New Book: Kritzman-Amir, ed. Where Levinsky Meets Asmara (in Hebrew)

Kritzman-Amir, Tally. Where Levinsky Meets Asmara: Social and Legal Aspects of Israeli Asylum Policy. Jerusalem: Van Leer Institute and Bney Brak: Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2015 (in Hebrew).

 

Asmara

 

 

In recent years, thousands of non-Jewish African asylum seekers have arrived to Israel, the state of Jewish refugees, numbering several tens of thousands. Migration of asylum seekers is a common phenomenon in almost all countries of the world. Questions of sovereignty and control of borders and society, belonging and status, demographics and security, culture and religion, as well as welfare and social justice have a decisive influence on the attitude towards asylum seekers in Israel and abroad, and cast a dark shadow over their future. Against this background, it is no wonder that the treatment of refugees became a politically charged issue arousing severe controversies between the legislative, the executive and the judiciary authorities.
This volume is the most comprehensive collection of articles that dealing with asylum seekers in Israel. It includes twelve articles seeking to characterize the communities of asylum seekers in Israel and to critically and comparatively describe the changing policy applied by the authorities and civil society. The articles are by scholars of various disciplines as well as involved activists. Among other topics, the book discusses the bureaucratic system of the State of Israel dealing with asylum applications; the experiences of asylum seekers in Israel and their ways of integration in the urban landscape; the religious life of Christian asylum seekers; asylum and gender; the exclusion of asylum seekers by restricting their entry at the border and their confinement in detention camps; refugees who are citizens of enemy states and Palestinian refugees; and viable solutions to the refugee problem. The essays in the volume serve as a foundation for studying this field and future research, and can be employed to assist policymakers and decision-makers.
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New Book: Spangler,Understanding Israel/Palestine. Race, Nation, and Human Rights in the Conflict

Spangler, Eve. Understanding Israel/Palestine. Race, Nation, and Human Rights in the Conflict. Rotterdam: Sense, 2015.

Spangler

 

 

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the longest, ongoing hot-and-cold war of the 20th and 21st centuries. It has produced more refugees than any current conflict, generating fully one quarter of all refugees worldwide. Everyone knows that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is important itself, and is also fueling tensions throughout the Middle East. Yet most people shy away from this conflict, claiming it is “just too complicated” to understand.

This book is written for people who want a point of entry into the conversation. It offers both a historic and analytic framework. Readers, whether acting as students, parishioners, neighbors, voters, or dinner guests will find in these pages an analysis of the most commonly heard Israeli positions, and a succinct account of the Palestinian voices we seldom hear. The author argues that human rights standards have never been used as the basis on which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be resolved and that only these standards can produce a just and sustainable resolution.

This book will be useful for classes in Middle East studies, peace and conflict studies, Middle East history, sociology of race, and political science. It can be helpful for church groups, labor groups, or other grass roots organizations committed to social justice, and for all readers who wish to be informed about this important topic.

 

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgements

Section 1: Introduction
Chapter 1: Introduction: Tell Our Story
Chapter 2: In Israel and Palestine: What You See Is What We Bought
Chapter 3: Basic Concepts: Human Rights, Race, and Nation
Chapter 4: Zionism: The Idea That Changed Everything

Section 2: The History of the Conflict: Another Look
Chapter 5: State Builders, Settlers, and Colonial Subjects: The Past Is Prologue
Chapter 6: Establishing the State, Preparing Occupation
Chapter 7: Occupation and Resistance: The Zionist Dream Comes True, or Be Careful What You Ask for 129
Chapter 8: The Endless, Deceptive Peace Process

Section 3: Moving Forward
Chapter 9: Four Frames: Israeli Self-Defense, Genocide, Apartheid, Ethnic Cleansing/Sociocide
Chapter 10: Zionism Revisited: From 1967 back to 1948
Chapter 11: Conclusion: Hope and History

Section 4: Supplementary Materials
Appendix: Study Questions
References
Index

Eve Spangler is a sociologist and a human and civil rights activist. For the last decade, her work has focused on the Israel/Palestine conflict; she argues that human rights are the neglected standards that could lead to a just and sustainable solution. See more at evespangler.com.

ToC: Theory and Event 18.1 (2015); special issue: The Israeli War on Gaza 2014

Theory and Event, 18.1, supplement, January 2015

Introduction: The Israeli War on Gaza 2014
Jon Simons

The Underground Ghetto City of Gaza
Amir Nizar Zuabi

Deconstructing the Israeli Socio-political Apartheid System
Adel Manna

Gaza 2014: The Collapse of a Control Model
Lev Grinberg

Five Lessons Learned from the Israeli Attack on Gaza
Muhammad Ali Khalidi

“Meeting with a Dietician”: Israel’s Institutionalised Impoverishment of Gaza
Trude Strand

Inhabiting the Split: Dissident Aspirations in Times of War
Louise Bethlehem

Divine Violence, Divine Peace: Gaza 2014
Jon Simons

The War with Gaza Did Not Take Place
Ofer Cassif

Biographies

 

New Article: Nets-Zehngut et al, Self-Censorship in Conflicts: Israel and the 1948 Palestinian Exodus

Nets-Zehngut, Rafi, Ruthie Pliskin, and Daniel Bar-Tal. “Self-Censorship in Conflicts: Israel and the 1948 Palestinian Exodus.” Peace and Conflict 21.3 (2015): 479-99.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pac0000094

 

Abstract
The typical collective memories of societies involved in intractable conflicts play a major role in the eruption and continuation of the conflicts, whereas the positive transformation of these memories to being less self-serving promotes peacemaking. A major factor that inhibits such transformation is self-censorship. Self-censorship, practiced by members of a society’s formal institutions, inhibits the dissemination of alternative, more accurate narratives of the conflict that may change dominating biased conflict-supporting memories. Despite the importance of formal self-censorship in maintaining collective memories of conflicts, little empirical and theoretical research has examined this phenomenon. The present study addresses this omission. It examines the self-censorship practiced from 1949 to 2004 in 3 formal Israeli institutions (the National Information Center, the IDF/army, and the Ministry of Education) regarding the main historical event of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the causes of the 1948 Palestinian exodus. This is done by analyzing all of these institutions’ publications produced throughout the 56-year research period and interviewing their key position holders. The results show that the institution gatekeepers practiced self-censorship for 5 reasons: garnering international support, mobilizing citizens, the impact of Zionist ideology, institutional norms, and fear of sanctions. The empirical findings are used to elicit theoretical insights, such as a definition for formal self-censorship, the difference between self-censorship practiced by gatekeepers (from formal and informal institutions) and that practiced by ordinary individuals, the 5 reasons for such self-censorship (distinguishing between 2 categories—intrinsic and extrinsic reasons), and the reasons that led the gatekeepers to admit that they had self-censored.

 

 

New Article: Masalha, Appropriation of Palestinian Place Names by the Israeli State

Masalha, Nur. “Settler-Colonialism, Memoricide and Indigenous Toponymic Memory: The Appropriation of Palestinian Place Names by the Israeli State.” Journal of Holy Land and Palestine Studies 14.1 (2015): 3-57.
 
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/hlps.2015.0103

 

Abstract
Cartography, place-naming and state-sponsored explorations were central to the modern European conquest of the earth, empire building and settler-colonisation projects. Scholars often assume that place names provide clues to the historical and cultural heritage of places and regions. This article uses social memory theory to analyse the cultural politics of place-naming in Israel. Drawing on Maurice Halbwachs’ study of the construction of social memory by the Latin Crusaders and Christian medieval pilgrims, the article shows Zionists’ toponymic strategies in Palestine, their superimposition of Biblical and Talmudic toponyms was designed to erase the indigenous Palestinian and Arabo-Islamic heritage of the land. In the pre-Nakba period Zionist toponymic schemes utilised nineteenth century Western explorations of Biblical ‘names’ and ‘places’ and appropriated Palestinian toponyms. Following the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948, the Israeli state, now in control of 78 percent of the land, accelerated its toponymic project and pursued methods whose main features were memoricide and erasure. Continuing into the post-1967 occupation, these colonial methods threaten the destruction of the diverse historical cultural heritage of the land.

 

 

 

Dissertation: Bardi, Cleansing, Constructing, and Curating the State: India/Pakistan ’47 and Israel/Palestine ’48

Bardi, Ariel Sophia. Cleansing, Constructing, and Curating the State: India/Pakistan ’47 and Israel/Palestine ’48 , PhD Dissertation, Yale University, 2015.

 
URL: http://gradworks.umi.com/36/63/3663495.html

 
Abstract

This dissertation looks at the ways in which the landscape and the built environment have been called upon and transformed into conduits of national belonging, focusing on the near-simultaneous emergences of Israel, India, and Pakistan. It considers the role of space in consolidating new national bodies, drawing on a variety of texts from both regions: memoirs, films, archival and field photos, housing plans, and the architectural landscape itself.

The first chapter explores the Jewish and Indian Muslim bids for sovereign lands along with the rise of Hindu nationalism. Looking at the founding of Pakistan and Israel, it considers the self-replicative logic of partition and the emergence of the homeland state. Arguing for the importance of image and space in conjuring new nationhoods, the second chapter compares systems of spatial control, visual regimes that mounted and imposed new national imaginaries. In India, Pakistan, and Israel/Palestine, selective acts of destruction transformed formerly shared spaces, inflecting the landscape with three distinct new states.

The third chapter looks at post-state refugee rehabilitation projects, focusing specifically on Mizrahi, or Arab Jewish, immigration to the Israeli hinterlands, and Mizrahi, or Indian refugee, resettlement within the Pakistani province of Sindh. In both regions, housing projects re-circumscribed place of origin, challenging the purported unity of each religiously pooled state and relegating refugees to the margins of each new nation. Tracing the relationship between architecture and partition, it considers the different modalities bound up in the process of national absorption. The fourth chapter compares historical preservation projects in India, Pakistan, Israel, and Palestine, and examines the role of heritage sites in visualizing statehood and homogenizing mixed spaces. Considering the furor over India’s Babri Masjid, it posits preservation as a corollary to demolition, and examines a selection of heritage locations in Israel and Pakistan while arguing for the uses of the past in upholding majority collectivities. Finally, the conclusion considers the afterlives of partition in places such as Kashmir, the West Bank, and India’s far northeast, in ongoing occupations that are as visual and spatial as they are material, economic, and political.

 

 

Dissertation: Harass, Reading the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict Through Theater

Harass, Azza. Reading the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict Through Theater: A Postcolonial Analysis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis. University of Kent, 2015.

 

URL: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/47909/

 
Abstract
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict dates back to 1917, when British Prime Minister Balfour declared Britain’s support for the establishment of a homeland for Jews in the land of Palestine. The conflict has had many political, social, and artistic implications. On the political level, a struggle that has not been solved until this day has evolved. On a social level, many lives have been crushed: thousands of native citizens of the land became refugees, mainly in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, but also worldwide. Others, like the Arabs who stayed in what was in 1948 declared to be the state of Israel, have been suffering from an identity crisis; many of these Arabs face unlawful detention, demolition of houses, killing and racism. The Gaza strip has almost always been under siege by the Israeli military machine lately. Meanwhile, the Jewish society has never had a day of peace since the establishment of their state. On the artistic level, the conflict has always had implications for Arab/ Palestinian and Israeli writings., I seek to read the depiction of the conflict with its different violent confrontations from both Israeli and Palestinian perspectives starting with the Palestinian Nakba to the violent Israeli oppression of any Palestinian resistance in the Intifada. I also read literary texts about Palestinian resistance, actual material resistance of the first Palestinian Intifada as represented by both sides in postcolonial terms. In fact, I believe that both Palestinian and Israeli literature could be read in the context of postcolonial discourse. On the one hand, for Palestinian and Arab writers, Palestinian writing is and should be read as resistance literature, or ‘Adab al-muqawamah’, a term coined by Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani. Anna Ball’s study Palestinian Literature and Film in Postcolonial Feminist Perspective examines Palestinian literature and film in the light of postcolonial feminism. Ball places the conflict in the context of colonial/ postcolonial discourse and breaks the taboo against using the word colonialism when speaking about Zionism. In fact, the research problem is based on the idea of the inadequacy of ignoring Palestinian and Israeli literature as part of postcolonial studies simply for fear of revealing the colonial status quo of the land. According to Anna Bernard, who seeks to draw attention to what she calls ‘blind spots in postcolonial studies’, mainly Israel/ Palestine: ‘by dismissing a ‘postcolonial’ approach to Israel-Palestine studies outright, [critics like] Massad and Shohat overlook the value of a literary study that seeks to demonstrate the collective and cross-cultural impact of the various modern forms of colonialism and imperialism on artistic production across the globe’. Massad’s argument that there is difficulty in describing space, time and body in Israel/ Palestine as postcolonial is based on his interrogations: ‘Can one determine the coloniality of Palestine/ Israel without noting its ‘‘post-coloniality’’ for Ashkenazi Jews? Can one determine the post-coloniality of Palestine/Israel without noting its coloniality for Palestinians? Can one determine both or either without noting the simultaneous colonizer/colonized status of Mizrahi Jews? (Although one could debate the colonized status of Mizrahi Jews) How can all these people inhabit a colonial/postcolonial space in a world that declares itself living in a post-colonial time?’ Ella Shohat, likewise, is against what she calls the ‘ahistorical and universalizing deployments, and potentially [the] depoliticizing implications’ of the term ‘post-colonial,’ especially that, according to her, it is used instead of important terms like imperialism and neo-colonialism. In spite of the importance of paying attention to the correct description of states of imperialism and neo-colonialism, I still find it possible to read both Palestinian and Israeli texts in postcolonial perspective, agreeing with Bernard ‘that the tools that have been developed for reading these texts comparatively – including colonial discourse analysis, national allegory, minority discourse, and so on – can be usefully applied, tested, and revised in the analysis of Palestinian and Israeli literary and cultural production’. This view resonates with Ashcroft, Tiffin and Griffiths’s in their study The Postcolonial Studies Reader (1995), when they comment on this wide range of relevant fields that the term postcolonial suggests: ‘Postcolonial theory involves discussion about experience of various kinds: migration, slavery, suppression, resistance, representation, difference, race, gender, [and] place’ . In fact, the term ‘postcolonial’ is not necessarily restricted to a real colonial period; it could be used, according to Ashcroft, Tiffin and Griffiths in The Empire Writes Back: ‘to cover all the culture affected by the imperial process from the moment of colonization to the present day. This is because there is continuity of preoccupations throughout the historical process initiated by European imperial aggression’. Between the view of the land of Palestine as a lawful possession of the Jews and that which sees Jewish presence as a settler or colonial one, a debate about reading the conflict and literary production tackling the conflict within theories of colonial and postcolonial studies arises. What makes reading the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and its literature and literary production within the paradigm of postcolonialism problematic is worth some further investigation. First, the preference and focus on the discursive practices of colonialism over the material practices has resulted in excluding the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict from the field of postcolonial studies by a number of critics like Ella Shohat and Joseph Massad, which is more elaborated on later. Second, the debate about the Zionist project as a settler colonial one could also problematize analysing the conflict within postcolonial theories. The first chapter explores the Israeli/ Palestinian and Arab writing of the conflict from a colonizer/colonized perspective. I mainly focus on the representation of violence as an essential element in a colonized society and the decolonization process, drawing on Frantz Fanon’s theory that violence is inevitable in any colonized community as the backbone of the analysis. For this purpose, I have chosen Syrian playwright Saad-Allah Wanous’s play Rape (1990), to compare with Israeli playwright Hanoch Levin’s play Murder (1997), since both plays represent violence as a vicious circle that does not lead anywhere in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, even though it is an everyday act that has become a way of life for both sides. Crucial terms in the field of postcolonial studies such as resistance/terrorism are examined. Some similarities between the ways the two playwrights write the conflict are also highlighted, which supports the idea that literature can always find shared ground between any two conflicting parties. In Chapters Two and Three I write about the history of the conflict as a chain of endless violent confrontations; violence in this case is on the national level when the two nations fight each other. Chapter Two addresses some of the landmark events in the history of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples, mainly the Israeli War of Independence/Nakba as the same historical event seen from the two extremely different colonizer/colonized perspectives. The chapter also addresses what the Holocaust has to do with the two events and how the Holocaust was exploited by the Israeli state to silence any condemnation of the Israeli/Zionist settler colonial project in Palestine and later on to silence any international condemnation of the Israeli 1967 occupation of more Palestinian and Arab lands. To serve this purpose, the chapter examines Palestinian poet and playwright Burhan Al-Din Al-Aboushi’s play The Phantom of Andalusia (1949) and Palestinian playwright Amir Nizar Zuabi’s play I Am Yusuf and This Is My Brother (2010) compared to each other as two different Palestinian representations of the Nakba and compared to the Israeli narrative of the ‘War of Independence’ by Israeli playwright Motti Lerner in his play The Admission (2010). In addition to this, Joshua Sobol’s play Ghetto is examined as one of the classical Holocaust plays and compared to a contemporary play called Go to Gaza, Drink the Sea (2009) by Palestinian playwright Ahmed Masoud (co-written with Justin Butcher, author of The Madness of George Dubya) to draw the analogy between the living conditions of Jews in ghettoes to that of Palestinians in Gaza as part of the on-going Palestinian Nakba. Chapter Three examines another landmark of the history of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict: the Palestinian Intifada, an event which changed the nature of the conflict and showed that the Palestinians can act to decolonize their country. The Intifada, mainly described as ‘non-violent’, has led to huge impacts on the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians and how they see each other, both in reality and in theatre; however, again, the colonizer and colonized parties see it differently. The chapter examines these different perspectives by analysing the Israeli plays Masked (1990) by Ilan Hatzor and Coming Home (2002) by Motti Lerner, compared with The Stone Revolution (1997) by Egyptian playwright Alfred Farag and Al-Huksh (1992) by Palestinian playwright Adnan Tarabshi. The four plays present the Intifada as either a barbaric or a heroic act, depending on the political ideologies of the playwrights. I read the plays within the context of pro or anti-resistance propaganda. Chapter four is an attempt to read the concepts of diaspora, exile and homeland in both Jewish/Israeli and Palestinian experiences in the postcolonial paradigm. Concepts of exodus and diaspora are found in both Jewish and Palestinian history, but in two very different ways. Throughout the chapter I attempt to examine the similarities and/or differences between these notions in the two people’s memories through reading Yiddish playwright David Pinski’s The Last Jew (1905) in comparison with Palestinian playwright Ismail Al-Dabbagh’s play The Painful Events of the Life of Abu-Halima (2008), as two plays reflecting the notions of Jewish and Palestinian diaspora respectively. In addition to these works, the chapter examines Exile in Jerusalem (1989) by Israeli playwright Motti Lerner alongside In Spitting Distance (2008) by Palestinian actor and playwright Taher Najib. Exile, diaspora and homeland have occupied a significant space in postcolonial theories as outcomes of colonialism, and the aim of my chapter is to read Israeli and Palestinian plays discussing those themes from a postcolonial perspective, pointing out the differences and similarities between the Jewish and the Palestinian experiences of diaspora. It is very important to note that the choice of the plays is ultimately based on the thematic approach I tend to adopt in my presentation of the conflict. In other words, I have attempted to introduce the Israeli versus Arab/ Palestinian theatrical presentation of the same subject matter or the landmark events related to the conflict, again the materialist practices of colonialism regardless of the dates of the plays. This is not because their specific historical contexts are unimportant, but rather because the Israeli/Palestine conflict remains ongoing, in what could be seen as a historical deadlock. Finally, Chapter Five aims at examining the influence of the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict on Western theatre, showing how the West, as an outsider, sees and portrays the conflicted parties. I have chosen the following plays to examine the different approaches to the conflict: Dario Fo and Franca Rame’s An Arab Woman Speaks (1972), Arthur Milner’s Masada (2006) and Facts (2010), John Patrick Shanley’s Dirty Story (2003), Naomi Wallace’s The Fever Chart , Robin Soans’ The Arab Israeli Cook Book (2004), Alan Rickman and Catharine Viner’s My Name is Rachel Corrie (2003), David Hare’s Via Dolorosa (1998) and Wall (2009), Douglas Watkinson’s The Wall (2011), Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children (2009) and Richard Stirling’s Seven Other Children (2009) to examine the different approaches towards the conflict. Again, I approach this literature as postcolonial literature affected by imperialism and Israeli colonial aggression or as justifying and propagating the Zionist colonial project in Palestine or sometimes as both at the same time, depending on the author’s beliefs and ideologies.

 

 

Reviews: Roberts, Contested Land, Contested Memory

Roberts, Jo. Contested Land, Contested Memory: Israel’s Jews and Arabs and the Ghosts of Catastrophe. Toronto : Dundurn Press, 2013.

 

9781459710115

Reviews

 

 

 

 

New Article: Sela, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and Israel’s National Photography Archives

Sela, Rona. “Rethinking National Archives in Colonial Countries and Zones of Conflict: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and Israel’s National Photography Archives as a Case Study.” In Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Competing Narratives in the Middle East (ed. Anthony Downey; London: Tauris, 2015), 79-91.

9781784534110

 

Excerpt

My research over the years has dealt with the question of tyranny that characterizes the activities of Israel’s national institutional photography archives. I discussed the power relations that shaped them and the significant role they played in determining the perception and writing of history. Derrida points to violence as one of the main features inherent in the archive, embodying governmental information/power relations. These aggressive relationships are intensified in a country where two peoples—occupiers and occupied—live in a national conflict and are present, for example, in the way institutional archives control both the national treasures of the vanquished and the knowledge of their history and culture. Pointing out the overt and covert mechanisms in these national institutional archives by stripping away and exposing their inherent national bias, lays the foundation for building an alternative, layered database, different from the one-sided worldview that characterizes them. This enables the original purpose of the archives to be undermined and, in the words of McEvan, put through a process of democratization. However, while in South Africa civil organizations and government are aware of the importance of establishing post-colonial (post-apartheid) archives, in Israel the situation is different. Although in recent years additional studies have started to breach this national cover, exposing excluded areas of knowledge and research, in Israel they still exist on the margins and there is ample room to read archives in a way that penetrates their façade of physical violence.

It is also necessary to deconstruct the archive’s structure, and to propose alternative mechanisms of reading, interpretation and criticism in addition to those discussed in this essay.

The voice of the subjugated is not entirely absent from national, insti-tutional archives in Israel, but exists in an emasculated and misleading form. In this essay, I wanted to raise the possibility of hearing these voices that are seemingly missing from the archives. Freeing the national archives from their chains, and the construction of an independent memory and history—by challenging the national database and providing a platform for Palestinian voices and the return of their looted and seized materials—are the first steps in establishing alternative national archives in Israel. However, stripping away their outer-wrapping does not replace the importance of hearing the voices of the oppressed, learning their history and restoring their ownership and rights.

New Article: Degani, The Decline and Fall of the Israeli Military Government

Degani, Arnon Yehuda. “The Decline and Fall of the Israeli Military Government, 1948–1966: A Case of Settler-Colonial Consolidation?” Settler Colonial Studies 5.1 (2015): 84-99.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2201473X.2014.905236

 

Abstract

The term settler-colonialism has recently gained traction among scholars of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict who use it to address all forms of Zionist ideology and practices. This article, however, benefits from a conceptual distinction between colonial and settler-colonial Zionist policies when assessing the first two decades of Israel’s existence. During this period, Palestinian-Arabs who remained within the state borders were granted nominal citizenship. At the same time, the state also subjected the majority of this population to the Military Government, a form of martial law which suspended many of the rights and legal protections that citizenship afforded. The article considers Israel’s various forms of right-granting, social-democratic tendencies, and liberal policies as the post-Nakba continuation of Zionist settler-colonial consolidation. Conversely, Israel’s Military Government and other forms of discrimination the Palestinian-Arab citizens endured could be considered colonial institutions that existed in tension with the logic of settler-colonial consolidation. My claim is that when Israel, during its first two decades, slowly dismantled the Military Government, it effectively abandoned a colonial form of interaction with the Palestinian-Arabs and thereby inched toward consolidating the Zionist settler-colonial project. I begin my article with a short discussion on colonialism and settler-colonialism as linked yet distinct historical phenomena. Then I present the colonial features of the Military Government and explain why they inhibited settler-colonial consolidation. After setting the stage, I analyze the Jewish-Israeli discourse formulated against the Military Government and show that in fact Zionists clearly saw a Zionist interest in adopting a more liberal attitude toward the Palestinian-Arab citizens. Finally, I show how this Zionist perception took over Israel’s highest decision-making circles leading to the abolishment of the Military Government.

New Article: Gutman, Counter-Memory as Oppositional Knowledge-Production in the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict

Gutman, Yifat. “Looking Backward to the Future. Counter-Memory as Oppositional Knowledge-Production in the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict.” Current Sociology (early view, online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0011392115584644

 

Abstract

This article examines a strategy of peace activism that gained visibility in the last decades: memory activism. Memory activists manifest a temporal shift in transnational politics: first the past, then the future. Affiliated with the globally-circulating paradigm of historical justice, memory activist groups assume that a new understanding of the past could lead to a new perception of present problems and project alternative solutions for the future. Based on ethnographic fieldwork and discourse analysis among memory activists of the 1948 war in Israel since 2001, the article examines the activist production of counter-memory during active conflict. Using Coy et al.’s typology of oppositional knowledge-production, the article shows how the largest group of memory activism in Israel produced ‘new’ information on the war, critically assessed the dominant historical narrative, offered an alternative shared narrative, and began to envision practical solutions for Palestinian refugees. However, the analysis raises additional concerns that reach beyond the scope of the typology, primarily regarding the unequal power relations that exist not only between the dominant and activist production of oppositional knowledge, but also among activists.

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).

 
 
 

New Article: Lustick, Ari Shavit, Baruch Marzel, and Zionist Claims to Territory

Lustick, Ian S. “Making Sense of the Nakba: Ari Shavit, Baruch Marzel, and Zionist Claims to Territory.” Journal of Palestine Studies 44.2 (2015): 7-27.

 

URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/jps.2015.44.2.7

 

Abstract

Zionist claims to rightful rule of most or all of Palestine/the Land of Israel ultimately depend on naturalizing those claims into common sense, for Jews, of course, but also for the international community. Following the 1967 war, Israelis in favor of withdrawing from occupied territories have relied on distinguishing between the justice of the 1949 Armistice Lines, and the process that led to the State of Israel within those lines, versus the injustice of the occupation of territories conquered in 1967 and of their settlement and gradual absorption. But as the truth of the expulsions and forced dispossession of Palestinians in 1948 becomes accepted by wider swaths of both Israeli-Jewish and international public opinion, the traditional narrative distinguishing the justice of 1948 and the injustice of 1967 breaks down. Ari Shavit’s book, My Promised Land, can be understood as a response by Israeli two-staters to accusations of hypocrisy by the extreme right.

New Article: Golan, Resettlement of Former Arab Areas in West Jerusalem

Golan, Arnon. “The 1948 Wartime Resettlement of Former Arab Areas in West Jerusalem.” Middle Eastern Studies 51.5 (2015): 804-20.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00263206.2015.1016872

 

Abstract

The 1948 war resulted in a sweeping spatial transformation of areas included in the bounds of the newly formed Jewish state, including that of the western Jerusalem. Arab neighbourhoods were almost totally depopulated during fighting and shortly after resettled by Jews, most of which has been war refugees from Jerusalem’s Jewish neighbourhoods or newly arrived immigrants. The effect of war on human spatial structures is in many cases abrupt and sweeping. Yet, due to the limited use of heavy weaponry by both belligerent sides, the damage to built-up structures and infrastructure systems was not inclusive. Repopulation of former Arab areas by Jews was of large scale and carried out by different local and national institutions. Yet it seems as in many cases it was personal initiatives, especially of war refugees that sought for alternative housing that had a crucial effect over the newly formed settlement pattern. One way or another, the spatial structure of Jerusalem that was formed in decades of urban dynamic development was drastically transformed after a short period of fighting between December 1947 and early 1949, that affects the spatial structure of Israel’s capital city until now.

ToC: Israel Studies Review 30.1 (2015)

 

 

Israel Studies Review, Volume 30, Issue 1, Table of Contents:

Editors’ Note

Editors’ Note
pp. v-vii(3)

Articles

Mapai’s Bolshevist Image: A Critical Analysis
pp. 1-19(19)
Bareli, Avi

 
Men and Boys: Representations of Israeli Combat Soldiers in the Media
pp. 66-85(20)
Israeli, Zipi; Rosman-Stollman, Elisheva
 

Review Essay

Book Reviews

Book Reviews
pp. 144-163(20)

 

New Article: Nets-Zehngut, The Israeli Army’s Official Memory of the 1948 Palestinian Exodus

Nets-Zehngut, Rafi. “The Israeli Army’s Official Memory of the 1948 Palestinian Exodus, 1949–2004.” War in History 22.2 (2015): 211-34.

 

URL: http://wih.sagepub.com/content/22/2/211.abstract

 

Abstract

The Publishing Branch at the Education Corps of the Israeli army (IDF) is its main unit charged with disseminating information to its soldiers. This article seeks to determine whether this branch, from 1949 to 2004, chose the institutional/Zionist (voluntary flight) or the critical (voluntary flight accompanied by expulsion) narrative as its official memory of the 1948 Palestinian exodus. By analysing all of the Branch publications produced during that period, the article determines that the Branch presented largely the institutional narrative. Various related phenomena are discussed: the reasons for the publications’ narratives, centrality and collective amnesia, internal and external memories, and self and external censorship.

ToC: Biography 37.2 (2014); special issue: Life in Occupied Palestine

Volume 37, Number 2, Spring 2014

Table of Contents

Life in Occupied Palestine

Guest Editors: Cynthia G. Franklin Morgan Cooper& Ibrahim G. Aoudé

Dedication

p. v

Editor’s Introduction

Life in Occupied Palestine: Three Cafés and a Special Issue

pp. vii-xlviii

Cynthia G. Franklin, Morgan Cooper, Ibrahim G. Aoudé

Articles

Section One: Borders, Journeys, Home

Exiled at Home: Writing Return and the Palestinian Home

pp. 377-397

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Sarah Ihmoud

After the Nakba in Nuba: A Palestinian Villager’s Diary, 1949

pp. 398-450

Alex Winder

Not Just a Picnic: Settler Colonialism, Mobility, and Identity among Palestinians in Israel

pp. 451-473

Magid Shihade

Locked Out

pp. 474-475

Lina Hesham AlSharif

Once Upon a Border: The Secret Lives of Resistance—the Case of the Palestinian Village of al-Marja, 1949–1967

pp. 476-504

Honaida Ghanim

Section Two: Invasions, Incarcerations, and Insurgent Imagination

Incidental Insurgents: An Interview with Ruanne Abou Rahme

pp. 507-515

Morgan Cooper

Towards a New Language of Liberation: An Interview with Raja Shehadeh

pp. 516-523

Cynthia G. Franklin

Gaza Writes Back: Narrating Palestine

pp. 524-537

Refaat R. Alareer

Write What You Know

pp. 538-539

Lina Hesham Alsharif

Dreaming of Never Land

pp. 540-555

Sonia Nimr

“Food is not our issue”: Reflections on Hunger Striking

pp. 556-559

Sa’ed Omar

Section Three: Reciprocal Solidarities and Other Revolutionary Relations

From the West Bank: Letters and Acts of Resistance

pp. 563-605

Yassmine Saleh Hamayel, Islah Jad

Life in Abu Dis Continues Quietly

pp. 606-663

Rima Najjar

Traveling as a Palestinian

pp. 664-679

Yousef M. Aljamal

Reciprocal Solidarity: Where the Black and Palestinian Queer Struggles Meet

pp. 680-705

Sa’ed Atshan, Darnell L. Moore

Section Four: Forging a Just Future

The “I” in BDS: Individual Creativity and Responsibility in the Context of Collective Praxis — an Interview With Omar Barghouti and Falastine Dwikat

pp. 709-719

Ibrahim G. Aoudé, Morgan Cooper, Cynthia G. Franklin

Contributors

pp. 720-723

New Article: Mann, Palestinian Memory in the Israeli Landscape

Mann, Barbara E. ” ‘An Apartment to Remember’: Palestinian Memory in the Israeli Landscape.” History and Memory 27.1 (2015): 83-115.

 

URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/histmemo.27.1.83

 

Abstract

This essay offers a site-specific reading of Jaffa Slope Park, a newly opened public space on the city’s coastal border, in relation to both Ajami, the largely Arab neighborhood upon whose ruins it was built, and Ayman Sikseck’s memoiristic novel, To Jaffa (Hebrew, 2010). The park is analyzed in relation to Hebrew literary history. Analyzing the production of Palestinian memory within Israeli culture allows us to rethink memory in a transnational setting, and to consider how the Nakba is remembered across different discursive realms shaped by geography, history and language.

 

New Article: Confino, History and Memory in Israel after 1948

Confino, Alon. “The Warm Sand of the Coast of Tantura: History and Memory in Israel after 1948.” History and Memory 27.1 (2015): 43-82.

 

URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/histmemo.27.1.43

 

 

Abstract

On May 23, 1948, Jewish forces occupied the Palestinian village of Tantura, expelled all its residents, and on June 13 a group of young Zionists settled in the village to build a new kibbutz in the nascent State of Israel, Nahsholim. What happened in the following weeks, years and decades to the several hundred houses of Tantura and their narrow alleys, to the village school, and to the makeshift cafés on the beach, where Tanturians used to sit on hot summer evenings caressed by the cool breeze from the Mediterranean? How did the Israeli Jews engage with and transform the coast they now inhabited, and how did they remember its past and construct its new present? I tell this story via five aerial photos of the coast from 1946, 1952, 1957, 1966, and 1976.

 

New Article: Safran, Haifa al-Jadida

Safran, Yair. “Haifa al-Jadida: The Surrounding Walls and the City Quarters.” Middle Eastern Studies 51.3 (2015): 452-61.

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00263206.2014.976623

 

Abstract

`Haifa al-Jadida` (New Haifa) was erected in 1761 by order of the Bedouin ruler Daher el-Omar, governor of the Galilee. As part of the process of building the city, a wall was constructed to encircle it, with a tower overlooking it from above. After its establishment the ‘New Haifa’ became the urban core for the emergence of modern Haifa while the new city was gradually solidified and its characteristic outlines were moulded. From the end of the Ottoman period in 1918 until 1948, the urban expanse remained practically unchanged. In 1948 ‘New Haifa’ was almost destroyed except for the few ruins that were left. In spite of the centrality of the new city in the history of Haifa, very little is known about this area. This article reconstructs the image of ‘New Haifa’ by portraying the location of the city walls and the urban expanse. For the purpose of reconstruction, an 1841 sketch of the city is superimposed on an aerial photographmap of the area taken in 2008, and a map of the old city dated to 1937.