Views of Israelis to be shown

Find out more about Steven Derfler.

With more than 25 years of experience as an international educational consultant, archaeologist, historian and researcher, Steven Derfler has worked to reveal the histories of ancient civilizations to bring insight to current political and social events.

Derfler will speak of the connection between history and current events as he discusses the competing assertions that exist within the Arab-Israeli conflict, in his free lecture on the “Twice Promised Land: Israelis and Palestinians into the 21st century,” at 7 p.m. Sunday in Schofield auditorium.

In his lecture, Derfler, an assistant political science faculty member at UW-River Falls and head of Educational Resources, Inc., will offer a balanced view of the key issues underlying the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

“When you look at the nature of conflict from an academic and intellectual perspective, you come to realize that both sides have done harm to each other,” Derfler said. “One needs to look at the whole scope of history and discover issues on a level playing field.”

“When something is internal, people on the outside tend to ignore it,’ he said.

When looking at the course of conflict between the two nations on a level playing field, Derfler said Israel has suffered greater loss. Since Israel has become a Western entity, Derfler said it has moved up in the ranks of worldly concerns.

Helaine Minkus, associate professor in the department of sociology and anthropology, said Derfler will cover the Israeli perspective on the Israeli-Arab conflict.

That will allow Naseer Aruri, chancellor and professor of political science at University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, to present a Palestinian perspective on the situation in his Nov. 12 Forum Series lecture.

“Each (lecturer) will cover the areas of disagreement, and why it has been so difficult to understand,” she said, adding that it is important for Americans to hear from people on both sides.

Derfler earned a Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology from the University of Minnesota. He was Director of Jewish Studies at Hamline University from 1979 to 1993.

He also taught at St. Mary’s University and St. Cloud State University. His courses of specialty include those on various aspects of Judaism and Islam, as well as on the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Derfler is co-chair of the Interfaith Commission of the Minnesota Council of Churches. He has also worked with such agencies as the Minnesota Islamic Center, Bridges for Peace and Moral Re-Armament Twin Cities.

He directed a field school in Israel last summer and will be conducting a study tour to Egypt in January of 2002.