July 6, 2009, posted by Noam Shelef
(This post was written by APN intern Elizabeth Goldstein)
On Thursday, July 2nd, Americans for Peace Now held the first of its “Summer Intern Events.” Two international journalists came to the Rayburn House Office Building to talk about their perspectives as reporters on the status of events in the Middle East, including – but not limited to – the Arab-Israeli Conflicts.
Salameh Nematt is the International Editor with The Daily Beast. His reports from Washington include coverage of the U.S. involvement in Iraq, the global war on terrorism, the Arab-Israeli peace process, and the drive for democratization in the Middle East. Before coming to Washington, Salameh reported for al-Hayat from London and Jordan, was the chief political correspondent of the Jordan Times and of the Jordanian al-Rai, reported from Jordan for the BBC, and had a short stint as the head of the Strategy Unit at Jordan’s Royal Court, an advisory post for the King.
Nathan Guttman is the Washington correspondent of Israel’s public TV network - Channel 1 and Israel’s public radio, Kol Israel. He is also the Washington Bureau Chief for the Forward, America’s Jewish paper of record. For the past two decades Nathan closely followed the Israeli–Arab peace process and U.S.–Israeli relationship as a reporter and editor for Israel’s major news organizations. Nathan has been based out of Washington DC since 2001, where he also served as Bureau Chief for Israel’s Haaretz newspaper and for the Jerusalem Post.
As a completely unbiased intern who attended the event, I can say that the journalists’ perspectives were interesting and well-received, and the young interns (and some others) were responsive and appreciative of the opportunity to attend. Most interns are college students or immediately post-college, and though they are in Washington, DC as young adults looking to work in politics in some fashion, many are still in the “This is my summer vacation” mindset. Thus, getting interns to attend such an event at the end of the work day, especially a work day right before a long weekend, can be difficult. Nevertheless, room 2200 of the Rayburn House Office Building was nearly full Thursday night. Not only did a satisfactory number of interns come, but they came with questions and a thirst for a new perspective on the Middle East. Hot points for discussion were Israeli public opinions on settlements and the effects of new mediums such as blogging and Twitter on conventional journalism.
At the end of the question and answer session, as many were leaving to go on with their evenings, many others stayed behind to talk to the journalists and each other about all the information they had just taken in. I expect APN’s next event will be met with eager anticipation in response to the positive reactions to the first event of the summer.