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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Ethics and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Here and in the Middle East

Two groups of protesters carrying Palestinian and Israeli flags facing off during an outdoor protest. Photo by Ted Eytan 2017.03.26 Anti-Israel Protest, Washington, DC. Used with permission under Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 4.0.Photo by Ted Eytan 2017.03.26 Palestinian/Israeli Protest, Washington, DC. Used with permission under Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 4.0.

The attacks in Israel on October 7th 2023, have reignited tensions, including intense combat in the Middle East and protests around the world. Ethics Center staff and scholars unpack some of the many related ethical dilemmas in this Ethics Spotlight.


Advice to a Young Radical by William O'Neill, S.J., Ph.D., professor emeritus, social ethics, Jesuit School of Theology and faculty scholar with the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

Recent protests on college campuses are divested of meaning if they are divested of truth. And as we were reminded by a Galilean Jew long ago, it is truth that will set us free.


The International Criminal Court and Self-Defense on the Stand by David E. DeCosse, director of religious & Catholic ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

When thinking about justification for actions taken by Hamas and Israel, the claim of self defense must be tied to universal claims of justice.


The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: History, Terminology, Ethics, Psychology by Hersh Shefrin, Mario Belotti Chair in the Department of Finance at Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business and faculty scholar with the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

Consider how ethics and philosophy might be employed to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to avoid a life of suffering.


The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in Santa Clara University’s 3Cs: Competence, Conscience, and Compassion by Meir Statman, Glenn Klimek Professor of finance at Santa Clara University and faculty scholar, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

Conscience and compassion are required to stop the bloodshed and live in peace in Gaza.


Campus Leaders Should Respond to Protest with an Unwavering Eye to Mission by Ann Skeet, senior director of leadership ethics, and John Pelissero, director of government ethics, both with the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

During recent student protests, the universities able to find common ground with students have done so by engaging with them directly in dialogue, rather than digging in firmly with a resolute stance against discussions of divestment from Israel and the arms industry.


Purposeful Protest: From the Sea to the River, There are People Who Need More Than Slogans by Irina Raicu, director of Internet ethics, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

From the river to the sea’ is a phrase that will be uttered by some as an aspiration to freedom and fairness for all but heard by others as denying their right to exist, and shuts down communication.


University Protests: Why Agreements Got a Mere 1% of the Headlines by Subramaniam Vincent, director, journalism and media ethics, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

A little over 2000 stories were published on the Israeli/Hamas conflict by one hundred U.S. news outlets during a five-day peak from Apr 29 to May 3. But a mere 23 stories, or 1%, ran with headlines about agreements that some universities struck with students during the same period.


Related Resources

The project below was developed in 2022; its relevance to the current student protests is clear, but it does not address the particular circumstances of the present-day conflict in Israel and Gaza.

Conflict and Conversation on Social Media Through the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict


Jun 25, 2024

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