversaw the construction of a new library.

Currently he is Book Review Editor of the Jewish Political Studies Review at the JCPA and is carrying out research on political warfare, particularly media warfare and propaganda.

Statement about SPME:

The members of SPME comprise a community of leading scholars with whom I have been able to share ideas and to learn. In their company, I have observed the combined virtues of courage moderated by maturity and caution. I find this outlook congenial.

Most scholars of my generation who grew up in postwar America enjoyed a period of opportunity and relative grace. Now, there are signs that this era may be ending, and we are entering “interesting times.” In this uncertain environment, SPME will have an increasingly important job to do, telling the truth, fighting for freedom of thought and protecting civil discourse, in America and abroad.


[1] Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Jerusalem Viewpoints No. 503, 1 September 2003. www.jcpa.org/jl/vp503.htm .

[2] La Guerre d'Oslo. Paris: Editions de Passy, 2005.


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