Key Note Speaker: Nadim Rouhana
Other Speakers Include: Ismael Abu-Saad, Ilan Pappe, Mazen Masri, Lisa Hajjar, Haim Yacobi, Esmail Nashif, Hilla Dayan, Shir Hever, Mtanes Shehadeh, Orly Noy, David Sheen, Nimer Sultany, Zachary Lockman, Akanksha Mehta, Dan Freeman Maloy.
In recent years, the focus of much media commentary has moved towards Israeli society and politics. Many speculate on the consequences of the rise of the settler right and the growth of Jewish orthodox religious movements. At the same time, the intensification of colonial practices in the West Bank and East Jerusalem on the one hand, and the state sponsored targeting of migrant labourers and so-called infiltrators have led many to theorise a fundamental shift in the political trajectory of the Israeli state. This perspective has been strengthened by the seemingly uniform support these policies are receiving from all sections of Israeli society, whether in the media, academia, or the left of the Israeli political spectrum. In addition, polls have repeatedly found a great majority of the Israeli population in support of these same policies.
Therefore, while previous conferences have focused on Palestinian society and politics, while only marginally touching on the func'tioning of Israel itself, this conference is fully dedicated to the investigation of the institutions, culture, politics, religion and social issues that are at the heart of the Israeli state and the Zionist logic that guides it.
The conference aims to highlight the continuities in Israeli politics both between different segments of Israeli society as well as between different epochs of the state’s existence. By focusing on specific political behaviours and trends, we hope to uncover longer term, more fundamental logics, which are based on the settler colonial nature of the state. The conference will discuss Israel’s relationship with different actors – religious groups, non Ashkenazi Jews, and non-Jewish residents; Palestinian Citizens of the state; academics and Journalists; the so-called Diaspora and Jewish organisations in the West – in order to understand Israeli politics as a totality rather than a collection of discreet actions and events.
The Conference will build on the work of prior SOAS Palestine Society conferences and will bring academics, activists and organisers together in a critical conversation we hope will enhance academic enquiry, strengthen critical knowledge production, and encourage radical education on the question of the Palestinian struggle for self determination.