BYU Professor David Romney teaches multifaceted approach to Israel-Hamas conflict

Oct 21, 2023, 6:00 PM

People attend a vigil coined "Palestine Lives," to show support for the Palestinians in the latest ...

FILE: People attend a vigil coined "Palestine Lives," to show support for the Palestinians in the latest Israel-Hamas war, in Bogota, Colombia, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Ivan Valencia) Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Ivan Valencia)

PROVO, Utah — BYU political science Professor David Romney provides valuable insights into the Israel-Hamas conflict. He emphasizes the importance of viewing the conflict through cultural and historical lenses to grasp its complexities.

“Both sides here really have a different lens that they use to understand the conflict, and that underlines everything else that they do,” said Romney.

Israel’s perspective

According to Professor Romney, the Israeli perspective roots from a history of what Romney calls “international isolation driven by anti-Semitism.”

They perceive existential threats to their homeland, seeing the creation of Israel as crucial to preventing another Holocaust. Because of this, countries like Iran and groups like Hamas are currently viewed as ongoing threats.

Arab and Palestinian perspectives

Romney says, “They view this as an issue of Western colonialism, threatening the homeland of the Palestinian people. And more broadly, if we focus on the Arabs, right, a central cultural religious site for the Arab and Muslim world, Jerusalem.” 

They see Israeli Jews as originating from Europe and facilitated immigration to the Middle East after World War II. Western powers then backed this when modern-day Israel was created in 1948.

Understanding these divergent frames or lenses is key to comprehending the stark differences in interpreting events in this conflict.

Professor Romney encourages people to explore a range of historical and contemporary sources. By doing this, one may understand the challenges individuals face in Israel and Gaza.


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BYU Professor David Romney teaches multifaceted approach to Israel-Hamas conflict