ICMES Mission

The mission of ICMES is to inform and enlighten American citizens and the West concerning current states of mind in the Middle East and to inform and apprise governments, non-governmental organizations, and citizens of present and current dangers, hazards, and threats of concern to the Middle East and global communities.

Organizational Goals

ICMES will serve in support of education and conflict resolution roles that will pursue, promote and provide peaceful solutions and outcomes to Middle East social, political, economic, cultural, and educational problems and concerns. ICMES will strive to provide people with a better understanding of major religious and non-religious beliefs that are relevant to the Middle East. [read more]

ICMES Conversations With...

Continuing the Palestinian Struggle:
An Interview with Fouzi El-Asmar

For over 50 years, Fouzi El-Asmar was one of the most important public intellectuals of the Palestinian liberation struggle. He was most well known as the author of the landmark autobiographical work, To Be an Arab in Israel (1975), and as a prolific journalist specializing in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with particular focus on the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Less well-known is the fact that Dr. El-Asmar earned a doctorate in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter, with a dissertation on Hebrew children's literature published subsequently as Through the Hebrew Looking-Glass: Arab Stereotypes in Children's Literature (1986), and that he also published several collections of poetry as well as collective works theorizing a resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. ICMES Board member Terri Ginsberg sat and talked with Dr. El-Asmar about his writing, his activism, and his present views about the Israeli situation and the Palestinian struggle. [read more]

Recent & Upcoming ICMES Events

Faith, Community and Culture

This 3-day conference, sponsored by ICMES with the collaboration of the of University of British Columbia, Okanagan, took place on September 9-11, 2019 at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel at Kalowna Airport in British Columbia, Canada. The conference featured sessions on History and Cultural Traditions, Religious Identities and Modern States/Communities, Faith and Community Narratives, and atheological understandings of religious imagination. Speakers included ICMES members Issam Saliba (Secretary), Professor Gloria Morán (University of Coruña, Spain), Don Wallace (Board Chair), and Dr. Norton Mezvinsky (President), as well as important scholars in the area of critical religion studies, including Professors David Goa (University of Alberta), Emilio González Ferrín (University of Seville, Spain), Francisco Peña (University of British Columbia), Hussein Keshani (University of British Columbia), Professor Jessica Stites More (University of British Columbai), and Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro (New York City).

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Zionism and Antisemitism: Allies or Enemies?

The architects of Zionism expected their movement to eliminate antisemitism, yet today the opposite has occurred. Data shows that Zionism increases antisemitism all over the world. In this lecture, presented on 4:00 PM on Monday, March 25, 2019 at the International Law Institute in Washington, D.C., Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro explained how the state of Israel acts in ways that endanger world Jewry and the reasons it does so. Topics included how to prevent opposition to Zionism from being perceived as antisemitic, and what can be done to reduce antisemitism caused by Zionism and the state of Israel. Rabbi Shapiro is Emeritus Rabbi, Bais Medrash of Bayswater, Queens, New York. He has attained an enviable place in the arena of anti-Zionist public intellectuals, having constructed a unique oeuvre on the ideology of Zionism and its hostile relationship to traditional Jewish values. The rabbi abandoned formal schooling after graduating high school at age 16 in order to pursue a program of spiritual and rabbinic studies. At age 19 he published his first work, a compendium of original expositions on Talmudic law, written in rabbinical Hebrew-Aramaic. He has recently attained international renown with his videos on Zionism, which have been seen by millions of viewers worldwide and translated into seven foreign languages. His 7-minute video on President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has been viewed more than 1.8 million times. He most recent work is his 1400-page treatise, The Empty Wagon: Zionism’s Journey from Identity Crisis to Identity Theft, a comprehensive historical and ideological explanation of the incompatibility of Judaism and Zionism.

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Dreams and Screams: Some Things You Didn’t Know about the Israel/Palestine Story

ICMES hosted a lecture by ICMES Board member Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, Professor of Psychology (emeritus), University of Haifa, Israel. The lecture was held on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 4:00 PM, at the International Law Institute, 1055 Thomas Jefferson Street, Washington, D.C. Dr. Beit-Hallahmi received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Michigan State University in 1970, and is currently senior research associate at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, USA and professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Haifa. He is the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of nineteen books and 150 articles and chapters on the psychology of religion, social identity, and personality development. Among his best-known books are Psychological Perspectives on Religion and Religiosity (2015), Psychoanalysis and Theism (2010), Psychoanalysis, Identity, and Ideology (with John Bunzl, 2002), The Psychology of Religious Behaviour, Belief and Experience (with Michael Argyle, 1997), Psychoanalytic Studies of Religion (1996), Despair and Deliverance: Private Salvation in Contemporary Israel (1992), and Prolegomena To The Psychological Study of Religion (1989). Dr. Beit-Hallahmi’s essays on politics and history have been published in periodicals in Israel, Britain, France, and the United States. His book, The Israeli Connection, was published in 1987 by Pantheon Books, New York. The Israeli Connection has also been published in a British edition and has been translated into German, Swedish, Arabic, and Spanish. His book, Original Sins: Reflections on the History of Zionism and Israel, was published in 1992 by Pluto Press, London. A revised edition of Original Sins was published by Interlink, New York in 1993. An unauthorized Arabic translation was published by the PLO in 2001.

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Past ICMES Events

Islam and Modernity

ICMES and the Tres Culturas Fundación (Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation), with the collaboration of the Association Essaouira Mogador, convened on September 14, 2017 at the headquarters of the Association Essaouira Mogador in Essaouira, Morocco, to analyze the relationship between Islam and modernity. The colloquium was composed of two sessions, each of which was comprised of a presenter and a respondent and followed by a corresponding round of debate. Among the issues discussed were the question of Islamic revival; the status and place of women in Islam; the challenges presented by a dual legal system; and the relationship between Islam and secular societies in the 21st century. Presenters included Dr. Norton Mezvinsky, President of ICMES; Issam Saliba, expert on Islamic law at the U.S. Library of Congress (also of ICMES); Dr. Gloria Morán, Distinguished Professor of Comparative Law, Religion and Public Policy in the Faculty of Law at the Universidade da Coruña (also of ICMES); Dr. Aicha El Hajjami, Professsor of Law and Researcher in Women and Family, University of Marrakech; and Dr. Emilio González Ferrín, Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Seville, and Chair Al-Andalus of the Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation. [read more]

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A Conversation with Ghada Karmi

On Thursday, November 5, 2015 from 4:00-6:00 PM, ICMES hosted an intimate conversation about Israel and Palestine with Dr. Ghada Karmi, at the International Law Institute. Ghada Karmi was born in Jerusalem and trained as a medical doctor at Bristol University. She established the first British-Palestinian medical charity in 1972 and was an associate fellow at the Royal Institute for International Affairs. Her previous books include: Jerusalem Today: What Future for the Peace Process?, The Palestinian Exodus 1948-1998, Married to Another Man and In Search of Fatima. Dr. Karmi discussed her latest book, Return, A Palestine Memoir. Dr. Norton Mezvinsky and Ms. Randa Fahmy conducted a dialogue with Dr. Karmi, followed by questions from the audience. Dr. Mezvinsky is president of ICMES and Emeritus Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University. Randa Fahmy is President and CEO of Fahmy Hudome International (FHI), and was Associate Deputy Secretary of Energy in the Bush Administration, after serving as Counselor to U.S. Senator Spencer Abraham.

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Ongoing ICMES Projects

Religion and State in and on the Periphery of the Contemporary Middle East: A Close Examination of Five Separate Countries

This ground-breaking book, edited by Issam M. Saliba and sponsored by ICMES, will contain sophisticated essays that compare the relationship between religion and state in five Muslim majority countries:  Iran, Turkey,  Sudan,  Palestine and Mauritania. An introductory chapter will discuss the theoretical formulation of Islam and the state. Numerous perspectives and arguments, rarely heard in the West, will be presented. Most of the contributors to this scholarly collection are indigenous scholars and writers from the designated countries. This book promises to be not only a contribution itself but also a model for further study. [read more]