Lecture on Israeli democracy and secularism to be held Wednesday

By Stuart Foster

(Collegian File Photo)
(Collegian File Photo)

Noah Feldman, an author and Felix Frankfurter professor of law at Harvard Law School, will deliver a lecture titled “Violence, Politics and Religion: Can Israel Remain Jewish and Democratic?” in the Bernie Dallas Room of Goodell Hall on Wednesday.

The lecture, which will be held at 4 p.m., will focus on how necessary secular culture is for the functioning of democracy, with an emphasis on the prospects for democracy in the Middle East.

“In the Middle East, the pressures of religion, nationalism, and violence on politics and culture come from all sides,” Feldman said in a press release from the University of Massachusetts News and Media Relations Department. “How does Israel’s fragile constitutional culture engage and reflect these challenges?”

Feldman also questioned whether the attempt to balance Jewish values and democracy could be compared to the attempt to balance Islamic values and democracy and asked what the prospects for democracy in the Middle East were in general if secularism is necessary for democracy.

The lecture is free, although online registration through the UMass Alumni website is required.

The lecture is being hosted by the UMass Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies, which host the Robert and Pamela Jacobs Lecture Series in Jewish Culture.

Feldman’s work at Harvard Law School focuses on constitutional law, Islamic law and philosophy and the separation of church and state.

Stuart Foster can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @Stuart_C_Foster.