In this episode of Occupied Thoughts, FMEP’s Lara Friedman and MEI’s Khaled Elgindy speak to Danny Seidemann (founder/director of Terrestrial Jerusalem) and Yehuda Shaul (founder of Breaking the Silence) — two of Israel’s foremost experts on the Israeli policies that uphold and expand occupation and dispossession of Palestinians, both of whom are currently visiting Washington, DC — about the new Israeli government and its idea of “shrinking” the conflict, about ongoing and new developments on the ground in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and about the opportunities and challenges facing the Biden Administration.
Danny Seidemann is a practicing attorney in Jerusalem who specializes in legal and public issues in East Jerusalem. He is the founder and director of Terrestrial Jerusalem, an Israeli nonprofit that works to identify and track developments in Jerusalem that could impact the political process or permanent status options, destabilize the city, spark violence, or create humanitarian crises. You can follow his work at t-j.org.il, and you can follow him on Twitter at @DanielSeidemann
Yehuda Shaul was born and raised in Jerusalem in an ultra-Orthodox family and graduated from a yeshiva high school in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. He served in the IDF as a commander and deputy company sergeant in the 50th battalion of the Nahal Brigade from 2001 to 2004, in the West Bank towns of Bethlehem and Hebron. Yehuda founded Breaking the Silence in 2004 with a group of fellow veterans. You can follow him at @YehudaShaul
Khaled Elgindy is a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute where he also directs MEI’s Program on Palestine and Israeli-Palestinian Affairs. He is the author of the newly-released book, Blind Spot: America and the Palestinians, from Balfour to Trump, published by Brookings Institution Press in April 2019. Elgindy previously served as a fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution from 2010 through 2018. Prior to arriving at Brookings, he served as an adviser to the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah on permanent status negotiations with Israel from 2004 to 2009, and was a key participant in the Annapolis negotiations of 2007-08. Elgindy is also an adjunct instructor in Arab Studies at Georgetown University.
Lara Friedman is the President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP). With more than 25 years working in the Middle East foreign policy arena, Lara is a leading authority on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with particular expertise on the Israeli-Arab conflict, Israeli settlements, Jerusalem, and the role of the U.S. Congress. She is published widely in the U.S. and international press and is regularly consulted by members of Congress and their staffs, by Washington-based diplomats, by policy-makers in capitals around the world, and by journalists in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to her work at FMEP, Lara is a Contributing Writer at Jewish Currents and a non-resident fellow at the U.S./Middle East Project (USMEP). Prior to joining FMEP, Lara was the Director of Policy and Government Relations at Americans for Peace Now, and before that she was a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, serving in Jerusalem, Washington, Tunis and Beirut. She holds a B.A. from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service; in addition to English, Lara speaks French, Arabic, Spanish, (weak) Italian, and muddles through in Hebrew.