Yosefa Loshitzky, ex-Hebrew University, a professor of film and cultural studies at the University of East London and SOAS, is one of a handful of former Israeli academics, like Ilan Pappe, and Haim Bresheeth, utilize their new base for a virulent criticism of Israel. She is also a pro-Palestinian activist, contributing to the Electronic Intifada and other venues.
Loshitzky is an avid practitioner of the neo-Marxist, critical studies paradigm that seeks to deconstruct reality to uncover the "capitalist/imperialist ideology" wherever it exists. Predictably, she finds it in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her book on the subject, Identity Politics of the Israeli Screen, is a case in point. She starts with two quotes to the effect that "the Holocaust of the Jews and the Holocaust of the Arabs of the Land of Israel" are one, an equation that has become fashionable among critical scholars. Loshitzky's book is studded with critical jargon that deconstructs Israeli "real" behavior as a colonialist, capitalist, sexist polity in a way that would make Edward Said proud.
As for the subject of her lecture at King's College, Loshitzky finds the movie Avatar to be "within the boundaries of the "dominant Capitalist/Imperialist ideology;" but the subtext seems to be more encouraging to her and the critical circles. She notes that the movie is popular among the Palestinians who identify with its subtext of" non-violent resistance to Israeli occupation and colonialism."
Even by the standards of critical scholarship, Loshitzky's failure to acknowledge that the Palestinians have waged a violent struggle against Israeli citizens including suicide bombings and shelling, is astounding. Still, it can be explained by the logical straightjacket of neo-Marxist, critical scholarship. To admit that Palestinians, Islamists, and other "victims" could be less than stellar citizens, is tantamount with undermining the paradigm that views everything Western as the heart of darkness.
Research seminar - Wed. 14 March 2012, Prof Yosefa Loshitzky - Avatar in the Palestinian (Imagi)nation
The Film Studies Department invites you to attend the next event in its Research Seminar series:
Popular Cinema as Popular Resistance: Avatar in the Palestinian (Imagi)nation Professor Yosefa Loshitzky (University of East London)
Wednesday, 14 March 2012, 6-8pm
Room K3.11, Strand Campus
Most of the readings of Avatar as a subversive film focus on the alleged critique provided by the film on predatory corporate capitalism, the destruction of the environment and the planet, the colonization and annihilation of indigenous people, and the militarization of the globe through the "security bubble" generated by "disaster capitalism." As such, the film has been read allegorically as anti-corporatist, anti-capitalist, anti-militarist and anti- colonialist-imperialist text which champions the environment and the rights of indigenous people (and non-human animals) against the alliance of the military-industrial complex with science and technology. But while Avatar is indeed a spectacular Hollywood blockbuster, and as such seems to lie comfortably within the boundaries of the dominant Capitalist/Imperialist ideology, a close analysis of the film may uncover a secondary text which allows it to be read as subverting, or at least challenging, this ideology from within. In addition, the major interpretative frameworks of reading Avatar against the grain of the Hollywood blockbuster resonate with the Palestinian condition and therefore made the film popular with the Palestinian non-violent resistance to Israeli occupation and colonization.
Yosefa Loshitzky is Professor of Film and Cultural Studies at the University of East London. She is the author of The Radical Faces of Godard and Bertolucci (1995), Identity Politics on the Israeli Screen (2002), and Screening Strangers: Migration and Diaspora in Contemporary European Cinema (2010), as well as editor of Spielberg's
Holocaust: Critical Perspectives on Schindler's List (1997)and guest editor of a special issue of Third Text on "Fortress Europe:
Migration, Culture, Representation" (2006). She has also written extensively on film, media, and culture for a variety of journals and book anthologies.