2018 Keynote, Justice in the U.S. and Palestine

Keynote Presentation

Justice in the U.S. and Palestine

Noura Erakat and Danielle Ponder

Sunday, October 14, 2:00 p.m.

Incarnate Word Lutheran Church
597 East Avenue, Rochester
Parking entrance on Goodman Street

It’s a matter of fairness and justice. How does the law help / hinder the pursuit of same? What are the legal avenues that might lead to justice and peace for both Palestinians and Israelis?  How can domestic U.S. law help overcome the centuries of racism in North America? Two noted attorneys, each a compelling speaker, will be with us to explain this subject in accessible, layperson’s language. Of course they’ll address your questions.


Noura Erakat is a Palestinian/American human rights attorney, activist, and an assistant professor at George Mason University, Fairfax VA. She is a Co-Founding Editor of Jadaliyya e‑zine and an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Palestine Studies. She has served as legal counsel for a Congressional Subcommittee in the House of Representatives and as the Legal Advocacy Officer for the BADIL Resource Center for Refugee and Residency Rights. Noura’s scholarly interests include humanitarian law, human rights law, refugee law, and national security law. Her book, Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine, is due out in April 2019. From the blurb:

Justice in the Question of Palestine is often framed as a question of law. Yet none of the Israel-Palestinian conflict's most vexing challenges have been resolved by judicial intervention. Focusing on key junctures—from the Balfour Declaration in 1917 to present-day wars in Gaza—Noura Erakat shows how the strategic deployment of law has shaped current conditions. Over the past century, the law has done more to advance Israel's interests than the Palestinians'. But, Erakat argues, this outcome was never inevitable.

Witness Palestine Film Festival screened her film Gaza in Context in 2017.

Until recently, Rochester native Danielle Ponder was an attorney in the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office. She’s now in private practice focusing on human-rights law, including refugees and immigration. She founded the music group Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People. Its repertoire includes a multi-media performance For the Love of Justice. She’s on the board of Teen Empowerment, which helps low-income, urban youth hone their understanding of social problems and use their skills to create change in their own lives and in their communities.