Carleton adult ed course on Israel/Palestine sold out again – but lectures now available on YouTube!!


Many Canadians are confused and conflicted over the Israel/Palestine issue. They feel sorry for the Palestinians, but worry about security for Jews.  A long waiting list for a six week adult education course at Carleton University this fall seems to show that many are concerned and want to understand more.  Although this course is already oversold, a shortened version of six free 1 hour lectures is available on the CTIP YouTube channel. Read more…

For the third year in a row, Carleton University is offering a 6 week course on the complicated Israel/Palestine issue in the context of a program called “Learning in Retirement” (LIR).

PeterLarsonLIR offers more than two dozen different general interest courses on a wide variety of topics by lecturers who are chosen for their subject matter knowledge and teaching style.

The course on Israel/Palestine is entitled “Israel/Palestine: Can it ever be solved?”. It is given by Dr. Peter Larson, Chair of Canada Talks Israel Palestine.

It is meant to be a sober and serious analysis of the issues and the motives of the various actors in the conflict.

Course Description (from the Carleton Website)

Over the last 70 years, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has cost thousands of lives and imposed misery on many innocent people. To many Canadians the issue appears unsolvable. It is difficult to have a calm discussion about it, as emotions are high on all sides. This lecture series will examine the Israeli and Palestinian narratives and compare them to the historical record and current reality. We will also look at whether Canada’s current policies are likely to help bring about a resolution.

The 2017 course is already full… but now there is an alternative!!

The course has had excellent feedback with satisfaction ratings around 90%. It has also proven very popular – this year, it took less than 24 hours to fill up, and there is a considerable waiting list.

In order to help meet the pent-up demand, Canada Talks Israel Palestine has made a shortened version of the course available on the CTIP Youtube channel. (The lectures are shortened by cutting out some of the videos shown in class as well as some of the class discussion.) Of course, it’s not as good as attending in person, but the audio and video are generally good, and the content is clear.

Here is the course outline and the link for each lecture:

Lecture 1 – Introductions 

  • After probing the class participants for their own views on the issue, this first lecture gives a general introduction to the history and geography of the region, discusses some of the confusing terminological issues and examines the “two narratives” (Israeli/Zionist and Palestinian).

Web location:

Lecture 2 – Who are the Palestinians and what do they want?

  • The second lecture focuses on the Palestinians as a people – their history, demography and current issues

Web location:

Lecture 3  – The history of anti-Semitism in Western Europe, Zionism and the creation of the State of Israel

  • The third lecture discusses how a thousand years of persecution of Jews, particularly by European Christians, culminated in the ideology of Zionism, the Holocaust and led to the creation of Israel.
  • NOTE: This is a special guest lecture given by Richard Marceau, Vice President, Government Affairs, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).

Web location:

Lecture 4 – Who are the Israelis? What does it mean to be a “Jewish State”?

  • Israel’s critics often say that Israel is an “apartheid” state. Its defenders say it is the “only democracy in the Middle East”. We examine both these ideas examining how Israel’s definition as a “Jewish State” has some very significant consequences for its Jewish and non-Jewish citizens.

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Lecture 5 – The issue of the Palestinian refugees: Why are there still refugees after 70 years?

  • This one focuses on an often overlooked issue – the situation of the nearly 5 million Palestinians who are still refugees 70 years after the creation of Israel. Today, according to the UN, there are over 5 million Palestinian refugees. How can this be? What can be done about it? What is the “right of return”? Is it feasible?
  • The lecture features a guest presentation by Waleed Ilyian, a Canadian of Palestinian origin whose father fled from Jaffa in 1948, never to be allowed to return.

Web location:

Lecture 6 – Conclusion/discussion

  • Will a 2 state solution solve the issue?
  • If so, why can’t they just agree and get on with it?
  • If not, is there any solution? What would it look like? Could it happen?

Web location:

Questions? Comments?

Your feedback on any of the videos would be very helpful and appreciated. We are already aware of our technical shortcomings. But we are especially interested in criticism, objections, arguments or suggestions about the CONTENT, as long as they are serious and well-founded, and presented in a respectful manner. 

Please send any questions/comments to I will be happy to respond.


These videos are made available to you FREE of charge. However, making the 6 videos cost us about $1500. CTIP is a volunteer organization and our costs are covered by our generous donors. If you value the videos, any donation would be extremely welcome.




  1. You are amazing Peter. I’m exploring how we can do teh series down here in NOTL with these you tube videos.. so smart.

  2. @Peter

    That was remarkably fair for a BDSer! Well done! Not a bad set of intro lectures at all. Certainly you managed to justify your critical stance without being demonizing. 3rd lecture you made a good choice in having someone from CIJA. A reasonably well done standard liberal zionist take on Israel.

    There are a few places where I could quibble. The first video for example you have a slide that says “link to video in description” it ain’t there. I might have covered the Israeli political parties. I think I would have distinguished more in terms of Mizrahi and Ashkenazi. I think a 10 minute interlude on Byzantine states and their concept of nationality vs what happened in Latin rite countries would have been helpful. There was a striking part where you conflate Jewish nationality and Jewish under the law or return. Those kinds of things would have upped the difficulty so I can understand avoiding them. But where I wanted to quibble it was often in those areas.

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