Amos Guiora on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Syria, Iran and Russia

by | Sep 30, 2013 | Other News

More than 150 people attended the event at Temple Israel.

More than 150 people attended the event at Temple Israel.

Appreciation for international security expert Amos Guiora’s experience, insight and intelligence was clear from the size of the crowd that showed up to hear him speak on Sunday, Sept. 22 at Temple Israel.

More than 150 community members attended the briefing, discussion and brunch hosted by Temple Israel in partnership with the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

“I think it is fair to say, that in my 21 plus years of serving from this pulpit, I haven’t yet had the opportunity to introduce someone as justifiably famous and important as Amos Guiora,” Rabbi Michael Panitz said in his introduction.

Panitz described Guiora as a specialist in criminal law, global perspectives on terrorism, the nexus of religion and terror, and in national security law. An accomplished author who is often called upon to share insights and opinion with governments and organizations worldwide, Guiora is currently a professor of law and director at S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. He served in the Israel Defense Forces JAG Corps for 19 years.

Among the topics Guiora discussed during the free, open to the community event, were the geopolitical implications of the war in Syria, the threat posed by Iran, the reemergence of Russia as a world power, and the problems he feels are paramount in the leadership of the United States. A significant portion of his discussion was devoted to historical and current context surrounding the efforts of the United States to spur Israeli-Palestinian peace talks forward.

“It is unclear what may happen, because it is unclear that either side knows exactly what they want, and we’re unclear of the role of the United States,” Guiora said. “I’m on record as supporting the two-state solution, but what exactly are the two states?”

Guiora said some suggest there are actually three states: Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. And Gaza is troublesome, he added, because of Hamas’ loss of support from the previously powerful Muslim Brotherhood.

“If you think in terms of an historical paradigm, this is a tenuous and dangerous time,” he said. “And on a sunny Sunday morning, to have so many of you come out to have this dialogue shows that we have no alternative, that we must have this larger discussion because we are at an acute intersection—locally, in the broader region, and in the world.”

Guiora described a possible alternative to negotiation between the Israelis, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas as a “lowgrade fever,” or status quo. Perhaps, he said, the status quo is the best resolution to something that can’t be resolved.

“What we heard today was not layered with media or political correctness,” said Glenda Maynard. “He helped us understand past and current events from an insider’s perspective, and shared things that we’re not privy to normally. He talked about religious extremism, leadership, and leadership vacuums, and, like the last time I heard Amos speak, I was very impacted by what he had to say.”

Maynard, along with others in the audience, were introduced to Guiora through his appearance at last season’s CRC Israel Today Forum and discussions at other locales while in town for that event. During his visit last week, Guiora also spoke to area law enforcement and public safety officials, small groups and students at the Global Studies and World Languages Academy at Tallwood High School in Virginia Beach, Regent University and the Model UN group at Maury High School in Norfolk.

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by Laine M. Rutherford
Laine M. Rutherford photos