TAU – Home for the Lexicon of Radical Political Activism


Editorial Note

Minerva Center for the Humanities at Tel Aviv University was profiled by the IAM in the past. This time, the focus is on Dr. Ariel Handel, the Head of the Lexicon group at the Center, who published a Call for Papers. Handel is a member of the Department of Literature at TAU who is also a veteran political activist and an army reserve refuser. The invitation states: “We are happy to send you the call to the 19th lexical conference for critical political thought. The conference will be held on February 27, Tel Aviv University. The deadline for submitting abstracts is December 20.”

According to the invitation, the “conference lectures should contribute to the composition of an alternative political lexicon that maps and re-examines the basic concepts of the contemporary political discourse and challenges the national-liberal and neo-liberal conceptions that are at the center of it now.” The discussions at this conference will focus on concepts that can be taken from the “familiar philosophical dictionary (such as: freedom, equality, rights, representation, justice, etc.) or express different and original forms of observation about government and the political field (such as: space, time, body, technology, population, etc.). Relevant concepts can also be concepts that describe a device (camera, screen, magnetic card), site (house, fence) or mechanism (police, school), provided that the question will be used as a basis for an original point of view on the government and the political field.” 

The “concept can be anchored in one defined theory or move freely between several close or competing theories, provided that the focus is on the concept itself and on the reality it expresses and interprets.”

The invitation continues, “The discussion of the concept should offer innovation in one or more of the following aspects: understanding the concept itself and its theoretical context; understanding the political reality that the concept allows to express; An understanding of the limitations of the theoretical discussion that the same concept seeks to criticize, expand, or replace.”

The participants of the conference will be invited to submit their lectures/or articles that will be developed from the content of the conference discussions to be published in the online journal Mafteakh (Key): Lexicon for Political Thought.  

“We invite researchers, including research students, to submit abstracts for a lecture at the conference. The abstract should explain the choice of a specific concept and concisely present the relevant theoretical context and the main innovation in the presentation of the concept. The abstract will be up to 300 words.”  

The Lexicon is organized in collaboration with the Van Leer Institution Jerusalem and the BGU Department of Politics and Government, as noted on the letterhead.

A perusal of the articles of the last publication of Mafteakh shows polemics rather than academic writing. Writers, such as TAU School of Culture students, promote Balad, the Arab political party. Other writers are artists and scholars of Literature and Poetry. The exception is Erez Ztfadia and Oren Yiftachel, who provide a Marxist interpretation which they term Marxian, to camouflage the jargon. Adi Ophir, another contributor, provides negative views of any governance. 

The Political Lexicon is a home for radical leftists paid by Minerva, Van Leer, and the BGU Department of Politics and Government. The neo-Marxist, critical, and postmodern jargon to which the writers adhere, do not uphold the standards of scholarship.

 It is one more example of how some institutions of higher learning use taxpayers’ money to pay the salaries of activist academics. Over the years, both TAU and BGU have paid the wages of these activists and provided them with academic legitimacy. Indeed, in 2012 the Council of Higher Education threatened to close down the Department of Politics and Government at BGU for being top-heavy with neo-Marxist, critical scholars who failed to offer a political science curriculum. The recent Ph.D. graduates at the Department are, among others, Aya Shoshan, who participated in the tent protests in Spain and Israel in 2011, and Debby Farber, a member of the group Zochrot, which aims to promote the discourse on the Nakba and the Palestinians’ right of return.

The permissive atmosphere at TAU is also reflected in the employment of Handel, a military refuser. As a. rule, Israeli academic institutions should not recruit army refusers who teach students who serve in the army reserves. Under the banner of academic freedom, the University tolerated the likes of Dr. Anat Matar, who headed a group dedicated to encouraging draft dodging. 

Be that as it may, the major problem is that unlike the United States and other Western countries, Israel has never offered pushback against academic extremism. For instance, public universities, supported by the states, have effective mechanisms to limit scholar-activists. A number of groups also monitor and report on their activists. Most encouraging, as reported, Harvard University has recently denied tenure to a scholar because her scholarship represents advocacy writing rather than genuine research. Absent a pushback, Israeli academic activists would go on spouting barely understandable jargon that masquerades as scholarly research.  


———- Forwarded message ———
From: ariel handel
Date: Sat, Nov 19, 2022 at 1:42 PM
‪Subject: [SocSci-IL] קול קורא לכנס הלקסיקלי ה-19 למחשבה פוליטית ביקורתית‬
To: Social Sciences List <socsci-il@listserver.cc.huji.ac.il>

שלום רב!

 אנו שמחים לשלוח לכן/ם את הקול הקורא לכנס הלקסיקלי ה-19 למחשבה פוליטית ביקורתית. 

הכנס יתקיים ב-27 בפברואר באוניברסיטת תל אביב. הדדליין להגשת תקצירים הוא 20 בדצמבר.

נשמח לקבל הצעות למאמרים. 

אנא הרגישו בנוח להפיץ את הקול הקורא בין עמיתותיכן/ם וחבריכן/ם.


אריאל הנדל

קול קורא

הכנס הלקסיקלי התשעה-עשר למחשבה פוליטית ביקורתית

27 בפברואר 2023

קבוצת הלקסיקון למחשבה פוליטית תקיים ב-27 בפברואר 2023 את הכנס השנתי למחשבה פוליטית ביקורתית באוניברסיטת תל-אביב.

הרצאות הכנס אמורות לתרום לחיבורו של לקסיקון פוליטי אלטרנטיבי הממפה ובוחן מחדש את מושגי היסוד של השיח הפוליטי העכשווי ומאתגר את התפישה הלאומית-ליברלית ואת התפישה הניאו-ליברלית שעומדות במרכזו כעת.

הדיון בכנס זה, כמו באלה שקדמו לו, לא יתמקד בהוגים, בשיטות, בתקופות או בטקסטים מסוימים אלא במושגים אשר יוצעו לדיון על ידי משתתפי/ות הכנס. מושגים אלה יכולים להיות לקוחים מן המילון הפילוסופי המוכר (כגון: חירות, שוויון, זכויות, ייצוג, צדק וכדו’) או לבטא צורות התבוננות שונות ומקוריות על השלטון ועל התחום הפוליטי (כגון: מרחב, זמן, גוף, טכנולוגיה, אוכלוסייה וכדו’). מושגים רלוונטיים יכולים להיות גם מושגים המתארים מכשיר (מצלמה, מסך, כרטיס מגנטי), אתר (בית, גדר) או מנגנון (משטרה, בית ספר), ובלבד שאלה ישמשו כבסיס לנקודת מבט מקורית על השלטון ועל התחום הפוליטי.

כל הרצאה בכנס תוקדש למושג אחד וניתן יהיה לזהות בה מאמץ שיטתי להשיב על השאלה “מהו x?”. הצגת המושג יכולה להיות מעוגנת בתיאוריה מוגדרת אחת או לנוע בחופשיות בין כמה תיאוריות קרובות או מתחרות, ובלבד שהמוקד יהיה במושג עצמו ובמציאות שהוא מעניק לה ביטוי ואשר אותה הוא מפרש. הדיון במושג אמור להציע חידוש באחד או יותר מן ההיבטים הבאים: הבנת המושג עצמו וההקשר התיאורטי שלו; הבנת המציאות הפוליטית שהמושג מאפשר לבטא; הבנה של מגבלות הדיון התיאורטי שאותו המושג מבקש לבקר, להרחיב, או להחליף.

משתתפי/ות הכנס יוזמנו להגיש את הרצאותיהם/ן או מאמרים שיפותחו מתוכן בעקבות דיוני הכנס לפרסום בכתב העת המקוון מפתח: כתב עת לקסיקלי למחשבה פוליטית: https://mafteakh.org/

מידע נוסף על קבוצת הלקסיקון למחשבה פוליטית זמין באתר מרכז מינרבה למדעי הרוח: https://humanities.tau.ac.il/minerva/research_group/lexicone .

אנו מזמינים חוקרות וחוקרים, כולל תלמידות ותלמידי מחקר, להגיש תקצירים להרצאה בכנס. התקציר אמור להסביר את הבחירה במושג ספציפי ולהציג באופן תמציתי את ההקשר התיאורטי הרלוונטי ואת עיקר החידוש שבהצגת המושג. התקציר יהיה בהיקף של עד 300 מילים.

את התקצירים יש להגיש עד ה-20.12.22

 הכתובת למשלוח התקצירים ולכל עניין אחר: handelar@tauex.tau.ac.il  


Google Translate



Itay Snir
I would like to define children as those who suffer from oppression and are discriminated against in various ways because of their young age. The label of childhood is used both in everyday discourse and in political theory to justify and normalize the separation of young people from adults and control over them. But the logic that legitimizes power relations in the present based on a claim to a deficiency that will only be completed in the future is also applied to other groups: natives, the poor, and women, to name just a few distinct examples. Despite the obvious difference in the timelines – a few years in the case of the children, compared to many generations in the other examples – one can recognize here the same language and the same regime of charity. But while in other cases we have already learned to see the oppression even if it is covered with beautiful words and even good intentions, this is not the case with children. Their control is transparent and seems natural even to theorists and critical activity.

Issue 18
Maayan Amir
Extraterritoriality shapes relations between law, representation and space. Historically, extraterritoriality applies to people and spaces. In the first case, and depending on the circumstances, extraterritorial arrangements could exempt or exclude an individual or a group of persons from the laws of the territorial jurisdiction applicable to the physical place where they are located. In the second case, they could exempt or exclude a space from the laws of the surrounding territorial jurisdiction. The unique status that applies to people and spaces to this day has political, economic and legal consequences that range over a very wide spectrum, at one end immunity and privileges, and at the other end deprivation and denial of basic rights.

Issue 17
Orfa Snoff-Filpol, Jud Kadan, Vared Shamshi, Ido Fox
In this article, we would like to think about the concept of Balad (بَلَد) as part of a broader project of an Arabic-Hebrew lexicon, which aims to create concepts and reconceptualize existing concepts in a bilingual way. In an attempt to think together from the two local languages, the choice of the term Balad seems acute, because it is anchored in the local Arabic-Palestinian language and marks the space of the local girls and boys. Moreover, the transformations that occur in the use of the concept of Balad in the transition between Arabic and Hebrew express in an honest way the relations between the languages and between the bodies that speak them.

Issue 17
a Room
Vered Shimshi
The corona epidemic strengthened the recognition of the centrality of the room in our lives. The need to stay in the rooms of the house during the closings and the exposure of the room to the eyes of others through the communication applications increased the attention to the connection between each person and his room, for example to the way the geographical and socio-economic space and personal taste are evident in the room. On top of that, the possibility of owning a private room whose door can be closed is not self-evident, and in itself is a class and cultural matter that teaches about conditions that are not common property.

Issue 17
Giving Birth
Orly Dahan
A woman is a subject, in the simplest sense of the word: a conscious organism that has psychological states and feelings and must be treated as an active agent in the world. But from the moment of her “birth as a woman”, she is deprived of some of the rights that are usually given to human subjects. A crushing expression of this is revealed when she herself gives birth. In the current article I will focus on the human subject who gives birth and argue that even though the woman’s subjectivity does not disappear during childbirth, she is often treated in various arenas as a born object, or a defective subject.

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Issue 17

State Legitimacy
Yair Yasen
Jürgen Habermas argued that legitimacy is the acceptance of authority, which is expressed in agreeing to disobey and obey it. Legitimization (or the process of acquiring legitimacy) is an acquired process of gaining authority. Legitimacy is acquired when actions, processes or ideologies are perceived as agreed because they are identified with norms and values in a certain society, and a certain audience perceives them as acceptable and normative. Legitimacy can be attributed, among other things, to the state as a whole, to governmental institutions separately, or to the actions and decisions of the state and the governmental institutions.

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Issue 17

Ravid Rovner
Originality as a criterion for aesthetic judgment is a central element in the field of art from the beginning of its appearance until today. Creators strive to be valued as original: to present unprecedented uniqueness, to be distinctly different from their predecessors, to chart a new path for other creators. In the last decade, some thinkers have called creators to demonstrate unoriginality as an artistic strategy.

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Issue 17

Erez Tzfadia, Oren Yiftachel
The article focuses on the conceptualization of the phenomenon of repression and displacement using general and open terms to describe a wide variety of situations of violation of residents’ rights, while referring to the transition between English and Hebrew. After introducing the concepts of “rejection” and “displacement”, we will examine how they help to better understand the structure of urban citizenship – a concept that defines the city’s residents as a political community that has the right to take an active part in shaping the city, determining its character and making decisions about it and using its resources. We will progress in addressing displacement and repression as part of different critical theoretical approaches, and examine how they are reflected in different epistemological perspectives. We will end with expressions of resistance and protest against displacement and repression.

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Issue 17

Oded Tzpouri
What exactly is leisure? It is difficult and perhaps even impossible these days to define the concept of leisure other than by way of negation. Leisure, in its everyday meaning, is time (or a certain type of activity occurring in this period of time) that is free from other things. First and foremost, this is time that is not dedicated to work or taking care of the needs of the body and home, and by extension, it is time that is not dedicated to everything that is necessary for existence.

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Issue 17

Religious Zionism
Haim Katzman
This article examines contemporary political, religious and social trends in religious Zionism in light of the research literature written on “religious Zionism”. Historically, there is reason to doubt the existence of a unified Zionist-religious ideology even before the 2000s, but this is a question that requires further research. My claim is that the etymology and theoretical conceptualization of religious Zionism as an ideology that unites the apparently contradictory dimensions of modern nationalism and the Jewish religion is today anachronistic and even misleading.

Adi Ophir
In the words below I will try to reintroduce a “lean” concept of government, one that does not assume the state as an a priori form of thinking about government, nor the concept of sovereignty, Schmitian or otherwise, as the essence of the concept of government. After I equip myself with this concept, I will be able to return to the question of the relationship between government and the state and to the theological dimension of the presentation of government (including state government). Between the thin concept of government and its theological meaning, I hope, a sketch of the concept of government, or at least of the space in which the concept of government must be performed, will be interpreted.  

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