New Article: Ghebrezghiabher & Motzafi-Haller, Eritrean Women Asylum Seekers in Israel

Ghebrezghiabher, Habtom M., and Pnina Motzafi-Haller. “Eritrean Women Asylum Seekers in Israel: From a Politics of Rescue to Feminist Accountability.” Journal of Refugee Studies (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jrs/fev006

 

Abstract

Despite acclaimed gender equality during the struggle for liberation and post independence in their country, the entrenched system of gender-based inequality has forced many Eritrean women to flee their country. On their difficult flight and during their journey, Eritrean women were exposed to blackmail, sexual abuse and rape. Those who made it through the difficult journey sought asylum in Israel but have not been able to escape gender violation and discrimination in their host state. This article traces the experience of Eritrean woman asylum seekers in Israel from the moment of their escape from Eritrea, through their torturous journey and after their entry into a state that refuses to consider their right to refugee status. Data were obtained using in-depth interviews with women asylum seekers in Israel, records of radio interviews and Paltalk discussions in the Tigrigna language, and close reading of unpublished reports by human rights activists and of Hebrew-language Israeli newspapers. Analysis of these diverse bodies of data reveals that gender is largely ignored by the few scholars who attempted to document the Eritrean asylum seekers experience in Israel. Drawing on post-colonial feminist Canadian scholar Sherene Razack (1999), who urges us to develop ‘a more political understanding of why women flee’, we examine here the experience of Eritrean women asylum seekers in Israel within a critical feminist analytical framework that documents their agency within changing historical and political circumstances and forces. We use this larger historically specific framework to disengage from the trope of ‘pity and rescue’ and offer instead a critical examination of how Eritrean women act as agents from the moment they decide to flee their country and until they settle in Israel.

 

 

New Article: Aharoni, The Gender–Culture Double Bind in Israeli–Palestinian Peace Negotiations

Aharoni, Sarai B. “The Gender–Culture Double Bind in Israeli–Palestinian Peace Negotiations: A Narrative Approach.” Security Dialogue 45.4 (2014): 373-90.

 

URL: http://sdi.sagepub.com/content/45/4/373.abstract

 

Abstract

This article investigates structural conditions for women’s inclusion/exclusion in peace negotiations by focusing on the linkage between acts of gender stereotyping and cultural framing. Through a narrative analysis of semi-structured interviews with Israeli negotiators and administrators who participated in official negotiations during the Oslo peace process, I link two recent claims about how gender may affect negotiators’ understandings of strategic exchange: the gendered devaluation effect and the gender–culture double bind hypothesis. Building upon postcolonial feminist critique, I argue that narratives about women and cultural difference (a) demonstrate and engage with Israeli essentialist and Orientalist discourses about Arab culture and masculinity; (b) manifest how ideas about strategic dialogue and negotiations are gendered; and (c) convey how policymakers and negotiators may use cultural claims to rationalize women’s exclusion from diplomatic and strategic dialogue. Furthermore, the study implies that dominant framings of Israeli–Palestinian negotiations as a binary East–West encounter need to be replaced by a more nuanced conceptualization of cultural identity that captures contextual aspects of difference, including the existence of military power and masculine dominance.