Bulletin: Israeli Palestinians and Arab Minorities in Israel

Books

Nadim N. Rouhana, Israel and its Palestinian Citizens

 

 

Articles

 

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New Article: Lewin, Understanding the Political Psychology of the Israeli 2015 Elections

Lewin, Eyal. “‘It’s the National Ethos, Stupid’! – Understanding the Political Psychology of the Israeli 2015 Elections Using Data from the National Resilience Survey.” International Journal of Social Science Studies 4.7 (2016): 63-74.

 

URL: dx.doi.org/10.11114/ijsss.v4i7.1651

 

Abstract

From a socio-political point of view, the results of the Israeli 2015 elections reflect an ongoing stagnation that is described in detail in this research. This stagnation is often explained by theories of social collective identities. However, none of the theories examines how group identities are created. Consequently, this study explains how different forms of national ethos shape political identities and interweave with them.
Relying on a wide set of data from the National Resilience Survey launched by the National Security Studies Center at Haifa University, this research examines the way Israeli political parties differ according to voters’ attitudes on matters of national ethos. The findings show how opposing parties correspond with the two distinct forms of national ethos. However, the data also reveals that the ethos clash is not necessarily a dichotomy, but rather a continuum where various parties are located along a spectrum between the poles.

 

 

 

New Book: Kahanoff, Jews and Arabs in Israel Encountering Their Identities

Kahanoff, Maya. Jews and Arabs in Israel Encountering Their Identities. Transformations in Dialogue. Lanham and London: Lexington Books and Jerusalem: Van Leer Institute, 2016.

 

1498504981

 

Jews and Arabs in Israel Encountering their Identities reveals the powerful potential of inter-group dialogues to transform identities and mutually negating relations. Using meetings with Israeli Jewish and Palestinian Arabian students who attend the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as case studies, Kahanoff examines the hidden psychological dimensions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and illustrates how each participant’s sense of identity shifted in response to encounters with conflicting perspectives. Kahanoff contends that an awareness of the limitations of dialogue, without the renunciation of its value, is the most realistic basis upon which to build a sustainable agreement. This book is recommended for scholars of psychology, sociology, religious studies, political science, and communication studies.

 

Table of Contents

  • Part I. Center Stage Conversations
  • Chapter One: Split Discourse: Jews and Arabs Converse
  • Part II. Behind the Scenes
  • Chapter Two: Internal Jewish-Israeli Dialogues
  • Chapter Three: Internal Palestinian-Arab Dialogues
  • Part III. Inner/Hidden Dialogues
  • Chapter Four: Jewish Israeli Dilemmas
  • Chapter Five: Palestinian Arab Dilemmas

  • Chapter Six: Theoretical Aftertalks: Dialogical Transformations

 

MAYA KAHANOFF is lecturer at the Swiss Center Graduate Program for Conflict Research, Management and Resolution and associate research fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

New Article: Collins-Kreiner and Kliot, Particularism vs. Universalism in Hiking Tourism

Collins-Kreiner, Noga, and Nurit Kliot. “Particularism vs. Universalism in Hiking Tourism.” Annals of Tourism Research 56 (2016): 132-137.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2015.10.007

 

Highlights

• “Particularism vs. universalism” adds a useful dimension to the tourism and leisure of hiking.
• Hiking is composed of two different systems: universalistic and particularistic.
• The dominant features of hiking the Israel National Trail are ‘communitas’, and ‘place attachment’.
• The varied multi-dimensional aspects of hiking could be located on a scale.

 

 

 

New Article: Rosman-Stollman & Israeli, Transition of the Israeli Soldier’s Media Image from the Collective to an Individual

Rosman-Stollman, Elisheva, and Zipi Israeli. “‘Our Forces’ Become Alexei, Yuval and Liran: The Transition of the Israeli Soldier’s Media Image from the Collective to an Individual.” Res Militaris 5.2 (2015).

 
URL: http://resmilitaris.net/ressources/10223/04/res_militaris_article_rosman-stollman___israeli_our_forces_become_alexei__yuval_and_liran.pdf [PDF]
 
Extract

This article will look at the complex idea of identity and examine the transition from collective to individual representation through the media image of soldiers in Israel. Soldiers, and the Israel Defence Force (IDF) in general, enjoy a uniquely central position in Israeli society, as will be described at length below. Civil-military scholars in Israel agree that soldiers are a source of public pride and national ethos. Few images in Israel attract as much public attention as soldiers do. For this reason, examining the identity of soldiers is telling of social trends in Israeli society at large and can serve as a litmus test for more general changes in Israeli identity.

 

 

 

New Article: Guetzkow & Fast, Symbolic Boundaries and Social Exclusion: A Comparison of Arab Palestinian Citizens and Ethiopian Jews

Guetzkow, Josh, and Idit Fast. “How Symbolic Boundaries Shape the Experience of Social Exclusion. A Case Comparison of Arab Palestinian Citizens and Ethiopian Jews in Israel.” American Behavioral Scientist (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0002764215607581

 

Abstract

Symbolic boundaries, understood as the conceptual distinctions used to demarcate in-groups and out-groups, are fundamental to social inequality. While we know a great deal about how groups and individuals construct and contest symbolic boundaries along lines of class, race, ethnicity, religion, and nationality, less attention is given to (a) national belonging as a component of symbolic boundaries distinct from citizenship and (b) comparing how distinct symbolic boundaries shape individuals perceptions of, and reactions to, instances of stigmatization and discrimination. To examine these issues we compared two marginalized groups in Israel, Arab Palestinian citizens and Ethiopian Jewish immigrants. Analyzing 90 in-depth interviews, we find that exclusion based on boundaries of nationality engenders different ways of interpretating and responding to stigmatizing and discriminatory behavior, compared with exclusion based on racial and ethnic boundaries. While Ethiopians see everyday stigmatizing encounters as part of their temporary position as a recently immigrated group from a developing country, and react accordingly with attempts to prove their worth as individuals and ultimately assimilate, Palestinians view the line between them and the Jewish majority as relatively impermeable and attempts to fully integrate as mostly useless, viewing solidarity and education as a means to improve their group’s standing.

 

 

New Article: Ranta, Re-Arabizing Israeli Food Culture

Ranta, Ronald. “Re-Arabizing Israeli Food Culture.” Food, Culture & Society (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15528014.2015.1088192

 

Abstract

This paper examines the role Arab-Palestinian food plays in the construction of Israeli national identity and food culture. In particular, it sets out to understand the recent willingness in Jewish-Israeli society to acknowledge Arab, and to a lesser extent Arab-Palestinian, culture and food. This new phenomenon has resulted in the re-Arabization of Israeli food culture. For the first time Arab and Arab-Palestinian food is acknowledged, written about and celebrated. This follows a historically longer process in which the construction of Israeli identity and food culture was based on adaptation and imitation, leading to appropriation and nationalization of Arab-Palestinian food culture.

 

 

 

New Article: Kachtan, Performance of Ethnicity and the Process of Ethnicization

Kachtan, Dana Grosswirth. “‘Acting Ethnic’—Performance of Ethnicity and the Process of Ethnicization.” Ethnicities (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1468796815610353

 

Abstract

This paper examines the process of “acting ethnic”, and demonstrates that, in certain circumstances, people act in keeping with an ethnic identity. Based on a study of two infantry brigades in the Israeli army (the IDF), the paper shows how organizational ethnic culture forms the basis of the process of “acting ethnic”. This paper highlights the tendency in certain situations to suspend nonethnic privileges by adopting an ethnic identity and in addition, to exaggerate ethnic performance. Moreover, it is argued that “acting ethnic” is a collective performance, aimed not only at belonging to the group, but also as a means of maintaining and reproducing ethnic identity and asserting a legitimate alternative to the hegemonic identity.

 

 

 

 

New Article: Lichtenstein, Zionists, Sport, and Belonging in Interwar Czechoslovakia

Lichtenstein, Tatjana. “‘An Athlete Like a Soldier Must Not Retreat’: Zionists, Sport, and Belonging in Interwar Czechoslovakia.” Shofar 34.1 (2015): 1-26.

 

URL: https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/shofar/v034/34.1.lichtenstein.html

 

Abstract

This article examines Zionists’ politics of belonging in interwar Czechoslovakia. It shows that the Jewish sports and gymnastics organization Maccabi was a vehicle for Zionists’ efforts to construct Jews’ belonging as individuals and as a collective in the new, multinational state. While Jews’ civic equality was formally guaranteed by the Czechoslovak constitution, actual, social and civic equality depended on a broader, public identification of Jews as legitimately belonging in Czechoslovakia. For Zionists, making Jews insiders, individuals that were respected as equal and loyal citizens, was contingent on Jews’ simultaneous belonging to a Jewish national and a Czechoslovak civic collective. Drawing on the ideal of the Zionist “new Jew” and on local traditions for minority nationalism, activists sought to create a symbiosis between Zionism and Czechoslovak patriotism in the 1920s and 30s.

 

 

New Article: Hager & Saba, Testimonies of Jewish-Arab Hostility in the Israeli Academia

Hager, Tamar, and Tufaha Saba. “The Language of Racism. Textual Testimonies of Jewish-Arab Hostility in the Israeli Academia.” Ricerche di Pedagogia e Didattica – Journal of Theories and Research in Education 10.1 (2015): 109-29.

 
URL: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Tamar_Hager/publication/273792698_The_language_of_racism._Textual_testimonies_of_Jewish-Arab_hostility_in_the_Israeli_Ac-ademia/links/550dc0980cf2128741674946.pdf (PDF)
 
Abstract

The persistent Jewish Arab conflict is present in every aspect of life in Israeli society and its echoes penetrate the everyday reality of higher educational institutions. Feelings of mutual hostility among Arab and Jewish students, faculty and administration are common experiences on Israeli campuses. This article analyzes two textual expressions of this mutual resentment which were circulated in 2011 in Tel Hai College, Israel. One of the texts was produced by Muslim Arab student association and the other by a Zionist Jewish organization. Both groups are present on every campus in Israel. Despite the significant difference of the political location occupied by each organization in the Israeli power structure, we argue that these texts share similar attitudes to the conflict and parallel operational strategies. The paper demonstrates the attempts by these texts to encourage the mutual hostility between Jews and Arabs by employing racist and violent discourse. The article tries to explain the silence of the college administration and faculty in the face of these racist acts, subsequently outlining a vision of a responsible academia which will banish any acts of racism.

 

 

 

New Book: Eshet, The Interest in UFOs and Extraterrestrials in Israeli Society (in Hebrew)

Eshet, Techia. For Their Eyes Only. The Interest in UFOs and Extraterrestrials in Israeli Society. Tel Aviv: Resling, 2015 (in Hebrew).

 

Eshet

 

 

In the last decade of the 20th century, more than fifty years since the first report of a “flying saucer” in the United States, there has been a growing interest in UFOs and extraterrestrials in Western culture in general and in Israel in particular. At times it seems that spacecrafts have landed in Israel en masse and thousands of extraterrestrials have conquered every part of its culture: the TV screens, daily newspapers, websites and billboards. The interest in UFOs and extraterrestrials, which flourished in Israel in various arenas during the 1990s, is discussed in this book in the context of addressing issues of identity and otherness.

This offers a different and fascinating perspective in a an extraordinary and innovative field of study; a “different” world, which is ostensibly distant, but in fact is close in many ways. “Glimpsing” into the world of those dealing with UFOs and extraterrestrials reveals not only this unique and intriguing subculture, but also very sheds light on the local and global culture of which we are all apart. The employment of extraterrestrial otherness reflects in this book the culture at large, including the changes and transformations that have taken place in Israeli society, alongside an observation of existential issues and concepts related to time, space, body and human existence. This gripping journey into the intricacies of the other and the marginal demonstrates that the preoccupation with the other, the cosmic, and the alien enables the strengthening of the relationship to the present and the local. In addition, the book discusses major cultural issues such as religion, politics, internal and external divides and conflicts, and pseudo-science.

To Their Eyes Only is based on anthropological research conducted within the framework of a doctoral thesis written by Techia Eshet. The study, which lasted several years, included Participant observations in conferences of “the Israeli Center for UFO Research” and in clinics offering treatment through extraterrestrials, along with interviews with practitioners in the field, and analysis of reports on evidence about seeing a UFO sightings or extraterrestrial encounters.

Techia (Thea) Eshet is a doctor of anthropology; Lecturer at the University of Haifa.
.

New Article: Patierno, Palestinian Liberation Theology

Patierno, Nicole. “Palestinian Liberation Theology: Creative Resistance to Occupation.” Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09596410.2015.1080896

 

Abstract

The ongoing Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories has widely affected the Christian population in the region. This study focuses narrowly on the diminishing minority of Palestinian Christians, and how their position under occupation has led to the development of Palestinian Liberation Theology and practices of creative resistance. It begins by acknowledging the unique position of Palestinian Christians as liminal yet indigenous members of society. It then explores their complex collective identity, demonstrating how specific facets of their historic identity (i.e. denominationalism, Arabism, and political station) have been preserved, and how these inform their theological and practical responses to the changing socio-political landscape. It goes on to probe the degree of consensus around Palestinian Liberation Theology, as well as prominent manifestations of the ideology in response to occupation. Ultimately, this study finds that Palestinian Liberation Theology represents a creative and valuable contribution to the national struggle for liberation, providing a shared ideology and culturally specific blueprint for revolutionary collective action guided by plurality, nonviolence, and collaboration.

 

 

New Article: Plotkin-Amrami & Brunner, Making Up ‘National Trauma’ in Israel

Plotkin-Amrami, Galia, and José Brunner. “Making Up ‘National Trauma’ in Israel: From Collective Identity to Collective Vulnerability.” Media, Culture & Society (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0306312715589846

 

Abstract

We sketch a variety of institutional, discursive, professional, and personal ‘vectors’, dating back to the 1980s, in order to explain how ‘national trauma’ was able to go from a cultural into a professional category in Israeli mental health during the Al-Aqsa Intifada (2000–2005). Our genealogy follows Ian Hacking’s approach to transient mental illnesses, both illustrating its fertility and expanding its horizon. Thus, we also explore the dynamics that developed in the Israeli mental health community with the advent of ‘national trauma’: while the vast majority of Israeli psychologists and psychiatrists did not adopt the category, they embraced much of its underlying logic, establishing a link between Israeli identity and the mental harm said to be caused by Palestinian terror. Remarkably, the nexus of national identity and collective psychic vulnerability also prompted the cooperation of Jewish and Palestinian-Israeli mental health scholars seeking to explore the psychological effect that the minority status of Israeli Palestinians had on them during the Al-Aqsa Intifada.

 

 

New Book: Burla and Lawrence, eds. Australia and Israel

Burla, Shahar, and Dashiel Lawrence. Australia and Israel. A Diasporic, Cultural and Political Relationship. Eastbourne: Sussex Academic Press, 2015.

 

Shahar

 

Australia and the State of Israel have maintained a cordial if at times ambiguous relationship. The two countries are geographically isolated: strategic, economic and cultural interests lie increasingly with Asia for one, and with the US and the EU for the other. But for all that divides the two states, there is also much they share. Australia played an important role in the Jewish state’s establishment in 1948, and is home to the most Zionist centered Jewish diaspora globally. Jewishness for most Australian Jews has been shaped and defined by engagement with and support for Israel. At the heart of this engagement is a small but thriving Israeli community within the larger multicultural Australia.

Australia and Israel: A Diasporic, Cultural and Political Relationship draws attention to the important historical and contemporary nexus between this diaspora and its imagined homeland. The collection also considers the ways in which these two states mobilise national myths and share environmental challenges. In recent time relations between the two states have been tested by the illegal use of Australian passports in 2010, the mysterious death of dual national Ben Zygier, and growing disquiet within the ranks of the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens over Israel’s handling of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. One prominent world-wide issue is the Palestinian BDS (Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions) movement, which has attracted sympathy and support that has brought about substantive differences of opinion regarding its legitimacy within the Jewish Australian community. These issues demonstrate the multifaceted and complex picture of two very different nations, that nevertheless share an abiding connection.

 

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction: Why the Book?
Shahar Burla and Dashiel Lawrence

Part One Australia and Israel – Diasporic Relationship

1 Rewriting the Rules of Engagement: New Australian Jewish
Connections with Israel
Dashiel Lawrence

2 The Personal, the Political and the Religious: Bnei Akiva
Australia and its Relationship with Israel
Ari Lander

3 Israeli Government and Diaspora Mobilisation: The Flotilla
to Gaza and the Australian Jewry as a Case Study
Shahar Burla

4 The Place of Hebrew and Israel Education in Australian
Jewish Schools
Suzanne Rutland and Zehavit Gross

5 The Ausraeli Approach: the Diasporic Identity of Israelis
in Australia
Ran Porat

Part Two Australia and Israel – Political and Cultural Relationship

6 Overcoming Water Scarcity and Inequity in Arid Lands:
Comparing Water Management in Australia and Israel
Dominic Skinner and Stephanie Galaitsi

7 Ben Zygier’s Story and Australia–Israel Relations
Ingrid Matthews

8 A Fight Worth Having: Rudd, Gillard, Israel and the
Australian Labor Party
Alex Benjamin Burston-Chorowicz

9 An Alliance of Forgetting: National Narratives of Legitimacy
on the Occasion of Israel–Australia’s Joint Stamp Issue
Commemorating the Battle of Beersheba
Micaela Sahhar

Part Three Australia, Israel and the Boycott Divestment and
Sanction Scheme

10 The Australian Greens and the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict
Philip Mendes

11 Academic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions: Implications
for Australian–Israeli Relations
Ingrid Matthews and James Arvanitakis

Conclusion: First Cousinhood, Political Unease, and the Limits
of Comparison
Fania Oz-Salzberger

The Editors and Contributors
Index

 

Shahar Burla is a research Associate at the Sydney Jewish Museum. He is the author of Political Imagination in the Diaspora: The Construction of a Pro-Israeli Narrative (2013). He has received several awards, including a President’s Fellowship for outstanding PhD student, Bar-Ilan University and the Menahem Begin Foundation academic award.

Dashiel Lawrence is a doctoral candidate at the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne. His research interests include Jewish diaspora–Israel contemporary relations, and Jewish critics of Israel.

 

 

Reviews: Ben-Porat, Between State and Synagogue

Ben-Porat, Guy. Between State and Synagogue: The Secularization of Contemporary Israel. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

 

BenPoratSecularization

Reviews

    • Lassen, Amos. “The Times They Are A-Changing.” Reviews by Amos Lassen, April 7, 2013.
    • Tabory, Ephraim. “Review.” Middle East Journal 67.4 (2013): 646-7.
    • Omer, Atalia. “Review.” American Journal of Sociology 119.5 (2014): 1518-1520.
    • Sorek, Tamir. “Review.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 46.2 (2015): 421-2.
    • Weiss, Shayna. “Review.” Journal of Church and State 57.3 (2015): 565-7.
    • Hollander, Philip. “Judaism in Israel.” VCU Menorah Review 82 (Winter/Spring 2015).

 

 

 

New Book: Raviv, Falafel Nation

Raviv, Yael. Falafel Nation. Cuisine and the Making of National Identity in Israel, Studies of Jews in Society. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.

falafel-nation

 

When people discuss food in Israel, their debates ask politically charged questions: Who has the right to falafel? Whose hummus is better? But Yael Raviv’s Falafel Nation moves beyond the simply territorial to divulge the role food plays in the Jewish nation. She ponders the power struggles, moral dilemmas, and religious and ideological affiliations of the different ethnic groups that make up the “Jewish State” and how they relate to the gastronomy of the region. How do we interpret the recent upsurge in the Israeli culinary scene—the transition from ideological asceticism to the current deluge of fine restaurants, gourmet stores, and related publications and media?

Focusing on the period between the 1905 immigration wave and the Six-Day War in 1967, Raviv explores foodways from the field, factory, market, and kitchen to the table. She incorporates the role of women, ethnic groups, and different generations into the story of Zionism and offers new assertions from a secular-foodie perspective on the relationship between Jewish religion and Jewish nationalism. A study of the changes in food practices and in attitudes toward food and cooking, Falafel Nation explains how the change in the relationship between Israelis and their food mirrors the search for a definition of modern Jewish nationalism.

Yael Raviv is the director of the Umami food and art festival in New York City. She has a PhD in performance studies from New York University and is an adjunct professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at NYU. Her work has appeared in Women and Performance, Gastronomica, and elsewhere.

New Article: Harris, Through the Lens of Israeli Cinema: A Review

Harris, Rachel. “Through the Lens of Israeli Cinema: A Review.” Jewish Film & New Media 3.2 (2015): 220-31.

 

URL: https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/jewish_film_new_media_an_international_journal/v003/3.2.harris.html

 

Abstract
This review essay examines three recently published books on Israeli cinema. Raz Yosef’s The Politics of Loss and Trauma in Contemporary Israeli Cinema; Anat Y. Zanger’s Place, Memory and Myth in Contemporary Israeli Cinema; and Miri Talmon and Yaron Peleg’s edited volume, Israeli Cinema: Identities in Motion. It considers the ways in which Israeli cinema is inextricably linked to the history of Israeli nationalism and reflects on the treatment of this issue within these three texts. Examining major issues in the field and considering theoretical models relevant to the individual essays, chapters, and books, this essay offers a context from which to explore Israeli cinematic scholarship.

 

 

New Article: Kaplan & Werczberger, Jewish New Age and the Middle Class

Kaplan, Dana, and Rachel Werczberger. “Jewish New Age and the Middle Class: Jewish Identity Politics in Israel under Neoliberalism.” Sociology (early view; online first).

 

URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0038038515595953

 

Abstract
This article asks why middle-class Israeli seculars have recently begun to engage with Jewish religiosity. We use the case of the Jewish New Age (JNA) as an example of the middle class’s turn from a nationalised to a spiritualised version of Judaism. We show, by bringing together the sociology of religion’s interest in emerging spiritualities and cultural sociology’s interest in social class, how after Judaism was deemed socially significant in identity-based struggles for recognition, Israeli New Agers started culturalising and individualising Jewish religiosity by constructing it in a spiritual, eclectic, emotional and experiential manner. We thus propose that what may be seen as cultural and religious pluralism is, in fact, part of a broader system of class reproduction.

 

 

New Article: Loeffler, The Invisibility of American Jewish Politics

Loeffler, James. “Nationalism without a Nation?: On the Invisibility of American Jewish Politics.” Jewish Quarterly Review 105.3 (2015): 367-98.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/jqr.2015.0019

 

Abstract
In this article, I launch a wholesale reexamination of the under-studied subject of American Jewish nationalism. With the focus on the road to Israeli statehood, scholars have ignored the complex, contradictory patterns of nationalist identification that marked American Zionist politics in the first half of the twentieth century. I explore this thesis through a re-reading of two key historical episodes: the American Jewish Congress movement of 1914–1920 and the American Jewish Conference, 1943–1949. In the process, I discuss the relationship between liberalism and nationalism in American Jewish political thought; the political conflicts between Jewish nationalism and anti-nationalism; and the nomenclature of Jewish nationhood in the United States. Ultimately, I conclude that the consensus position of American Jewish support for Israel after 1948 emerged only after statist Zionism had been separated from a more capacious form of American Jewish nationalism that existed before 1948. This helps us understand the origins and rise to significance of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), with implications for the current moment of American Jewish politics.

 

 

New Book: Sorek, Palestinian Commemoration in Israel

Sorek, Tamir. Palestinian Commemoration in Israel, Calendars, Monuments, and Martyrs, Stanford Studies in Middle Eastern and Islamic Societies and Cultures. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015.

 Sorek, Tamir. Palestinian Commemoration in Israel, Calendars, Monuments. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015.

Collective memory transforms historical events into political myths. In this book, Tamir Sorek considers the development of collective memory and national commemoration among the Palestinian citizens of Israel. He charts the popular politicization of four key events—the Nakba, the 1956 Kafr Qasim Massacre, the 1976 Land Day, and the October 2000 killing of twelve Palestinian citizens in Israel—and investigates a range of commemorative sites, including memorial rallies, monuments, poetry, the education system, political summer camps, and individual historical remembrance. These sites have become battlefields between diverse social forces and actors—including Arab political parties, the Israeli government and security services, local authorities, grassroots organizations, journalists, and artists—over representations of the past.

Palestinian commemorations are uniquely tied to Palestinian encounters with the Israeli state apparatus, with Jewish Israeli citizens of Israel, and by their position as Israeli citizens themselves. Reflecting longstanding tensions between Palestinian citizens and the Israeli state, as well as growing pressures across Palestinian societies within and beyond Israel, these moments of commemoration distinguish Palestinian citizens not only from Jewish citizens, but from Palestinians elsewhere. Ultimately, Sorek shows that Palestinian citizens have developed commemorations and a collective memory that offers both moments of protest and points of dialogue, that is both cautious and circuitous.

Table of Contents with abstracts

Introduction

The chapter demonstrates the centrality of commemoration as a form of political protest among Palestinian citizens, as well as the historical link between this commemoration and the adoption of Israeli citizenship as part of their identity. It argues that Palestinian commemoration in Israel is both a stage for displaying Palestinian national pride and a mobilizing vehicle for struggle over civil equality, and its content is shaped to a large extent by the tension between these two goals. The chapter contextualizes the study in the relevant literature on collective memory and explains the unique case of the Palestinians citizens of Israel compared with other “trapped” minorities. Finally, the chapter outlines the methodology used in the book.

1 Commemoration under British Rule

The chapter explores how political calendars and shared martyrology provided important markers of identity and symbolic tools for political mobilization in Mandate Palestine. The dates on the emerging Palestinian calendar grew out of the politicization and nationalization of traditional holy days, as well as the commemoration of politically significant events of the period, including those involving local Palestinian martyrs. Commemorative events were especially important for the advancement of Palestinian particularism, which could not rely on a distinct language and culture or a common religion. Although the Palestinian elite was well aware of the importance of these markers to identity formation, its ability to nurture them was limited by institutional weakness, lack of political sovereignty, and British antagonism to this commemoration.

2 The Kafr Qasim Massacre and Land Day

The Kafr Qasim massacre in 1956 was only one out of several massacres committed against Palestinians in the same historical period. The selection of the event into the political calendar of the Palestinians in Israel and the endurance of its commemoration are related to the status of the victims and commemorators as Israeli citizens. The commemoration of the massacre has been influenced by the need to prevent its reoccurrence and therefore the emphasis on civil rights has been a central discursive tool. From 1976, Land Day was added as a second anchor on the political calendar. Land Day commemoration has been shaped by the tension between Palestinian nationalism and a struggle for civic equality. Until the 1990s, the Israeli Communist Party has dominated the commemoration of both events, and accordingly, the status of Jewish citizens as speakers, chorographers, and potential audience had been salient.

3 The Political Calendar in the Twenty-First Century

The twenty-first century has witnessed the addition of two dates to the political calendar of the Palestinians in Israel—a memorial day for the Nakba and al-Aqsa Day, commemorating the events of October 2000 during which Israeli police killed thirteen Palestinians inside Israel. Both events have become a sphere of contention not only between Palestinian citizens and the state but also between religious and secular forces within Palestinian society, which even commemorate the Nakba in different days. The October 2000 events have pushed Palestinians in Israel to reconsider the meaning of citizenship, not necessarily to withdraw from a shared Israeli public sphere, and this complicated approach is reflected in all the four major commemorations on the political calendar.

4 Memorials for Martyrs, I (1976-1983)

Memorial monuments have been added to commemorative repertoire of Palestinians in Israel since 1976. This chapter begins by explaining the delay in their appearance. In the first wave of commemoration (1976-1983), six monuments were built, which reflected the high level of caution practiced by their creators. The caution was expressed by locating some of these monuments in cemeteries rather than in central visible sites, by inscribing sanitized text on the monuments that did not identify a perpetrator, by including Jewish citizens as creators or commemorated subjects, by avoiding explicit contextualization of the commemoration in the broader Palestinian national narrative, and by emphasizing loyalties that were considered less political such as local, religious, and communal identities.

5 Memorial Monuments for Martyrs, II (1998-2013)

A second wave of monuments began slowly in 1998, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Nakba, and it drastically increased following October 2000. The monuments in this wave reflected a limited decline in caution and self-censorship, expressed not only by the number of monuments, but also by their location in highly visible sites. In addition, there was a mildly growing tendency to frame local pride as an aspect of national pride, and a decline in the attempts to use localism as a protective measure from the state’s antagonism to Palestinian national identity. This trend was expressed unevenly across different localities, and old prudent tactics were still evident, especially around monuments referring to 1948. In addition, Palestinians who were not citizens were mostly excluded from the monuments.

6 On the Margins of Commemoration

Beyond the canonic events on the political calendar, the historical remembrance of Palestinians in Israel includes many other dates and events situated in various degrees of distance from the core of the cannon. Some events have been commemorated mainly locally, without continuous cross-regional participation; others mostly by a specific party or movement; still other commemorations have been limited to press coverage, and the memory was not embodied by mass rallies; or the embodied commemoration in the form of mass rallies did not last more than a decade. There are three major dimensions of marginalization. First, temporal – teaching pre-1948 Palestinian history is an intellectual project with marginal public resonance so far; second, thematic, Palestinians in Israel have remained at a safe distance from the armed struggle, especially if it targeted civilians; third, geo-political, Palestinians who are not citizens of Israel have been extremely marginal in the public commemoration.

7 Disciplining Palestinian Memory

The anxiety of the Jewish public in Israel regarding the public appearance of a Palestinian national narrative has led to continuous attempts to discipline the public display of Palestinian political memory. In the first decades after 1948 this discipline was imposed mainly by strict monitoring by the security services. As the Jews’ siege mentality abated and Arab self-confidence and organizational ability increased in the 1980s and 1990s, elements of the Palestinian national narrative gained more public visibility. From 2000, the Second Intifada reversed the abating anxiety, but it was too late to restore the old modes of disciplining memory. In the new era, disciplining memory is based on a combination of restrictive legislation, public intimidations by government officials, and the watchful civic gaze of ordinary citizens. These modes are not completely ineffective but they are far from pushing national historical remembrance back to the private sphere.

8 The Struggle over the Next Generation

The official curriculum in Israeli schools has long excluded the Palestinian national narrative. The chapter presents evidence that although Palestinians in Israel do not tend to see the formal education system as a main source of their historical knowledge, this system is still influential in shaping historical remembrance. Given the uniqueness of public education as an extremely imbalanced political battlefield, activists, educators, and parents developed diverse tools aimed to bypass, alter, or confront the curriculum of the formal education system. The chapter discusses some of these tools, including increasing the role of private schools, developing alternative teaching materials, and disseminating these materials either inside the public education system or thorough extracurricular activities.

9 Political Summer Camps

Summer camps became an important element in the alternative education system of the Palestinian citizens of Israel, and a space for processing national memory and transmitting it to children. All major parties and movements organize summer camps, in which the development of collective memory has a central place. Themes banned at school are openly discussed in an environment considered relatively safe. At the same time Israeli state agencies, through trial and error tactics, check the limits of their ability to monitor and discipline the curriculum of these camps. Summer camps, however, are not equivalent to a mandatory education system. The ability of Palestinian agents of memory to inculcate their own version of history to the next generation is limited as they lack the coercive power of a central government that can impose universal “required knowledge.”

10 The Quest for Victory

The chapter examines the semiotic structure of Palestinian collective memory in Israel and identifies a continuous tendency to balance themes of victimhood with themes of prowess. Modern Palestinian and Arab histories make themes of victimhood significantly more available and the frequent attempts to construct various events as victories is a common thread that links the “literature of resistance” under the military regime, with the widespread satisfaction from the Israeli failure in Lebanon in 2006. The attraction to triumphal themes is even more evident among those Arab citizens who define themselves as both Palestinians and Israelis, probably because Israeli defeats at the hands of Arabs pave the way for imagining a more egalitarian interaction with Jews.

11 Latent Nostalgia to Yitzhak Rabin

As one of the major figures responsible for the Nakba, the way the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is remembered by Palestinian citizens of Israel after his assassination in 1995 is a very good example for a strategic suspension of the Nakba memory. The chapter suggests the existence of a latent nostalgia for Rabin’s second term as prime minister (1992–1995) as a period when being Israeli looked like a realistic option for Palestinian citizens of Israel. This nostalgia is “latent” because in the post-2000 era it can be found only in responses of individuals to a survey questionnaire, but not in the public sphere.

Conclusion
 The chapter identifies the tension between being Palestinian and being an Israeli citizen as a major force that shapes Palestinian commemoration in Israel. While some other axes of conflict (integration-separation; local-national; elite-masses; intra-Palestinian communal relations) are not simple derivative of this tension, they are commonly related to it in one way or another. Together, these tensions create frequent discrepancies between various forms and spheres of historical remembrance and commemoration, as well as internal inconsistencies in the commemorative rhetoric.

 

Tamir Sorek is Associate Professor of Sociology and Israel Studies at the University of Florida. He is the author of Arab Soccer in a Jewish State: The Integrative Enclave (2007).