Recent legislation in Israel has opened the door to demining in Israel and the West Bank. Roots of Peace campaigned for this legislation and will begin demining a village near Bethlehem before the end of 2011.
Confession and Testimony As Repertoires of Contention in Conflict Zones
Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 10:45-12:15
Room: Hörsaal 21
RC48 Social Movements, Collective Actions and Social Change (host committee)
Confession and testimony are central repertoires of contention in the disclosure of “ugly pasts.” Solidarity movements mobilize testimony to diffuse human rights violations condoned and supported by their own societies. Less attention has been paid to the deployment of testimony and confession by anti-denial movements, movements that demand that the members of their own societies acknowledge the “problematic present” in situations of ongoing ethno-national conflict, and take responsibility for it and action against it.
This session invites research that engage in the analysis of confession and testimony in contemporary conflicts by members of the perpetrator nation amongst them:
Are these repertoires gendered and how?
What are the groups that engage in testimony and confession?
How states and civil societies in perpetrator nations react to anti-denial movements?
Anti-denial movements and national identity.
Sara HELMAN, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
The study’s aim is to expand knowledge on the level of involvement in policy-related interventions (‘policy practice’, PP) among social workers employed by non-profit human service organisations (NPHSOs) in Israel, and on the motivational and facilitating factors associated with this. The sample consisted of 106 social workers employed in NPHSOs that include social advocacy as one of their goals. Findings revealed a relatively low level of involvement in PP. Level of involvement was associated with political efficacy, political interest, activity in political and professional organisations, civic and professional skills, and organisational support for PP. The strongest predictors were PP skills and organisational support. The study’s conclusion is that an understanding of involvement in PP must take into account both the degree to which an organisational context facilitates this type of practice and the individual factors that motivate PP involvement. As such, consolidation of PP among social workers should address both facilitating and motivational issues.
Natanel, Katherine. Sustaining Conflict. Apathy and Domination in Israel-Palestine. Oakland: University of California Press, 2016.
Sustaining Conflict develops a groundbreaking theory of political apathy, using a combination of ethnographic material, narrative, and political, cultural, and feminist theory. It examines how the status quo is maintained in Israel-Palestine, even by the activities of Jewish Israelis who are working against the occupation of Palestinian territories. The book shows how hierarchies and fault lines in Israeli politics lead to fragmentation, and how even oppositional power becomes routine over time. Most importantly, the book exposes how the occupation is sustained through a carefully crafted system that allows sympathetic Israelis to “knowingly not know,” further disconnecting them from the plight of Palestinians. While focusing on Israel, this is a book that has lessons for how any authoritarian regime is sustained through apathy.
Table of Contents
1 The Everyday of Occupation
2 Bordered Communities
3 Normalcy, Ruptured and Repaired
4 Embedded (In)action
5 Protesting Politics
KATHERINE NATANEL is a Lecturer in Gender Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.
Fluctuating forms of diversity have evolved as a result of cross-border interventions by civil resistance activists. Such diversity is nurtured by the inflows and outflows of individuals form very different backgrounds on a local stage of action. Discussing civil resistance as an arena in which such fluctuating diversity produces multilayered patterns of identification, this paper looks at Israeli and international activists who interject themselves temporarily into the local sphere of civil resistance in a Palestinian village. Here, solidarity activists form a highly diverse and shifting assemblage of actors who divide among themselves according to power-related ascriptions and privileges. As in a musical orchestra, individual activists and groups of activists each follow their own “score,” but align their distinct functions with one another to wage a struggle collectively. Within this orchestra of civil resistance, diversity is not the obstacle to collective action but its very basis.
Kemp, Adriana, and Nelly Kfir. “Mobilizing Migrant Workers’ Rights in ‘Non-immigration’ Countries: The Politics of Resonance and Migrants’ Rights Activism in Israel and Singapore.” Law & Society Review 50.1 (2016): 82-116.
How are the rights of migrant workers mobilized in non-immigration regimes? Drawing on an ethnography of human rights NGOs in Israel and Singapore, two countries that share similar ethnic policies but differ in their political regime, this study contributes to scholarship on migrants’ rights mobilization by expanding cross-national analysis beyond the United States and West Europe and diverting its focus from legal institutions to the places where rights are produced. Findings show that differences in the political regime influence the channels for mobilizing claims but not the cultural politics of resonance that NGOs use when dealing with the tensions between restrictive ethnic policies and the expansion of labor migration. While restraints in authoritarian Singapore operate mainly outside the activists’ circle, in the Israeli ethno-democracy they operate through self-disciplining processes that neutralize their potential challenge to hegemonic understandings of citizenship. Paradoxically, success in advancing rights for migrants through resonance often results in reinforcing the non-immigration regime.
Jewish Israeli left-wing activists engage in a subversive affective politics when they express love for, and mourn the loss of, Palestinian life. But the affects of love and mourning also bind these solidarity activists to Israeli state violence and sovereignty in various ways, entangling them in the very forms of power they aim to challenge. Loving and mourning the Palestinian Other involves an ambivalent ethics in which the activist subject objectifies the Other, and this objectification is a kind of violence that emerges in the affective becomings of solidarity activism. Activist loving and mourning thus call into question the nature of solidarity and alert us to the difficulty of ethics as troubled relations enmeshed in the violence of politics.
Harpaz, Guy, and Elisha Jacobsen. “The Israeli Collective Memory and the Masada Syndrome: A Political Instrument to Counter the EU Funding of Israeli Non-Governmental Human Rights Organizations.” Mediterranean Politics (early view; online first).
The EU’s practice of funding Israeli non-governmental human rights organizations (hereinafter ‘HRNGOs’) has in recent years encountered a counter-strategy, pursued by certain Israeli NGOs and members of the Israeli government, media and academia. This counter-strategy has succeeded in discrediting the HRNGOs and the EU and rendering their mutual collaboration less effective. The purpose of this article is to contextualize the counter-strategy within the sphere of Israel’s collective memory. The article analyses the manner in which certain politicians and various members of the Israeli society (agents of memory), who themselves are the product of the evolving Israeli collective memory and identity (structure), attempt to draw on Israel’s collective memory/structure in order to advance their particular political agenda.
Several Palestinian villages are sites for weekly non-violent protests which are regularly visited by both Israeli activist and foreign tourists/activists. While these protests are intended to be non-violent, military actions, such as arrest, tear gas, rubber coated bullets and live ammunition are commonplace. Based on ethnographic research, this paper investigates the perception Israeli solidarity activists hold about foreign protesters. Some Israelis see them as justice tourists who could potentially play an important part in achieving justice and respect for human rights in Palestine. Others however, take a more cynical view and regard them as conflict-zone or dark tourists, who are fascinated with danger, and participate in the protests for indulging in a thrill. More specifically, I examine the emotional interactions between the Israeli and foreign activists and look at the ways in which specific emotions such as suspicion, anger or care towards the foreigners play out in an already tense and emotionally loaded space. Considering emotions and affects experienced and performed during the protests facilitates a more critical understanding of danger-zone and justice tourism and advocates the emotional turn in tourism studies. In addition, I also offer a so far missing academic critic about the seeming virtues and effectiveness of justice tourism by investigating the ways in which peace-building and tourism are interconnected. The major originality of this paper is attempt for a cross-fertilization between studies on conflict and peace, emotions, social movements and tourism.
During the cycle of violence leading up to the third Israeli War in Gaza, some Israelis from Parents Circle/Families Forum (PCFF) – a peace organization consisting of Palestinians and Israelis who have lost a first-degree relative in the conflict – came together to discuss the events. While the Palestinian members could not join the meeting because of the closure of the West Bank, which the Israeli military imposed as a reaction to the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, the Palestinian Co-General Manager of the organization was aware of this meeting of the Israeli members and approved.
In the period following the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, the Israeli military had closed off large sections of the Israeli-occupied west Bank, made four hundred and nineteen arrests, and raided twenty-two-hundred homes in the Hebron area. At least eight Palestinians were killed in this military operation – including the best friend of one of the Palestinian staff members.
During the meeting (which transpired before the dead bodies of the Israeli teens were found, and before the abduction and brutal murder of a Palestinian youth from East Jerusalem neighborhood by right-wing Israelis) one old-timer frantically noted that the situation was only going to get worse. While they discussed what they should do, one member suggested that they should sit in the middle of Tel Aviv every day in order to face, head-on, the hatred and anxiety manifesting itself on the streets until the current cycle of violence subsided. While they did not know how people would respond or for how long they would be sitting outside, they moved forward with the arrangements to set up what they call “The Peace Square.” Ironically, on the day that they received permission from the Tel Aviv municipality and the Israeli police, and secured a place to set up their Peace Square, the war began.
McKee, Emily Dwelling in Conflict. Negev Landscapes and the Boundaries of Belonging. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2016.
Land disputes in Israel are most commonly described as stand-offs between distinct groups of Arabs and Jews. In Israel’s southern region, the Negev, Jewish and Bedouin Arab citizens and governmental bodies contest access to land for farming, homes, and industry and struggle over the status of unrecognized Bedouin villages. “Natural,” immutable divisions, both in space and between people, are too frequently assumed within these struggles.
Dwelling in Conflict offers the first study of land conflict and environment based on extensive fieldwork within both Arab and Jewish settings. It explores planned towns for Jews and for Bedouin Arabs, unrecognized villages, and single-family farmsteads, as well as Knesset hearings, media coverage, and activist projects. Emily McKee sensitively portrays the impact that dividing lines—both physical and social—have on residents. She investigates the political charge of people’s everyday interactions with their environments and the ways in which basic understandings of people and “their” landscapes drive political developments. While recognizing deep divisions, McKee also takes seriously the social projects that residents engage in to soften and challenge socio-environmental boundaries. Ultimately, Dwelling in Conflict highlights opportunities for boundary crossings, revealing both contemporary segregation and the possible mutability of these dividing lines in the future.
Table of Contents
1. Narrating Present Pasts
2. Seeking Recognition
Bridge: Distant Neighbors
3. Coping with Lost Land
4. Reforming Community
5. Challenging Boundaries
EMILY McKEE is Assistant Professor in the Anthropology Department and the Institute for the Study of Environment, Sustainability, and Energy at Northern Illinois University.
This article proposes the concept of cultural challengers, viewers whose dissatisfaction with popular culture prompts them to initiate a dialogue with media organizations. The article explores the textual dimensions that may cause such discontent and identifies three tracks for conducting the dialogue: civic, economic, and regulatory. The regulatory track is explored through three methodologies: a quantitative content analysis of 817 complaints filed to the Israeli regulatory authority (SATR) between 2005 and 2010, and of the SATR’s responses to them; participatory observation within the SATR; and an online survey of 58 viewers who had filed a complaint with the SATR. The article highlights the differing stances of the regulator and the cultural challengers and analyzes the social and cultural implications of the dialogue.
This paper investigates how Eritrean refugees in Israel and civil society organisations who engage with refugee issues contest the exclusionary politics of asylum in Israel. It presents various acts of claims-making initiated by Eritrean refugees themselves or in response to hostility by others, as well as acts inaugurated by Israeli civil society organisations on behalf of or with refugee populations. Drawing on the concept of activist acts of citizenship developed by Engin Isin, the paper subsequently analyses to what degree those acts have redefined aspects of social and political membership for Eritrean refugees in Israel. In a further step, it shows the limitations of such acts in terms of developing a solidaristic refugee-citizen agenda that profoundly challenges hegemonic public discourse and political debate. The paper concludes by arguing that activist acts of citizenship are best studied in relation to the transformative power they may have on the various individuals engaging in them, but not as a strategy for a wider politics of resistance, as ultimately nation state politics continue to determine the actual realisation of concrete rights.
Ben Shitrit, Lihi. Righteous Transgressions: Women’s Activism on the Israeli and Palestinian Religious Right. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015.
How do women in conservative religious movements expand spaces for political activism in ways that go beyond their movements’ strict ideas about male and female roles? How and why does this activism happen in some movements but not in others? Righteous Transgressions examines these questions by comparatively studying four groups: the Jewish settlers in the West Bank, the ultra-Orthodox Shas, the Islamic Movement in Israel, and the Palestinian Hamas. Lihi Ben Shitrit demonstrates that women’s prioritization of a nationalist agenda over a proselytizing one shapes their activist involvement.
Ben Shitrit shows how women construct “frames of exception” that temporarily suspend, rather than challenge, some of the limiting aspects of their movements’ gender ideology. Viewing women as agents in such movements, she analyzes the ways in which activists use nationalism to astutely reframe gender role transgressions from inappropriate to righteous. The author engages the literature on women’s agency in Muslim and Jewish religious contexts, and sheds light on the centrality of women’s activism to the promotion of the spiritual, social, cultural, and political agendas of both the Israeli and Palestinian religious right.
Looking at the four most influential political movements of the Israeli and Palestinian religious right, Righteous Transgressions reveals how the bounds of gender expectations can be crossed for the political good.
Table of Contents
Note on Language xi
1 Introduction: “Be an Other’s, Be an Other”: A Personal Perspective 1
2 Contextualizing the Movements 32
3 Complementarian Activism: Domestic and Social Work, Da‘wa, and Teshuva 80
4 Women’s Protest: Exceptional Times and Exceptional Measures 128
Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Nadera and Dorit Roer-Strier. “Context-Informed, Counter-Hegemonic Qualitative Research: Insights from an Israeli/Palestinian Research Team Studying Loss.” Qualitative Social Work (early view; online first).
Theorizing social work qualitative methodologies have always been closely related to the context of the studied subjects. This paper offers the framework of context-informed, counter-hegemonic qualitative research for theorizing research in conflict zones. Based on a case study of a group of Jewish and Palestinian social work researchers who examined together the effect of the loss of home on families during an ongoing political conflict, this paper explores the impact of participating in a research team on the researcher’s perceptions and study of otherness and otherization in the context of asymmetries of power. Analysis of the group dynamics discovered: (1) a growing ability to see and acknowledge the other, accompanied by a growing willingness to be attentive; (2) a growing ability to empathically listen to and hear the experiences of suffering of the other; (3) overcoming silencing by allowing voices of dissent, pain and resilience; and (4) creating a liminal space of “safe haven” for the researchers. The paper explores the development of context-informed group reflexivity leading to emancipatory consciousness and academic activism.
Women’s participation in the First Intifada allowed for increased gender equality in Palestine. However, the weakness of the Palestinian Authority, established by the Oslo Accords, created space for non-state actors (dominated by the Islamist political organization Hamas) to emerge and gain popularity. Likewise, during the post-Oslo period conservative positions on gender resurged. This paper re-examines the structural factors that facilitated increased gender inequality and argues that the nature of the occupation itself serves as the greatest force for gender inequality in Palestine. To develop and test our theory, we draw on original, large-n survey data and in-depth interviews.
When do words and actions empower? When do they betray? Based on ethnographic fieldwork, this volume tracks the repercussions of advocacy activism against house demolitions in ‘unrecognised’ Arab-Bedouin villages in Israel’s southern ‘internal frontier’. It highlights the repercussions of activism for victims, fund-raisers and activists. The ethnographic episodes show how humanitarian aid intervention and indigenous identity politics can turn into a double-edged sword. Ironically, institutional lobbying for coexistence and its interpretative categories can sometimes perpetuate different forms of subjugation. The volume also shows how, beyond the institutional lobbying, novel figures of activism emerge: informal networks create non-sectarian, cross-cutting countercultures and rethink human-environment relationships. These experimental political subjects redefine the categories of the conflict and elude the logic of zero-sum games; they point towards a shifting paradigm in current ethnopolitics.
Koensler outlines an ethnographic approach for the study of social movements that follows multiple relations around mobilisations rather than studying activism in itself. This perspective thus becomes relevant for scholars and activists engaged with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and those interested in global rights discourses.
Table of Contents
List of Figures
Note on Transliteration
PART I: THE SOCIAL LIFE OF CLAIMS
1. Ethnography and social movement studies
2. The life of Israeli-Palestinian claims
PART II: CONTRADICTIONS
3.The ‘ghost village’
5. Frictions and connections
PART III: INNOVATIONS
6. Politics of polyphony?
7. Global ecosophies
Appendix: Conceptual Tour
ALEXANDER KOENSLER is Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice, Queen’s University Belfast, UK.
Kritzman-Amir, Tally. Where Levinsky Meets Asmara: Social and Legal Aspects of Israeli Asylum Policy. Jerusalem: Van Leer Institute and Bney Brak: Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2015 (in Hebrew).
In recent years, thousands of non-Jewish African asylum seekers have arrived to Israel, the state of Jewish refugees, numbering several tens of thousands. Migration of asylum seekers is a common phenomenon in almost all countries of the world. Questions of sovereignty and control of borders and society, belonging and status, demographics and security, culture and religion, as well as welfare and social justice have a decisive influence on the attitude towards asylum seekers in Israel and abroad, and cast a dark shadow over their future. Against this background, it is no wonder that the treatment of refugees became a politically charged issue arousing severe controversies between the legislative, the executive and the judiciary authorities.
This volume is the most comprehensive collection of articles that dealing with asylum seekers in Israel. It includes twelve articles seeking to characterize the communities of asylum seekers in Israel and to critically and comparatively describe the changing policy applied by the authorities and civil society. The articles are by scholars of various disciplines as well as involved activists. Among other topics, the book discusses the bureaucratic system of the State of Israel dealing with asylum applications; the experiences of asylum seekers in Israel and their ways of integration in the urban landscape; the religious life of Christian asylum seekers; asylum and gender; the exclusion of asylum seekers by restricting their entry at the border and their confinement in detention camps; refugees who are citizens of enemy states and Palestinian refugees; and viable solutions to the refugee problem. The essays in the volume serve as a foundation for studying this field and future research, and can be employed to assist policymakers and decision-makers.