Call on Obama -- Press Release on Situation in Middle East

Dr. Judy Call on Obama and Mitchell to Use Psychology to Make "Real Peace" in Middle East

Says President Obama and Israel's Likud and Kadima Likely to Fight Over Future of Israel Rather than Find Middle East Solution

New York, NY- One of America's most recognizable and noted psychologists today called for President Obama to tap psychologists' work on the reasons for violence in the Middle East in order to help America and special envoy George Mitchell play a positive role in lasting efforts to bring real peace to the Middle East. Noted clinical psychologist and Middle East analyst Dr. Judy Kuriansky, know nationally as "Dr. Judy" from her radio and TV shows, says with the divergence in approach from the Likud and Kadima parties, President Obama can show the way to agreement and reconciliation. 

"The U.S. has to tread carefully on negotiations with the Israelis after their elections, to not alienate different factions of the country," said Kuriansky. "While President Obama's views clearly coincide more with Livni's centrist position, our U.S. President should be briefed on psychological dynamics that fuel the conflict in order for him to make headway with bringing together the Livni-led Kadima party members and Netanyahu's Likud followers with any representatives from the Palestinian side."

Kuriansky believes that just like in the U.S. economy, where psychology has been driving the market -- particularly in terms of people's level of confidence -- psychological dynamics as identified in social learning theory play a crucial part in facilitating reconciliation. Armed with an understanding of psychological dynamics driving the conflict and point the way to mediation, President Obama can greatly improve the chances of bringing the two parties together, and ultimately bring the two opposing cultures more in alignment. 

"The President and special envoy George Mitchell would be better able to broker peace if they were armed with clear psychological principles that drive people to take either a centrist or hard line view and which also drives interactions between Palestinians and Israelis" said Kuriansky.

In her recent book, Beyond Bullets and Bombs: Grassroots Peacebuilding between Israelis and Palestinians, Kuriansky proves that there are a plethora of people in the Middle East region and around the world cooperating to dispel fear and mistrust, and to foster mutual understanding, cooperation, and coexistence despite a seemingly never-ending war. These "people2people" projects - known as Track II Diplomacy - take many interesting and creative forms, in fields of education, counseling, and arts and entertainment. Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs, young and old, male and female, scholars and students, are sailing, cooking, climbing mountains, camping, cleaning beaches, and of course, talking together - for peace.

Their efforts are impressively noble and courageous, working against great odds like pervasive violence, fears of reprisal for "cooperating with the enemy," insufficient funding and under-recognition. Youth are involved in impressive projects, like a summer camp where teens produce their own movies about the conflict, many based on Romeo and Juliet themes with Palestinian and Israeli young lovers kept apart by the conflict. 

"Politicians can learn a lot from these courageous civilians who keep coming up with new cooperative efforts and doing every conceivable collaboration in the name of peace between the two peoples," says Kuriansky.

Kuriansky's earlier volume, Terror in the Holy Land: Inside the anguish of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict includes profiles of female suicide bombers, impart of the separation wall, and ways of coping with the cycle of humiliation and revenge. 


Judy Kurianksy, PhD is a world-renowned clinical psychologist on the adjunct faculty at Columbia University Teachers College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Visiting Professor at Peking University Health Sciences Center and Honorary Professor in the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Hong Kong. An expert in relationships and in disaster recovery, and United Nations NGO representative, she is a popular lecturer, radio advice host, TV commentator, advice columnist and best-selling author.