Shechory-Bitton, Mally, and Dan Soen. “Community Cohesion, Sense of Threat, and Fear of Crime: The Refugee Problem as Perceived by Israeli Residents.” Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice (early view; online first).
The study deals with the concentration of African refugees in southern Tel-Aviv neighborhoods. It analyzes the impact of this situation on Israeli residents’ perception of their neighborhood. Based on a sample of 214 people four analyses were conducted: (1) symbolic and real threat felt by the residents; (2) fear of crime, neighborhood disorder, perceived risk, and community cohesiveness; (3) objective exposure; (4) distress. Distress in the neighborhood was found to be a function of fear of crime, perceived risk, and community cohesiveness. Perceptions of symbolic threat play a much more important role than real feelings of threat or fear of socio-economic competition. Likewise, it was found that African refugees are perceived as a threat to the cultural and national homogeneity of Jewish Israeli residents.
After the 1948 war, the cease-fire lines between Israel and its neighbours remained porous. Palestinian refugees crossed the borders. Some returned to cultivate their fields; others crossed the border as thieves. Some intended to murder Israelis and wreak terror. Most of the refugees who made their way into Israel were not violent, but their presence frightened Jewish civilians living in frontier regions. Policy-makers and cultural agents of the social elite mobilized to mould the threatened population into Israelis who could display fortitude. The article analyzes the emotional regime the Israeli state sought to inculcate and the desirable and undesirable outcomes of this policy.
Kotef, Hagar. Movement and the Ordering of Freedom: On Liberal Governances of Mobility. Durham: Duke University Press, 2015.
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
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
HAGAR KOTEF is based at the Minerva Humanities Center at Tel Aviv University.
This study examined the role played by gender differences in the relation between political violence exposure and mental health during adolescence. Understanding these differences is particularly pertinent during the period of adolescence characterized as it is by processes of identity formation and gender role consolidation. Participants were 154 high school students recruited from two high schools in central Israel (78 males, 76 females; average age 16.54), who completed the Political Life Events Scale for measurement of political violence exposure, the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 for assessment of psychological symptoms and disorders, a risk-taking behavior scale, and the Posttraumatic Stress Symptom Scale — Interview (PSS-I) for assessment of posttraumatic stress symptoms. Results reflected high levels on many psychological indicators. The dose–response hypothesis was partially confirmed with adolescents’ higher reported political violence exposure related only to higher levels of somatization and greater severity of posttraumatic stress symptoms. Contrary to the literature, only a few gender differences emerged and these showed mixed patterns. Females showed higher levels of anxiety than males, and males showed higher levels of risk-taking behavior. Females exposed to low political violence exposure showed significantly less substance abuse than males but those with high exposure reported significantly higher levels of substance abuse, equivalent to those of males. Findings show a complex constellation of gender effects on relations between political violence exposure and different psychopathological outcomes. Findings of this study indicate the necessity for more refined examination of gender differences in psychological processes in reaction to living in conditions of protracted conflict and war.
Kemp, Martin. “Collusion as a Defense against Guilt: Further Notes on the West’s Relationship with Israel and the Palestinians.” International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies 12.3 (2015): 192-222.
Returning to the theme of an earlier paper (Kemp 2011), the author explores the anxiety-ridden nature of debate about Israel-Palestine in the West. Rather than guilt per se, it is suggested that it is collective defences against guilt that are threatened when the issue is raised in public. The West’s dilemma has been to reconcile its commitment to universalist values with its support for Israel. Zionism’s objective of a Jewish state in an already inhabited country has led inevitably to repression and racism. The outcome has been collusion in a cover-up of the true nature of Israeli ideology and policy, akin to the collusion that takes place in a clinical relationship when a psychoanalyst fails to make a necessary interpretation to a patient in order to avoid discomfort or conflict. Among the many unfortunate consequences has been a failure to challenge the instrumentalization of the Holocaust, paradoxically now used to neutralize opposition to the subjugation of the Palestinians.
Schilling, Christopher L. Emotional State Theory. Friendship and Fear in Israeli Foreign Policy. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2015.
This book develops “emotional state theory” as a new contribution to international relations theory (IR). The text addresses the State of Israel vis-à-vis the rest of the world. The rationale for this research perspective stems from the trajectory of Israeli state-building since its foundation in May 1948 to the present date. This trajectory is constructed reflecting the trauma of the past and dreams about the future. Both contribute decisively to a better understanding of the current image and position of the state of Israel. The reference builds on two great Jewish thinkers’ works, Theodor Herzl and his book The Jewish State and Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams.
The author argues that despite the fact that both never met, taken together their ideas lend themselves to shed light on and offer an explanation for Israel’s troubled and uncertain position in current international relations. The resulting question underlying this work on the emotionality of states and its impact on international relations is therefore “whether Israel is still in a process of dreaming” and whether it is therefore to be understood a “state which has not yet woken from the trauma of the Jewish past. Not a dream’s fulfilment of an end of the Diaspora, but a nightmare based on this experience.” Drawing on these two parallel and rather influential texts, Schilling rephrases the leading questions of this book as this: “Has Israel developed an understanding of itself which sees the country as a modern state among the nations, which is dealing with its neighbors, or rather, does Israel understand itself more as being like a ghetto that is still surrounded by a hostile world? Has Israel become a strong, self-confident country, or has it continued with the nervousness of the Diaspora Jews to become a state with an emotional problem?”.
Kalir, Barak. “The Jewish State of Anxiety: Between Moral Obligation and Fearism in the Treatment of African Asylum Seekers in Israel.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies [early view online, prior to printed version]
Since 2005 around 60,000 asylum seekers, mostly from Eritrea and Sudan, have entered Israel by crossing the border from Egypt. Notwithstanding the Jewish history of persecution, and Israel being a signatory to the UN Convention for the protection of refugees, modern Israel systematically refuses to grant a refugee status to asylum seekers. Since 2012, the tenacious hostile approach of Israeli policy-makers and state-agents towards asylum seekers has resulted in an outburst of racist verbal and physical attacks against them. This article analyses the socio-legal location of asylum seekers in Israel by examining how their position is articulated by different parties, deploying competing discourses of human rights, citizenship, security and sovereignty. The article advances that appeals—mostly made by critical non-governmental organisations (NGOs), journalists and academics—to human rights, Jewish morals and historic sensitivities are beguiling; while they arouse hopes for compassion and moral obligation, they are also used by mainstream Israeli politicians to justify the exclusion and deportation of so-called ‘African infiltrators’. A hegemonic ideology of ‘fearism’—which brands the Israeli national narrative and informs the notion of citizenship among Jewish Israelis—leads to the construction of asylum seekers as abject Others, who pose a threat to the Jewish state and to Jews’ own right for secured citizenship.