MERIP contributing editor Joel Beinin came to Cleveland in early March to discuss the popular struggle against Israeli occupation in the West Bank as well as what was at stake in yesterday’s Israeli elections. His host was the Northeast Ohio Consortium on Middle East Studies (NOCMES). Beinin’s visit included an hour-long interview on “The Sound of Ideas” on WCPN, the local NPR affiliate in Cleveland, and lectures at Case Western Reserve and Kent State Universities. Then, as is becoming NOCMES custom, Beinin appeared at The Happy Dog, a bar featuring live music and public education events about international affairs. Attendees learned about the Middle East while sipping an IPA, a porter or a stout underneath a poster of Joe Strummer.
At The Happy Dog, Beinin covered everything from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to Congress to the summer 2011 protests in Israel over economic inequality. He argued, among other things, that Netanyahu’s rhetoric conflating Zionism with Judaism could lead Israel toward self-destruction. Video of his talk is here.
Two MERIP editors, Pete Moore and Joshua Stacher, founded NOCMES in 2010 to bring the best of Middle East studies to Cleveland and environs. The consortium now includes six universities, with about a dozen civic partners including the City Club of Cleveland and the Cleveland Council of World Affairs. NOCMES has invited over 35 speakers on such topics as the Arab uprisings, oil and Saudi Arabia, women and religion, ISIS, the global war on terror and policing in the US, the Iranian revolution, public opinion and comic books. Lectures are held at Cleveland-area universities, Islamic centers, churches, high schools and public libraries, as well as prestigious venues such as the City Club. Previous speakers at The Happy Dog include Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Jillian Schwedler, Laleh Khalili and Hugh Roberts. For more information and video of many previous events, see the NOCMES website.