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NPR reporter to discuss Middle East situation in Portland appearance

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NPR reporter to discuss Middle East situation in Portland appearance

PORTLAND — A news correspondent living in Jerusalem will be in Portland Nov. 2 to discuss the conflict in the Middle East.

Linda Gradstein, NPR's Jerusalem correspondent for more than 20 years, is scheduled to speak at the Albert Brenner Glickman Family Library at the University of Southern Maine. The talk is sponsored by the Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine.

Emily Chaleff, JCA executive director, said the organization is bringing Gradstein to Maine because one of its goals is to attract not only its own constituency with relative and substantive programs, but the community at large.

Chaleff added that Gradstein could bring context to the conflict between Israel and its neighbors. She said that many in the Jewish community felt stress in January following the Gaza Strip confrontation.

"There was not an opportunity then for the community to really learn more about and think about issues in the Middle East," said Chaleff. "There is the inclination for people to pick a side in a knee-jerk way."

Gradstein has won several awards for her coverage, including the Overseas Press Club award for her reporting on the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. 

A New York native, Gradstein now lives in Jerusalem with her husband and four children. Chaleff said she heard Gradstein was going to be in New York in November, and contacted her to see if she would come to Portland to speak. 

"She's obviously very schooled on the issues,"Chaleff said. Gradstein is expected to talk about the realities of the conflict, the possibility of a two-state solution and Palestinian independence. 

"It's a complicated issue," Chaleff said. "She's going to talk about, what are the realities of the region?"

The Gradstein talk is open to the public, and there will be a question-and-answer period. Tickets for the Nov. 2 event are $18 and reservations can be made by calling 772-1959 or going to mainejewish.org.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net