New Article: Grassiani, Moral Othering at the Checkpoint

Grassiani, Erella. “Moral Othering at the Checkpoint: The Case of Israeli Soldiers and Palestinian Civilians.” Critique of Anthropology 35.4 (2015): 373-88.

 
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0308275X15597307
 
Abstract

In many ways the Palestinian civilian is the ultimate or significant ‘other’ for the Israeli soldier serving in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). (S)he is the one who will be stopped, checked, controlled and at times arrested. (S)he is the one who negotiates, pleads, begs and sometimes curses the soldier. This other represents, amongst other things, disorder for the soldiers. (S)he becomes the ‘face’ of the hardship, the frustration, anger, doubt and boredom the soldiers associate with their work within a military occupation. To regain a sense of order, control and normalcy soldiers construct the military checkpoint as a ‘moral geography’ where the Palestinian is actively ‘othered’. In this paper I will explore how moral boundaries are drawn along these physical borders in a landscape of conflict, while not losing sight of the symbolic meaning of this border. I will do this by exploring the way Palestinians are made into a moral other by Israeli soldiers, in an effort to create a certain sense of order, at the checkpoint. I will first discuss the checkpoint as a site of ‘moral geography’ that enhances and legitimizes these processes of othering that I will explore next. Finally, I will discuss the way Palestinians are made into a moral other, while tracing this back to a moral discourse that is geared to establish a ‘normalized’ self.

 

 

 

New Book: Kotef, Movement and the Ordering of Freedom

Kotef, Hagar. Movement and the Ordering of Freedom: On Liberal Governances of Mobility. Durham: Duke University Press, 2015.

 

978-0-8223-5843-5-frontcover

We live within political systems that increasingly seek to control movement, organized around both the desire and ability to determine who is permitted to enter what sorts of spaces, from gated communities to nation-states. In Movement and the Ordering of Freedom, Hagar Kotef examines the roles of mobility and immobility in the history of political thought and the structuring of political spaces. Ranging from the writings of Locke, Hobbes, and Mill to the sophisticated technologies of control that circumscribe the lives of Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank, this book shows how concepts of freedom, security, and violence take form and find justification via “regimes of movement.” Kotef traces contemporary structures of global (im)mobility and resistance to the schism in liberal political theory, which embodied the idea of “liberty” in movement while simultaneously regulating mobility according to a racial, classed, and gendered matrix of exclusions.

 

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgements

    • Introduction
    • 1. Between Imaginary Lines: Violence and Its Justifications at the Military Checkpoints in Occupied Palestine / Hagar Kotef and Merav Amir
    • 2. An Interlude: A Tale of Two Roads—On Freedom and Movement
    • 3. The Fence That “Ill Deserves the Name of Confinement”: Locomotion and the Liberal Body
    • 4. The Problem of “Excessive” Movement
    • 5. The “Substance and Meaning of All Things Political”: On Other Bodies
    • Conclusion

Notes
Bibliography
Index

 

HAGAR KOTEF is based at the Minerva Humanities Center at Tel Aviv University.

 

 

New Article: Dibiasi, Changing Trends in Palestinian Political Activism

Dibiasi, Caroline Mall. “Changing Trends in Palestinian Political Activism: The Second Intifada, the Wall Protests, and the Human Rights Turn.” Geopolitics (early view, online first)

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14650045.2015.1028028

 

Abstract

This paper asks where and why Palestinian protests take place and how particular manifestations of territorial dislocation affect the dynamics of Palestinian political activism. Political, social and territorial transformations over the Oslo period had resulted in the fragmentation of Palestinian resistance, a development that had become most evident during the second intifada through the absence of mass-based non-violent protest. Israel’s complex control over Palestinian territory and mobility has been a key factor in driving this fragmentation. In contrast to checkpoints, forbidden roads, and closures, the construction of the Separation Wall had a very different impact, and amid the continuation of a violent and fragmented uprising, it presented a focal point for cohesive organised non-violent local protest. This paper examines to what extent the construction of the Wall has engendered a different type of protest, conception of activism and new forms of cooperation, that break the trend of the second intifada.

New Book: Hochberg, Visual Occupations

 

Hochberg, Gil Z. Visual Occupations: Violence and Visibility in a Conflict Zone, Perverse Modernities. Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, 2015.

 

hochberg-visual-occupations

 

In Visual Occupations Gil Z. Hochberg shows how the Israeli Occupation of Palestine is driven by the unequal access to visual rights, or the right to control what can be seen, how, and from which position. Israel maintains this unequal balance by erasing the history and denying the existence of Palestinians, and by carefully concealing its own militarization. Israeli surveillance of Palestinians, combined with the militarized gaze of Israeli soldiers at places like roadside checkpoints, also serve as tools of dominance. Hochberg analyzes various works by Palestinian and Israeli artists, among them Elia Suleiman, Rula Halawani, Sharif Waked, Ari Folman, and Larry Abramson, whose films, art, and photography challenge the inequity of visual rights by altering, queering, and manipulating dominant modes of representing the conflict. These artists’ creation of new ways of seeing—such as the refusal of Palestinian filmmakers and photographers to show Palestinian suffering or the Israeli artists’ exposure of state manipulated Israeli blindness —offers a crucial gateway, Hochberg suggests, for overcoming and undoing Israel’s militarized dominance and political oppression of Palestinians.

Gil Z. Hochberg is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Gender Studies at UCLA. She is the author of In Spite of Partition: Jews, Arabs and the Limits of Separatist Imagination.

 

Table of Contents

 

Acknowledgments  ix

Introduction. Visual Politics at a Conflict Zone  1

Part I. Concealment  

1. Visible Invisibility: On Ruins, Erasure, and Haunting  37

2. From Invisible Spectators to the Spectacle of Terror: Chronicles of a Contested Citizenship  57

Part II. Surveillance  

3. The (Soldier’s) Gaze and the (Palestinian) Body: Power, Fantasy, and Desire in the Militarized Contact Zone  79

4. Visual Rights and the Prospect of Exchange: The Photographic Event Placed under Duress  97

Part III. Witnessing

5. “Nothing to Look At”; or, “For Whom Are You Shooting?”: The Imperative to Witness and the Menace of the Global Gaze  115

6. Shooting War: On Witnessing One’s Failure to See (on Time)  139

 

Closing Words  163

Notes  167

Bibliography  187

Index  207

Reviews: Schulman, Israel/Palestine and the Queer International

Schulman, Sarah. Israel/Palestine and the Queer International. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012.

 

978-0-8223-5373-7_pr

 

Reviews

 

 

Reviews: Ochs, Security and Suspicion

Ochs, Juliana. Security and Suspicion. An Ethnography of Everyday Life in Israel. Ethnography of Political Violence Series. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011.

 

Security and Suspicion

 

Reviews

 

  • Idris, Murad. “Review.” Middle East Journal 65.4 (2011): 680-681.
  • Pearlman, Wendy. “Review.” American Ethnologist 39.2 (2012).
  • Beckerman-Boys, Carly. “Review.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 11.2 (2012): 279-281.

Cite: Ball, Towards a Visual Politics of ‘Touch’ at the Israeli-Palestinian Border

Ball, Anna. “Impossible Intimacies: Towards a Visual Politics of ‘Touch’ at the Israeli-Palestinian Border.” Journal for Cultural Research 16.2-3 (2012): 175-195. [Special Issue: Arab Cultural Studies]

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14797585.2012.647668

Abstract

The West Bank Wall (or ‘Separation Fence’) constructed by Israel along much of its border with the occupied West Bank offers a potent visual signifier of the divisive, restrictive and intrusive ways in which the Israeli occupation touches the everyday lives of Palestinians. Consequently, the Wall has become a prominent site of representational concern in Arab visual culture. This article examines two particular visual representations of the Israeli-Palestinian border, Mona Hatoum’s sculpture ‘Grater Divide’ and Simone Bitton’s film Wall, in order to explore the complex politics of encounter and representation that circulate around the border in these works. In doing so, it seeks to establish a broader understanding of the ways in which discursive and cultural boundaries might be negotiated and crossed in the service of an interdisciplinary model of Arab cultural studies.

Cite: Mansbach, Strategic Use of Politics of Care: Checkpoint Watch

Mansbach, Daniela. “The Strategic Use of the Politics of Care: The Israeli Checkpoint Watch Movement.” Feminist Theory 13.1 (2012): 43-58.

URL: http://fty.sagepub.com/content/13/1/43.abstract

Abstract

This article examines the Israeli women’s movement, Checkpoint Watch, as a case from which to argue that the strategic use of the politics of care can challenge existing social and political orders. The conscious decision of activists to direct the practice of care toward the ‘wrong’ subject – toward Palestinians rather than Israeli soldiers – challenges the dehumanisation of Palestinians in Israeli society. While the politics of care may call the political order into question, the service of a behaviour that is considered essentialist may paradoxically reinforce the existing social order. I argue that the politics of care has the potential to challenge both the political and the social order, though not simultaneously.

Cite: Rokem, The Violin Player, the Soccer Game and the Wall-Graffiti

Rokem, Freddie. "The Violin Player, the Soccer Game and the Wall-Graffiti. Rhetorical Strategies in the Border-Regions between Israel and Palestine." Arcadia. International Journal for Literary Studies 45.2 (2011): 326-38.

 

URL: http://www.reference-global.com/doi/abs/10.1515/ARCA.2010.019

 

Abstract

This contribution examines an incident at a roadblock which took place in November 2004, documented in a short video and was also reproduced as a still in Israeli media. This image immediately became broadly discussed and contested. It shows a young Palestinian man playing a violin at a check point while a group of Israeli soldiers are standing and guarding the place. This image was drawn into larger clusters of signification where the rhetorical strategies employed become both quite complex and ambiguous. The image became contextualized within discourses of conflict, creating what Walter Benjamin in his Passagenwerk termed “constellations.” – Besides presenting this notion and its hermeneutic potentials my article examines the historical associations of the image, arguing that the associations with the Holocaust are actually a way to minimize the pain and suffering of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation rather than highlighting them in a broader universal context. – Another aspect of this image is connected to the technologies of creating and disseminating images of conflict/occupation and how they affect the ethical discussions surrounding this incident. I will argue that historical constellations tend to obscure rather than sharpen the ethical dimensions of images like the Palestinian violin player at the check point. – A number of graffiti paintings on the separation wall, in particular by the British graffiti artist Bansky, as well as a cellphone advertisement featuring the separation wall will be examined in order to contextualize the discourses of conflict and occupation.

New Publication: Ochs, Security and Suspicion

Ochs, Juliana. Security and Suspicion. An Ethnography of Everyday Life in Israel. Ethnography of Political Violence Series. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011.

Security and Suspicion

 

In Israel, gates, fences, and walls encircle public spaces while guards scrutinize, inspect, and interrogate. With a population constantly aware of the possibility of suicide bombings, Israel is defined by its culture of security. Security and Suspicion is a closely drawn ethnographic study of the way Israeli Jews experience security in their everyday lives.

Observing security concerns through an anthropological lens, Juliana Ochs investigates the relationship between perceptions of danger and the political strategies of the state. Ochs argues that everyday security practices create exceptional states of civilian alertness that perpetuate—rather than mitigate—national fear and ongoing violence. In Israeli cities, customers entering gated urban cafes open their handbags for armed security guards and parents circumnavigate feared neighborhoods to deliver their children safely to school. Suspicious objects appear to be everywhere, as Israelis internalize the state’s vigilance for signs of potential suicide bombers. Fear and suspicion not only permeate political rhetoric, writes Ochs, but also condition how people see, the way they move, and the way they relate to Palestinians. Ochs reveals that in Israel everyday practices of security—in the home, on commutes to work, or in cafés and restaurants—are as much a part of conflict as soldiers and military checkpoints.

Based on intensive fieldwork in Israel during the second intifada, Security and Suspicion charts a new approach to issues of security while contributing to our understanding of the subtle dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This book offers a way to understand why security propagates the very fears and suspicions it is supposed to reduce.

URL: http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/14804.html