This seminar asks what, if any, has been the impact of the ideological and political alliance between American Christian Zionists and the Israeli Right in the context of negotiating an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. First, the speaker will trace the origins and past course of this alliance and propose that more than theology, developments within the U.S. and Israeli domestic political systems (e.g., the politicization and rise of the evangelical voting block within the United States and shift to right-of-center in Israeli politics) account for the broadening—both at grassroots and national level—and institutionalization of this alliance. Next, focusing on lobbying activity both in Israel and the United States as well as on the financial support offered by Christian Zionist organizations to politically-relevant initiatives in Israel (e.g., education campaigns and the funding of public projects in the settlements in the occupied territories), the speaker will propose that these activities make American Christian Zionists influential "spoilers" in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Previous theoretical work on the role of "spoilers" in peace processes, and in the Israeli-Palestinian context in particular, focused on extremist groups within the two parties who for the most part use violent strategies to undermine the peace process. This study proposes a broader application of the concept of "spoilers" to include groups within a relevant third party that provide non-violent, yet significant, opposition to a peace process.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.