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Guest post from Karen Jernigan:

The situation in Israel/Palestine today has become a mainstream media target.  With Hillary Clinton’s recent visit to Gaza and the announcement of new U.S. policy to give $900m in Gaza reconstruction aid verses the $300m to Israel, America is watching and waiting to see how this policy shift may help to promote President Obama’s commitment to fair representation and multilateralism.

At The University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Affairs, a film screening and discussion of the American Media Foundation’s feature, “Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land,” led to a debate of the current administration’s dealings with regard to the recent Gaza incursion.  It has been obvious that American media has sought to protect U.S. ally, Israel, in covering the situation from a pro-Israeli stance.  In the film, Noam Chomsky and other notable scholars and media representatives relay the issues of linguistics and choice clips that our media utilizes to capture and frame the situation in Israel/Palestine.  Here at DU, professors Nader Hashemi and Mary Morris agreed on the fact that there is not a strong Arab representation in America or in Palestine for the Palestinians.  This allows for American media to convey the situation as they have.  Additionally, this film was produced in 2004, Israel is our nation’s strongest ally, and since 2004, mainstream news networks have sought to communicate a much more fair documentation of the conflict.

Guest post from Ruhi Shamim

As a 2008 “Innovators in Cultural Diplomacy” fellow, an initiative brought to you by Americans for Informed Democracy (www.aidemocracy.org), I gained a deeper understanding of the current progressive Muslim American identity movement. While the identity issue at hand has personal significance to me as a Muslim American, it is my commitment to the bigger picture of an inclusive, diverse democracy that fuels my work in this field.

My initiative, “The Crescent Project” was developed in response to the need to organize the Muslim community on my campus based on a common principle of open dialogue that did not exclude self-identified Muslims who have diverse views, practices, and experiences. I reached out to upperclassmen who have achieved leadership positions in a variety of aspects of the university culture (athletics, student government, grassroots organizing, the arts, the sciences, etc..) and who also represent the diversity of the Muslim experience (Black Muslims, International Students, Shi’as, Sufis, Converts, Secular Muslims…) to create a network of support for incoming freshman who are negotiating identity questions upon arriving at college. We wanted to encourage Muslim youth to be engaged in the university community without being pigeon-holed as the token Muslim and without giving up their connection to the Muslim identity and heritage. Through this project, we created open dialogue for alternate views and a forum for active community engagement.

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