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Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
Hagar Kotef, March 13 in NY "Visioning Session for Return": The Palestinian right of return & the Israeli law of return

Hagar Kotef, Society of Fellows

Columbia U. Email: hk2544@columbia.edu

Editorial Note

Hagar Kotef is a fellow at Columbia University. She completed her PHD in philosophy at Tel Aviv University under the guidance of Professors Adi Ophir and Anat Biletzki. Her article, “Engendering Checkpoints: Checkpoint Watch and the Repercussions of Intervention,” was co-authored with the radical academic Merav Amir. She also wrote another article alongside Merav Amir entitled “Between Imaginary Lines: Violence and its Justifications at the Military Checkpoints in Occupied Palestine. Kotef independently wrote an article entitled “Baking at the Front Line, Sleeping with the Enemy: Reflections on Gender and Women’s Peace Activism in Israel”.

In June 2010, Kotef signed onto a petition calling upon the world to prevent Israel from interfering with the MV Rachel Corrie or any other future vessel being able to dock in Gaza. This same petition claimed that Israeli society is racist, referred to the Gaza War as a massacre, called Gaza a prison, and claimed that Israel was punishing Gazans for the crime of being Palestinians. This petition was initiated by Boycott: Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within. She also signed a Jewish Voice for Peace petition that would prevent the United States from selling cluster bombs to other countries, which would adversely affect Israel’s military strategic advantage. The Anti-Defamation League listed the Jewish Voice for Peace as one of the ten most anti-Israel organizations within the United States. In 2009, Kotef spoke at Bar Ilan University alongside Merav Amir at an anti-Israel conference on gender and security, where they gave a lecture entitled “Mothers, Mistresses, and Whores: When Resistance Collapses into Gender: the case of Machsom Watch.”

IAM recently reported in an article entitled TAU Adi Ophir together with Minerva Humanities fellows and other anti-Israel activists at a Columbia U Conference, that Hagar Kotef has organized a conference together with TAU Prof. Adi Ophir in Columbia University entitledReworking Political Concepts II: A Lexicon in Formation. This was an academic conference about political concepts, but is it a mere "coincidence" that in the past the Lexicon fellows and their associates have produced some of the most delegtimizing critique of Israel? Ophir found Israel to be on the same ontological plane of evil as Nazi Germany. Ariella Azoulay, a "lexo-photographer" has "imagined" torture when describing a pictures of Palestinian prisoners and called Anat Kam, the solider imprisoned for leaking secret information an "archivist" who shared the IDF "archives" with the world. Hagar Kotef argues that the checkpoints are a destructive mean of control and therefore violence against them seem to be justified. The other conference participants have also a long activist record. Anat Biletzki is involved in the BDS movement; she also hopes to "change minds" of American Jews and policy makers who don't believe in thepossibility of making a deal with the Palestinians. Ann Stoler has endorsed the Palestinian call for BDS in 2010, as has Gil Anidjar in 2009. Susan Buck-Morss expressed support for the "non-violent" acts of 'Midnight on Mavi Marmara' activists. In 2009, Stathis Gourgouris sent a letter to president of his university asking him to publicly denounce Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip as it represents a threat to academic freedom. Jacques Lezra signed a letter calling to divest from Israel: "All the above companies actively enable Israel’s ongoing occupation and assaults on Palestinian communities and homes." Oded Schechter signed the petition "Free Gaza - In support of the Palestinian Human Rights Community Call for International Action". The petition complained about the occupation, the brutal ongoing repression of the Palestinian population, etc. Neferti Tadiar is on the advisory board of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI).

In her work, Kotef thanked TAU professor Adi Ophir "for providing the conceptual framework through which we think."

The Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School

Public Movement: Salon 2 – Visioning Session for Return
Wednesday, March 13, 2012, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
The New School, Orozco Room
66 West 12th Street, 7th Floor
New York City
Space limited: reservations are recommended at vlc@newschool.edu

Organized by Public Movement, SALONS: Birthright Palestine? is a series of performative public debates, specifically staged as congressional sessions, summit meetings, visioning sessions, diplomatic consultations, secret gatherings, and demonstrations. Part of the New Museum’s exhibition The Ungovernables, each salon extends itself outside of the museum, and takes place in different locations throughout Manhattan.
SALONS: Birthright Palestine? will celebrate the choreographies of Birthright ideological youth journeys to Israel; examine the uses and misuses of political branding as they relate to the status of some New York Muslim communities; deconstruct the role played byBirthright in the production of the American Jewish community/lobby; and consider the potential appropriation of such strategies toward the creation of Birthright Palestine. In collaboration with local communities, academics, activists, and specialists, SALONS: Birthright Palestine? performs strategic research towards the final Public Movement action for New York City. In the final salon, the public will vote on whether to initiate Birthright Palestine.
SALONS 2: Visioning Session for Return features Gil Anidjar, Rochelle Davis, Lubna Hammad, and Hagar Kotef presenting positions on scholarly issues related to a Palestinian right of return and the Israeli law of return. Topics may include religion and secularism, the dynamics of nationalism and diaspora, definitions of citizenship, ideas of return, the possibility of financial compensations for displaced Palestinians, and the status of the Palestinian community in New York.
Public participation is encouraged, to include any and all perspectives on these complicated and controversial issues.
* * *
SALONS 2: Visioning Session for Return is presented by Public Movement in collaboration with the Vera List
Center for Art and Politics at The New School. Public Movement’s participation is co-presented by The New Museum for Contemporary Art and Artis with additional support from the Ostrovsky Family Fund and the Israeli Lottery Fund.

Gil Anidjar, Associate Professor, Religion and Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, Columbia University
Rochelle Davis, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service; and fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Lubna Hammad, Palestinian human rights activist, lawyer, and founding member, Adalah-New York: The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East
Hagar Kotef, fellow, Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Columbia University

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