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Ben-Gurion University
Letter from UC Berkeley: Misinformation about Prof. Yiftachel's talk "Gray-Spacing and 'Creeping-Apartheid"

Editor's note:

Please find below a letter from from University of California, Berkeley, concerning Oren Yiftachel's lecture "Gray-Spacing and 'Creeping-Apartheid': The New Urban Regime?".

Israel Academia Monitor apologizes for the technical inaccuracy and is happy to hear Prof' Oren Yiftachel's lecture ended on time for Yom Kippur. That day was, never-the-less, Yom Kippur Eve and the title of his lecture defamatory, accusing Israel of a creeping Apartheid.

In order to put things academically right, Israel Academia Monitor would expect UC Berkeley to invite any prominent academic speaker to refute Oren Yiftachel's false presentation of the situation in Israel.

Our readers might wish to take a look at Yiftachel's paper serving as basis to his lectures:



Critical theory and ‘gray space’ Mobilization of the colonized
Oren Yiftachel
Taylor and Francis
The paper draws on critical urban theories (CUT) to trace the working of oppressive power and the emergence of new subjectivities through the production of space. Within such settings, it analyzes the struggle of Bedouin Arabs in the Beersheba metropolitan region, Israel/Palestine. The paper invokes the concept of ‘gray spacing’ as the practice of indefinitely positioning populations between the ‘lightness’ of legality, safety and full membership, and the ‘darkness’ of eviction, destruction and death. The amplification of gray space illuminates the emergence of urban colonial relations in a vast number of contemporary city regions. In the Israeli context, the ethnocratic state has forced the indigenous Bedouins into impoverished and criminalized gray space, in an attempt to hasten their forced urbanization  and Israelization. This created a process of ‘creeping apartheid’, causing the transformation of Bedouin struggle from agonistic to antagonistic; and their mobilization from democratic to radical. The process is illustrated by highlighting three key dimensions of political articulation: sumood (hanging on), memory-building and autonomous politics.
These dynamics underscore the need for a new CUT, which extends the scope of spatial–social critique and integrates better to conditions of urban colonialism, collective identity and space, for a better understanding of both oppression and resistance.

-------- Original Message --------

Subject: Misinformation about Prof. Yiftachel's UC Berkeley talk
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2010 21:24:29 -0700
From: Ananya Roy
To: e-mail@israel-academia-monitor.com

Please find attached a letter pointing out the misinformation that Israel Academia Monitor has disseminated about Professor Yiftachel's recent talk at UC Berkeley.

Ananya Roy.

Ananya Roy
Professor, Department of City & Regional Planning
Co-Director, Global Metropolitan Studies Center
Education Director, Blum Center for Developing Economies
University of California, Berkeley



To Israel Academia Monitor:


September 21, 2010


It has come to our attention that you recently sent out a mass email claiming that a talk hosted by us (Global Metropolitan Studies, UC Berkeley) took place during Yom Kippur. That information is false. The talk in question – by distinguished academic Professor Oren Yiftachel - took place on Friday, September 17, 4-5:30 pm, ending well before the start of Yom Kippur (sunset in Berkeley on that day was past 7 pm). Indeed, in our initial communications with Professor Yiftachel, he expressly asked that we schedule the talk for late afternoon so that we do not run any risk of an overlap with the start of Yom Kippur.

You may have your own reasons for listing this talk on your website and in sending out an inflammatory mass email about it, but since you seem unaware of its content let us also note that Professor Oren Yiftachel started and ended the talk, which covered a wide range of urban case-studies, from Colombo to Cape Town, with a specific reference to the importance of Yom Kippur traditions of reflection and peace-building Jewish traditions of tikun.

Your email therefore disseminated misinformation not only about Professor Yiftachel but also about our program. Global Metropolitan Studies invites the most important and well-known urban scholars of our times to give lectures here at UC Berkeley. We do not take this task lightly and we do not appreciate being cast in this negative light. We hope that you will retract your email and correct the information that you have so carelessly disseminated.


Ananya Roy.

Ananya Roy, Ph.D.

Professor, City and Regional Planning

Education Director, Blum Center for Developing Economies

Co-Director, Global Metropolitan Studies


Richard Walker


Richard Walker, Ph.D.

Professor, Geography

Co-Director Global Metropolitan Studies

Cc: President Rivka Carmi, BGU President (president@bgu.ac.il)

Professor Zvi HaCohen, BGU Rector (rector@bgu.ac.il)

Mr. David Bareket, BGU Director General (mancal@bgu.ac.il)

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