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How to tell when criticism of Israel is actually anti-Semitism

How to tell when criticism of Israel is actually anti-Semitism | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Calling out human rights violations shouldn’t stray into bias against Jews.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a very partisan article, but some of the ideas brought up in it are worth discussion in non-partisan settings as well.  The author takes a very liberal perspective critiquing Israeli policies, while loving Judaism, Jewish history, and the right of the Israeli state to exist.  Blanket "good guys" and "bad guys" narratives are always sloppy, but in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict it may be even more pernicious.  

 

Tagsop-ed, Israel Judaism conflict, political, Middle East.

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David Stiger's curator insight, November 1, 2018 12:59 AM
Two things to take away from this well-written article. It is important for critics of the Zionist movement and of Israel (the nation-state) to always bear in mind that the Jewish people are very diverse in both their backgrounds and their views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. No single entity, specifically the Israeli government or army, speaks on behalf of all Jewish people. The second takeaway is being on the lookout for coded language that guises itself as political rhetoric leveled against Israel the state but, in reality, the subtext is covertly anti-Semitic. In place of verbally attacking "the Jews" some people may state "the Zionists" or reference a global Zionist conspiracy theory. Zionism is a specific movement within Judaism advocating for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the ancestral land of Judea/Israel/Canaan/Palestine (or as the Romans called the region, the Levant). Considering these valid points, it must be said that it is okay to criticize the state of Israel and specific actions it has taken against Palestine. But, when doing so, critics must be careful in their choice of words so as not to accidentally encourage anti-Semitic ideas. It is important to note that some Israeli Jews, and some other Arab Jews, disapprove of Israel's human rights violations but still might support having a homeland of their own. It is also worth noting that a person can be a Zionist without condoning the current government and military forces of Israel. One can be a Zionist and pro-Palestinian. In being critical, it is important to monitor the passions and anger that may arise, and not paint the world in black and white. There is always nuance. And there is enough anti-Semitism in the world without liberals who are pro-Palestinian unintentionally adding any more fan to the flames. 
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Pro-Israeli perspective in UNHRC

Seth Dixon's insight:

Admittedly, this is not a neutral perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth sharing if you properly contextualize the statements.  UN Watch is "a non-governmental organization based in Geneva whose mandate is to monitor the performance of the United Nations by the yardstick of its own Charter."  UN Watch works to oppose what they see as chronic anti-Israeli bias in the UN.   

 

Tags: Israel, PalestineNGOs, political, Middle East.

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Douglas Vance's curator insight, March 22, 2018 4:27 PM
Although biased, it is incredible to observe how it is possible to manipulate facts and realities to support your position by taking the out of context. It is clear that many predominantly Muslim nations are trying to actively undermine Israel and its power on the world stage. This video also does a tremendous job of pointing out that all of these nations who are opposing Israel also have a small Jewish population, yet almost gloss over and try to ignore their very existence. 
Corey Rogers's curator insight, December 15, 2018 5:10 AM
This gentleman gives you an eye opener on how little the Israel/Palestine conflict is looked at. Even more so the Israeli people are neglected and not even thought of during these conferences. They need to stop ignoring the issues and start to work on the situations at hand. 
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Jordanian parliament repeals rape law

Jordanian parliament repeals rape law | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The Jordanian parliament voted on Tuesday to abolish a provision in the penal code that allows rapists to escape punishment if they marry their victims - a move that is being hailed as 'historic' by activists and locals. Article 308 permit[ed] pardoning rape perpetrators if they marry their victims and stay with them for at least three years.  The controversial provision has for decades divided Jordan between those who believe the law is necessary to protect women's 'honour', and others who see it as a violation of basic human rights."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Cultural norms and political practices are so often intertwined that understanding local laws means that one has to understand the cultural context within which they were created, and in this case, the cultural processes that led to a political will to change them.  

 

Tagsculture, cultural norms, gender, MiddleEast, Jordan, political.

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Treathyl Fox's curator insight, August 3, 2017 2:57 PM
This is major for womens' rights.
David G Tibbs's curator insight, March 22, 2018 4:54 PM
It's amazing how these laws can even exist in today's global society. The law itself is a violation of human rights by making someone who is harmed to before attached to the person that harmed them. It's also shocking some of the countries that have abolished similar laws only within the last 30 years. Countries like Italy, Romania, France, and Peru to name a few. This is not just a continuing issue in the middle east but also in areas in Latin America and in Asia. Hopefully, countries will follow suit, which will take a major change in culture and thought. It will also take a major amount of energy from the people in those countries to change these laws.
 
Katie Kershaw's curator insight, March 27, 2018 4:39 PM
The original reason that this law was put into practice was the most interesting part of the article.  The law stated that men who raped women would not be punished if they married their victim.  It was said that the law protected women from the stigma surrounding rape, especially if they became pregnant.  It’s hard to tell if lawmakers were genuinely concerned with women’s well-beings or if they were just looking for a way to prevent men from being punished and just disguising it as beneficial to women.  The law was in place for about 60 years and was approved to repeal by a very slim majority.  This is a step in making Jordan a more progressive country that respects human rights, however they are still far from having gender equality.  It was upsetting to me that I had never heard of this law before it was introduced to me in class because it shows that the U.S. and media don’t pay attention to such violations of human rights.  It was also crazy to me that it took until 2017 for the law to be repealed, but even more shocking that it was put into place just 60 years ago.  If I didn’t know the history of it, I would have assumed it was some ancient law.
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How the 1967 war changed the shape of Israel

How the 1967 war changed the shape of Israel | Geography Education | Scoop.it
THE SIX-DAY WAR increased Israel’s territory threefold. The “borders of Auschwitz” were gone; the vulnerable nine-mile narrow waist acquired a thick cuirass with the mountains of the West Bank. Israel soon annexed East Jerusalem with some surrounding land; it did the same with the Golan Heights in 1981.

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, borders, political, Middle East.

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Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, July 4, 2017 7:22 AM
How the 1967 war changed the shape of Israel
Allison Anthony's curator insight, July 5, 2017 11:12 PM

Middle East/Southwest Asia

Katie Kershaw's curator insight, March 27, 2018 4:53 PM
Anyone who thinks they have a solution to dividing up Israel into a land for both Palestinians and Israelis should read this article, because it is basically impossible.  It seems that both Palestinians and Israelis tried to claim as much land as they could for their own during the second half of the twentieth century.  However, they didn’t seem to have a long term plan because basically none of the territories are autonomously Palestinian or Israeli.  There would be no way to divide the country without displacing millions of people.  Jerusalem itself is even more of a mess because it is divided between Jews, Muslims, Christians and Armenians.  There would be no way to grant full control of Jerusalem to one group without causing major conflict.  The very last part of this article describes what both Israelis and Palestinians believe qualify them for greater power in the territory.  Both believe that whoever has a higher population should be entitled to more control.  The problem is that Palestians calculate that their population is about to be equal to the Israelis, but the Israelis believe the birth rate of the Orthodox Jews is high enough to keep their population larger.  It’s pretty hard to tell which group is correct because they are both very biased on the matter.  The settlement patterns and the stubbornness of both the Israelis and the Palestinians leave little hope that this conflict will be solved anytime soon.
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Hijab: Veiled in Controversy

Hijab: Veiled in Controversy | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Hijab is an Islamic concept of modesty and privacy, most notably expressed in women’s clothing that covers most of the body.
Seth Dixon's insight:

What is the geography of the hijab?  Covering one's head pre-dates Islam in the Middle East but many associate this practice strictly with Islam and only for women. Read this article (with teaching tips and supplemental resources) for more context on this cultural and religious practice.  

 

Tags: Islam, perspective, religion, culture, National Geographic.

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Taylor Doonan's curator insight, March 23, 2018 4:42 PM
This article is about Hijabs and it talks about the religious aspect of Hijabs versus the cultural aspect. It states that the hijab is a sign of modesty, which is not a strictly Muslim ideology, but is addressed in many religions. It also talks about how the hijab is not directly mentioned in the Quran. It states that the hijab is almost as much a cultural symbol instead of a religious one and talks about countries with laws about hijabs and how women should dress. 
Nicole Canova's curator insight, March 25, 2018 2:19 AM
Hijab is the expression of a concept of modesty.  It is not specific to one religion, nor is it specific to one region.  This expression of modesty is encouraged, but not clearly defined, in Islam's holy texts; rather, it is informed by personal or cultural notions of what it means to be modest.  Hijab's association with extreme or radical Islam has led to heated debates in Western nations about whether or not it is acceptable for people to express hijab, with many people citing "national/public security" as a reason to ban certain coverings.
David Stiger's curator insight, October 31, 2018 3:29 PM
The geography of the hijab is important for Westerners to understand. Only two countries, Iran and Saudi Arabia, require women to dress by the strict standards of hijab. The vast majority of Middle Eastern, North African, and Muslim countries around the world do not have a legal dress code for women. Some laws and cultural traditions encourage women to dress modestly. Other countries like Tunisia, Turkey, and Syria (all predominantly Muslim) had laws to restrict women from wearing the hijab in order to be more secular and modern. Many other countries, like Pakistan and Jordan, do not have any laws on the book concerning if women should or should not wear a hijab. These countries understand that it is a personal choice regarding privacy, reputation, and personal faith. Like many religious precepts, the concept of hijab is open to interpretation. As a result, a Westerner can safely assume that having a large Muslim population, or a significant number of Muslims operating in a government, will not lead to a takeover of Sharia law or oppressive fundamentalist codes of behavior. Instead of being afraid of the unknown and making assumptions about entire societies, Westerners should find out more and be exposed to how diverse and broad differing cultures and societies can be. 
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Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here

Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here | Geography Education | Scoop.it
One of the driest countries on Earth now makes more freshwater than it needs

 

Driven by necessity, Israel is learning to squeeze more out of a drop of water than any country on Earth; researchers have pioneered new techniques in drip irrigation, water treatment and desalination. “The Middle East is drying up,” says Osnat Gillor, a professor at the Zuckerberg Institute who studies the use of recycled wastewater on crops. “The only country that isn’t suffering acute water stress is Israel.” That water stress has been a major factor in the turmoil tearing apart the Middle East, but Bar-Zeev believes that Israel’s solutions can help its parched neighbors, too — and in the process, bring together old enemies in common cause.

 

Tags: drought, water, environment, Israeltechnology, Middle East.

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Susan Grice's curator insight, February 4, 2017 1:51 PM
GReat!
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Ivan Ius's curator insight, February 5, 2017 10:03 PM
Geographic Concepts: Spatial Significance, Geographic Perspective
brielle blais's curator insight, April 1, 2018 9:16 PM
This connects to the physical geography of Israel as it was once incredibly dry, facing a decade long drought. This ruined the agriculture sector of their economy as well, along with changing the people's way of life. However, desalination has saved the country, and Israel really had no other choice. Instead, the country is now a water giant, and has an overabundance through new technologies. 
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Video: Step Into a Refugee Camp

Video: Step Into a Refugee Camp | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan is one of the largest Syrian camps in the world. In the fall, we visited the camp live with our audience. Here’s what we heard from the refugees and from you.
Seth Dixon's insight:

If you want to humanize the massive refugee crisis, and have lives and stories to connect to statistics, this 11 minute video shows what life is like in a refugee camp, and goes into the hopes, dreams, and life stories of the refugees. 

 

TagsMiddleEast, Jordan, Syria, political, refugees.

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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict updates, 2016

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict updates, 2016 | Geography Education | Scoop.it

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one that powerfully divides the international community.  Of those living within the state of Israel, Pew Research data shows that they are often deeply divided based on religious affiliation. Not surprisingly, those divisions extend into how they view the peace process, West Bank settlements and U.S. support.  Although the conflict is portrayed as a battle between religious groups, it can be more fairly assessed as two nationalistic groups competing for land.  Broadly speaking, the Muslim world has sided with the Palestinians, and the U.S. and its NATO allies have defended Israel.   In the United Nation’s Security Council, the United States’ veto power has been use to strike down resolutions that would condemn Israeli settlement in the militarily occupied lands of the West Bank.  The 2016 UN resolution that passed 14-0 (with only the U.S. abstaining) says that Israel’s settlements on Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, have “no legal validity” and demands a halt to “all Israeli settlement activities,” saying this “is essential for salvaging the two-state solution.”

 

These settlements are considered by most of the international community to be illegal, and the UN has condemned them, but since the U.S. has always vetoed this, Israel has never been formally reprimanded.  Earlier this week, the U.S. abstained from the vote, and the many see the U.S. position as hypocritical, (Secretary of State John Kerry strongly defended the position).

 

Some highly partisan supporters of Israel do not see Israel’s actions as the problem, primarily because Israel’s neighbors have traditionally not recognized its right to exist, and attacked it many times.  Therefore, they see Israel’s actions as necessary for the security of Israel, and do not see Israel’s settlements in the West Bank as illegal since Palestine isn’t a state that was ever legally accepted. 

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, conflict, borders, political, Middle East.

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Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, January 9, 2017 7:14 AM
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict updates, 2016
David Stiger's curator insight, October 31, 2018 3:06 PM
While religion plays a crucial role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is important to note that it is not the central issue; disputes over land seem to be the bedrock of the conflict. It is also worth noting that this conflict only began in 1948, and that at several points in history, all three Abrahamic faiths peacefully coexisted and shared Jerusalem. It is essential to understand how sacred Jerusalem (on the border of the West Bank) is to both sides of the conflict and how both parties feel they have a divinely sanctioned right to the territory. Examining the history of this conflict illustrates how things simply spiraled out of control making compromise, specifically the means to share this special land, nearly impossible. The Zionist movement in relation to Holocaust, the Jewish War for Independence in 1949, the Six-Day War, and the First and Second Intifadas have culminated in two sides unwilling to work together in order to reach a lasting, mutually beneficial compromise. This deal would be in the form of an internationally recognized two-state solution, with Jerusalem serving as a shared city. Unfortunately, a large portion of Israelis are tired of the relentless conflict causing them to become apathetic. Having the upper-hand, Israel now lacks the collective willpower to implement change. On the other side are the Palestinians, who possess a sense of national identity but are blocked at every turn from establishing their own country. The rage and frustration in Palestine has pushed organizations like Hamas to employ terror tactics - resulting in Israelis to fight back harder. This process  of bloodshed creates a viscous cycle that is already highly complicated due to geography. A salient geopolitical point here is the unhindered spread and development of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. To me, this is where Israel stepped way over the line of morality and self-defense. They are no longer defenders but are now invaders, conquerors, and perhaps even colonizers. It is no wonder Palestinians are enraged. The physical act of rivals occupying land unjustly has become a humiliating usurpation of sacred rights. Although this would be extremely difficult, the Israeli government needs to pull its people out of the settlements and give all the land back to Palestine. In exchange, Hamas needs to be disowned and disbanded. Palestine should not have a military for 15 years, allowing Israel to manage its security. Jerusalem should be split in half and as a gesture of goodwill, Israel should give up a strip of land to Palestine in order to connect Gaza and the West Bank. 
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ISIS and the U.S. Presidential Election

The United States is already taking some steps to roll back the Islamic State (ISIS) and restrict its resources and recruits, including airstrikes, armin
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a non-partisan post and a video that is fairly balanced; this video nicely lays out some of the cultural and political factors that the next president of the United States should consider when crafting foreign policy in the especially problematic Middle East.  

 

Tags: Syria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics, Iraq, devolution, terrorism, ISISMiddle East.

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Richard Aitchison's curator insight, March 7, 2018 2:47 PM
Since this video was made we have already had a Presidential election and policy made to deal with some of these key issues. Within the past year US policy (some continuation from the Obama Era) under President Trump has been to destroy ISIS and for the most part it has be done. ISIS has been displaced from the region, however that does not mean that the fighting in Syria has stopped. There are still many issues in the area and one that will not simply be rectified within a few years, this is a battle that we will see repeat over and over again. Much like Afghanistan, this area is one with much upheaval and when one power goes away another one rises and new problems can arise. It is an area in which, like the video states a major conundrum. How can we support one place and not make a country like Turkey angry (the Kurd's example  from the video)? So one could say well just stay out of the whole area, while that can make sense it is to important as a world leader (especially America) to not be involved in both a key geographical area for Russia and human rights area.  While there is no doubt there has been improvements in the last year, it is the same story in the Middle East, what is the end game? How do we get to the finish line and does anyone have the right answers. 
Matt Manish's curator insight, May 4, 2018 6:15 AM
The video was published before the last presidential election, but some of the information in it is still accurate regarding the crisis  in Syria. For example this video talks about how Syrian refugees are fleeing from ISIS to other nations in order to escape them. There are many refugees being displaced because of the violence ISIS is causing in the middle east. Refugees that need a place to escape to flee to neighboring countries to get away from ISIS. There is still some debate in America about whether or not Syrian refugees should be allowed to enter the U.S. as well. Ultimately something needs to be done about the terror havoc ISIS is reeking in the middle east.
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Four maps that explain the chaos of the Middle East

Four maps that explain the chaos of the Middle East | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Without trying to defend or absolve U.S. policy, then, it is worth stepping back to ask what shared historical experiences might have left these four countries — Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen — particularly at risk of violent collapse. The following maps help highlight how, at various points over the past century, historical circumstances conspired, in an often self-reinforcing way, to bolster the stability of some states in the region while undermining that of others."

Seth Dixon's insight:

These maps are not cartographically inspiring, but the it's the historical and political insight that makes them valuable. The goal of this set of maps is to find some underlying causal reasons for political stability(or more importantly instability) in the Middle East. These four maps focus on these key issues:

1. Century-old states are more stable today

2. Colonial rule led to fragile states

3. Instability and regime change

4. The shadow of the Cold War

 

Tags: MiddleEast, war, conflict, political, geopoliticshistorical.

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Kelly Bellar's curator insight, October 22, 2016 2:30 PM

These maps are not cartographically inspiring, but the it's the historical and political insight that makes them valuable. The goal of this set of maps is to find some underlying causal reasons for political stability(or more importantly instability) in the Middle East. These four maps focus on these key issues:

1. Century-old states are more stable today

2. Colonial rule led to fragile states

3. Instability and regime change

4. The shadow of the Cold War

 

Tags: MiddleEast, war, conflict, political, geopoliticshistorical.

Katie Kershaw's curator insight, March 28, 2018 6:49 PM
From the western perspective, it's easier just to assume the Middle East is constantly in conflict purely out of their own fault.  However, the story is more complicated than that and much of the conflict in the area is due to involvement from the west.  These four maps show the different factors that impact the countries in the Middle East.  The first one shows that countries that were fully formed states for longer, tend to be more stable.  This makes sense because they haven't had outside influence for longer and have had more time to create stronger governments.  Looking at just this map, it seems like Iran and Egypt should be more stable than Saudi Arabia today.  However, this map doesn't tell the whole story.  The second map shows the types of colonial rule that each country was under in recent history.  Turkey was the only country in the region that was able to stay fully independent.  Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Israel are some of the countries that were under full colonization.  Not surprisingly, the struggles they had to gain their independence still effects the stability of these countries today.  This shows that the involvement from outsiders has had negative, long-term effects on the area and that the west is not free from blame of what is happening in the Middle East.  The third map differentiates between the countries that changed regimes after World War II and those that did not.  There is a correlation between which countries experienced the change and the countries that are the least stable today.  The final map shows which countries were pro-western, pro-Soviet, or shifted alignments during the Cold War.  Once again the outside influence of both the west and in this case the Soviet Union, lead to further divide in the region.  The history and shifting geography of the Middle East in just the last hundred years helps to give insight to how the region has become as conflicted in some countries, yet stable in others.
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Petra, Jordan: Huge monument found 'hiding in plain sight'

Petra, Jordan: Huge monument found 'hiding in plain sight' | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Two archaeologists, who recently published their findings in the American Schools of Oriental Research, used Google Earth satellite images and drone photography to identify the outline of an enormous monument buried beneath sand and time at the UNESCO World Heritage site in Jordan."  --Motherboard

Seth Dixon's insight:

When in the Mexican state of Veracruz as a grad student, I saw a startling mountain covered by the dense tropical rain forest; this mountain had a consistent slope with hard angles.  I was awestruck to realize that it was an uncovered (but not undiscovered) pyramid and I wondered just how many archeological sites are waiting to be unearthed. 

 

Why is a geographer an important member of an interdisciplinary team? This discovery shows that spatial thinking, geographic tools, and a keen eye for usually patterns in unexpected places are critical for many disciplines and fields of research.

 

Tags: spatial, remote sensing, geospatial, MiddleEast, Jordan, googleunit 1 GeoPrinciples.  

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Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, March 29, 2018 8:38 PM
(Middle East) Using modern technology, archaeologists have discovered a new monument hidden underground in Petra. The find, dated around 150 B.C., is thought to be a ceremonial site with two platforms, pottery. columns, and a staircase carved out of stone. It is amazing that there are still new finds like this in the 21st century, but the history of the Middle East is so incredibly old, with so many extinct civilizations, that archaeologists will probably keep making new breakthroughs.
brielle blais's curator insight, April 1, 2018 9:40 PM
Physical geography can be really cool as understanding the current land helps to also understand the past. Researchers finding new monuments like this in Petra shows the importance of knowing the land around you, or someplace important like where the UNESCO World Heritage Site. 
Laurie Ruggiero's curator insight, May 29, 2018 10:30 PM
Unit 1
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xkcd: Orbiter

xkcd: Orbiter | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Seth Dixon's insight:

I've always enjoyed this comic strip...it highlights some of the difficulties in teaching about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. 

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, political, language, toponymsMiddle East.

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EP Eric Pichon's curator insight, March 18, 2016 8:48 AM

...some of the difficulties in teaching about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. 

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, political, language, toponyms, Middle East.

Leonardo Wild's curator insight, March 18, 2016 1:10 PM

I've always enjoyed this comic strip...it highlights some of the difficulties in teaching about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. 

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, political, language, toponyms, Middle East.

Corey Rogers's curator insight, December 15, 2018 5:37 AM
This comic is funny because it shows just how confrontational people are between Palestine and Israel. Where people back Israel saying that they deserve that land and people who back Palestine stating that the land has always been there own, thus creating a never ending cycle.  
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Israel to create a new egalitarian prayer plaza at Western Wall

Israel to create a new egalitarian prayer plaza at Western Wall | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The government approved a plan to allow pluralistic, and mixed-gender prayer, at Judaism’s holy site.
Seth Dixon's insight:

In the past, Israeli policewomen have detained members of the religious group Women of the Wall for breaching orthodox rules governing prayers at the site. This is Judaism's most holy site and orthodox traditions have legally prevailed here, defining who could be there and who could perform which religious rites (often on gender lines).  This fight represents a struggle to redefine the meaning and usage of public space in Jerusalem (among other complex issues).  The article states that "this marks an unprecedented move by the Israeli government to officially recognize the rights of Conservative, Reform and other Jewish denominations to hold organized prayer at the site."

 

Tags: Israel, culture, genderspace, religion, Judaism,
Middle East.

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aliyah marie scarb's curator insight, April 8, 2017 4:45 AM
this relates to what we are learning in world cultural human geography class because religions have variously different symbolic traditions. Science and religion argue all the time, but they increasingly agree on one thing: a little spirituality can be good for your health. Religions cover the faith angles of the world's biggest beliefs and Israel does it in their own special way, just as much as any other religion. 
Mr Mac's curator insight, June 13, 2017 3:41 PM
Unit 3 - Religion, Unit 4 - Multinational States, Sateless Nations, Gender, Ethnicity
Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, March 30, 2018 12:49 AM
(Middle East) Last year Israel outlined a strategy to create an equal prayer space on the Western Wall. Traditionally, the wall is split into separate sections for men and women, with stricter rules for women per the Orthodox beliefs. However, Israel has now allowed the right for other Jewish sects to pray at the wall, promoting the idea that Israel is a state for all Jews and leading to dissent of the conservative Israeli elites. It is interesting to note the privileges the Orthodox Jews hold over other denominations, let alone the Palestinians, and this act will further the view of Israel's purpose as a unified Jewish homeland.
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Za'atari Camp

Za'atari Camp | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Spongebob Squarepants has been painted on the entire side of one caravan, and an Arabic phrase has been gracefully painted on another. This kind of incongruity I see throughout the camp. Two women are dressed in traditional full-length hijabs, for example, but the man behind them is wearing a Golden State Warriors t-shirt. A man in a robe encourages a donkey to pull a cart, yet right past him are young boys with smartphones huddled near a fence looking for better cell reception. A little further down the road and on my right I see a shoeless kid laughing and rolling a tire, but on my left, I spot a vast number of solar-powered panels. This constant juxtaposition is jarring and yet beautiful, and I am taken back by the energy of the place."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is from the other Professor Dixon, my brother Shane, an ESL professor at Arizona State who travels abroad frequently to train ESL teachers around the world (he's taught MOOCs and is a rock star in the ESL world--trust me--he's awesome).  I was thrilled to hear that he would not only be going to Jordan, but working within the Za'atari refugee camp.  He's a keen observer of the cultural and urban landscapes. 

 

TagsMiddleEast, Jordan, political, refugees.

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Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, December 15, 2017 3:01 AM

What is it like i a refugee camp? A juxtaposition of conflicting images. 

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Capital Jerusalem

Capital Jerusalem | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Because Israel refused to recognize the U.N. plan for an internationalized Jerusalem and because of its annexation of occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, no country in the world has offered legal and diplomatic recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Most states, however, have unofficially acknowledged Israel's sovereignty and actual possession, without recognition of lawful title."

Seth Dixon's insight:

That is, until now.  The United States is planning to move it's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in a move that will have far more reaching implications than the relocation of just about any other embassy on Earth could have, given the geopolitical significance of Jerusalem to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the broader international ties.  Below are some resources to contextualize this shift: 

 

Questions to Ponder: How does this change the status quo at the local, national and international scales?  What might be some of the consequences of this move?  What would you recommend and why?  

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, borders, political, Middle East, geopolitics, historical.

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Richard Aitchison's curator insight, March 7, 2018 2:12 PM
It was a major move by the Trump administration with far reaching complications.  Now it if you take out all of the past history in the area and all of the future political/military problems in the area does it make sense to recognize Jerusalem as the capital, well yes. However, in this world that we live in it surely is not that simple. With the past, current, and future arguments in the area between Israel and the Palestine's this further creates a rift between both and probably takes us further away from a resolution. From a geography and economic perspective Jerusalem would be a great central location in which to work from, however since there is so much contested space there it simply does not work. It isn't always the best place from a geographical standpoint (although in an ideal world that be perfect), but the one in our current political climate that makes the most sense for ones own country. This is a decision that we will have to look back at for the next decade or so and see eventually the impact that it will have on the current situation. 
Douglas Vance's curator insight, March 22, 2018 4:36 PM
The decision by the US to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the city as the capital of Israel totally and absolutely undermines almost any chance at a two state solution. With this declaration, the US has taken sides and the idea that a two state solution with a Jerusalem under international government has essentially vanished. Even if the US were to reverse their decision in the future, the damage has already been done. 
David Stiger's curator insight, October 31, 2018 5:55 PM
Ever since taking an interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during high school model U.N., I have always wondered how a two-state solution would deal with the city of Jerusalem. I wondered how any solution, single-state included, would handle the highly politicized, disputed ancient metropolis. While Jerusalem is Judaism's most holy city, it is the third most holy city in Islam - a faith with 1.6 billion adherents compared to 14 million Jews. Simply stated, both faiths are equally deserving of the right to live in, worship in, and experience Jerusalem. Because of this reality, it would be grossly unfair and unjust let only one faction inherit and rule the city. As the author Emmett argues, President Trump's decision to support permanent Israeli control over the city was a mistake - pure folly that will only exacerbate tensions. If the city cannot just be handed over to one side, another solution must be offered.

 I once thought it would be wise to divide split Jerusalem - what Emmett calls "scattered sovereignty. The division would have to be considered because Arab and Israeli neighborhoods are mixed together. As a non-partisan, peace, it would seem, should be the ultimate aim as coexistence through compromise would benefit the most amount of people in the Israel-Palestinian region. After this article introduced the concept of an "internationalized city," it would seem best that Jerusalem take this route. No one has claim to the city because all have valid claims. This sentiment echoes the ideas established in 1948 under the United Nations Resolution 194. Following through on this idea would take the supercharged, contentious issue of control over Jerusalem off the table allowing peace negotiations to move forward. 
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Same again: Turkey’s emergency rule

Same again: Turkey’s emergency rule | Geography Education | Scoop.it

​The state of emergency in place since last summer’s coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan resumes today for another three months, following a decision by the country’s security council. Emergency rule has now been extended four times. Over its course, more than 50,000 people have been arrested, and twice as many sacked from government jobs, including over 7,000 dismissals over the past week. On the anniversary of the coup Mr Erdogan said emergency rule would lapse only when “we no longer need to fight terrorism”, and vowed to reinstate the death penalty and “rip off” the coup plotters’ heads. Using the crisis as cover, the government has already locked up leading Kurdish politicians; the secular opposition may be next. Mr Erdogan accuses its leader, who recently led the biggest protest in years, of siding with Turkey’s enemies. The failed coup increasingly resembles a successful one—for the other side.

 

Tags: politicalMiddleEast, Turkey.

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David G Tibbs's curator insight, March 22, 2018 5:10 PM
I don't know if this state of emergency is a ploy by the Turkish government or if this a for safety reason. It's weird how a state of emergency is still in effect even after a failed coup that happened over a year ago. The last documented terrorist attack against Turkey was the 1st of January in 2017.The President of Turkey has stated that while they fight terrorism that the state of emergency will be in place. Which is weird because terrorism is a multi-compound thought process and is not easy to defeat.While in the midst of all these people are being purged from jobs and arrested for various reasons. It seems like the government is using the state of emergency has an excuse to element people from their jobs without cause.  
 
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Syria's war: Who is fighting and why [Updated]

"After four-plus years of fighting, Syria's war has killed at least hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions. And, though it started as a civil war, it's become much more than that. It's a proxy war that has divided much of the Middle East, and has drawn in both Russia and the United States. To understand how Syria got to this place, it helps to start at the beginning and watch it unfold."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Over a year ago I posted a previous version of this video highlighting the complexities behind the Syrian war.  Much has happened since then and this updated version adds more detail and includes a very helpful timeline to show how more internal and external forces became involved in the fighting.  This is an incredibly complicated geopolitical situation because of all the regional and international players involved.  

 

TagsSyria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics.

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Stevie-Rae Wood's curator insight, October 29, 2018 1:37 AM
The war in Syria has been devastating to Syrian's inhabitants. After six years of this conflict it has become a mess and is divided into four sections or groups, all backed different foreign backers. The backers have know become so confused on who there fighting for and what there fighting for, that is how messy this war has gotten. The use of chemical warfare has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions. As to why there is a major Syrian refugee crisis. The conflict started as an internal war against Assad and rebels. This small civil war has know turned into a global conflict. I wish I could say what foreign countries are backing who and why but the lines are very blurred and there has been many back stabbing. All these foreign powers entering this war has established Syria as a great power dispute. The Assad and rebels conflict also brew the other two sections that are fighting in this region the Kurds who want their own nation. The Kurds are the largest cultural and ethnic group without a country. The entrance of the Kurds in the fighting brought in more foreign countries to either support their efforts or squash the Kurds hopes of obtaining a nation of there own. Then you have ISIS who formed as a branch out of the original rebels because there was an internal dispute. Overall this war is bloody and will never end if all these four sections cant come to an agreement. If there is no determination for peace there will never be peace.
David Stiger's curator insight, October 31, 2018 10:59 PM
Hearing about the news in Syria is usually tragic and frustrating. It is also equally confusing and this video helped to sort out its causes and important transformations over time. Even with the video's succinct explanation, the conflict is still a quagmire to understand. The fighting began during the 2011 Arab Spring when peaceful Syrian protesters were gunned down by Assad's military forces. Instead of backing down and caving into the violent repression, the Syrian civilians retaliated with small arms fire and were joined by Syrian army defectors. The now belligerent protesters formed their own rebel army, causing Syria to erupt into a civil war. Then Islamic extremists, including a terrorist groups, joined the rebels. Countries like Turkey and Jordan began funding and arming the rebels while Iran - a Shiite country - provided support to Assad. Appalled by the out-of-control death toll, the United States began training and arming the rebels - some of whom were from Al Qaeda! Assad's chemical weapons attack escalated U.S. involvement while Russia came to the side of Assad. Putin most likely supports Assad to maintain its lease of a key geographic asset - a warm-water naval base -while also discouraging internal rebellion. At some point a group of ethnic Kurds in northern Syria succeeded (Putin's fear) and began attacking Assad. But, Turkey started attacking the Kurds! Then in 2014 ISIS broke away from Al Qaeda and started attacking the Kurds and the rebels prompting the U.S. to redirect its focus away from the Assad regime. This has to be the messiest conflict in modern history and is entirely defined by proxy wars. Because the war is so convoluted and complicated, there is no end in sight. The relentless destruction over years has caused millions of refugees to flee to Europe because it is the closest stable place to Syria. This unprecedented wave of migrations will surely transform Europe and cripple Syria in the long run.  
Corey Rogers's curator insight, December 15, 2018 5:18 AM
Syria's war has gotten crazier and crazier and doesn't seem like there is a end in sight. The insane cross fighting between outside countries and the inner working of independence inside Syria itself is still an issue. A local protest has turned into an international fight against top countries of US and Russia.
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Revised executive order bans travelers from six Muslim-majority countries from getting new visas

Revised executive order bans travelers from six Muslim-majority countries from getting new visas | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The president is expected to sign his new, more limited rule Monday.
Seth Dixon's insight:

It's hard to discuss this topic in detail without a partisan political views.  Underneath all of those opinions are geographic perspective about how the world works as well as geographical imaginations on how things should operate. 

 

Tags: migrationrefugees, war, political, terrorism, ISISMiddle East, conflict.

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Richard Aitchison's curator insight, March 7, 2018 2:26 PM
One of President Trump's first acts as President was the  "Muslim Ban" as it was so often referred to.  In this article it explains the changes that the ban has gone through since it was first blocked and the differences between it and what the Obama administration did with it polices. We can also look at Europe and debate its policies as well on immigration and what polices they have enacted over the past few years as well. This is a hotly debated issue between both parties right now and into the future, not just an issue, but an issue I am sure will be debated in elections ahead. When looking at this issue we have to look beyond what the main political points will be and try use some of of our own sense on the issue. With so much upheaval in this area is it safe to take in people from it? It is a legit question one must pose especially with the increase in terrorist attacks over the past few years. Could the US or countries in Europe have avoided with a better process? Who really knows for sure. It is in everyone's best interest to make this area more livable for its current citizens. Since that would calm everyone on the immigration issue. How do major world powers get involved in this situation then? That becomes the issue as the the last elections in the US and other countries alike have pushed for more in house or in country work as opposed to overseas involvement.  This will not be the last time this comes up, just wait til 2018 and I am sure in 2020 elections. 
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Israeli settlements, explained

"Both sides claim the West Bank as legitimately belonging to them. Over time, and especially as Israeli politics has shifted rightward, the settler movement has become an institutionalized part of Israeli society. Support comes in the form of building permits, public investment, and even incentives for Israelis to move into the West Bank. While peace talks remain frozen, the settlements continue to grow, making any possibility of a Palestinian state in the West Bank faint."

Seth Dixon's insight:

These settlements are considered by most of the international community to be illegal, but since the U.S. has always vetoed sanctions in the UN security council, Israel had never been formally reprimanded.  Just last week, a UN resolution that passed 14-0 (with only the U.S. abstaining) says that Israel’s settlements on Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, have “no legal validity” and demands a halt to “all Israeli settlement activities,” saying this “is essential for salvaging the two-state solution.” 

 

Questions to Ponder: What is the two-state solution?  Who favors this plan?  What are some reasons why the two-state solution is so difficult to achieve?

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, conflict, borders, territoriality, political, Middle East.

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David G Tibbs's curator insight, March 22, 2018 5:25 PM
The settlements started out has a religious spreading. However, that has dramatically changed over time due to economic reasons. Not only that the amount of government support for the people living in these lands are incredible, even in an outpost that is deemed illegal. The country occasionally goes into illegal areas and tear down houses to show a tough face on them. The government and its people theorized that more will come home and that the populations in the settlements will grow to half a million. The international community and Israeli must come up with a strategy before it gets to the point of no turning back. 
 
Taylor Doonan's curator insight, March 23, 2018 4:55 PM
This video gives some in depth background on how Israel and Palestine are severely intermingled. It goes into the history of the creation of Israel and it talks extensively about the West Bank region and who lives there and who controls what parts. The region is very intertwined and more Israelis are moving into the region and how it would become more and more difficult to separate the region into two states. 
brielle blais's curator insight, April 1, 2018 9:34 PM
This shows how important clear and distinct boarders are for different countries. In this case, that is important because Palstine feels their land is justing getting taken, while Israel argues they are returning to their homeland. Either way, the rest of the world believes what Israel is doing is illegal and Palestine should have it's own autonomy as a state, in a two-state system.
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Amid ISIS and Syria, Let's Not Forget The Quest for Peace In Israel/Palestine

Amid ISIS and Syria, Let's Not Forget The Quest for Peace In Israel/Palestine | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has rarely been so far from finding a resolution. Since the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas during the summer of 2014, the desire to seek peace has been diminishing, and instead growing tensions have prevailed, punctuated by stabbings and car-ramming attacks by the Palestinians, and violent acts including arson by the settlers. Yet, the climate has rarely been so favorable to a resolution of the conflict. The chaos that is sweeping the Middle East has been a game-changer in relation to Israel and the Arab countries.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Many Palestinians and Israeli are fearful of a possible breakout of ISIS out of Syria and into Gaza and the West Bank. According to the authors of the op-ed, Europe needs to come together and provide leadership and a plan to enforce so that these issues do not reoccur. The last 17 years have been filled with failed attempts but breaking this cycle of violence is not impossible. 

 

Tagsop-ed, Israel, Palestine, conflict, political, Middle East.

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Corey Rogers's curator insight, December 15, 2018 5:29 AM
Yes, Israel and Palestine are in a never ending conflict but yet face a bigger issue in the way of ISIS. The tensions in the Middle East are making everyone subside the issues happening in the "Holy Lands". We need to not only think about solving the tension in the Middle East but also the tension between Palestine and Israel. 
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Aleppo Is Falling

Aleppo Is Falling | Geography Education | Scoop.it
How Assad and Russia achieved a major victory at a devastating cost

 

Reports from Aleppo have been particularly harrowing for the past month, as Syrian government forces, supported by Russian airstrikes and Iranian-backed militias, have squeezed the remaining rebels out of the eastern portion of the city. The collapse seemed to come all at once, with fighters loyal to Bashar al-Assad making more territorial gains in the city’s rebel enclaves since mid-November than they had in the previous four years since the opposition first seized it.

As the offensive reached its final stages this week, the United Nations received reports of massacres of civilians; a spokesman for the UN high commissioner for human rights said women and children had been shot trying to flee.

Seth Dixon's insight:

During the fighting between the Assad regime and the rebels, ISIS has taken advantage of the situation to recapture Palmyra. 

 

Tags: Syria, war, political, terrorism, ISISMiddle East.

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Kelly Bellar's curator insight, December 13, 2016 9:21 PM

During the fighting between the Assad regime and the rebels, ISIS has taken advantage of the situation to recapture Palmyra. 

 

Tags: Syria, war, political, terrorism, ISISMiddle East.

David G Tibbs's curator insight, March 1, 2018 3:03 PM
With Aleppo back in government control, the rebels lost a major cultural center, along with a major city. This gives the military of Assad a major advantage against the rebels in the region of the country. It also prolongs the war, if the rebels would have held onto the city they could have marched to the capital and possibly ended the war. With the rebels losing the city they will have to rebuild their momentum and the government will have to keep their momentum in order to end the civil war. This is an attempt by Russia to keep resources flowing to its nation, so it can still compete in the global market. Russia is expanding its influence in the area by supporting the regime, while Turkey is trying to expand its influence in the area by supporting the rebels. This war has become a proxy war for influence in the middle east. 
 
James Piccolino's curator insight, March 24, 2018 1:31 PM
It is at times like this that we, meaning America and even maybe the rest of the world, find ourselves at a crossroad. We must pick one of two options. We can not ignore it, or ask "Where's Aleppo?" like Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate in 2016 (still embarrassing for this former Libertarian) and pretend the problem does not exist. We must act, or we must sit back. Both of these options are rife with controversy and debate. We have reason to stay out of what is not ours,but some feel an obligation to help those around the world despite this.
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Who Likes Whom in The Middle East? Key players & Notable relationships

Who Likes Whom in The Middle East? Key players & Notable relationships | Geography Education | Scoop.it
An interactive network visualisation of key players & notable relationships in the Middle East region. Continually updated. Awesome looking.
Seth Dixon's insight:

News flash:the Middle East is complicated.  In a region where the enemy of an enemy can be your friend, keeping track of local, regional, and global interests can be a staggering proposition.  This flow chart is both incredibly complex, but also aids the user in making sense of the relationships that help to define the region.  

 

Tags: MiddleEast, conflict, political, geopoliticsregions.

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Taylor Doonan's curator insight, March 24, 2018 8:40 PM
This infograph is fun to play with and it shows who like who and who hates who in the middle east. it is interesting when you only look at the "love" reationships and realize how many nations don't have any. Though there are nations that  have no "love" relationships every one, but Oman, has at least two hate relationships, this is a great learning tool. 
brielle blais's curator insight, April 1, 2018 9:45 PM
In geography it is important to understand what countries are enemies, what countries are alibis, and what countries have strained relationships. Without this knowledge, you really are left clueless to important relationships or causes to wars, or how each place affects another economy, politics, etc.
Corey Rogers's curator insight, December 15, 2018 5:40 AM
This chart is interesting, in that it shows the complex webbing of how each region is back by a certain country. It such a mess that trying to view this chart is such an eye sore, which is exactly how this region is, just a huge mess of a spider's web. 
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Introducing ISIS

"The invasion of Iraq was supposed to turn the country into a democracy that posed no threat to the United States, or the rest of the world. Thirteen years later, Iraq has collapsed into three warring states. A third of the country is controlled by ISIS, who have also taken huge amounts of territory in Syria. VICE correspondent Ben Anderson gains exclusive access to the three front lines in Iraq, where Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish forces are fighting for their lives. Anderson visits with the Russian military forces in Syria, meets captured ISIS fighters in Kurdistan, and interviews US policymakers about how the situation in Iraq spun out of control."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Many young students are especially baffled at how a terrorist organization can seize control of large chunks of territory.  If you are looking for a good video introduction that explains how and why ISIS was able to gain power and than gain and maintain territory, this is it (it's classroom safe despite the source). 

 

Tags: Syria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics, Iraq, devolution, terrorism, ISISMiddle East.

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How Syria Ruined the Arab Spring

How Syria Ruined the Arab Spring | Geography Education | Scoop.it
How Syria Ruined the Arab Spring « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Seth Dixon's insight:

Unraveling the situation on the ground in Syria is much like opening a Russian nesting doll, it's a battle, inside of a battle, inside of a battle. A complex series of local, regional, and global rivalries all playing out on the battle grounds of Syria, turning the country in a wasteland. It's created a nightmare for the millions of non-combatants forced to flee, and those stuck within the borders. What started as Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad cracking down on Arab spring protesters in early 2011, quickly escalated into a civil war. Regional rivals Iran, and Saudi Arabia then got involved sending aid to differing sides. Soon, as a result of the rise of ISIS, the west and Russia chose to intervene. Lost in the greater game of Geo-politics is the sad, slow death of the optimism that accompanied the Arab Spring. As Marc Lynch laments in 'How Syria ruined the Arab Spring', all of the momentum was lost and forgotten when Al-Assad resorted to force and Syria became a pawn in regional and global geopolitics.

 

Tagsop-ed, Syria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics, Middle East.

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Interactives about Syrian Refugee Crisis

Interactives about Syrian Refugee Crisis | Geography Education | Scoop.it
War, sectarian violence, and famine have forced more than 50 million people from their homes—the largest number of displaced people since World War II.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Here are two excellent ESRI StoryMaps about the Syrian refugee crisis; these are two very good examples of a great web maps. 

 

Tags: GIS, ESRI, mapping, cartography, geospatial, edtech, Syria, political, refugees.

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Jukka Melaranta's curator insight, March 3, 2016 3:40 PM

Here are two excellent ESRI StoryMaps about the Syrian refugee crisis; these are two very good examples of a great web maps. 

 

Tags: GIS, ESRI, mapping, cartography, geospatial, edtech, Syria, political, refugees.

malbert's curator insight, March 4, 2016 6:30 AM

Here are two excellent ESRI StoryMaps about the Syrian refugee crisis; these are two very good examples of a great web maps. 

'The Uprooted' (focused more on Syria).
Epicenter of a Deepening Refugee Crisis (puts Syria into larger global patterns).

 

Tags: GIS, ESRI, mapping, cartography, geospatial, edtech, Syria, political, refugees.

Rachel Stutzman's curator insight, March 11, 2016 3:28 PM

Here are two excellent ESRI StoryMaps about the Syrian refugee crisis; these are two very good examples of a great web maps. 

'The Uprooted' (focused more on Syria).
Epicenter of a Deepening Refugee Crisis (puts Syria into larger global patterns).

 

Tags: GIS, ESRI, mapping, cartography, geospatial, edtech, Syria, political, refugees.