This study analyses the mainstreaming of radical right ideology in Israel. Focusing on the political discourse used to describe the current asylum issue in the country, the article claims that features of radical right ideology are not limited to the discourse of radical right parties, but increasingly pervade the mainstream. Through discourse analysis of parliamentary discussions over asylum, the study highlights the discursive strategies and linguistic properties used in the expression of radical right ideology. The findings reveal the distinct manner in which both party families express radical right ideology; while the radical right discourse is explicit, overall, the mainstream discourse is implicit, with traces of explicitness observed. The Israeli case reveals significant insights into the scope of radical right ideology and the manner in which, through language and discourse, its features make their way through the political spectrum.
Natanel, Katherine. Sustaining Conflict. Apathy and Domination in Israel-Palestine. Oakland: University of California Press, 2016.
Sustaining Conflict develops a groundbreaking theory of political apathy, using a combination of ethnographic material, narrative, and political, cultural, and feminist theory. It examines how the status quo is maintained in Israel-Palestine, even by the activities of Jewish Israelis who are working against the occupation of Palestinian territories. The book shows how hierarchies and fault lines in Israeli politics lead to fragmentation, and how even oppositional power becomes routine over time. Most importantly, the book exposes how the occupation is sustained through a carefully crafted system that allows sympathetic Israelis to “knowingly not know,” further disconnecting them from the plight of Palestinians. While focusing on Israel, this is a book that has lessons for how any authoritarian regime is sustained through apathy.
Table of Contents
1 The Everyday of Occupation
2 Bordered Communities
3 Normalcy, Ruptured and Repaired
4 Embedded (In)action
5 Protesting Politics
KATHERINE NATANEL is a Lecturer in Gender Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.
The realism-social constructionism debate has been consequential over the last several decades. Silverstein’s vocabulary of micro-/macro-contexts aids in understanding why the tension can be a useful epistemological heuristic for discourse analysts. Narratives were collected in focus groups of Ethiopian-Israeli college students. Five narratives were selected for ethnic mentions and found to have a particular ‘iterative’ ‘emplotment scenario’ (IES) – recurrent storylines and settings – across tellers and telling events. ‘the only Ethiopian’ is an IES of being sent away to a majority-White elementary/secondary school, socially isolated and denigrated. How are we to understand it when a particular plotline and setting recur in our corpora? I argue that although each story and storytelling is unique, they all borrow from a larger-than-single-telling, already existent trope, that is, a budding master narrative. Taken together, a unique view of a particular socio-cultural process – in this case, something of what it means to be an Ethiopian Israeli – emerges.
Ethiopian Jews are the descendants of an ethnic and religious community known as Beta Israel or Falasha. Historically concentrated in the highlands of northern Ethiopia (Gondar and Tigre) they were in some cases denied the right to hold land unless they converted to Christianity. In modern times, intense Christian missionary efforts paradoxically helped to bring Ethiopian Jews into closer contact with foreign Jewish communities. In the past half-century nearly the whole Ethiopian Jewish community has migrated to Israel, where they have faced significant challenges and opportunities. Questions about their status under Jewish law have led to political conflicts of various kinds. In addition, the most recent groups of immigrants includes many whose ancestors converted to Christianity but have sought to return to Judaism in the context of migrating to Israel. The community has integrated into Israeli life but has also simultaneously taken its place as part of the global Ethiopian cultural diaspora.
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
Papua New Guinean imaginings of Israel as a potential development partner draw on Christian renderings of the Bible, but they also reflect an understanding of Israel as a modern, technologically advanced nation. As middle-class Papua New Guineans reflect on the failures of national development since gaining independence from Australia, they express ambivalence about the appropriateness of Western models of development for the Papua New Guinean context. However, the influx of Asian investment is also seen as lacking, or even threatening; therefore, Asian models of development also fail to offer an appealing hope for the future. In this paper, I argue that these racialised understandings of modernity represent a ‘post-colonial racial triangle’, a discursive field within which the moral implications of development are understood and debated. Within this triangle, Melanesians are thought to have ‘culture’ and (Christian) ‘morality’ but lack ‘development’. Australians or ‘whitemen’ are thought to have ‘development’ and ‘morality’ but to lack ‘culture’. ‘Asians’ are thought to have ‘development’ and ‘culture’ but to lack (Christian) morality. Taking this moral framing of race into account, Israel emerges as a possible aid donor with the credentials to reconcile these three positions as it is seen to be the possessor of ‘development’, ‘culture’, and ‘morality’.
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.
This study asks whether framing asylum seekers in Israel as “infiltrators” posing threats to the country amplifies exclusion toward them. The term “infiltrators” associates asylum seekers with the anti-infiltration law passed in the 1950s to fight terrorists and dissociates asylum seekers from their unique position as holders of special rights. The term “infiltrators” may thus influence the attitudes of the Israeli public regarding the treatment of asylum seekers. Findings demonstrate that respondents presented with the “infiltrators” frame were more likely to show exclusionary attitudes. Findings additionally show that the framing effect mediates the relation between perceived socioeconomic threat and exclusion.
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.
Hager, Tamar, and Tufaha Saba. “The Language of Racism. Textual Testimonies of Jewish-Arab Hostility in the Israeli Academia.” Ricerche di Pedagogia e Didattica – Journal of Theories and Research in Education 10.1 (2015): 109-29.
The persistent Jewish Arab conflict is present in every aspect of life in Israeli society and its echoes penetrate the everyday reality of higher educational institutions. Feelings of mutual hostility among Arab and Jewish students, faculty and administration are common experiences on Israeli campuses. This article analyzes two textual expressions of this mutual resentment which were circulated in 2011 in Tel Hai College, Israel. One of the texts was produced by Muslim Arab student association and the other by a Zionist Jewish organization. Both groups are present on every campus in Israel. Despite the significant difference of the political location occupied by each organization in the Israeli power structure, we argue that these texts share similar attitudes to the conflict and parallel operational strategies. The paper demonstrates the attempts by these texts to encourage the mutual hostility between Jews and Arabs by employing racist and violent discourse. The article tries to explain the silence of the college administration and faculty in the face of these racist acts, subsequently outlining a vision of a responsible academia which will banish any acts of racism.
Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Nadera and Dorit Roer-Strier. “Context-Informed, Counter-Hegemonic Qualitative Research: Insights from an Israeli/Palestinian Research Team Studying Loss.” Qualitative Social Work (early view; online first).
Theorizing social work qualitative methodologies have always been closely related to the context of the studied subjects. This paper offers the framework of context-informed, counter-hegemonic qualitative research for theorizing research in conflict zones. Based on a case study of a group of Jewish and Palestinian social work researchers who examined together the effect of the loss of home on families during an ongoing political conflict, this paper explores the impact of participating in a research team on the researcher’s perceptions and study of otherness and otherization in the context of asymmetries of power. Analysis of the group dynamics discovered: (1) a growing ability to see and acknowledge the other, accompanied by a growing willingness to be attentive; (2) a growing ability to empathically listen to and hear the experiences of suffering of the other; (3) overcoming silencing by allowing voices of dissent, pain and resilience; and (4) creating a liminal space of “safe haven” for the researchers. The paper explores the development of context-informed group reflexivity leading to emancipatory consciousness and academic activism.
Dori-Hacohen, Gonen, and Zohar Livnat. “Negotiating Norms of Discussion in the Public Arena: The Use of Irony in Israeli Political Radio Phone-In Programs.” Journal of Communication (early view; online first).
Phone-in radio programs are part of the public sphere and thus require open access, rationality, and practicality. Simultaneously, they are a media product, which requires entertaining content. We demonstrate these demands through the analysis of interactional irony in Israeli political radio phone-ins. From an emic perspective, callers see irony as detrimental to the discussions, yet hosts and regular callers use it to make entertaining interactions. Irony is a critical tool that points to violations of norms: the norm of a clear 2-sided interaction; norms akin to the Habermasian public sphere; and at the content level, irony is used to reject racist positions. Being indirect, irony can be used to create an entertaining yet critical discussion in the public sphere.
All the political parties in Israel, apart from Arab and ultra-Orthodox, define themselves as Zionist. The right in Israel identifies itself strongly as Jewish either in a religious or ethno-nationalistic sense or, more amorphously, in terms of the ‘politics of belonging’. In today’s political parlance in Israel, ‘Judaism’ is not a religion but a political ideology, best termed ‘political Judaism’, which claims the powers of religion: veracity, certitude, absoluteness and the polarity of good versus evil. To be a Jew according to the right means firstly not to be an Arab. To be on the left is tantamount to being an Arab because people on the left support Arabs. The right aspires to Jewish supremacy in Israel and says so explicitly. To be a Jew is not only to fulfill the religious qualification of being born to a Jewish mother; Jewish belonging is now expressed in primordial, essentialist, mystical terms. The politics of identity, of political Judaism, adds a McCarthyist rancour and an exclusionary dimension of banishment from the community to political divisions. To belong now requires unqualified loyalty.
This paper aims to identify the emergence of the concept “new anti-Semitism” in both public discourse and academic research in Israel. Our main argument is that the new anti-Semitism has emerged in tandem with changing values within Israeli society, primarily the adoption of a mythic-traditional perspective. This historical review focuses on description of a key event: United Nations Resolution 3379 equating Zionism with racism. We argue that increasing adherence to Jewish tradition goes hand in hand with the assimilation of Jewish myths regarding anti-Semitism. Scholarly discourse about new anti-Semitism is presented through critical study of Shmuel Almog’s anthology Sin’at Yisrael ledoroteiha (A History of Hatred of Israel). This study is the first to be published that discusses an updated view of anti-Semitism in Israeli public discourse and academic research, emphasizing how the State of Israel has become its object.
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.
The very posing of this question is profoundly dispiriting. It shows how bad (that is, not left-wing) the political situation of contemporary Israel is; how radically the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has deteriorated; and how historically ignorant and blindly anti-Israeli today’s American left is. The short answer is: yes, of course. Zionism has been Leninist, socialdemocratic, liberal, secular, pacifist, anti-imperialist, proletarian, even, until this became impossible, binational. It has also been militaristic, authoritarian, bourgeois, racist, religious, messianic, imperialist, and neofascist.
Advocating research of the “ethnographic present,” the article portrays the recent evolvement of two constituencies in Israeli urban society conceived as new socio-economic-cultural and spatial social “banks”: Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia residing in ethnically segregated urban neighborhoods; the gradual concentration in Tel Aviv’s downtown neighborhoods of authorized and undocumented labor migrants from Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan. It reports on the growing protest by local Israeli residents, the government’s efforts to limit the presence of “uninvited strangers,” as well as the active response of the unwelcome aliens. I posit that the emergence of these new ethnic enclaves converges with other critical changes in Israeli institutional life. Major transformations in the texture and tenets of Israeli citizenry, its spatial construction and national identity are steadily progressing.
Cohen, Shuki J. “Breakable and Unbreakable Silences: Implicit Dehumanization and Anti-Arab Prejudice in Israeli Soldiers’ Narratives Concerning Palestinian Women.” International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies 12.3 (2015): 245-77.
This paper illustrates an empirical paradigm for a minimally-biased characterization of the internal representations of female enemy members by male soldiers in the context of a military occupation. Using a combination of psycholinguistic and psychoanalytic tools, the study examined the associative structure of the language that was used by Israeli ex-soldiers in a large corpus of verbatim testimonies detailing their service in the Palestinian occupied territories. Since explicit dehumanization is rare in Israeli official discourse and in media- and political correctness-savvy occupying forces worldwide, this study examined implicit dehumanization through the non-conscious use of spontaneous linguistic choices. Using both computerized and quantitative linguistic analyses, this study tracked a particular pattern or word choice, presumed to capture implicit dehumanization based on a trans-disciplinary definition of the construct. Furthermore, to mitigate the potential confound between fear of the enemy and its dehumanization, this study focused on anecdotes concerning Palestinian women, as they pose less realistic threat to Israeli soldiers. Consistent with this study’s formulation of implicit dehumanization, Israeli soldiers tended to describe Palestinian women’s mental state in situational and behavioral terms (e.g. scream, make a mess, piss her pants, had a heart attack, etc.). In contrast, empathic inference – whereby the narrator extends their emotional understanding of themselves and other humans to the person whose emotional state they attempt to describe or understand – was often reserved in the testimonials only to the narrator and his fellow comrades. This evidence for implicit dehumanization is then discussed as a borderline-level defense mechanism within the larger context of both individual- and national-level anti-Arab prejudice in Israel.
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.
Walther, Joseph B., Elaine Hoter, Asmaa Ganayem, and Miri Shonfeld. “Computer-Mediated Communication and the Reduction of Prejudice: A Controlled Longitudinal Field Experiment among Jews and Arabs in Israel.” Computers in Human Behavior 52 (2015): 550-558.
The promise of computer-mediated communication (CMC) to reduce intergroup prejudice has generated mixed results. Theories of CMC yield alternative and mutually exclusive explanations about mechanisms by which CMC fosters relationships online with potential to ameliorate prejudice. This research tests contact-hypothesis predictions and two CMC theories on multicultural, virtual groups who communicated during a yearlong online course focusing on educational technology. Groups included students from the three major Israeli education sectors—religious Jews, secular Jews, and Muslims—who completed pretest and posttest prejudice measures. Two sets of control subjects who did not participate in virtual groups provided comparative data. An interaction of the virtual groups experience × religious/cultural membership affected prejudice toward different religious/cultural target groups, by reducing prejudice toward the respective outgroups for whom the greatest initial enmity existed. Comparisons of virtual group participants to control subjects further support the influence of the online experience. Correlations between prejudice with group identification and with interpersonal measures differentiate which theoretical processes pertained.