Randall, Yafiah Katherine. Sufism and Jewish-Muslim Relations. The Derekh Avraham Order in Israel. New York: Routledge, 2016.
In Israel there are Jews and Muslims who practice Sufism together. The Sufi’ activities that they take part in together create pathways of engagement between two faith traditions in a geographical area beset by conflict.
Sufism and Jewish Muslim Relationsinvestigates this practice of Sufism among Jews and Muslims in Israel and examines their potential to contribute to peace in the area. It is an original approach to the study of reconciliation, situating the activities of groups that are not explicitly acting for peace within the wider context of grass-roots peace initiatives. The author conducted in-depth interviews with those practicing Sufism in Israel, and these are both collected in an appendix and used throughout the work to analyse the approaches of individuals to Sufism and the challenges they face. It finds that participants understand encounters between Muslim and Jewish mystics in the medieval Middle East as a common heritage to Jews and Muslims practising Sufism together today, and it explores how those of different faiths see no dissonance in the adoption of Sufi practices to pursue a path of spiritual progression.
The first examination of the Derekh Avraham Jewish-Sufi Order, this is a valuable resource for students and scholars of Sufi studies, as well as those interested in Jewish-Muslim relations.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Procedure and Contexts of the Research
2 Contexts of the Investigation
3 Historical Encounters of Jewish and Islamic Mysticism: precedents of Contemporary Practice in Israel
Part 2: Reading the Field Narratives
4 The Derekh Avraham/Tariqat Ibrahimiyya and its Contemporary Re-emergence in Israel
5 Beshara: Lovers of Ibn Arabi
6 Embracing the Sufi Path and the Dissemination of Knowledge
7 Jewish and Muslim Peacemakers
Part 3: Conclusion
8 The Other Voice
YAFIAH KATHERINE RANDALL received her PhD at the University of Winchester. She combines academic research into Jewish-Muslim relations focusing on Sufism with grass-roots action for interreligious understanding and conflict transformation.
Dalsheim, Joyce. “Other Sovereignties in Israel/Palestine: The Limited Imaginings of a Secular Age.” In Working with A Secular Age: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Charles Taylor’s Master Narrative (ed. Florian Zemmin, Colin Jager, and Guido Vanheeswijck; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2016): 159-74.
Some people on the ground in Israel/Palestine have begun thinking and acting in ways that pose challenges to the “sovereignty” component of the episteme of people/territory/sovereignty that underlies the modern nation-state. These challenges are sometimes considered unconventional, sometimes crazy. Sometimes these kinds of actions are called visionary, but other times they are categorized as criminal or treasonous. I will focus on just three examples – each of which poses a different challenge to what is generally thought of as popular sovereignty. Those who pose these challenges fall outside the norms of the modern social imaginary Taylor represents, and outside the boundaries of conventional peacemaking. They pose threats to the moder order of nation-states in which peace is expected to take place and may therefore be considered “spoilers” of peace.
Kahanoff, Maya. Jews and Arabs in Israel Encountering Their Identities. Transformations in Dialogue. Lanham and London: Lexington Books and Jerusalem: Van Leer Institute, 2016.
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
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.
Israeli peace activism has increasingly taken place on new media, as in the case of the grassroots anti-Occupation group, Ta’ayush. What is the significance of Ta’ayush’s work on the ground and online for peace? This article considers the former in the light of social movement scholarship on peacebuilding, and the latter in light of new media scholarship on social movements. Each of those approaches suggest that Ta’ayush has very limited success in achieving its strategic goals or generating outrage about the Occupation in the virtual/public sphere. Yet, Ta’ayush’s apparent “failure” according to standard criteria of success misses the significance of Ta’ayush’s work. Its combination of grassroots activism and online documentation of its work in confronting the Occupation in partnership with Palestinians has assembled an impressive archive. Through the lens of Walter Benjamin’s philosophy of history, Ta’ayush can be seen to enact a “future perfect” peace that will have come.
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.
During three days in 2003, an Israeli–Palestinian group met in London to negotiate the draft of the “Geneva Initiative,” which offered a potential final status agreement between Israel and Palestine. In this article, I analyze the video recording of these unofficial negotiations and examine how the framing and conduct of the talks enabled significant progress toward reaching an agreement.
I describe six main framing techniques used by the mediators: calling the meetings an “exercise,” which reduced restraints on the participants and enhanced their flexibility, avoiding deep historical issues to focus solely on future-oriented pragmatic solutions, allowing the participants to discuss any topic they chose while deliberately avoiding crucial narrative issues, convincing the participants that this track two negotiation was crucial for the future of official Israeli–Palestinian relations, accentuating the parties’ understandings and agreements with each other, and building a sense of superordinate group identity among the participants, to encourage cooperation.
Based on interviews with Palestinian professionals in Jewish organizations in Israel, this article discloses a distinctive practice of ‘everyday racism’ and microaggression – a language of everyday racism. This ‘language of everyday racism’ refers to Hebrew words and expressions that are routinely used by Jews in their mundane conversations and that include the word ‘Arab’ when describing a deficiency or defect, some sort of unsightliness, filth, or general negativity (as in the expression ‘You’re dressed like an Arab woman’). This article not only describes the language of everyday racism as a specific form of everyday racism and microaggression (national microaggression), it also illustrates how this language activates the Palestinian professionals in a reflexive manner. The discussion section describes how the internal dialectic between structure and agency is critical to understanding the language of everyday racism, which in turn acts as a mechanism of the inequality that underlies face-to-face interactions.
Bekerman, Zvi. The Promise of Integrated Multicultural and Bilingual Education. Inclusive Palestinian-Arab and Jewish Schools in Israel. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
The Promise of Integrated and Multicultural Bilingual Education presents the results of a long-term ethnographic study of the integrated bilingual Palestinian-Jewish schools in Israel that offer a new educational option to two groups of Israelis–Palestinians and Jews–who have been in conflict for the last one hundred years. Their goal is to create egalitarian bilingual multicultural environments to facilitate the growth of youth who can acknowledge and respect “others” while maintaining loyalty to their respective cultural traditions. In this book, Bekerman reveals the complex school practices implemented while negotiating identity and culture in contexts of enduring conflict. Data gathered from interviews with teachers, students, parents, and state officials are presented and analyzed to explore the potential and limitations of peace education given the cultural resources, ethnic-religious affiliations, political beliefs, and historical narratives of the various interactants. The book concludes with critique of Western positivist paradigmatic perspectives that currently guide peace education, maintaining that one of the primary weaknesses of current bilingual and multicultural approaches to peace education is their failure to account for the primacy of the political framework of the nation state and the psychologized educational perspectives that guide their educational work. Change, it is argued, will only occur after these perspectives are abandoned, which entails critically reviewing present understandings of the individual, of identity and culture, and of the learning process.
Table of contents
1. Positioning the Author
2. Theoretical Perspectives
3. Methodology: From Theory to Implementation
4. Schools in Their Contexts
5. The Parents
6. Teachers at Their Work
7. The Children
8. School Routines: Culture, Religion, and Politics in the Classroom
9. Ceremonial Events
10. Conflicting National Narratives
11. The Graduates
ZVI BEKERMAN teaches anthropology of education at the School of Education and The Melton Center, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His main interests are in the study of cultural, ethnic, and national identity, including identity processes and negotiation during intercultural encounters and in formal/informal learning contexts. He is particularly interested in how concepts such as culture and identity intersect with issues of social justice, intercultural and peace education, and citizenship education.
We explore whether the implementation of an education policy with Israeli students in a business school, including the elaboration of business projects, actually affects their attitudes towards cooperation with Palestinians. We find that this education pilot project increases the awareness of important barriers, but still at the same time improves the ability to identify appropriate cooperation models and the evaluation of benefits to all sides. Appropriate policy measures are derived, including education programs with the potential participation of third countries, subsidies and governments actual support to cooperation as an instrument for the optimization of socio-political benefits and indirect economic benefits.
Climate change is increasingly considered a security problem by academics and politicians alike. Although research is challenging such neo-Malthusian views, it focuses on conflict, or lack thereof, paying limited attention, if any, to cooperation. This study examines the effect of a severe drought on a spectrum of both conflict and cooperation in a highly incendiary setting, between Muslim Bedouin herders and Jewish agricultural settlements in Israel’s semi-arid northern Negev region. This region, lying between the Mediterranean zone and the Negev Desert, has historically been a battle ground between farmers and pastoralists.
Using archival data, both conflictive and cooperative interactions between the two groups during the 1957–63 drought, the worst in the 20th century, were examined. The results indicate that although the entire range of responses occurred, violence was limited and occurred only when some of the Bedouins migrated to the more northern Mediterranean zone. In the semi-arid northern Negev the Bedouins and two settlements engaged in substantive cooperation and assistance. Grazing on damaged crops in return for payment was also practiced during the drought.
A number of factors that affected both conflict and cooperation are identified. The severity of conflicts increased when farmers and herders lacked previous familiarity, while the need to reduce the drought’s impacts and settlements’ left-wing political affiliation formed main incentives for cooperation. Measures taken by state institutions to directly reduce frictions and to provide relief assistance were central to the overall limited level of conflict, but also reinforced the power disparities between the groups.
This is an ethnography of Jewish settlers in Israel/Palestine. Studies of religiously motivated settlers in the occupied territories indicate the intricate ties between settlement practices and a Jewish theology about the advent of redemption. This messianic theology binds future redemption with the maintenance of a physical union between Jews and the “Land of Israel.” However, among settlers themselves, the dominance of this messianic theology has been undermined by postmodernity and most notably by a series of Israeli territorial withdrawals that have contradicted the promise of redemption. These days, the religiously motivated settler population is divided among theological and ideological lines that pertain, among others issues, to the meaning of redemption and its relation to the state of Israel. This dissertation begins with an investigation of the impact of the 2005 Israeli unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip upon settlers and proceeds to compare three groups of religiously motivated settlers in the West Bank: an elite Religious Zionist settlement, settlers who engage in peacemaking activities with Palestinians, and settlers who act violently against Palestinians. Through a comparison of these different groups, this dissertation demonstrates that while messianism remains a central force in the realities of Jewish settlements and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it exists these days in more diversified forms than before. In addition, this ethnography illustrates how religion both underlies and undermines differences between Israelis and Palestinians and argues that local communities and religious leaders should be included in peace processes. Finally, by examining how messianic conceptions of time among different groups of Jewish settlers connect to their settlement practices, this study reveals the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be as much about time as it is about space. Accordingly, this dissertation has broader implications for understanding the contemporary role of religion and time within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the political struggles of the Middle East.
Various forms of informal activity have long played an under-recognized yet substantial role in solid waste management, especially in developing countries. In particular, informal activity is prominent in the electronic waste (e-waste) sector, whose volume and impacts have grown rapidly over recent decades. While the worrying aspects of informal e-waste recycling have been widely discussed, less attention has been given to its positive potential and to its relation to formal e-waste actors and policies. These topics have direct implication for pathways for transitioning from informality, and, in particular, ways in which informal recyclers can build on their strengths while beginning to operate in cleaner ways that retain livelihoods while reducing ill effects.
In this paper, we draw upon extensive field work as well as secondary literatures to offer a taxonomy of management stances towards informal e-waste practices. These range from hostility through disconnection to interaction and, finally, synergy. Our recommendation is for the latter since the informal sector has important strengths and merits, as well as its harmful aspects, while formal approaches that ignore or attempt to squelch the informal sector do not yield constructive outcomes. Specifically, we suggest an incremental ratcheting synergistic model that draws on the respective strengths of both sectors to forge a genuine partnership between them. We describe six key elements of this model, and illustrate it through application to the Israeli–Palestinian context we have studied in depth. In particular, we show how the treatment of copper cables, now one of this industry’s largest and most harmful segments, can be improved through an incremental series of synergetic solutions that preserve or even improve livelihoods of informal recyclers while greatly reducing their health and environmental impacts.
Alkaher, Iris, & Tali Tal. “Making Pedagogical Decisions to Address Challenges of Joint Jewish–Bedouin Environmental Projects in Israel”. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education (early view; online first).
This interpretive study identifies challenges of working with Bedouin and Jewish Israeli youth in two multicultural projects: education for sustainability and place-conscious education. It also describes the ways the adult project leaders addressed these challenges and their views on the effectiveness of their decisions. Participants comprised 16 Bedouin and Jewish educators. Data collection included interviews and observations of project meetings and staff meetings. Project leaders reported challenges related to (1) intergroup differences in environmental viewpoints, knowledge, and learning styles, (2) embedding issues of environmental justice in the multicultural discourse, and (3) Bedouin–Jewish interactions. To address these challenges, the leaders separated groups for some learning activities, directed discourses, adopted bilingual teaching strategies, and emphasized unique socio-cultural characteristics. Their level of satisfaction with most of their decisions is high. They avoided discussing the broader socio-political Arab–Jewish conflict. The findings highlight dilemmas that multicultural environmental projects pose and suggest the need to adopt critical pedagogy of place to address such dilemmas and challenges. The findings also emphasize the need to better prepare educators for environmental education in multicultural settings.
Demography has been broadly considered as a key aspect of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. On the Jewish side, State intervention to encourage Jewish immigration and Jewish births is well known. Much less known are the efforts to discourage inter-faith relations. These ‘problematic relationships’ between Arab men and Jewish women from low socio-economic backgrounds have become a high priority item in public discussions over the last decade. In this article I will explore the main discursive practices used in this heated debate by those opposing these relationships. ‘Moral panic’ as a theoretical framework will help me analyse the ways in which Jewish women and Arab men who engage in such relations are presented. As I will show, attempts to criminalize and vilify Arab men meet with strong opposition. Presenting Jewish women as weak and passive victims seems as a more successful strategy, especially when done by professionals from the psych-professions.
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.
Traditionally viewed as the “back yard” of Israel’s urban landscape, ethnically mixed towns have been predominantly studied in light of the marginality paradigm, which neglects to recognize these spaces as social places, namely as life worlds in and of themselves. Drawing on archival and ethnographic fieldwork in Jaffa, we propose a relational anthropological approach to the problématique of marginality and pluralism in Jewish-Arab cities. These are seen not as unidimensional sites of hyper-segregation but rather as spaces of creative marginality, which paradoxically challenge the nationalist spatial hegemony (both Palestinian and Zionist). Examining the everyday enactment of alterity we show how marginality and exclusion become precisely the driving force behind one of Israel’s most creative back stages.
Published in English and French, with abstracts in English, French, German, Spanish, Hebrew, and Arabic.
Integration is one of Israel’s greatest challenges, as Israeli Arabs, comprising 20 percent of the Israeli population, are still a segregated minority. After an incredibly violent summer for both Israelis and Palestinians, it has become more important than ever to find a solution to this issue that involves building a shared Israeli society. I argue that because the workforce is the last place where segregated societies can come together, it presents a critical opportunity to integrate. Driven by intergroup contact theory, this thesis demonstrates that (1) the workplace environment is optimal for positive intergroup contact, (2) integration in the workplace produces more positive outgroup opinions and (3) positive outgroup opinions can could withstand pressure from ethnic conflict. This is supported by 47 interviews and surveys, and guided by preexisting frameworks on intergroup contact. With this research, I hope to contribute to the literature on intergroup contact, which has yet to explore workforce integration in Israel and link it to intergroup contact theory. The findings of this thesis will be beneficial for private and public sectors to consider in order to maximize the benefits of intergroup contact and work toward a shared society.
Monterescu, Daniel. Jaffa Shared and Shattered. Contrived Coexistence in Israel/Palestine. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015.
Binational cities play a pivotal role in situations of long-term conflict, and few places have been more marked by the tension between intimate proximity and visceral hostility than Jaffa, one of the “mixed towns” of Israel/Palestine. In this nuanced ethnographic and historical study, Daniel Monterescu argues that such places challenge our assumptions about cities and nationalism, calling into question the Israeli state’s policy of maintaining homogeneous, segregated, and ethnically stable spaces. Analyzing everyday interactions, life stories, and histories of violence, he reveals the politics of gentrification and the circumstantial coalitions that define the city. Drawing on key theorists in anthropology, sociology, urban studies, and political science, he outlines a new relational theory of sociality and spatiality.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Contrived Coexistence: Relational Histories of Urban Mix in Israel/PalestinePart I. Beyond Methodological Nationalism: Communal Formations and Ambivalent Belonging
1. Spatial Relationality: Theorizing Space and Sociality in Jewish-Arab “Mixed Towns”
2. The Bridled “Bride of Palestine”: Urban Orientalism and the Zionist Quest for Place
3. The “Mother of the Stranger”: Palestinian Presence and the Ambivalence of SumudPart II. Sharing Place or Consuming Space: The Neoliberal City
4. Inner Space and High Ceilings: Agents and Ideologies of Ethnogentrification
5. To Buy or Not to Be: Trespassing the Gated CommunityPart III. Being and Belonging in the Binational City: A Phenomenology of the Urban
6. Escaping the Mythscape: Tales of Intimacy and Violence
7. Situational Radicalism and Creative Marginality: The “Arab Spring” and Jaffa’s Counterculture
Conclusion: The City of the Forking Paths: Imagining the Futures of Binational Urbanism
Daniel Monterescu is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Central European University. He is author (with Haim Hazan) of A Town at Sundown: Aging Nationalism in Jaffa and editor (with Dan Rabinowitz) of Mixed Towns, Trapped Communities: Historical Narratives, Spatial Dynamics, Gender Relations and Cultural Encounters in Palestinian-Israeli Towns.
Photography is supposed to be an international language. But is it really so? My photography is extremely culture-related. Since it’s concerned with human situations, mostly, it could be misunderstood, even meaningless, to people outside Israel. Understanding culture is easier for a native.
I photograph in Israel, for the Israeli viewer. It is not that I am aware of it all the time – but it is always there, in the back of my mind. It’s the way I see. I’m directing the sharpness and irony at us, Israelis.