TAU Ariella Azoulay at the Edward Said Memorial Conference, Universiteit Utrecht, April 15 – 17, 2013
Ariella Azoulay, head of the Photo-Lexic group in the Lexicon for Political Theory at the Minerva Humanities Center at Tel Aviv University, has been a subject of a number of past editorials.
The Lexicon is one of the three projects, headed by Adi Ophir, a frequent co-author of Azoulay. The Lexicon is described as an "encyclopedia in the making;" group members subject accepted political concepts to a critical interpretation and redefinition of these concepts to broaden their horizons and shed light on current conditions.
The Photo-Lexic group looks at pictures in a context: on the one hand, it is a "possible instrument of power and government;" on the other hand, it "challenges sovereign power and disrupts its field of vision. "Furthermore, the group seeks to rethink central concepts of political philosophy from the point of view of the ruled rather than the ruler."
Stripped from its high-minding soundings critical rhetorical, the Political Lexicon Project has served as a incubator for some of the most radical critique of Israel and a leader in field of its delegitmization. As well known, the European Union Monitoring Center's Working Defining of anti-Semitism, indicates that some forms of anti-Zionism cross the boundaries between legitimate criticism such as opposing Israel's hold on the territories and delegitimization.
Ophir has been one of the intellectual fathers of what the Working Definition describes as "nazification of Israel," as he "found" Israel to be on the same ontological plane of evil as Nazi Germany.
Azoulay has contributed her share in "visualizing" a Nazi-like treatment of Palestinians. On one occasion, she photographed a group of Palestinian prisoners guarded by IDF solders as "torture." Her traveling exhibition is full of images that evoke the imagery Nazi-like brutality toward the Palestinians.
Undoubtedly, she will be well prepared to to promote her theme during the forthcoming Edward Said Memorial Conference supported by the Lutfia Rabanni Foundation, one of the multitude of projects funded by Saudi and Gulf Countries money and the Treaty of Utrecht Foundation, which promotes cross cultural contacts to further global peace.
Azoulay will be featured alongside such critical philosophers /radical critics of Israel as Judith Butler and Etienne Balibar. In fact, her work of "nazification" fits well with the agenda of the conference "to promote justice, self-determination and equality. "
For Azoulay and her critical peers, "nazification of Israel' goes beyond pro-Palestinian propaganda . The Photo-Lexic project states it seeks to recreate reality from the point of view of the ruled, not the ruler. The treatment of the Palestinian Nakba - as - Holocaust provides a perfect visual symmetry, in line with the concept of inversion or reality that is key in critical philosophy.
The Dutch media that would, in all likelihood, cover the event, and the citizens of Utrecht who may visit the conference, probably do not understand such complexities. They will look at Azoualy's images and assume that it is reality. And herein lies a problem identified by the EUMC's Working Definition: criticism of Israel turned into pernicious anti-Zionism/ anti-Semitism.
On April 15 the three-day Edward Said Memorial conference “In The Time Of Not Yet” will open the commemoration of the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, with special focus on the role of culture in diplomacy and peace-making as well as pay tribute to the 10th anniversary of Edward Said’s passing. With Mariam Said as honorary chair, each day will feature renowned speakers on Edward Said’s work, such as Judith Butler, Etienne Balibar, Maestro Daniel Barenboim, Marina Warner and many others. Major attention will be paid to cultural activities that resound with Said’s vision in combining scholarship with the arts and music so as to support the quest for justice, self-determination and equality.
This programme is brought to you in collaboration with Utrecht Province, Treaty of Utrecht Foundation and the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation.
Director of Photo-Lexic, International Research Group, Minerva Center, Tel Aviv University; 1998-2011 Hermeneutics and Cultural Studies, Bar Ilan University; 2010 Gladstein Visiting Professor, Human Rights Center, UConn; 2011 Leverhulme Research Professor, Durham University. Among her recent books: Civil Imagination: The Political Ontology of Photography (forthcoming, Verso, 2012),From Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction and State Formation, 1947-1950, (Pluto Press, 2011), and The Civil Contract of Photography (Zone Books, 2008). She is Curator of Potential History (2012, Stuk / Artefact, Louven), Untaken Photographs (2010, Igor Zabel Award, The Moderna galerija, Lubliana; Zochrot, Tel Aviv), Architecture of Destruction(Zochrot, Tel Aviv), Everything Could Be Seen (Um El Fahem Gallery of Art), and director of documentary films, among which: Civil Alliance, Palestine, 47-48 (2012),I Also Dwell Among Your Own People: Conversations with Azmi Bishara (2004), The Food Chain (2004). More information
The video begins with this description: "Kheira Abu Hassan, who lost her baby while waiting at an IDF roadblock, cannot control her smile and places it as a barricade before attempts to understand her or identify with her. The smile is a kind of boundary that the occupied can place before the occupier."