Since when are international relations in the Middle East funny?

Scott Blakeman, a Jewish comedian, and Dean Obeidallah, a Palestinian-American comedian, have created "Standup for Peace: The Two Comedian Solution to Middle East Peace," in hopes that creating laughter can bring communities together. Bowdoin Hillel, the Jewish student organization, will bring these comedians to campus on Wednesday, November 1.

"We thought that 'Standup for Peace' would bring a radically different type of event to campus. Other campuses have given Scott and Dean rave reviews and we thought learning about the Middle East while laughing was a really cool thing," said Jordan Krechmer '07, head of Hillel.

Blakeman and Obeidallah produced the show to benefit "Seeds of Peace," a summer camp in Otisfield, Maine, that encourages understanding between Israeli and Palestinian teenagers. In 2005, the comedians performed at the camp's leadership summit.

Burgess LePage '07 spent two summers working at Seeds of Peace and saw what the camp can do to bring together teens with Middle East backgrounds.

"Leaving behind the heated conflict threatening their homes, these kids have such unfaltering courage to come face to face with their spoken enemy, and watching their process is humbling," she said.

"One of the most important messages relayed to the campers from the director, Tim Wilson, is a recognition that it is difficult and perhaps unneccessary to force friendships across enemy borders in such a short amount of time," LePage continued. "The aim of the camp is, instead, to work towards true efforts of understanding from both sides, a goal which demands mutual respect, active listening, and honesty."

The two comedians begin their Standup for Peace routine together, and then perform separate acts during the body of the show. At the end, they reconvene for a question-and-answer session with the audience.

"Just by standing on stage together, and bringing Arabs and Jews together in the audience, we're making more progress than they are right now in the Middle East," Blakeman stated on the group's web site.

Blakeman, whom NBC-TV and the New York Times consider a top-notch political comedian with a liberal Jewish perspective, has performed on "Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn" and "Late Show with David Letterman."

Obeidallah draws on his interesting background for his comedy, with a Palestinian father and a Sicilian mother. Michael Moore features him on the bonus material of Moore's documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11," and Obeidallah has also performed on "Saturday Night Live," "Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn," and "Late Night with Conan O'Brien."

"We're hoping 'Standup for Peace' gets people to think about conflict in the Middle East in a different way than they're used to," Krechmer said. "There are plenty of lectures and academic events that touch on the subject, so why shouldn't there be entertainment?"