Supreme Court Ends the Oded Goldreich Saga by Overriding the Boycott Law

14.04.22

Editorial Note

Prof. Oded Goldreich received the Israel Prize on Tuesday in the offices of the Ministry of Education. Yifat Shasha-Biton, the Minister of Education who protested the decision, was absent.

The Israel Prize is awarded every Independence Day to mark the appreciation of the Israeli public to outstanding scholars.

The 2021 Israel Prize was controversial because Goldreich, a computer scientist from the Weizmann Institute who was nominated, signed a petition last year calling the EU to refrain from financially supporting Ariel University, as IAM reported several times before, since April 2021. 

The Nomination Committee took the case to the Supreme Court twice, opposing the decisions of two Education Ministers not to award the prize to Goldreich.  

To recall, in the first ruling, the judges stated that this case should not have reached the Supreme Court, yet annulled Yoav Gallant, the former Education Minister’s decision not to award Goldreich. They also ruled that the next Minister of Education should decide on this matter. Gallant’s successor, Yifat Shasha-Biton, refused to award the prize to Goldreich, triggering the second appeal to the Supreme Court.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court made its decision. In her ruling, Presiding Judge Yael Willner wrote: “I believe Prof. Goldreich’s signature on the petition does not touch upon an extreme or external circumstance that can be taken into account as consideration for barring from him the award.”  She explained that in the petition, “the policy that the EU was requested to implement is explicitly enshrined in the cooperation agreement signed by the Israeli government with the EU, which excludes academic institutions located in Judea and Samaria.” She also added, “I agree with the position of the Attorney General, who treats barring the award with great severity.”

Judge Willner explained that “In order to understand the content of the petition, we will explain that in the background is the EU’s Horizon 2000 program, which concerns scientific and industrial cooperation, amounting to about 95.5 billion euros. According to the cooperation agreement signed between the European Union and the Government of Israel, Israeli entities and bodies will participate in the activities under the program on terms equivalent to those applicable to entities from the member states of the European Union. The agreement includes a provision that under EU policy, this agreement will not apply to the geographical areas that came under the administration of the State of Israel after June 5, 1967. This position should not be construed as violating Israel’s principled position on this matter.”

Judge Willner quoted Prof. Goldreich, who stated in Court that “in the circumstances in which the Israeli government entered into an agreement with the European Union that excludes the Judea and Samaria area, it is clear that there is no way to see the demand to exclude the area as illegitimate, surely not one that goes against our basic understanding as a society.”



Worth noting the Israel Prize Rules. The two clauses, 31 and 32, shed light on the role of the Minister of Education. Clause 31. Upon the decision of the Nomination Committee, its recommendations will be presented to the Minister of Education. The Committee’s decision will take effect only after the Minister approves the recommendations; 32. The Minister may return a recommendation, on a reasoned basis, for re-evaluation to the Committee to make a repeated decision. The second decision of the Committee will be final.

In the end, the Supreme Court ruled that the Israel Prize must be awarded to Goldreich. The only dissenting voice was of Supreme Court Judge Noam Solberg, who argued that the Supreme Court should refrain from intervening in public matters.

The Court, however, did not consider whether signing the petition was in breach of the Boycott Law.

Former Judge Professor Oded Mudrick disagreed with the Supreme Court and wrote his response in an article: “Everyone agrees that the views, beliefs, and opinions expressed within the legal standards cannot fall within the Minister’s considerations not to approve a nomination for the award. There was no need to discuss this and describe the dozens of appeals to the High Court in an attempt to disqualify candidates based on statements, even harsh and vicious ones, which the principle of freedom of expression tolerates. The issue of the Goldreich Prize does not concern freedom of opinion, belief, view, and expression. It concerns illegal conduct, according to the law.”

The Israeli academia also debated the Supreme Court decision. Legal scholar Professor Alon Harel conveniently ignored the breach of the Boycott Law. He wrote in response: “The question of whether the Israel Prize is a “sterile” prize or not, is part of the legal question in this matter. I do not think the decision in this matter is simple. But even if the Israel Prize is not “sterile,” it is clear that there are considerations the Minister of Education must not consider. One of them is the political positions of the nominees. The Minister cannot prefer a left-wing person over a right-wing person or a secular person over a religious person. As is well known, Ariel’s status is controversial. Some believe that the existence of an institution that does not serve its surroundings and that most of the population around it is not allowed to enter does not reconcile with the ethos of an academic institution. Some of these people also support the boycott of this institution. There is no place in this framework to consider whether these people are right or not. Yet, this is certainly a legitimate political position. When the Minister denied the award from Professor Goldreich, she considered a consideration that the jurists call an “external consideration,” i.e., a consideration she is not allowed to consider. In her decision, she considered Professor Goldreich’s political position. Therefore, I believe that the decision of the Supreme Court is justified.”

Since the Boycott Law was enacted in 2011, no one has faced charges for breaching it.

Upon receiving the Prize, Goldreich announced he is donating the money to the radical NGOs B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Adalah, Kav LaOved, and Standing Together. B’Tselem is the NGO responsible for the apartheid accusations against Israel. As IAM reported, Prof. Oren Yiftachel has co-written the report that influenced Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International

The Supreme Court ruling demonstrates that calling for boycotts could be permissible by overriding the 2011 Knesset Boycott Law. The worrisome consequence is that Israeli academics and activists might feel free to call for more boycotts.

References:

בית המשפט העליון

תקציר פסק הדין בבג”ץ 8076/21

ועדת השופטים להענקת פרס ישראל לשנת ה’תשפ”א בתחום חקר המתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב נ’ שר החינוך (29.3.2022)

תאריך מתן פסק הדין: כ”ו באדר ב התשפ”ב (29.3.2022)

שופטי ההרכב: השופט י’ עמית; השופטת י’ וילנר ; השופט נ’ סולברג

בית המשפט העליון החליט ברוב דעות (השופט י’ עמית והשופטת י’ וילנר), להורות לשרת החינוך לפעול על פי המלצתה של ועדת פרס ישראל, ולהעניק את פרס ישראל לשנת התשפ”א בתחום חקר המתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב לפרופ’ גולדרייך. השופט נ’ סולברג, בדעת מיעוט, סבר כי אין עילה משפטית להתערבות בהחלטת שרת החינוך.

השופטת י’ וילנר, אשר כתבה את פסק הדין המרכזי, קיבלה את עמדת היועץ המשפטי לממשלה וקבעה כי לא היה מקום להתערב בהחלטת הוועדה המקצועית להעניק לפרופ’ גולדרייך את הפרס. שרת החינוך החליטה שלא לאשר את המלצת הוועדה, לנוכח חתימתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך על עצומה, שבמסגרתה התבקש האיחוד האירופי ליישם את מדיניותו להימנע משיתוף פעולה מדעי ותעשייתי עם מוסדות אקדמיים ישראליים שפועלים באזור יהודה והשומרון. השופטת וילנר עמדה על כך שמדיניות זו קיבלה ביטוי מפורש בהסכם שחתמה ממשלת ישראל עם האיחוד האירופי לשיתוף פעולה מדעי ותעשייתי, שבמסגרתו הסכימה הממשלה להחריג מתחולתו את אזור יהודה והשומרון. ההסכם אושר לראשונה בהחלטת ממשלה מספר 2104 מיום 19.10.2014; וכן אושר לאחרונה בהחלטת ממשלה מספר 754 מיום 5.12.2021.

השופטת וילנר סקרה את הרקע ההיסטורי הנוגע לייסוד פרס ישראל, ועמדה על הוראות התקנון של פרס ישראל ועל ההלכה המושרשת שלפיהן הפרס ניתן על בסיס שיקולים מקצועיים מובהקים; בעוד ששיקולים לבר-מקצועיים, כגון התבטאויות של המועמדים בהקשרים ערכיים, עשויים להיות רלוונטיים רק במקרים חריגים וקיצוניים ביותר. השופטת וילנר הטעימה כי לא בכדי ניתן פרס ישראל לדורותיו על בסיס מצוינות ותרומה מקצועית מובהקת, שנבחנות על-ידי ועדת מומחים, ולא על בסיס שיקולים חברתיים-ערכיים, שהגבול בינם לבין שיקולים פוליטיים – עמום. השופטת וילנר הבהירה כי הלכה למעשה, לאורך השנים, ועדת הפרס המליצה על מתן פרס ישראל לאנשים שונים בגין פועלם המקצועי; ושרי החינוך אישרו את ההמלצות חרף התבטאויות פוגעניות ומקוממות מצד חלק מהמועמדים. לעומת זאת, המקרה שלפנינו הוא המקרה הראשון בתולדותיו של פרס ישראל שבו שר החינוך דחה את המלצת ועדת הפרס בגין שיקולים לבר-מקצועיים.

השופטת וילנר קבעה כי במקרה דנן – הגם שאין להקל ראש בחומרת המעשה של פרופ’ גולדרייך, וחרף החומרה היתרה שטמונה בקריאה לחרם – החלטת השרה שלא להעניק לפרופ’ גולדרייך את פרס ישראל בגין חתימתו על העצומה, אינה מגעת כדי נסיבה חיצונית נדירה וקיצונית שניתן להביאה בחשבון כשיקול לבר-מקצועי. זאת, מאחר שהמדיניות שהאיחוד האירופי התבקש ליישם בעצומה, מעוגנת במפורש בהסכם שיתוף הפעולה שעליו חתמה ממשלת ישראל, אשר מחריג מתחולתו מוסדות אקדמיים המצויים באזור יהודה והשומרון. שרת החינוך דיברה אפוא בשני קולות. האחד – במסגרת הסכם שיתוף הפעולה החריגה השרה בפועל, בהיותה חלק מהממשלה, את אזור יהודה והשומרון מתחולת שיתוף הפעולה האקדמי של ישראל והאיחוד האירופי. בקולה האחר – החליטה השרה לשלול מפרופ’ גולדרייך את פרס ישראל בגין קריאתו לאותה החרגה.

חוסר קוהרנטיות זה, לצד התעלמות השרה בהחלטתה מחתימת הממשלה על הסכם שיתוף הפעולה, עומדים בבסיס קביעת השופטת וילנר כי ההחלטה לוקה בפגם המצדיק התערבות שיפוטית. השופטת וילנר הבהירה כי אין באמור כדי להביע עמדה כלשהי באשר להחלטת הממשלה לחתום על הסכם שיתוף הפעולה – החלטה אשר מצויה בליבת שיקול דעתה של הממשלה, אשר רואה לנגד עיניה שיקולים רוחביים ומערכתיים. אולם, משחתמה הממשלה (ובכלל זה שרת החינוך) על ההסכם, יש קושי לייחס חומרה כה נדירה וקיצונית, לקריאה ליישום המדיניות המעוגנת באותו הסכם.

השופטת וילנר הדגישה כי בשים לב לכך שפרס ישראל ניתן, ככלל, על יסוד שיקולים מקצועיים בלבד, אין בהענקתו כדי להעיד על מתן הסכמה או הכשר לעמדותיהם הערכיות של כלות וחתני הפרס – לא מצד הוועדה, לא מצד שרת החינוך, ולא מצדו של בית המשפט.

לדעתו של השופט נעם סולברג אין זה מתפקידו של בית המשפט לבחון מהי ההחלטה הנכונה שראוי לקבל, קרי – האם להעניק את הפרס או להימנע מהענקתו? השאלה שעל בית המשפט לשאול היא אחרת: האם קמה עילה משפטית להתערבות בית המשפט בהחלטת השרה? על כך השיב השופט סולברג – בשלילה. זאת, משום שהשרה לא חרגה מתחום סמכותהּ, לא טעתה בפרשנות של דין, לא הסיגה את גבולהּ של ועדת הפרס, לא התערבה בשיקול דעתה המקצועי, לא פעלה בשרירות, לא נקטה משׂוא פנים, לא נתנה ידה לאפליה, ולא שקלה שיקולים זרים. זכות ‘המילה האחרונה’ נתונה לשרת החינוך, ואין זה מתפקידו של בית המשפט לבצע ‘מקצה-שיפורים’. השופט סולברג הדגיש כי אף אם באמת ובתמים סבור בית המשפט כי ניתן היה לקבל החלטה ‘טובה’, ‘חכמה’ או ‘מוצלחת’ יותר מזו שנתקבלה על-ידי שרת החינוך, אל לו לבית המשפט לבוא בנעליה, אל לו להמיר את שיקול-דעתה בשיקול דעתו-שלו.

השופט סולברג ציין, כי היה מגיע לתוצאה זהה – אי-התערבות בהחלטת שרת החינוך – גם אילו החליטה השרה כן להעניק את הפרס לפרופ’ גולדרייך, בהתאם להמלצת הוועדה, והיתה מוגשת עתירה להורות כי פרס ישראל לא יוענק לו. לגישת השופט סולברג, משניתנה החלטת שרת החינוך בסמכות, שיקולים רלבנטיים נשקלו, ושיקולים זרים לא באו במניין – לא קמה עילה להתערבות שיפוטית.

השופט י’ עמית ציין כי קשה להלום שגורלו של פרס ישראל יהיה כפוף לנכונותם של השר או השרה לילך בתלם פסיקת בית המשפט, או יהיה כפוף לשיקול ערכי-חברתי-מוסרי-אידיאולוגי-פוליטי של שר החינוך בשנה נתונה, בניגוד לדין, מתכון בטוח לפוליטיזציה של הפרס. גבולות סמכותו של השר הותוו בפסיקה הנוגעת לפרס ישראל, ושרת החינוך, בהחלטתה במקרה דנן, חרגה מהן. בהקשר של חופש הביטוי, השופט עמית ציין כי מצוינות אקדמית אינה הולכת בהכרח יד ביד עם דעות התואמות את הקונצנזוס הציבורי. לדבריו, שלילת פרס ישראל מאיש אקדמיה בעל שם, בשל התבטאויות ספורדיות כאלה ואחרות, היא הזמנה לניטור, מעקב ורדיפה אחר אנשי אקדמיה בישראל. כמדינה החיה על מצוינותה בתחומים שונים, עלולה להיות בכך פגיעה של ממש בהישגים אקדמיים ומקצועיים, ובטווח הארוך, אף פגיעה בחוסן הלאומי.

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בבית המשפט העליון בשבתו כבית משפט גבוה לצדק
בג”ץ  8076/21
לפני:  כבוד השופט י’ עמית
 כבוד השופט נ’ סולברג
 כבוד השופטת י’ וילנר
העותרת:ועדת השופטים להענקת פרס ישראל לשנת תשפ”א בתחום חקר מדעי המחשב
 נ  ג  ד
המשיבים:1. שרת החינוך
 2. הממונה על פרס ישראל, משרד החינוך, רויטל כרמלי – סלע
 3. היועץ המשפטי לממשלה
 4. פרופ’ עודד גולדרייך
עתירה למתן צו על תנאי
תאריך הישיבה:כ”ג אדר א’, תשפ”ב(24.02.2022)
בשם העותרת:עו”ד גלעד ברנע
בשם המשיבים 3-1:עו”ד ענר הלמן; עו”ד יונתן נד”ב; עו”ד אבי טוויג
בשם המשיב 4:עו”ד מיכאל ספרד; עו”ד אלי שבילי
פסק-דין

השופטת י’ וילנר:

פתח דבר

1.       העותרת, ועדת השופטים להענקת פרס ישראל בתחום חקר המתמטיקה וחקר מדעי המחשב לשנת ה’תשפ”א (להלן גם: הוועדה או ועדת הפרס), מצאה את פרופ’ עודד גולדרייך (המשיב 4) ראוי לקבל את פרס ישראל בגין תרומתו המשמעותית בתחום האמור. שרת החינוך החליטה ביום 18.11.2021 שלא לאשר את המלצת הוועדה. זאת, בעיקרו של דבר, לנוכח חתימה של פרופ’ גולדרייך על עצומה, שבמסגרתה התבקש האיחוד האירופי ליישם את מדיניותו שעניינה הימנעות משיתוף פעולה מדעי ותעשייתי עם מוסדות אקדמיים ישראליים שפועלים באזור יהודה והשומרון (להלן: העצומה).

זאת יש להדגיש, מדיניות זו קיבלה ביטוי מפורש בהסכם שעליו חתמה ממשלת ישראל עם האיחוד האירופי לשיתוף פעולה מדעי ותעשייתי, שבמסגרתו הסכימה הממשלה להחריג מתחולתו את אזור יהודה והשומרון (להלן: הסכם שיתוף הפעולה או ההסכם).

2.       השאלה העומדת לפתחנו היא אם חתימתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה כאמור היא מעשה כה חריג וקיצוני, שמצדיק שקילת שיקול לבר-מקצועי במתן פרס ישראל, אשר, ככלל, ניתן על בסיס שיקולים מקצועיים מובהקים.

3.        אומר כבר עתה, כי אני סבורה שחתימתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה אינה מגעת כדי נסיבה חיצונית קיצונית ונדירה שניתן להביאה בחשבון כשיקול לבר-מקצועי בהענקת פרס ישראל. זאת, בשים לב לכך שהמדיניות שהאיחוד האירופי מתבקש ליישם לפי העצומה הנ”ל, מעוגנת במפורש בהסכם שיתוף הפעולה עליו חתמה כאמור ממשלת ישראל עם האיחוד האירופי, אשר מחריג מתחולתו מוסדות אקדמיים המצויים באזור יהודה והשומרון. לצד זאת, אדגיש כי אין להקל ראש בחומרת הדברים, ואני מצטרפת לעמדתו של היועץ המשפטי לממשלה, אשר מתייחס אליהם בחומרה רבה.

רקע עובדתי

4.        זוהי העתירה השנייה שמוגשת בנוגע להענקת פרס ישראל לפרופ’ גולדרייך. העובדות הרלוונטיות עד למועד ההכרעה בעתירה הקודמת תוארו בפסק הדין שניתן בה (בג”ץ 2199/21 ועדת השופטים להענקת פרס ישראל לשנת תשפ”א בתחום חקר המתמטיקה, חקר מדעי המחשב נ’ שר החינוך (8.4.2021); להלן: העתירה הקודמת), ולפיכך אעמוד עליהן רק בתמצית.

5.        חברי הוועדה, אשר מונו על-ידי שר החינוך (דאז), החליטו פה אחד להמליץ על הענקת פרס ישראל בתחום חקר המתמטיקה וחקר מדעי המחשב לשנת ה’תשפ”א לפרופ’ גולדרייך. בנימוקי הוועדה צוין, בין היתר, כי לפרופ’ גולדרייך “תרומות מעמיקות ופורצות דרך בסיבוכיות ובקריפטוגרפיה, ובפרט יצירת מושגי יסוד חשובים, לרבות פונקציות פסאודו-אקראיות, חישוב רב-משתתפים בטוח, ערפול תוכנה ובדיקת תכונות. מחקריו ביססו את התחום של מערכות הוכחה, הוכחות אפס-מידע וקידוד שניתן לבדיקה מקומית, תוך הבנת תפקידה של אקראיות בחישוב”.  

6.        לאחר שהוועדה העבירה את המלצתה כאמור לשר החינוך, ביקש הלה מהוועדה לשקול שנית את ההמלצה, בשים לב לפרסומים שונים שקשורים לפרופ’ גולדרייך. הוועדה ערכה ישיבה נוספת והחליטה לאשרר את המלצתה המקורית. על רקע מידע חדש שהגיע לעיונו של שר החינוך בעניין התבטאויותיו של פרופ’ גולדרייך, ביקש השר מהוועדה לבחון את המלצתה פעם נוספת, וחברי הוועדה מסרו לו כי הם דבקים בעמדתם. שר החינוך נמנע מאישור המלצת הוועדה, ובשל כך הוגשה העתירה הקודמת.

7.        ביום 7.4.2021, ערב הדיון בעתירה הקודמת, הגישה המדינה תגובה וציינה כי יום קודם לכן הונחה לפני שר החינוך עצומה מיום 23.3.2021, שעליה חתום גם פרופ’ גולדרייך, ובמסגרתה קריאה לאיחוד האירופי ליישם את מדיניותו שעניינה הימנעות משיתופי פעולה עם מוסדות אקדמיים ישראליים שפועלים באזור יהודה והשומרון. זוהי, כאמור, העצומה מושא דיוננו.

           [במאמר מוסגר, ועל-מנת להבין את תוכן העצומה, נסביר כי ברקע הדברים מצויה תכנית “Horizon 2000” של האיחוד האירופי, שעניינה שיתוף פעולה מדעי ותעשייתי, בהיקף של כ-95.5 מיליארד אירו. בהתאם להסכם שיתוף הפעולה שנחתם כאמור בין האיחוד האירופי לבין ממשלת ישראל, ישויות וגופים ישראליים ישתתפו בפעולות שבמסגרת התכנית, בתנאים שווי ערך לאלה החלים על ישויות וגופים ממדינות החברות באיחוד האירופי.

           בהסכם כלולה הוראה שלפיה “בהתאם למדיניות האיחוד האירופי, הסכם זה לא יחול על האזורים הגיאוגרפיים שנכנסו תחת ממשל מדינת ישראל אחרי 5 ביוני 1967. אין לפרש עמדה זו כפוגעת בעמדתה העקרונית של ישראל בעניין זה. בהתאם, הצדדים מסכימים כי יישום הסכם זה יהיה ללא פגיעה במעמדם של אזורים אלה” (סעיף 9(8) להסכם). ההסכם אושר לראשונה בהחלטת ממשלה מספר 2104 מיום 19.10.2014; אושר שנית בהחלטת ממשלה מספר 3292 מיום 21.12.2017; ואושר בשלישית בהחלטת ממשלה מספר 754 מיום 5.12.2021].

8.        נשוב לענייננו. בתגובת המדינה הנ”ל מיום 7.4.2021 הודיע שר החינוך כי על רקע חתימתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה, לא ניתן יהיה לקבל החלטה סופית בעניינו עד למועד טקס הענקת פרסי ישראל שחל ביום העצמאות, וכי החלטתו בעניין תתקבל לכל המאוחר בתוך חודש ימים. היועץ המשפטי לממשלה הביע את עמדתו, שלפיה בנסיבות העניין, החלטת שר החינוך בדבר הצורך בהמשך בירור העניין אינה חורגת ממתחם הסבירות.

           בהחלטתנו מיום 8.4.2021 הורינו אפוא לשר החינוך לקבל החלטה בתוך חודש ימים ולהגיש הודעה מעדכנת בנדון.

9.        לאחר מספר בקשות ארכה שהוגשו מטעם המדינה, ביום 10.6.2021 (ערב השבעתה של ממשלת ישראל ה-36) החליט שר החינוך שלא לאשר את המלצת הוועדה להעניק את הפרס לפרופ’ גולדרייך. בין היתר, ציין השר בהחלטתו כי מהתשתית העובדתית שעמדה לנגד עיניו “עולה תמונה ברורה של פעילות נמשכת (לאורך שנים), עקבית ומכוונת של פרופ’ גולדרייך שתוצאתה היא פגיעה של ממש באקדמיה הישראלית ובמדינת ישראל”.

10.      בעקבות כינונה של הממשלה החדשה, ביום 13.6.2021, ביקשה המדינה ארכה להגשת ההודעה המעדכנת מטעמה, כדי ששרת החינוך שנכנסה לתפקיד תוכל להידרש לעניין. בהמשך לכך, הודיעה שרת החינוך כי היא לא מצאה לנכון להידרש לסוגיה. בנסיבות אלו, החלטת שר החינוך הקודם מיום 10.6.2021 עמדה בעינה.

           בהודעה מעדכנת שהוגשה מטעם היועץ המשפטי לממשלה, הביע היועץ הלה  את עמדתו שלפיה החלטת שר החינוך חורגת ממתחם הסבירות, ולפיכך אינה יכולה לעמוד מבחינה משפטית.

11.      בפסק הדין שניתן בעתירה הקודמת החלטנו פה אחד לבטל את החלטת שר החינוך. אשר לתוצאה האופרטיבית, הוחלט על דעת הרוב (השופט סולברג ואנוכי, כנגד דעתו החולקת של השופט עמית) להורות לשרת החינוך לשוב ולשקול את המלצת הוועדה, על פי אמות המידה שהותוו לשם כך בפסיקתו של בית משפט זה.

12.      במסגרת חוות דעתו של חברי, השופט סולברג, שאליה הצטרפתי, צומצמה יריעת המחלוקת, ובתוך כך הבהיר השופט סולברג כי הקושי העיקרי שנותר לפנינו נוגע לחתימתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה. בהמשך לכך הובהר כי “השאלה שלפנינו היא אפוא, האם די בחתימה על עצומה זו כדי להביא את העניין דנן בקהל אותם מקרי-קצה חריגים, אשר לגביהם נפסק כי ניתן לשקול בגדרם גם שיקולים ‘חיצוניים’, שאינם נוגעים במישרין לאיכותו המקצועית של הזוכה?” (פס’ 8 לחוות-דעתו). כאן המקום לציין כי לנוכח האמור, לא ראיתי להידרש בפסק דין זה לנימוקים השונים בהחלטת שרת החינוך אשר אינם מתייחסים לחתימתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה.

13.      בהמשך לכך, שרת החינוך שבה ושקלה את המלצת הוועדה, וביום 18.11.2021 החליטה שלא לאשר את ההמלצה (להלן: החלטת השרה). במסגרת ההחלטה, ציינה שרת החינוך כי לגישתה, חתימתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה “באה בקהל אותם מקרים ‘חריגים’ המצדיקים שלא להעניק למועמד את הפרס, על אף הישגיו המקצועיים הבולטים”. שרת החינוך הבהירה שלא נסתר מעיניה “כי במשך שנים נזהר בית המשפט מלשלול את פרס ישראל רק בשל התבטאויותיהם ודעותיהם של מקבלי הפרס”. אולם, השרה הטעימה כי לשיטתה המקרה שלפנינו שונה, משום ש”אין מדובר בביטוי והבעת דעה בעלמא, כי אם בקריאה לעשות מעשה, לשלילת שיתוף פעולה ומימון כספי ממוסד אקדמי מוכר; קריאה אשר עומדת כאמור, בניגוד לדין הישראלי”. לגישת השרה, היבט נוסף שמייחד את המקרה דנן נוגע לכך שביטוייו של פרופ’ גולדרייך “ביקשו לפגוע בחופש הביטוי האקדמי”.

 העתירה דנן ותמצית טענות הצדדים

14.      במסגרת העתירה שלפנינו התבקשנו לבטל את החלטת השרה ולקבוע כי יש להעניק את פרס ישראל לפרופ’ גולדרייך. בעתירה נטען כי בהתאם לפסיקתו של בית משפט זה, הסמכות המוקנית לשרת החינוך לדחות את המלצת הוועדה מוגבלת אך למקרים שבהם פעלה הוועדה שלא על פי התקנון או שהפרה את כללי המשפט המינהלי.

           בהמשך לכך, נטען כי התבטאויות של מועמדים לפרס ישראל, בנושאים שאינם נוגעים במישרין לפועלם המקצועי, אינן רלוונטיות לשאלת מועמדותם; וכי שלילת הפרס לנוכח התבטאויות כאמור מביאה בחשבון שיקול זר ועולה כדי חוסר סבירות קיצוני, ואף פוגעת בחופש הביטוי של המועמדים. העותרת הוסיפה וטענה כי המלצתה כמעט חסינה מפני התערבות, בין מצד שר החינוך ובין מצד בית-המשפט.

15.      פרופ’ גולדרייך מצטרף בתגובתו לעמדת העותרת ומוסיף, בין היתר, כי בנסיבות שבהן ממשלת ישראל בעצמה התקשרה עם האיחוד האירופי בהסכם שמחריג מתחולתו את אזור יהודה והשומרון, “ברור שאין שום דרך לראות בקריאה לקיים את ההחרגה כמעשה לא לגיטימי, בטח לא כזה החותר תחת הסכמות היסוד שלנו כחברה”. עוד טוען פרופ’ גולדרייך כי הוא “מכבד את פרס ישראל וחש גאווה גדולה על שוועדת השופטים/ות המקצועית לפרס ישראל בחרה בו לזוכה בפרס”.

16.     בתגובה המקדמית שהוגשה מטעם היועץ המשפטי לממשלה מתייחס הוא לפסיקה שעמדה על אופיו הממלכתי, הא-פוליטי והמקצועי של פרס ישראל. היועץ מטעים שבפסיקה נקבע כי ככלל, אין מקום להתחשבות בשיקולים לבר-מקצועיים בעת דיון בהענקת פרס ישראל, אלא במקרים קיצוניים וקשים. היועץ המשפטי סבור כי החלטת שרת החינוך בעניינו של פרופ’ גולדרייך אינה נתמכת בתשתית הראייתית הנדרשת, בהתאם לאמות המידה המחמירות שקבע בית משפט זה לעניין התחשבות בשיקולים חיצוניים כאמור; וכי לפיכך, היא אינה יכולה לעמוד.

לעמדת היועץ המשפטי לממשלה, מהחלטת שרת החינוך דומה כי למעשה לא ניתן בה משקל של ממש לעובדה, שלפיה העצומה קוראת לאיחוד האירופי ליישם את המדיניות שהוא עצמו קבע; ולכך שממשלת ישראל התקשרה עם האיחוד האירופי בהסכם שמחריג במפורש מתחולתו את אזור יהודה והשומרון.

היועץ המשפטי לממשלה מדגיש כי אין בעמדתו המשפטית משום “הסכמה” או “הכשר” לחתימת מועמד או זוכה בפרס ישראל על מכתב או עצומה כאלה ואחרים; וכי הוא מתייחס בחומרה רבה לקריאה לחרם על מוסד אקדמי ישראלי.

17.      במסגרת התגובה שהוגשה מטעם היועץ המשפטי לממשלה נכללה גם עמדתה של שרת החינוך.

           השרה טוענת כי הפער בין עמדתה לבין עמדתו של היועץ המשפטי לממשלה “הוא ביסודו עניין של כמות, יותר משעסקינן בעניין של מהות” [ההדגשה במקור]. שרת החינוך עומדת על כך שגם לשיטת היועץ המשפטי לממשלה, קריאה לחרם על מדינת ישראל או על מוסד ממוסדותיה עשויה לבוא בקהל אותם מקרים שבעטיים רשאי שר החינוך לשלול את המלצת הוועדה לעניין זהות הזוכה בפרס ישראל. שרת החינוך טוענת כי כאשר עסקינן בעניין של מידה ומשקל, יש לילך אחר הכרעתו של בעל הסמכות.

           שרת החינוך מוסיפה כי דעת הרוב בעתירה הקודמת לא שללה את האפשרות שלפיה די באמירה אחת כדי לשלול את פרס ישראל; וכי מכל מקום, החתימה על העצומה “אינה עומדת לבדה והיא נצבעת באופן בוהק למדי נוכח האמירות הנוספות שיצאו מפיו של פרופ’ גולדרייך במהלך השנים”.

           יתר על כן, שרת החינוך טוענת כי “אמירותיו של פרופ’ גולדרייך חוצות את שלב הביטוי וקרבות לשלב המעשה”, בכך שהן קוראות לחרם על מוסד אקדמי ישראלי.

18.      בדיון שהתקיים לפנינו ביום 24.2.2022, הסכימו הצדדים שנדון בעתירה כאילו ניתן צו על תנאי, בהתאם לתקנה 7(ג) לתקנות סדר הדין בבית המשפט הגבוה לצדק, התשמ”ד-1984.

דיון והכרעה

19.      כאמור בפתח הדברים, אני סבורה כי החלטת שרת החינוך, שלא לאשר את המלצת הוועדה בעניינו של פרופ’ גולדרייך, אינה מתיישבת עם אמות המידה שהותוו לאורך השנים בפסיקתו של בית משפט זה, בנוגע למידת ההתערבות בהמלצות הוועדה על הענקת פרס ישראל. בטרם אציג את נימוקיי לכך, אפרט קמעה על אודות פרס ישראל.

פרס ישראל – רקע היסטורי

20.      מוסד פרס ישראל נוסד בשנת 1953, ביוזמתו של שר החינוך בן-ציון דינור. כבר בשנת 1950, ועדת החינוך של הכנסת הציעה לתת פרס לאמנים, שיאפשר להם לעבוד שנה תמימה ללא דאגות קיום. בשנת 1952, הטיל דינור את ההכנות להקמת מוסד פרס ישראל על “המחלקה למפעלי מדע ומחקר” במשרד החינוך, אשר החליטה על התחומים שבהם יינתן הפרס ודנה במנגנון השיפוט. כבר בראשית ימיו של הפרס, הוחלט לחלקו בטקס ממלכתי ביום העצמאות, כדי להוסיף “גוון תרבותי לאומי מיוחד לחג העצמאות בישראל” (שאול מרמרי “פרס ישראל, המדינה ואנשי הרוח: יצירת תרבות ישראלית באומה מתגבשת, 1955-1953” ישראלים 8, 49 (ה’תשע”ז)).

21.      במסגרת הנאום שנשא דינור בטקס הראשון לחלוקת פרסי ישראל, ביום העצמאות החמישי של המדינה, הסביר הלה כי לשיטתו “אחת מחובותיה הראשונות והקדושות” של המדינה היא לעודד את אנשי הספרות והאמנות, העיון, המדע והמחקר; וציין כי על אף שהמדעים הם אוניברסליים, “הדרך אליהם היא לאומית”. גם פרופ’ מרטין בובר, “זקן חבר השופטים”, נאם במעמד זה והציג שתי גישות ליחסים בין המדינה לבין התרבות. בהתאם לגישה אחת, התרבות כפופה למדינה, אשר קובעת את קנה המידה התרבותי; ובהתאם לגישה השנייה, המדינה מכירה בערך של התרבות העצמאית והמקורית, שבזכותה “מגיע העם לגישום אחדותו העמוקה שגם המדינה שואפת לו”. בהמשך לכך, בובר בירך על כך שמדינת ישראל אימצה את הגישה השנייה והבהיר כי הענקת הפרסים לא הותנתה ב”כל תנאי מלבד הערך האובייקטיבי” (שם, בעמ’ 58-57).

22.      כארבעים שנה לאחר מכן, בשנת 1993, הוצע לעגן את פרס ישראל בחקיקה ראשית של הכנסת, במסגרת הצעת חוק פרס ישראל, התשנ”ג-1993. הצעת החוק כללה שינויים מסוימים ביחס לתקנון פרסי ישראל (להלן: התקנון או תקנון הפרס). בין היתר, הוצע כי פרס ישראל יוענק בידי ראש הממשלה; וכי חברי ועדת הפרס ימונו על-ידי הממשלה לפי המלצת “הממונה על פרס ישראל” (שיהיה אחד מעובדי משרד ראש הממשלה שימונה בידי הממשלה). בשנת 1997 הוצע, במסגרת הצעת חוק נוספת, להעביר את האחריות על פרס ישראל אל נשיא המדינה; ובשנת 2009 גובשה הצעת חוק שמטרתה “לעגן בחקיקה את ההסדרים הנוגעים לפרסי ישראל שהוסדרו עד כה במסגרת התקנון הפנימי של פרסי ישראל” (ראו דברי הסבר להצעת חוק פרס ישראל, ה’תש”ע-2009).

           בסופו של דבר, הצעות אלו לא התגבשו לכדי חקיקה, ומוסד פרס ישראל, מאז היווסדו בשנת 1953, מוסדר במסגרת תקנון הפרס (להלן גם: התקנון). בית משפט זה כבר ציין בהקשר זה כי “ייסודו של הפרס על הסדר וולונטרי מבטיח ביתר-שאת את עצמאותן של ועדות השופטים ומגן על הפרס – חרף היותו פרס ממלכתי – מפני השפעותיהם של גורמים פוליטיים” (בג”ץ 2769/04 ח”כ יהלום נ’ שרת החינוך, התרבות והספורט, פ”ד נח(4) 823, 839 (2004) (להלן: עניין תומרקין)).

23.      הנה כי כן, פרס ישראל נועד לבטא את ההערכה של מדינת ישראל לאנשי הרוח והמדע על יצירותיהם המקוריות, אשר יש בהן כדי לשמש אבני יסוד בבניינה של האומה ולתרום לאחדותה. יפים לעניין זה דבריה של השופטת ארבל:

“14. […] הענקת פרס ישראל למי שנמצאו ראויים לכך על בסיס הישגיהם המקצועיים היוותה מאז הוחל בחלוקת הפרס, סמל להישגים שאנו חולקים גאווה משותפת לגביהם, למשותף ולמאחד את החברה בישראל חרף חילוקי הדעות העמוקים בתחומים שונים” (בג”ץ 2454/08 פורום משפטי למען ארץ ישראל נ’ שרת החינוך (17.4.2008); להלן: עניין שטרנהל).

           יש להצר אפוא על כך שלעתים הענקת הפרס מהווה כר נרחב דווקא לפלגנות ולקיטוב, כפי שיתואר בהמשך.

תקנון פרסי ישראל

24.      תקנון הפרס, המהווה “הנחיה פנימית” (ראו בג”ץ 1311/15 דיין נ’ שר החינוך, פס’ 18 (20.5.2015)), מורה כי “פרסי ישראל יוענקו על-ידי שר החינוך, ביום העצמאות במעמד ראשי המדינה, לאזרחי ישראל יחידים שהצטיינו מאוד וקידמו את התחום באחד המקצועות והתחומים המפורטים להלן, ושנבחרו על-ידי ועדת שופטים ציבורית” (סעיף א’; ההדגשה במקור).

           סעיף ג(1) לתקנון מורה כי “שר החינוך יחליט / שרת החינוך תחליט באלו מהמקצועות והתחומים יוענקו הפרסים על פי הסדר הקבוע בתקנון, מספר הפרסים (תשעה או עשרה) וסכום הפרס בכל שנה ושנה”.

           בהתאם לסעיף ג(18) לתקנון, שר החינוך ימנה את ועדות השופטים בכל אחד מהמקצועות והתחומים שבהם יוענק הפרס, לאחר התייעצות עם מומחים בתחום. סעיף ג(26) מורה כי “ראוי שהוועדה תקפיד על רמת הצטיינות גבוהה מאוד של המקבל”; וסעיף ג(28) מורה כי “רק המלצה שנתקבלה פה אחד בוועדת השופטים תובא בחשבון לצורך הענקת הפרס”.

           בהתאם לסעיף ג(31) לתקנון, “עם קבלת ההחלטה בוועדת השופטים, יובאו המלצותיה לפני שר/שרת החינוך. החלטת השופטים תקבל תוקף רק לאחר שהשר יאשר / שהשרה תאשר את ההמלצות”. סעיף ג(32) לתקנון מורה כי “השר רשאי / השרה רשאית להחזיר המלצה, במנומק, לדיון חוזר בוועדה, לשם קבלת החלטה חוזרת. ההחלטה השנייה של הוועדה תהיה סופית”.           

שיקול הדעת המסור לוועדה ולשר החינוך בעניין פרס ישראל בראי התקנון והפסיקה

25.      כאמור לעיל, תקנון הפרס מורה כי פרס ישראל יינתן בגין הצטיינות יתרה וקידום תחומים מקצועיים המפורטים בתקנון. בשל אופיו המקצועי של הפרס, התקנון מורה כי הזוכים ייבחרו על-ידי ועדת שופטים ציבורית, שתמונה בידי שר החינוך לאחר התייעצות עם מומחים בתחום.

           כפי שעולה מתגובתו של היועץ המשפטי לממשלה, מעולם בתולדות פרס ישראל לא דחה שר חינוך את המלצת הוועדה בנוגע להענקת פרס ישראל, עד למקרה הנוכחי. עוד חשוב להדגיש כי למעט מקרה בודד, ועל אף ריבוי העתירות בנדון, בית משפט זה נמנע מלהתערב הן בהמלצת הוועדה להעניק את הפרס, הן בהחלטת השר לאמץ המלצה כאמור.

26.      החל משנת 1997 – שאז הוגשה, למיטב ידיעתי, העתירה הראשונה כנגד הענקת פרס ישראל – ניתנו לאורך השנים מספר פסקי דין של בית משפט זה, אשר התוו את הקווים המנחים בסוגיה הנדונה. להלן אסקור בתמצית את עיקרי הדברים.

27.      בעתירה נגד הענקת הפרס לעיתונאי שמואל שניצר (בג”ץ 2205/97 מסאלה נ’ שר החינוך והתרבות, פ”ד נא(1) 233 (1997); להלן: עניין שניצר), נטען כי לא היה מקום לאשר את המלצת הוועדה, לנוכח דבריו של שניצר הכוללים דברי הסתה לגזענות כלפי בני הפלאשמורה. בין היתר, שניצר התייחס במאמרו לבני הפלאשמורה כאל “מפיצי מוות, בהיותם נושאי מחלות” המסכנים את בריאות הציבור בישראל (פס’ 2 לפסק הדין).

           בפסק הדין שם הובהר כי בית משפט זה אינו נוהג להתערב בשיקוליהם של ועדות וגופים העוסקים במתן פרסים וציונים. חרף האמור, הוחלט להחזיר את עניינו של שניצר לדיון חוזר בוועדה, בשל פגם דיוני שנפל בהליך קבלת ההחלטה, לאחר שהתברר כי הוועדה ושר החינוך לא היו מודעים להתבטאויותיו הנ”ל (לשלמות התמונה יצוין כי בתום הדיון החוזר שנערך בוועדה, לא הושגה הסכמה פה אחד להמליץ על הענקת הפרס לשניצר).

28.      בעתירה נגד הענקת הפרס לסופר עמוס עוז (בג”ץ 1933/98 ח”כ הנדל נ’ שר החינוך והתרבות (25.3.1998)), נטען כי לא היה מקום לאשר את המלצת הוועדה, לנוכח מאמר שעוז פרסם, אשר פוגע לפי הטענה באופן קשה בציבור רחב. בית המשפט דחה את העתירה על הסף, משום שבניגוד לעניין שניצר, העותר לא טען כי הוועדה והשר לא היו מודעים למאמרו של עוז בעת קבלת החלטותיהם.

29.      בעתירה נגד הענקת הפרס לגברת שולמית אלוני (בג”ץ 2348/00 סיעת המפד”ל, המפלגה הדתית לאומית בארץ ישראל נ’ שר החינוך (23.4.2000)), נטען כי היה מקום להחזיר את עניינה של אלוני לדיון חוזר בוועדה, לנוכח התבטאויות מסוימות מצדה כלפי גופים ואישים שונים. גם עתירה זו נדחתה, משום שלא הוכח שהוועדה והשר לא היו מודעים להתבטאויות הנדונות.

30.      בעתירה נגד הענקת פרס ישראל לאמן יגאל תומרקין, נטען כי לא היה מקום לאשר את המלצת הוועדה, לנוכח מאמרים וראיונות בתקשורת שבמסגרתם ביטא תומרקין “טינה ובוז כלפי חלקי ציבור שונים (בעיקר כלפי חרדים ודתיים, אך גם כלפי המשתייכים לעדות מסוימות)”. בין היתר, תומרקין תלה את הסיבה לשנאת יהודים בקרב הגויים בדמותו של היהודי החרדי, תיאר כמה ממצוות היהדות כ”פולחנים ברבריים” וחלקים מאוכלוסיית ישראל כ”אספסוף”. באחת מעבודותיו הציג תשמישי קדושה בשילוב עם ראש של חזיר.

           בפסק הדין בעניין תומרקין, נקבע כי המלצתה של הוועדה “כמעט חסינה מפני התערבות, בין מצדו של שר החינוך ובין מצדו של בית-המשפט”. הוטעם כי הנימוק לכך  שהמלצת הוועדה היא כמעט חסינה, הוא מפני שעקרון אי-השפיטות, המעוגן בהוראת סעיף 33 לחוק החוזים (חלק כללי), תשל”ג-1973 (שלפיו “חוזה שלפיו יינתן ציון, תואר, פרס וכיוצא באלה על פי הכרעה או הערכה של אחד הצדדים או של אדם שלישי, אין ההכרעה או ההערכה לפי החוזה נושא לדיון בבית משפט”), חל רק במסגרת המשפט הפרטי, בעוד שפרס ישראל כפוף לכללי המשפט הציבורי. לצד זאת, הובהר כי לנוכח שיקול הדעת הרחב של ועדות השופטים בעניין פרס ישראל, “רק במקרים חריגים ובנסיבות יוצאות דופן עשויה להימצא עילה להעמיד את הכרעותיהן לביקורת שיפוטית” (פס’ 7).

           אשר לסמכות שר החינוך, נקבע כי סמכותו “נועדה לאפשר לו לפקח על תקינות פעילותן של ועדות השופטים לפרס ישראל”, אך לא להתערב בהכרעות הוועדה לגופן: “הפיקוח שבידי שר החינוך לקיים מוגבל לבחינת הפן הארגוני-ממוני של פעולת הוועדה וכן לבחינה אם הדיונים שהתקיימו לפניה ותהליך קבלת ההחלטה על-ידיה עולים בקנה אחד עם הוראות התקנון, ואף עומדים במבחני התקינות המינהלית של המשפט הציבורי” (פס’ 12; ההדגשות הוספו).

31.      בעתירה נגד הענקת פרס ישראל לפרופ’ זאב שטרנהל (עניין שטרנהל), נטען כי לא היה מקום לאשר את המלצת הוועדה, לנוכח התבטאויותיו של שטרנהל בתקשורת, ובפרט במסגרת מאמר שפרסם בנוגע למאבק הפלסטיני המזוין ולהתיישבות היהודית באזור יהודה והשומרון (ראו פס’ 2 לפסק הדין). העתירה נדחתה.

           בפסק הדין, חזר בית המשפט על ההלכה שלפיה ההתערבות השיפוטית בהמלצת הוועדה או בהחלטת שר החינוך לאשר את המלצתה “שמורה למקרים חריגים ביותר ולנסיבות יוצאות דופן” (פס’ 6). עוד נקבע כי “ככלל, התבטאויותיהם של מועמדים לפרס ישראל, בנושאים שאינם נוגעים במישרין לפועלם המקצועי, בגינו הם זוכים בפרס” – אינן רלוונטיות לשקילת מועמדותם; וכי שקילתן “עלולה לפגוע במטרותיו של פרס ישראל להוות ביטוי להערכה המקצועית לעשייתם ולתרומתם של חתן או כלת הפרס ובתדמיתו כפרס הניתן משיקולים מקצועיים בעיקרם” (פס’ 10). לצד זאת, צוין כי ייתכנו נסיבות שבהן שיקולים כאמור יהיו רלוונטיים. נסיבות אלו לא הוגדרו, ונקבע שיש להכריע בכל מקרה לפני נסיבותיו (ראו פס’ 9). השופט מלצר ציין בחוות-דעתו כי על אותם מקרים חריגים ונדירים ביותר, “ייתכן וניתן ללמוד בדרך אנלוגית מסעיף 7א לחוק יסוד: הכנסת” (פס’ 4).

           עוד נקבע שם, כי שלילת פרס ישראל בגין התבטאויות “חיצוניות”, עולה כדי “פגיעה בחופש הביטוי, ולו באופן עקיף”. עם זאת, הובהר כי אין לשלול את האפשרות “כי תהיינה התבטאויות שנשמעו מפי מועמד לפרס ואשר חומרתן כה חריפה וכה קיצונית, עד כי יהא זה בלתי ראוי ובלתי סביר להתעלם מהן […] תיתכנה התבטאויות שיש בהן השפלה או ביזוי כה קשים בכבודו של אדם או של ציבור. במצב מעין זה דומני כי לא יהא זה סביר להעניק לאותו אדם את אות ההערכה הגבוה ביותר שמעניקה מדינת ישראל לבניה ובנותיה” (פס’ 10; ההדגשה הוספה).

32.      בעתירה נגד הענקת פרס ישראל לרב יעקב אריאל (בג”ץ 1977/20 האגודה למען הלהט”ב בישראל נ’ שר החינוך (26.4.2020) (להלן: עניין הרב אריאל)), נטען כי יש להחזיר את עניינו של הרב אריאל לדיון חוזר בוועדה, לנוכח התבטאויות קשות ופוגעניות שהשמיע הרב אריאל במהלך השנים האחרונות בגנות קהילת הלהט”ב. בין היתר, אמר הרב אריאל כי “כשאין לאדם קשר טבעי למין האחר זאת נכות”, וכי “נכים צריכים טיפול, צריכים עזרה” (פס’ 2-1 לפסק הדין). גם עתירה זו נדחתה.

           בית המשפט קבע כי “מתן משקל להתבטאויותיו של הרב אריאל בגנות קהילת הלהט”ב, במסגרת ההחלטה להעניק לו את פרס ישראל בתחום הספרות התורנית, אינו אלא מעשה של השתקה. הפרס לא ניתן לרב אריאל בשל התבטאויותיו הפוגעניות אלא בשל הישגיו המקצועיים הראויים לציון, ובוודאי שאינו נותן גושפנקא להתבטאויות אלה” (פס’ 10).

33.      סיכום ביניים: סקירת הפסיקה לעיל מראה כי פרס ישראל ניתן על בסיס שיקולים מקצועיים מובהקים, שעליהם אמונים חברי הוועדה – אנשי מקצוע המומחים בתחומם (שכזכור, ממונים על-ידי שר החינוך). לחברי הוועדה יתרון ניכר, כמעט מכריע, בכל הנוגע לבחירת המועמד הראוי ביותר לקבלת פרס ישראל בשל כישוריו, תרומתו והישגיו המקצועיים יוצאי הדופן.

34.      כפועל יוצא מכך, נקבע לא אחת כי שיקול דעתו של שר החינוך בהחלטה אם לאשר את המלצות הוועדה או לדחותן הוא מצומצם ביותר, ותחום אך לפיקוח על פגמים דיוניים-ארגוניים בפעולת הוועדה, כגון פגמים שנפלו בקיום הוראות התקנון; ועל קיום כללי התקינות המינהלית, כגון הימנעות מניגוד עניינים (ראו, למשל, בג”ץ 3750/03 גרשוני נ’ שרת החינוך (5.5.2003); בג”ץ 3346/09 פורום משפטי למען ארץ ישראל, ע”ר נ’ שר החינוך, פס’ 25-24 (26.4.2009); בג”ץ 2324/11 גיל נ’ שר החינוך, פס’ 9 (26.4.2011)).

           יודגש אפוא כי ככלל, שיקול הדעת של שר החינוך לא כולל ביקורת על המלצות הוועדה לגופן, על בסיס שיקולים חברתיים, ערכיים או מוסריים, שנוגעים לאופיו של המועמד, לעמדותיו, ולהתבטאויותיו בהקשרים כלליים. שיקולים אלה הם שיקולים “חיצוניים”, שככלל, אין לתת להם כל משקל במסגרת בחינת מועמדות לפרס ישראל – הן משום שהם חורגים מן המסגרת המקצועית העומדת לבחינתה של ועדת הפרס; והן מחמת החשש לפגיעה בחופש הביטוי של מועמדים לפרס ישראל, הכולל גם את זכותם להביע עמדות חריגות, ואף מכעיסות, בעיני הציבור או חלקים ממנו.

           לכלל זה נקבע אומנם חריג מצומצם ביותר, המאפשר להביא בחשבון גם שיקולים חיצוניים, אך זאת רק במקרים נדירים ויוצאי דופן. ואוסיף משלי – לנוכח הפסיקה שנסקרה לעיל וההתבטאויות הפוגעניות והחמורות המתוארות בה, נראה כי אין מקום להשתמש בחריג האמור אלא במקרים שבהם תרעדנה אמות הספים. הפסיקה אמנם לא ראתה להגדיר מקרים אלו, אולם נקבע כאמור כי שיקול דעתו של שר החינוך הוא כה מצומצם, עד כי המלצה של הוועדה כמעט חסינה מפני התערבותו.

35.      ואכן, הלכה למעשה, עד המקרה שלפנינו, שרי החינוך לדורותיהם לא ראו מקרה חריג ונדיר במידה שהצדיקה להתחשב בשיקולים חיצוניים, במסגרת השיקולים להענקת פרס ישראל. כמתואר לעיל, אף ביטויים פוגעניים ומקוממים, דוגמת התייחסות לחלקים מאוכלוסיית ישראל כ”אספסוף”, ביזוי קבוצות באוכלוסייה בשל אמונתן הדתית, התייחסות לחברי קהילת הלהט”ב כנכים ועוד, לא נמצאו – לא על-ידי שרי החינוך לדורותיהם ולא על-ידי בית משפט זה – כמצדיקים כניסה לאותו פתח צר מאוד שמאפשר שלילה של פרס ישראל על בסיס שיקולים לבר-מקצועיים.

יישום הדברים על ענייננו

36.      לאחר שסקרנו את המצב המשפטי, נפנה לענייננו תוך יישום אמות המידה שנקבעו בפסיקה.

37.      השאלה הניצבת בלב העתירה היא אם חתימת פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה, עולה בחומרתה על כל האמירות שהשמיעו עד כה חתני פרס ישראל לדורותיהם. במילים אחרות: האם חתימת פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה היא מעשה כה חריג ומקומם, באופן שמצדיק לשלול ממנו את פרס ישראל על בסיס שיקולים לבר-מקצועיים, לראשונה בתולדות המדינה? בכך אדון כעת.

38.      כמתואר לעיל, ועדת הפרס המליצה פה אחד להעניק את פרס ישראל לפרופ’ גולדרייך בתחום חקר המתמטיקה וחקר מדעי המחשב, בגין תרומתו המעמיקה ופורצת הדרך בתחום האמור. מדובר בנימוקים ובשיקולים מקצועיים מובהקים, ובהקשר זה אפנה לדבריו של חברי השופט עמית בפסק-דינו בעתירה הקודמת:

“הנימוקים אינם נהירים ואינם מובנים לקורא מן השורה, אלא ליודעי ח”ן בתחום המתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב. זו בדיוק הסיבה בגינה ממנה שר החינוך לוועדת הפרס שופטים שהם מומחים בתחום נשוא הפרס” (פס’ 12).

39.      שרת החינוך החליטה, כאמור, שלא לאשר את המלצת הוועדה, בנימוק כי החתימה של פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה באה בגדר אותן נסיבות חיצוניות שמצדיקות להימנע מהענקת פרס ישראל, על אף הישגיו המקצועיים הבולטים של פרופ’ גולדרייך.

40.      אני סבורה, בלי להקל ראש בחומרת המעשה, כי החתימה של פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה, כאשר ברקע הדברים ניצבת חתימת ממשלת ישראל על הסכם שיתוף הפעולה, אינה יכולה לבוא בגדר אותן נסיבות נדירות אשר מצדיקות שלילה של פרס ישראל על בסיס שיקולים חיצוניים.

41.      כזכור, העצומה שעליה חתם פרופ’ גולדרייך כללה קריאה לאיחוד האירופי להימנע משיתופי פעולה עם מוסדות אקדמיים שפועלים באזור יהודה והשומרון, במסגרת תכנית “Horizon 2000”. כאמור, מדובר למעשה בקריאה לאיחוד האירופי ליישם את מדיניותו, שבאה לידי ביטוי מפורש בהסכם שנחתם בין האיחוד האירופי לבין ממשלת ישראל לצירופה של ישראל לתכנית. לשון אחר: ממשלת ישראל אישרה בחתימתה על ההסכם את ההחרגה של מוסדות אקדמיים המצויים באזור יהודה והשומרון משיתוף הפעולה עם האיחוד האירופי.

           בנסיבות אלו, בהינתן חתימת הממשלה (ובכלל זה שרת החינוך) על ההסכם, כאמור, לא ניתן לקבל את טענתה של השרה, שלפיה חתימת פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה, מהווה קריאה כה חריגה וקיצונית, שמצדיקה, לראשונה בתולדות המדינה, שלילה של פרס ישראל על בסיס שיקול חיצוני לבר-מקצועי.

           בהקשר זה חשוב להדגיש כי השרה כלל לא התייחסה – לא בהחלטתה גופה ולא בטענותיה לפנינו – להסכם שיתוף הפעולה, אשר אושרר אך לאחרונה, ולהשלכה שיש לחתימת הממשלה על ההסכם בהקשר הנדון.

42.      למען הסר ספק, יצוין כי לא נעלמה מעיני ההבהרה המצויה בהסכם, שלפיה אין לפרש את ההוראה בדבר אי-תחולתו הגיאוגרפית של ההסכם באזור יהודה והשומרון כפוגעת בעמדתה העקרונית של ישראל בעניין זה. אולם, אין בכך כדי לגרוע מהעובדה שממשלת ישראל הסכימה במפורש להחרגת אזור יהודה והשומרון מהסכם שיתוף הפעולה. ומכל מקום, אני סבורה כי בשים לב לאמות המידה המצומצמות ביותר להכרה בנסיבה חיצונית כמצדיקה את שלילת פרס ישראל –אין בהבהרה האמורה כדי לשנות מהמסקנה שלעיל.

43.      לצד כל האמור, ראיתי לנכון להדגיש, כפי שגם הודגש בהחלטת שרת החינוך, כי אכן יש להבחין בין הבעת דעה בעלמא לבין קריאה לחרם. השופט עמית עמד על הקושי הנלווה לשימוש בכלי של חרם, במסגרת חוות דעתו בבג”ץ 5239/11 אבנרי נ’ הכנסת (15.4.2015), אשר ניתן ביחס לחוק למניעת פגיעה במדינת ישראל באמצעות חרם, התשע”א-2011 (להלן: חוק החרם):

“החרם הוא כלי יוצא דופן בארגז הכלים של חופש הביטוי […] יש משהו אורווליאני בטענת העותרים כי החוק מגביל את חופש הביטוי. חרם אקדמי-תרבותי מהווה סתימת פיות במובן הפשוט של המילה, מונופול של דוכן אחד ויחיד בשוק הדעות, אנטי-תזה מובהקת לחופש הביטוי ולרעיון של שוק דעות חפשי. החרם התרבותי-אקדמי על ישראל, נועד לשתק ולהשתיק את הביטוי הפוליטי, לכפות דעה אחת ו’אמת’ אחת”.

           אין לי אלא להצטרף בהסכמה לדבריו הנכוחים של השופט עמית. אוסיף עוד כי לצד חשיבותה של הזכות לחופש הביטוי בשיטתנו המשפטית, לא מדובר בזכות מוחלטת, והמחוקק קבע במפורש במסגרת חוק החרם כי בנסיבות מסוימות, יש מקום להגביל את חופש הביטוי בשל החומרה היתרה שטמונה בקריאה לחרם.

           אולם, כמובהר לעיל, בענייננו עסקינן, למעשה, בקריאה לאיחוד האירופי ליישם הוראות שנכללו בהסכם שעליו חתמה ממשלת ישראל. בנסיבות אלו, אני סבורה כי על אף החומרה הרבה הנלווית לשימוש בכלי של חרם – שיכול לדידי בנסיבות המתאימות להוות שיקול חיצוני המצדיק את שלילת הפרס – חתימתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה לא באה בגדר המקרים החריגים שמצדיקים לסטות מהמלצותיהן המקצועיות של הוועדה.

לפני סיכום

44.      בשולי הדברים, אך לא בשולי חשיבותם, יודגש כי בשים לב לכך שפרס ישראל ניתן, ככלל, על יסוד שיקולים מקצועיים בלבד, אין בהענקת פרס ישראל כדי להעיד על מתן הסכמה או הכשר לעמדותיהם של כלות וחתני הפרס – לא מצד הוועדה, לא מצד שרת החינוך, ולא מצדו של בית המשפט.

           אכן, לאורך השנים פרס ישראל ניתן לאנשים שונים, שהשמיעו דברי טינה, בוז ועלבון כלפי חלקים בציבור, על רקע מוצאם העדתי, השקפתם הדתית, ונטייתם המינית, באופן צורם, בוטה ופוגעני. חרף התבטאויות קשות אלה של המועמדים, שרי החינוך לדורותיהם לא מצאו לנכון לשלול מהם את פרס ישראל ואימצו את המלצות הוועדה בעניינם; ובית משפט זה נמנע בתורו מהתערבות בהחלטות השרים.

           גם בעניינו של פרופ’ גולדרייך, אף אם בזירה המשפטית לא נמצאה הצדקה לשלול ממנו את פרס ישראל, אין בכך כדי למנוע ביקורת ציבורית כלפי התבטאויותיו ומעשיו. פרס ישראל נועד, ככלל, לבטא את הערכת המדינה כלפי פועלו המקצועי של חתן הפרס; אך לא כלפי עמדותיו, שעל טיבן ניתן לקיים דיון בזירה הראויה לכך – היא הזירה הציבורית.

45.      לא בכדי ניתן פרס ישראל לדורותיו על בסיס מצוינות ותרומה מקצועית מובהקת, שנבחנות על-ידי ועדת מומחים, ולא על בסיס שיקולים חברתיים-ערכיים, שהגבול בינם לבין שיקולים פוליטיים – עמום. אופי זה של הפרס, הביא לעליית קרנו כפרס הממלכתי החשוב ביותר שמדינת ישראל מעניקה לבניה ולבנותיה.

           מי ייתן ויוקרתו של הפרס תוסיף ללוות אותנו לדורות, וכי והשאיפה לאחדות שעמדה אף היא בלב מוסד פרס ישראל – תוסיף ותתגשם.

הסעד האופרטיבי

46.      לנוכח מסקנתי כי החלטת שרת החינוך שלא לאמץ את המלצת הוועדה בעניינו של פרופ’ גולדרייך, אינה מתיישבת עם אמות המידה המחמירות שנקבעו בפסיקתו של בית משפט זה בנוגע לאפשרות להתחשב בשיקולים חיצוניים בהענקת פרס ישראל, אין מנוס מלהורות על ביטול ההחלטה, וכך אמליץ לחבריי. בהתאם, יש להורות למשיבים 2-1 להעניק לפרופ’ גולדרייך את פרס ישראל בתחום חקר המתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב כפי שקבעה ועדת השופטים להענקת פרס ישראל לשנת תשפ”א.

47.      לא אכחד, מדובר בסעד שיפוטי בלתי שגרתי, אשר כפי שציינתי בחוות דעתי בעתירה הקודמת, חורג מנקודת המוצא בהפעלת ביקורת שיפוטית על החלטותיהן של רשויות המינהל (ראו פס’ 9). ואכן, בהתאם לדעת הרוב בעתירה הקודמת, הורנו על החזרת הדיון לשר החינוך על מנת שישוב וישקול את החלטתו, לאחר שמצאנו כי השר הציב בהחלטתו אמות מידה שונות מאמות המידה שהותוו בפסיקת בית משפט זה, לעניין התחשבות בשיקולים חיצוניים בהענקת פרס ישראל. לעומת זאת, בענייננו איני רואה מקום להחזיר את העניין לשרה על-מנת שתשוב ותשקול את החלטתה, שכן מהחלטה עולה כי השרה מודעת היטב לאמות המידה האמורות.

סוף דבר

48.      אמליץ לחבריי כי החלטת שרת החינוך שלא לאשר את המלצת ועדת הפרס תבוטל. הצו על תנאי יהפוך למוחלט, וכן נורה למשיבים 2-1 להעניק לפרופ’ גולדרייך את פרס ישראל בתחום חקר המתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב כפי שקבעה ועדת השופטים להענקת פרס ישראל לשנת תשפ”א.

           כמו כן אמליץ כי המשיבים 3-1 יישאו בהוצאות העותרת בסך 10,000 ש”ח ובהוצאות המשיב 4 בסך 10,000 ש”ח (סה”כ 20,000 ש”ח).

אחר הדברים האלה

49.      משהונחה לפניי חוות דעתו של חברי, השופט סולברג, אתייחס בתמצית למספר היבטים שנכללו בה.

50.      בראשית דבריו, השופט סולברג מציין כי הוא מסכים עם דבריי בנוגע ל”שיקול הדעת המצומצם מאד המסור לשרת החינוך בהיבט המוסרי-ערכי” (פס’ 1). בהקשר זה יוזכר, כי חברי הכיר בחוות דעתו בעתירה הקודמת בצורך “למנוע פוליטיזציה של הפרס, מתוך הבנה כי גלישה מן התחום המקצועי אל זה האישי, אשר מעצם טיבו וטבעו עמום יותר, יכול שיהיה כחומר ביד היוצר” (פס’ 3). ודוק, על מנת לתת מענה לצורך זה – דרושה ביקורת שיפוטית, כפי שיפורט להלן.

51.      אשר לטיבה ומהותה של ביקורת זו, מציין חברי כי עילת הסבירות “קשה להמשׂגה, עמומה, גבולות גזרתהּ פרוצים, ופגיעתה בוודאות המשפטית – רבה” (פס’ 8).

           אף אני מכירה בקושי שנובע מעילת הסבירות, אשר בגרסתה הרחבה עלולה להתבסס על הכרעות ערכיות שטומנות בחובן, מטבע הדברים, מאפיינים סובייקטיביים. לפיכך, לגישתי, הפעלתה צריכה להיעשות בזהירות רבה, בְּשׂוֹם שֶׂכֶל ובענווה. קושי זה, חל ביתר שאת כאשר עסקינן בביקורת שיפוטית ביחס להענקת פרס ישראל.

52.      מכל מקום, כפי שעולה בבירור מחוות דעתי, מסקנתי המשפטית בענייננו אינה מבוססת כלל על עמדה ערכית בנוגע לחומרת הדברים של פרופ’ גולדרייך. מסקנתי אף אינה מבוססת על המשקל הסגולי שיש לייחס לקריאה להטלת חרם על ישראל כנסיבה “חיצונית” רלוונטית, אשר תישקל בבחינת זכאותו של מועמד לפרס ישראל. ההיפך, כפי שציינתי לעיל, אני סבורה כי לנוכח החומרה הרבה הנלווית לשימוש בכלי של חרם כאמור, הדבר עשוי בהחלט לעלות כדי שיקול חיצוני רלוונטי לשלילת הפרס.

           מסקנתי אינה מבוססת, אפוא, על עילת הסבירות במובנה הרחב, אלא על עילת הסבירות בלבושה המקורי וה”רזה”, אשר מתייחסת להחלטות לא-רציונליות של הרשות, זאת להבדיל מגרסתה הרחבה של עילת הסבירות, אשר עניינה במשקל שניתן לשיקולים הרלוונטיים והאיזון ביניהם (ראו: דפנה ברק-ארז משפט מינהלי כרך ב 725-723 (2010) וההפניות שם).

53.      כך, בענייננו, שרת החינוך חרגה מאמות המידה המצומצמות ביותר שנקבעו בפסיקה להתערבות בהחלטת הוועדה, בדברה בשני קולות.

           הקול האחד – במסגרת הסכם שיתוף הפעולה החריגה השרה בפועל, בהיותה חלק מהממשלה, את אזור יהודה והשומרון מתחולת שיתוף הפעולה האקדמי של ישראל והאיחוד האירופי. בקולה האחר – החליטה השרה לשלול מפרופ’ גולדרייך את פרס ישראל בגין קריאתו לאותה החרגה. חוסר קוהרנטיות זה, לצד התעלמות שרת החינוך בהחלטתה מחתימת הממשלה על הסכם שיתוף הפעולה – הם שהביאוני לכלל מסקנה כי ההחלטה לוקה בפגם חמור המצדיק התערבות בית משפט זה. במאמר מוסגר אציין, כי ניתן אף לומר שהתעלמות משיקול רלוונטי מרכזי, כבענייננו, עשויה בנסיבות מסוימות להוות “תמונת ראי” של עילת השיקולים הזרים (ראו: ברק-ארז, בעמ’ 727, ה”ש 13). במצב דברים זה, אף אין בידי לקבל את דברי חברי, שלפיהם החלטת השרה ניתנה “לאחר ששקלה את מכלול נסיבות העניין” (פס’ 7).

54.      את הפגם בהחלטת השרה מבקש חברי לרפא באמצעות ההבהרה המצויה בהסכם שיתוף הפעולה, שלפיה אין לראות בהחרגתו של אזור יהודה והשומרון מההסכם כפגיעה בעמדתה העקרונית של המדינה בעניין זה. חברי מדגיש כי להבדיל מממשלת ישראל אשר “נאלצה”, כלשונו, לחתום על ההסכם, פרופ’ גולדרייך חתם על העצומה “מרצון ולא באונס”. ואולם, לדידי, ממשלת ישראל, בחלוף 74 שנות קוממיות, אינה אנוסה להתקשר בהסכם עם אף ארגון או אומה מאומות העולם, ויש לברך על עצמאותנו זו.

           למען הסר ספק, יובהר ויודגש, כי אין בדבריי אלה כדי להביע עמדה כלשהי באשר להחלטתה של ממשלת ישראל לחתום על הסכם שיתוף הפעולה – החלטה אשר ודאי מצויה בליבת שיקול דעתה של הממשלה, הרואה לנגד עיניה שיקולים רוחביים ומערכתיים. אולם, משחתמה הממשלה (ובכלל זה שרת החינוך) על ההסכם, קיים קושי רב לייחס חומרה כה נדירה וקיצונית, לקריאה ליישום המדיניות המעוגנת באותו הסכם.

                                                                                                ש ו פ ט ת

השופט נ’ סולברג:

1.        חברתי, השופטת י’ וילנר, היטיבה לתאר כמה וכמה ציוני-דרך, עד אשר חרגה, לעניות דעתי, מדרך-המלך, לקראת התחנה הסופית, ובתוצאה. כדבריה אכן כן: פרס ישראל ניתן על בסיס שיקולים מקצועיים מובהקים. חברי ועדת הפרס – מומחים בתחומם – ולהם יתרון ניכר, כמעט מכריע, בנוגע לבחירת המועמד הראוי לקבלת פרס ישראל, בשל כישוריו, תרומתו והישגיו. אני מסכים עם דברי חברתי על שיקול הדעת המצומצם מאד המסור לשרת החינוך בהיבט המוסרי-ערכי. דרך הכלל היא, ליתן אישור להמלצת ועדת הפרס. החריג, הנדיר, היוצא מן הכלל הוא שלא לאשר את ההמלצה. עד כאן חברתי ואני תמימי-דעים, אך לא עוד. אינני מסכים לצעד הנוסף שעשתה חברתי, אשר ‘החליקה’ אל תוך נעלי שרת החינוך, באה בתחוּמהּ והחליטה במקומה.

2.        כזהו פרופ’ עודד גולדרייך: מתמטיקאי מצוין, במדעי המחשב – מחונן. ועדת השופטים להענקת פרס ישראל העלתה על נס את תרומתו לביסוס מעמדה של מדינת ישראל ככוח עולמי מוביל בתיאוריה של מדעי המחשב. שרת החינוך אינה חולקת על כל אלה; לא מתווכחת על פריצת הדרך שעשה פרופ’ גולדרייך בסיבוכיות ובקריפטוגרפיה; לא טוענת כי יש טובים ממנו בישראל בתחום מערכות הוכחה, הוכחות אפס-מידע וקידוד שניתן לבדיקה מקומית, תוך הבנת תפקידה של אקראיות בחישוב; השרה מכירה ביצירתו החשובה של פרופ’ גולדרייך, לרבות פונקציות פסאודו-אקראיות, ערפול תוכנה, ועוד הישגים מקצועיים בולטים. את כל אלה, אין שרת החינוך מתיימרת להעביר תחת שבט ביקורתה.

3.        אף על-פי כן, לא מצאה שרת החינוך לנכון לאשר את החלטת ועדת הפרס. קריאתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך להחרים את אוניברסיטת אריאל – בכלל זה להחרים גם כל מוסד אקדמי ביהודה ושומרון, וכל מחקר אקדמי מבית מדרשם – עומדת לו לרועץ. לדעת השרה, אין מדובר בהבעת דעה בעלמא, כי אם בעשיית מעשה לשלילת שיתוף פעולה ומימון כספי ממוסד אקדמי מוכר, וזאת כשהוא-עצמו הגיע למעמדו בזכות המדינה והאקדמיה הישראלית, ונהנה מחסותה וממשאביה. אין להלום פגיעה בחופש המחקר האקדמי, בּאִצטלה של שמירה על חופש הביטוי. קריאתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך לחרם, חותרת תחת תכליתו של פרס ישראל לעודד יצירה ישראלית, מצוינוּת ומחקר, לדברי שרת החינוך, והיא נועדה לגדוע את חופש היצירה, למנוע התחדשות. המעשה שעשה, הריהו קריאה ל”חרם על מדינת ישראל” כמשמעוֹ בסעיף 1 לחוק למניעת פגיעה במדינת ישראל באמצעות חרם, התשע”א-2011 (להלן: חוק החרם), וזהו מן המקרים החריגים והנדירים אשר מצדיקים לדעת השרה להימנע מהענקת הפרס מטעם ערכי, חרף מעלותיו הרבות של פרופ’ גולדרייך בתחום המקצועי.

4.        כעקרון, כּמוֹתה, סבור גם היועץ המשפטי לממשלה, כי קריאה לחרם יכולה לשמש שיקול לאי-הענקת פרס ישראל. אמנם, לדבריו, “יש לבחון את נסיבות המקרה הספציפיות, ובהן חומרת הדברים, עדכניותם, תכיפותם וכיוצא באלה”, ובחינה זו הביאה אותו למסקנה מנוגדת לזו של השרה בנסיבות העניין דנן, אך העיקרון בעינו עומד: השיקול ששקלה שרת החינוך, איננו זר; הוא לגיטימי. לדבריה, הפער שבין עמדתה-שלה, לזו של היועץ המשפטי לממשלה, הריהו עניין של כמות. לגבי המהות, הדגיש היועץ המשפטי לממשלה בחוות דעתו, כי קריאה לחרם על מוסד ממוסדות המדינה, עולה כדי “חרם על מדינת ישראל” על-פי חוק החרם; ככזו, היא עשויה לבוא בקהל אותם מקרים ‘חיצוניים’ שבהם רשאי שר החינוך להימנע מהענקת הפרס. השרה סבורה אפוא, כי משום שבעניין של מידה ומשקל עסקינן, הרי שיש לילך אחר הכרעתו של בעל הסמכות. שיקול הדעת מסור לשרת החינוך, היא זו שהוסמכה לקבוע אם המעשה שעשה פרופ’ גולדרייך חמור דיו כדי למנוע ממנו את קבלת פרס ישראל. השרה מוצאת תימוכין לעמדתה, במישור העקרוני, גם בדבריו של חברי, השופט י’ עמית, בעתירה הקודמת: “אני נכון להניח כי קריאה לחרם על מדינת ישראל או לחרם על האקדמיה במדינת ישראל, במיוחד מפיו של מי שיוקרתו והישגיו צמחו לו בערוגות האקדמיה בישראל, עשויה להיכנס לגדר המקרים הקיצוניים והחריגים של התחשבות בשיקול ‘חיצוני’. זאת, מאחר שקשה להלום כי איש אקדמיה ישראלי, שפועל במסגרת האקדמיה הישראלית ונהנה מחסותה, ישתתף בקריאה לחרם על האקדמיה בישראל. מצב זה הוא בבחינת אבסורד שקשה להעלותו על הדעת” (בג”ץ 2199/21 ועדת השופטים להענקת פרס ישראל לשנת תשפ”א בתחום חקר המתמטיקה, חקר מדעי המחשב נ’ שר החינוך, פסקה 20 (12.8.2021) (להלן: בג”ץ 2199/21)).

5.        החלטת השרה אפוא, הטובה היא, אם רעה? האם נכונה גישה קפדנית, או שמא עדיפה עליה גישה נדיבת-לב? האם רצוי להכיל או ראוי לדחות? עוד כהנה וכהנה מחשבות ותהיות חולפות במוח, נוגעות ללב. הציבור הישראלי מפולג. מסקנת השקלא וטריא אינה החלטית. אך לא לנו, השופטים, פתרונים. רשאי/ת כל ישראלי/ת להחזיק בדעתו/ה. ההחלטה על הענקת פרס ישראל נתונה לסמכות שרת החינוך. השרה לא חרגה מתחום סמכותה, לא טעתה בפרשנות של דין, לא הסיגה את גבולהּ של ועדת הפרס, לא באה בתחומהּ, לא התערבה בשיקול דעתה המקצועי, לא פעלה בשרירות, לא נקטה משׂוא פנים ולא נתנה ידה לאפליה. שיקולים ששקלה, אינם זרים לעניין.

         זהו תורף חוות-דעתי, ומכאן נגזרת מסקנתי. מה שאומר להלן, לא נועד אלא להשיב לדברי חברתי.

6.        לדעת חברתי, “השאלה הניצבת בלב העתירה היא אם חתימת פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה, עולה בחומרתה על כל האמירות שהשמיעו עד כה חתני פרס ישראל לדורותיהם. ובמילים אחרות: האם חתימת פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה היא מעשה כה חריג ומקומם, באופן שמצדיק לשלול ממנו את פרס ישראל על בסיס שיקולים לבר-מקצועיים, לראשונה בתולדות המדינה?” דעתי-שלי, באשר לשאלה שבמוקד, שונה. אל לנו, לבחון עתה, דה-נובו, מהי ההחלטה הנכונה שראוי לקבל – האם להצדיק את שלילת הפרס, אם לאו? השאלה שעלינו לשאול את עצמנו היא אחרת: האם קמה עילה משפטית להתערבותנו בהחלטת השרה? על כך השבתי, כאמור, בשלילה.

7.          חברתי צודקת: בעתירות קודמות, שבהן התבקשה מניעת הענקת פרס ישראל, מחמת התבטאויות ומעשים של המועמדים לפרס, הובאו לפני בית המשפט דברים קשים, צורמים, בוטים, מפִּיהם ומכְּתבם של מועמדים שונים – ולמרות זאת, לבד מעניין אחד ויחיד, שהוחזר לבחינה מחודשת, העדיף בית המשפט, פעם אחר פעם, להימנע מהתערבות. ברם, מסקנתה של חברתי מכל אותן עתירות מן העבר, כלל אינה מוכרחת. לדעתה, לא יתכן לומר שהעניין שלפנינו חמור מקודמיו, משום שההשוואה בין זה לבין אלה, מלמדת כי אינו בא “בגדר אותן נסיבות נדירות, אשר מצדיקות שלילה של פרס ישראל על בסיס שיקולים חיצוניים”. דומני, כי כאן טמון הקושי שבעמדת חברתי. שרת החינוך הבהירה, חזור והבהר, הן בהחלטתה, הן בדברים שהובאו לפנינו משמה, בתגובת היועץ המשפטי לממשלה, כי החלטתה ניתנה מתוך מוּדעוּת מלאה לגבולות סמכותה, לאחר ששקלה את מכלול נסיבות העניין, ובכלל זה גם את ההלכה הפסוקה, שנקבעה מכוח תקדימי-העבר (כלשון השרה: ההחלטה ניתנה “לאחר שהוצג לפנַי מרחב שיקול הדעת הנתון לשר החינוך בהחליטו אם לאשר את החלטת ועדת הפרס, לאחר שעיינתי בהכרעת בית המשפט בעתירה זו ובעתירות קודמות […]”; וכן בהמשך: “נחה דעתי כי חתימתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה […] נכנסת בגדרי אותם מקרים חריגים ונדירים גם על פי פסיקת בית המשפט העליון” (ההדגשות הוּספו – נ’ ס’); וראו גם: פסקה 100 לתגובת היועץ המשפטי לממשלה). לגבי המסגרת המשפטית, אין מחלוקת בין היועץ המשפטי לממשלה לבין שרת החינוך. שניהם כאחד מתבססים על העקרונות המשפטיים שגובשו בתקדימי-העבר. המחלוקת נתגלעה רק בשלב היישׂוּם, לגבי המטען הערכי. דא עקא, זהו בדיוק המקום שבו מוטל עלינו השופטים, לעצור, להתאפק, למשוך ידינו מהתערבות, גם אם הדבר מנוגד לאינטואיציה ולרחשי-הלב; עלינו להותיר את ההכרעה לבעל הסמכות.

8.        עלינו לזכור ולהזכיר, כי זכות ‘המילה האחרונה’ נתונה לשרת החינוך. אין זה מתפקידנו, ואף חורג מסמכותנו, אם נבצע ‘מקצה-שיפורים’. אף אם באמת ובתמים סבורים אנו, השופטים, כי ניתן היה לקבל החלטה ‘טובה’ מזו שנתקבלה על-ידי שרת החינוך, ‘חכמה’ או ‘מוצלחת’ יותר, הרי שאין לאל-ידנו לבוא בנעליה, להמיר את שיקול-דעתה בשיקול דעתנו-שלנו. לא ל’תיקון-עולם’ הוסמכנו, אלא לשפיטה. את מלאכתנו זאת, לא נעשה על סמך מאוויים או תחושות, מה סביר יותר ומה ראוי פחות, אלא בהתבסס על החוק והמשפט. בעתירה נטען לחוסר סבירות קיצוני בהחלטת השרה. אך את פִּשרוֹ של אותו ‘חוסר’ לא נֵדע, ו’מדד’ הסבירות לוט בערפל. עילת הסבירות המהותית, אולי נוחה, זמינה וגמישה לתפעול, אך קשה להמשׂגה, עמומה, גבולות גזרתהּ פרוצים, ופגיעתה בוודאות המשפטית – רבה. מוטב להישמר מפניה (לא אכביר מילים, נימקתי גישתי זו בהרחבה במקום אחר: “על ערכים סובייקטיביים ושופטים אובייקטיביים” השילוח 18, 54 (התש”ף-2020)). עלינו להימנע מדיון ‘מוּרגש’, שבו יחוש פלוני שראוי להחליט כך, ואלמוני ירגיש שמוטב להחליט אחרת. עלינו לקיים דיון ‘מוּשׂכּל’, על סמך ניתוח משפטי, שבו כל נימוק גלוי וידוע.

9.        לא זו אף זו: בשאלה של הענקת פרס עסקינן, וכפי שציינתי בבג”ץ 2199/21 –

תחושה לא נוחה אופפת אותנו, השופטים, כל אימת שאנו נדרשים, בעל כורחנו, להתפלפל בשאלות של הענקת פרס, לפלוני או לאלמוני. ספק רב אם העניין שפיט, אם בית המשפט הוא הכתובת המתאימה לדון בדבר ולהכריע בו. סעיף 33 לחוק החוזים (חלק כללי), התשל”ג-1973, קובע כי “חוזה שלפיו יינתן ציון, תואר, פרס וכיוצא באלה על פי הכרעה או הערכה של אחד הצדדים או של אדם שלישי, אין ההכרעה או ההערכה לפי החוזה נושא לדיון בבית משפט”. סעיף 61(ב) לחוק מרחיב את תחולתו “ככל שהדבר מתאים לעניין ובשינויים המחוייבים, גם על פעולות משפטיות שאינן בבחינת חוזה ועל חיובים שאינם נובעים מחוזה”. אכן, השאלה הנדונה היא לבר-משפטית, ועל שכּמוֹתה נאמר בעניין תומרקין: “החלטה להעניק את פרס ישראל לפלוני – הגם שהיא כמעט חסינה מפני התערבות מהותית בשיקוליה מצדו של שר החינוך, ואף מפני ביקורת שיפוטית – אין היא חסינה מפני ביקורת ציבורית. וזה, לטעמי, גם דינה הראוי של ההחלטה להעניק את פרס ישראל בתחום הפיסול לתומרקין, שאף היא פתוחה לביקורתו של הציבור הרחב” (בג”ץ 2769/04 ח”כ יהלום נ’ שרת החינוך, התרבות והספורט, פ”ד נח(4) 823, 840 (2004); ראו בהקשר זה: דניאל פרידמן “שפיטות החלטות בעניין פרס ישראל” המשפט ה 181 (התשס”א); מאיר הופמן “שפיטות החלטות בעניין פרס ישראל – עד מתי?” המשפט ח 557 (התשס”ג)). דומה בעינַי, אמרתי שם בבג”ץ 2199/21 – “כי מוטב לבית המשפט להדיר רגליו מן העיסוק בכגון דא, למשוך ידו מהענקת פרס, או ממניעת הענקתו. עדיף לו, לפרס, להיות נתון למבחן הציבור” (פסקה 10).

10.      על כן, בין מחמת העדר עילה, בין משום אי-שפיטות, ודאי בהצטרפות שני הטעמים יחדיו; הן אופי ההכרעה (קביעה ערכית של שרת החינוך, בהיותה דרג נבחר), הן נושאהּ (הענקת פרס), מביאים לתוצאה החלטית אחת – אי-התערבות.

11.      תקדימי-העבר אינם מביאים גם הם למסקנה אחרת. בל נשכח, כי בכל אלה, התבקש בית המשפט לבטל את החלטות ועדות הפרס והשרים, כדי להימנע ממתן הפרס. העניין שעל הפרק שונה בתכלית. ענייננו כאן בדרישה להעניק את הפרס לאדם מסוים, תוך ביטול החלטת השרה. יתכן מאוד, כי אילו עסקו העתירות הקודמות בסיטואציה מעין זו שלפנינו, כי גם אז היה בוחר בית המשפט להימנע מהתערבות. לא ניתן אפוא ללמוד גזרה שווה ממקרים שונים במובהק.

12.      לא זו אף זו, כפי שציינתי בבג”ץ 2199/21: “תמים-דעים אני עם השופטת (כתוארה אז) מ’ נאור, לגבי דבריה בעניין תומרקין: ‘לכל אחד משופטי בית-משפט זה, כאזרח במדינה, עמדה ערכית משלו בשאלה אם ראוי פלוני לפרס המכובד הניתן בשם כולנו, אם אינו ראוי לאצטלא זו. עמדות אישיות אלה ישמור כל אחד מאתנו לעצמו, ואל לנו להפוך את בית המשפט לוועדת-על לאי-הענקת פרסים'” (פסקה 9; ההדגשה הוספה – נ’ ס’). מצדי הוספתי שם, כי כשם שאל לנו להפוך את בית המשפט לוועדת-על לאי-הענקת פרסים, כך גם אל לנו להפוך את בית המשפט לוועדת-על להענקת פרסים. מוטב לנו, כשופטים, להימנע מלהכניס ראשנו למחלוקות ציבוריות-ערכיות מעין אלה. הלכה למעשה, הופכת חברתי את בית המשפט בפסק דין זה, לוועדת-על להענקת הפרס; וזו תקלה. לא מידינו היתה זאת. אין זה מתפקידנו. לראשונה בתולדות פרס ישראל יעניק בית המשפט את הפרס, ולא שרת החינוך. אינני יכול אפוא להצטרף למסקנתה של חברתי.

13.     חברתי מציינת בחוות דעתה, כמה פעמים, כי קריאתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך לחרם על אוניברסיטת אריאל מאבדת מעוקצהּ, משום שממשלת ישראל חתומה על הסכם לשיתוף פעולה מדעי ותעשייתי עם האיחוד האירופי, שבמסגרתו נתנה הסכמתה להחרגת אזור יהודה ושומרון מתחולתו. נראה, כי עובדה זו היא אחד הנדבכים המרכזיים שעליהם משתיתה חברתי את מסקנתה. לגבי דידי, אין מקום להיקש האמור; כלל לא קרב זה אל זה. ממשלת ישראל, ביקשה להימנות על משתתפי תכנית הורייזן אירופה למחקר וחדשנות, על מנת שזו תשמש “שער להשתלבות אסטרטגית במסגרות המחקר, הפיתוח והשיווק של אירופה, והרחבת תחומי הפעילות העולמית של האקדמיה והתעשייה”, מתוך הבנה כי מדובר ב”נכס אסטרטגי לכלכלה הישראלית ככלל ולגופי המו”פ בפרט”, אשר לו “ערך מוסף חשוב במכלול היחסים והשותפות האסטרטגית שבין שני הצדדים” (ראו פסקה 3 לדברי ההסבר על החלטת הממשלה בדבר חתימת ההסכם עם האיחוד האירופי (נספח מש/20 לתגובת היועץ המשפטי לממשלה)). בגדרי הסכם זה, נאלצה ממשלת ישראל לחתום על הסכמה שלפיה התכנית לא תחול על האזורים הגאוגרפיים שנכנסו תחת ממשל מדינת ישראל לאחר 5 ביוני 1967 (הסכמה שניתנה גם בעבר, בגלגוליו הקודמים של ההסכם, משנת 2014 ואילך). לצד זאת נקבע במפורש, כי “אין לפרש עמדה זו כפוגעת בעמדתה העקרונית של ישראל בעניין זה. בהתאם, הצדדים מסכימים כי יישום ההסכם יהיה ללא פגיעה במעמדם של אזורים אלה” (פסקה 5 לדברי ההסבר). ברי, כי חתימה זו של הממשלה, אינה כוללת בתוכה כל קריאה, מפורשת או משתמעת, להחרגת מוסדות אקדמיים ישראליים ביהודה ושומרון מתוכניות כלכליות ותרומות, או להדרתם מסיוע מכל סוג שהוא. ההסתייגות – ברורה; הרציונל – נהיר. לעומת זאת, חתימתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה נעשתה מרצון ולא באונס, ומטרתה, כדברי שרת החינוך, אינה משתמעת לשני פנים – שלילת שיתוף פעולה ומימון כספי ממוסד אקדמי מוכר – אוניברסיטת אריאל – ולמעשה שלילתם מכלל מוסדות המחקר והאקדמיה הפועלים ביהודה ושומרון. הדברים האמורים שם מדברים בעד עצמם:

“No Academic Business As Usual with Ariel University

Supporting the Palestinian call to end ties with Israeli academic institutions in illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land

[…]

We, the undersigned academics and researchers in countries participating in European research programmes, note with grave concern the ongoing failure of the European Union to ensure that its taxpayer-funded research programmes are not used to legitimize or otherwise sustain the establishment and the activities of Israeli academic institutions in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT).

As the EU Commission recently reiterated, ‘Article 19 of the Horizon 2020 Framework Regulation provides that all the research and innovation activities carried out under Horizon 2020 must comply with ethical principles and relevant national, Union and international legislation…’ The necessary provisions have been made in EU legislation and its implementing rules to ‘ensure the respect of positions and commitments in conformity with international law on the non-recognition by the EU of Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967’.

The criteria applied by the EU Commission to determine the eligibility of projects and participants for EU funded support, the terms of its contracts with participants, and its monitoring of the activities and the beneficiaries of the projects must comport with these requirements and their purposes.

For these same purposes, the Commission must also ensure that the management of activities conducted under EU-funded research projects both respects and comports with the EU’s non-recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the OPT; the EU’s consequent non-recognition of Israeli settlement entities as lawfully established; and the EU’s consequent non-recognition of settlement-based activities as lawfully conducted.

However, multiple cases demonstrate failures of the Commission to properly instruct against, monitor for, and rectify project management transgressions against these EU positions.

Ariel University, which is located in the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, hosted a dissemination event for the BOUNCE project in June 2020 and is included as a ‘Stakeholder in Israel’ for the project. In addition, a professor from Ariel University is listed as a co-researcher on the project, as ‘a member of the Israel BOUNCE TEAM’, and as one of the ‘Researchers Involved in Data Collection’ on a project deliverable, raising serious questions as to whether research activities were carried out in the OPT.

Ariel University was also listed as a stakeholder in the Horizon 2020 project GEO-CRADLE. It was initially removed from the stakeholder list following a request to the Commission by the project coordinator, though its stakeholder profile has since been restored, and signs of its involvement remain on the project website to this day.

In addition, in all cases Ariel University is falsely indicated on project material as located in Israel.

The far-right-supporting, now defunct Trump administration made its support for illegal Israeli settlement institutions official, including by ending long-standing restrictions on research funding. The EU must and can do better.

Authoritative Palestinian higher-education bodies, supported by prominent academics, are calling on international institutions not to recognize Ariel University and to abstain from giving effect to its pretentions of institutional legitimacy.

At a time when the EU is finalising Horizon 2020’s successor, the €100 billion Horizon Europe programme, we urge the EU Commission, Parliament and Council to devise, fund and implement the effective monitoring of participating research projects and hold transgressors accountable.

Horizon Europe’s stated goal is to ‘provide new knowledge and innovative solutions to overcome our societal, ecological and economic challenges’. Research projects should not be used to legitimize or otherwise sustain illegal Israeli settlements. The EU cannot resile from its own obligations in this respect without further empowering Israel’s unlawful military occupation and its oppression of millions of Palestinians, and without further undermining the Palestinian people’s inalienable and universally-recognized rights under international law” [ההדגשות הוּספו – נ’ ס’].

           נראה אפוא, בפרט נוכח הדברים הללו, כי חברתי מייחסת משקל רב, יתר על המידה, לחתימת הממשלה על הסכם שיתוף הפעולה, ובד בבד מעריכה בחֶסֶר את חתימתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה. כך או כך, כאמור, בענייני מידה ומשקל עסקינן, ולא קמה עילה להתערבותנו.

14.      בשולי הדברים: היועץ המשפטי לממשלה החליט שלא לייצג את עמדת שרת החינוך בעתירה זו, והסתפק בהבאת עמדתה בתמצית בשולי תגובתו. לא ידעתי על מה ולמה. מדוח הוועדה הציבורית לבחינת דרכי המינוי של היועץ המשפטי לממשלה ונושאים הקשורים לכהונתו (התשנ”ט) (להלן: דוח ועדת שמגר(, למדנו ושנינו, כי כאשר מתעוררת מחלוקת בין היועץ המשפטי לממשלה לבין רשות שלטונית, וזו מבקשת להציג עמדה נפרדת לפני בית המשפט, ינהג היועץ המשפטי לממשלה כך: “במקרים בהם אין המדובר באי-חוקיות ברורה וגלויה, מן הנכון שהיועץ המשפטי יחליט על התרת ייצוגה של הרשות הממלכתית החולקת על דעתו, על ידי משפטן משירות הציבור או מן המגזר הפרטי, הנכון להציג טעמיה של הרשות הממלכתית בפני בית המשפט. במילים אחרות, אין לצאת מתוך הנחה שהיועץ המשפטי יטען בבית המשפט בניגוד לחוות דעתו ויתאר את מה שלדעתו שחור, כלבן. אולם, יש נסיבות – בהן אין המדובר כאמור על אי-חוקיות ברורה וגלויה – אשר אין בהן לשלול מרשות שלטונית את יומה בבית המשפט, היינו את הניסיון לשכנע את בית המשפט בחוקיות עמדתה. זאת, כנאמר לעיל, במקרים של חילוקי דעות בתום לב בנושא היכול להיות נתון לפרשנויות שונות” (ההדגשות הוּספו – נ’ ס’) (דוח ועדת שמגר, עמוד 76; משהרחבתי בעניין זה בבג”ץ 6494/14 גיני נ’ הרבנות הראשית (6.6.2016), אקצר כאן ואסתפק בהפניה לפסקאות 26-21 שם. השופט שטיין תמך בגישתי זו והביע עמדה זהה בבג”ץ 5769/18 אמיתי נ’ שר המדע והטכנולוגיה, פסקאות 12-7 (4.3.2019) ועוד. מוטב כי נלך בעקבי דוח ועדת שמגר, ולא נסטה ממסקנותיו ומהמלצותיו). כשלעצמי, אני מתקשה לראות כיצד מתקיימת בעניין דנן אותה אי-חוקיות ברורה וגלויה, האמורה בדוח ועדת שמגר, ולא הבנתי מדוע ראה היועץ המשפטי לממשלה לעמוד חוצץ בין שרת החינוך לבין בית המשפט. כְּזו כן זה, השרה והיועץ, סבורים שניהם שקריאה לחרם יכולה לשמש שיקול לאי-הענקת פרס ישראל. היועץ המשפטי לממשלה אמנם מצא שבחינת נסיבות המקרה, בהתייחס לחומרה, לעדכּניוּת, לתכיפות, וכיוצא באלה, מביאה למסקנה שונה מזו של השרה; אך העיקרון מוסכם ובעינו עומד. ובכן, באין מחלוקת על המהות אלא רק על הכמות, מדוע לא לייצג לפנינו את עמדתה של שרת החינוך? אתמהה.

15.      סוף דבר: לדעתי, דינה של העתירה – לדחייה.

אני מודיע בזאת על שער בת-רבים: לתוצאה זהה הייתי מגיע, לאי-התערבות בהחלטת שרת החינוך, גם אילו החליטה לאשר את המלצת ועדת הפרס, להעניק אותו לפרופ’ גולדרייך, והיתה מוגשת עתירה להורות על כך שפרס ישראל לא יוענק לו. משניתנה החלטת שרת החינוך בסמכות, שיקולים רלבנטיים נשקלו, ושיקולים זרים לא באו במניין – לא קמה עילה להתערבותנו.

                                                                                                ש ו פ ט

השופט י’ עמית:

1.        את שהיה לי לומר אמרתי כבר בבג”ץ 2199/21 ועדת השופטים להענקת פרס ישראל לשנת תשפ”א בתחום חקר המתמטיקה, חקר מדעי המחשב נ’ שר החינוך (8.4.2021) (להלן: העתירה הקודמת). משכך, ברור כי אני מצרף את דעתי לתוצאה שאליה הגיעה חברתי השופטת י’ וילנר.

           יכול הייתי לעצור בנקודה זו, אך למקרא פסק דינו של חברי, השופט נ’ סולברג, מצאתי להשיב לדבריו, על אחרון ראשון ועל ראשון אחרון.

2.        חברי חותם את פסק דינו בהצהרה כי היה מגיע לתוצאה של אי התערבות, אילו החליטה שרת החינוך לאשר את המלצת ועדת הפרס והעתירה הייתה מוגשת כנגד החלטה זו.

           נאמנה עלי הצהרתו של חברי, אך לטעמי, היא הנותנת. הפסיקה חרשה כבר תלמים עמוקים בנושא של פרס ישראל. קשה להלום כי גורלו של פרס ישראל, שהופקד מלכתחילה בידי ועדת הפרס, יהיה כפוף לנכונותם של השר או השרה לילך בתלם פסיקת בית משפט זה או להתעלם ממנה, כפי שנעשה במקרה דנן. קשה להלום כי גורלו של פרס ישראל יהיה כפוף לשיקול ערכי-חברתי-מוסרי-אידיאולוגי-פוליטי (מחק את המיותר) של שר החינוך בשנה נתונה, בניגוד לדין, מתכון בטוח לפוליטיזציה של הפרס.

3.        חברי תמה הכיצד עומד היועץ המשפטי חוצץ בין שרת החינוך לבין בית המשפט.

             ראשית, היועץ המשפטי הניח בפנינו את עמדת השרה. שנית, השרה עצמה ביקשה שלא להידרש לנושא מאחר שההחלטה המקורית לא ניתנה על ידה, אך בניגוד לעמדתי, בפסק הדין בעתירה הקודמת חבריי כפו על השרה הר כגיגית והחזירו את הנושא לשולחנה. שלישית, השרה לא הגישה לבית המשפט בקשה להיות מיוצגת בעצמה, וטוב שכך, ובנקודה זו אנו מגיעים לעיקרו של דבר. רביעית, היועץ המשפטי הוא הפרשן המוסמך של הדין, הוא שמנחה את הממשלה על-פיו. כך נהוג מימים ימימה, כך נקבע בדוח ועדת שמגר שחברי נסמך עליו. צא ולמד, שאילולא היועץ המשפטי לממשלה, במצב של מחלוקת בין שרים (מצב לא בלתי שכיח במדינתנו) כל שר היה שוטח את טענותיו בפני בית המשפט שהיה הופך, שלא בטובתו, לבורר בין משרדי הממשלה השונים.

           חברי תולה דבריו בעמדת השרה, שהעידה על עצמה כי קיבלה החלטתה “גם על פי פסיקת בית המשפט העליון”. הפרשן המוסמך לפסיקת בית המשפט העליון, שהיא חלק מהדין, הוא היועץ המשפטי לממשלה. יש להצר על כך שהיועץ המשפטי לממשלה נאלץ להפציר זו הפעם השנייה בבית משפט זה, ללכת בעקבות תקדימיו-שלו. 

4.        ההלכה של בית משפט זה בעניין פרס ישראל ברורה וחדה. ככל שחברי מבקש לשנות את ההלכה, הדבר כמובן אפשרי, שהרי בית משפט זה אינו כפוף לתקדימיו, אך בפסק דינו חברי אינו קורא לשינוי ההלכה.

           אכן, המקרה שלפנינו חריג בתולדות פרס ישראל, בכך שבפעם הראשונה בהיסטוריה של הפרס, שר החינוך דוחה את המלצת הוועדה. אך אין בכך כדי לשנות את השיקולים המהותיים שנקבעו בפסיקה לגבי פרס ישראל, כפי שנסקרו על ידי חברתי בפסק דינה ועל ידי בעתירה הראשונה.

5.        כשלעצמי, לא ייחסתי בעתירה הראשונה חשיבות רבה לעובדה שממשלת ישראל חתומה על הסכם תכנית “Horizon 2000” עם האיחוד האירופי, שבמסגרתו החריגה את יהודה ושומרון מתחולתו. חברתי העלתה עובדה זו על נס בפסק דינה. ואילו חברי סבור כי אין להשוות בין הדברים, מאחר שבגדרי ההסכם “נאלצה ממשלת ישראל” להסכים לכך, בעוד שחתימתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך נעשתה מרצון ולא מאונס.

           ההסכם בין מדינת ישראל לאיחוד האירופי לא נחתם בתנאי כפייה ועושק על פי סעיפים 17 ו-18 לחוק החוזים (חלק כללי), התשל”ג-1973 (להלן: חוק החוזים) אלא מתוך החלטה מושכלת של ממשלת ישראל. קשה להלום כי מה שמותר למלכות נאסר על נתיניה, ומכל מקום, החרגת יהודה ושומרון בהסכם הורייזן, מכניסה לפרופורציה הראויה את ההתעברות על חתימתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך על העצומה.

6.        איננו נדרשים לבחון את סבירות החלטתה של השרה, מהסיבה הפשוטה שהשרה אינה נדרשת לבחון את סבירות החלטתה של הוועדה, שהיא ועדה של מומחים לדבר. איננו ממירים את שיקול דעתה של השרה בשיקול דעתנו, אלא הולכים אנו בעקבות אמות המידה שהותוו בפסיקתו של בית משפט זה, ואשר השרה, בהחלטתה, חרגה מהן. למעשה, הרחבת מרחב שיקול הדעת של השרה עלה כדי “תפיסת” סמכות שאינה מוקנית לה.

           אחזור ואזכיר כי בעניין תומרקין (בג”ץ 2769/04 ח”כ יהלום נ’ שרת החינוך, התרבות והספורט, פ”ד נח(4) 823, 839 (2004)), נקבע שהמלצתה של הוועדה “כמעט חסינה מפני התערבות, בין מצדו של שר החינוך ובין מצדו של בית-המשפט”. כך נקבע דווקא בשל אי שפיטות הנושא לאור סעיף 33 לחוק החוזים. לא בית המשפט צריך לשים לנגד עיניו סעיף זה של חוק החוזים, אלא שרת החינוך צריכה הייתה לשים לנגד עיניה את אי השפיטות הקבועה בסעיף זה, ואת מגבלות ההתערבות שהתווה בית משפט זה בשל כך. כפי שנקבע בעניין תומרקין: “הפיקוח שבידי שר החינוך לקיים מוגבל לבחינת הפן הארגוני-ממוני של פעולת הוועדה וכן לבחינה אם הדיונים שהתקיימו לפניה ותהליך קבלת ההחלטה על-ידיה עולים בקנה אחד עם הוראות התקנון, ואף עומדים במבחני התקינות המינהלית של המשפט הציבורי”.

           בכפוף לבחינה זו ולחריג המקרים הנדירים והנסיבות יוצאות הדופן שהוכר בפסיקה, החלטתה של שרת החינוך קרובה למעמד של “חתימת קיום” ואין לה זכות וטו על החלטת הוועדה (לחתימת קיום של שר המשפטים על החלטת חנינה של הנשיא ראו, לדוגמה, דנג”ץ 219/09 שר המשפטים נ’ זוהר (29.10.2010)). כפי שנאמר בעניין תומרקין, הרי שבכל הנוגע להערכה שעל יסודה מקבלת ועדת השופטים את החלטתה “נתונה לוועדה אוטונומיה מוחלטת”.

7.        אני מסכים עם חברי כי “לא ‘לתיקון-עולם’ הוסמכנו אלא לשפיטה”. אכן, יפה הצניעות לשופט, אך אחזור למושכלות יסוד. בתיק זה אנו דנים בשבתנו כבית המשפט הגבוה לצדק, וההוראה שמסמיכה אותנו להתערב בהחלטת השרה מעוגנת בסעיף 15(ד)(2) לחוק יסוד: השפיטה הקובע כלהלן:

“(ד) מבלי לפגוע בכלליות ההוראות שבסעיף קטן (ג), מוסמך בית המשפט העליון בשבתו כבית משפט גבוה לצדק –

(1) […]

(2) לתת צווים לרשויות המדינה, לרשויות מקומיות, לפקידיהן ולגופים ולאנשים אחרים הממלאים תפקידים ציבוריים על פי דין, לעשות מעשה או להימנע מעשות מעשה במילוי תפקידיהם כדין, ואם נבחרו או נתמנו שלא כדין – להימנע מלפעול”.

           לשפיטה הוסמכנו, לשם כך נועדנו, לשם כך נוצרנו. בסופו של דבר, בעתירה דנן ענייננו בהחלטה מינהלית של השרה, וכאשר החלטת הרשות המבצעת לוקה באחד מאותם ‘מריעין בישין’ של המשפט המינהלי, אין בית המשפט רשאי להתנצל מחובתו. עמדתו של חברי לפיה בית המשפט לא יתערב בהחלטה של שר החינוך לדחות המלצה של ועדת הפרס, כפי שלא יתערב בהחלטה לקבל המלצה של ועדת הפרס, אינה עמדה ניטרלית, אלא כזו שמנוגדת לפסיקתו העקבית רבת השנים של בית משפט זה. זו הסיבה וזו ההצדקה להתערבותנו בהחלטת השרה.

8.        חברי סבור כי “עדיף לו, לפרס, להיות נתון למבחן הציבור”. הציבור אינו בקי ורגיל בסיבוכיות ובקריפטוגרפיה, בפונקציות פסאודו-אקראיות, בערפול תוכנה, בהוכחות אפס-מידע וב”קידוד שניתן לבדיקה מקומית, תוך הבנת תפקידה של אקראיות בחישוב”. לכן סבר מתקין תקנון הפרס כי יש למסור את ההחלטה על הענקת הפרס לוועדת מומחים. לאחר החלטתה של ועדת המומחים, מצטרף אני למשאלתו של חברי. אך השארת הפרס למבחן הציבור משמעותה היא שהדרג הפוליטי ימשוך את ידיו מהחלטתה של ועדת המומחים וישאיר את המחלוקת לדיון בזירה הציבורית.

           הזירה המשפטית לחוד, הזירה המקצועית לחוד, ומבחן הציבור לחוד. כפי שציינה חברתי בפסקה 46 לפסק דינה “פרס ישראל נועד, ככלל, לבטא את הערכת המדינה כלפי פועלו המקצועי של חתן הפרס; אך לא כלפי עמדותיו, שעל טיבן ניתן לקיים דיון בזירה הראויה לכך – היא הזירה הציבורית”.

9.        חברי אימץ את עמדת השרה לפיה הפער בין עמדתה לבין עמדתו של היועץ המשפטי לממשלה הוא עניין של כמות, יותר מעניין של מהות.

           אך גם לשיטה זו, מן המפורסמות הוא כי “כמות עושה איכות” בתחומים רבים של המשפט. לדוגמה, בעבירות מסוימות במשפט הפלילי (ע”פ 6274/98 פלוני נ’ מדינת ישראל, פ”ד נה(2) 293 (2000)). עוד לדוגמה, לא דומה פטור מגיוס לאלפי חרדים לפטור מגיוס לעשרות אלפי חרדים (בג”ץ 3267/97 רובינשטיין נ’ שר הביטחון, פ”ד נב(5) 481 , 490 (1998)). דוגמה נוספת, בפסלות מועמדים לכנסת בוחנים גם את כמות ההתבטאויות של המועמד, בבחינת “מסה קריטית” של ראיות (ראו א”ב 1806/19 ועדת הבחירות המרכזית לכנסת ה-21 נ’ כסיף (18.7.2019); א”ב 852/20 ועדת הבחירות המרכזית לכנסת ה-23 נ’ יזבק (9.2.2020)).

10.      איני סבור כי ענייננו בכמות ההתבטאויות של פרופ’ גולדרייך, ובנקודה זו אנו מגיעים אל חופש הביטוי. 

           החוק למניעת פגיעה במדינת ישראל באמצעות חרם, התשע”א-2011 קובע שלושה סוגי סנקציות אפשריות על מי שקורא לחרם: עוולה נזיקית; הגבלת השתתפות במכרז; ומניעת הטבות. זאת – ולא יותר. שלילת פרס ישראל בגין התבטאויות “חיצוניות”, היא בגדר פגיעה בחופש הביטוי (ראו פרס ישראל בעניין פרופ’ שטרנהל, בג”ץ 2454/08 פורום משפטי למען ארץ ישראל נ’ שרת החינוך בפסקה 10 (17.4.2008)). פרופ’ גולדרייך הדגיש פעם אחר פעם כי הוא מכבד את פרס ישראל וגאה על זכייתו בפרס, כי הוא מתנגד לחרם על מדינת ישראל ואינו קורא לחרם על האקדמיה הישראלית. שאילו היה קורא לחרם על האקדמיה בישראל, שהוא עצמו חלק מבשרה, היה בכך משום אבסורד כמי שכורת את הענף שעליו הוא יושב, ומן הסתם האקדמיה בישראל הייתה מוקיעה ומקיאה אותו מקרבה, וכבר היו דברים מעולם. פרופ’ גולדרייך ביטא לשיטתו-שלו עמדה אידיאולוגית ולפיה אין מקום להקמת אוניברסיטה בשטחי יהודה ושומרון. עמדה זו היא לצנינים בעיני רבים, אך יש חלקים בציבור הישראלי שתומכים בעמדה זו, ומן המפורסמות הוא כי “גורל האזור וההתנחלויות המצויות בו נתונה בישראל במחלוקת פוליטית וציבורית נוקבת” (פסקה 43 לפסק דינו של השופט י’ דנציגר בבג”ץ 5239/11 אבנרי נ’ הכנסת (15.4.2015). קשה להלום כי עמדתה האישית של שרת החינוך תשלול את הפרס בשל התבטאות זו של פרופ’ גולדרייך. שר החינוך רפי פרץ, אישר בשעתו הענקת פרס ישראל לרב יעקב אריאל (בג”ץ 1977/20 האגודה למען הלהט”ב בישראל נ’ שר החינוך (26.4.2020)), על אף שהלה הביע עמדתו לפיה חל איסור להשכיר דירה למגוריהן של זוג לסביות, והתבטא, בין היתר כלהלן:

“כשאין לאדם קשר טבעי למין האחר זאת נכות […] נכים צריכים טיפול, צריכים עזרה […] יש תרופות, יש טיפול פסיכולוגי ודרכים כאלו ואחרות לעזור להם, אבל צריך להכיר בעובדה שמי שלא יכול להקים משפחה נורמטיבית יש לו בעיה […] צריך לפתור את הבעיה וצריך לרחם עליהם”.

           הדברים לעיל הם בגדר השפלה וביזוי של ציבור רחב בישראל. אך בית משפט זה, נאמן לפסיקותיו בעניין פרס ישראל, לא התערב בהחלטה זו של השר, ופשיטא כי אין להסיק מכך הסכמה או מתן גושפנקא לאמירות אלה.

11.      השרה ציינה בהחלטתה כי ביטוייו של פרופ’ גולדרייך “ביקשו לפגוע בחופש הביטוי האקדמי”.

           לדידי, פגיעתה בחופש הביטוי האקדמי של שלילת הפרס מפרופ’ גולדרייך קשה בהרבה. מצוינות אקדמית אינה הולכת בהכרח יד ביד עם דעות התואמות את הקונצנזוס הציבורי. שלילת פרס ישראל מאיש אקדמיה בעל שם, בשל התבטאויות ספורדיות כאלה ואחרות, היא הזמנה לניטור, מעקב ורדיפה אחר אנשי אקדמיה בישראל. כמדינה החיה על מצוינותה בתחומים שונים, עלולה להיות בכך פגיעה של ממש בהישגים אקדמיים ומקצועיים, ובטווח הארוך, אף פגיעה בחוסן הלאומי.

                                                                                                ש ו פ ט

           הוחלט ברוב דעות, כאמור בפסקה 48 לפסק דינה של השופטת י’ וילנר, כנגד דעתו החולקת של השופט נ’ סולברג.

           ניתן היום, ‏כ”ו באדר ב התשפ”ב (‏29.3.2022).

ש ו פ ט                             ש ו פ ט                            ש ו פ ט ת    

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   21080760_R16.docx   מה

מרכז מידע, טל’ 077-2703333, 3852* ; אתר אינטרנט,  https://supreme.court.gov.il

====================================================================================

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Alon Harel<Alon.Harel@mail.huji.ac.il>
Date: Tue, Apr 5, 2022 at 6:12 PM
‪Subject: Re: [Academia-IL-Bashaar] הבג”ץ טעה בהחלטתו לחייב את הענקת פרס ישראל לפרופ’ גולדרייך‬
To: Yechiel Kimchi <yechiel@cs.technion.ac.il>
Cc: Academia Network <academia-il@listserver.huji.ac.il>

כיוון שחפצת לשמוע דעות אומר את דעתי. 

השאלה האם פרס ישראל הוא פרס “סטרילי” או לא היא חלק מן השאלה המשפטית בעניין זה. אינני חושב שההכרעה בעניין זה היא פשוטה. 

אבל גם אם פרס ישראל איננו פרס “סטרילי” ברור שיש שיקולים שאותם אסור לשרה לשקול. אחד מהם הוא העמדות הפוליטיות של המועמדים לפרס. השרה איננה יכולה להעדיף איש שמאל על פני איש ימין או אדם חילוני על פני אדם דתי. יש שיקולים שאסור לשרה לשקול. 

כידוע הסטטוס של אריאל שנוי במחלוקת. יש הסבורים כי קיומו של מוסד אשר איננו משרת את סביבתו ואשר מרבית האוכלוסיה סביבו איננה רשאית להיכנס לשטחו איננה מתיישבת עם האתוס של מוסד אקדמי. מקצת מן האנשים הללו תומכים גם בהחרמת המוסד הזה. אין מקום במסגרת זו לשקול האם אנשים אלו צודקים אם לאו. עם זאת זו וודאי עמדה פוליטית לגיטימית לחלוטין. כאשר השרה שללה את הפרס מפרופסור גולדרייך היא שקלה שיקול שהמשפטנים מכנים אותו “שיקול זר” דהיינו שיקול שאין היא רשאית לשקול. היא שקלה במסגרת החלטתה את עמדתו הפוליטית של פרופסור גולדרייך. לכן אני סבור כי ההחלטה של הבג”צ מוצדקת. 

On Mon, 4 Apr 2022 at 19:51, Yechiel Kimchi <yechiel@cs.technion.ac.il> wrote:

לכל האקדמאים באשר הם שם,

עוד הרבה לפני החלטת הבג”ץ הבעתי את דעתי בנושא, והיא בקצרה:

פרס ישראל אינו פרס “סטרילי” כמו פרס נובל, שהקריטריון היחיד שלו הוא הצטיינות בתחום נתון.

פרס ישראל ניתן ע”י המדינה לאזרחיה המצטיינים, והפרס ניתן ע”י שר החינוך בהתחשב בהמלצה של ועדה מקצועית.

מעורבות השר בבחירה היא חיונית – כדי לאפשר לממשלה שיקולים שהם מעבר לשיקולים טכניים.
אין שום סיבה שהמדינה (או מוסד כלשהו, או אדם כלשהו) תיתן פרס אישי שלה, לאדם הפוגע בה.
אם צריך דוגמה: אשה עשירה נותנת פרסים לציירים מצטיינים. היא מתיעצת עם ועדה מקצועית.

האם היא חייבת לתת את הפרס לגרוש שלה, שמתנכר לילד המשותף שלהם?

רק לאחרונה מצאתי כתבה מלפני שנה המביאה נימוקים דומים:

https://www.maariv.co.il/journalists/opinions/Article-834302

כעת קראתי תקציר של החלטת הבג”ץ, 

https://www.makorrishon.co.il/news/472409/

ובציטוטים המובאים בו אני רואה בעיה מהותית. לפי המאמר, כבוד השופטת וילנר פסקה:

“שרת החינוך דיברה אפוא בשני קולות. האחד – במסגרת הסכם שיתוף הפעולה החריגה השרה בפועל,
 בהיותה חלק מהממשלה, את אזור יהודה והשומרון מתחולת שיתוף הפעולה האקדמי של ישראל והאיחוד האירופי. 
 בקולה האחר – החליטה השרה לשלול מפרופ’ גולדרייך את פרס ישראל בגין קריאתו לאותה החרגה”.

בציטוט זה השופטת הנכבדה מניחה שכל מה שממשלה עושה – גם האזרח (משכיל? פרופסור?) יכול לעשות!

למשל, להכריז מלחמה, להחליט על סגר – או אי-סגר, לגבות מיסים.

האמת היא שהבדלי סמכות קיימים גם ברמה נמוכה ביותר:

הורה אינו צריך לנמק ממש את החלטתו שלא לשלוח ילד לטיול בית-ספר,

אבל אם המורה רוצה לשלול מהתלמיד את הזכות לטייל, הוא חייב לתת נימוק משכנע.

מצד שני, נראה לי שהנימוקים בדעת המיעוט של כבוד השופט סולברג, 

כפי שמופיעים בעיתון, לקראת סיום הכתבה, תואמים את נוסח החוק וגם את רוחו.

אשמח לשמוע את דעתכם

הרבה בריאות

יחיאל קמחי

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https://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1001381839

בג”ץ טעה כשביטל את מניעת פרס ישראל מפרופ’ גולדרייך

קריאתו של פרופ’ עודד גולדרייך לא לשתף פעולה עם מוסד ישראלי ביו”ש הייתה עילה ראויה למנוע ממנו את הפרס, ונראה כי השופטים לא הבינו את חומרת העניין

פרופ’ עודד מודריק 17.08.2021

שר החינוך לשעבר יואב גלנט החליט להימנע מהענקת פרס ישראל לפרופ’ עודד גולדרייך. לאחרונה בג”ץ פסק כי החלטת השר בטלה. פסיקת בג”ץ לוקה לדעתי בכשל הגיוני ומשקף מסקנה משפטית-ציבורית מוטעית.

תקנון פרס ישראל קובע כי הפרס יינתן למי שוועדת שיפוט של מומחים המליצה עליו (כאן ולהלן לשון זכר גם לשון נקבה במשמע) ושהמלצתה אושרה בידי השר. המלצת ועדת השיפוט אינה טעונה אשרור מקצועי. אולם בהינתן שהשר אינו “חותמת גומי”, צריך לומר ששיקול-הדעת שלא לאשר המלצת בחירה של ועדת השיפוט, אף על-פי שהוא מצומצם בהיקפו, מתמקד בשיקולים ציבוריים-חוקיים לבד ממקצועיים.

דפוס חשיבה זה הדריך את השר גלנט. הוא גרס כי חרף ההתאמה המקצועית של גולדרייך, התנהלותו בקריאה לחרם על אוניברסיטת אריאל שומטת את הבסיס החוקי-ציבורי לאישור ההמלצה.

שלושת שופטי בג”ץ והיועץ המשפטי לממשלה בחוות-דעת שהוגשה לבית המשפט, עטפו במלל ארכני סוגיות שאינן ממין העניין הנדון והחטיאו את השלכותיה של הנקודה המרכזית.

הכול מסכימים שהשקפות, אמונות ודעות שביטויין מצוי בתוך ד’ אמות החוקיות אינן יכולות לבוא בגדר שיקולי השר שלא לאשר מועמדות לפרס. לא היה כל צורך לדון בכך ולתאר את עשרות הפניות לבג”ץ בניסיון לפסול מועמדים על בסיס התבטאויות, גם קשות ונלוזות, שעיקרון חופש הביטוי סובל אותן.

סוגיית הפרס לגולדרייך אינה נוגעת לחופש הדעה, האמונה, ההשקפה והביטוי. היא נוגעת להתנהלות מעשית פעילה פסולה על-פי החוק. 

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https://cms.education.gov.il/EducationCMS/Units/PrasIsrael/Takanon/takanon.htm

תקנון פרסי ישראל
 
 
א.פרסי ישראל יוענקו על-ידי שר החינוך, ביום העצמאות במעמד ראשי המדינה, לאזרחי ישראל יחידים, שהצטיינו מאוד וקידמו את התחום באחד המקצועות והתחומים המפורטים להלן, ושנבחרו על-ידי ועדת שופטים ציבורית. ב. התחומים שבהם יוענקו הפרסים בתשפ”ב: (1) מדעי היהדות, הרוח והחברה –חקר הפילוסופיה וחקר מדעי הדתותחקר הבלשנות העברית והכלליתחקר מדעי המזרח הקרוב(2) מדעי החיים ומדעים מדויקים –חקר הכימיה, חקר הפיזיקהחקר מדעי החיים(3) תרבות ואמנות –אמנות הבמה: תיאטרון, מחולזמר עברי, אמנות עממית(4) מפעל חיים – תרומה מיוחדת לחברה ולמדינה יזמות וחדשנות טכנולוגיתמדי שנה יוענקו 2 פרסים בלבד על מפעל חיים ליחידים, שהרימו תרומה מיוחדת לחברה ולמדינה.
ג. התקנון כללישר החינוך יחליט/שרת החינוך תחליט  באלו מהמקצועות והתחומים יוענקו הפרסים על פי הסדר  הקבוע בתקנון, מספר הפרסים (תשעה או עשרה) וסכום  הפרס  בכל שנה ושנה.
הפרסים יוענקו במחזוריות בכל אחד מהמקצועות והתחומים הראשיים האמורים לעיל.
בשנים חגיגיות במיוחד בהיבט ממלכתי, ניתן להעניק פרסים נוספים.
הפרסים יוענקו בידי שר/שרת החינוך, מדי שנה ביום העצמאות בטקס ממלכתי, במעמד ראשי המדינה.
הפרסים יוענקו אך ורק במעמד טקס הענקת פרסי ישראל. אם נמנע מאחד הזוכים להיות נוכח בטקס מסיבה שאין עליה שליטה, יוענק הפרס, בהסכמה מראש של שר/שרת  החינוך, לנציגו באותה שנה או שיוענק לזוכה בטקס הענקת פרסי ישראל בשנה שלאחריה.
לאחר יום העצמאות יפרסם משרד החינוך באמצעי התקשורת השונים  הודעה בדבר  פרסי ישראל בשנה שלאחר מכן.
בהודעה יפורטו התחומים והמקצועות שבהם יוענקו הפרסים, אופן הגש ההצעות ופרטים נחוצים אחרים (ראה סעיף 8).
כל תושב מדינת ישראל רשאי להציע מועמד. לא יציע אדם את עצמו.
כל הצעה של מועמד לקבלת פרס ישראל תוגש בכתב לממונה על פרסי ישראל ותכלול:

א. החומרים הנדרשים להגשת מועמדות: בכל התחומים (פרט למפעל חיים)
  החומרהערותמס’ עותקים1.תולדות חיים – בעברית בנוסח סיפורי – חובהעד  1000 מילים12.נימוקים – בעברית  –  חובהעד  1000 מילים13.נלווים – ספרים, מחקרים, אלבומים – רשותעד 2 פריטים4

* סעיף 1-2 בדיסק/בדואר אלקטרוני, בפורמט WORD כמצוין בדף ההנחיות
לתחומי החקר בלבד חובה לצרף:
4.תולדות חיים (מדעי) Curriculum Vitaeחובה6 עותקים5.רשימת פרסומים List of Publications :* רשימת פרסומים (מאמרים)* רשימת ספרים (כולל מו״ל)* רשימת ספרים בעריכה (כולל מו״ל)* רשימת פרסומים למאמרים שפורסמו בעיתונות מדעית שעוברת סקירה.(כולל מספר ציטוטים של כל מאמר וגם אינדקס H שיילקחו מ ISI web of science )חובה6 עותקים6.* מספר תלמידי המחקר (מסטרנטים,  דוקטורנטים)* ציון שמי של דוקטורנטים בולטים.* מענקי מחקר יוקרתיים* תפקיד כעורך או חבר מערכת בעיתון מדעי* נשיא אגודה מדעית בינלאומית* הרצאות מיוחדות* רשימת פרסיםחובה6 עותקים
יש לקרוא בתשומת לב את סעיף 4 בדף ההנחיות בדבר החומרים הנלווים!

ב. החומר הנדרש להגשת מועמדות בתחום מפעל חיים

 החומרהערותמס’ עותקים1.תולדות חיים – בעברית בנוסח סיפורי – חובהעד  700 מילים12.נימוקים – בעברית  –  חובהעד  700 מילים1
הערות חשובות:

*סעיף 1-2 בדיסק ו/או בדוא”ל, בפורמט WORD.
* בתחום מפעל חיים מומלץ לשלב את תולדות החיים והנימוקים במסמך אחד.

בתחום מפעל חיים אין לצרף חומר נלווה.
אין לצרף המלצות על המועמדים בכל התחומים.

החומר לא יוחזר ולא יישלח אישור על קבלתו.
הצעות וחומר על מועמדים שלא יוגשו כראוי, לא יועברו לטיפול ועדת השופטים.  הודעה על כך תימסר למגיש ההצעה.
שמות מגישי ההצעה לא יימסרו לוועדת השופטים.
כל הצעה תכלול רק מועמד אחד לקבלת פרס ישראל, אלא אם כן הדברים אמורים ביצירה משותפת של מספר אנשים.
המועמד או המועמדים יהיו אזרחי מדינת ישראל, תושבים בארץ במשך שלוש השנים האחרונות שלפני הצעת המועמדות.
במקרים מיוחדים, ניתן יהיה על פי החלטה של שר/שרת החינוך, להעניק את פרס ישראל לתושבים החיים בארץ שנים רבות וכאן ביתם, גם אם אינם אזרחים.
הפרס יינתן ליחידים, או במקרים חריגים לשותפי הישג, אך לא לתאגידים.
אפשר לקבל את פרס ישראל פעם אחת בלבד.
במקרים יוצאים מן הכלל ניתן להעניק את פרס ישראל גם לאדם שהלך לעולמו: 
א.כאשר המועמד נפטר לאחר הגשת מועמדותו, בטרם בחירתו.
בכגון זה תימסר תעודת הפרס לקרוב משפחתו בלא הפרס הכספי.ב.כאשר המועמד נפטר לאחר שוועדת השופטים בחרה בו. בכגון זה תימסר תעודת הפרס לקרוב משפחתו עם הפרס הכספי.שר החינוך ימנה/שרת החינוך תמנה  את ועדות השופטים בכל אחד מהמקצועות והתחומים   שבהם  יוענק הפרס באותה שנה, תוך התייעצות עם מומחים בתחום.
כל ועדת שופטים תהיה בת שלושה עד  ארבעה חברים וחברות, שייצגו את כל תחומי המשנה.  שר החינוך רשאי/שרת החינוך רשאית במקרים  מיוחדים להגדיל את מספר חברי הוועדה. בפרס על מפעל חיים תתמנה תמיד ועדה בת חמישה חברים.
חברי הוועדה יחתמו על “טופס הצהרה על היעדר ניגוד עניינים”, המהווה חלק בלתי נפרד מתקנון זה. 
במסגרת שיקוליה הוועדה תביא בחשבון את ההנחיות הכלליות לגבי העדפה מתקנת כפי שמקובל בשירות הציבורי.
שמות השופטים יהיו חסויים עד לפרסום הרשמי.
הממונה על פרסי ישראל יתאם את ישיבות הוועדות. יועץ השר/השרה והממונה ישתתפו בדיוני הוועדות בלא זכות הצבעה.
ישיבות ועדות השיפוט יתקיימו בין החודשים תשרי ואדר שלפני יום העצמאות.
כל אחד מחברי ועדת השופטים רשאי להציע מועמד מיד עם קבלת רשימת המועמדים. השופט יציע את מועמדו בכתב, לפי המקובל בנוהל הגשת מועמדים. דין מועמד שהוצע על ידי שופט כדין כל מועמד אחר והשופטים האחרים לא ידעו את שם המציע.
בעת ישיבות השיפוט לא יוצעו מועמדים נוספים.
בכל תחום תמליץ ועדת השופטים על זוכה אחד בלבד. ראוי שהוועדה תקפיד על רמת הצטיינות גבוהה מאוד של המקבל.  בתחום מפעל חיים תמליץ הוועדה על שני זוכים ובלבד שנמצאו מועמדים ראויים.
אם יוחלט על יותר מזוכה אחד (שותפי הישג), יקבל כל אחד מהם את סכום הפרס במלואו.
רק המלצה שנתקבלה פה אחד בוועדת השופטים תובא בחשבון לצורך הענקת הפרס.
אם ועדה מסיימת דיוניה תוך חילוקי דעות בין השופטים שר החינוך יהיה  רשאי/שרת החינוך תהיה רשאית  לבחור ולהרכיב ועדה חדשה לאותו התחום.
הוועדה רשאית להחליט פה אחד שאין מועמד ראוי לפרס בשנה הנדונה. במקרה זה יפורסמו ההחלטה ושמות השופטים.
עם קבלת ההחלטה בוועדת השופטים, יובאו המלצותיה לפני שר/שרת החינוך. החלטת השופטים תקבל תוקף רק לאחר שהשר יאשר / שהשרה תאשר את ההמלצות.
השר רשאי/השרה רשאית להחזיר המלצה, במנומק, לדיון חוזר בוועדה, לשם קבלת החלטה חוזרת. ההחלטה השנייה של הוועדה תהיה סופית.
לאחר שיאשר השר/שתאשר השרה את המלצות השופטים ויודיע/ותודיע לזוכים על ההחלטה לזכותם בפרס, ימסור הממונה על פרסי ישראל לפרסום את ההודעה על הזוכים.
עד לפרסום הרשמי, חייבים הכול, לרבות מקבלי הפרס וחברי ועדת השופטים, לשמור  על סודיות ההחלטה.
מי שנבחר כחתן הפרס רשאי/ מי שנבחרה ככלת הפרס רשאית לסרב לקבל את הפרס. במקרה זה לא ייחשב כמי שקיבל את פרס ישראל, ואחר לא ייבחר במקומו. אם הוא זוכה יחיד, לא יוענק הפרס באותו תחום באותה שנה. הודעה על כך תימסר לציבור ושמות השופטים יפורסמו, בלא ציון שם הזוכה שסירב לקבל את הפרס. אם נבחר יותר מזוכה אחד, ורק אחד סירב, יפורסם שמו של הזוכה הנשאר ויפורסמו שמות השופטים.
על אף האמור, במקרה של זוכה יחיד רשאי השר, מפאת חשיבות הנושא, להשיב את הנושא לדיון חוזר בועדה, ע”מ שיבחר זוכה אחר במקום הזוכה היחיד שסירב לקבל את הפרס.
אין נרשם פרוטוקול הדיון, אלא החלטותיו בלבד.
כל פרטי הדיונים ושמות המועמדים, למעט שמות מקבלי הפרס, יישארו  כמוסים גם אחרי כן.
הוועדה רשאית לבקש להעביר תיקי מועמדים לדיון שיתקיים בפעם הבאה באותו התחום.

Revital Madar Accuses Israeli Security Forces of Raping Palestinians

07.04.22

Editorial Note

Dr. Revital Madar completed her Ph.D. in Cultural Studies at the Hebrew University by the end of last year. Her thesis is titled “Repudiated Violence and Sovereignty – The case of Israel.” 

In February, Madar provided a glimpse to her research when, as a Max Weber Fellow, she lectured on the “power structures that transgress the framework of conflict or war-related sexual violence. It is often taken as a fact that despite Israel’s diverse arsenal of violence, sexual violence is missing from its military toolbox.” Madar referred to “Tal Nitsan’s claim that apart from the 1948 war and its aftermath, the rape of Palestinian women by Israeli male soldiers is a rare phenomenon significantly contributed to the perception of Israel as a state whose military avoids the use of sexual violence.” 

Madar treats Nitsan’s claim as “symptomatic of war and conflict-related sexual violence discourse. It introduces an intersectional analysis of sexual violence’s conditions of possibility in the occupied Palestinian Territories (oPt).”

Madar bases her claim on testimonies of Palestinians and analyzes Israel’s control in the oPt. She examines the “pertinency and implications of each component in Nitsan’s claim: Israeli male soldiers, rape, Palestinian women, and war. My findings show that these categories work to silence Israel’s employment of sexual violence against Palestinians – men, women, and children – by a wide range of security agents who are not necessarily soldiers or exclusively male.” 

For Madar, the “rape in war paradigm distracts our attention from the colonial nature of Israeli control in the oPt and from the structural proximity between the vulnerability of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and women who live in poverty.” 

Her findings imply three things, “the need to be more cautious considering the social categories researchers of sexual violence employ”; “attuned to the risks embodied in approaching rape as a universal and homogenized phenomenon, stripped of its specific context and the structure of power in which it materializes”; and “encourage us to incorporate within our analysis power structures that transgress the framework of conflict or war-related sexual violence.”

In other words, Madar suggests that the Israeli soldiers sexually abuse Palestinians.

Madar has a long history of anti-Israel activism. She is a member of the group School For Unlearning Zionism, producing narratives based on a “non-dominant narrative.” For those unfamiliar with the neo-Marxist, critical scholarship rhetoric, this means providing information unmoored from empirical constraints or, in plain language, “fake news.”  

In another article besmirching Israel, she took up the cases of Palestinian infiltrators entering Israel illegally, stating that “Most of the infiltrators who died while trying to enter Israel were unarmed. Most of them were poor refugees who wanted to return to Israel, whether in the hope of a better life.”  In her view, the treatment of Palestinian refugees, they are disposable human beings whose death is covered up by the “Israeli regime.” 

In another piece of writing, “Deathmurder: From the Language of Humanity to the Question of Who Can Be Murdered,” Madar’s conclusion, borrowing from Amira Hass’s article, claims that “Palestinians Are Fighting for Their Lives; Israel Is Fighting for the Occupation,” on Haaretz, in 2015. Madar discusses a decision over “who can be murdered” which demarcates “the border between them and us, between those who are seeking life, and those who are hunting death. Between humans and not-humans.” 

Like many of her activist peers, Madar’s research topics are focused on the delegitimization of Israel.  It is hardly surprising that her doctoral supervisor is a leading political activist, Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian,who falsified her facts, as the previous IAM post indicated.  The members of her Ph.D. committee are in the same activist club:  Louise Bethlehem is a radical activist reported by IAM before.  Gadi Algazi is an expert on Medieval history at Tel Aviv University who remade himself as an expert on the contemporary Middle East, and Yael Berda is a lawyer working for the Palestinians, as IAM reported before.   

It is quite clear that as in the case of Madar, activists masquerading as scholars have rigged the academic system to produce a new generation trained to delegitimize Israel.  Hebrew University authorities should take note of this trend. 

References:

https://www.eui.eu/events?id=547024

Lecture
Beyond the Rape in War and Conflict Paradigm
An Intersectional Analysis of Israeli State Sexual Violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
WHEN   25 February 2022  15:00 – 17:00 CET
WHERE   Sala del Consiglio Villa Salviati- Castle
Organised by Department of History and Civilisation
This lecture by Max Weber Fellow, Revital Madar centres around an analysis on power structures that transgress the framework of conflict or war-related sexual violence.

It is often taken as a fact that despite Israel’s diverse arsenal of violence, sexual violence is missing from its military toolbox. Within this tendency, Tal Nitsán’s claim that apart from the 1948 war and its aftermath, the rape of Palestinian women by Israeli male soldiers is a rare phenomenon significantly contributed to the perception of Israel as a state whose military avoids the use of sexual violence. This presentation treats Nitsán’s claim as symptomatic of war and conflict-related sexual violence discourse. It introduces an intersectional analysis of sexual violence’s conditions of possibility in the occupied Palestinian Territories (oPt). Based on testimonies of Palestinians and analysis of Israel’s control in the oPt, the presentation examines the pertinency and implications of each component in Nitsán’s claim: Israeli male soldiers, rape, Palestinian women, and war. My findings show that these categories work to silence Israel’s employment of sexual violence against Palestinians – men, women, and children – by a wide range of security agents who are not necessarily soldiers or exclusively male.

What is more, the rape in war paradigm distracts our attention from the colonial nature of Israeli control in the oPt and from the structural proximity between the vulnerability of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and women who live in poverty. I argue these findings imply (1) the need to be more cautious considering the social categories researchers of sexual violence employ; (2) be attuned to the risks embodied in approaching rape as a universal and homogenised phenomenon, stripped of its specific context and the structure of power in which it materialises; and (3) encourage us to incorporate within our analysis power structures that transgress the framework of conflict or war-related sexual violence.

Please register in order to get a seat or the ZOOM link.

Contact(s):  Uladzimir Valodin (EUI)
Organiser(s):  Uladzimir Valodin (EUI)

Speaker(s):  Revital Madar (EUI)

===========================================================

EUI-Queer and Feminist Studies Working Group· 

21 February

This Friday, 25 February, at 3 pm Revital Madar, Max Weber Fellow from LAW, will present and discuss her paper on “Beyond the Rape in War and Conflict Paradigm: An Intersectional Analysis of Israeli State Sexual Violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories”. For further information and to register for the event, please follow this link: https://www.eui.eu/events?id=547024

====================================================

Revital Madar: Sovereignty and Citizenship in the Kafr Qasim Trial

May 24, 2021

Transcript by YouTube

0:00

um i hesitated quite a lot about the structure of the lecture today

0:05

um especially because of the fact that we are on zoom

0:11

so instead of presenting this very structured paper that you will have to follow from

0:17

beginning to end i will cover mostly some arguments i

0:22

make in the in the paper and that i think that are most that are relevant to this task of

0:31

unlearning zionism in general um so i hope it will really help us have a

0:38

more vibrant discussion in general and to feel less zoom fatigue

0:45

and because i present the paper like that if you read hebrew and you want the full

0:52

version of the article i’ll be happy to share it with you. um i do want before to open just with a

1:01

few words about the overall project from which my thoughts on the massacre

1:06

originated my current project is an analysis of court documents

1:12

mostly transcripts and court rulings of cases in which the state of israel

1:17

persecuted members of its security forces for the killing of palestinians

1:22

i term these cases acts of repudiated violence because of the denial of the dialectic

1:28

position occupied by the state when it decides to prosecute its own soldiers

1:34

thus condemning the violent act while also taking its hands off it

1:40

after all the all idea behind these trials is eventually to legalize the

1:45

daily violence that is not disowned as illegal in that case i

1:51

consider these trials to be performative moments in which the state negotiates

1:56

and sets out the limits of its legitimate and illegitimate violence

2:01

this trial is allowed to listen in a way to the state’s corridor talks because as much as the

2:08

state can and is carefully tailoring the narratives these trials deliver it has limited

2:14

control over the discursive explosion in focus terms that is taking place in

2:21

in the court and outside of it, the project originated from two

2:27

complementary assumptions the first assumes the first assumes that despite the state

2:34

secrecy and its mechanisms of censorship the state speaks and if we are willing to do away with

2:40

positivistic standpoint and set out our values regardless of the law’s definition of

2:47

legality and illegality as moral indicators we can penetrate the

2:53

state’s internal logic and unveil its conditions of possibility.

2:58

in other words if we are willing to unlearn what entails a legitimate entry into the

3:04

state and gain a privileged perspective over how the state perceives

3:09

itself we can see that the state is far from being as opec as surveillance scholars would like us

3:16

to believe there are obviously specific methodologies one has to adopt to take

3:22

this path i won’t be able to elaborate on that but if it interests you we can discuss it

3:27

later, the second assumption concerns denial stanley coin’s work is of great

3:33

importance here it allows us to see how informative denials of individuals or organizations can be

3:42

beyond that and that’s something i picked up through my activism on sexual violence the informativity of

3:49

denial lies not only in what is told and how it is told but in the sheer repetition over the

3:56

same reasons again and again in other words there are specific

4:01

denials for specific events within the field of sexual violence a very familiar denial

4:08

is the claim that everything was done in consent when israeli soldiers need to justify

4:14

why they saw right to shoot for example a wounded palestinian lyng wounded on the ground

4:21

a central claim would be the sense of threat the soldier felt we should thus be able to

4:27

understand what are the conditions that construe these denials and render them so common

4:34

why these answers are considered as acceptable as they are within a specific

4:40

framework in that sense part of my project entails the examination of the extent at which we

4:47

can render repetition in itself suspicious so

4:53

in what follows i will offer a short presentation of the massacre and the trial and then discuss a number

4:59

of aspects i think are of essence for the process of unlearning in general and of unlearning zionism in particular

5:08

these aspects include the memory of the clara custom trial the challenge it poses and the

5:14

specific form of citizenship it unveils

5:19

on the eve of the sinai campaign on october 29 1956 it will be 64 years in two days

5:27

from now israeli military officials decided that there is a need to unsure

5:33

quiet on the jordanian front the potential agitators were palestinian

5:39

villagers occupying the area near the jordanian border in the interest of avoiding the

5:45

information being leaked to the local population the curfew was announced only some

5:50

three hours before it was set to begin at five in the afternoon around that time around the time in

5:58

which the villagers were returning home from work the local mukhtar to whom the israeli

6:04

communicated their decision had no means by which to inform the hundreds of villagers working outside

6:11

and due to return later that evening one hour after the curfew began 49

6:18

men women and children were shot to death by israeli soldiers in the outskirts of the village

6:25

in compliance with the curfew and colonel chadmi’s order to shoot to kill

6:30

despite their carrying out their superior’s order 18 of the 11 soldiers who massacred the

6:37

villagers were subsequently arrested charged with murder tried and sentenced

6:42

to 7 to 17 years of imprisonment the three of the

6:47

defendants were acquitted of all charges in a way this description can be enough

6:54

it reiterates the important elements of the massacre so to speak

7:00

and the trial if that is the case then the matter is close the accused were found guilty and the

7:06

victims were prosecuted from a legal point of view we learned our lesson

7:12

and when you reviewed the scholarly work on the foreign massacre i’m talking about um scholarly work

7:20

in french english and hebrew because these are the languages i can read you can really get the sense

7:26

that it’s a done deal there is a general agreement over the fact the

7:32

that originates from the trial transcripts and the verdict on the on a factual level there are two

7:38

open questions colonel schadman’s trial that is still mostly closed to the public

7:44

and resulted with a fine of 10 cents and the question of operation hatha ferret according to

7:51

gaddiel ghazi and adam raz the massacre was part of this operation whose objective was to make palestinians

7:58

living in the triangle area to flee to the jordanian border and into jordan and as israel did with

8:06

palestinians who flew for their lives in the past then deny their return and reduce the

8:12

number of palestinians living in israel a secret mini the declarations of the

8:19

soldiers during the trial enforce this assumption another disagreement regards the number

8:25

of victims israel counts 47 the palestinians 49.

8:31

the overall factual agreement standing mostly from the very detailed verdict of

8:37

judge benjamin levy renders the massacre and the trial into a very dense frame almost as if it’s uh

8:45

as if there was we have a frame of a camera that simply captured everything

8:50

and it tells us all we need to know it leaves little to debate on and i

8:56

cannot but wonder to what extent the supposedly closeness of the massacre produced by the trial

9:03

is what allows israel to deny requests to apologize for it and acknowledge it

9:09

as well as dedicate a special national day for the massacre i argue that this

9:16

that it is this overall agreed factuality enabled by the state’s decision to make

9:22

public the majority of the documents related to the massacre that makes the clarkson massacre

9:29

challenge where there is little factual debate the narrative of the events was already

9:35

determined and so was its meanings again existing scholarly work is very

9:42

telling in that sense it focuses on the question of the manifestly unlawful order the

9:47

citizenship of palestinians and the memory of the trial among jews and palestinians

9:53

and excluding excluding shira robinson’s work all these works rely on the core

9:58

documents and the narratives it puts forward therefore when i began to work on the

10:05

forecaster massacre it was clear that i need to unlearn these narratives and the meanings they

10:10

produce turning my gaze away from aspects that are important from a legal perspective

10:16

and focusing on marginal moments on issues that are non-issues for the state and the legal

10:22

system to unlearn the narratives and meanings of the forecaster massacre

10:29

and the trial from from far from being a mere a mere

10:34

attempt at adding a narrative on existing ones reviewing the trials transcripts and

10:40

verdicts and focusing on marginal moments the relation between existing narratives and

10:46

meanings over the overall question of legitimate use of stake violence becomes clear

10:52

as mandani tells us a legitimate use of violence entails that the violence

10:57

should be rational explained one that we can appropriately situate within a narrative

11:04

of progress that is relatively easy when the violence is construed as a heroic

11:10

act or one that stems from security necessities but what can one do with an act of

11:17

violence that is clearly unlawful and which forces the state once it was

11:22

discovered to defor to divorce itself from it letters sent by israeli ngos and private

11:30

citizens to the vietnam once the massacre became known demanding that those responsible for it

11:36

will stand trial clearly show that this violence at least at the time had no explanation

11:43

and lacked an acceptable pardon the trial in that sense wasn’t only an attempt to clean israel

11:50

from this shameful event but also an attempt to situate the violence of the falcasa massacre

11:57

on the right register to detach it from all the supposedly justified and lawful

12:04

acts of violence israel commits daily as arendt explains in response to

12:11

critiques over her work on totalitarianism she insisted on not supplying and is not

12:17

not supplying a historical narrative that would emphasize what led to the holocaust because strict

12:24

historical writings is always already a supreme justification of what took

12:29

place when an event is locked within a positive sequence it can regardless of how violent it is

12:36

to start going through a process of rationalization the falcaosan trial did just that

12:44

by focusing on the individuals who committed the massacre and considering their decision to shoot innocent people

12:50

the massacre could have been explained as bad judgment on their part not as an event that lies on much deeper

12:57

roots pertaining to israel’s own conditions of possibility as a sovereign state

13:03

within this framework jojo levy’s insistence on the equal belonging of the

13:08

villagers under the title of israeli citizenship the fact that is verdict was meant to be

13:16

quick lesson on what citizenship entails a verdict that a verdict through which

13:23

israeli jews were meant to learn that palestinian citizens of israel are

13:28

equal citizens in fact this decision distanced the violence of the massacre from

13:34

israel’s bleeding history that is constituted on a perception and employment of citizenship on the

13:41

basis of passing passing like a jew not passing like an

13:46

arab the order given to the border police soldiers was to shoot to kill

13:53

no questions asked this order which judge levy concluded to be

13:58

a manifestly unlawful order has a long history that doesn’t relate to israeli

14:03

citizenship but rather to palestinian refugees attempting to return to their homes

14:10

after the in fact the same order was employed against every palestinian attempting to

14:17

cross into israel regardless of his or her motivations and whether they were armed or not

14:25

as corinth tells us the majority of palestinian refugees who were shot by israel during the 1950s were poor

14:32

palestinians hoping for better life yet as indicated

14:37

by charles hopkins the infiltration law from 1954 rendered every refugee

14:44

into a security threat and from israel’s perspective that was the case because the question is never the

14:51

motivations or aspirations of the palestinians it’s their own existence in other words

14:58

under settler colonial settings even the liberal idea of citizenship can be used

15:03

to cover up the real origins of the massacre unfortunately this is still one of the

15:10

biggest legacies of the trial that never dared intentionally or not to

15:15

look at the history of the order of should to kill so constitutive to the israeli state

15:22

i want to dedicate the last point to the specific form of citizenship

15:28

which the farcasm trial unveils in order to rule out

15:34

whether soldiers could refrain from shooting innocent people on the day of the massacre it was

15:40

necessary to determine if it was truly possible to identify who

15:45

among the people returning home that evening is a palestinian citizen and who among

15:51

them is a fadin a member of groups who were trained by by the egyptian army and attacked

15:58

military and civilian targets within the border area of israel during the 50s

16:04

the transcript does reveal long discussions in which the defense attorneys try to show

16:10

that in fact there was no way to identify a palestinian citizen of israel

16:15

from afar they investigate army officers and ask them what differentiates for example a

16:22

palestinian citizen of israel from fading one answer is that we heard that

16:27

in egypt the fathering were sneakers others claim that a fadin

16:33

is armed although at the time of the massacre it was impossible to get a clear view

16:39

from afar of the person coming towards you some were at least honest enough to say

16:45

that you cannot distinguish a palestinian citizen of israel from a faday and that at any rate the area of the

16:52

triangle and more specifically the villages in which the curfew was held

16:58

was simply an arab area there were no jews there the lawyers keep on insisting and ask if

17:05

they would see right to shoot an income tax official for instance had he been passing in the area during

17:12

the current few hours the answer is clear no also when another

17:17

army officer is asked if he knows what an arab bystander he replies

17:22

negatively these discussions that from a legal perspective are almost meaningless

17:29

reveal in fact a form of citizenship that contrary to judge ben benjamin levy’s

17:35

wishes and illusions of liberal zionists is based on nothing more than the possibility of passing as a g

17:42

and at least of not passing as an arab considering that the political is

17:48

constituted according to schmidt on the possibility of identifying an enemy from a friend something is clearly

17:54

not working here in a place in which it’s impossible to distinguish citizens from non-citizens

18:01

where there are citizens and there are also enemy citizens i will leave it to you to think if we

18:07

could qualify the citizenship that is based on practices of passing as a sovereign

18:13

failure or rather as a constitutive element within israel’s sovereignty

18:19

then and also today the failure to distinguish citizens from

18:24

non-citizens enemies from friends is not limited to palestinians because it lies on the possibility of

18:31

passing as a jeer and passing as a jew is considered as the opposing side of arab nest

18:37

mizaki are also targeted from time to time because they are mistaken for being palestinians

18:44

in his work on the mizahfi civil struggle roby mentions a number of occasions in which during the 50s

18:52

mizaki men were shot by the border police because they were mistaken for being arabs a few years ago another

18:59

mizrah man was stabbed by a jew who went out looking for arabs to stab

19:05

and following the last arrest and imprisonment of ayata mimi members of the israeli parliament were

19:12

discussing the possibility that in fact the tamimi family members aren’t palestinians

19:18

and proposed that they are they are actors recruited by the palestinian authority

19:24

the argument in favor of that assumption were tamimi’s light skin and eyes as well as

19:31

her blonde hair and american style wardrobe whatever that means

19:37

having said that it’s important to distinguish the studies of mizaki people in the early years of the

19:43

of the israeli state from the present as iris mentioned in our lecture in the

19:49

early years mizaki didn’t simply exactly people didn’t simply look like arabs resembled arabs they were

19:56

also considered as people whose loyality to the israeli state due to their arab origins is uncertain

20:04

questioned today i would say unfortunately our loyalty to the israeli

20:10

state is no longer questioned no more and no less than that of ashkenazi

20:16

the incidents i described in which mizrafi people are mistaken for being arabs originate simply from this

20:23

perception of citizenship that is based on practices of passing on resembling a citizen

20:30

in a place in which citizenship is still thought of through european appearance times have changed and the

20:37

whole of the israeli state made sure that it would be much more beneficial also for mizafi to be on its own side

20:45

thank you very much

20:53

thank you very much i don’t believe we’re already finished i think we could have all listened to you for another half hour at least and

21:00

not even noticed wow thank you so much for uh

21:05

giving this very enriching and and wide setting in which we can have conversation

21:12

and i invite everyone to write their questions in the chat and i’m happy to read them out loud without

21:18

the names and and i will start with a question of my own lucky me

21:24

because i think people are still thinking and writing so um

21:30

[Music] i guess the first question i would ask you is uh

21:39

can you maybe say something general on systems of peace slash

21:46

order are these integral two structures of violence and its justification as such would you

21:54

agree with that comment and that’s a very big question um

22:00

but do whatever you want my shorts my my few years in france uh and my love of

22:07

fanon uh it was quite amazing i mean a lot of

22:12

a lot of i would say white people because that would be the easiest or liberal people have a big problem with

22:19

fanon and on the one hand we have this interpretation of south in which

22:27

everything is about violence and the native cannot but be reborn through violence with which

22:34

is a misreading of on the other hand a lot of times i mean i think every

22:42

every country has its own zionists uh and it doesn’t pertain necessarily to

22:48

their relationship to israel it really relates to some kind of taboo

22:54

that you cannot uh bypass uh something that goes against that

23:00

the status quo and in that sense there is this very intense attempt to

23:07

pacify fanon and and to do away

23:12

with all the violent elements of his writing um so and

23:18

yeah i think globally we see time and again and perhaps especially these last few what it is in two months

23:25

in a month we had three peace agreements in israel uh so yeah they are interwined

23:34

unfortunately thank you um question could you elaborate on the eventual

23:42

analogies between your take on peacekeeping and the actual situation in

23:47

france concerning concerning muslims and islamophobia

23:53

i don’t know if i’m exactly a specialist i simply live here for the last five years

23:59

i can say only that that i’ve been looking almost everywhere on the media

24:05

even on on media on like platforms that are usually more critical

24:13

i still didn’t find anyone criticizing the french obsession to

24:21

to do caricatures of muhammad as if this is the essence of

24:27

the french idea of liberation and free speech uh so i

24:33

really hope i’m mistaken and perhaps there are platforms i’m not aware of uh but it is quite amazing to see

24:41

how everyone are just saying the same thing uh

24:47

lazydays still consider this neutralized concept um

24:53

[Music] so where do i find the relation between that and my

24:58

work um that’s hard to say i really think that what i’m trying to do overall through

25:04

the project is really to think about a state or more even a sovereign powers conditions

25:12

of possibility so in that sense every research we would do

25:17

about the stay would require to historicize it and to put it

25:22

in the specific context uh it means that i cannot just take what i know about israel and

25:30

and consider it valid for another society

25:40

thank you can you tell us more about the sources slash methods you used for your paper

25:47

today and in particular if you are looking at other moments where the category of

25:53

infra infiltrator and citizen emerge together

26:00

i can i’m really my my overall project is an analysis of three cases of this

26:07

nature so there is the casa massacre there is uh the event from 49 michelatmirim

26:14

which uh in which a bedroom young girl we don’t know her age was gang-raped and murdered by

26:23

an israeli battalion really just close to the border at the time

26:29

with egypt the third one is the 2016 shooting

26:34

incident in hebron and it might be a bit of a frustrating

26:40

answer uh but i’m trying to really approach each case

26:45

as from its own limits uh so there are some resemblances

26:52

but for instance this bad green girl of course that

26:59

there was an order that was given to all the units that were and that were positioned next to the

27:06

border on 49 to shoot to kill and through the trial

27:11

you can see that they consider the order to shoot to kill

27:17

they don’t consider the the order to shoot to kill every arab women children whatever every

27:23

arab that passes by as illegal at the time what they consider as illegal is

27:30

the the command given by the officer to one of his soldiers to shoot

27:36

her after they kidnapped her and raped her uh for almost 24 hours

27:43

um but there is i mean they give um they give this order

27:50

to to kill and then the day afterwards when they are given the written order then they change it and they say that

27:57

you shouldn’t shoot children and women so there is this uh difference between

28:03

the written command and the command that is given orally

28:08

to people and but there there is really no question of citizenship and of course

28:14

also in the 2016 um shooting incident in hebron

28:19

there is no question about um about the citizenship the status

28:28

of al-sharif i mean uh is simply a terrorist he’s considered a terrorist

28:33

through the trial although he never stood trial in himself he was he wasn’t prosecuted obviously he was murdered

28:40

um so i think um it is interesting to see though that in

28:46

the early early years of of the israeli state

28:51

it seems like israel is more preoccupied with the international community um

28:59

but also even in the falcaosan trial on the one hand we have all these letters that are sent to ben

29:05

gurion from citizens from ngo telling him that’s a terrible event you have to

29:11

to they have to be tried and the trial has to be public but then when the trial is over and

29:19

they they got their punishments and they were imprisoned then you have

29:24

these letters that are sent then like listen yeah they did something very bad but you

29:29

shouldn’t we shouldn’t react so aggressively to them so in that sense it was really

29:34

interesting to read it um in relation to what happened around

29:40

the 2016 shooting incident in which we know that there was a very big support for laura zarya

29:47

among citizens among politicians

29:55

and yeah maybe i can add to that another short question when is a hero just violent and when is

30:01

it legit um and is the only difference than the law or is the difference being

30:09

caught i would have to ask from whose perspective um i mean

30:17

i obviously as i hope it was clear from the the short lecture and i

30:24

don’t think we can consider the legal spectrum to be our indicator

30:31

and especially when you see how the open fire regulations for example

30:37

is really what structures this the question of how the event is going to be denied

30:43

uh okay what’s going to be the response for the so it becomes really i’m just working

30:49

now on the 2016 shooting incident an article on this event and it becomes

30:54

clear that from a legal perspective the death of al sharif is the most irrelevant issue in the tribe and the

31:02

trial is construed entirely from the perpetrator’s perspective um [Music]

31:09

that’s it um [Music] and but at the same time it seems

31:16

that most of the time these events will go there will be a process of

31:21

prosecuting the of prosecuting those involved etc etc because it was

31:29

because it was found out i mean there was no intention on ben gurion’s

31:35

part to have a trial in the beginning he thought he can cover it up um i think the most interesting

31:44

events are really these perverse moments in which people from the army cannot bear the violence

31:52

and they decide to speak out they are very rare but it’s interesting to see that it

31:59

exists but that’s really i mean it’s not what happens most of the

32:05

time most of the time it simply gets out to the international media um and then they are forced to do

32:12

something about it

32:18

thank you um could you say something about how you came to this project

32:24

what was your initial motivation what sparked it and and so

32:32

i’m obsessed with sovereignty uh it’s something that because i was doing

32:37

my master i was a student of adio fear um and i worked with him

32:43

on that topic and then i left it for a while um and and it started from the

32:50

realization that in philosophy we take this relation between sovereignty and violence

32:56

as an obvious one and i’m not very much contesting this relation

33:01

but i do think that something else happens in the moment in which the

33:07

state acknowledges the violent act because most of the time we are discussing and analyzing the

33:14

state’s uh use of violence it’s at moments that the state doesn’t

33:20

necessarily acknowledge it as such i mean either there is a denial of the event

33:26

it didn’t take place at all or it was legal and it was justified etc

33:32

etc and i thought that these events perhaps would allow me to go into how

33:39

the state negotiates these limits um and how in fact they transform

33:47

its they transform in a way the sovereign power in question

33:57

next question thank you did you find other mechanism than racial profiling

34:02

and passing to assert of reality

34:08

um that’s a very interesting question um

34:14

because i’ve never thought about it as a mechanism to assert state sovereignty so i’m thankful

34:21

i don’t know and who asked the question but i’m thankful for this idea um but i

34:29

am thinking of looking really more deeply and hope hopefully with other

34:36

scholars on really this idea of citizenship that is based on passive and how

34:43

um because i think we are all using it very very often i mean our idea

34:50

of citizenship is really doomed uh in that sense uh yeah we live in france

34:58

so we are very used to we usually when we lived in paris it was mostly

35:04

in in neighborhoods with a lot of immigrants so friends would come and they’re like there are no french people

35:10

in your neighborhood um because they are all black asians you know um

35:18

and and i’m i’m saying it and at the same time i mean i think it’s really embedded

35:25

within us the idea that nationality comes with a specific appearance uh whether it really helps to

35:33

strengthen withhold safe sovereignty that’s a good question i would say

35:38

just like that yeah because if i would think about all the

35:44

abstractions that are required to think about the nation so of course a specific appearance would be

35:50

a very important feature within this process

36:02

thank you i’m always impressed by our speakers that that have answers to all the questions and they’re very different

36:08

and some of our personal but so so uh um thanks for that and i’m gonna ask another one of my own

36:15

uh as long as there’s none in the chat and also you can see in the chat who’s asking the questions i i purposely don’t

36:20

read the names just in case people don’t want that um

36:30

yeah so maybe uh we can stick with uh uh i mean it’s

36:36

somehow related was was the the you call it the potential agitator

36:42

was the image of the potential agitator has it changed over time if yes how and was it also

36:50

sometimes adopted actually i need a bit of clarification on this

36:56

question so i’m thinking now of like uh

37:01

and having like on one side this image of this is the person you should be afraid

37:07

of like the image of the agitator right or the potential agitator is um

37:13

is the infiltrator and in the same time there’s also an adaption

37:19

of of their culture or of their appearance to become or to

37:24

justify some sort of self local belonging it’s not exactly

37:30

what what you’re talking about but i wonder like uh the image of the agitator is it like has it changed over time do you see

37:36

there is some developments and also uh if yeah if you would wish to

37:41

comment on that if not i am i i don’t work on this specific issue so i cannot really give a reliable

37:50

answer beyond my intentions and i don’t without beyond my assumptions so i don’t think it would be

37:55

would be fair okay you see i couldn’t answer a question

38:00

sorry i also didn’t form it very well um [Music]

38:07

so next question uh in the jewish israeli society many of

38:14

us are civilians and soldiers either before civilians and then soldiers civilians and soldiers at the same time

38:21

um how would that maybe influence uh the discussion um

38:28

or also yeah the objectivity maybe of um of the courtroom where everyone

38:35

also used to be a soldier i think it is um

38:41

it’s in the film the rule of law um that one of the judges says

38:49

is honest is like it’s very problematic to have like a palestinian coming into court

38:55

um under the accusation of committing a terrorist act

39:01

which is like uh something that targets me as a jewish person uh in israel

39:08

and to really just be fair and be able to um

39:16

i think that you see the relationship the fact that

39:24

most of the people in israel go to the army um i think you see that in these trials

39:33

mostly when it gets to the punishments i mean the specific verdict

39:41

they would intel um so then immediately they’re taking into

39:46

consideration um the fact that as soldiers you you already you are already in a

39:53

situation of contributing yeah to the state you’re already doing sort

39:59

of a voluntary work so that’s um and of course in the 2016

40:04

uh shooting in hebron it was very clear with

40:10

the the identification of elorzaya as our child

40:17

it happened by the way also with the group of young men accused of

40:24

rape in cyprus they all became in one moment our kids

40:30

which is also and they were before their service they were about to start their service

40:37

um so yeah it’s something that is really strong in israel

40:42

i think in general thanks next question from the audience

40:49

is in your opinion does the israeli legal system take its self-seri take itself serious when

40:56

it comes to bringing justice for the palestinian or is the court uh just meant

41:02

to be uh for pr purposes i think it’s neither actually i think

41:09

it’s really uh i’m working on a paper now with uh yeah alberta uh and

41:16

it’s it’s one there is uh this tendency in the last few years um there is a lot of propaganda coming

41:24

out of the army so one of it there is um [Music] the military prosecution decided

41:32

for israel’s 17th independence day to ask the soldiers to write about these

41:39

important events for the military prosecution and and that’s a very interesting project to

41:47

look at it’s online you can all visit it and we were we are we were really trying for

41:54

a very long time to understand why are they doing it i mean why are they writing about these cases

42:00

i mean the majority of them don’t involve palestinians but there are quite a lot that involve palestinians and it seems

42:08

to us that and you can be in disagreement with me on that of course but it seems to us that

42:17

uh what is important for the military prosecution is that it would simply be by law

42:24

what is the content of the law is less important and less relevant uh and

42:30

that’s how we ha we came to it because the art is very strange situation where

42:37

like the soldier writing this text about it would say yeah it was a very

42:43

important case and you see how the judges really gave a very important decision

42:50

here considering a palestinian issue but eventually

42:55

but then like the verdict is really you know is humiliating uh and and it there is no

43:01

contradiction for them uh so it seems like the the mere fact that it went to trial it was tried

43:09

uh it was by law even if the law itself is problematic is really what helps them

43:17

sleep at night i don’t know feel comfortable with what they are doing

43:28

and so what does the justification of some violence

43:33

under the law and the diligent legitimization of other violence

43:39

that becomes unlawful um have to do with um the democratic

43:46

part of the title of the state of israel can you repeat it so israel defines

43:54

itself as jewish democratic state yes um what does uh

44:00

legitimate versus non-legitimate violence have to do with holding on to this jewish

44:06

democratic the democratic part of the title of the state i think it’s essential uh i think it’s

44:13

really essential i don’t think i would say anything very new here i’m very claiming it but um

44:23

because the world is looking i mean i think israel’s status in the international

44:29

community is a very very pro it’s a very complicated one because on the one hand we are talking about

44:36

a state that is a strong state a wealthy state um and although we don’t have

44:43

any border i mean we never really decided on our borders so we can say

44:48

like the borders are contested and they are contested but the question is by whom

44:55

um and the international community is you know they can give declarations

45:02

etc etc in general they’re not doing anything um so israel is really in this strange

45:09

situation in which it relies also a lot economically i’m sure she’ll have

45:16

knows much more about it than me about export and its relations with other

45:22

countries um perhaps now with all these peace agreements uh we will we can just decide to let go

45:30

even of the liberal image because what does it matter anymore but um but eventually i think it’s

45:38

really essential to do these trials because you can see with the 2016

45:44

um shooting that the reactions internationally were very hard um

45:52

but then you know it went to trial there was a bit of criticism about the fact that the aurora was

46:00

imprisoned simply like the the verdict was simply 18 months um that were reduced of course

46:08

afterwards that’s what happens all the time um but it didn’t shake

46:14

anything i mean and what would have happened had israel wouldn’t try

46:21

anything that’s a good question but as we know from the very important work yes dean is

46:27

doing and the i mean it’s really it’s a small small fraction

46:32

so um most of the time we don’t prosecute

46:43

i invite the audience uh to keep bringing in your questions we’re gonna

46:48

uh and shortly finish up so if anyone wants to to ask one or two more questions and please

46:56

welcome um i’m coming back to this

47:02

idea of making trial because one has been caught

47:08

and i wonder um what does that have to do with uh

47:14

freedom of academy as a watchdog for state institutions if you want to give a comment on that of

47:22

like who catches who and where are responsibilities within

47:28

those uh spaces i actually there was

47:33

i i don’t think i’m not sure i will answer your question but i will share a short story um because

47:40

yesterday evening i went into my facebook that it’s closed now because i have to submit

47:46

my phd in a few months so i’m not allowed to go there but i went in just to let people know of this

47:52

lecture and then i found a message from a military historian

47:59

that i quote in my paper and he told me and the day he and another

48:07

um military historian found the the final

48:14

proof that operation huffa ferret uh was in place but that in fact

48:22

there are other reasons for it eventually i convinced him to send me

48:27

his paper um and and it really triggered me because i can’t say more about that a lot about

48:34

that because i was swerved to secrecy because it’s under review but it was really interesting that their

48:42

claim is that actually operation cafe was intended to

48:49

trick the egyptian and that because uh that the idea was to make it

48:55

look like there is action on the jordanian border but in fact um

49:01

the idea was to attack egypt um and that no one intended

49:10

the the order of should to kill given to these units in the villages in the triangle area

49:18

no one intended them to really shoot the villagers so it was this perverse outcome that no

49:25

one intended to and in fact it was a deception plan uh and i was really dazzled by it

49:33

because of course on the one hand of course israel gets out perfectly because suddenly

49:39

shooting palestinians is a perverse action in israel we know it’s not unfortunately um

49:46

on the other hand i was really i was asking myself why is he even

49:52

writing about it i mean he’s doing a military historian

49:58

clearly very zionist um the man who wrote with him is teaching

50:04

in a military academy in israel i mean these are people from within the system

50:10

um so i think that’s really intriguing i mean i feel like there is something about

50:15

the zionist soul i don’t know as i missed consciousness i don’t know

50:21

how to call it exactly that is really interesting to me because i don’t understand it that’s

50:28

that’s the fact of the matter i simply don’t understand it i don’t know i mean again

50:35

we are none of us is a rational being in the sense that we would like ourselves to we would like to think

50:42

uh so perhaps we can just say okay zionists are like everyone like all the other um but still it’s

50:50

really interesting i and i thought maybe part of it is really because it has to do with the past

50:56

so not only eventually israel comes out okay because they didn’t intend them to

51:02

shoot the palestinians and then they were like oh wow why did you shoot them we just told you to shoot them but you

51:07

weren’t supposed to shoot them something like that um and

51:13

and also because in general there is this it’s it’s something that i picked on uh

51:20

when working on falcasa it’s like there is this national mission of saving

51:25

ben gurion’s name and they will do whatever gymnastics they have to do

51:31

in order to make sure that ben gurion is okay uh he didn’t cover up he

51:38

he did that so yeah not an answer like i said

51:46

but a great story thank you um okay i see there’s one last question

51:51

that i missed and adding on the mechanism question and what expression to your opinion does

51:58

this mechanism and women take in relation to the jewish citizens

52:04

of israel if any and i think that’s sadly our last question and then we’ll start wrapping up

52:09

okay um very good question um i think we should ask

52:16

about which jewish citizen because we are not as homogenic as

52:23

israel would like us to believe um but i i think

52:28

i feel it’s a bit hard for me to answer because my instinct would be to say yeah

52:35

of course we as misaki we you know we pay a price for it whereas

52:43

i don’t know light skin jewish people simply enjoy this privilege etc but that

52:50

seems like too much of an easy answer um and on top of it as time goes by

52:58

i feel like we need to revisit the narrative we have about mizah youth in israel in general

53:05

i feel it’s too it’s it’s like it’s frozen in time um in a way so

53:13

very often we will see the same theories applied same theories that were written in the

53:20

80s in the 90s applied today and i think the status of mizaki people

53:25

changed greatly so i really appreciate in that line works that are being done on mizaki

53:32

people from middle class or upper class and stuff like that not to say that there are no

53:39

differences economic differences cultural differences and opportunities among the groups but

53:47

that politically something changed [Music]

53:52

and i think as a jew we simply meet it daily every time we are not asked a question

53:59

when we go into a public institution we feel that

54:05

our citizenship lies on passing and when we are asked we know that

54:12

it’s not clear i mean i’m asked when i’m entering the airport with a taxi

54:19

and and then they add to the appearance of course my accent and then they are very happy and

54:27

i can go in easily but yeah um it’s something we feel daily i

54:35

think even if we are not asked it’s also

54:45

vital thank you so much it was a true pleasure and honor to have you part of

54:50

our program and to listen to you speak if you have any uh last message you wish

54:56

to uh to share with us this evening or something you want to to ask us and you’re welcome and i think

55:03

we are officially wrapping it up and and yeah here come all the thank yous so

55:09

if you want if you want to have the last word you’re welcome and uh thanks again

55:15

uh i would just like to say thank you for the invitation thank you for all the

55:22

questions um and keep on with this beautiful project of

55:27

unlearning zionism i wish us all to unlearn everything we learned there so

55:35

that’s it

===================================================

https://www.eui.eu/people?id=revital-madar


Revital Madar

Max Weber Fellow

Max Weber Programme for Postdoctoral Studies

Biography

Revital Madar’s research focuses on the intersection of law, sovereignty, and violence in the context of Palestine-Israel. In her current project, Revital delineates a legal taxonomy of state violence that would allow to better identify the conditions of possibility of this violence locally and globally. This is an interdisciplinary project that rethinks what legal taxonomy can be and who and what it can serve.

In 2021 Revital will be awarded a Ph.D. by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The main contribution of her thesis, ‘Repudiated Violence, and Sovereignty – the Case of Israel’, is the introduction of an analytical framework that offers a new entry into the question of sovereign violence. In the context of Israel’s occupation of Palestine, her thesis traces how violence against Palestinians was legalized.

During her stay at the EUI Revital will dedicate her time to examining the implications of repudiated violence on international law and revise her thesis into a monograph.

Revital was granted the Trajectories of Change – Bucerius Ph.D. Fellowship and was a visiting fellow at Sciences-Po, Université de Liège, and the IHEID.

Expertise for Teaching and Mentoring of Ph.D. Researchers
Revital has been teaching Sciences-Po B.A. level courses since 2017. Her teaching experience includes two elective courses, Sovereign Power & Violence – from Territory to Population and Sexuality, and Gender and Imperialism, discussion sessions on imperialism in the 20th century, and academic writing consultation. In 2014 she initiated and moderated an academic professional workshop for first-generation students that is now in its sixth year.

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https://huji.academia.edu/MadarRevital

Madar Revital 

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Cultural Studies, Graduate Student  

Revital Madar is a Ph.D. student in the cultural studies program in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a fellow member of the Minerva Humanities Center. In 2015 she initiated, together with Dr. Roi Wagner, a widely acclaimed academic professionalization workshop for first generation students, which is now entering its third year. Her M.A. thesis in philosophy explored Nietzsche’s concept of revenge, and offered an innovative reading of his perception of revenge as a constructive concept. Her academic work is embedded within the Israeli public sphere through social and feminist activism and through publications of op-ed columns in leading Israeli newspapers. Supervisors: Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian

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https://www.palestine.cz/en/newsd-the-only-democratic-party-in-israel

https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-the-only-democratic-party-in-israel-1.5401830

The Embassy of the State of Palestine in Czech Republic
The Only Democratic Party in Israel

The wall-to-wall condemnation of three Arab MKs for meeting terrorists’ families shows that the Joint List is only one party here that truly understands what democracy is.

“The definition of democracy is ‘Shut up, shut up! The majority rules,’” Education Minister Naftali Bennett (played as a teacher by actor Eran Zarhovitz) tells a class of schoolkids on Channel 2 TV’s current affairs satire “Eretz Nehederet” (“A Wonderful Country”). When a student in the class says the definition is wrong, since democracy is supposed to protect the rights of minorities, the class tells him, “Shut up, shut up!” Bennett takes pride in how quickly the children have learned the lesson.

How far is the concept of democracy in Israel – as well as in the Knesset – from the idea of Bennett and the right-wing as evinced in “A Wonderful Country”? The recent verbal assaults by political parties across the spectrum on three Balad MKs who met with the families of Palestinian terrorists shows that the distance is not far enough.

If we expand the answer of the rebellious student in the skit, who challenged the definition of Bennett, then beyond the question of the majority and the minority, a democratic regime must see to it that rights themselves are protected and that all groups in the population share them – in life as in death.

In Israel, of course, there is a problem with the definition of the population, since not everyone who lives in the area under Israel’s control is defined as a citizen. This differentiation makes it possible for Israel to impose one regime – on the formal level as well – on those who have Israeli citizenship, and another on those who do not (leaving aside for the moment the discrimination between citizens of Israel).

Under these circumstances, Israeli society and the Knesset – which represents it and dictates the boundaries of its political thought – does not have the tools to understand the ideas of the members of the Balad faction with regard to the meaning of democracy and civil rights, as well as human rights.

How can Balad MKs care more for a person who committed a crime, the Israeli thinking goes, and for the rights of his family? How can they insist that the family be allowed to bury its dead in the manner they see fit, and be given custody of the body beforehand?

The Zionist enterprise long ago stopped making do with control over the lives of Palestinians. Why do so when their deaths can be organized according to the will of the Israeli state, too? When the controlling power assumes the rights to a person’s remains, when it takes away the rights of the family and their deceased from them, these families should rightly receive the support of those who support democracy. There should be those for whom the arsenal of Israel’s security-related excuses – which time and again restrict rights and expand obligations – are not paramount, because in a democracy, caring for civil and human rights must be the top priority.

Following the wall-to-wall condemnation of the Balad MKs, clearly there is only one party that truly understands what democracy is (and which is light years away from the definition given by Bennett in the “Wonderful Country” skit). That party is the Joint Arab List – that Knesset alliance of Arab parties that few believed could last, considering the different positions of the factions that came together to form it.

In light of the Joint Arab List’s condemnation of the criticism of MKs Haneen Zoabi, Jamal Zahalka and Basel Ghattas, and the unbridled incitement against them, and the lack of such condemnation by the rest of the Knesset, it is quite clear that the threat to democracy in Israel comes not only from the more extreme or less extreme right. The threat to democracy in Israel, from 1948 to the present, is rooted in Zionism. And until this fact is recognized, there is probably no point in the various parties trying to persuade us they are in deep disagreement on diplomatic issues.

Until then, the Knesset can pride itself on having only one democratic party in its midst. It is a party so radical that it really has internalized the demand of a democratic regime not to differentiate between human beings, not to condition rights on obligations, not to impose collective punishment. It is this belief that leads only one party to care for the mother whose nights have no peace until her son is buried according to her faith.

Revital Madar
Haaretz Contributor

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1927-7451

ORCID 

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1927-7451

Revital Madar EUI

Keywords
state violence, state criminality, sovereignty, human rights, international humanitarian law, political theory, political anthropology

Countries

Israel, Palestinian Territories, Italy, France, Switzerland

account_circle

Revital Madar

Biography

Revital Madar is a Max Weber postdoctoral fellow at the Law Department at EUI. She is interested in state violence and criminality, sovereignty, human rights, IHL. Her PhD thesis, Repudiated Violence and Sovereignty – The Case of Israel, introduces a new analytical tool and paradigm for researching state violence. Focusing on trials of Israeli soldiers, it explores the state’s relationship with its security agents against the backdrop of the legal system.

Activities
Employment (1)

European University Institute: Fiesole, Toscana, IT

2021-09-01 to 2022-08-31 | Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow (Law)
Employment
Education and qualifications (2)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem: Jerusalem, Jerusalem, IL

2021-11-27 | PhD (Cultural Studies )
Education

Organization identifiers

RINGGOLD: 26742
Hebrew University of Jerusalem: Jerusalem, Jerusalem, IL

Other organization identifiers provided by RINGGOLD

ISNI: 0000000419370538
OFR: http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100003483

2021-12-11

Source: Revital Madar

Tel Aviv University: Tel Aviv, IL

2015-03-01 | M.A. (Philosophy )
Education
Invited positions and distinctions (3)

Institut de Hautes Études Internationales et du Développement: Geneve, GE, CH

2019-11-01 to 2020-05-31 | Junior Visiting Fellow (International Law)

Université de Liège: Liege, BE

2017-09-01 to 2018-01-31 | Doctoral visiting fellow (Philosophy )

Sciences Po: Paris, FR

2016-09-01 to 2017-08-31 | Doctoral Visiting Fellow (Political Theory)
Membership and service (1)

ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius: Hamburg, Hamburg, DE

2021-10 to present | Co-director of woking group “Law and Care: A Transnational and Transregional Perspective”
Service

Funding (4)

Repudiated Violence and Sovereignty – The Case of Israel

2017-12 to 2020-11 | Grant
Zeit-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius (Hambourg, DE)

Repudiated Violence and Sovereignty – The Case of Israel

2017-09 to 2018-01 | Grant
Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (Brussels , BE)

Repudiated Violence and Sovereignty – The Case of Israel

2016-09 to 2017-08 | Salary award
Erasmus+ (Paris , FR)

“Do You Know What’s an Arab Bystander?”: The Kafr Qasim Trial as a Case Study for a Sovereign Failure

Grant
Tel Aviv University (Tel Aviv , IL)

Works (8)

Repudiated Violence and Sovereignty

2021-11-27 | Dissertation/Thesis
Language
English
Country of publication
Israel

Israël, un État Juif et Séculier ?
Relations
2021 | Magazine article

Deathmurder: From the Language of Humanity to the Question of Who Can Be Murdered

Sartre, Jews and the Other – Rethinking Anti-Semitism, Race & Gender
2020 | Book chapter
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110600124-014

“Do You Know What’s an Arab Bystander?”: The Kafr Qasim Trial as a Case Study for a Sovereign Failure

The Conflict – Sociological, Historical and Geographical Aspects.
2019 | Book chapter

Israel’s Mizrahi Moment
Jewish Quarterly
2017 | Magazine article

The Art of the Struggle
Tohu Magazine
2017 | Magazine article

“Stretching What Already Exists”: The Work of the Designer Sasson Kedem as a Different Encounter between Creation and Critique
Bezalel – Journal of Visual and Material Culture
2015 | Journal article

Covered yet Overexposed: From a Female Religious Jewish Performance to Israel’s Status as a Western or non-Western Country
International Journal of Fashion Studies
2015 | Journal article
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/infs.2.1.115_1

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https://huji.academia.edu/MadarRevital/CurriculumVitae

Revital Madar Curriculum Vitae January 2020
1
Revital Madar
Curriculum Vitae
The Program in Cultural Studies
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
madarevital@gmail.com
+33783923641
Education
2015-present The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Ph.D. Candidate, The Program in Cultural Studies
“Repudiated Violence and Sovereignty – The case of Israel”
Supervisor: Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian
Committee: Prof. Louise Bethlehem, Prof. Gadi Algazi, Dr. Yael Berda
2015 Tel Aviv University, Israel
M.A. in Philosophy, Magna Cum Laude with Distinction, GPA: 94.5
Thesis: “The Conceptual Realm of Nietzsche’s Concept of Revenge in
Ecce Homo and Human all too Human”, Supervisor: Prof. Adi Ophir,
Grade: 95, Summa Cum Laude
2006 Tel Aviv University, Israel
B.A. in Philosophy and the Interdisciplinary Program of the Arts
Publications
Refereed Journal Articles
Madar, Revital. 2015. “Covered yet Overexposed: From a Female Religious Jewish
Performance to Israel’s Status as a Western or non-Western Country,” International
Journal of Fashion Studies, 2(1) pp. 115-120.
Madar, Revital. 2015. “Stretching What Already Exists”: The Work of the Designer Sasson
Kedem as a Different Encounter between Creation and Critique,” Bezalel – Journal of
Visual and Material Culture (2) June [Hebrew].
Book Sections
Madar, Revital. Forthcoming. “Deathmurder: From the Language of Humanity to the
Question of Who Can Be Murdered,” in Manuela Consonni & Vivian Liska (Eds.),
Sartre, Jews and the Other – Rethinking Anti-Semitism, Race & Gender. Berlin,
Boston: De Gruyter Oldenbourg.
Madar, Revital. 2019. “’Do You Know What’s an Arab Bystander?’: The Kafr Qasim Trial as
a Case Study for a Sovereign Failure,” in Amal Jamal (Ed.), The Conflict –
Sociological, Historical and Geographical Aspects. Walter Lebach Institute for Jewish-
Arab Coexistence through Education, Tel Aviv University, pp. 25-48 [Hebrew].
Revital Madar Curriculum Vitae January 2020
2
Work in Progress
Sovereignty from Below: The Performance of Israel’s Rule of Law and the Legal Place of the
Palestinian
Exceptional Violence and Ordinary Racialization: The Construction of Sovereign Difference
in Israel’s Military Courts
Selected Non-Academic Publications
English
2017 Madar, Revital. “The Art of the Struggle,” Tohu Magazine, June 25.
2017 Madar, Revital. Israel’s Mizrahi Moment, Jewish Quarterly, 64(1), p. 10.
2016 Madar, Revital. Why Ask MKs about God, of all Things?, Haaretz, October
20.
2016 Madar, Revital. The Only Democratic Party in Israel, Haaretz, February 9.
2015 Madar, Revital. When Dikla Sang Eurythmics in an Arab Accent,” Haaretz,
November 14.
Hebrew
2019 Madar, Revital. Critique – Revital Madar on ‘Little Life’ by Hanya
Yanagihara, Hamussach – Literary Supplement, January 24.
2018 Madar, Revital. The Politics of the Mizrahi Closet, Haokets, February 24.
2015 Madar, Revital. A Mizrahi, Ashkenazi and a Palestinian Wear a Galabyia:
Who has the Cultural Right to Wear it?, Haaretz, June 5.
2015 Madar, Revital. The Poet Yonit Naaman Demands an Equal Representation for
each of her Representations, Haaretz, January 15.
Grants and Fellowships
2019-2020 Junior Visiting Ph.D. Fellow
International Law Department, Graduate Institute of
International and Development Studies (IHEID), Geneva.
Supervisor: Prof. Andrea Bianchi
2018-2020 Trajectories of Change – Bucerius Ph.D. Fellow
ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius (39,600€, 33 months)
Revital Madar Curriculum Vitae January 2020
3
2018 The Authority for Research Students, Support for International
Conferences Grant, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2200$)
2017 The Walter Lebach Institute for Jewish-Arab Coexistence through
Education, the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tel Aviv,
Ph.D. Grant (2500€)
2017 European Fund for the Balkans (EFB)
Center for Comparative Conflict Studies, Faculty of Media and
Communication, Singidunum University, Belgrade, Summer School
Grant (400€)
2017 Wallonie-Bruxelles International (WBI), Ph.D. Research Scholarship
Philosophy Department, Université de Liège
Supervisor: Prof. Édouard Delruelle (8500€, 9 months)
2017 The Faculty for Social Sciences Grant for Conference Participation,
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (400€)
2015-2016 EMAIL III – Erasmus Mundus Doctoral Research Scholarship
Political Theory Department, Sciences-Po Paris (7,200€, 6 months)
2016 Prof. Louise Bethlehem, The Program in Cultural Studies, The Hebrew
University of Jerusalem, Doctoral Research Grant (1000€)
2016 The Program in Cultural Studies, Research and Conference
Participation Grant, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1900€)
2015, 2013 Minerva Humanities Center, Conference Participation Grant, Tel Aviv
University (2000$)
2014 EDEN – Erasmus Mundus Master’s Research Scholarship
Political Theory Department, Sciences-Po, Paris (5000€, 6 months)
2012 Prof. Adi Ophir, The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of
Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University
Master’s Research Grant (2000€)
2010 Wallonie-Bruxelles International (WBI), M.A. Research Scholarship
Rhetoric Department, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Supervisor: Prof. Emmanuelle Danblon (4800€)
2010 Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), German Language
Studies, Did – Deutsch-Institut, Berlin (2000€)
Invited Talks
2019 The White West 2, “Israël et la Suprématie Blanche – une Nouvelle
Aube pour une Relation Séculaire? ” La Colonie, Paris, June 16.
Revital Madar Curriculum Vitae January 2020
4
2018 Creator and Moderator, “The Challenge of Grounded Theory,” 2-day
Ph.D. Workshop at “Think = Do = Discover – The Multiverse of
Research,” Ph.D. Program “Transformations in European Societies,”
Institute for European Ethnology and Cultural Analysis, LMU Munich,
October 24-25.
2017 Semaine Anticolonial, « Peut-on rendre compte de la lutte Mizrahi en
Israël sans Sacrifier Celle des Palestiniens – Aujourd’hui Comme
Hier ? », Salon Anticolonial, Paris, March 4.
2016 Philosophy is not written with a ‘Z’ – on the Bodies of Thought, “The
Anorexic Sovereign,” Tel-Aviv Night of Philosophy, May 26.
2016 “Black and Mizrahi Feminism” in the Seminar: Women in the
Community and Social Change: Critical Practice, School of Social
Work, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, April 6.
2014 “When the Political Enters the Studio: on the Political-Creative
Consultant,” Research Methods for Creative Direction for Fashion
Seminar, London College of Fashion, May 14.
Conference Participation
Conferences and Workshops Organized
2018 Living with Contested Borders – The Case of Palestine-Israel, Beyond
Borders – ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius Alumni
Conference, Berlin, May 25.
2013 The Underrepresentation of Women from Minority Groups in the
Israeli Academy, Minerva Humanities Center – University of Tel Aviv,
December 22.
Panel Organized
2020 Law & Society Annual Meeting, “In Search of the ‘Political’: Law’s
(Il)legibility Between Violence and Care,” Denver, May 29.
Papers Presented
2020 Law & Society Annual Meeting, “Constructing and Preserving Settler-
Colonial Temporality Through Law and Violence,” Denver, May 29.
2019 Sixth Annual ACGS Conference – Racial Borders, Racist Borders,
“Exceptional Violence and Ordinary Racialization in Hebron’s 2016
Shooting Incident,” University of Amsterdam, October 17.
2019 Beyond Borders, ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius Alumni
Conference, “Repudiated Violence on the Borders,” Berlin, May 25.
Revital Madar Curriculum Vitae January 2020
5
2019 Trajectories of Change Annual Fellows Conference, Zeit-Stiftung,
“The Case for Repudiated Violence – Preliminary Thoughts,” Berlin,
May 11.
2018 Replacement and Replaceability in Contemporary Culture – VIII
Graduate Conference in Culture Studies, “Revenge Beyond the Logic
of Replacement – Rethinking Political Action,” Universidade Católica
Portuguesa, Lisbon, December 6.
2018 Trajectories of Change Annual Fellows Conference, Zeit-Stiftung,
“’Do you know What’s an Arab Bystander?’: The Kafr Qasim Trial as
Case Study for a Sovereign Failure,” Berlin, May 24.
2017 Cultural Studies Association Annual Conference, “Debt and Identity
Politics in the Hebron Shooting Incident,” Georgetown University,
Washington D.C., May 25.
2016 Sartre’s Réflexions sur la Question Juive – 70 Years After:
Antisemitism, Race, and Gender, “A Moment of Inconsistency: Letting
the Black Body into the Sphere of Western Humanity,” the Vidal
Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, the
Hebrew University of Jerusalem, December 18.
2015 3rd European Geographies of Sexualities Conference – Crossing
Boundaries: Sexualities, Media and (Urban) Spaces, The Effects of
Acts of Shaming on ‘Safe Spaces,’” Sapienza – Università di Roma,
September 16.
2015 15th Other Sex Annual Conference, “When Comparing Identities and
Oppressions…” Tel Aviv University, June 14.
2013 The 2nd Non-Western Fashion Conference, “Creating Identity Outside
of the Exposed Body,” London University of the Arts, November 20.
10th Lexical Conference of Political Thought, “Revenge,” Minerva
Humanities Center – Tel Aviv University, June 19.
2012 8th Lexical Conference of Political Thought, “Failure,” Minerva
Humanities Center – Tel Aviv University, June 27.
Teaching Experience
Lecturer
Spring 2019, Seminar, “Sovereign Power & Violence – from Territory to
Autumn 2017 Population and Sexuality, General Program, Second Year,
Sciences-Po, Paris.
Autumn 2017 Seminar, “Gender & Imperialism in the 19th and 20th Century,” Europe-
North America Program, Sciences-Po, Reims.
Revital Madar Curriculum Vitae January 2020
6
Section Instructor
Spring 2018, Discussion Session, “The History of Empires in the 20th Century,”
Spring 2017 Europe-North America Program, Second Year, Sciences-Po, Reims.
August 2019, Orientation Week, Methodology Sessions: Introduction, research
August 2018 question, critical reading, bibliography, presentation skills, First year,
Sciences-Po, Reims.
Teaching Assistant
Spring 2013 Elective Course, “Critique of Religion: Marx, Nietzsche and Freud,”
The Interdisciplinary College, Herzliya.
Professional / Research Experience
Research Assistantships
2019-Present Assistant to Prof. Nadim Rouhana, research on the concept of the ger
(gentile), nationality and homeland in Israel/Palestine, International
Affairs and Conflict Studies, The Fletcher School, Tufts University,
Massachusetts.
2014-2016 Assistant to Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, research on childhood
in Palestine and human rights, including archive research, School for
Social Work, Criminology Institute, and Faculty of Law, The Hebrew
University of Jerusalem.
2014 Assistant to Prof. Yifat Biton, research on fear of crime, School of
Law, The College of Management Academic Studies, Tel Aviv.
2014 Assistant to Dr. Meital Balmas, research on the interpretation of
international law and language, Communication and Journalism
department, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Affiliations and Research Groups
2017 Fellow member of the research group “Matérialités de la Politique,”
directed by Prof. Édouard Delruelle, Philosophy Department,
Université de Liège.
2012-2016 Fellow member of the “Political Lexicon” research group for graduate
students, directed by Prof. Adi Ophir, Minerva Humanities Center, Tel
Aviv University.
2013-2014 Fellow member of the “Living Together” research group for graduate
students, directed by Dr. Raif Zreik. Minerva Humanities Center, Tel
Aviv University.
Revital Madar Curriculum Vitae January 2020
7
2013 Director of “Sexism and Racism,” research group for graduate students,
Minerva Humanities Center, Tel Aviv University.
Professional Development
2018 Summer workshop on “Theory from the South: Interrogating the
Global Dis/Order,” with Prof. Jean and John Comaroff.
School for Social Research’s Institute for Critical Social Inquiry, The
New School, New York June 11-16.
2017 International Summer School in Comparative Conflict Studies on
“Religion and Conflict: The Balkans’ Explorations vs. Explorations of
the Balkans,” with Dr. Dino Abazović, Center for Comparative
Conflict Studies at the Faculty of Media and Communications (FMK),
Singidunum University, Belgrade, June 25-July 1.
Service to the Department, Field, and Community
2016-2017 Member of the governing council, “Academia for Equality” –
organization promoting social change within and from academia, Israel.
2014-2016 Initiator, organizer, moderator and consultant, “The Academic
Professionalization Training for First Generation Graduate Students,”
Minerva Humanities Center, Tel Aviv University (since 2016 I have
acted as supervisor and consultant).
2013-2015 Publicist and author of weekly column “Black Flag,” Haaretz cultural
supplement.
2013-2015 Coordinator and moderator, “Feminist Mizrahi Madrasse” – annual
community course on Mizrahi (oriental) Jewish feminism in South Tel
Aviv and in Sapir College organized by “Achoti Movement for Women
in Israel.”
2012-2013 New media manager, “The Gun on the Table Campaign” – a feminist
grassroots initiative for amelioration of gun supervision in Israel.
2007-2012 English and French translator, Physicians for Human Rights’ Open
Clinic, Israel.
Languages
Hebrew: Native
English: Fluent
French: Fluent
German: Intermediate

[U of Haifa] According to Asad Ghanem, Support for Israel is a Disgrace

31.03.22

Editorial Note

Soon after Russia invaded Ukraine, pro-Palestinian activists and sympathizers complained that it was unfair to condemn Russia without condemning Israel with the same vigor.   The new equivalency is blatantly false. Unprovoked, Russia invaded Ukraine, leveling entire cities and killing many civilians.  In contrast, the Palestinians rejected the 1947 UN Partition Proposal and started a war with their Arab backers against nascent Israel.   

Last week, Asad Ghanem, a professor of political science at the University of Haifa and a Palestinian activist, wrote a public letter addressing the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky. Ghanem referred to Zelensky’s speech in the Knesset and described it as a “disgrace.” 

Ghanem wrote, “your apparent double standards towards the legitimate Palestinian struggle against occupation, oppression, killings, racial discrimination and displacement – crimes that Israel has practiced for more than seven decades against my people… You reversed the roles of occupier and occupied.” 

Ghanem added, “I wish we as Palestinians could persuade the world to mobilize in a similar fashion, and force Israel to abide by international resolutions. Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people have included the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba. Hundreds of towns and villages were ethnically cleansed and demolished, with most of their features then erased from the earth, preventing the return of their people. Some Palestinians became displaced within the newly proclaimed state of Israel, while others sought refuge in neighboring Arab countries.”   

For Ghanem, “Israel has criminalized the Palestinian struggle for freedom and liberation, denied the legitimate Palestinian leadership, confiscated Palestinian property and resources, and arrested Palestinian activists.” 

Ghanem went further: “I also know that a Russian victory would be a great gift to Israel’s aggressive posture – a victory for its ‘Iron Wall’ concept, which regulates its dealings with us until our complete defeat…To this end, I urge you to stop supporting our oppressors.”  

Ghanem also stated that “Palestinians who became Israeli citizens have endured rampant discrimination.”

However, contrary to Ghanem’s assertions, a new statistical report on the Arab Society in Israel was published by Dr. Nasreen Haddad Haj Yahya, Dr. Muhammed Khalaily and Dr. Arik Rudnitzky from the Israel Democracy Institute on March 17, 2022. The report provides an overview of the changes in Arab society in recent decades in several fields, such as education, employment, and lifestyle. The experts noted that “internal developments that have taken place in Arab society in recent years are clearly reflected… The rise in the standard of living, life expectancy and education, along with the decline in fertility rates, the change in the structure of the Arab family, and the desire to realize individual aspirations at the expense of collective values. These factors are undermining traditional patterns and revolutionizing Arab society.”

The experts also added that “There is no doubt that the real revolution that has taken place in Arab society over the past two decades is reflected in the dramatic rise in the indices of education… thanks to the prominent presence of young men and women from Arab society in higher education and in the labor market. While there has been undeniable progress, the gaps in the quality of employment and the level of wages between Arabs and Jews have not yet closed, in part because of the severe economic crisis that has befallen Arab society in the past two years, following COVID-19. At the same time, the level of expectations and aspirations for the self-realization of the Arab citizens are on a steady upward trend.”  The data is collected from the Central Bureau of Statistics, ministries and government authorities, the National Insurance Institute, the Galilee Association, and the Abraham Fund.

As the report states clearly, there is a prominent presence of young men and women from Arab society in the higher education system and the Israeli labor market, improving their living standards. 

As for discrimination, Ghanem has enjoyed the Israeli higher education system for over three decades, starting in 1984 as a student to becoming a professor at the University of Haifa. Ghanem overlooks his “double standards” of milking Israel’s benefits while delegitimizing Israel.  

Ghanem should be reminded that he is free to trash Israel in such an extravagant way despite his complaints.   He would not be able to trash the regimes in any of the Arab countries, the West Bank, or the Gaza Strip.  Hypocrisy at its finest.

References:

https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/russia-ukraine-war-israel-palestine-zelensky-support-disgrace

Dear President Zelensky, your support for Israel is a disgrace 
Asad Ghanem

22 March 2022 16:01 UTC

In an open letter, political analyst Asad Ghanem urges the Ukrainian president to stop employing double standards and to support the Palestinian struggle

Dear Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Your recent speech before the Israeli Knesset was a disgrace when it comes to global struggles for freedom and liberation, particularly of the Palestinian people. You reversed the roles of occupier and occupied. You missed another opportunity to demonstrate the justice of your cause and the broader cause of freedom. 

You said: “We are in different countries and in completely different conditions. But the threat is the same: for both us and you – the total destruction of the people, state, culture. And even of the names: Ukraine, Israel.”

I am angry and sad that Russia is seeking to occupy your country and to crush the rights of the Ukrainian people to self-determination and freedom, and I believe that every possible support must be given to Ukrainians as they resist this barbaric aggression. At the same time, I reject the policies of the US and its Nato allies around the globe.

I am also concerned by your apparent double standards towards the legitimate Palestinian struggle against occupation, oppression, killings, racial discrimination and displacement – crimes that Israel has practiced for more than seven decades against my people.And while I admire your success in building a large international coalition to support your struggle against Russian aggression, I wish we as Palestinians could persuade the world to mobilise in a similar fashion, and force Israel to abide by international resolutions.

Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people have included the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba. Hundreds of towns and villages were ethnically cleansed and demolished, with most of their features then erased from the earth, preventing the return of their people. Some Palestinians became displaced within the newly proclaimed state of Israel, while others sought refuge in neighbouring Arab countries.

Occupation and siege

Palestinians who became Israeli citizens have endured rampant discrimination, while those living in the West Bank live under a brutal occupation, and those in Gaza a crushing siege. Israel has criminalised the Palestinian struggle for freedom and liberation, denied the legitimate Palestinian leadership, confiscated Palestinian property and resources, and arrested Palestinian activists.

Racist laws, such as the 2018 nation-state law and the recently revised citizenship law, have codified Israel’s opposition to Palestinian self-determination and to a Palestinian homeland.

And yet, you have taken public positions in support of Israeli occupation. In 2020, you opted to quit the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, a body tasked with supporting Palestinian rights. You even backed Israel’s right to “self-defence” when it was practicing the most extreme forms of aggression against our people.

Since the start of Russia’s offensive against your country, you have continued to practice double standards. While Israel has hesitated to accept non-Jewish Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian bombing – a policy motivated by inhumanity and ethnic supremacism, with which Palestinians are all too familiar – you remain willing to turn to Israel’s right-wing nationalist prime minister, Naftali Bennett, as a mediator.

I know that most Palestinians are watching your stubborn struggle and wishing you victory over Russia’s brutal aggression. I also know that a Russian victory would be a great gift to Israel’s aggressive posture – a victory for its “Iron Wall” concept, which regulates its dealings with us until our complete defeat.

On the other hand, the struggle and victory of your people, even with the destruction of much of your country and the displacement of scores of Ukrainians, would give hope to other peoples struggling against oppression and erasure, rekindling our hopes for return and liberation. To this end, I urge you to stop supporting our oppressors.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.Asad GhanemAsad Ghanem is a professor of political science at the University of Haifa. Palestinian activist and writer.
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https://en.idi.org.il/articles/38538

Press Release

The Inaugural Annual Statistical Report on Arab Society in Israel

March 17, 2022The Annual Statistical Report on Arab Society was published today for the first time by the Israel Democracy Institute. The Report provides an overview of the changes that have taken place in Arab society in recent decades in a number of fields, including education, employment, and lifestyle.

The editors of the Statistical Report on Arab Society, Dr. Nasreen Haddad Haj YahyaDr. Muhammed Khalaily and Dr. Arik Rudnitzky, note that “internal developments that have taken place in Arab society in recent years are clearly reflected in the numbers and data presented in the Report. The rise in the standard of living, life expectancy and education, along with the decline in fertility rates, the change in the structure of the Arab family, and the desire to realize individual aspirations at the expense of collective values. These factors are undermining traditional patterns and revolutionizing Arab society.”

The IDI experts added: “There is no doubt that the real revolution that has taken place in Arab society over the past two decades is reflected in the dramatic rise in the indices of education. These factors are not only fermenting change within Arab society, but affecting Israelis as a whole thanks to the prominent presence of young men and women from Arab society in higher education and in the labor market. While there has been undeniable progress, the gaps in the quality of employment and the level of wages between Arabs and Jews have not yet closed, in part because of the severe economic crisis that has befallen Arab society in the past two years, following COVID-19. At the same time, the level of expectations and aspirations for the self-realization of the Arab citizens are on a steady upward trend.”

Highlights

Population: At the end of 2020 the Arab population in Israel was about 1,957,270, representing 21.1% of the total Israeli population. This figure includes almost 362,000 Arab residents of East Jerusalem who hold “permanent resident” status. Thus, the number of Arabs who hold full citizenship was about 1,595,300, constituting some 17.2% of the country’s population.

Geographical Distribution: 51.6% of the Arab citizens live in northern Israel, 19.7% in the ‘Triangle’ region in the center of the country, 17.5% in the Negev, 8.3% in the mixed cities (Acre, Haifa, Jaffa, Ramla, Lod, Nof Hagalil and Maalot-Tarshiha), 1.1% in the Jerusalem Corridor (including West Jerusalem) and 1.8% in the rest of the country.

Municipal Status: Almost one half (49.3%) live in local councils and the vast majority of these – in 69 Arab local councils. 41% of Arab citizens live in cities, the large majority of them in 12 Arab cities and 7 mixed cities, and a small percentage in cities in which the majority of the population is Jewish. 5.5% of Arab citizens live in 47 small rural localities that are incorporated into regional councils. The rest (4.2%) live in localities that have no formal municipal status and are referred to as “unrecognized villages”, most of them in the Negev. There are a total of 163 localities in which all residents are Arab citizens of Israel.

Religion: The large majority of Arab citizens of Israel are Muslims (82.9%), and the remainder are either Druze (9.2%) or Christians (7.9%).

Violence and Crime: There were 51 Arab murder victims in 2014, this figure has since risen to 94 in 2019, 113 in 2020 (96 men and 17 women), and 110 in 2021 (97 men and 13 women). Indeed, over the last decade, the number of murder victims in Arab society has almost tripled. At the same time, the number of Arab citizens wounded in shooting incidents increased more than threefold between 2016 and 2018, from 82 to 301.

Education System: The Arab education system of school age numbers 437,000 students, as of the academic year 2021/2020, which is about 24% of all students in Israel.

Infrastructure and Students: There has been an impressive increase in the number of students, schools and classrooms in the Arab education system. Accordingly, there was an increase in the number of classrooms from 675 in 1948 to 17,726 in 2020. In the 2020–2021 school year, the number of Arab students reached 437,000 (not including kindergartens), some 24% of the total school population in Israel.

Despite the increase in the number of schools and the decrease in class size, Arab schools still suffer from the impact of many years of discrimination. The situation is particularly severe in the Negev, where there is an acute shortage of schools and classrooms in Bedouin localities, and particularly in unrecognized Bedouin villages. In all the unrecognized villages, which are home to around 70,000 residents, there are only 10 elementary schools, and not a single secondary school.

Higher education: The rate of Arab undergraduate students in academic institutions in Israel has almost doubled in the last decade from 10% (22,268) in the 2010 academic year to 18.3% (43,454) in the academic year 2020. The proportion and number of Arab graduate students has almost tripled, from 6.5 % (3,270) in 2010 to 14.6% (9,252) in 2020, the proportion of Arabs studying for a PhD rose from 3.9% (413) in 2010 to 7.3% (855) in 2020.

Employment: Between 1995 and 2002, employment rates among Arab men declined steadily by more than 10 percentage points. In the middle of the first decade of the 2000s, Arab employment rates among men began to recover, against the backdrop of the recovery of the market as a whole from the dotcom crash and the Second Intifada. These rates then stagnated between 2017 and 2019, and even declined slightly. In 2020, following the outbreak of the pandemic in March, employment rates for Arab men dropped sharply to a low of 69.3%.

Similarly, employment rates for Arab women rose steadily from the mid-2000s. Between 2001 and 2018 the rate almost doubled, climbing from 19.8% to 38.2%.

One of the main factors behind the relatively low employment rates for Arab men and women is their low level of education. At the higher levels of education – undergraduate and above – the gaps between Arabs and Jews in employment rates are almost completely erased. On the other hand, in the low levels of education, the chances of Arabs entering the labor market are considerably lower compared to Jews with the same level of education.

Another key factor in wage gaps between Jews and Arabs is the relatively limited range of industries in which Arab employees are employed, mainly – sectors that pay low salaries on average and do not require highly skilled labor.

Fertility: The overall fertility rate among Arab women is 2.98 (as of 2019) live births per woman, with significant differences among different geographical regions. The fertility rate for women in the Bedouin community in the Negev (5.26) is almost twice as high as that for Arab women in Northern Israel (2.36 in the Northern district, 2.61 in the Haifa district) and in the Triangle (2.69). The highest fertility rate was measured among Muslim women (3.16), followed by Druze women (2.02) and Christian women (1.76). In the past, the overall fertility rate among Arab women was almost twice as high as that among Jewish women, but has steadily declined over the past two decades, and the gap has largely disappeared. Today the fertility rate among Jewish women (3.09) similar to that among Muslim women.

Infant Mortality: Over the last two decades infant mortality rates among Arab citizens have declined steadily, but they are still twice as high as in Jewish society: 5.3 compared to 2.2 per 1,000 live births in 2019. In Negev Bedouin localities, the average infant mortality rate is twice as high (9.6) as the average rate in Arab localities in the North (4.1) and in the triangle (4.2).

Life Expectancy: Life expectancy has increased by 3 years in the last two decades, similarly to the increase among Jews. However, Life expectancy for Arab men and or women is the same as the life expectancy for Jewish men and women 20 years ago.

Quality of life and standard of living: 95% of the Arab localities, in which almost 90% of the Arab citizens live, are in the four lowest clusters socio-economically, 11% of which are ranked in the lowest cluster. In contrast, only 17% of Jewish localities are in the lowest clusters, 1–4.

Household Expenditures: The average monthly expenditure for Arab families rose significantly from NIS 6,924 in 2004 to NIS 9,340 in 2017. This increase is reflected in almost all areas. Thus, the expenses associated with housing increased from NIS 761 (11% of the total expenditure) per month to NIS 1,230 (13.2% of the total expenditure), and transportation and travel increased significantly from NIS 862 (12.4% of the total expenditure). In 2004 to NIS 1,589 (17% of the total expenditure) in 2017.

** Data from the Arab Society Yearbook are based on data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, ministries and government authorities, the National Insurance Institute, the Galilee Association and the Abraham Fund.

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https://en.idi.org.il/articles/38540

Statistical Report on Arab Society in Israel :2021

March 17, 2022  Written By: Dr. Nasreen Haddad Haj-Yahya, Dr. Muhammed Khalaily, Dr. Arik Rudnitzky, Ben Fargeon

Arab society in Israel is being revolutionized by the rise in the standard of living, life expectancy and education, along with the decline in fertility rates, changes to family structures, and an increasing desire to realize individual aspirations at the expense of collective values.


Population

At the end of 2020, the population of Israel stood at approximately 9,289,760, including 1,957,270 Arabs, representing 21.1% of the total. This figure includes almost 362,000 Arab residents of East Jerusalem who hold “permanent resident” status, but not full citizenship. Thus, the number of Arab citizens of Israel was 1,595,300 at the end of 2020, constituting some 17.2% of the total population.

Population of Israel by population group, (end of 2020)

Population groupSize% of total Israeli population 
Jews6,873,91074.00%
Arabs1,957,27021.10%
Of which: Arab citizens of Israel1,595,30017.20%
Others*458,5804.90%
Total:9,289,760100.00%

* The category “others” includes non-Arab Christians and citizens with no religious affiliation.

Geographical Distribution

Israel’s Arab population resides in five main areas: northern Israel, the Triangle region, the Negev, the “mixed” Arab-Jewish cities (Acre, Haifa, Jaffa, Ramle, Lod, Nof Hagalil and Maalot-Tarshicha), and the Jerusalem corridor (including West Jerusalem). Other Arab citizens live in various localities throughout the country, mainly in large cities in which the overwhelming majority of the population is Jewish.

The Arab population in northern Israel and in the mixed cities is heterogeneous in terms of its religious affiliation (comprising Muslims, Christians, and Druze), while the Arab population of the Triangle region and the Negev is homogeneously Muslim.

Arab citizens by area of residence (end of 2020 and not including East Jerusalem)

RegionArab population (thousands)% Of total Arab population
Northern Israel82351.60%
Triangle region31419.70%
Negev28017.50%
Mixed cities1328.30%
Jerusalem corridor (including West Jerusalem)171.10%
Rest of Israel29.51.80%
Total1,595.30100.00%

Almost half (49.3%) of Arab citizens reside in local councils, the overwhelming majority of these, in 69 Arab local councils, and the remainder in Jewish local councils throughout Israel. Some 41% of Arab citizens live in cities, the large majority of them in 12 Arab cities and 7 mixed cities, and a smaller percentage in cities in which the majority of the population is Jewish (including West Jerusalem). Another 5.5% of Arab citizens reside in 47 small rural localities that are incorporated into regional councils. The remaining 4.2% live in localities that have no formal municipal status and are referred to as “unrecognized villages,” most of them in the Negev. In total, there are 163 localities in which all residents are Arab citizens of Israel.

Arab Citizens’ locality of residence by municipal status, as of end of 2020 (not including East Jerusalem)

Municipal status of localityArab citizens residing in locality (thousands)Share of total
City65441.00%
 493.1 (Arab cities)30.90%
 132.2 (Mixed cities)8.30%
 28.9 (Jewish cities, including West Jerusalem)1.80%
Local council78649.30%
 783.2 (Arab local councils)49.10%
 2.9 (Jewish local councils)0.20%
Locality in a regional council88.65.50%
 45.4 (Regional councils in which all localities are Arab)2.80%
 41.6 (Mixed regional councils)2.60%
 1.6 (Regional councils in which all localities are Jewish)0.10%
No municipal status66.34.20%
 64.5 (Negev)4.00%
 1.3 (Northern Israel)0.10%
 0.5 (Triangle region)0.10%
Total:1,595.30100.00%

Religious Affiliation

The large majority of Arab citizens of Israel are Muslim (82.9%), and the remainder are either Druze (9.2%) or Christian (7.9%). There are substantial differences among regions in terms of the relative size of these three religious groups. In northern Israel and the Triangle region, the Arab population is heterogeneous: The relative size of the Druze population in the north is twice as large as its national share, while the relative size of the Christian population in mixed cities is four times its national share. By contrast, the Arab population in the Triangle region and in the Negev is almost entirely Muslim.

Fertility Rates

The overall fertility rate among Arab women in Israel is 2.98 live births per woman (as of 2019), but there are significant differences among different geographic areas. The fertility rate for women in the Bedouin community in the Negev (5.26) is almost twice as high as that for Arab women in northern Israel (2.36 in the Northern District, 2.61 in the Haifa District) and in the Triangle region (2.69). There are also considerable variations in fertility rates between different religious communities in Arab society. The highest rates are found among Muslim women (3.16), followed by Druze women (2.02) and Christian women (1.76).

In the past, the overall fertility rate among Arab women in Israel was almost twice as high as that among Jewish women. Over the last two decades, this rate has fallen steadily, and the gap between Arab and Jewish women has largely disappeared. Today, the fertility rate among Jewish women (3.09) is similar to that among Muslim women. This is mainly due to a change in social patterns, including higher levels of education, the integration of Arab women into the workforce, a higher average age at first marriage (along with prolonged singlehood), and the abandonment of traditional lifestyles.

Fertility rates for women in Israel by population group, religion, and year

YearJewish womenArab women  
  TotalMuslimsChristiansDruze
19953418.00%4.692.693.5
20053372.00%4.032.192.59
20103351.00%3.752.172.47
20153313.00%3.322.042.19
20193.09298.00%3.161.762.02

As a result of relatively high fertility rates in the past, the Arab population in Israel is still very young. Children and youth under the age of 18 constitute 38.6% of the population, compared with 32% in Jewish society. There are differences in this regard based on religious affiliation and geographical distribution. Among Muslims, the under-18 age group make up 40.4% of the population; among Christians, 26.0%; and among Druze, 30.9%. In terms of geographical distribution, the highest percentage of children is found among Negev Bedouin, 51.8%—far higher than in northern Israel (33.8%) and the Triangle region (36.4%).

Population under the age of 17, natural population growth, and annual growth rate, by population group, religion, and geographical region, 2019

Population group% up to age 17Natural population growth (per thousand)Annual growth rate
ArabsTotal38.60%20.32.20%
 Northern Israel33.80%14.51.40%
 Triangle36.40%16.61.80%
 Negev51.80%30.83.80%
 Muslims40.40%21.72.30%
 Christians26.00%8.81.00%
 Druze30.90%12.81.30%
Jews 32.00%141.60%

As a result of relatively high fertility rates in the past, the Arab population in Israel is still very young. Children and youth under the age of 18 constitute 38.6% of the population, compared with 32% in Jewish society. There are differences in this regard based on religious affiliation and geographical distribution. Among Muslims, the under-18 age group make up 40.4% of the population; among Christians, 26.0%; and among Druze, 30.9%. In terms of geographical distribution, the highest percentage of children is found among Negev Bedouin, 51.8%—far higher than in northern Israel (33.8%) and the Triangle region (36.4%).

Population under the age of 17, natural population growth, and annual growth rate, by population group, religion, and geographical region, 2019

Population group% up to age 17Natural population growth (per thousand)Annual growth rate
ArabsTotal38.60%20.32.20%
 Northern Israel33.80%14.51.40%
 Triangle36.40%16.61.80%
 Negev51.80%30.83.80%
 Muslims40.40%21.72.30%
 Christians26.00%8.81.00%
 Druze30.90%12.81.30%
Jews 32.00%141.60%

Infant Mortality

Over the last two decades, infant mortality rates among Arab citizens have declined steadily, yet they remain twice as high as the equivalent rates for Jews: 5.3 versus 2.2 per thousand live births, respectively, in 2019.

Within Arab society, there are considerable differences by religion. Between 2015 and 2019, the average infant mortality rate for Muslims (5.9 per thousand live births) was almost twice as high as the rates for Druze (3.9) and Christians (2.9).

Significant variations in infant mortality rates are also found among geographical regions. The average infant mortality rate in Negev Bedouin localities is twice as high as the average rate in Arab localities in northern Israel and the Triangle region.

Infant mortality rates among Arabs per thousand live births, by population group, religion, and geographical area, 2019

Arabs—Total5.3
Muslims6
Christians1
Druze3
Northern Israel4
Triangle region4
Negev9.6
Jews2.20

Life Expectancy

Life expectancy among Arabs is on the rise, due to improvements in various health indicators. Over the last two decades, life expectancy for both Arab men and women has increased by three years, similar to the equivalent increase among Jews. However, differences between Jews and Arabs remain large: Life expectancy for Arab men and or women is the same as the life expectancy for Jewish men and women 20 years ago.

Life expectancy in Israel by gender and population group, 1996–2019

YearsMen Women 
Average life expectancy ArabsJewsArabsJews
1996–1999757670.00%77.28050.00%
2000–2004757810.00%78.38200.00%
2005–2009767960.00%79.38310.00%
2010–2014778080.00%818410.00%
2015–201977.58140.00%81.78490.00%

Quality of Life and Standard of Living

Socioeconomic Ranking of Arab Localities

The majority of Arab localities are small to medium- sized. Most are located in Israel’s social and geographic periphery, which heavily influences their economic and social status. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, almost all (95%) of Arab localities rank in Israel’s lowest socioeconomic clusters, and 11%- in the lowest cluster of all (cluster 1). Only 5% of Arab localities are in clusters 6–10. By contrast, only 17% of Jewish localities fall in the lower clusters 1–4, while 68% rank in clusters 6–10.

Localities in Israel by socioeconomic cluster type of locality and population group, 2017 (absolute numbers)

Poverty

The National Insurance Institute sets the poverty line in Israel as a relative measure, and accordingly determines the percentage of families falling above or below the line. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (in 2018), the percentage of Arab families below the poverty line (after supplementary government payments) was 45.3%, and among Arab children-57.8%. Poverty rates among Jews were considerably lower, at 13.4% of families and 21.2% of children.

The pandemic brought with it both public health and socioeconomic challenges. Its impact on families’ economic situation cannot be overlooked, particularly in Arab society. Many families have experienced financial crises, as their breadwinners found themselves out of work as a result of the pandemic, dealing a blow to their incomes and to their standard of living.

Poverty rates by population group, 1997–2018 (%)

Poverty rates

Digital Access and Internet Usage

In 2018, 60.8% of Arab citizens in Israel had access to a computer or tablet, compared with 83.8% of Jews (a gap of 23 percentage points). However, the gap between Jews and Arabs in terms of internet use is narrowing. In 2019, 81.8% of Arabs were internet users, compared with 88.1% of Jews (a gap of 7 percentage points). In recent years, internet use among Arab citizens has risen steadily, from 70.9% in 2017 to 74.2% in 2018, and 81.1% in 2019. One of the reasons for this increase is the growing use of smartphones.

Despite this trend, data produced by the Israel Internet Association for 2017 indicates a sizable difference between Jews and Arabs in their patterns of internet usage: 82% of Jews use email services, compared with 60% of Arabs; 65% of Jews pay bills and make appointments online, comparted with 34% of Arabs; and 60% of Jews use the internet to complete online forms, versus just 31% of Arabs. On the other hand, internet use for social purposes is higher among Arabs than among Jews, with 61% of Jews using social media networks compared with 73% of Arabs.

Internet usage by population group, 2017 (%)

Housing

Between 2004 and 2017, there was a relatively small decline in home ownership among the Arab population, from 91.9% of families to 90.3%, and a corresponding increase in the percentage of families living in rented apartments, from 6.6% to 6.7%. In the Jewish population, the home ownership rate stood at 74% of families in 2017. Between 2004 to 2017 we can see a decline in separate/freestanding homes from 70.2% to 53% and an increase over the same period in apartments from 25.2% to 41.6%.

Types of Housing in Arab localities 2004–2017

Household Expenditures

According to surveys conducted by the Galilee Society from 2004 to 2017, the average monthly expenditure for Arab families rose considerably, from NIS 6,924 in 2004 to NIS 9,340 in 2017, due to increased expenditures in almost every category of expenses. For example, housing expenditures rose from NIS 761 per month (11% of total expenditures) to NIS 1,230 (13.2%). The table below details average Arab family expenditures according to various categories of products and services. It shows noticeable increases in monthly expenditures on food, from NIS 1,994 in 2004 to NIS 2,443 in 2017, and on transport and travel, from NIS 862 in 2004 (12.4%) to NIS 1,589 in 2017 (17%).

Average monthly expenditures for Arab families, 2004–2017

Ownership of Products and Commodities

In 2004, only 36% of Arab families had air conditioning in their homes, a figure that rose to 87% in 2017. Similarly, the percentage of Arab families owning a car rose from 64% in 2004 to 83% in 2017. Meanwhile, the decline in ownership of a home telephone line—from 68% in 2004 to 20% in 2017—can be attributed to rising access to cellphones, laptops, and the internet, which have rendered fixed telephone lines largely irrelevant.

Another finding with sociocultural significance is the sharp rise in the percentage of Arab families who own a satellite dish, up from 67% in 2004 to 91% in 2017. This trend is indicative of the media consumption habits of Arabs in Israel, who are much more connected to foreign satellite television channels and media outlets, particularly those in the Arab world.

Violence and Crime

In recent years, rising violence and crime have become major concerns in Arab society, and the number of Arab citizens who have lost their lives has risen steadily. While there were 51 Arab murder victims in 2014, this figure has since risen to 94 in 2019, 113 in 2020 (96 men and 17 women), and 110 in 2021 (97 men and 13 women). Indeed, over the last decade, the number of murder victims in Arab society has almost tripled. At the same time, the number of Arab citizens wounded in shooting incidents increased more than threefold between 2016 and 2018, from 82 to 301. Since 2000, some 1,574 Arab citizens have been killed, 68 by the police (4.3%) and 1,506 by other Arab citizens.

Arab murder victims by gender, 2014–2021

The Labor Market

Employment Rates

Between 1995 and 2002, employment rates among Arab men declined steadily by more than 10 percentage points. Beginning with the mid-2000s., Arab employment rates among men began to recover, against the backdrop of the recovery of the market as a whole from the dotcom crash and the Second Intifada. These rates then stagnated between 2017 and 2019, and even declined slightly. In 2020, following the outbreak of the pandemic in March, employment rates for Arab men dropped sharply to a low of 69.3%.

Similarly, employment rates for Arab women rose steadily from the mid-2000s. Between 2001 and 2018 the rate almost doubled, climbing from 19.8% to 38.2%.

Employment rates (ages 25–64), by population group and gender (%, 1995-2020)

One of the main factors behind the relatively low employment rates for Arab men and women is their low level of education. 77% of the Arab population is educated only up to matriculation level or lower, and only 15% hold an academic degree. By contrast, 33% of the Jewish population have a degree. These gaps in education have implications not only for Arab citizens’ prospects of entering the workforce, but also for their potential earning power and working conditions.

At higher levels of education – undergraduate and above – the gaps between Arabs and Jews in employment rates are almost completely erased. On the other hand, in the low levels of education, the chances of Arabs entering the labor market are considerably lower compared to Jews with the same level of education.

Employment rates (aged 15+), by educational attainment and population group, 2019 (%)

Economic Sectors

Another key factor in wage gaps between Jews and Arabs is the relatively limited range of economic branches in which Arab employees are employed, mainly – those paying lower salaries on average and which do not require highly skilled labor.

Arab men are employed mainly in construction, manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade, hospitality, and transport industries. A very small percentage (especially in comparison with Jewish men) work in the information and communication industries in financial services, in professional, scientific and technical services, and in public administration. In construction, retail and wholesale, and hospitality—economic sectors that together employ almost half of Arab men—average salaries are lower than the national average. And even in manufacturing, the information and communication sector, and professional, scientific and technical services, in which salaries are higher than the national average, Arab workers earn less.

Arab women are also concentrated in sectors that pay lower-than-average salaries. Around one-half of Arab women work in education or in health and social services, sectors in which the average wage is lower than the national average. A relatively high percentage of Arab women are employed in the retail and wholesale industries, where here too– the average salary is relatively low. By contrast, only a negligible percentage of Arab women are employed in information and communication industries, financial services, and professional, scientific and technical services. For example, only 0.8% of Arab women are employed in the information and communication sector, compared with 4.8% of Jewish women—a rate that is six times higher.

Employees (aged 15+) in main economic sectors, by gender and population group, 2019 (percent)

Occupations

Not only are Arab men and women employed mainly in low-income industrial sectors, they also largely work (particularly Arab men) in occupations that are unskilled, poorly paid, and have high rates of physical burnout. Almost one-half of Arab men are skilled workers in industries such as construction, manufacturing, and agriculture, compared with a much lower percentage of Jewish men (19.4%). These occupations are characterized by long working hours, high rates of physical burnout, and lower-than-average salaries. At the same time, a high percentage of Arab employees (both men and women) are unskilled workers.

Among Arab women who are employed, a high percentage are professionals, mainly in the fields of health and education. In addition, a high percentage of Arab women are employed in sales and services. Compared with Jews, a small percentage of Arab men and women are employed in technical professions and in management positions. These occupations pay higher salaries than those in which most Arab workers are employed.

Employers (aged 15+) by occupation, population group, and gender, 2019 (%)

Salaries

Between 2008 and 2018, average nominal salaries rose throughout the workforce. Though salaries in the Arab population rose considerably during this period, the salary increase among the Jewish population was larger, and the gaps between the two groups widened. There were some differences in this trend between men and women. The gap between Arab and Jewish women increased over this decade, from 56% to 61% in favor of Jewish women, while among men, the gap declined from 85% in 2008 to 77% in 2018, in favor of Jewish men. In any case, the salary gap is very high for both sexes, in favor of the Jewish population.

Average monthly nominal salary for salaried workers (aged 25–64), by gender and population group, 2008–2018 (NIS)

The COVID-19 pandemic further widened the gaps between Arabs and Jews (excluding ultra-Orthodox Jews). Jews are under less pressure to find a job and have more time to consider different options, to negotiate with potential employers over salary and employment conditions, or to undertake vocational or professional training that will develop their skills and give them an advantage. By contrast, the Arab population has been pushed even more into low-income jobs with harsher conditions, due to a lack of options.

Education

School Infrastructure and Students

Ever since 1949–the first school year following the establishment of the State- there has been impressive growth in the number of students in the Arab education system, and the number of schools and classrooms. The growth in elementary education has been particularly dramatic- at a rate several times higher than the equivalent growth in the Jewish system. Yet the real revolution in the Arab education system has been in secondary education, as shown by the data in Table 11 below.

In the 2020–2021 school year, the number of Arab pupils reached 437,000 (not including kindergartens), some 24% of the total school population in Israel. And alongside the opening of kindergartens, elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools, other educational frameworks such as community centers have been established, and provide afterschool activities.

Number of schools, students, and classrooms in the Arab education system 1948–2020

Despite the increase in the number of schools and the decrease in class size, Arab schools still suffer from the impact of many years of discrimination. The situation is particularly severe in the Negev, where there is an acute shortage of schools and classrooms in Bedouin localities, and particularly in unrecognized Bedouin villages. In all the unrecognized villages, which are home to around 70,000 residents, there are only 10 elementary schools, and not a single secondary school. The Ministry of Education has recognized the need to build more schools and classrooms in the Arab education system, but faces obstacles in attempts to do so – a lack of available land for construction in Arab localities and significant planning challenges.

Government Budgeting Per Student

In 2011, the State allocated an average of NIS 13,192 for each elementary school student in the Arab education system, compared with NIS 14,862 per elementary school student in the Jewish system (a difference of NIS 1,670). In 2018, state funding for elementary education in the Arab system was NIS 16,523 per student, compared with NIS 17,529 in the Jewish system (a difference of NIS 1,006). That is, the gap in funding for Jewish students and Arab students in elementary schools is narrowing.

With regard to middle schools, Arab students were allocated an average of NIS 15,300 per student in 2011, compared with NIS 18,495 for Jewish students, a difference of NIS 3,195. In 2018, the equivalent figures were NIS 20,578 and NIS 22,459, respectively – a difference of NIS 1,881. Thus, as a result of changes in budgeting formulas and various programs instituted by the Ministry of Education, the funding gap between Arab and Jewish students in middle school is shrinking.

The largest gap in funding between Arab and Jewish education can be found in high schools. In 2011, the difference in per-student funding stood at NIS 7,265: NIS 24,084 for Jewish students, versus NIS 16,819 for Arab students. Unlike with regard to elementary and middle schools, the funding gap in high schools has continued to grow. In 2018, Jewish students were allocated an average of NIS 34,301, compared with NIS 24,759 allocated to Arab students, a difference of NIS 9,542. This significant difference is not simply a direct result of inequitable budgeting by the Ministry of Education, but is also influenced by two other budgetary sources: local government funding and funding by parents’ contributions.

Median Number of Years of Education

The median number of years of education among Arabs has risen dramatically, from 1.2 at the beginning of the second decade of the State of Israel to 12 in 2017. Gender differences in median years of education have also decreased: In 1985, the median was 7.7 years for Arab women and 9.3 for Arab men; in 2017, the median for both sexes was 12 years. Despite these improvements, there is still a gap between Arabs and Jews, though it has dropped from 7.2 years in 1961 (8.4 for Jews and 1.2 for Arabs) to 2 years in 2017 (14 for Jews and 12 for Arabs).

Median number of years of education for ages 15+, by population group, and selected years (absolute numbers)

School Dropout

School dropout is one of the more serious challenges facing the education system as a whole, and particularly among Arabs. In the 2000–2001 school year, the dropout rate among Arabs stood at 10%, compared with 4.9% among Jews; and in 2018–2019, 2.2% as compared with 1.9% among Jews.

School dropout rates among students in grades 7–12, by population group, 2000–2019 (%)

School Dropout

School dropout is one of the more serious challenges facing the education system as a whole, and particularly among Arabs. In the 2000–2001 school year, the dropout rate among Arabs stood at 10%, compared with 4.9% among Jews; and in 2018–2019, 2.2% as compared with 1.9% among Jews.

School dropout rates among students in grades 7–12, by population group, 2000–2019 (%)

Matriculation

The matriculation rate in the Arab school system has risen dramatically over the last decade, from 47.7% in 2009–2010 to 63.9% in 2018–2019. However, this still falls well below the equivalent rate in the Jewish education system, in which rates increased from 61.8% to 73.1% over the same period.

Within the Arab school system, there are very noticeable variations. Matriculation rates in the Druze system are even higher than in the Jewish school system, having risen from 53.5% in 2009–2010 to 82.5% in 2018–2019. By contrast, Bedouin education in the Negev lags far behind, with only a modest increase, from 43.6% in 2009–2010 to 48.1% in 2018–2019.

Matriculation rates among 12th-grade students, by education system, 2010–2020

Students in Higher Education

The percentage of Arab undergraduates studying in Israeli academic institutions rose from 10% (22,268) in the 2009–2010 academic year, to 18.3% (43,454) in 2019–2020. That is, the total number of Arab undergraduate students and their share of the total undergraduate student population has almost doubled over the last decade. This trend is even more significant among students for an MA degree, among whom the relative size of the Arab population has almost tripled, from 6.5% of all master’s students (3,270) in 2009–2010 to 14.6% (9,252) in 2019–2020. The proportion of Arab Ph.D. students has seen a smaller increase over this period, from 3.9% (413) in 2009–2010 to 7.3% (855) in 2019–2020.

Undergraduate students in Israeli institutions of higher education, by population group, 2010–2020 (in absolute numbers and %)

Master’s degree students in Israeli institutions of higher education, by population group, 2010–2020 (in absolute numbers and %)

Doctoral (Ph.D.) students in Israeli institutions of higher education, by population group, 2010–2020 (in absolute numbers and %)

There is a gap between the percentage of Arab students enrolled in higher education institutions and the percentage graduating from those institutions: In any given year, the percentage of students is higher than the percentage of graduates. There are two main reasons for this finding. First, Arab students tend to take longer to complete their studies towards a degree-that is, longer than the standard period of study defined by the institutions. Second, many Arab students choose study tracks that do not necessarily reflect their true interests, and subsequently switch to an alternative track, thus extending the period required to complete a degree.

The percentage of Arab citizens gaining a bachelor’s degree has risen from 10.3% in 2007 to 13.6% in 2019. For master’s degrees, the increase has been even steeper, from 4.9% in 2007 to 12.4% in 2019, while for doctoral degrees, there has been a rise from 2.8% in 2007 to 6% in 2019.

Representation in the Civil Service and Political Participation

Arabs Employed in the Civil Service
In 2000, Arab employees constituted 4.8% of civil service employees. A decade later, in 2010, this figure had risen to 7.5%, and by 2020 it reached 13.2%. While this represents a significant improvement in Arab representation in the civil service, it still falls below the relative share of Arabs among the general population.

Civil service employees by population group, 2000–2020 (%)

In 2003, 876 Arab women were employed in the civil service, constituting 31% of all Arab civil service employees. A decade later, in 2012, their number had more than doubled to 2,140 women, that is-39% of all Arab civil service employees (an increase of 8 percentage points). This trend continued to 2020, by which time there were 4,773 Arab women out of a total of 10,848 Arab employees in the civil service, some 44%. The rise in the percentage of Arab women gaining an academic education in recent years has led to more Arab women applying for civil service jobs, and to a narrowing of gaps between Arab men and Arab women.

Arab civil service employees by gender, 2003–2020 (%)

There are currently four levels of civil service ranks: entry, junior management, intermediate, and senior. While there has been a marked increase in Arab representation in the civil service, this has not been translated into Arab employees holding senior positions. These positions have a decisive influence on the design and implementation of public policy, particularly policy relating to the Arab public in Israel. Between 2017 and 2020, the percentage of senior positions held by Arabs did not exceed 1%: In 2017- 0.3%, and at the end of 2020- 0.6%. The lion’s share of Arab employees are employed in entry-level positions (62.1%), and only 25.3% hold junior management roles. Thus, it is important to distinguish between representation in numbers, and senior-level positions.

Arab employees in the civil service by rank, 2017–2020 (%)

Arab workers are employed mostly in three government ministries: the Ministries of the Interior, Education, and Health. Arab representation in the Ministry of Education workforce rose from 6.1% in 2005 to 8.8% in 2020. In 2020, 19.3% of Ministry of the Interior employees were Arabs, and the Ministry of Health has seen a marked improvement in Arab representation, from 7% in 2005 to 19.5% in 2020.

Arabs Employed in Government Companies

The percentage of Arab board members in government companies has risen dramatically from 1.2% in 2000 to 12% in 2018. Board members exert direct influence over policy and on issues relating to the representation of Arabs in their companies. Despite the improvement in Arab representation on company boards, Arabs are still under-represented in the companies’ employees. Between 2013 and 2019 the proportion of Arab employees in government companies rose from 2.2% to 2.58%—a tiny increase- and one which leaves the percentage of Arab workers in government companies far below the relative share of Arabs in the general population.

Arab Voter Turnout in Knesset Elections

Voter turnout among Arab citizens of Israel tends to fluctuate significantly, and has seen multiple peaks and slumps between the first Knesset elections in 1949 and the elections for the 24th Knesset in 2021. In general, voter turnout among Jews has been higher than among Arabs, with the exception of the early decades of the state. The history of Arab voter turnout can be categorized according to four main periods:

The first period (1949–1973, from the founding of the state to the 1973 Yom Kippur War) was marked by the military administration imposed on the Arab population, against the backdrop of what were the tragic consequences of the 1948 war for Arab society. The average voter turnout in the Arab public during this period (83.8%) was higher than the national average (81.4%).

The second period (1977–1993, from the Land Day and the founding of the Hadash party through to the signing of the Oslo Accords) was rife with political events that increased political engagement and drove the establishment of numerous political frameworks, both parliamentary and non-parliamentary. At the same time, this period also saw the emergence of groups calling to boycott elections for political and ideological reasons. Average voter turnout in the Arab public during this period stood at 72.4%, compared with a national average of 78.9%.

During the third period (1996–2013, from the first Netanyahu government to the third Netanyahu government), relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel reached a new low. Radical political groups gained more influence in the Arab public discourse and casted doubt as to the effectiveness of political participation in the Knesset. Voter turnout continued to decline during this period, reaching an average of 63.4% in the Arab public, compared with 70.3% nationally.

The fourth period (2015–2021) begins with the establishment of the Joint List in 2015 and ends with its dissolution, and the inclusion of Ra’am in the government formed after the elections for the 24th Knesset. Average voter turnout during this period was just 56.3% among Arabs, compared with a national average of 69.9%. The period saw a noticeable decline in voter turnout in the Jewish public as well, but there remained a sizable gap between Jewish and Arab voter turnout which was reflected in the balance of power in the Knesset and the government.

Voter turnout in Knesset elections, 1949–2021

Average voter turnout by population group, 1949–2021

Arab votes by political party, 1949–2021 (% of total Arab votes)image.png

Iran’s Academic-Like Call for Papers to an Anti-Israel event in Tehran in April

23.03.22

Editorial Note

The Iranian media outlet, AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA), has published the Iranian regime’s Call for Paper for the “Third International Congress of Holy Quds,” to be held in Tehran on the eve of the International Al-Quds Day on April 27 and 28, 2022. The deadline for submitting papers is April 16, 2022.

To those unfamiliar with the theocratic regime’s obsession with Al-Quds (the Islamic name of Jerusalem), a short explanation is needed.  Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder the Islamic Republic of Iran, postulated that the liberation of Jerusalem from Israel, commonly referred to as the “Little Satan” or the “Zionist entity,” is a sacred obligation of all the world’s Muslim.  On August 7, 1979, he proclaimed an annual Quds Day, a day of solidarity with the Muslims of Palestine:  “I invite Muslims all over the globe to consecrate the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as Al-Quds Day and to proclaim the international solidarity of Muslims in support of the legitimate rights of the Muslim people of Palestine. For many years, I have been notifying the Muslims of the danger posed by the usurper Israel which today has intensified its savage attacks against the Palestinian brothers and sisters, and which, in the south of Lebanon in particular, is continually bombing Palestinian homes in the hope of crushing the Palestinian struggle. I ask all the Muslims of the world and the Muslim governments to join together to sever the hand of the usurper and its supporters. I call on the Muslims of the world to select as Al-Quds Day the last Friday in the holy month of Ramadan- which is itself a determining period and can also be the determiner of the Palestinian people’s fate- and through a ceremony demonstrating the solidarity of Muslims world-wide, announce their support for the legitimate rights of the Muslim people. I ask God Almighty for the victory of the Muslims over the infidels.” 

Khomeini also issued a fatwa urging the elimination of the “Zionist entity” as a religious duty incumbent on all Muslims. Al-Quds Day also provides support of “oppressed peoples” against “arrogant, oppressive powers.”  

Over time, the Al-Quds Day initiative has grown in scope and prominence, with Iran organizing scores of events around the world.   The Washington-based United Against Nuclear Iran published a report on the Quds Celebrations, in January 2021. The report noted: “While ostensibly Quds Day’s primary focus is on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran sees this localized struggle as part of a broader global initiative. By hosting Quds Day celebrations around the world, Iran seeks to frame the Palestinian struggle as a pan-Islamic cause, and to claim the leadership mantle as the preeminent defender of the Palestinians.” 

The Iranian regime has organized several conferences on the subject, in search for legitimacy. 

In the Second International Holy Quds Congress, Naser Abou-Sharif, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement representative, said that Iran supports Palestine at all political, financial, and spiritual levels. He stated that the Palestinians have resisted for over a hundred years, and their resistance had been a key factor in their victory. “The Palestinians need support since the Zionist Regime surrounds them,” he added. “To resist Israel, Iran has supported the Palestinians from the beginning days and has paved the way for them to become more powerful,” he concluded.

In a similar vein, last month, ABNA reported that the Sheikh Ra’ed Salah, who heads the Islamic Movement in Israel, has “affirmed that al-Quds and the Aqsa Mosque are part of the [Islamic] nation’s inalienable constants and cannot be waived.” He delivered a speech in Nablus, in the Palestinian Territories, as part of al-Quds Global Week. He stated that “al-Quds and the Aqsa Mosque are the crown of our Islamic and Arab Palestinian constants. Any nation that respects itself should be adherent to its constants and hold on to them with all their might.” 

The wide reach of the regime’s anti-Israeli crusade is notable in the conference scheduled for late April.   The participants in the event are, The Committee for the Support of Palestine of Presidential Administration of Islamic Republic Iran”; “International Conference for the Support of Palestine of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Islamic Republic Iran”; “Islamic Human Rights Commission”; “AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly”; “The World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought”; “Center for International Relations of Seminaries”; “World Assembly of Islamic Awakening”; “International Union for United Ummah”; “Society for the Defending of Palestinian Nation”; “Kowsar Institute of Turkey”; “Cultural Committee of Arbaeen Headquarters”; “Namayesh TV Channel”; and “Ebrat Internet TV Channel”. 

The call for papers lists the topics that would be discussed in the congress: The Holy Quds, the Axis of Unity among Muslim Ummah; The Legal Aspects of the Zionist Regime’s Invasion and Occupation; Coexistence of Groups and Religions’ Followers in the Post-Zionism Palestine; The Muslim Ummah’s Responsibility against Atrocities of the Zionist Regime; The Role of the Zionist Regime in the Crises and Challenges of the West Asian Region; A Comparative Study of the Representation of the Military Attack on Palestine (Gaza) and Ukraine in Western Media; Investigating the Reasons for the Media Boycott and Distortion of the Israeli Military Attack on Palestine, Lebanon and Syria; The Dimensions of the Crimes of the Zionist Regime in Palestine Israel, the Symbol of State Terrorism.   

The attempt to paint Israel as the epitome of a criminal regime that murders the Palestinians is evident.  It should be noted that the Iranian theocracy has invested considerable efforts to spread these views in the academy.   For example, the writings of Ilan Pappe, whose take on Israel is in line with the regime’s propaganda, have been translated into Farsi. Pappe has appeared on Press TV, the English-language propaganda organ of Tehran.  Likewise, Shlomo Sand, who infamously denies that Jews are a people, let alone entitled to a state of their own, was also interviewed on Press TV.

It has been commonplace to assume that Arab states such as Qatar, Kuwait, and others, have spent generously on promoting academic scholarships in the West that accuse Israel of violating international norms.  Much less is known about the network of institutions and endowments which sponsor Iran’s campaign to eliminate Israel.

References

https://en.abna24.com/news//call-for-papers-the-3rd-intl-congress-of-the-holy-quds_1240859.html

  • Call for Papers: The 3rd Intl. Congress of The Holy Quds

Link:http://abna.cc/bWmb

March 19, 2022 – 7:39 PM News Code : 1240859 Source : ABNA

On the eve of International Quds Day 2022, the “The 3rd International Congress of Holy Quds” will be held.

Participants in the congress are “Committee for the Support of Palestine of Presidential Administration of Islamic Republic Iran, “International Conference for the Support of Palestine of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Islamic Republic Iran”, “Islamic Human Rights Commission”, “AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly”, “The World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought”, “Center for International Relations of Seminaries”, “World Assembly of Islamic Awakening”, “International Union for United Ummah”, “Society for the Defending of Palestinian Nation”, “Kowsar Institute of Turkey”, “Cultural Committee of Arbaeen Headquarters”, “Namayesh TV Channel”, and “Ebrat Internet TV Channel”.

Call for Papers: The 3rd Intl. Congress of The Holy Quds

Topics:

The holy Quds, the Axis of Unity among Muslim Ummah,

The Legal Aspects of the Zionist Regime’s Invasion and Occupation,

Coexistence of Groups and Religions’ Followers in the Post-Zionism Palestine,

The Muslim Ummah’s Responsibility against Atrocities of the Zionist Regime,

The Role of the Zionist Regime in the Crises and Challenges of the West Asian Region,

A Comparative Study of the Representation of the Military Attack on Palestine (Gaza) and Ukraine in Western Media,

Investigating the Reasons for the Media Boycott and Distortion of the Israeli Military Attack on Palestine, Lebanon and Syria,

The Dimensions of the Crimes of the Zionist Regime in Palestine

Israel, the Symbol of State Terrorism

Deadline for submitting papers: April 16, 2022

The conference will be held on April 27 and 28, 2022 in Tehran.

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https://en.abna24.com/news//sheikh-salah-al-quds-and-aqsa-are-part-of-the-nation’s-constants_1232476.html

Sheikh Salah: Al-Quds and Aqsa are part of the nation’s constants

February 23, 2022 – 9:05 AM News Code : 1232476 Source : Palestine Info Center Link: http://abna.cc/bRZx

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Sheikh Ra’ed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement in 1948 occupied Palestine, has affirmed that al-Quds and the Aqsa Mosque are part of the nation’s inalienable constants and cannot be waived.

This came in a speech delivered by Sheikh Salah in a symposium held on Monday by the Syndicate of Engineers in Nablus as part of al-Quds Global Week.

“Those who give up their constants condemn themselves to death, and our nation does not allow that. We should continue to uphold our constants, especially Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque,” Sheikh Salah underlined.

“We are certain that the issue of al-Quds will emerge victorious, so this is why we are with this cause,” he said.

“al-Quds and the Aqsa Mosque are the crown of our Islamic and Arab Palestinian constants. Any nation that respects itself should be adherent to its constants and hold on to them with all their might,” he added. 

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http://www.alarbaeen.ir/News/Show/12007

The Second International Congress of the “Holy Quds” to be held.

The deadline for submitting papers will be May the 2nd and the date of the congress will be May 4 and 5, 2021.

According to the Al-Arbaeen News Agency, the International Congress of the Holy Quds is to be held with the following topics.

Topics and themes:

 

1. Palestine and the Holy Quds; the common issue of the Islamic Ummah
2. Islamic Resistance and the Holy Quds
3. Palestinian resistance and defending the Holy Quds
4. The hidden and overt policies of the Zionist regime in the occupation of the Holy Quds
5. The unity of the Islamic Ummah and defending the Holy Quds
6. Human rights and occupation of the Zionist regime
7. UN resolutions on Palestine and the Zionist regime and their consequences
8. Decline of the US power and future of the Zionist regime
9. Ashura culture and defending the Holy Quds
10. Arbaeen Hussaini and the Holy Quds
11. The martyred Commanders of Resistance and the Holy Quds
12. Al-Quds in the thought of Imam Khomeini and the Supreme Leader
13. State terrorism of Zionist regime and regional crises
14. Normalization of relations between the governments of Islamic countries and the Zionist regime and betraying the cause of Palestine and Al-Quds
15. Extremism, terrorism and the issue of Palestine
16. Resistance Front and defending the Holy Sanctuary of Quds
17. Scholars of the Islamic world and the Holy Quds
18. Abrahamic religions and the Holy Quds
19. Artistic representation of the occupation of the Holy Quds
20. The reasons of the continuation of the occupation of Al-Quds and the strategies for its liberation
21. Al-Quds as the axis of cultural relations of the Islamic world

 

Deadline for submitting works:
The deadline for submitting works to this congress is 2 May 2021.

 

How to send works:
The detailed abstract of the articles should be between 700 and 1000 words and after being reviewed and accepted, the main article will be received by the Congress.

The works will be received only through arbaeenalhussain@gmail.com.

Please send full details such as your name and contact number at the bottom of the article



Date of the congress:
The congress will be held on May 4 and 5, 2021.

 

Tuesday: 4 May 2021 equal to 21 Ramadan 1442
Tehran 17:00; Mecca 15:30; London 12:30
Wednesday: 5 May 2021 equal to 22 Ramadan 1442
Tehran 17:00; Mecca 15:30; London 12:30

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https://en.irna.ir/news/84318180/Virtual-Int-l-Congress-of-Holy-Quds-kicks-off-in-Qom

Virtual Int’l Congress of Holy Quds kicks off in Qom

Qom, May 4, IRNA – The second International Congress of Holy Quds started work virtually in Qom in the presence of national and international figures aiming to commemorate the World Quds Day.  The event’s speeches will be held in Persian, English and Arabic.

Participants will discuss the issue of Palestine, human rights, Zionist regime tricks for occupying Holy Quds, UN resolutions on Quds, Palestine and the Islamic Ummah.

The event will be held with participation of 30 scientific and cultural figures from Iran, Palestine, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, France, Argentina, Iraq, Turkey, Chile, UAE, Lebanon, Syria, UK, Canada and Tunisia on May 4-5.

In Ramadan of 1979, the late Founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini designated the lat Friday of the holy month as the Quds day to the world and said in a speech: “I call on all Muslims and Muslim governments to unite in order to get the hands of this occupier (Israel) and it supporters off Palestine and call on all Muslims around the world to name the last Friday of Ramadan month as the ‘Quds Day’ and declare the international solidarity of Muslims in supporting legal rights of (Palestinian) Muslims.”

Since then, the world’s freedom-seekers, especially in Islamic countries, have been staging massive rallies and organized special ceremonies to mark the occasion.

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IRAN’S ANTI-ISRAEL IDEOLOGY: QUDS DAY
Table of Contents
Iran’s Anti-Israel Ideology: Quds Day ……………………………………………………………………………………. 1
Background ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
Quds Day Around the World ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 2
Quds Day Quotables ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3
Iran’s Anti-Israel Ideology: Quds Day
Quds Day (“Jerusalem Day”), held on the last Friday of Ramadan, is an annual day of protest organized by the Iranian government against Israel. While nominally about Jerusalem, the Quds Day rally serves as a forum for regime figures to call for hostilities against Israel and the liberation of Palestine, envisaging the inevitable elimination of the “Zionist regime.” “Death to Israel” is a common chant at the rallies, often accompanied by “Death to America. The rhetoric often slides into overt anti-Semitism including characterizations of Zionism as a cosmic evil and statements denying the Holocaust.
Background
On August 7, 1979, shortly after the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini proclaimed Quds Day as an annual day of solidarity against the “usurper Israel.” He declared:
“I invite Muslims all over the globe to consecrate the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as Al-Quds Day and to proclaim the international solidarity of Muslims in support of the legitimate rights of the Muslim people of Palestine. For many years, I have been notifying the Muslims of the danger posed by the usurper Israel which today has intensified its savage attacks against the Palestinian brothers and sisters, and which, in the south of Lebanon in particular, is continually bombing Palestinian homes in the hope of crushing the Palestinian struggle. I ask all the Muslims of the world and the Muslim governments to join together to sever the hand of the usurper and its supporters. I call on the Muslims of the world to select as Al-Quds Day the last Friday in the holy month of Ramadan- which is itself a determining period and can also be the determiner of the Palestinian people’s fate- and through a ceremony demonstrating the solidarity of Muslims world-wide, announce their support for the legitimate rights of the Muslim people. I ask God Almighty for the victory of the Muslims over the infidels.”
Quds Day fits into Khomeini’s revolutionary paradigm as a show of resistance in support of “oppressed peoples” against “arrogant, oppressive powers,” and Khomeini went so far as to issue a fatwa declaring the elimination of the “Zionist entity” as a religious duty incumbent on Muslims.
Iranian politicians abidingly attend Quds Day rallies and deliver anti-Israel diatribes to showcase their steadfast commitment to the regime’s opposition to Israel. Tehran’s May 2019 Quds Day festivities were centered around Iran’s rejection of the Trump administration’s forthcoming Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, branded as “the deal of the century.” The procession
featured numerous examples of
incitement, including demonstrators burning American and Israeli flags and effigies of President Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In remarks to reporters, President Rouhani declared, “Palestinians will definitely emerge victorious in confrontation with the Zionist aggressors. … The issue of Deal of the Century will undoubtedly turn into the bankruptcy of the century and will certainly not yield results.”
Following the rally, the participants issued a communique in which they vowed to reject negotiations and back armed “resistance” as the only viable path to advance the Palestinian national movement. The statement proclaimed, “Liberation of the al-Quds and all other Palestinian territories from the Zionist (Israel) occupation is the main goal of the Islamic world. The only way to settle the issue of Palestine is to press ahead with resistance, to allow for the return of all displaced Palestinians from around the world to their motherland, and to hold a free referendum to decide the fate of their country.”
Quds Day in 2020 took place on Friday, May 22. Iran, which has been especially hard hit by the coronavirus, weighed canceling the 2020 demonstrations or moving them online. Ultimately, Iran decided to put on a modified Quds Day, which underscored that even a pandemic would not deter the Iranian regime from holding its annual display of demonization of Israel.
Ahead of the 2020 Quds Day, the Office of Iran’s Supreme Leader also released an anti-Semitic poster calling for “the final solution: resistance until referendum,” evoking Nazi-era rhetoric. The poster depicted Jerusalem following a Muslim reconquest with a poster of slain former IRGC-Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani prominently displayed on the city’s walls.
Quds Day Around the World
While ostensibly Quds Day’s primary focus is on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran sees this localized struggle as part of a broader global initiative. By hosting Quds Day celebrations around the world, Iran seeks to frame the Palestinian struggle as a pan-Islamic cause, and to claim the leadership mantle as the preeminent defender of the Palestinians.
Iranian-affiliated agents and entities have helped grow Quds Day internationally, organizing and financing events in over 80 countries annually, including western cities such as New York, London, Berlin, and Toronto. In addition to shows of support for the Palestinians and denunciations of Israel, displays of support for Iran and Hezbollah – including flags, and posters depicting Ayatollah Khomeini, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah – are a staple at Quds Day events worldwide.
Quds Day 2020 Poster
Quds Day and Regime Quotables
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, 2020
Foreign Minister Zarif used a derogatory Persian slur against Jews, calling them “juhood” during an interview with Iranian media: “I cannot imagine any circumstances under which we would officially recognize Israel…What is our solution? [Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei] has stated the solution. It is not throwing the juhood into the sea, or a military attack…The supreme leader has said what the solution is…Our solution is a popular referendum.” The comment caused great controversy, forcing Zarif to walk back his comments on Twitter.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, 2020
“The next question to ask is: why is it a crime to raise doubts about the Holocaust? Why should anyone who writes about such doubts be imprisoned while insulting the Prophet…is allowed?”
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, 2019
“The message of (rallies) today is that al-Quds is not up for sale.”
President Hassan Rouhani, 2019
“The plots that the global arrogance and aggressors have hatched against Palestine and al-Quds will get nowhere. We have no doubts that ultimate victory will be for justice and for Palestine.”
President, Hassan Rouhani, 2018
“Israel can never feel that it is in a safe place.”
General Yahya Rahim Safavi, 2018
“The results of the great rallies on Quds Day are becoming increasingly evident every year…The occupied territories have turned into an unsafe place for the Zionists, and Israel’s dream to make those lands a safe haven for Jewish European migrants and other occupiers is just an illusion.”
Hassan Rouhani, 2017
“The message of Quds Day is that of hatred towards the occupying and usurping regime (Israel) as well as support for the oppressed nation of Palestine.”
Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, 2017
“Israel is the most malignant terrorist in the history.”
Deputy IRGC Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, 2016
“In Lebanon alone over 100,000 missiles are ready at all times to fly … at the heart of the Zionist regime. Tens of thousands of other missiles … have been planted across the Islamic world and are awaiting orders so that with the push of a button a sinister and dark
dot on the political geography of the world (Israel) disappears forever,”
Hassan Rouhani, 2014
“In previous Quds Day rallies, the cry was for the land of Muslims and dear Quds, which has been occupied by the occupier, be freed and people return to their homeland. But this year, we are witnessing … genocide in the Palestinian territories.”
President-elect Hassan Rouhani, 2013
“In our region there’s been a wound for years on the body of the Muslim world under the shadow of the occupation of the holy land of Palestine and the beloved al-Qods (Jerusalem)”
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, 2012
“The Zionist regime and the Zionists are a cancerous tumour. The nations of the region will soon finish off the usurper Zionists in the Palestinian land… A new Middle East will definitely be formed. With the grace of God and help of the nations, in the new Middle East there will be no trace of the Americans and Zionists.”
6
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, 2010
“If the leaders of the region do not have the guts, then the people of the region are capable of removing the Zionist regime from the world scene.”
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, 2009
“The pretext (Holocaust) for the creation of the Zionist regime (Israel) is false … It is a lie based on an unprovable and mythical claim.” “Confronting the Zionist regime is a national and religious duty.” “This regime (Israel) will not last long. … This regime has no future. Its life has come to an end.”
Former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, 1998
“The Zionist regime is a fake government and homeland which is shaped with millions of homeless Palestinians and hundreds of thousands of Muslim martyrs. I’m sure that in the future we will have Islamic Palestine. I’m sure nothing will remain as the territory of Israel.”
Former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, 1994
“Can Israel really remain? In my opinion it cannot. That artificial entity cannot survive.”
7
Parliament Speaker Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, 1989
“If in retaliation for every Palestinian martyred in Palestine they will kill and execute, not inside Palestine, five Americans or Britons or Frenchmen, they (Israelis) could not continue these wrongs. It is not hard to kill Americans or Frenchman. It is a bit difficult to kill (Israelis). But there are so many (Americans and Frenchman) elsewhere in the world.”
President Ali Khamenei, 1987
Palestinians “should resist and fight Zionism. This is the message of the whole Iranian people who chant the ‘Death to Israel’ slogan.”
Ayatollah Khomeini, 1979
“I call on the Muslims of the world as well as on all Muslim governments to join forces to cut down this usurper (Israel) and its supporters.”

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https://iranpress.com/tag/21338-second-international-congress-of-holy-quds

Second International Congress of Holy Quds

Resistance Front determined to end oppression of Palestine: Senior cleric

Thursday, 06 May 2021 12:11

Qom (IP) – Head of the Society of Seminary Teachers of Qom says today; the Resistance Front is determined to end Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people.

Int’l Quds Day; nightmare for Zionists: Iraqi cleric

Wednesday, 05 May 2021 23:49

Qom (IP): The Secretary-General of the Iraqi Academic Association of “Thaqalayn” said that the International Quds Day is a nightmare for the Zionists.

Saving Palestine, religious obligation: Malaysian official

Wednesday, 05 May 2021 20:25

Qom (IP) – The Representative of the Prime Minister of Malaysia in West Asia says Palestine is a holy land that Muslims must defend, and jihad to save Palestine is a religious obligation.

Iran supports Palestine financially, politically: PIJ senior official

Wednesday, 05 May 2021 15:53

Tehran (IP) – The Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement representative says Iran supports Palestine at all political, financial, and spiritual levels.

Normalization of ties with Israel, betrayal of Palestinian cause: Islamic Jihad Movement’s rep.

Tuesday, 04 May 2021 22:09

Qom (IP) – The representative of the Islamic Jihad movement said the normalization of relations with the Israeli regime and indifference to the Quds’ cause is a betrayal of the Palestinian people and helping the enemies of Islam.

Israel, weaker than ever: Iran’s senior cleric

Tuesday, 04 May 2021 21:00

Qom (IP) – The head of Iran’s Seminary said the Israeli regime had become weaker than ever before, as Israel, which had claimed to be safe from all dangers, is under the fire of the resistance.

Oppressed nation of Holy Quds will overcome Israel: Leader’s rep.

Tuesday, 04 May 2021 20:21

Qom (IP) – The representative of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution for Hajj affairs says, with the help of God Almighty, the oppressed and deprived children of Holy Quds will overcome the Israeli criminals.

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https://iranpress.com/content/38063/iran-supports-palestine-financially-politically-pij-senior-official

Iran supports Palestine financially, politically: PIJ senior official

Wednesday, 05 May 2021 15:36 [ Last Update: Wednesday, 05 May 2021 14:52 ]
Tehran (IP) – The Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement representative says Iran supports Palestine at all political, financial, and spiritual levels.

Iran PressIran News: In an interview with Iran Press at the sideline of the meeting entitled “The liberation of Quds is Near,” Naser Abou-Sharif on the importance of Quds Day stated that the Palestinians had been resisting over a hundred years, and their resistance had been the key factor in their victory.

“The Palestinians need support since the Zionist Regime surrounds them,” he noted.

“To resist Israel, Iran has supported the Palestinians from the beginning days and has paved the way for them to become more powerful,” he concluded.

The last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan has been named International Quds Day on the initiative of Late Imam Khomeini, the great founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Today, Nasser Abu Sharif, in the “Liberation of Quds is Near,” said that Quds Day was the day of the progress of the Muslim Ummah against the most dangerous invasion against Islam in history.

Fake News Masquerading as Academic Research: The Case of Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian

17.03.22

Editorial Note 

Well before the phenomenon of fake news, that is, the outright falsification of reality which is roundly condemned as detrimental to public discourse in a democracy, pro-Palestinian scholars offered highly derogatory depictions of Israel.  Over time, the view that Israel is a colonial, apartheid, or neo-Nazi state, is made from the works of Neve Gordon, Oren Yiftachel, Ariella Azoulay, and others, to human rights reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.      

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, a Professor of Law and Criminology at the Hebrew University, is the latest purveyor of anti-Israel lies.  In her recent co-authored article, “Colonial Necrocapitalism, State Secrecy and the Palestinian Freedom Tunnel,” Shalhoub-Kevorkian, argues that “the very existence of the Palestinian endangers the colonial state” of Israel, “their death is necessary for the survival” of Israel. “Necrocapitalism” is “operationalized through violent policing of Palestinians.”

For Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Necrocapitalism is the “means of accumulating capital and profit from the death” of Palestinians. In Necrocapitalism, “profit flows from visible and invisible violence, as well as the killing of the colonized, as a state of fear generates continuous insecurity, which in turn generates a demand for security goods.” 

Because “Israel is one of the top arms exporters in the world… The territories that Israel occupies are used not only to settle Jewish foreigners but also to turn land into showrooms for weaponry, technology and methods of domination and control. Israel commodifies its security practices within global capitalism and promotes them as goods to be sold to other regimes to be used on other oppressed populations.” 

Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s work made waves in the BDS campaign. For example, in his article “It is our belief that Palestine is a feminist issue….” David Lloyd, Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside, published in the academic journal Feminists at Law, in 2014, he argued while promoting BDS that “Palestinian women are without any doubt more oppressed by Israel and Zionism” than by Islamic fundamentalism. He cited Shalhoub-Kevorkian in length.

His allegations are false. Palestinian women are murdered by their fathers and brothers, with their mothers’ consent, performed under the so-called “Honor Killing.” Lloyd based his theory almost exclusively on Shalhoub-Kevorkian while ignoring her earlier research on honor killings that she termed Femicide. 

In another new book bashing Israel, which has been reviewed, Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s chapter states, “how the Zionist paranoia about being invaded or overwhelmed by the Other weaponizes marriage and stigmatizes internally displaced migrants as metaphorical rapists of the nation.” Shalhoub-Kevorkian “associates the ‘politics of fear’ intrinsic to settler-colonial power in the Israeli case with what she names security theology. This is a set of beliefs that welds the biblical injunction of God’s covenant with the Jews to the indisputable stamp of ‘national security’ on any police, military, or confiscatory action the state wishes to take. It brands every single Palestinian or ‘other’ a potential terrorist—even those who are not yet born or are already dead (witness the IOF’s practice of withholding the bodies of Palestinians murdered by Israeli soldiers from their families), while anointing the settlers as God’s ‘chosen.’ Yet, ironically, the Zionist state is tethered to its Palestinian victims.”

According to the reviewer, Shalhoub-Kevorkian “describes a contradictory need to erase or displace the indigenous population but simultaneously to keep them present as a constant threat. Without the Palestinian Other, the entire security apparatus of walls, checkpoints, militarized environments, land appropriations” Like the “master and slave, the master can never fully eliminate the slave; like the master without the slave, Israel without Palestinians would cease to exist.”

Dressed in the fancy critical, neo-Marxist jargon, Shalhoub-Kevorkian legitimizes the long-circulating fallacies claiming Israel has used Palestinian prisoners to research dangerous drugs. Shalhoub Kevorkian referred to an imaginary Knesset committee discussion in 1997 when chairwoman Dalia Itzik “acknowledged” experiments of drugs on Palestinian prisoners.

In 2008, Palestine Media Watch, an NGO that records and translates Palestinian media, reported that the Palestinian Authority intensified its “blood libel campaign against Israel, falsely accusing Israel of conducting horrific Nazi-like medical experiments on Palestinian prisoners. These fabrications have been featured repeatedly in the Palestinian Authority’s official newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, which is under the direct authority of Mahmoud Abbas.”

In response to the allegations, the office of the former Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik responded that “Knesset Speaker Itzik never made the statements attributed to her. Knesset Speaker Itzik is certain that incidents of this kind do not occur in Israel; this is not how Israel conducts itself.” The Ministry of Health responded: “Clinical testing on prisoners in prison was never approved, never performed, and is most certainly not taking place at present. Furthermore, there is no person named Amy Laftat working for the Pharmaceutical Division.”

Vehement official denials did not stop Shalhoub-Kevorkian. At a Columbia University lecture titled “Disturbing Spaces – Violent Technologies in Palestinian Jerusalem,” Shalhoub-Kevorkian said “Palestinian spaces are laboratories… Israel has been experimenting on Palestinian children with new weapons systems in order to boost the sale of international weapons.” Israel’s “invention of products and services of state-sponsored security corporations are fueled by long-term curfews and Palestinian oppression by the Israeli army.” 

Shalhoub-Kevorkian forgets that the Palestinians with their allies have been warmongering since 1948 and that Iran controls the Palestinians by proxy through Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Shalhoub-Kevorkian also presented a paper in Amsterdam on the same topic in early 2019. The invitation described her lecture as providing “the voices and writings of Jerusalemite children who live under Occupation” by Israel, practicing “surveying, imprisoning, torturing, and killing can be used as a laboratory for states, arms companies, and security agencies to market their technologies as ‘combat proven.’” Shalhoub-Kevorkian presented her Hebrew University research project, titled, “Arrested Childhood in Spaces of Indifference: The Criminalized Children of Occupied East Jerusalem,” that was published by the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, in 2018, co-authored by Shahrazad Odeh, also on the Faculty of Law and Institute of Criminology at the Hebrew University. The authors “demonstrate” how “Israel’s policy of targeting Palestinian children and childhood through the criminal justice system is fundamental to the state’s mechanism of colonial dispossession.” They discuss the critical role that the Israeli legal system plays in the state’s “racist project.” 

In response, the Hebrew University stated, “The views expressed by Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian don’t represent or express in any way the views of the Hebrew University or the university administration, but are her personal opinion that reflect only her views.”

The Hebrew University’s statement is typical of numerous other cases when university authorities refuse to confront purveyors of outrageous, meritless “research.” Shalhoub-Kavorkian’s research is not evidence-based and violates academic standards.  Her work is used to push BDS circles and damage the international legitimacy of Israel.  As IAM documented, universities hide behind an extraordinarily broad definition of academic freedoms.   The Hebrew University is a public institution supported by the taxpayers; therefore, it must address this issue.

References:

https://mondoweiss.net/2022/03/rewarding-encounters-with-jewish-voice-for-peace/
Rewarding encounters with ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’ 

BY HATIM KANAANEH  

MARCH 12, 2022

A LAND WITH A PEOPLE: PALESTINIANS AND JEWS CONFRONT ZIONISM

A collection of personal stories, history, poetry and art
Edited by Esther Farmer, Rosalind Petchesky and Sarah Sills
200 pp. Monthly Review Press. Kindle edition $13, paperback $19, cloth $89.

My path to working with Jewish Voice for Peace began about 15 years ago. Starting in 2007, like several other Palestinians, every time the spirit moved me, I spoke through the Mondoweiss forum because of its open and consistent support of Palestinian human rights, a stand that automatically translated to anti-Zionism. Later on, I shared a couple of forums with my courageous colleague, Dr. Alice Rothchild. Through that experience I was introduced to Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) with its anti-Zionist revolutionary stand in the USA Jewish community.

Here is how the editors of the current book assess the role of their activist forum currently:

“JVP’s approach is no longer a fringe position among progressives, and especially progressive Jews, in the United States and abroad. Polls show a widening gap between older and younger generations of Jewish Americans around Zionism. Support for Israel and the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has markedly declined among the young, who refuse to accept the false equation between anti-Zionism and antisemitism. More and more, young Jews are living and expressing their Jewishness in ways that decouple tradition and spiritual values from political loyalty to the State of Israel.’’COVER OF “A LAND WITH A PEOPLE”

When I realized that the enlightened forum of JVP was open to non-Jews, I joined its Health Advisory Committee. Shortly thereafter, I decided to dedicate my time in retirement to finalizing a project I had started of writing a trilogy of novels that cover my lifespan of events in my region of Palestine/Israel, the Galilee. That led me to freeze my contributions to both of the above forums, Mondoweiss and JVP, spotty as both contributions had been. Now that I have reached the stage in my writing of the trilogy of shopping for a suitable literary agent, I am re-surfacing with this book review of a relevant literary and political contribution edited by three JVP members who have already introduced their book on Mondoweiss while another review had appeared there as well.The impetus of this book comes forcefully across in the two informative opening pieces that shine a light on the need and the historical background for it: here is a sampling of the Palestinian-American lawyer and activist Noura Erakat’s formal Introduction putting the collection of essays in the wider context of the struggle against settler colonialism:

“This book is fundamentally different, tackling power head-on and charting the struggle against Zionism within the Jewish communities that Zionism purportedly serves. Its anti-Zionist Jewish stories are critical to decolonization, as well as for lighting pathways darkened by the punishing hand of imperial expansion.”

And again:

“Any pathway to Palestinian freedom is a decolonial process. It necessitates the confrontation and ultimate shedding of political Zionism as a legitimate ideology as well as our disavowal of historical colonialism and imperialism as legitimate systems of government.”

In her introduction with the title ‘Why tell these stories”, Esther Farmer quotes first from the prominent Palestinian intellectual Edward Said’s The Question of Palestine (New York: Vintage, 1992);

“[T]oday the one issue that electrifies Israel as a society is the problem of the Palestinians, whose negation is the most consistent thread running through Zionism.” 

Then she follows by the assertion that, as the “renowned Jewish philosopher Martin Buber and others foresaw, Zionism was a project that would necessitate endless violence, injustice, and war.’’ And she exemplifies this assertion with the following statement of fact:

British Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour’s letter to Lord Rothschild, a Zionist and Britain’s most famous Jewish citizen, in 1917 promising British support for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” was motivated as much by Balfour’s eagerness to rid Britain of its Jews as it was by the British Empire’s colonial interests in having a stronghold in the Middle East. Above all, European and Zionist endorsement of Jewish settler colonialism was laced from the start with the white supremacist elimination or denigration of Palestinian Arabs in favor of honorable, civilized Jewish men.

Farmer then exemplifies the above process of ongoing Nakba with the calamitous Plan-D of 1948 and the resulting seizure of “more than three-quarters of the land of all indigenous Palestinians, a “continuous project [of] expropriation.” In addition, Farmer asserts, we are faced with the inventive current process of dehumanization of the Palestinians including what professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian of the Hebrew University is quoted in describing as

how the Zionist paranoia about being invaded or overwhelmed by the Other weaponizes marriage and stigmatizes internally displaced migrants as metaphorical rapists of the nation. … [and] associates the “politics of fear” intrinsic to settler-colonial power in the Israeli case with what she names security theology. This is a set of beliefs that welds the biblical injunction of God’s covenant with the Jews to the indisputable stamp of “national security” on any police, military, or confiscatory action the state wishes to take. It brands every single Palestinian or “other” a potential terrorist—even those who are not yet born or are already dead (witness the IOF’s practice of withholding the bodies of Palestinians murdered by Israeli soldiers from their families), while anointing the settlers as God’s “chosen.” Yet, ironically, the Zionist state is tethered to its Palestinian victims.

Shalhoub-Kevorkian describes a contradictory need to erase or displace the indigenous population but simultaneously to keep them present as a constant threat. Without the Palestinian Other, the entire security apparatus of walls, checkpoints, militarized environments, land appropriations—to say nothing of billions of dollars a year in U.S. military aid and a global Israeli security and surveillance industry—would lose its rationale. Like Hegel’s dialectic of the master and slave, the master can never fully eliminate the slave; like the master without the slave, Israel without Palestinians would cease to exist.”

Added to all of this, there is also the calamitous imprisonment of Gaza where Zionism’s heinous crimes against humanity are so routine that the place has become unfit for human life as per accepted United Nations’ view. Farmer also covers the special relationship that had developed between the Palestinian activists and the African American activists especially that of Black Lives Matter, a relationship I find worthy of revisiting and of further study and illumination. Suffice it to point out that African American activists had innocently mistaken the poetry of Palestinian Samih el-Qasim as that of their murdered leader George Jackson as related here by Farmer.

Here the editors proceed to offer an equal number of contributions from their Arab and Jewish writer activists, contributions that constitute the central body of the book.  Most of the Jewish participants in this radical project report from the depth of their experience of revolting against their Zionist childhood acculturation. Their contributions are reminiscent of another compendium of accounts of Jewish anti-Zionist converts to the pro-Palestinian and pro-Justice stand that a Jewish psychologist friend of mine, Avigail Abarbanel, edited, crediting them all with emotional resilience. The Palestinian contributions to A Land with a People are mostly of a literary nature whether poetry, short stories or biographical pieces. My judgement is that every individual contribution is worthy of attention and ought be read.

Yet, for the serious researcher and student of Zionism and of the ferment of revolt among its Jewish youth, there are powerful and concise tools appended to the above covered central text, including: JVP’s Approach to Zionism, A Timeline of Zionism, an Abbreviated History of Resistance to Zionism and a Glossary of specific relevant terms.

So, to all friends and, especially, to all opponents: Please read and be educated.

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The University of California Humanities Research Institute is a humanities research institute at the University of California headquartered at the UC Irvine campus.

“Said’s Palestine” engaged in an analysis and discussion of contemporary conditions in Palestine through the terms of analysis Edward Said’s corpus of work offers us. The discussion ranged over what Said’s terms enable in analysis and comprehension of the immediate and longer term causes, their limits in accounting for these conditions, and how to think about possible futures. On Tuesday, June 1st at 12:00 pm PDT, UCHRI hosted Said’s Palestine, joined by: Nadia Abu El-Haj (Barnard College and Columbia University), Esmat Elhalaby (UC Davis), Saree Makdisi (UC Los Angeles), Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian (Hebrew University), and Judith Butler (UC Berkeley).

Nadera Shalhoub Kevorkian’s Talk in Said’s Palestine

39:00
Let me start my way. Learning about the killing of Raja Abu Al-Awf with her four children, a mental health worker and a friend, in Gaza, hit me really bad. The criminalities against Gaza paralyzed me and my usual remedy is to walk the streets of the old city here in Jerusalem, speak with friends, shop owners and produce sellers, to insist on our liveability, togetherness and maybe open path of hope amidst such loss and wounding, but my walk in Bethlehem I was faced with a group of Israeli mobs singing and dancing on our graveyards in bethlehemic graveyard, so how can I engage with Said intellectual and political engagement with the present condition in Palestine? The political moment and Said’s passionate attachment to the question of Palestine, his analysis of the nature of power, the Palestines and anti-colonial struggle insist on an urgency to rethink the current global politics, the time, the space the fundamental vocabularies of what constitutes a state, the violence, resistance, activism and decolonization, as well as what it means to refuse the terms, the politics, the structures the laws, given to us. I engage with Said to talk about our refusal to accept how and what is knowable and being known about us, our refusal to be narrated but rather to narrate ourselves. I do this to invite you to help us form an epistemic and political disobedience to what is known about our struggle in Palestine. So I’ll draw three points of Said’s work: one, is Zionism and the state, so in his book the Question of Palestine, I quote, he says “it was the word that made the success of Zionism possible and it was Zionism sense of the world as supporter and audience that played a considerable practical role in the struggle for Palestine,” he continues, “to criticize Zionism now then is to criticize not so much an idea or a theory but rather a wall of denials” end of quote. That wall of denial facilitated indifference, where people did not listen and a global complacency to crude as another atrocity. This wall of denial however is currently crumbling I hope. I’m speaking to you from the old city of Jerusalem where daily military occupation, apartheid, dispossession and killability faces off with Palestinians livability, togetherness, joy, love and growing solidarity here and around the world. I want to engage with this new moment that has arisen, as refusal of the wall of denials enacted through the viciousness of killing and caging Palestinians in Gaza, through the militarization and Judaization of Jerusalem in the old city, Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, Wadi Asul, where ethnic cleansing is going ongoing to Judaize, so Zionism through the state and its multiple mobs had continued to create new strategies for land and land grabbing to penetrate our homes and penetrate our homeland, it invades our everydayness, on the way to school for kids, during birth for women, during funerals, through home evictions and demolitions, to ethnically cleansing, they Judaized spaces, occupy our senses, as I say in my work, arrest our beloved ones and terrorize our communities, so we are at the moment of intense possibilities and intense danger. The global community is breaking the wall of denials as it reacts to Israel’s Palestinian cleansing and elimination, shattering the myth of Israel being the only democracy in the middle east, in Said’s work neither in Orientalism nor is his numerous accredited writing, conception of power diverse from its focus on the state and its hegemony. Instead, he insisted that the central reality of power and authority in western history, at least in the period of the end of feudalism, rests within the state, after all it was the state that allowed certain entities to have sacred rights in there and used the language of the right for self-defense while engaging 73 years of uprooting, Judaization and destruction. Said insisted that we look at the state and its authority, legitimacy, that we engage with the question of responsibility and that the ethics and politics of silence and silencing are part of our analytical tool. Number two, Said’s book Out of Place, I’m speaking again from the old city of Jerusalem and yet in the ultimate, yet I’m out of place while being in our place in our homeland we are exilic subjects exilic at home, it’s almost like a waiting game with the Zionists waiting for us to die or leave Palestine, being in exile at home, not really out of place, reveals also the unending refusal of Palestinians to accept our uprooting as the only mode of maintaining the settler state. When Palestinians refuse and resist, Israel always kills Palestinian civilians, as you’ve just seen, the state’s viciousness now includes startling amount of arrests in the last month in historic Palestine, but it includes threats to revoke residency here in the in occupied east Jerusalem, revoke medical insurance, social security, the viciousness also leads to loss of jobs, loss of income and attacks on Palestinian livability because Palestinians resist, watching the attacks on children alone as my work on unchillding clearly reveals, we see that our children became a political capital in the hands of the state, to further unchild them, arrest them and and kill the and govern their hopes, so Zionist policy to stage Palestinians as present absentees continues, in multiple forms, present as terrorist, dangerous others, absent as humans with rights, so the world needs to recognize that the nakba and the previous and current destructions of Gaza, ethnic and racial erasure in Jerusalem, in the Naqab, Araqib, Yafa and Lyd coupled with state’s legalized dispossession, for example, the nation state law that enshrined the supremacy of Jewish Israelis, are all part of the grand settler colonial Zionist plan to erase Palestinians from their homeland and refusal and resistance challenges this necropolitics. Number three, Said argument in the permission to narrate, and I won’t repeat what Nadia have said, that one can narrate amidst Zionist common sense and how can we narrate amidst Zionist common sense in the midst of killing, uprooting and dispossession how can we narrate against the racial making of the terrorist other born criminal and outsider, how can we narrate amidst the whiteness of global Zionism and its increased securitization of the state, the rushing through, the anti-terror legislation, the development of disciplining mechanism, and and not only of those living, as I say, but also of those maimed and dead. The current moment of smooth, a moment that used the vehicle of social media where Palestinians and non-Palestinians broke the wall of denials by taking to facebook, instagram, twitter and tiktok, showed the global community state brutality. Not surprisingly the Israeli government tried to shut them down. Let me conclude, so what is the problem here, when Edward Said and I look at our situation. The problem that we exist, is the problem that our past and present, our memory and uprooting gloss moods that fascinate our use to narrate, visualize right, and be heard reproduce our existence or no existence, is our existence a provocation to the settler state? and its allies and those who are building more walls of denial? I am worried, as our existence as terrorists others might require a solution from the state and its mobs, the mobs that are chanting ‘Gaza is a graveyard,’ ‘death to the Arabs,’ and ‘we shall burn your villages.’ I’m worried about exterminatory solution, so from here from the old city of Jerusalem, I see the mobs from the window around me and they are here dancing on our graveyards and I think this is a time to really think and wonder why our existence is a major problem for this timeless entity. Thank you
48:36

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See discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/357225809
Colonial necrocapitalism, state secrecy and the Palestinian freedom tunnel
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Article
Social and Health Sciences
https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/SaHS/index
Volume 19 | Number 2 | 2021 | #10488 | 18 pages © Unisa Press 2021
Colonial necrocapitalism, state secrecy and the Palestinian freedom tunnel Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian The Faculty of Law, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Global Chair in Law, Queen Mary University of London nadera.kevorkian@mail.huji.ac.il Stéphanie Wahab
Portland State University, School of Social Work wahabs@pdx.edu
Abstract
Secrecy and the use of “secret information” as capital in the hands of the state is mobilised by affective racialised machineries, cultivated on “security” grounds. Securitised secrecy is an assemblage of concealed operations juxtaposing various forms of invasions and dispossessions. It is a central strategy in the politico-economic life of the state to increase its scope of domination. Secrecy is used and abused to entrap and penetrate political subjects and entities. This article explores the necrocapitalist utilisation of secrecy embedded in the coloniser’s attempt to distort the mind of the colonised. Built from the voices of those affected by secrecy’s violent psychopolitical entrapment and penetrability, we expose the ways in which secrecy manufactures colonisers’ impunity and immunity. Further, we discuss the ruins that secrecy mislays, arguing as Fanon explained, that psychic ruins are common usage of colonial violence. In fact, Fanon (1963) argued that damaged personhood was central to the colonial order and its making. We conclude by insisting that ruins can also be sites of reflection and counteractions of life against the necrocapitalist violent machinery and ideology of the settler colonial state. Building on previous critical and decolonial theories, this essay argues that the coloniser’s yearning for destruction, coupled with the use of militarised “secret information”, constitutes colonial invisible criminalities to maim (Puar, 2015) and erase (Wolf, 2006). Militarised secrecy’s necrocapitalist assemblage takes us to one of the core dimensions of settler colonial ideology “accumulation by dispossession” (Harvey, 2003), that is, the elimination of the colonised, demolition of life and the psychic in which the colonialist “trades” and “sells” the machineries of elimination as combat proven. Examining secrecy and its eliminatory machineries exposes the colonialist’s brutality and the colonised’s unending capacity for resistance and the power of life. This essay hopes to expose the politics underpinning the way securitized secrecy is imagined, implemented and resisted.
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Keywords: Secrecy, epistemic violence, refusal, settler colonial accumulation, affective colonization
Introduction
Even after they killed him, I mean after our son became a martyr…they kept invading our house in the middle of the night….claiming they possess secret information about him (the martyr son)…..they arrested his brother and continued to claim they have secret information and his arrest is a matter of securitized crimes…..what they define as terrorism….I lost my temper….they killed him….want to kill us all, as long as they live…and their state continues to kill with their secrecy….(Ahmad, 54 years old, Jerusalem).
Ahmad’s account reveals the obsession with secrecy, security and immunity in the settler colony. He testifies to the ways in which “secret information” is used to intensify the necropolitical (Mbembe, 2003) psychological warfare of the settler state and its systematic engagement in developing new modes of policing colonised others that move beyond Marx’s primitive accumulation into what David Harvey (2003) termed “accumulation by dispossession”.1 Ahmad’s narration reveals secrecy’s power to accumulate dispossession and designate a more rigorous understanding of an ongoing process of dispossession. At the heart of this dispossession lies the anticipation to dominate via ongoing uprooting and dismemberment. From the home walls to walling land and life, and from the psychological to the social body, securitised secrecy reveals the relationality between necropenology and the “accumulation by dispossession” of the necrocapitalist regime of control. Necropenology “is a form of forced confinement of the living and dead colonised entities, in a frozen and freezing temporality and spatiality (confined to their dying presence). It is a form of carcerality masked by a structurally instituted racialised regime, authorised by a colonial legal system, and manifested through marking and conquering the flesh, body, and land. It is a fluid carcerality and an ever-changing penalty that produces an eliminatory social order” (Shalhoub-Kevorkian, 2020b, p. 286). The necrocapitalist nature of necropenology in the settler colony (Lloyd & Wolfe, 2016) requires engagement with “accumulation by dispossession” and its psychosocial ramifications.
Ahmad concludes:
How else can they live….they can live only if they are killing us all….So, the new fashion claiming to possess secret information….secrets about the dead???? He is dead, no? They killed him???….But their psychological and political game of secrecy continues…..After all, it is their “security” (saying it sarcastically).
1 David Harvey, The New Imperialism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 137–82. See also Glen Sean Coulthard’s recent Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minneapolis Press, 2014).
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Thus, to critically analyse secrecy, we invoke necrocapitalism to illustrate a state’s practices of accumulation, practices that “involve dispossession, death, torture, suicide, slavery, destruction of livelihoods, and the general management of violence” (Banerjee, 2008, p. 1548). To illustrate the necrocapitalist nature of the colonialist’s militarised secret penetrabilities, we draw on empirical data collected from 32 Palestinians in Occupied East Jerusalem (OEJ) during 2019-2021, as well as from everyday lived experiences, observations and personal conversations with Palestinians living under occupation. Our Palestinian, indigenous, feminist epistemology guides our meaning-making process such that we position ourselves as co-constructors of knowledge with the individuals who shared personal narratives with us. Given the extremely sensitive nature of the participants’ narratives, coupled with the potential risk that their disclosures pose to them by the state’s security forces and governance, we’ve changed some details about their stories and locations, as well as (re)presented their voices with pseudonyms; moreover, all possible identifying details of the respondents have been deleted. A feminist ethic of care informed every step of the research, including our reflexive and collective meaning-making process. All who contributed to this research and manuscript identify as Palestinian, and all but one contributor live in Palestine. One contributor/author lives as part of the diaspora in the United States of America (USA). This paper discusses only a few of the themes we identified during the analysis.
What follows is a discussion on militarised secrecy, exposing its necrocapitalist and destructive yearnings, which are designed to dispossess and disorganise the colonised. We draw on a range of theoretical bodies of work, including but not limited to decolonial and anticolonial theories, critical race theory, post-structural feminism and psychoanalytic theory, to make meaning of the everyday, lived experiences of Palestinians living under settler colonialism’s violent secrecy regime. The narratives offered in this essay are analysed with a focus on what we term “a trial to subjugate the colonised to affectual colonisation”. We conclude with a discussion of the counterpolitics that decolonise secrecy.
We define “secrecy” as an assemblage of concealed operations, juxtaposing various forms of invasions and dispossessions. Secrecy, within the politico-economic life, constitutes a central strategy for increasing the scope of domination. Secrecy, used and abused by the state securitised apparatus, is skilled concealment of showing, owning or penetrating political subjects and entities. Secrecy, as Ahmad’s narrative indicates, is a site of psychopolitical intimacies where forms of public/sovereign infiltration penetrate and intrude on social life, the body and the psyche. These intrusions facilitate the private/self-disciplining of bodies and affects that can result in physical and psychological death. Furthermore, secrecy is a mode of regulating access to knowledge, as well as a mode of constructing and maintaining individual, collective and national identities. Operating both affectively and politically (Davis & Manderson, 2014; Manderson et al., 2015; Taussig, 1999), secrecy carries the power to regulate social interactions and frame institutional practices with the mere promise of some unspecified knowledge, a mystery that sustains the theatre of the concealed.
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Secrecy and “secret information” obtained violently by the state support, maintain and in some instances increase colonising power, enhancing a political monopoly within global capitalism. As Michael Taussig (1999) argues, the state’s use of secrecy and its revelation increases the power of secrecy. In the Palestinian context, secrecy’s domination facilitates Zionist logic and its policies of elimination (Abu-Laban et al., 2011; Sa’di, 2008; Tawil-Souri, 2016; Zureik, 2001). Secrecy also generates new articulations, a counterpolitics to take on a life against death, a life that is reproduced through a momentum within rhizomic networks in communities.
Impunity as immunity: Settler’s violence
To understand the significance of secrecy as a technology of settler colonial violence, an enactment of epistemic violence (Spivak, 1988), we must understand that settler colonialism is intent and dependent on the erasure of the indigenous people (Tuck & Yang, 2012; Veracini, 2010). This erasure, in the context of Palestine, manifests through destruction, or at least attempts to destroy Palestinian land, culture, crops, resources, body, spirit and psyche.
Secrecy enacts the yearning for destruction of the colonised and it is cultivated and mobilised through the enhancement of exclusionary politics embedded within sacralised and securitised grounds. The month of September 2021 revealed various mobilisations of such yearning.
It was here in the old city of Jerusalem, from the window of my (NSK) house, during the Jewish holiday on 9 September 2021, that I saw a group of young Jewish settlers march past at midnight, chanting “the people of Israel are alive, the people of Israel should not be afraid”, “death to the Arabs” and “may we erase the name Palestine”. This happened as police escorted them along the edges of the streets for “safety” purposes. During this procession, “security” personnel invaded Palestinian homes in the neighborhood of Silwan in Occupied East Jerusalem (OEJ), attempting to “catch” children accused of security offences, namely stone throwing at settlers living in Palestinian neighborhoods. It is in the construction of both the burnt and dead other and the non-fearful sacred Jew that secrecy and security politics intersect to produce the exclusionary politics of colonial necrocapitalism. Describing how necrocapitalism is embedded in the coloniser’s yearning for destruction helps us to understand that when “they catch” the terrorist child with their surveillance, they simultaneously refrain from “catching” the sacred settler, instead mobilising the latter.
Amir shared his rage in the face of the settlers’ continued attacks on his small shop. When he complains to officials, even while using video footage of the attacks on his shop, the Israeli security respond with threats of secret information: “The Mukhabarat [intelligence apparatus] informed us you are hiding weapons.” The Mukhabarat carries secret information, always threatening with “secret information and data”. He explained, while crying:
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I can’t run my shop….a small shop here in the old city, when settlers steal from me, attack my kids, vandalize the area, spray on the wall “Mohammad is Dead”…all this is done under the surveillance cameras, and those settlers are never arrested, while my two sons, one is 14 and one is 12 were arrested over five times…..with the claim that the Mukhabarat informed me about my sons involvement with terrorism…..secret information, Mukhabarat, and terrorism is all we here….what about their crimes?
Another shop owner commented:
See, they burned alive a child…remember Mohammad Abu-Khadir? They burned an entire family in Douma……burned them while asleep….what can I say….they stole our homeland…openly, developed surveillance devices, missiles and weapons…..killed, displaced and uprooted us…..with impunity.
Maybe if it weren’t political or weren’t the Aqsa, not closing a shop, one would be curious… But because it’s related to something political, one is constantly afraid/fretful/frightened and even avoids thinking about it… I escape (bahrob) from thinking…but they return to us with their mukhabarat [intelligence]… They stole a homeland with their mukhabarat and the “secrecy” of their information…because whenever there’s something that’s political, they immediately come to clutch him and lock him/it up… whether it’s yours or not yours (laughs)… It’s never clear why, there’s a lot of people who don’t know why they’re taken.
Amir’s rage is directed equally at the settlers who attacked his shop and the Israeli security that refuse to validate or respond to his complaints, despite having video evidence. The oneness by which Amir analyses the violence inflicted by these joint forces reveals a form of racialised state violence, rooted in race thinking (Razack, 2008), where the Palestinian is excluded from protections of law and justice. This violation of the Palestinian’s rights is represented not as violence but as “the law itself” (Razack, 2008). No wonder Amir’s video evidence was dismissed! Race thinking functions to strip Palestinians bare of their legal rights, such that they can be annihilated with impunity. The threat of having secret information is constantly invoked by Israeli security to terrorise Palestinians. These threats function as a type of affective demolition (Joronen & Griffiths, 2019), facilitating anticipatory affective conditions. Through acts of epistemic violence (Spivak, 1988), Israeli security deny the Palestinians access to legal and civil rights with threats of “secret information”, casting them as impervious to their right to know, effectively erasing them as political subjects. This erasure lays the groundwork for all types of atrocities framed as legitimate measures to protect the lives of Israelis from “terrorists”.
Nehal, a Palestinian psychotherapist, shared the following:
The recent events of the past years confirmed the state of paranoia, so this catastrophizing mode of thinking has gained validation, so in our head we’re constantly on guard in expectation of the next blow.
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Another Palestinian psychotherapist, Anan, states:
Also… people react in a hardhearted manner because they’re always expecting the worse… People are constantly anticipating a catastrophe… Catastrophes rooted in “secret information” wreak havoc on one’s spirit. Then they use our emotions as commodity and trade in us… and this can demolish one’s spirit.
Within a necropolitical framework, the very existence of the Palestinian endangers the colonial state, and it follows that their death is necessary for the survival of the Israeli. Banerjee (2008, p. 1541) defines “necrocapitalism” as “contemporary forms of organizational accumulation that involve dispossession and the subjugation of life to the power of death”. Necrocapitalism, operationalised through violent policing of Palestinians, goes beyond “subjugation of life to the power of death” (Mbembe, 2003, p. 39) by extending necropower as a means of accumulating capital and profit from the death (Banerjee, 2008). This is what David Harvey defines as “accumulation by dispossession”, although the accumulated dispossession is not only from the living, their land, life and death, but also from their psyches. Thus, necrocapitalism and its exclusionary politics are central to understanding secrecy as security, whereby profit flows from visible and invisible violence, as well as the killing of the colonised, as a state of fear generates continuous insecurity, which in turn generates a demand for security goods (Green, 1999) within global capitalism.
As Shalhoub-Kevorkian has proposed in Speaking Life (2020a), Israel is one of the top arms exporters in the world. With the USA’s consistent and inordinate financial allocation to Israel’s military, the latter leads the world in border technology, military occupation and population control. The territories that Israel occupies are used not only to settle Jewish foreigners but also to turn land into showrooms for weaponry, technology and methods of domination and control. Israel commodifies its security practices within global capitalism and promotes them as goods to be sold to other regimes to be used on other oppressed populations (Graham, 2010). We agree with Laleh Khalili’s suggestion that Palestine is a central node and “social laboratory” (Graham, 2010, p. 414) for the transmission of technologies of control and effective ruling practices between colonial metropoles and colonies. Israeli’s economy is thus heavily dependent upon, and continuously sustained by, capitalising on the subjugation of Palestinians to these technologies of containment, power, incarceration and violence.
Following the argument that Israel’s economy depends on the political and economic capital accumulated through its secrecy apparatus to control and erase Palestinians, the settler state reconstructs spaces like OEJ as spaces of death for Palestinians, where harassment, threats, interrogation and possible execution loom amidst everyday activities. The domination of every inch of space that the settler state can lay its hands on aims to sustain the military industrial maker. When industry stakeholders become implicated in moral controversies over their products, like global outrage over “security barriers” (Klein, 2007, p. 438), these corporations embrace negative publicity as free advertising (Klein, 2007, p. 439). In that sense, violence is endorsed within global
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capitalism as a means of advertising Israel’s military merchandise, and spaces like OEJ are turned into structurally operable and ideologically sustainable sites to “battle test” and “showcase” Israeli security products as modern, effective and combat-proven (Shalhoub-Kevorkian, 2020c).
The settlers’ chants in the streets during September 2021 spoke of the state’s violence: the violence that has military systems kill Gazan civilians without hesitation, with immunity and impunity, and without the need to fact-check targets since those they kill are Palestinian. The killing of Raed Jadallah during September 2020 is a prime example. Raed lit a cigarette to smoke while waiting for his son and friend and was shot dead because Israeli soldiers thought he was a suspect (Levy Libek, 2021). While the immunity, protection and encouragement of necroracist chanting and acting is not secret, its necrocapitalist power is. As Ahmad explained earlier, the economic game of the settler colonial regime of control is focused on killing. To better understand necrocapitalism in militarised zones, we lean on Green’s (1999) suggestion to consider the negative market where secrecy as security is traded by building an everyday state of fear against the colonised –which is precisely what facilitated the execution of Raed. In the following section we develop our understanding of the political work of affects when secrecy functions as economy – what we call “a market of death”.
Affective colonisation
Palestinians experience multiple forms of entrapment because of the occupation. To entrap the colonised, the settler colonial state coordinates across various ministries and entities to wage secret wars that it euphemises as economic, health, legal or intellectual attacks. It does this while claiming to be a liberal democracy. While this is no secret to Palestinians, the state uses its secrecy apparatus to keep Palestinians in a maze of bureaucracies inside an affective state of fear and anxiety – what we termed previously as “affective colonisation”. Drawing together the “secret” work of complementary ministries and state agencies creates a powerful staging tool for the psychological warfare against Palestinians, as described by Farah, 29 years old, below:
There’s no secrecy, your income in its entirety is known to them, what’s coming in and what’s going out is all laid bare Even during the Corona pandemic, my address in Kafr’Aqab is not registered on my ID, nor in the social security (agency) or the Interior (Ministry) or anywhere. Nothing. I mean, I’ve only recently settled here. When they called me from the ministry of health, someone called me on Whatsapp! He said: “Yeah, because you’re in Kafr’Aqab you’re out of phone service”, hahaha, like, how? Hooww? I told him: “You’re calling me in WhatsApp, how can I make sure you’re from the ministry of health?” He replied: “You can be certain that I’m from the ministry of health because I was trying to call you and couldn’t reach you, since your phone is out of service, surely you’re in the area of Kafr’Aqab today then.” But how did you know that I’m in Kafr’Aqab? Maybe they traced my car’s identification number? I don’t know…My car has Ituran (tracking service), yeah, I mean from the Ministry of Interior to the transportation ministry, to the ministry of health, to the ministry of
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communication, to the Sharia court (they know if we get divorced, married, or give birth…) Let alone the police, and the soldiers… All of them use threats of secrecy and “secret information” to suffocate/smother us… and we, we have no privacy, neither secrets.
Farah offers evidence that the various ministries talk to each other to “swarm” (Kosek, 2010) Palestinians with fear, intimidation and anxiety. Swarming, a concept adapted from biology (biological swarms), has been adopted by a range of disciplines, including but not limited to architecture, philosophy, business and the military, as strategy to theorise the use of collective intelligence for the purpose of forming a single emergent intelligence (Kosek, 2010; Metcalf et al., 2006). According to Kosek (2006, p. 665), “military understandings of the swarm are not solely metaphoric, but make possible new assemblages of people and animals, new forms of social relations, and new technologies”. Wilcox (2017, p. 31) argues that “swarms are seen as an evolved stage of networked warfare. The idea behind the drive to harness the material capabilities of the swarm is that bees, ants, and such are not individually intelligent, but can exhibit much more complex behaviour collectively.” Consequently, swarming functions to create a material and psychological web of entrapment, resulting in affectual colonisation, whereby the detailed and intimate is sold as combat proven (Shalhoub-Kevorkian, 2020c) This accumulation through dispossession is sold as knowledge and expertise as a function of global capitalism where security is for sale (Grassiani, 2018; Musleh, 2018). This web of entrapment contributes to the affective conditions of demolition (psychological and material), feeding necrocapitalism’s accumulation through dispossession and subjugation.
Rawan shared with us similar concerns to Farah’s when talking about the small room in her house that she and her family closed off to build a cosier space. This process included several bureaucratic entrapments where “secret” information was used to “demolish” them psychologically, ending up in the actual demolition of the home. She explained:
But… when our house was small, okay? When there was a front yard of the house…Something like a tiny room, dad raised the ceiling and enclosed a part of the yard and it became a room, but they denied him a building permit, of course they wouldn’t give him a permit, but why? What’s the reason? To this day we don’t know the reason. He also was fined, and here he is, still paying for the state, but what’s the reason that prevented them from… the secret information, they can’t share it with us…[maybe the secret is that they gave the settlers all needed permits to build, renovate and expand a home in a Palestinian area?, maybe the plan is to Judaize our spaces? Displace and uproot us from here?]… and this room is basically part of my home and I only enclosed it and it resembles a room now…and above all the land is mine, what’s the reason you’re refusing to give me permit to build this room? None whatsoever. You feel humiliated… I mean, any action I would take will be restrained, as to why, you can never know… they keep you confused and entangled in the net of their mukhabarat.
(Tears filled Rawan’s eyes, yet she didn’t cry.) Give me a reason to convince me…
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Confusion, rage also, you know how it is when something happens to you and you don’t understand what it is, it builds up rage inside of you, it leaves you alone with the confusion inside your head. Dad already built the ceiling and paid for it, but they asked him to choose between demolishing what was already built, or paying the fine and the accumulating Arnona (property tax)… and it was very difficult, I mean dad was hospitalized because of this… he wasn’t convinced that we should demolish and let all our efforts go in vain… so he filed a lawsuit against the housing department folks, for two years he and a lawyer grappled with them, during which he was forced to pay all the property taxes and the fines… Eventually we demolished it…while they also demolished us in “secrecy”.
While Israeli legal-sociologist Yael Barda discusses the “bureaucracies of occupation” (2012), we extend her analyses to discuss the affectual politics of secrecy within such bureaucracies of occupation. Affects, we argue, are important capital in the hands of the state to oppress and control the mind of precarious others (Ahmed, 2014; Athanasiou, 2016). Rawan’s experiences offer a prime example of what Joronen and Griffiths (2019, p. 5) refer to as “affective demolitions”, namely the “embodied dimension of structural precarity induced by the occupation, and the affective conditions of Palestinians living with the continued threat of future demolition and the violence this produces”. Similarly, Farah insists that everything is exposed to the authorities and all is done openly and invoked as “secret information” against Palestinians. Farah also highlights the confusion that results from the mishmash of ministries and other related state apparatuses that move beyond the economic security to Judaise land and life, while maintaining a racialised order. The state, we argue, needs “secrecy” to perpetuate a system of psychological terror that incarcerates bodies and minds.
The sense of entrapment mentioned by Zureik and our interviewees confines individuals and communities psychologically. Secrecy games used to entrap psychologically aren’t simply weapons of the state’s criminal policy; rather, they are explicitly political traps, central to the settler colonial attempt to reorder the Israeli polity and its Jewish sacredness while excluding the inferior profane resisters. Secrecy and its “security threat” ideology build the walls to incarcerate Palestinians psychologically. Using the Mukhabarat to confine land, bodies and minds provides the Mukhabarat with virtually unlimited powers to create a world of secrets that Farah defined as “living in a Mukhabarat state”.
Samia, 24 years old, was arrested and kept in solitary confinement for one month. Her words and writings provide a glimpse into the intrapsychic effect of “secrecy” and the Mukhabarat’s work during her interrogation. She talked about the Mukhabarat’s brutality as they deprived her of water, sleep, light, darkness and sanitary pads, making her lose her sense of time, space, body, self and power. She shared:
I started raising doubt everything in my life… since the beginning… allegedly they’re in possession of secret information that can be used to charge me… they arrested me… and tortured me… and during the interrogation I was lost… even lost from myself… my
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life became… even the small events…my trip to my auntie, my meeting with colleagues and friends… my love… yes my love and marriage… all became a laboratory of their interrogations.
While speaking of her activism with youth in OEJ, Samia mentioned that their activism scared the Mukhabarat, so they “fabricated secret information to make me lose my mind….and I did”. She then paused and said, “Isn’t that the best way to get rid of an entire nation…to turn them crazy?” For Samia, the use of secrecy is central to managing the mind and life of Palestinians, as most of the state’s “operations” to “secure” Jewish citizens involves the exclusion of Palestinians. The invocation of secrecy becomes a major psychological burden, given the claim that its “operations” are responses to Palestinian violence. Secrecy becomes a site of fatal psychopolitical intrusions involving forms of public/sovereign infiltration, penetration and intrusion into social life, the body and psyche, raising the possible consequences for self-disciplining of affects that can result in physical and psychological death.
Samia became very sick with severe dissociative reactions that lasted for over nine months. When interviewed two years after her release from prison, she discussed the power of secrecy on her psychological abilities and the ways it blocked her inner powers and ability to absorb anything. At the end of the interview, she said:
They managed to fully paralyze me with their secret information’s, and lies……and I feared everything in life, and mistrusted everybody….not because I feared their secret information….no….but because I feared for the safety of those I love….so, I stayed silent…..I imprisoned my own fears….to safeguard my loved one’s.
Samia’s insights and analyses remind us of Fanon’s argument (1963, p.249):
“Because it is a systematic negation of the other person and a furious determination to deny the other person all attributes of humanity, colonialism forces the people it dominates to ask themselves the question constantly.”
Samia asked, “In reality, who am I?” She explained her condition as both total loss, a kind of mind misplacement, and an advantage. When asked to explain more, she said:
Losing one’s mind from such state terror freed me psychologically from facing their atrocities.
Her words suggest that the “loss” of her mind allowed her to reside psychologically in a place where the brutality of the state’s secrecy apparatus could not penetrate, nor invade. It was her “freedom tunnel” away from and outside of the psychic carcerality of secrecy. Consequently, even in the face of the state’s psychological warfare, the deliberate attempts to stage Samia’s psychological annihilation failed, as she maintained the ability to conceptualise a freedom that lives in her.
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We argued above that secrecy as a technology of settler colonial violence treats the psyche as an active war zone, a space of psychological warfare geared to impair the colonised and colonise them affectively. In describing the affective experience of psychological warfare, Salma (34 years old) uses the word “ruins” to reference a sense of a demolished self:
When I was released and arrived home from prison, I found myself… I mean psychologically… living in a world of doubts…. they threatened me with secret information… Once about my mother, another time about my brother and my teacher…they did not leave a safe place to trust…or call for when in need… I started living on ruins….I mean living on my demolished self… just like this… they destroyed my home… my inner home, deep from the inside… I felt deranged, disoriented, I was dumbfounded… everything was wrecked… I mean confused… Took me some time to rebuild myself and my spirits/psychology anew.
Stoler (2013, p. 347) theorises ruins largely as physical and material spaces:
“In its common usage, ruins are privileged sites of reflection—of pensive rumination. Portrayed as enchanted, desolate spaces, large-scale monumental structures abandoned and grown over, ruins provide a favored image of a vanished past, what is beyond repair and in decay, thrown into aesthetic relief by nature’s tangled growth.”
Salma’s conceptualisation of a battered self (as a ruin), living in the ruins of her home, describes how ongoing settler colonial violence creates ruins as “privileged sites of reflection,” psychic and material structures “beyond repair and in decay”, (Stoler, 2013, p. 347). Stoler (2013) writes that the word “ruins” functions as both noun and verb. “Imperial projects are themselves processes of ongoing ruination, processes that bring ruin upon exerting material and social force in the present and through their presence.” Much like Fanon wrote about the psychological and material “decay” that follows colonialism, Salma speaks to the affectual colonisation (e.g. Joronen & Griffiths, 2019) of the self, resulting from necrocapitalism’s insatiable yearning and hunger to consume and amass.
While the people who spoke to the secrecy apparatus in this project lend support to Fanon’s (1963) analysis that psychic distress can destroy people’s bodies and distort their minds, creating ruins, a closer look at Salma’s story leads us to consider the role of Palestinian refusal and sumud.
Freedom tunnels: Refusal – Sumud
Maram, an ex-political prisoner, explained her own mode of longing for freedom and resistance to oppression:
…even after a long interrogation session, with all the terror they imposed on me, no information about my family….my home….no water, no rest….. …the threats of their
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secret information…and with the immense exhaustion, I kept dreaming of being around my family, walking the old city’s street with them, planting my home garden with Jasmin….yes…I even smelled the Jasmin flowers around my parents’ house,….in that nasty small room…I did smell the Jasmin…that smell erased their “secret” threats…totally erased it.
Maram’s reflection and her dreams of life, the beauty of her old city, her family activities, her dreams of planting flowers and the imagined joy of being with her family echo Fanon’s theorising: “During the period of colonization, the native never stops achieving his freedom from nine in the evening until six in the morning” (1963, p. 15). Smelling jasmine was Maram’s outlet against the interrogator’s threats. For Fanon, dreaming-actions reveal the strong unabated desire for freedom, and Maram’s enjoyment of jasmine amidst interrogations is imperative in salvaging a dignified self.
This same unabated desire for freedom, even at the risk of sacrificing one’s physical security, can be observed daily by watching youth in an area packed with the state’s secret services in Jerusalem. One of us (NSK) observed a group of children and youth while the Mukhabarat was searching for children to arrest them during a politically violent period involving the state’s police, military, secret services and private security professionals. After more than two hours of the Israeli secret services’ cruising the area and searching for children who threw stones at their military vehicles for the purpose of arresting them, a group of about 20 children and youth started chanting and singing loudly: “Tell the Mukhabarat, we don’t mind their arrests….” In Arabic, this is a rhyming statement: “Qulu Lal Mukhabarat…Ma Bit’himna el E’etiqalat.” This group of youth not only exposed ‘the secret’ of the “secret apparatus” by telling the state’s representatives, “we know your secret, and that the ‘secret services’ are here”, but also insisted on expressing that they don’t fear secrets. The strength of their chanting and singing broke the secrecy shackles, allowing the group to speak ‘the secret’ exposing the Mukhabarat. The temporal cathartic moment of chanting against the secret services serves the larger purpose of resisting the carcerality of secrecy. It first and foremost calls on the coloniser to recognise the colonised’s refusal of colonial violence and it enables the colonised to show their defiant resistance to desperation. The youth’s refusal to subordinate to state violence, even in the face of tremendous risk, echoes Fanon’s writing about Black people’s defiance against slavery: “For the Negro who works on a sugar plantation in Le Robert, there is only one solution: to fight. He will embark on this struggle, and he will pursue it, not as the result of a Marxist or idealistic analysis but quite simply because he cannot conceive of life otherwise than in the form of a battle against exploitation, misery, and hunger” (Fanon & Markmann, 1986, p. 224). According to Fanon (1963), in maintaining their dignity and morality, the colonised break the coloniser’s “spiraling violence” (p. 9); thus the colonised are always ready to change their role “from game to hunter” (p. 16) in order to survive and resist. Maram’s vivid recollection of the jasmine flower’s image and scent and the youth’s defiant chanting refuse the occupiers’ domination through performances that disrupt the structures that render secrecy an acceptable routine of the state. These actions oppose
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the settler colonial use of secrecy and its assumption that secret intimidation and fear might be easily internalised. Amid, one of the youth chanting defiantly, stood up and told the soldiers: “You think your Mukhabarat is scaring us…..come….come….how long is it going to take you to come?” Amid sensed the tension among the soldiers and fear was apparent on his face. When he noticed that the security/military people were aiming to attack his house, he drew on a conviction of undefeatability to distract them as a means of preventing them from reaching his family’s home. Amid was pushed, arrested and beaten while his embodied refusal to accept state control revealed his affective and psychological power.
Similarly, Ahmad, a 14-year-old, spoke of his own mode of dealing with the threats and secrecy:
When they arrested me…the interrogator kept on telling me they have video footage showing me standing on my house roof, taking photos of soldiers, and pouring dirty water on them…..then he said, he collected all my phone calls to my friend Samer….and there I confessed of attacks against the soldiers that are blocking the entrance to my house….then he left me in the room, on that chair for another 3 hours, and it was so cold….and I got so tiered….could not even look at him. When he came back, he started threatening again with his secretly collected information that can result in my father losing his job….and I was so outraged…I started shouting, screaming, hitting my head, pulling my hair……screaming…..you are a liar….liar….I did not do tell Samer anything…….liar…..I don’t fear you……you liar….I screamed maybe for 15 minutes until I passed out…yes…I fainted….did not sign a paper, nor admitted to anything I did not do….just screamed at his “secret” lies.
Ahmad’s refusal to submit to psychological warfare, expressed through his screaming and fainting, presents an affectual anticolonial counteraction against the penetrability of the systematic colonial violence. His body and mind resisted the securitised secrecy and its manipulative accumulative dispossession with what was available to him; his rage and inner-psychic refusal.
The youth’s chants against the soldiers in Jerusalem, Amid’s attempts to distract the soldiers from demolishing his house, Ahmad’s dramatized fainting, Maram’s use of her imagination to smell jasmine and the digging of “the freedom tunnel” in 2021 by six political prisoners all amount to acts of profound rage and refusal, creating material, psychological and imagined realties of decolonisation. Decolonisation implies the urgent need to challenge the colonial state thoroughly (Fanon, 1963). Boaventura de Sousa Santos (2018, p. 248) argues that knowledge is critical to decolonisation efforts through “ways of knowing and validating knowledge that aim to contribute to the refoundation of insurgent policies capable of efficiently confronting the current, insidious, and techno-savage articulations between capitalism, colonialism, and patriarchy”.
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Freedom from the necrocapitalist governance of affects, the psychological incapacitation of the ruins of secrecy and the colonised’s refusal to be trapped by its swarming effect were on display for the world to witness when six Palestinian political prisoners dug, with spoons, a freedom tunnel during September 2021. The fact that the prisoners dug a hole for over a year, using a spoon or something even more primitive, to escape prison for only a short period of time before being recaptured attests to their refusal of domination in the most profound way. Their secret tunnel spoke of their yearning for freedom from the coloniser’s penetration, invasion and incapacitation. Keeping their freedom tunnel secret revealed many things, among them their agential power even while incarcerated. These acts enhance the fact that the colonised, whether incarcerated inside prison walls or outside of them, carry a desire, a yearning for freedom amidst necrocapitalism’s dependence on secrecy. The prisoners’ digging of the tunnel while incarcerated constitutes an act of counter-secrecy and expresses a refusal to remain docile. Furthermore, the publication of the prisoners’ escape via the freedom tunnel undermined the Israeli combat-proven technology of surveillance and its reputation for sophisticated tracking. Protesting against the settler state’s securitised secrecy and its glocal necrocapitalism, the prisoners dug a tunnel to uproot their carcerality.
Conclusion
Secrecy always functions as an underlying rationale for political projects: a psychological war here, an exclusion and dissemination of mistrust there; an eviction here, a child arrest or political arrest there; a penetration and fragmentation here and a demolition, killing, or partial “solution” there. Secrecy plays a foundational role within settler colonial violence because it swarms into the lives of those defined as “security threats,” as “internal” enemies that must be eliminated. Utilising secret information as a security measure suggests that the colonised’s life – their intimate, personal and collective domains and their daily routines– is turned into penetrable, politicised zones for accumulating dispossession. Utilising secrecy and activating its swarming effect authorise the settler state to invade spheres of intrapsychic well-being, sexuality, friendship, family connectivity and communal collectivity. Secrecy’s underpinning logic and its security discourse unveil the nature of the political war in the settler colony. It reveals the inherent idea of annihilations by other means, creating new political behaviours and reality. Secret wars are not there to end the war but, rather, to pacify global and local politics and to allow settler colonialism to conduct a war while denying its existence, because it is a “secret.”
Secrecy is granted an existential apparatus such that the exclusion of the colonised as feared other is insufficient. Secrecy is about psychological demoralisation and annihilation, socioeconomic control. Secrecy has become a dominant trope in settler colonial politics, imposing obviousness on issues (Althusser, 1971) and a firm erasure of the humanity of the colonised. Its focus is the killing of the colonised as rooted in the logic of elimination. Secrecy politics carries existential weight because of the meanings
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brought to the political – a political system built on the exclusion and fear of the enemy. Fear is a key feature of fascism (Adorno, 1998; Neocleous, 1997; Neumann, 1953). Secrecy’s fear factor allows the development of a mythical security to become the only measure of political judgement. Hence, secrecy is the great necrocapitalist politic. It needs no justification for its existence since it is always and forever regarded as a state necessity, mainly since the “enemy” is still alive.
Critiquing secrecy is part of the decolonial installation that builds the conditions for refusal. The challenge is political and analytical. We must recognise how the wounding effects of secrecy, its duration, moments of exposure and brutality further ruin the colonised’s mind and life. And it is from those same ruins and against necrocapitalist brutality that freedom tunnels are unlocked and carcerality is uprooted. We wish to thank Nada Yasin and Asrar Kayyal for their assistance, and attentive engagement in preparing the manuscript. Bios Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, a Professor and a Palestinian feminist, is the Lawrence D. Biele Chair in Law at the Faculty of Law-Institute of Criminology and the School of Social Work and Public Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Global Chair in Law- Queen Mary University of London. Her research focuses on trauma, state crimes and criminology, surveillance, gender violence, law and society and genocide studies. She is the author of numerous academic articles and books among them “Militarization and Violence Against Women in Conflict Zones in the Middle East: The Palestinian Case Study” published in 2010; “Security Theology, Surveillance and the Politics of Fear”, published in 2015; “Incarcerated Childhood and the Politics of Unchilding”, published in 2019; all by Cambridge University Press. She also co-edited two books, the latest entitled: “When Politics are Sacralized: Comparative Perspectives on Religious Claims and Nationalism”, CUP 2021, and is completing another one with Lila Abu-Lughod and Rema Hammami entitled: The Cunning of Gender Based Violence”, to be published with Duke University Press.
Stéphanie Wahab is a Professor at Portland State University’s School of Social Work. Her body of work, rooted in critical, post structural and feminist studies centers structural violence related to social inequality, sex work and intimate partner violence. She teaches courses focused on social justice, philosophies of science, qualitative inquiry, and intimate partner violence. She is a co-editor of Feminisms in Social Work Research: Promise and possibilities for justice based knowledge with Routledge.
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Shalhoub-Kevorkian and Wahab
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Joronen, M., & Griffiths, M. (2019). The affective politics of precarity: Home demolitions in occupied Palestine. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 37(3), 561-576.
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Lloyd, D., & Wolfe, P. (2016). Settler colonial logics and the neoliberal regime. Settler Colonial Studies, 6(2), 109-118.
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Razack, S.H. (2008). Casting out: Race and the eviction of Muslims from Western law and politics. University of Toronto Press.
Sa’di, A.H. (2008). Remembering al-nakba in a time of amnesia: On silence, dislocation and time. Interventions, 10(3): 381-399.
Shalhoub-Kevorkian, N. (2020a). Speaking life, speaking death: Jerusalemite children confronting Israel’s technologies of violence. In S. Walklate, K. Fitz-Gibbon, J. McCulloch, J.M. Maher (Eds.), The Emerald handbook of feminism, criminology and social change (pp. 253-270).
Shalhoub-Kevorkian, N. (2020b). Necropenology: Conquering new bodies, psychics, and territories in East Jerusalem. Identities 27(3), 285-301.
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Shalhoub-Kevorkian and Wahab
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https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Israel-Authorizes-Organ-Harvesting-Weapons-Testing-on-Palestinian-Prisoners-Report-20190226-0024.html
Israel Authorizes Organ Harvesting, Weapons-Testing on Palestinian Prisoners: Report

Published 26 February 2019
“Palestinian spaces are laboratories,” Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian said in a lecture at Columbia University.

Authorities of the Israeli occupation have permitted large pharmaceutical firms to carry out tests on Palestinian prisoners and has been testing weapons on Palestinian children, a professor with the Israeli Hebrew University said.

Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, a Palestinian feminist activist and the Lawrence D. Biele Chair in Law, said she collected data while working on a research project for the university.

“Palestinian spaces are laboratories,” she said in her lecture titled, ‘Disturbing Spaces – Violent Technologies in Palestinian Jerusalem’ at Columbia University in New York City. “The invention of products and services of state-sponsored security corporations are fueled by long-term curfews and Palestinian oppression by the Israeli army.”

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem distanced itself from her claims that Israel has been experimenting on Palestinian children with new weapons systems in order to boost the sale of international weapons.

Just weeks ago, Israeli authorities refused to hand over the body of prisoner Fares Baroud, who died in Israeli custody after suffering several illnesses including glaucoma and liver disease. There are concern and speculation from family and activist site, Palestine Libre, that Baroud was a test subject.

In 2015, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour accused Israeli security forces of harvesting organs from the bodies of Palestinians killed.

“After returning the seized bodies of Palestinians killed by the occupying forces through October, and following medical examinations, it has been reported that the bodies were returned with missing corneas and other organs,” Mansour said

The Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon responded by rejecting the allegations, saying that the charges were anti-Semitic.

Danon wrote to the then Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “I call on you to repudiate this sinister accusation and to condemn the ongoing incitement by Palestinian leaders.”

As far back as 1997, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported on the comments of Dalia Itzik, chairwoman of a parliamentary committee, who acknowledged that the Israeli Ministry of Health granted permits to pharmaceutical companies to test their new drugs on prisoners, and noted that 5,000 tests had been carried out, IMEMC reported.

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https://israelpalestinenews.org/israel-weapons-drug-testing-on-palestinians/Israeli prof: Israel tests weapons on Palestinian kids, tests drugs on prisoners

CONTACT@IFAMERICANSKNEW.ORG  MARCH 1, 2019  

Israeli occupation authorities have permitted large pharmaceutical firms to experiment on Palestinian prisoners, and have been testing weapons on Palestinian children, a Hebrew University professor disclosed in a recent lecture series.

by Kathryn Shihadah

An Israeli professor disclosed in a recent lecture series at Columbia University that Israeli authorities have permitted large pharmaceutical firms to experiment on Palestinian prisoners, and have been testing weapons on Palestinian children.

Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, the Lawrence D. Biele Chair in Law at Israel’s Hebrew University, also presented in Amsterdam in January on the same topic.

Promotional material for the events describe her lecture as illustrating through “the voices and writings of Jerusalemite children who live under Occupation” that Israel’s practices of “surveying, imprisoning, torturing, and killing can be used as a laboratory for states, arms companies, and security agencies to market their technologies as ‘combat proven.’”

Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s presentation was based on data she gathered for a research project for the university. The work, titled Arrested Childhood in Spaces of Indifference: The Criminalized Children of Occupied East Jerusalem, was published in the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law in 2018 and co-authored by Shahrazad Odeh, who is also on the Faculty of Law and Institute of Criminology at Hebrew University.

In the article, the authors demonstrate how Israel’s policy of targeting Palestinian children and childhood through the criminal justice system is fundamental to the state’s mechanism of colonial dispossession. They shed light on the critical role that the Israeli legal system plays in the state’s “racist project.”

Drug experiments on Palestinian prisoners

Shalhoub-Kevorkian revealed in her lecture at Columbia University that Israeli occupation authorities issue permits to large pharmaceutical firms, which then carry out tests on Palestinian prisoners.

Telesur recalls that as far back as July 1997,

Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported remarks for Dalia Itzik, chairman of a parliamentary committee, acknowledged that the Israeli Ministry of Health had given pharmaceutical firms permits to test their new drugs of inmates, noting that 5,000 tests had already been carried out.

The recent, well-publicized incident of the death of an Israeli prison inmate, Palestinian Fares Baroud, raised suspicions that he may have been a test subject. Israeli authorities refused to relinquish the body. Baroud suffered from a number of illnesses.

Weapons testing for profit

Shalhoub-Kevorkian also pointed out that Israeli military firms test weapons on Palestinian children in the Palestinian neighborhoods of occupied East Jerusalem.

“Palestinian spaces are laboratories,” she explained. “The invention of products and services of state-sponsored security corporations are fueled by long-term curfews and Palestinian oppression by the Israeli army,” and “Israeli security industry [is] using them as showcases” to boost security technologies and weapon sales in the global market.

Hebrew University response

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem distanced itself from Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s claims, releasing a statement,

The views expressed by Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian don’t represent or express in any way the views of the Hebrew University or the university administration, but are her personal opinion that reflect only her views.

________________________________

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian is the Lawrence D. Biele Chair in Law at the Faculty of Law-Institute of Criminology and the School of Social Work and Public Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Global Chair in Law at Queen Mary University of London. Her research focuses on law, society, and crimes of abuse of power.  She studies the crime of femicide and other forms of gendered violence, crimes of abuse of power in settler colonial contexts, surveillance, securitization and social control, and children, trauma, and recovery in militarized and colonized zones. Dr. Shalhoub-Kevorkian is a criminologist and specialist in human rights and women’s rights.

Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s most recent book is entitled: Security Theology, Surveillance and the Politics of Fear,” published by Cambridge University Press. She also authored “Militarization and Violence Against Women in Conflict Zones in the Middle East: The Palestinian Case Study” published by Cambridge University Press, 2010. She has published articles in multi-disciplinary fields including British Journal of Criminology, International Review of Victimology, Feminism and Psychology, Middle East Law and Governance, International Journal of Lifelong Education, American Behavioral Scientist Journal, Social Service Review, Violence Against Women, Journal of Feminist Family Therapy: An International Forum, Social Identities, Social Science and Medicine, Signs, Law & Society Review, and more. As a resident of the old city of Jerusalem, Shalhoub-Kevorkian is a prominent local activist. She engages in direct actions and critical dialogue to end the inscription of power over Palestinian children’s lives, spaces of death, and women’s birthing bodies and lives.

_________

Kathryn Shihadah is staff writer for If Americans Knew. She blogs at Palestine Home.

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https://palwatch.org/page/981

PA Libel: Prisoners are used for Nazi-like medical experiments

Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook  | Jul 9, 2008

Introduction
The Palestinian Authority is intensifying its longstanding blood libel campaign against Israel, falsely accusing Israel of conducting horrific Nazi-like medical experiments on Palestinian prisoners. These fabrications have been featured repeatedly in the Palestinian Authority’s official newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, which is under the direct authority of Mahmoud Abbas.

In the past week alone there were three new examples of this libel:

“The method employed by the Israeli Occupation in which they [are] instigating slow death … doctors in Israeli prison clinics use the prisoners as guinea pigs for clinical drug testing under the pretense of ‘treatment.'”

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 6, 2008]

“Many of the male and female inmates received injections from needles they had not seen before, and which caused their hair and facial hair to fall out permanently … others lost their sanity, or their mental condition is constantly deteriorating… and some are suffering from infertility.”

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 4, 2008]

“The doctors in these prison clinics are using the prisoners as guinea pigs for clinical testing of drugs and treatment-methods.”

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 3, 2008] 

Giving voice to blood libels and slandering Israel are essential tools used by the Palestinian Authority to demonize Israel and to inflame hatred against Israel, especially on the highly sensitive subject of Palestinian prisoners. It is therefore not surprising that the Palestinian public places the release of Palestinian terrorists from Israeli prisons as a national cause, and justifies all means — including the abduction of Israeli soldiers – to free the prisoners from their supposed mistreatment. 

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida has attested that reports about such “experiments” performed on Palestinian prisoners serve to “mobilize each and every human-being as such… to actively participate in activities aimed at their release and their return to freedom, properly meant as a return to life… all of us! all of us! all of us! – to confront the enemy in the war it wages.”

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 3, 2007]

These new accusations build on earlier libels that Israel conducts the same kind of experiments on Palestinian prisoners as the Nazis did in the concentration camps:

“We have many examples of experiments conducted by the Nazis, but we shall bring one example that exhibits a great similarity [to the Israeli experiments]: They would insert poisons into the prisoners’ food in order to study the effect of the poisons on people, with the purpose of performing autopsies on the bodies of those who died from the poison. He mentioned multiple cases of the mass poisoning of Palestinian and Arab prisoners in several Israeli prisons and detention centers. He did not rule out the possibility that the mass poisonings were done deliberately.”

 [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 1, 2007].

Furthermore, the libel adds that Israel is deliberately laboring “to increase the suffering of the prisoners and to murder them slowly, or to render them hollow, fragile and sickly bodies that will be a burden to their families and their nation after their release…”

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept.1, 2007].

According to the libel, because Israel views the prisoners as guinea pigs, “the terrible crime, unimaginably horrific, that was committed by the executioner jailers of the occupation forces… demonstrated that the prisoner is treated like a lab -mouse.”

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 3, 2007].

In an attempt to increase the credibility of the libel about the treatment of prisoners, the Palestinian Authority daily last week repeated a media invention from a previous article. It said that Dalia Itzik, Speaker of the Knesset, said in 1997 that Israel conducts “thousands of medical clinical trials,” and that “experiments with dangerous drugs are performed each year on Palestinian prisoners.” The story also rehashed the fabrication that an Israeli named Amy Laftat, who was presented as Head of the Pharmaceutical Division in the Ministry of Health, reported that “there is a 15% annual increase in the number of permits granted by her office for conducting research on dangerous medications on Palestinians” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 4, 2008]. Palestinian Media Watch checked with Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik and the Ministry of Health, and confirmed that these statements were never made, and in fact that there is no one named Amy Laftat working for the Pharmaceutical Division. (The Israeli responses are below). 

Following are more complete texts of the Prisoners Libel, as promoted by the Palestinian Authority’s official daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida:

1. “Prisoners lost their eyesight and the functionality of their nervous system.”

“The Occupation forces continue to conduct medical experiments on Palestinian and Arab prisoners in their prisons, in defiance of every international treaty and code of ethics. This is not limited to their policy of medical neglect, but rather the violations even extend to exploitive use of the prisoners as testing subjects for pharmaceutical drugs. Dalia Itzik, then a member of the Israeli Knesset and head of the Science Committee in the Israeli parliament, revealed in July 1997 that thousands of medical clinical trials, experiments with dangerous drugs are performed each year on Palestinian prisoners. At that time, she added that her office held thousands of permits issued by the Israeli Health Ministry for large Israeli pharmaceutical companies permitting the performance of thousands of clinical trials on Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israeli prisons.

            Additionally, ‘Amy Laftat,’ Head of the Pharmaceutical Division in the Israeli Health Ministry, revealed before the Knesset in that same meeting that there is a 15% annual increase in the number of permits granted by her office for conducting research with dangerous drugs on Palestinians and Arabs in the Israeli prisons.

            It should be mentioned that many of the male and female prisoners were given shots from needles they had not seen beforehand, and which caused their hair and facial hair to fall out permanently, and there were other prisoners who lost their eyesight and the functionality of their nervous system, and others who lost their sanity, or whose mental condition is constantly deteriorating, and still others who suffer from infertility and are unable to bear children, etc.

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 4, 2008]

2. “Doctors in Israel use the prisoners as guinea pigs under the pretense of “treatment.””

“Abu Al-Hajj [Director of the Abu-Jihad Center for Prisoner Affairs in Al-Quds University] referred back to the period of the British Mandate and its usual method of execution – using the hanging noose that is on display in the museum … Fahd Abu Al-Hajj  went on to mention the subsequent method employed by the Israeli Occupation, in which they finish off by instigating slow death, which the prisoners suffer at the hands of the prison authorities. He added that as a result of this method, 226 prisoners have died as shahids (martyrs) in the prisons… Abu Al-Hajj pointed to the fact that… clinic doctors in Israeli prisons are using the prisoners as guinea pigs under the pretense of “treatment.”

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 6, 2008]

3. “The prisoner is treated like a lab mouse.”

Headline: “Drugs and Lab-Mice”
…”The reports came gushing in… of the terrible crime, unimaginably horrific, that was committed by the executioner jailers of the occupation forces; the occupation forces used several of the freedom prisoners as lab accessories for conducting medical trials. This crime committed by the occupiers demonstrates… that the prisoner is treated like a lab mouse – who will either be killed by an inappropriate drug, or will be hurt by an electrical shock. Otherwise the experiment should inflict a permanent disability or deformity upon him… this is something that mobilizes each and every human-being as such… to actively participate in activities aimed at their release and their return to freedom, properly meant as a return to life… all of us! all of us! all of us! – to confront the enemy in the war it wages against those of us who are alive and those who are dead”…

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 3, 2007]

 4. “Prisoners as guinea pigs for drug and treatment clinical testing.”

Headline: “Reports given by two lawyers after visiting [prisons] indicate an increase in the policy of provoking the prisoners”.
The director of the Center for the Defense of Freedoms and Civil Rights, “Hurriyat”, Hilmi Al-Araj said that the reports given by the two lawyers from the center, Ibtisam Al-Anati and Raed Al-Zabi, clearly point to a documented increase in the Israeli Prison Authority’s policy of provoking the male and female prisoners and of treating them inhumanely; this includes, most notably, a policy requiring the prisoners [to wear] an orange garment, and the use doctors in these prison clinics make of the prisoners as guinea pigs for drug and treatment clinical testing.”

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 3, 2008]

5. “Most suffer infertility problems, others have lost their eyesight.”

Headline“Most suffer infertility problems, others have lost their eyesight and their sanity after the occupation has injected them with unidentified substances and drugs – Israel continues to use prisoners as guinea pigs for pharmaceutical drug-testing.”
“Abd Al-Nasser Piroanah, researcher and head of the Statistical Department in the [Palestinian] Ministry of Prisoner and Released Prisoner Affairs, said in his report that the Occupation Authorities conduct clinical testing on Palestinian and Arab prisoners in prisons, in defiance of every international treaty and code of ethics.  

              The general tragic state of the prisons escapes no one, and the medical situation all the more so… In order to increase the suffering of the prisoners and to murder them slowly, or to render them hollow, fragile and sickly bodies that will be a burden to their families and their nation after their release…

              Further, he stated: This is not limited to their policy of medical neglect, but rather the violations even extend to exploitive use of the prisoners as testing subjects for pharmaceutical drugs.
              Knesset Member Dalia Itzik and former Head of the Science Committee revealed in July 1997 that thousands of medical clinical trials, experiments with dangerous drugs are performed each year on Palestinian prisoners. At that time, she added that her office held thousands of permits issued by the Israeli Health Ministry for large Israeli pharmaceutical companies permitting the performance of thousands of clinical trials on Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israeli prisons. Additionally, ‘Amy Laftat,’ Head of the Pharmaceutical Division in the Israeli Health Ministry, revealed … that there is a 15% annual increase in the number of permits granted by her office for conducting research with dangerous drugs on Palestinians and Arabs in the Israeli prisons.
             The researcher concluded that this crime is only becoming more widespread… under the auspices of the Israeli Health Ministry … These crimes reflect clearly on the degree of racism which abounds in the Israeli system as a whole… He brought many examples of male and female prisoners who were given injections from needles they had not seen before, and which caused their hair and facial hair to fall out permanently, and there were other prisoners who lost their eyesight and the functionality of their nerve system, and others who lost their sanity, or whose mental condition is constantly deteriorating, and still others who suffer from infertility and so forth…

             Piroanah mentioned that the first to use prisoners for medical experiments were the Nazis, who did it in the detention centers of the German army during WWII…
            He added: We have many examples of experiments conducted by the Nazis, but we shall bring one example that exhibits a great similarity [to the Israeli experiments]: They would insert poisons into the prisoners’ food in order to study the effect of the poisons on people and with the purpose of performing autopsies on the bodies of those who died from the poison. He mentioned multiple cases of the mass poisoning of Palestinian and Arab prisoners in several Israeli prisons and detention centers. He did not rule out the possibility that the mass poisonings were done deliberately.
            He said the Ministry of Prisoner Affairs has been conducting activities in the past months… aimed at pressuring international opinion to act urgently and to adhere to its moral and human responsibility to save the prisoners… and to investigate the serious medical circumstances found in Israeli prisons, and to bring the war criminals to international courts.”

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 1, 2007]

6. “Clinics are nothing but open grounds for experimenting with dangerous drugs.”

“Dr. Awda emphasized that health conditions in Israeli prisons are bad and dangerous… She emphasized that the clinics are nothing but open grounds for experimenting with dangerous drugs on the sick prisoners. She proved this with a statement given by the Head of the Knesset Science Committee Dalia Itzik on July 10, 1997, in which she claimed that every year 1000 clinical trials of dangerous pharmaceutical drugs are conducted using Palestinian prisoners as subjects.”

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 17, 2008]

Israeli Officials Respond
Office of Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik:
 “Knesset Speaker Itzik never made the statements attributed to her. Knesset Speaker Itzik is certain that incidents of this kind do not occur in Israel; this is not how Israel conducts itself.”

Ministry of Health’s Response:
“Clinical testing on prisoners in prison was never approved, never performed, and is most certainly not taking place at present. Furthermore, there is no person named Amy Laftat working for the Pharmaceutical Division.”

===========================================================

http://palestine.mei.columbia.edu/events-spring-2019-1/unsettling-spaces-technologies-of-violence-in-palestinian-jerusalem

Center for Palestine Studies | Columbia University

UNSETTLING SPACES: TECHNOLOGIES OF VIOLENCE IN PALESTINIAN JERUSALEM

  • Tuesday, February 12, 2019
  • 12:00 PM  2:00 PM
  • Knox Hall- Room 207, Columbia University606 West 122nd StreetNew York, NY, 10027United States
  • Department of Anthropology
  • Moderated by Prof. Nadia Abu el-Haj
  • Co-Director, Center for Palestine Studies
  • Columbia University

  • Presentations:

– Speaking Life, Speaking Death: Jerusalem’s Children in the “Showroom” of Violent Technologies  
Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Chair in Global Law, Queen Mary University of London and Lawrence D Biele Chair in Law, The Hebrew University in Jerusalem

Who speaks life and who speaks death in Occupied East Jerusalem? Children’s words and acts provide unique insight into the daily experiences of domination, colonization and occupation that are part of Israel’s “combat proven” politics.  Surveillance, spatial control, imprisonment, torture, and professional training of security personnel have turned the old city into a showroom for states, arms companies, and security agencies to market their technologies as tested, and “combat proven.” From over 600 letters written by children in the old city and observations of their daily walks to school, we can learn about the effects and refusals of these technologies of violence as they speak life. The geostrategic significance of controlling Jerusalem for Israel and the sacralized politics invoked to turn it into a “show room” speak death.

– Settler-Colonial “Displaceability”: Living Behind the Wall in Jerusalem
Nayrouz Abu Hatoum, Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Palestine Studies, Columbia University

Kufr Aqab, a neighborhood in Jerusalem that was cut off from the city after the construction of the Israeli wall in 2003 has been increasingly neglected by the Jerusalem municipality. In administrative and legal limbo, outside the reach of both Israeli state and the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian neighborhoods like Kufr Aqab are frontiers on which the contours of Israeli settler-colonial geography and demography are being drawn. Palestinians live there in a  liminal zone facing the realities of disposability, displaceability, and infrastructural catastrophe. How do Palestinians live and thrive in such grey zones of colonial legality? Does dwelling in-between open up grounds for imagining a new (sovereign) future? 

=============================================

Gate48 

critical Israelis in the Netherlands

PUBLIC EVENTS

Security Theology, Surveillance and the Politics of Fear

Wednesday 14 September 2016, 20:00 CREA Amsterdam

In her lecture Shalhoub-Kevorkian will speak about her latest book. In it she  examines Palestinian experiences of life and death within the context of Israeli settler colonialism and broadens the analytical horizon to include those who ‘keep on existing’. She explores how Israeli theologies and ideologies of security, surveillance and fear can obscure violence and power dynamics while perpetuating existing power structures. Drawing from everyday aspects of Palestinian victimization, survival, life and death, and moving between the local and the global, Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian introduces and defines her notion of ‘Israeli security theology’ and the politics of fear within Palestine/Israel. She relies on a feminist analysis, invoking the intimate politics of the everyday and centering the Palestinian body, family life, memory and memorialization, birth and death as critical sites from which to examine the settler colonial state’s machineries of surveillance which produce and maintain a political economy of fear that justifies colonial violence.

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian is a longtime anti-violence, native Palestinian feminist activist and scholar.  She is the Lawrence D. Biele Chair in Law at the Faculty of Law-Institute of Criminology and the School of Social Work and Public Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Shalhoub-Kevorkian is also the director of the Gender Studies Program at Mada al-Carmel, the Arab Center for Applied Social Research in Haifa.  Her research focuses on femicide, state crime, child abuse, and other forms of gendered violence, crimes of abuse of power in settler colonial contexts, surveillance, securitization, and trauma in militarized and colonized zones.

The lecture is part of Securitizing Worlds:  a Critical Look at the Israeli Global Security Industry is organized by gate48 (Critical Israelis in the Netherlands) and made possible with the support of the Leonhard-Woltjer FoundationSECURCIT(European Research Council); NICA (Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis), UvAStichting Haella and CREA.

===========================================

GATE48 

critical Israelis in the Netherlands

PUBLIC EVENTS

Technologies of Violence at Damascus Gate: Jerusalemite Children Write against “Combat Proven” Dispossession. with Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian

Tuesday, 22 January 20:00 2019, in CREA Amsterdam

In her lecture Prof. Shalhoub-Kevorkian will share with us the voices and writings of Jerusalemite children who live under Occupation. Through their letters she will reveal how surveying, imprisoning, torturing and killing can be used as a laboratory for states, arms companies, and security agencies to market their technologies as “combat proven”.

By exploring the politics of power in occupied Jerusalem neighbourhoods with her audience through reading children’s letters, she reveals their detection of such technologies of power and their daily suffering. Through the children’s own voices she will highlight the rights of Palestinian children to safety and security and how Israel’s “security” industry uses their life and bodies to sell power/knowledge. She will discuss how Israel’s “combat proven” politics require heavy weaponisation and “professional” training of “security” people. The production of what she has called a security theology and the existing politics of fear maintain Palestinians in a militarised “show room”. The marking of children’s bodies and lives casts them as unchilded disposable others, whose bodies are used to transfer knowledge and to market technologies of violence.

Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian is the Lawrence D. Biele Chair in Law at the Faculty of Law-Institute of Criminology and the School of Social Work and Public Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Chair in Global Law at Queen Mary University of London. 

Her research focuses on law, society and crimes of abuse of power.  She studies the crime of femicide and other forms of gendered violence, crimes of abuse of power in settler colonial contexts, surveillance, securitization and social control, and children, settler colonialism, trauma and recovery in militarized and colonized zones.

The discussion is organized by FFIPP NL– Educational network for human rights in Palestine/Israel, gate48 – critical Israelis in the Netherlands and Palestine Link – An Organisation of Palestinians in the Netherlands.

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https://journals.kent.ac.uk/index.php/feministsatlaw/article/view/107/282

feminists@law, Vol 4, No 1 (2014)

It is our belief that Palestine is a feminist issue….

David Lloyd*

So long as antiwar activists denounce the U.S. occupation of Iraq, but not Israel’s occupation of Palestine, I will keep drawing the parallels.  So long as Western feminists denounce the oppression of Arab women as a result of Islamic fundamentalism, but not as a result of Israeli occupation, I will raise my voice.  I will explain that Palestinian women are without any doubt more oppressed by Israel and Zionism than they are by their fellow Palestinian men, that a Palestinian woman’s freedom of movement, her right to an education, her right to vote, her right to work, her right to live where she wants, her right to sufficient food, clean water, and medical treatment in her own homeland are denied to her not by her fellow Palestinians but by the illegal occupying power, Israel.(1)

In 1980, when Irish Republican women in Northern Ireland’s Armagh Gaol had gone on a “no-wash or dirty protest” against strip searching that they defined as rape, Irish journalist Nell McCafferty published an article in the Irish Times that opened: “It is my belief that Armagh is a feminist issue.”(2)  The now celebrated article was motivated by the indifference, and sometimes explicit antagonism of most British and Irish feminist organizations to the plight of these female political prisoners because the nature of their political struggle—which had been criminalized by British counter-insurgency policies—was not expressly feminist.  McCafferty argued that the violation of the integrity of women’s bodies that strip-searching inevitably involved constituted an issue that was indubitably a matter of concern to any feminist.  As we might now say, and as feminist sociologists like Mary Corcoran have since shown in considerable detail, the treatment of women political prisoners in Armagh was a manifestation of the structural violence of a political regime which, while it impacted every member of the nationalist minority irrespective of gender, affected with concentrated impact the daily lives of women, political activists or not.(3)

It is time for a similar statement regarding Palestine and the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS)(4) which, since it was called for in 2003 by some 170 Palestinian civil society organizations—including virtually every Palestinian women’s organization—has proliferated globally.  It is our belief that the Palestinian struggle and the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions is a feminist issue.  It may be, indeed, above all a feminist issue.  Yet, despite the increasingly broad appeal of this non-violent and rights-based movement, its implications for both global feminist solidarity work and for feminist social and political analysis have not become generally appreciated.  While a number of academic associations, in the United States and elsewhere, have endorsed an academic boycott, they have largely done so in the name of anti-racist or anti-colonial solidarity.  To date, apparently, no major Western women’s or feminist organization has declared its solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.  Where this is not symptomatic of explicitly Zionist sympathies on the part of some feminists,(5)  the lack of open feminist solidarity with Palestine may be in large part a consequence of the success of state-driven Israeli messaging that Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian here describes, which depicts Israel as a liberal, democratic society that is exceptional in the Middle East for its openness to women’s emancipation and full participation in social and political spheres.  What is in effect a propaganda or hasbara campaign of “feminist-washing”, akin to the “pink-washing” campaigns whose contradictions Brenna Bhandar discusses in her contribution, is shadowed by its implicit Islamophobia: it always implies the essential incompatibility of Arab and Muslim societies with women’s emancipation, as it argues their incapacity for democracy, while occluding the deeply heteropatriarchal and homonational elements basic to Israeli state formation.  Furthermore, as Shalhoub-Kevorkian argues, the Orientalist assumptions about Arab society that underlie both forms of normalization of Israel actually endorse and exacerbate patriarchal elements within Palestinian society.

To some degree, such attitudes may also still inform some Western feminists’ lack of explicit engagement with the Palestinian struggle, compounded by the long and vexed history of nationalist movements’ frequent marginalization of women as agents and of feminist issues as subsidiary to the national struggle.  Ironically, however, if feminists are leery of giving support to a Palestinian liberation movement often defined in nationalist terms, their reluctance to do so tacitly lends their support to another and more powerful nationalism, that of Zionism.  But to consider Palestine simply in the light of older decolonizing movements is to miss the significance of the new conjuncture within a longer history of colonialism and of heteropatriarchal modes of social control that Israel’s system of domination represents.  As a settler colony, Israel depends on and deploys strategies of domination that, as Rana Sharif and Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian show, are deeply structured by the gendered relations of power typical of colonial societies. These modes of domination present a peculiarly urgent field of theorization and of practical reconsideration for feminism, representing as they do a reconfiguration of modes of biopower that draws into the core of the neo-liberal state the colonial operations of processes that both Sharif and Shalhoub-Kevorkian here invoke under the name of necropolitics.  And, much as it has functioned as a laboratory for technologies of militarized repression and surveillance that have found increasingly widespread application in population control and policing from the US border to Brazilian favelas, Israel also offers a telling body of insight into emerging modes of biopolitical practice and necropolitical regimes that intervene in what I would term the expanded sphere of reproduction.(6)

In his indispensable work, Israel’s Occupation, Neve Gordon argues that in the wake of the Second Intifada that broke out in September 2000, Israel’s control over the West Bank shifted “from the principle of colonization to the principle of separation.”(7)  This entailed equally “a radical de-emphasis of disciplinary power and the accentuation of a particular kind of sovereign power, which in many respects disregards the law”:(8) as he puts it, “In place of the politics of life that had characterized the OT (Occupied Territories) until the second intifada, a politics of death slowly emerged.”(9)  Gordon does not examine in any depth, however, the quite exceptional degree to which this shift from the biopolitical mode, in which Israel as a colonizing power still regarded itself as responsible (as under the Geneva Conventions it is in fact obliged to be) for the continuing welfare of the occupied population, to the necropolitical exercise of the sovereign power to take life, which targets the most fundamental forms of reproduction of Palestinian life.

What is implied here, drawing on the work of Marxist theorists like Louis Althusser and materialist feminists like Leopoldina Fortunati, is an expanded conception of reproduction that includes not only the biological reproduction of life—birth, nurture, and the maintenance of health—or of mere labour power, but the reproduction of social and cultural relations of every kind. Althusser refers to this in limited fashion as “the reproduction of the conditions of production”, that is, not only of the “forces of production” (labour power), but also of  “the existing [social] relations of production”.(10) Fortunati in turn points out that this separation of production from reproduction is the foundation of “the sexual division of labor”, within which the work of reproduction performed overwhelmingly by women appears as the “natural force of social labor”.(11)  Insofar as the reproduction of labor takes place through the family, it draws into it the affective as well as the purely economic relations among individuals, those relations in which “nature” takes on the form of the social and the cultural.(12) The conception of reproduction in this expanded sense transforms the sphere of reproduction from a function and space marginal to capital into one of primary contradictions and therefore of struggle.  In the colonial sphere, I would argue, an expanded conception of reproduction designates the whole domain of the social, the cultural and the affective as principal sites of struggle insofar as they bring into play not only the productive capacities of the colonized—those capacities that, as Gordon demonstrates, the Israeli state in the mode of discipline and biopower sought to exploit in the form of Palestinian labor—but their very survival as a “form of living”, precisely that which is targeted by the “sovereign power” of the new Israeli mode of domination.  This is, no less than the capitalist sphere of reproduction, a mode of domination in which—as Shalhoub-Kevorkian here shows in painful detail—those who bear the brunt of its violence and the burden of survival are women.

The transition from a biopolitical state to one of sovereign power, as Gordon describes it, is not an historical accident contingent on an unfolding “conflict”, but is, rather, symptomatic of the fundamental contradictions of Israel’s settler colonial regime, as Bhandar describes it in her contribution.  Even before the institution of the state of Israel in 1948, which entailed the expulsion of three-quarters of a million Palestinians, Zionists had considered the existing Palestinian population a demographic threat to the exclusively Jewish character of the state they imagined.  As David Ben-Gurion saw it, a state that had more than 20% Arab population would be unviable.(13)  Even without the intifadas, Israeli dependence on the exploitation and reproduction of Palestinian labor power would ultimately have been in unsustainable contradiction to the Zionist project precisely because—as the intifadas demonstrated—the Israeli effort to assimilate Palestinians within a colonial state through the normalization of the occupation had failed.(14)  The evident capacity of the Palestinians to reproduce their culture and society—their samoud, or persistence—as a form of living distinct from and oppositional to the Zionist state and society would require their erasure rather than their adjustment to a normalized occupation. 

But the corresponding shift from a biopolitical to a necropolitical state was by no means a radical departure, but rather the intensification of a process that had been continuous, as Shalhoub-Kevorkian maintains, since Israel’s inception in the varying forms of ethnic cleansing (or “transfer”), separation and containment through the fragmentation of Palestinian territory, denial of freedom of movement, including access to basic resources like farmland or schooling, denial of access to fundamental services, from healthcare to adequate housing or water supplies, denial of the right to family unification or to return freely to one’s place of origin, denial on an arbitrary basis of permits of all kinds, including the right to travel or to access healthcare or schooling to which one is formally entitled.  Indeed, as Rana Sharif points out,(15) it is frequently the right of access to fundamental services that are theoretically granted by Israel—and which it holds out as indices of the benevolence of its regime—that is withheld.  As one of her seriously ill interviewees relates of his attempt to obtain routine treatment:

The Palestinian handed the application over to the Israeli [HDCA]. Upon reporting to the Palestinian on the second day, my wife was told that the Israeli side was still examining the issue from a security perspective. Therefore, I lost my appointment. Because an alternative treatment is not available in the West Bank hospitals, my health condition has deteriorated.

For all the aggravating pettiness of such routine denials—and they are innumerable in the experience of Palestinians—their cumulative intent is clear: to make Palestinian life intolerable and unsustainable and resistance accordingly unviable. And, as Sharif’s account here indicates, even where the principal victim may appear to be male, it is a Palestinian woman who confronts and bears Israel’s relentless assault on the Palestinian sphere of reproduction.

Angela Davis has written eloquently of the ways in which the formations both of slavery and of the era of supposed emancipation impacted the social and cultural structures of African American life in ways that had peculiar effect on black women, precisely to the extent to which “unfreedom” shaped the affective and institutional sphere of reproduction or “family-support systems”.(16)  By the same token, the Israeli assault on Palestinian life, on its capacity for reproduction, although it affects every Palestinian regardless of gender or sexuality, falls with particular weight upon women.  Of course, the Israeli regime, predicated as it is on the essentially exclusionary preservation and promotion of the “Jewish character of the state”, is gendered and racialized at every level in ways that do not target Palestinians alone.  Immigration law is profoundly discriminatory not only against Palestinians, but also against migrants whose labor has increasingly displaced that of Palestinian workers since the Second Intifada.  Notoriously, black migrants from North and East Africa have been repelled or interned as “infiltrators”, under the recently amended Prevention of Infiltration Act of 1954,(17) a law originally directed at Palestinians, and that continues to be applied, for example, both to Bedouins in the Naqab or to Palestinians from Gaza who seek to continue their studies in West Bank universities. On the other hand, immigrant workers from, for instance, the Philippines, usually concentrated in health and domestic care, are permitted to come on short term visas, and normally only if they are single and do not have children.  Those who become pregnant while in the country may be expelled, for fear that their non-Jewish children would be able to claim the right of citizenship and “flood the foundation of the Zionist state.”(18) At the same time, Palestinian workers are permitted to enter Israel or its illegal settlements on the West Bank only on condition of being a married father over the age of 35.(19)  Palestinians who are citizens of Israel have, as Bhandar notes, been deprived of the right to family unification under the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law of 2003, which bans Palestinians from outside Israel from gaining residency through marriage to an Israeli (a law comparable to one that even the South African Supreme Court balked at accepting). Meanwhile Filipinas who marry Israeli men may become citizens if they convert to Judaism.  A complex network of differential and differentiating laws thus governs the various populations of Israel and its occupied territories.(20)

The effect of Israel’s “low-intensity warfare” against the persisting Palestinian communities in areas targeted for Israeli expansion or for “Judaization” falls, however, with especial weight on women.  Its manifestations range from the very literal destruction of the domestic space through demolition or eviction, usually under discriminatory legal pretexts and even including the demolition of entire villages and areas defined as “unrecognized villages” in the Naqab, to the brutal denial of access to essential and often urgently needed care.(21)  Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian documents in often painful detail the impact on Palestinian women of Israel’s will to contain and reduce the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem in particular (an area currently targeted with particular intensity for settlement expansion, given Israel’s determination to appropriate this historically Palestinian city as part of its “eternal capital”).  Its impact ranges from the extremist “price tag” campaign that targets all Palestinians with vindictive violence,(22) to the eviction of families from homes they have occupied for decades, with deeply traumatic effects on children. As Saree Makdisi explains, citing Amnesty International, “the deliberate demolition of Palestinian homes is a long-standing Israeli policy” and one that is “not justified by military necessity.”(23) These assaults on Palestinian daily and domestic life, which extend to the often fatal denial of essential treatment to pregnant women, as if in an effort to target the literal biological reproduction of Palestinian life, have shaped, Shalhoub-Kevorkian argues, a “death zone” for Palestinians that has peculiar impact on women even if it is one part of a larger, ongoing process of dispossession that Bhandar here sees as continuous with settler colonialism practices elsewhere.(24)  This death zone, the material instance of what Sharif, citing Achille Mbembe,(25) calls the “necropolitical state”, is the space where the biological, material and cultural reproduction of Palestinian social life is put at daily and intimate risk.

Israel’s war against the continuance of Palestinian life targets women in every sphere.  Certainly it targets women as potential or actual agents of the reproduction of life itself, as mothers and as caretakers, but it also targets women as reproducers of social and cultural life, as if the targeting of women—as so often in colonial regimes—were understood to be the royal road to the destruction of indigenous social and political life.(26) Living under Israeli occupation or within the borders of its racial state has been devastating for all Palestinians, but is especially destructive for Palestinian women as the essays collected here all demonstrate. If, as Shalhoub-Kevorkian argues, the analysis of the larger “physics of power” that organizes the settler colonial project of Zionism is essential to any feminist understanding of the condition of Palestinian women and of the nature of their struggle, it is no less the case that the same structures of domination must be analyzed and contested from a feminist standpoint.  This is, in Bhandar’s words, a fundamental task of any “anti-colonial, feminist politics of solidarity”.(27)  Feminism, according to Shalhoub-Kevorkian, “entails understanding the nature and significance of solidarity with the dispossessed, something that global feminism, international law, and Israeli feminism have so far failed to do” in the case of Palestinian women.(28)

Palestinian women’s and feminist groups, including the General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW) and Palestinian Federation of Women’s Action Committees (PFWAC), have been an integral element of the Palestinian call for BDS against Israel since its inception.  This non-violent and human rights-based campaign makes three basic demands of Israel, calling for broad boycotts and divestment initiatives against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:

  1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Separation or Apartheid Wall;
  2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality;
  3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.(29)

The guidelines for the implementation of BDS measures are deliberately flexible and context-sensitive, allowing for local solidarity organizations to determine the most effective measures to pursue in any given situation.  Actions have ranged from consumer boycotts of agricultural products grown in settlements on the West Bank, to campaigns against companies like Veolia, which runs transport systems in Occupied East Jerusalem and bus routes and waste disposal facilities in the settlements; from divestment campaigns by churches or universities that target corporations who profit from the occupation, like Caterpillar, Elbit Systems, or Hewlett-Packard, to demands for the suspension of contracts with firms like global security company G4S that runs Israeli political prisons and engages in the torture of prisoners.(30)  One cornerstone of the BDS campaign in recent years has been the boycott of Israeli academic institutions,(31) a specific campaign that has been endorsed by an increasing number of academic associations, from the Teachers’ Union of Ireland(32) to the US American Studies Association,(33) or supported by more specific measures, like the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s passage of a motion urging the International Union of Architects to suspend the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) from the world body of architects, the International Union of Architects (UIA).(34)

Much as the sports and cultural boycott of South Africa had an impact on the apartheid regime out of all proportion to any economic impact it could have, the academic boycott is of particular significance in targeting a core element of Israel’s efforts to normalize its regime of occupation and apartheid by projecting the image of its liberal and democratic institutions and by integrating its intellectual and research agendas with academic institutions in the United States and Europe.  Critics of the academic boycott campaign frequently argue that targeting universities and academics threatens to isolate one principal space where dialogue and the critique of Israeli state practices take place.  They ignore the fact that the boycott does not target individual academics, but specifically academic institutions, which, far from being sites of liberal critique, are deeply complicit in maintaining the technical and research infrastructure of the occupation.(35) Their assertion that the academic boycott undermines the possibility of dialogue is strikingly belied by the fact that in the wake of recent endorsements by academic associations in the United States, public debate on Palestine and Israel has opened up to an unprecedented degree in virtually every medium, from the blogosphere to mainstream media, despite vigorous efforts on the part of the Israeli lobby to censor and stifle debate.(36)  This outcome has been a singular and important effect of BDS, a civil society movement necessitated by the exceptional closure of the public and political spheres in the US and Europe to any critical discussion, let alone sanction of, Israel’s ongoing breaches of international law and human rights conventions.  This is a movement that has begun to correct what Shalhoub-Kevorkian here refers to as the long-standing practice of “invisibilizing Palestine”, evicting it from the public sphere.

It is significant that the first US academic association to endorse the academic boycott was the Association for Asian American Studies, and that those that followed included the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association and the American Studies Association.  All are associations whose members have a long history of analysis and critique of imperialism, settler colonialism and the racial state.  All voted to endorse the boycott as an act of solidarity, recognizing that what they were doing was not singling Israel out, as some argue—a misconception that Bhandar here critiques—but rather recognizing that Israel’s colonial project is continuous with and a crucial model for the ongoing racial domination that characterizes the era of neo-liberalism.  Their solidarity with Palestine did not eclipse their concern with racial oppression in their own colonial or racial-state contexts, but enhanced their analysis and linked their concerns to the global network of power, accumulation by dispossession, hetero-patriarchal and racial domination, and technologies of control within which Israel is a crucial node.  Indeed, many proponents of the boycott at these associations saw in both the debates it occasioned and in the engagement of scholarship with political solidarity a moment of renewal of their faith in intellectual work.(37) The argument made by the participants in this forum is that feminist movements, and feminist scholars within the academy internationally, likewise stand to gain from a commitment to solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.

* Distinguished Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside, and a founding member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.  Email david.lloyd@ucr.edu. He has published numerous articles on Palestine and Israel, including “In the Long Shadow of the Settler: On Israeli and US Colonialisms”, written with Laura Pulido, in Audrea Lim, ed, The Case for Sanctions Against Israel (London: Verso Press, 2012) and “Settler Colonialism and the State of Exception: The Example of Israel/Palestine” in The Journal of Settler Colonial Studies 2.1 (2012) http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/2201473X.2012.10648826#.U2F5I9xBlCg.  He has also published with Malini Johar Schueller an essay on the rationale for the academic boycott of Israel in the AAUP’s Journal of Academic Freedom http://www.aaup.org/reports-publications/journal-academic-freedom/volume-4#response.  Lloyd works primarily on Irish culture and on postcolonial and cultural theory. His most recent book is Irish Culture and Colonial Modernity: The Transformation of Oral Space (Cambridge University Press, 2011). My thanks to Brenda Bhandar, Nadine Naber and Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian for help in shaping and revising this introduction.

(1) Nada Elia, “The Burden of Representation: When Palestinians Speak Out”, in Rabab Abdulhadi, Evelyn Alsultany, and Nadine Naber, eds, Arab and Arab-American Feminisms: Gender, Violence, and Belonging (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2011), p. 158.

(2) Nell McCafferty, “It is my belief that Armagh is a feminist issue”, Irish Times, 17 June 1980.

(3) Mary Corcoran, Out of Time: The Political Imprisonment of Women in Northern Ireland, 1972-98 (Portland, OR: Willan Publishing, 2006).

(4) See http://www.bdsmovement.net/ (accessed 26 April 2014).

(5) See Elia, “The Burden of Representation”, pp. 141-58.

(6) For further on Israel’s punitive necropolitical regime, see Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, “The Grammar of Rights in Colonial Contexts: The Case of Palestinian Women in Israel”, Middle East Law and Governance 4 (2012), pp. 106-151. For various approaches to Israel’s critical role in the development of technologies of policing and surveillance, and to their global deployment, see, among others, Naomi Klein, “Losing the Peace Incentive: Israel as Warning”, in The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (New York: Picador, 2007); Eyal Weizman, interviewed by Philipp Misselwitz, “Military Options as Human Planning”, in Eduardo Cadava and Aaron Levy, eds, Cities Without Citizens (Philadelphia: Slought Books, 2003), pp. 167-99. One of the most recent and most direct connections between US and Israeli technologies is the Israeli corporation Elbit Systems’ large and lucrative contract with the Department of Homeland Security to supply the surveillance infrastructure along the US border with Mexico—a project that will directly affect the lives and movements of both economic migrants and of indigenous peoples who have traditionally moved fluidly across the zone divided by the frontier: see Gabriel Schivone, “How Israel’s war industry profits from violent US immigration ‘reform’”, http://electronicintifada.net/content/how-israels-war-industry-profits-violent-us-immigration-reform/13283 (accessed 26 April 2014).

(7) Neve Gordon, Israel’s Occupation (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2008), p. 199

(8) Ibid, p. 201.

(9) Ibid, p. 207.

(10) Louis Althusser, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses: Notes Towards an Investigation”, in Lenin and Philosophy and other Essays (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1971), pp. 127-8.

(11) Leopoldina Fortunati, The Arcane of Reproduction: Housework, Prostitution, Labor and Capital, trans. Hilary Creek (New York: Autonomedia, 1995), pp. 13-14.

(12) Ibid, Chapter 11.

(13) David Ben-Gurion, cited in Ilan Pappé, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Oxford: One World Publications, 2006), p. 250.  Pappé’s book gives a detailed history of the planning and execution, of the expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948 and its aftermath.

(14) See Gordon, Israel’s Occupation, p. 151 and Chapter 6, passim.

(15) See Rana Sharif, “Bodies, Buses, and Permits: Palestinians Navigating Care” in this issue.

(16) Angela Davis, Blues Legacies And Black Feminism: Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, And Billie Holiday (New York: Vintage Books, 1998), pp. 11 and 84

(17) See http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/israel-enacts-law-allowing-authorities-to-detain-illegal-migrants-for-up-to-3-years-1.434127 (accessed 26 April 2014)

(18) Bill Van Esveld and Allie Chen, “Israel should respects rights of migrant workers”, http://www.hrw.org/news/2010/10/08/israel-should-respect-rights-migrant-workers (accessed 26 April 2014).

(19) Alon Aviram, “Palestinian employment: The phantom workers of Israel”, http://972mag.com/palestinian-employment-the-phantom-workers-of-israel/61526/ (accessed 26 April 2014).

(20) For an extended discussion of the impact of Israeli laws on migrant workers, see Allan Isaac, Nadine Naber, and Sarita Echavez See, “Filipino Workers in the Middle East: Frictive Histories and the Possibilities of Solidarity”, Center for Art and Thought (Spring-Fall 2013), http://www.centerforartandthought.org/work/project/dialogues.

(21) For a detailed account of the impact on Bedouin women of such demolition and eviction in the Naqab (or Negev) and of their resistance, see Shalhoub-Kevorkian, “The Grammar of Rights”, passim.

(22) See, eg, http://www.btselem.org/settler_violence (accessed 30 April 2014).

(23) Saree Makdisi, Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation (New York: WW Norton, 2008), pp. 109-10.

(24) See also Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, “Reexamining Femicide:  Breaking the Silence and Crossing ‘Scientific’ Borders” in Signs, Vol. 28, No. 2 (Winter 2003), pp. 581-608.

(25) Achille Mbembe, “Necropolitics”, in Public Culture, Vol. 15, No. 1 (2003), pp. 11–40.

(26) Cf Frantz Fanon, “Unveiling Algeria”, in A Dying Colonialism, trans. Haakon Chevalier (New York: Grove Press, 1967), pp. 35-67; and Andrea Smith, Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide (Boston: South End Press, 2005).

(27) Brenna Bhandar, “Some Reflections on BDS and Feminist Political Solidarity” in this issue.

(28) Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, “Palestinian Feminist Critique and the Physics of Power: Feminists Between Thought and Practice” in this issue.

(29) See http://www.bdsmovement.net/call (accessed 26 April 2014).

(30) The organization Who Profits?, http://www.whoprofits.org, maintains regularly updated information on corporations that do business with and profit from the Occupation.

(31) See http://www.pacbi.org/ (accessed 26 April 2014).

(32) See http://www.ipsc.ie/press-releases/teachers-union-of-ireland-calls-for-academic-boycott-of-israel-in-unanimous-vote-first-academic-union-in-europe-to-do-so (accessed 26 April 2014).

(33) See http://www.theasa.net/american_studies_association_resolution_on_academic_boycott_of_israel (accessed 26 April 2014).

(34) See http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=2399&key=Architects (accessed 26 April 2014).

(35) A detailed report on the collaboration of Israeli institutions with the occupation and other apartheid practices is available from the Israeli-Palestinian Alternative Information Center, http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/component/content/article/103-topics/news/980-the-case-for-academic-boycott-against-israel-980. Information on discrimination against Palestinians in Israeli academia is provided by the Academic Watch Project of Al-Rased: http://alrasedproject.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/1/

(36) See Steven Salaita, “Academics should boycott Israel: Growing movement takes next step”, http://www.salon.com/2013/12/04/academics_should_boycott_israel_growing_movement_takes_next_step/ (accessed 26 April 2014).

(37) See David Lloyd, “The Taboo on Boycotting Israel Has Been Broken”, http://electronicintifada.net/content/taboo-boycotting-israel-has-been-broken/12949 (accessed 26 April 2014).

The Latest Academic Boycott Attempts

10.03.22

Editorial Note

The BDS campaign against Israeli institutes and individuals has been rolling full steam.  Last week, Gerry Leisman, Professor & Research Fellow at the University of Haifa, disclosed a BDS attempt against him. He explained that he recently published a call for paper for the Journal Brain Sciences special issue entitled, “The Brain Goes to School,” where he is a guest editor. He added that they are recruiting “reviews and results of experimental studies relating to human learning, its difficulties, remediation strategies, models, cognitive science, cognitive neuropsychology all essentially attempting to translate 150 years of cognitive neuroscience into classroom applications.” Leisman sent his call to a mailing list in this field where he is a member.

Shortly after, all members of the list received an email from Dr. Karen Froud, Program Director, Neuroscience & Education Columbia University Teachers College, who urged to boycott Leisman: “Dear colleagues – I urge you to consider this request in light of the Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions Movement for freedom and justice in Palestine. Like many / most academic institutions in Israel, Haifa University is an apartheid institution.” Froud inserted a link to the BDS movement’s website that discusses the University of Haifa. She stated that “I recognize that many of you work within this institution and hope you are also doing your part for academic freedom.” Froud is a member of the Arabic Linguistics Society who also researches Palestinian Arabic.

Clearly, Froud forgot that the BDS movement central command repeated time and again that BDS does not target individual Israelis but rather Israeli institutions.

This is not surprising, given that Froud is a pro-Palestinian activist.  She was a signatory of a 2016 petition, “Columbia University in the City of New York Faculty Petition. The signatories stated that they “stand with Columbia University Apartheid Divest, Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine as well as with Jewish Voice for Peace in calling upon the University to take a moral stance against Israel’s violence in all its forms. We demand that the University divest from corporations that supply, perpetuate, and profit… associated with the State of Israel’s military occupation.”

Trace Miller, the managing editor of the NYU student newspaper Washington Square News wrote an opinion piece titled “NYU, shut down the Tel Aviv study abroad site.” He argued that since Amnesty International released a report last month concluding that Israel is guilty of perpetrating apartheid against the Palestinians, NYU’s Tel Aviv University academic center partnership is nothing short of complicity. Miller also provided photos of the security wall between Israel and Palestine that he took, raising the question whether he was given a trip in exchange for articles. Miller self-admittedly stated that “He likes Marx,” so those familiar with the topic would assume he could be Lenin’s “Useful Idiot.”

The other BDS case pertains to an academic conference at the University of Bahrain last week. The faculty of business administration hosted “the Middle East Conference of Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business” on the 2nd and 3rd of March 2022. An Israeli scholar from the Tel Aviv University Coller School of Management presented a paper when a Kuwaiti academic delegation left the conference in protest to the Israeli presenter. The Kuwaiti delegation forgot that BDS does not target individual Israeli scholars.

The announcement of the Kuwaiti delegation leaving the conference was published by the Iranian press and was hailed by Hamas.

The three cases are all connected. BDS should be taken as a threat to Israel’s national security since the Palestinians, with the help of Iran, Qatar and Kuwait, try to mobilize the international community to delegitimize Israel. The Jerusalem Post just published an article “The long-term strategy of those seeking to destroy Israel,” a review of the recently published book Soft Threats to National Security:  Antisemitism, BDS, and the De-legitimization of Israel, co-edited by IAM’s CEO, Dr. Dana Barnett, together with Bar-Ilan University BESA Center’s former director, Prof. Efraim Karsh.

The reviewer, David Stone, wrote that the book is a “long-overdue academic review of a relatively neglected phenomenon of the soft threats to Israel’s security.” Stone has argued that Israel is facing a formidable challenge, a “long-term strategy to obliterate the Jewish state’s existence. Her enemies launched their project with conventional warfare (hard power), proceeded to the intifadas (terrorism), and – in light of the limited impact of these approaches – a global campaign of delegitimization (soft power).”  According to Stone, “This book should be compulsory reading for every Israeli politician and official with a remit for Israel’s security. By mapping out in forensic detail a growing source of serious danger to the country, one that has been quietly incubating for many decades in the shadows, these authors are sounding the alarm loudly and urgently.” 

IAM has been reporting on these issues since 2004. It is important to reiterate Stone’s pleading, “Is anyone listening?” 

References

https://www.jpost.com/opinion/article-699226

Jerusalem Post  Opinion
The long-term strategy of those seeking to destroy Israel

Editors Dana Barnett and Efraim Karsh have curated a long-overdue academic review of a relatively neglected phenomenon of the soft threats to Israel’s security.

By DAVID STONE Published: MARCH 3, 2022 15:10



Soft Threats to National Security
(photo credit: ROUTLEDGE)

Israel is currently facing a formidable challenge – the latest (third) phase of the long-term strategy to obliterate the Jewish state’s existence.

Her enemies launched their project with conventional warfare (hard power), proceeded to the intifadas (terrorism), and – in light of the limited impact of these approaches – a global campaign of delegitimization (soft power). All three phases overlap and are synergistic.

Originally published as a collection of articles in Israel Affairs (volume 27, issue 21, 2021), editors Dana Barnett and Efraim Karsh have curated a long-overdue academic review of a relatively neglected phenomenon of the soft threats to Israel’s security. These include the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and its associated tactics of demonization and lawfare.

Gelber sets the scene by describing Israel’s failed struggle to win the propaganda war following the 1967 victory. Two weeks after the war, prime minister Eshkol called a meeting to discuss Israel’s rapidly deteriorating position in world opinion. Director-General of the PM’s Office Yaakov Herzog noted in his diary that the event had been “a totally depressing get-together.” In the ensuing years, state-initiated hasbara efforts were equally dispiriting.

Kramer warns that BDS is at least as much of a problem for diaspora (particularly American) Jews as for Israel. US Jews are a key target of BDS as they are perceived as “over-represented” in American academic specialties that are downsizing. Many Jewish scholars now have to pass a litmus test of acceptability by denouncing Israel and approving of BDS. This is classic antisemitic scapegoating in the guise of human rights.

In a dispassionate but devastating dissection, Steinberg exposes the anti-Israeli agenda of Human Rights Watch with its eye-watering $92 million annual budget. This highly influential NGO, led by Kenneth Roth since 1993, regularly hurls bile-laden accusations against Israel at the expense of far more egregious human rights violators in the MENA region and elsewhere. Roth denies accusations of antisemitism, yet his behavior suggests otherwise, such as his deployment of the old antisemitic eye for an eye trope in condemning Israeli actions.

Friesel’s chapter on Jewish (including Israeli) anti-Israelism is especially disturbing. It demonstrates the extent to which traditional Christian-based Western Jew-hatred has been internalized by many Jewish intellectuals. These self-proclaimed “progressives” appear to have lost the capacity for critical, evidence-based analysis of Zionist history and lack insight into the way their own insecurities are exploited by non-Jewish antisemites. Their negative Jewish identity borders on a collective psychopathology that is neither classically antisemitic nor adequately characterized as Jewish self-hatred.

In three chapters that cluster conveniently together, Gilboa, Mandler and Lutmar, and Derri offer powerful critiques of the ruthless methods Israel’s detractors have employed to misappropriate the foundational values of key international agencies such as the United Nations (notably its Human Rights Council) and the International Criminal Court in pursuit of their relentless and highly productive effort to vilify Israel.

Yahel – in describing the exploitation of Bedouin grievances by a variety of NGOs – reveals the multifaceted drive to portray Israel as a brutal settler apartheid state that purposely discriminates against indigenous residents and systematically violates international law. This has proved so useful to anti-Israel activists that one suspects that the Bedouin issue (now rebranded as Palestinian), like that of the 1948 Palestinian refugees, has been deliberately sustained as a running sore through the rejection of successive attempts by the Israeli government to find an equitable solution.

Stellman’s overview of the various strands of modern antisemitism – far Left, far Right, Islamist – describes how strange bedfellows bury their differences to prioritize their hostility to Jewish sovereignty. He proposes a counter strategy, namely, to turn the age-old accusation of a global Jewish conspiracy on its head by highlighting the synergy and collaboration that disparate groups of antisemitic anti-Zionists pursue in their common goal of defeating Israel through demonization.

In the penultimate chapter, Torpor suggests that those waging this covert war on Israel are attempting to tighten the noose, not only around Israel, but the Jewish world as a whole. The inevitable convergence of BDS with delegitimization and antisemitism completes the circle of hostility to the Zionist roots of the Jewish state at precisely the point at which it began: unbridled hatred of Jews both individually and collectively. Torpor calls for the dark underbelly of the BDS movement to be exposed and for further research into the transformation of legitimate criticism of Israel into antisemitism.

Atlan rounds off proceedings by tracing the history of the modern BDS phenomenon to Russian and then Soviet political warfare that laid the ideological groundwork for much subsequent anti-Israeli propaganda, particularly from the political Left, which is so familiar to us today.

This book should be compulsory reading for every Israeli politician and official with a remit for Israel’s security. By mapping out in forensic detail a growing source of serious danger to the country, one that has been quietly incubating for many decades in the shadows, these authors are sounding the alarm loudly and urgently. Is anyone listening? ■

Soft Threats to National Security
Antisemitism, BDS, and the De-legitimization of Israel

Editors: Dana Barnett, Efraim Karsh

Routledge

==================================================

Gerry Leisman

26 February at 09:41

It is not just tyrannical Russia, “wokism” and “cancel culture” that is creating the decline and fall of western civilization. It is also the tyranny of loss of freedom to think and conclusions drawn on the basis of media soundbites, political agendas, and a general lack of intellectual integrity. I share with you an email sent by a faculty person at Teacher’s College of Columbia University to numerous colleagues of mine who are potential contributors to a project in Neuroeducation. I also include my response to her. I would suggest that each of my friends understand the gravity of this event. As you know, I am Professor & Research Fellow at the University of Haifa and Professor of Restorative Neurology at Universidad de Ciencias Médicas in Cuba.

GL:

Hi,

I am the guest editor of a special issue of the Journal Brain Sciences and we are producing a special issue of the journal entitled, “The Brain Goes to School, details for which can be found at the following link:

https://www.mdpi.com/…/brai…/special_issues/brain_school

We are recruiting both reviews and results of experimental studies that relate to human learning, its difficulties, remediation strategies, models, cognitive science, cognitive neuropsychology all essentially attempting to translate 150 years of cognitive neuroscience into classroom applications…….

Karen Froud, PhD (Columbia University Teacher’s College):

“Dear colleagues –

I urge you to consider this request in light of the Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions Movement for freedom and justice in Palestine. Like many / most academic institutions in Israel, Haifa University is an apartheid institution. https://bdsmovement.net/tags/haifa-university

I recognize that many of you work within this institution and hope you are also doing your part for academic freedom.

Warm wishes for a peaceful and just world – which after all is where educational neuroscience as a field points us.

Karen Froud, Ph.D.

Program Director, Neuroscience & Education

Columbia University Teachers College”

GL Response:

Dear Karen and the rest of the addressees on the contact list.

You, Karen, have every right to your opinion. Unfortunately, you are playing politics with science and as a science-based individual, you are making a number of assumptions based on something other than fact.

I will deal with your misconceptions in seriatim.

1. Firstly, it is quite audacious of you to claim that you support academic freedom by requesting others to shut down academic freedom. Before I begin, may I call your attention to the UN Declaration of Human Rights (1949) Article 19, which you obviously have not read, that states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression: this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” (So much for your understanding of Human Rights and Academic Freedom).

2. What you want is not a boycott but rather political pressure on second parties to pressure third parties to affect policy-change by that third party (i.e. the government the State of Israel). That is not even a secondary boycott but rather just simply bullying. So much for academic discourse on your part on an issue that has nothing to do with the project in Neuroeducation. What makes your opinions valid and those of others not? Some website? Do you base your actions on an order on a website? Your actions are inconsistent with the notion of Academic Freedom, but rather with an opinionated individual raming his/her political agenda down the throats of academics on a mailing list. This behavior does not seem to me to be supportive of Academic Freedom, but rather more consistent with the behavior of German schools and Universities of 1930’s. Would you like to ban books too – I think certain school districts in the United States already have (e.g. Maus). This is surely not how we proceed in the world of science and ideas. Now to the facts.

3. Israel is not an “Apartheid” state as you claim. Well over 40 percent of the students at the University of Haifa are of Arab descent. The Arab population of Israel is 21 percent. The enrollment of Arab minorities in higher education is approximately 17 percent – pretty close to the proportion in the population. Had you had the intellectual integrity to fact-check, you might have found that out yourself from OECD data. The same data shows that the number of students who work toward undergraduate and master’s degrees is rising. Does that sound like Apartheid to you? You should probably read a about what happened to non-“white” South Africans under Apartheid before you employ that term.

4. The recently appointed justice to the Supreme Court, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Khaled Kabub, is a Muslim. Bedouins, Israel’s indigenous Arab population, serve in the Army and many have given their lives in that regard. Israel’s population is a tapestry of Arab Muslims, Maronites, Coptics, Arameans, Assyrians, Druse, Caucasians (not the one’s on your university’s diversity forms), Circassians, Samaritans, Vietnamese, not to mention refugees from Eritrea, South Sudan, as well as refugees (non-Jewish) from Bosnia and Kosovo, besides the Jewish population, 60 percent of whom derive from Arab lands and Egypt as well as from non-Arab Muslim countries. Did you not know that?

4. The present government consists of a coalition that includes Dr. Mansour Abbas, leader of the Ra’am party and who de facto serves as a “kingmaker” and could easily bring the government down in a no-confidence vote.

5. Rana Raslan is an Israeli Muslim Arab woman who in 2021 became Miss Israel – that, Karen, does not happen in an Apartheid state.

6. Arab Israeli’s Hossam Haick has successfully developed technologies for sniffing out disease; Kossay Omary and Rabeeh Khoury developed miniature computers; Jamil R. Mazzawi founded Optima Design Automation, a startup developing software for self-driving cars and Mahmoud Huleihel made a breakthrough in the field of male infertility. Oh I could wax on, but investigate yourself.

7. Israel is a multi-ethnic society with its citizens sharing equal rights and hopefully equal opportunity.

8. Sixty percent of the Jewish population were heave-hoed from Arab lands. What do you have to say about that?

9. In 1948 the UN partitioned the area into a Palestinian and Jewish State, the West Bank was occupied by Jordan. I guess you had no problem with that. A year prior, 25 August 1947, the UN did the same when it created West and East Pakistan (later Bangaladesh), Muslim countries, and separated them from India. The largest population move in human history occurred as result. The partition displaced between 10 and 20 million people along religious lines, creating overwhelming refugee crises in the newly constituted dominions. The result of that is still ongoing and violent and it is the Punjab. Got nothing to say?

9. Maybe I should boycott your institution for suppressing the voices and academic freedom of people who oppose your views. Maybe I should boycott US universities because your government has lied since its inception about the ideals of equality to wit, 3/5 human being, Alien and Sedition Act, Jew quotas in universities (including yours), lynchings of ethnic undesirables oh, and slavery. Maybe the USA should start thinking about giving back the Kingdom of Hawaii. Maybe you should boycott the University of Hawaii and all other American universities to pressure the US government to give it back.

10. More importantly right now, you have the audacity to attempt to shut down the free exchange of scientific ideas assuming that I am a full-time member of the faculty of the University of Haifa in Israel. Had you even bothered to look at my affiliation you might have noted that I hold a dual appointment at the University of the Medical Science of Havana in Cuba (appointment letter attached). Please read it and you will note that although Cuba and Israel do not have diplomatic relations, I was appointed by the Cuban Ministry of Health and by the Rectorate of Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de la Habana, of the Communist Republic of Cuba AS AN ISRAELI ACADEMIC (see link). Seems that the Cubans who understand embargo and have tough life largely owing to political forces in the USA, of which you seem to have no interest, especially understand the importance of Academic Freedom and the notion of the need to, “receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

11. With the world in the present state that it is in and possibly heading to WW III and nuclear threats coming from Russia, please relate to the concept of proportional thinking.

12. I don’t know if I can change your thinking as it seems that you have fomented opinions already. However, you need to apologize, at the very least, to the individuals on this list, for not dealing with me directly so that you could voice your concerns and I could listen and discuss ideas with you and you with me. That is what we do in academia. I expect nothing less.

Sincerely, Gerry Leisman

===========================================

Opinion: NYU, shut down the Tel Aviv study abroad site

Amnesty International released a report last month concluding that Israel is guilty of perpetrating apartheid and other violations of international law against Palestinians. NYU’s Tel Aviv academic center and partnership with Tel Aviv University is nothing short of complacency and, by extension, complicity.

By Trace Miller, Managing Editor
March 1, 2022

NYU should shut down its Tel Aviv study abroad site. Maintaining an academic center in Israel signals complacency toward — and, thereby, complicity in — the apartheid, crimes against humanity and other violations of international law that the state of Israel perpetrates against Palestinians.

On Feb. 1, Amnesty International joined a U.N. special rapporteurHuman Rights Watch, and the Israeli human rights organizations Yesh Din and B’Tselem in concluding that the state of Israel is guilty of perpetrating these crimes.

This is not a groundbreaking revelation. Palestinians have been detailing the realities of Israeli apartheid and calling for its recognition as such for more than two decades, according to the Amnesty report. In November 2019, a coalition of Palestinian human rights organizations submitted a report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination concluding that Israel “has created and maintained an apartheid regime.”

More recently, in April 2021, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council submitted an amicus brief to the CERD arguing that Israel’s violations of the U.N. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination must be analyzed in the context of the convention’s third article, which condemns apartheid and racial segregation and undertakes “to prevent, prohibit and eradicate all practices of this nature in territories under [the signatories’] jurisdiction.” Israel signed ICERD in 1966 and ratified it in 1979. Its infringement of ICERD’s third article — as well as multiple other articles — was reported with concern by the CERD in 20072012 and 2020

A system of violence and discrimination

The nature and specifics of Israel’s crimes against Palestinians is detailed in all these reports. To summarize these crimes is to pass judgment on which particulars of a totalizing — and arguably totalitarian — system of violence and discrimination are most worthy of mentioning. But summarize we must in order to condemn.

Jerusalem-based author and journalist Nathan Thrall reports in the “London Review of Books,” that “Israelis and Palestinians in the same territory … are tried in different courts, one military, one civilian, for the same crime committed on the same street.” Israel denies Palestinians the freedoms of expression, assembly, movement and habeas corpus. 

“The discrimination is not just national — by Israelis against Palestinians who lack citizenship — but ethnic, by Jews against Palestinian subjects and citizens alike,” Thrall writes.

The state of Israel is guilty of grave violations of Palestinians’ most basic human and civil rights: Palestinians are subjected to discriminationviolenceforced displacement and ethnic cleansing. Israel’s status as an apartheid state has been recognized by numerous national and international human rights organizations. Moreover, Israel reserves the right to ban activists involved in Jewish Voice for Peace or the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement — and even to deny entry to foreigners who have called for a boycott of Israel or its settlements. These actions are illegal under international law. 

NYU cannot, in good conscience, operate an academic center in an apartheid state while claiming in its non-discrimination and anti-harassment policy to be committed to creating an environment free of harassment and discrimination based on race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ethnicity or citizenship status.

Anti-apartheid action at the university

Taking action against apartheid within NYU is not unprecedented. The NYU Student Senators Council voted unanimously in 1985 to divest from corporations doing business with the state of South Africa “in recognition of the abhorrent discriminatory practices of the government of South Africa.” The Graduate Student Organizing Committee — the graduate student worker union at NYU — voted to join the BDS movement and called for the university to shut down its Tel Aviv campus in 2016. 

NYU president Andrew Hamilton responded to the GSOC vote with a statement reading “a boycott of Israeli academics and institutions is contrary to our core principles of academic freedom, [and] antithetical to the free exchange of ideas.” Hamilton flatly stated that “divestment from Israeli-related investments is not under consideration.”

Two years later, in 2018, the NYU student government passed a resolution to divest from corporations “involved in the violation of Palestinian human rights,” including Caterpillar and General Electric, which still equip NYU with power, and Lockheed Martin, a corporate partner of the Tandon School of Engineering. Later that year, the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis pledged non-cooperation with NYU Tel Aviv until Israel grants academic freedom to all regardless of ancestry or political speech. Non-cooperation means the department neither sponsors faculty teaching at the Tel Aviv campus nor utilizes “any of its resources to facilitate faculty exchanges between the department and the [study abroad] program.”

In response to the student government vote, the university administration stated that it would not divest because “the endowment should not be used for making political statements.” Nevertheless, faculty and student groups have continued organizing against the Tel Aviv study away site. Faculty of Color for an Anti-Racist NYU pledged non-cooperation with NYU Tel Aviv in June 2021; their open letter was signed by hundreds of faculty, alumni, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students, as well as multiple student organizations. Just this past year, the NYU Review of Law & Social Change committed to BDS. And in mid-2020, GSOC condemned NYU’s decision to include the academic center in its list of Go Local sites and called for its closure. 

GSOC called for the academic center’s closure in 2016, not only because of Israel’s discriminatory entry laws, but also because of NYU Tel Aviv’s partnership with Tel Aviv University, which is built atop the razed Palestinian village of Shaykh Muwannis. This partnership involves internships at TAU’s medical and scientific laboratories for NYU students as well as access to the university’s library. TAU is a well-regarded research university. Not well-reported, however, is the university’s role in collaborating with the Israel Defense Forces and perpetrating the state of Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians.

The Palestine Society at SOAS University of London published a report in February 2009 detailing TAU’s complicity in Israel’s invasions of Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008, the role of university institutes in writing Israel’s security policies and war tactics, and the involvement of university faculty and researchers in military research and development. According to the Palestine Society, TAU professor Asa Kasher wrote the IDF code of ethics justifying torture and assassination of soldiers and TAU researchers have called for the IDF to target civilians and civilian infrastructure rather than militants and military infrastructure in its wars against Hamas and Hezbollah.

The number of NYU faculty and student organizations and university institutions that have organized against the Tel Aviv academic center is inspiring and indicative. Thousands of members of the NYU community oppose their university’s presence in an apartheid state and its collaboration with an institution complicit in war crimes and other crimes against humanity.

The NYU administration, however, continues to reject petitions to boycott or shutter NYU Tel Aviv because the demands are “at odds with the tenets of academic freedom” and would suppress free speech, debate and exchange of ideas. Regrettably, our university president and spokespeople have failed to recognize that there neither is, nor can be, so-called academic freedom in a nation that denies the freedoms of expression, assembly, movement and habeas corpus to portions of its population because of their race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ethnicity or citizenship status. 

Hamilton, like most liberal U.S. academics, has no qualms denouncing violence and violations of human rights when they come from further right on the political spectrum or are directed at white Europeans. However, he draws the line at denouncing this instance of Western imperialist violence against people of color. The words “occupation in Palestine” seemingly fill him with nothing close to dread or sorrow — otherwise he might denounce Israeli apartheid.

The state of Israel is guilty of apartheid, crimes against humanity and other violations of international law. TAU is complicit in war crimes. And yet, NYU maintains an academic center in Israel — thereby discriminating against Palestinians and supporters of BDS — in partnership with TAU, tacitly endorsing the violence of the nation’s colonial project. Such a situation begs the question: Would NYU have maintained a campus in South Africa in the 1980s as its students protested it?

Enough is enough. To NYU senior leadership and the board of trustees, I say, bring the university in line with its own ideals and policies. End the university’s implicit endorsement of apartheid and war crimes. Shut down the Tel Aviv academic center.

Views expressed in the Opinion section do not necessarily reflect those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

Contact Trace Miller at tmiller@nyunews.com.

Trace Miller is a CAS sophomore studying comparative literature and libidinal economics. He likes Marx, hates writing and loves Hegelian sauce. 

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https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20220305-kuwait-leaves-bahrain-conference-due-to-israels-attendance/Kuwait leaves Bahrain conference due to Israel’s attendance

March 5, 2022 at 11:06 am

A Kuwaiti academic delegation left a scientific conference held at the University of Bahrain in protest against the attendance of an Israeli delegation, Al Khaleej reported on Friday.

The Kuwaiti Youth League for Jerusalem posted on Twitter: “The delegation of Kuwaiti universities leaves a lecture delivered by an Israeli from Tel Aviv University held at Bahrain University.”

It added: “All salute to the delegation… Normalisation has been and will continue to be tyranny.”

Head of Kuwaiti Youth League for Jerusalem Mosaab Al-Motawaa stated: “The withdrawal of the Kuwaiti delegation reiterated the official Kuwaiti stance which is clear towards rejecting all forms of normalisation with the occupation.”

Al-Motawaa added: “Such a stance became one of the weapons that hurt the Israeli occupation entity that causes harm to it.”

The faculty of business administration at the University of Bahrain announced holding a conference on 2 and 3 March, without noting that an Israeli delegation was participating in the event.

In January, a Kuwaiti cultural delegation boycotted the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature due to the participation of an Israeli writer.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed normalisation deals with Israel in September 2020. Former US President Donald Trump brokered the deal.

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https://english.alahednews.com.lb/64363/390
Kuwaiti Delegation Withdraws from Bahrain Conference over “Israeli” Participation

06.03.22
By Staff, Agencies

An academic delegation from Kuwait decided to pull out of a conference hosted by the University of Bahrain after finding out that an “Israeli” delegation would participate in the event.
The move comes as Kuwait has frequently reiterated its support for Palestine.
The Kuwaiti Youth Association for Al-Quds announced in a post published on Twitter that organizers of the conference at the largest public university in Bahrain had announced the occasion, but had not included the “Israeli” participants in the delegates page.
“The withdrawal of the Kuwaiti academics from the conference reflects Kuwait’s official position as to rejection of any form of normalization of relations with the Zionist regime,” Musab Al-Mutawa, head of the association, said.
He further told Al-Quds Press News Agency that such positions serve as a lever of pressure against the occupying Tel Aviv regime.
Al-Mutawa also underscored that Kuwait’s support for the Palestinian cause and Palestinians’ struggle for liberation from the “Israeli” occupation will remain fairly solid and unswerving.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has praised the decision by a Kuwaiti academic delegation to pull out of a conference in Bahrain because of the “Israeli” participation.
“Such valued positions by the Kuwaiti leadership and people go in harmony with the Muslim world’s conscience, and are recorded in the lists of honor and pride,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem said in a statement on Saturday.
In parallel, he added that the decision to withdraw from an academic event attended by “Israeli” delegates reflected Kuwait’s unflagging support for the Palestinian nation, and their struggle to free their lands and holy sites.
In May last year, Kuwait’s National Assembly unanimously approved bills that outlaw any deals or normalization of ties with Tel Aviv.

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http://bahrainmirror.com/en/news/61265.html
Al-Wefaq Commends Kuwaiti Professors who Withdrew from Bahrain University Conference due to Israel’s Participation

2022-03-06

Bahrain Mirror: The Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society greeted the Kuwaiti delegation that withdrew from a conference hosted by the University of Bahrain in protest against the participation of an Israeli delegation.

Al-Wefaq said via its Twitter account that it “salutes the authentic Arab stance taken by Kuwaiti educators in their honorable withdrawal, refraining from taking part in the crime of normalization committed at the University of Bahrain, and their refusal to participate in the scientific conference in which academics from the usurping entity are taking part in, expressing the principled position of all the peoples of the free Arab and Islamic world that reject all forms of normalization with the temporary entity on the land of Palestine.”

The faculty of business administration at the University of Bahrain announced holding “The Middle East Conference for the Development of Business Administration Colleges” on the 2nd and 3rd of March, without noting that an Israeli delegation will be participating in the event.

The Kuwaiti Youth League for Jerusalem confirmed via Twitter that the withdrawal of the Kuwaiti academic delegation confirms Kuwait’s clear and official position towards rejecting normalization with Israel in all its forms.

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https://www.tasnimnews.com/he/news/2022/03/06/2677231/%D7%9E%D7%A9%D7%9C%D7%97%D7%AA-%D7%90%D7%A7%D7%93%D7%9E%D7%99%D7%AA-%D7%9B%D7%95%D7%95%D7%99%D7%AA-%D7%A4%D7%95%D7%A8%D7%A9%D7%AA-%D7%9E%D7%95%D7%95%D7%A2%D7%99%D7%93%D7%AA-%D7%91%D7%97%D7%A8%D7%99%D7%99%D7%9F-%D7%91%D7%A9%D7%9C-%D7%94%D7%A9%D7%AA%D7%AA%D7%A4%D7%95%D7%AA-%D7%99%D7%A9%D7%A8%D7%90%D7%9C%D7%99%D7%AA

Iranian Tasnim News

משלחת אקדמית כווית פורשת מוועידת בחריין בשל השתתפות ישראלית

March, 06, 2022 – 10:05 חדשות עולם

משלחת אקדמית של כווית החליטה לפרוש מכנס בהנחיית אוניברסיטת בחריין לאחר שגילתה כי משלחת ישראלית תשתתף באירוע, שכן ממלכת המפרץ הפרסי חזרה על תמיכתה בפלסטין.

אגודת הנוער הכוויתי למען אל-קודס הודיעה בפוסט שפורסם בטוויטר כי מארגני הכנס באוניברסיטה הציבורית הגדולה בבחריין הכריזו על האירוע, אך לא כללו את המשתתפים הישראלים בדף הנציגים.

“הנסיגה של האקדמאים הכוויתים מהוועידה משקפת את עמדתה הרשמית של כווית באשר לדחייה של כל צורה של נורמליזציה של היחסים עם המשטר הציוני”, אמר מוסעב אל-מוטווה, ראש האגודה.

הוא אמר לסוכנות הידיעות קודס פרס כי תפקידים כאלה משמשים מנוף לחץ נגד המשטר התל אביבי הכובש.

מוטווה גם הדגיש כי תמיכתה של כווית בעניין הפלסטיני ומאבק הפלסטינים לשחרור מהכיבוש הישראלי יישארו מוצקים למדי ובלתי מעורערים.

חמאס מברך על פרישת כווית מהוועידה בה השתתפו נציגים ישראלים

בינתיים, תנועת ההתנגדות הפלסטינית של חמאס שיבחה את החלטתה של משלחת אקדמית כווית לפרוש מכנס בבחריין בגלל השתתפותם של ישראלים.

“עמדות מוערכות כאלה של ההנהגה והאנשים הכוויתים הולכות בהרמוניה עם מצפונו של העולם המוסלמי, ומתועדות ברשימות של כבוד וגאווה”, אמר דובר חמאס חאזם קאסם בהצהרה ביום שבת.

הוא הוסיף כי ההחלטה לפרוש מאירוע אקדמי בהשתתפות נציגים ישראלים משקפת את תמיכתה הבלתי פוסקת של כווית באומה הפלסטינית, ואת מאבקה לשחרר את אדמותיה ואת האתרים הקדושים שלה.

כווית מתנגדת נחרצות לנורמליזציה של הקשרים עם ישראל, בניגוד לכמה מדינות ערביות באזור, שחתמו בשנים האחרונות על הסכמי נורמליזציה עם משטר הכיבוש.

במאי אשתקד אישרה האסיפה הלאומית של כווית פה אחד הצעות חוק המוציאות מחוץ לחוק כל עסקה או נורמליזציה של קשרים עם המשטר בתל אביב.

ב-18 באוגוסט 2020, 37 מחוקקים בכווית קראו לממשלתם לדחות הסכם נורמליזציה בין ישראל לאיחוד האמירויות הערביות (איחוד האמירויות).

הסנטימנטים האנטי-ישראליים גבוהים בכווית. סקר שנערך בשנת 2019 על ידי מכון וושינגטון למדיניות המזרח הקרוב, צוות חשיבה אמריקאי, הראה כי 85% מהכוויתים מתנגדים לנורמליזציה של הקשרים עם ישראל.

עוד בספטמבר 2020, איחוד האמירויות של ארם ובחריין חתמו על הסכמי נורמליזציה עם ישראל. מאוחר יותר חתמו מרוקו וסודאן על הסכמים דומים גם עם המשטר הישראלי.

מה שנקרא הסכם אברהם נדחף על ידי ארצות הברית תחת הנשיא לשעבר דונלד טראמפ.

הפלסטינים גינו את עסקאות הנורמליזציה, ותיארו אותן כ”דקירה בגב” ו”בגידה” במטרתם.

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Google Translate

Youth of Jerusalem – Kuwait
@K8_4_Quds
They invite us to visit our usurped land that was occupied by their criminal entity.. Then they call them academic and scientific meetings!!
The delegation of Kuwait universities withdraws from a lecture given by an Israeli from Tel Aviv University, which was held at the University of Bahrain
Greetings to the delegation
And #normalization_betrayal was and will remain


شباب القدس- الكويت

@Q8_4_Quds

يدعوننا لزيارة أرضنا المغتصبة التي احتلها كيانهم المجرم .. ثم يسمونها لقاءات أكاديمية وعلمية !! وفد جامعات الكويت ينسحب من محاضرة يلقيها اسرائيلي من جامعة تل ابيب المنعقد في جامعة البحرين تحية للوفد و #التطبيع_خيانة كان وسيظل

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https://apartheiddivest.org/faculty

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK

FACULTY PETITION

As both scholars and community members, we are professionally, intellectually, and morally invested in our University. We deem it our duty to hold our institution accountable for the ethical implications of its own actions, notably its financial investments and their implications around the world. In particular, we take issue with our financial involvements in institutions associated with the State of Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian lands, continued violations of Palestinian human rights, systematic destruction of life and property, inhumane segregation and systemic forms of discrimination.

In 2002, faculty members across various departments called for an end to our investment in all firms that supplied Israel’s military with arms and military hardware. Students, alumni, faculty, and staff agreed to attach their name to a call to remove the State of Israel’s social license in its use of asymmetrical and excessive violence against Palestinian civilians.

We now stand with Columbia University Apartheid Divest, Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine as well as with Jewish Voice for Peace in calling upon the University to take a moral stance against Israel’s violence in all its forms. We demand that the University divest from corporations that supply, perpetuate, and profit from a system that has subjugated the Palestinian people for over 68 years. We note that our position unequivocally stands in support of a non-violent movement privileging human rights as the only means toward finding a political resolution.

We call on our University to recognize its undeniable role in, and influence upon, global systems, a distinguished role that comes with a commensurately weighty measure of moral accountability.

Signatories

Nadia Abu El-Haj | Anthropology, Barnard Lila Abu Lughod | Anthropology, Columbia Gil Anidjar | Religion & MESAAS, Columbia Zainab Bahrani | Art History & Archaeology, Columbia Brian Boyd | Anthropology, Columbia Allison Busch | MESAAS, Columbia Partha Chatterjee | Anthropology & MESAAS, Columbia Hamid Dabashi | MESAAS, Columbia E. Valentine Daniel | Anthropology, Columbia Katherine Franke | Law, Columbia Victoria de Grazia | History, Columbia Robert Gooding-Williams | Philosophy & IRAAS, Columbia Stathis Gourgouris | English & Comparative Literature, Columbia Farah Griffin | English & Comparative Literature, Columbia Wael Hallaq | MESAAS, Columbia Marianne Hirsch | English & Comparative Literature, Columbia Jean Howard | English & Comparative Literature, Columbia Rashid Khalidi | History & MESAAS, Columbia Mahmood Mamdani | Anthropology & MESAAS, Columbia Joseph Massad | MESAAS, Columbia Brinkley Messick | Anthropology & MESAAS, Columbia Timothy Mitchell | MESAAS, Columbia Rosalind Morris | Anthropology, Columbia Frederick Neuhouser | Philosophy, Barnard Mae Ngai | History, Columbia Gregory Pflugfelder | History & EALAC, Columbia Sheldon Pollock | MESAAS, Columbia Elizabeth Povinelli | Anthropology, Columbia Wayne L. Proudfoot | Philosophy, Columbia Anupama Rao | History & Human Rights, Barnard Bruce Robbins | English & Comparative Literature, Columbia George Saliba | MESAAS, Columbia Dirk Salomons | SIPA, Columbia David Scott | Anthropology, Columbia Avinoam Shalem | Art History & Archaeology, Columbia Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak | English & Comparative Literature, Columbia Neferti Tadiar | Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Barnard Michael Taussig | Anthropology, Columbia Marc Van De Mieroop | History, Columbia Gauri Viswanathan | English & Comparative Literature, Columbia Paige West | Anthropology, Barnard Michael Harris | Mathematics, Columbia Jonathan Crary | Art History & Archaeology, Columbia Shamus Khan | Sociology, Columbia Zoe Crossland | Anthropology, Columbia Steven Gregory | Anthropology, Columbia James Schamus | Film, Columbia Abeer Shaheen | MESAAS, Columbia Elizabeth Bernstein | Sociology, Barnard J. Blake Turner | Psychiatry, Columbia Lydia Goehr | Philosophy, Columbia Danielle Haase-Dubosc | French & Romance Philology, Columbia Peter Marcuse | GSAPP, Columbia Gray Tuttle | EALAC, Columbia Rebecca Jordan-Young | Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, Barnard Josh Whitford | Sociology, Columbia Ross Hamilton | English, Barnard Nora Akawi | GSAPP, Columbia Taylor Carman | Philosophy, Barnard Reinhold Martin | GSAPP, Columbia Branden W. Joseph | Art History, Columbia Felicity Scott | GSAPP, Columbia Audra Simpson | Anthropology, Columbia Carol Benson | International & Comparative Education, Columbia Michael Thaddeus | Mathematics, Columbia Karen Froud | Neuroscience & Education, Columbia John Collins | Philosophy, Columbia Joshua Simon | Political Science, Columbia Muhsin al-Musawi | MESAAS, Columbia D. Max Moerman | Asian & Middle Eastern Cultures, Barnard Edgar Rivera Colón | Narrative Medicine, Columbia Gregory Mann | History, Columbia Keith Moxey | Art History, Columbia Patricia Dailey | English & Comparative Literature, Columbia Pablo A. Piccato | History, Columbia Elizabeth Irwin | Classics, Columbia Ann Douglas | English & Comparative Literature, Columbia Emmanuelle Saada | French & Romance Philology, Columbia

If you’re a member of the Columbia/Barnard faculty, click here to sign the petition.

Alon Confino & Raef Zreik Abuse their Positions to Promote Political Agenda

03.03.22

Editorial Note

Next week, the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is hosting a Webinar, “in conversation with Prof. Raef Zreik,” the co-director of the Minerva Center for the Humanities at Tel Aviv University, an associate Professor at Ono Academic College, and a senior researcher at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. Zreik will talk about the Arab intellectuals’ letter condemning antisemitism and rejecting the IHRA working definition of antisemitism.  The Webinar organizer is Prof. Alon Confino of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Ben Gurion University. Confino is a political activist who pushes for the equivalence of the Holocaust to the Palestinian self-inflicted Nakba.

In November 2020, a group of 122 Arab scholars, journalists and intellectuals published an open letter “unconditionally condemning antisemitism while at the same time vehemently rejecting the IHRA working definition of antisemitism.” Admittedly, Zreik was among the initiators and drafters of the letter. The group stated that, “In recent years, the fight against antisemitism has been increasingly instrumentalized by the Israeli government and its supporters in an effort to delegitimize the Palestinian cause and silence defenders of Palestinian rights. Diverting the necessary struggle against antisemitism to serve such an agenda threatens to debase this struggle and hence to discredit and weaken it,” as the invitation to the Webinar reads. During the Webinar Zreik will “elaborate on his views about antisemitism, the fight against it and it’s political instrumentalization within the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.” 

Worth noting, the full text by the group condemns antisemitism on the one hand yet allows antisemitism to flourish on the other. 

The letter states that “Antisemitism must be debunked and combated. Regardless of pretext, no expression of hatred for Jews as Jews should be tolerated anywhere in the world. Antisemitism manifests itself in sweeping generalizations and stereotypes about the Jews, regarding power and money in particular, along with conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial. We regard as legitimate and necessary the fight against such attitudes. We also believe that the lessons of the Holocaust as well as those of other genocides of modern times must be part of the education of new generations against all forms of racial prejudice and hatred.”

But according to the authors, the IHRA definition “discards as antisemitic all non-Zionist visions” and “conflates Judaism with Zionism in assuming that all Jews are Zionists,” and that “the State of Israel in its current reality embodies the self-determination of all Jews.” The authors argue, “We profoundly disagree with this.” They also claim “The fight against antisemitism should not be turned into a stratagem to delegitimize the fight against the oppression of the Palestinians, the denial of their rights, and the continued occupation of their land.” The fight against antisemitism should be as part of “the fight against all forms of racism and xenophobia, including Islamophobia, anti-Arab, and anti-Palestinian racism.” And that “We believe that human values and rights are indivisible and that the fight against antisemitism should go hand in hand with the struggle on behalf of all oppressed peoples and groups for dignity, equality, and emancipation.”

The authors believe that Israel created “a Jewish majority by way of ethnic cleansing… the self-determination of a Jewish population in Palestine/Israel has been implemented in the form of an ethnic exclusivist and territorially expansionist state… the State of Israel is based on uprooting the vast majority of the natives – what Palestinians and Arabs refer to as the Nakba – and on subjugating those natives who still live on the territory of historical Palestine as either second-class citizens or people under occupation, denying them their right to self-determination.” 

They argue that “The IHRA definition of antisemitism and the related legal measures adopted in several countries have been deployed mostly against leftwing and human rights groups supporting Palestinian rights and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign… a legitimate non-violent means of struggle for Palestinian rights.”

Specifically, the IHRA definition example of antisemitism, “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor,” according to the authors, is “quite odd. It does not bother to recognize that under international law the current State of Israel has been an occupying power for over half a century, as recognized by the governments of countries where the IHRA definition is being upheld.”

The authors argue that “The demand by Palestinians for their right of return to the land from which they themselves, their parents and grandparents were expelled cannot be construed as antisemitic… To level the charge of antisemitism against anyone who regards the existing State of Israel as racist, notwithstanding the actual institutional and constitutional discrimination upon which it is based, amounts to granting Israel absolute impunity… The IHRA definition and the way it has been deployed prohibit any discussion of the Israeli state as based on ethno-religious discrimination.” 

The authors claim that “The suppression of Palestinian rights in the IHRA definition betrays an attitude upholding Jewish privilege in Palestine instead of Jewish rights, and Jewish supremacy over Palestinians instead of Jewish safety.”

However, the authors of the public letter are wrong; the IHRA definition does not conflate Judaism with Zionism nor claims that all Jews are Zionists. It doesn’t even claim that Israel embodies the self-determination of all Jews. Of course, there are Jews who are anti-Zionists. The IHRA definition does not discuss them, and this is not what the IHRA definition speaks of, rather, according to the IHRA definition, negating the right of Jews to self-determination is antisemitic.

The authors are claiming that the fight against antisemitism should not delegitimize the fight against the oppression of the Palestinians, the denial of their rights, and the continued occupation of their land.   The IHRA definition of antisemitism has not denied such right but insisted that double standards exist when it comes to criticizing Israel while letting off the hook other countries in which Palestinians live and are discriminated against, swuch as Lebanon, is an example.  The situation in The Gaza Strip, which is under the violent, authoritarian rule of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad is even more perilous for the Palestinians.  Even in the relatively liberal West Bank, persecutions and even killings of opponents of Mahmoud Abbas are not extraordinary.  Supporters of the Palestinians who have never missed an opportunity to bash Israel have kept conspicuously quiet about such cases.  Until pro-Palestinian activists sound an alarm about these cases, they should be charged with practicing double standards, which is the epitome of antisemitism per the IHRA definition.

It is hardly surprising that Confino would host Zreik to discuss the alleged bias of IHRA.  Confino pushed the equivalency between the Holocaust to the Palestinian Nakba. By equating the Nakba to the Holocaust, Confino reduces the scale of the Holocaust, which is antisemitic.  For years, he and other like-minded scholars have, as IAM illustrated, produced a sizable body of literature making the outrageous claim that the Palestinians were subjected to something equivalent to the Nazi genocide that took the lives of six million Jews.   Sadly, the current state of academic discourse not only tolerates this type of “scholarship” but makes its authors eligible for positions in Western universities. Confino and Zreik are good examples of this trend.   

References

https://www.umass.edu/ihgms/event/encounters-conversation-raef-zreik

The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies
Events

Online via ZOOM Webinar
DATE & TIME   March 8th 2022 1:00pm – 3:00pm
EMAIL:   ihgms@umass.edu
ZOOM Webinar Registration Link  https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_NYJGgn8QSWO9TC_vQAdiLQ“Encounters”: A Conversation with Raef Zreik

March 8, 2022, 1:00PM (EST) / 20:00 (Israel time)
A Conversation with Raef Zreik on the Arab intellectuals’ letter condemning antisemitism and rejecting the IHRA working definition of antisemitism

In November 2020, a group of 122 Arab scholars, journalists and intellectuals published an unprecedented open letter – in English, German, Hebrew, Arabic and French – unconditionally condemning antisemitism while at the same time vehemently rejecting the IHRA working definition of antisemitism. The letter states:

“In recent years, the fight against antisemitism has been increasingly instrumentalized by the Israeli government and its supporters in an effort to delegitimize the Palestinian cause and silence defenders of Palestinian rights. Diverting the necessary struggle against antisemitism to serve such an agenda threatens to debase this struggle and hence to discredit and weaken it.”

Dr. Raef Zreik was among the initiators and drafters of this letter. In this encounter he will elaborate on his views about antisemitism, the fight against it and it’s political instrumentalization within the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Dr. Raef Zreik is co-director of the Minerva Center for the Humanities at Tel Aviv University, an associate Professor at Ono Academic College, and a senior researcher at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. His fields of interest include legal and political theory, citizenship and identity, and legal interpretation.

Registration is required to attend this Webinar. Register in advance here:
https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_NYJGgn8QSWO9TC_vQAdiLQ

PROGRAMS

(2021-2022) “Encounters: Conversations on Racism, Antisemitism, and Islamophobia”
(2021-2022) Five College Working Group: “Race, Indigeneity, Settler Colonialism in Global Perspective”.
(2021-2022) IHGMS Seminar Workshop – Genealogies of Self-Reflection: Writing in the Wake of Trauma
Past Programs

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https://www.palestine-studies.org/en/node/1650783

Intellectuals Respond to IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

AUTHOR: IPS Washington PRESS RELEASE – November 30, 2020Prominent Palestinian and Arab intellectuals have responded in a public statement to the growing adoption of the definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), and the way it is being deployed to suppress support for Palestinian rights in several European countries and North America. They argue that the fight against antisemitism is being instrumentalized by the Israeli government and its supporters to delegitimize and silence defenders of Palestinian rights. The authors of the open letter recognize antisemitism as a real and growing problem in Europe and North America in conjunction with a general increase of all types of racism and far-right movements. They are fully committed to debunking and combating it, while believing that the struggle against antisemitism properly understood is perfectly compatible with the struggle for justice for Palestinians as an anti-colonial struggle. The deployment of antisemitism in efforts to delegitimize the Palestinian cause perverts and misdirects the fight against persistent and resurgent antisemitism. The statement’s signatories understand the struggle against antisemitism to be as much of a struggle for political and human emancipation as is Palestinian resistance against occupation and statelessness.

Statement on Antisemitism and the Question of Palestine

We, the undersigned, Palestinian and Arab academics, journalists, and intellectuals, are hereby stating our views regarding the definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), and the way this definition has been applied, interpreted and deployed in several countries of Europe and North America.

In recent years, the fight against antisemitism has been increasingly instrumentalized by the Israeli government and its supporters in an effort to delegitimize the Palestinian cause and silence defenders of Palestinian rights. Diverting the necessary struggle against antisemitism to serve such an agenda threatens to debase this struggle and hence to discredit and weaken it.

Antisemitism must be debunked and combated. Regardless of pretext, no expression of hatred for Jews as Jews should be tolerated anywhere in the world. Antisemitism manifests itself in sweeping generalizations and stereotypes about the Jews, regarding power and money in particular, along with conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial. We regard as legitimate and necessary the fight against such attitudes. We also believe that the lessons of the Holocaust as well as those of other genocides of modern times must be part of the education of new generations against all forms of racial prejudice and hatred.

The fight against antisemitism must, however, be approached in a principled manner, lest it defeat its purpose. Through “examples” that it provides, the IHRA definition conflates Judaism with Zionism in assuming that all Jews are Zionists, and that the State of Israel in its current reality embodies the self-determination of all Jews. We profoundly disagree with this. The fight against antisemitism should not be turned into a stratagem to delegitimize the fight against the oppression of the Palestinians, the denial of their rights, and the continued occupation of their land. We regard the following principles as crucial in that regard.

  1. The fight against antisemitism must be deployed within the frame of international law and human rights. It should be part and parcel of the fight against all forms of racism and xenophobia, including Islamophobia, anti-Arab, and anti-Palestinian racism. The aim of this struggle is to guarantee freedom and emancipation for all oppressed groups. It is deeply distorted when geared towards the defense of an oppressive and predatory state.
  2. There is a huge difference between a condition where Jews are singled out, oppressed and suppressed as a minority by antisemitic regimes or groups, and a condition where the self-determination of a Jewish population in Palestine/Israel has been implemented in the form of an ethnic exclusivist and territorially expansionist state. As it currently exists, the State of Israel is based on uprooting the vast majority of the natives – what Palestinians and Arabs refer to as the Nakba – and on subjugating those natives who still live on the territory of historical Palestine as either second-class citizens or people under occupation, denying them their right to self-determination.
  3. The IHRA definition of antisemitism and the related legal measures adopted in several countries have been deployed mostly against leftwing and human rights groups supporting Palestinian rights and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, sidelining the very real threat to Jews coming from rightwing white nationalist movements in Europe and the U.S. The portrayal of the BDS campaign as antisemitic is a gross distortion of what is fundamentally a legitimate non-violent means of struggle for Palestinian rights.
  4. The IHRA definition’s statement that an example of antisemitism is “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor” is quite odd. It does not bother to recognize that under international law the current State of Israel has been an occupying power for over half a century, as recognized by the governments of countries where the IHRA definition is being upheld. It does not bother to consider whether this right includes the right to create a Jewish majority by way of ethnic cleansing and whether it should be balanced against the rights of the Palestinian people. Furthermore, the IHRA definition potentially discards as antisemitic all non-Zionist visions of the future of the Israeli state, such as the advocacy of a binational state or a secular democratic one that represents all its citizens equally. Genuine support for the principle of a people’s right to self-determination cannot exclude the Palestinian nation, nor any other.
  5. We believe that no right to self-determination should include the right to uproot another people and prevent it from returning to its land, or any other means of securing a demographic majority within the state. The demand by Palestinians for their right of return to the land from which they themselves, their parents and grandparents were expelled cannot be construed as antisemitic. The fact that such a demand creates anxieties among Israelis does not prove that it is unjust, nor that it is antisemitic. It is a right recognized by international law as represented in UNGA resolution 194 of 1948.
  6. To level the charge of antisemitism against anyone who regards the existing State of Israel as racist, notwithstanding the actual institutional and constitutional discrimination upon which it is based, amounts to granting Israel absolute impunity. Israel can thus deport its Palestinian citizens, or revoke their citizenship or deny them the right to vote, and still be immune from the accusation of racism. The IHRA definition and the way it has been deployed prohibit any discussion of the Israeli state as based on ethno-religious discrimination. It thus contravenes elementary justice, and basic norms of human rights and international law.
  7. We believe that justice requires full support of the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, including the demand to end the internationally acknowledged occupation of their territories and the statelessness and deprivation of Palestinian refugees. The suppression of Palestinian rights in the IHRA definition betrays an attitude upholding Jewish privilege in Palestine instead of Jewish rights, and Jewish supremacy over Palestinians instead of Jewish safety. We believe that human values and rights are indivisible and that the fight against antisemitism should go hand in hand with the struggle on behalf of all oppressed peoples and groups for dignity, equality, and emancipation.

List of Signatories (in alphabetical order):

Samir Abdallah Filmmaker, Paris, France Soleman Abu-Bader Professor and Director of Doctoral Program, Howard University, Washington, DC, USA Nadia Abu El-Haj Ann Olin Whitney Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University, USA Lila Abu-Lughod Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science, Columbia University, USA Bashir Abu-Manneh Reader in Postcolonial Literature, University of Kent, UK Gilbert Achcar Professor of Development Studies, SOAS, University of London, UK Nadia Leila Aissaoui Sociologist and Writer on Feminist Issues, Paris, France Mamdouh Aker Board of Trustees, Birzeit University, Palestine Samer Alatout Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin, Madison Khalil Alanani Associate Professor at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies and Senior Fellow at Arab Center Washington DC, USA Mohammad Almasri Executive Director, Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, Doha, Qatar Mohamed Alyahyai Writer and Novelist, Oman Suad Amiry Writer and Architect, Ramallah, Palestine Sinan Antoon Associate Professor, New York University, Iraq-US Talal Asad Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, Graduate Center, CUNY, USA Hanan Ashrawi Former Professor of Comparative Literature at Birzeit University, Palestine Aziz Al-Azmeh University Professor Emeritus, Central European University, Vienna, Austria Zeina Azzam Poet, writer and Publications Editor at Arab Center Washington DC, USA Abdullah Baabood Academic and Researcher in Gulf Studies, Oman Nadia Al-Bagdadi Professor of History, Central European University, Vienna, Austria Sam Bahour Writer, Al-Bireh/Ramallah, Palestine Zainab Bahrani Edith Porada Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, USA Rana Barakat Assistant Professor of History, Birzeit University, Palestine Bashir Bashir Associate Professor of Political Theory, Open University of Israel, Raanana, State of Israel Taysir Batniji Artist-Painter, Gaza, Palestine and Paris, France Tahar Benjelloun Writer, Paris, France Mohammed Bennis Poet, Mohammedia, Morocco Mohammed Berrada Writer and Literary Critic, Rabat, Morocco Omar Berrada Writer and Curator, New York, USA Amahl Bishara Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology, Tufts University, USA Anouar Brahem Musician and Composer, Tunisia Salem Brahimi Filmmaker, Algeria-France Aboubakr Chraïbi Professor, Arabic Studies Department, INALCO, Paris, France Selma Dabbagh Writer, London, UK Izzat Darwazeh Professor of Communications Engineering, University College London, UK Marwan Darweish Associate Professor, Coventry University, UK Beshara Doumani Mahmoud Darwish Professor of Palestinian Studies and of History, Brown University, USA Haidar Eid Associate Professor of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza, Palestine Ziad Elmarsafy Professor of Comparative Literature, King’s College London, UK Noura Erakat Assistant Professor, Africana Studies and Criminal Justice, Rutgers University, USA Samera Esmeir Associate Professor of Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley, USA Khaled Fahmy FBA, Professor of Modern Arabic Studies, University of Cambridge, UK Ali Fakhrou Academic and Writer, Bahrain Randa Farah Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Western University, Canada Khaled Farraj Palestinian researcher Leila Farsakh Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Boston, USA Khaled Furani Associate Professor of Sociology & Anthropology, Tel-Aviv University, State of Israel Burhan Ghalioun Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Sorbonne 3, Paris, France Asad Ghanem Professor of Political Science, Haifa University, State of Israel Honaida Ghanim General Director of the Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies Madar, Ramallah, Palestine George Giacaman Professor of Philosophy and Cultural Studies, Birzeit University, Palestine Rita Giacaman Professor, Institute of Community and Public Health, Birzeit University, Palestine Amel Grami Professor of Gender Studies, Tunisian University, Tunis Subhi Hadidi Literary Critic, Syria-France Ghassan Hage Professor of Anthropology and Social Theory, University of Melbourne, Australia Samira Haj Emeritus Professor of History, CSI/Graduate Center, CUNY, USA Yassin Al-Haj Saleh Writer, Syria Rema Hammami Associate Professor of Anthropology, Birzeit University, Palestine Dyala Hamzah Associate Professor of Arab History, Université de Montréal, Canada Sari Hanafi Professor of Sociology, American University of Beirut, Lebanon Adam Hanieh Reader in Development Studies, SOAS, University of London, UK Kadhim Jihad Hassan, Writer and translator, Professor at INALCO-Sorbonne, Paris, France Nadia Hijab Author and Human Rights Activist, London, UK Jamil Hilal Writer, Ramallah, Palestine Bensalim Himmich Academic, Novelist and Writer, Morocco Serene Hleihleh Cultural Activist, Jordan-Palestine Imad Harb Director of Research and Analysis at Arab Center Washington DC, USA Khaled Hroub Professor in Residence of Middle Eastern Studies, Northwestern University, Qatar Mahmoud Hussein Writer, Paris, France Lakhdar Ibrahimi Paris School of International Affairs, Institut d’Etudes Politiques, France Annemarie Jacir Filmmaker, Palestine Islah Jad Associate Professor of Political Science, Birzeit University, Palestine Khalil Jahshan Executive Director, Arab Center Washington DC, USA Lamia Joreige Visual Artist and Filmmaker, Beirut, Lebanon Amal Al-Jubouri Writer, Iraq Mudar Kassis Associate Professor of Philosophy, Birzeit University, Palestine Nabeel Kassis Former Professor of Physics and Former President, Birzeit University, Palestine Salam Kawakibi Director of Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, Paris, France Ahmad Samih Khalidi Senior Associate Member at St. Antony’s College, Oxford Muhammad Ali Khalidi Presidential Professor of Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center, USA Rashid Khalidi Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies, Columbia University, USA Michel Khleifi Filmmaker, Palestine-Belgium Elias Khoury Writer, Beirut, Lebanon Nadim Khoury Associate Professor of International Studies, Lillehammer University College, Norway Rachid Koreichi Artist-Painter, Paris, France Jonathan Kuttab Human Rights Attorney, author and Nonresident Fellow at Arab Center Washington DC, USA Adila Laïdi-Hanieh Director General, The Palestinian Museum, Palestine Rabah Loucini Professor of History, Oran University, Algeria Mehdi Mabrouk Professor of Sociology, Ex-Minister of Culture, Director of Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, Tunis, Tunisia Rabab El-Mahdi Associate Professor of Political Science, The American University in Cairo, Egypt Ziad Majed Associate Professor of Middle East Studies and IR, American University of Paris, France Jumana Manna Artist, Berlin, Germany Camille Mansour Researcher and author Farouk Mardam Bey Publisher, Paris, France Mai Masri Palestinian Filmmaker, Lebanon Mazen Masri Senior Lecturer in Law, City University of London, UK Dina Matar Reader in Political Communication and Arab Media, SOAS, University of London, UK Hisham Matar Writer, Professor at Barnard College, Columbia University, USA Khaled Mattawa Poet, William Wilhartz Professor of English Literature, University of Michigan, USA Yousef Munayyer Nonresident Senior Fellow at Arab Center Washington DC, USA Karma Nabulsi Professor of Politics and IR, University of Oxford, UK Hassan Nafaa Emeritus Professor of Political Science, Cairo University, Egypt Nadine Naber Professor, Dept of Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA Issam Nassar Professor, Illinois State University, USA Maha Nassar Associate Professor, School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Arizona, USA Sari Nusseibeh Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Al-Quds University, Palestine Najwa Al-Qattan Emeritus Professor of History, Loyola Marymount University, USA Omar Al-Qattan Filmmaker, Chair of The Palestinian Museum and the A.M. Qattan Foundation, UK Nadim N. Rouhana Professor of International Affairs, The Fletcher School, Tufts University, USA Ahmad Sa’adi Professor, Haifa, State of Israel Haider Saeed Research and Head of Research Department, Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, Doha, Qatar Rasha Salti Independent Curator, Writer, Researcher of Art and Film, Germany-Lebanon Elias Sanbar Writer, Paris, France Farès Sassine Professor of Philosophy and Literary Critic, Beirut, Lebanon Sherene Seikaly Associate Professor of History, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA Samah Selim Associate Professor, A, ME & SA Languages & Literatures, Rutgers University, USA Leila Shahid Writer, Beirut, Lebanon Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian Lawrence D Biele Chair in Law, Hebrew University, State of Israel Anton Shammas Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA Yara Sharif Senior Lecturer, Architecture and Cities, University of Westminster, UK Hanan Al-Shaykh Writer, London, UK Raja Shehadeh Lawyer and Writer, Ramallah, Palestine Gilbert Sinoué Writer, Paris, France Ahdaf Soueif Writer, Egypt-UK Mayssoun Sukarieh Senior Lecturer in Development Studies, King’s College London, UK Elia Suleiman Filmmaker, Palestine-France Nimer Sultany Reader in Public Law, SOAS, University of London, UK Jad Tabet Architect and writer, Beirut, Lebanon Jihan El-Tahri Filmmaker, Egypt Salim Tamari Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Birzeit University, Palestine Wassyla Tamzali Writer, Contemporary Art Producer, Algeria Fawwaz Traboulsi Writer, Beirut Lebanon Dominique Vidal Historian and Journalist, Palestine-France Haytham El-Wardany Writer, Egypt-Germany Said Zeedani Emeritus Associate Professor of Philosophy, Al-Quds University, Palestine Rafeef Ziadah Lecturer in Comparative Politics of the Middle East, SOAS, University of London, UK Khaled Ziade Author, historian, former diplomat and Director of Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, Beirut, Lebanon Radwan Ziadeh Syrian Activist and Senior Fellow at Arab Center Washington DC, USA Raef Zreik Minerva Humanities Centre, Tel-Aviv University, State of Israel Elia Zureik Professor Emeritus, Queen’s University, Canada

A preliminary version of this list was published by The Guardian here.

This statement can also be found on the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies’ website here.

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https://www.pij.org/articles/1962/the-holocaust-and-the-nakba-memory-national-identity-and-jewisharabpartnership

The Holocaust and the Nakba: Memory, National Identity and Jewish-Arab Partnership
By Alon Confino

Vol. 24 No. 3   2019

By Alon Confino
Professor Alon Confino is Director of the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

The link between the Holocaust and the Nakba is probably the most charged for both Jews and Palestinians. To Jews, the Holocaust is a foundational past, and some would say a unique one, and thus to discuss it in conjunction with any other event may appear to banalize the extermination of the Jews and even to present a moral and political threat. To Palestinians, the Nakba is a foundational past, and since the Jews invoke the Holocaust to justify Zionism and Israel’s actions, to many Palestinians recognition of the Holocaust is tantamount to legitimizing the injustices of the Nakba and the iniquities that Israel continues to wreak upon them. To Germans as well, the juxtaposition of these two events is a sensitive matter, since they feel particularly responsible for the memory of the Holocaust.

The book “The Holocaust and Nakba: Memory, National Identity and Jewish-Arab Partnership,” edited by Bashir Bashir and Amos Goldberg, published by The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House in 2015 which evolved out of a conference that was held at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem held in 2008, seeks to explore the link between these two events. It contains 14 articles written by Palestinian and Jewish scholars, writers, and literati, all of them citizens of Israel. This is an important book since it does not seek to persuade the reader to adopt a particular position, but presents a variety of opinions on the topic, including articles that cast doubt on the project or reject it altogether. Particularly worthy of note is the excellent introduction, with its restrained tone and its sensitivity to history and memory.

No Comparison between the Holocaust and the Nakba

What, then, does this book argue? Let us begin by what it does not do – Bashir and Goldberg do not draw comparisons between the Holocaust and the Nakba: “These are very different events that cannot be compared as far as the scope of violence and murder committed during their course are concerned […] the intention [of this book] is not to blur the tremendous differences between them.” They do invite discussion on two levels. The first addresses the memory of the Holocaust and the Nakba as traumatic events.
They are both foundational pasts that constitute an ethical and historical turning point for each people. The editors propose to bundle together the memories of these two events in order to generate “empathic unsettlement” on the part of each side toward the other. This shared empathy does not imply immediate recognition of the other’s truths or the erasure of one’s own identity, nor does it necessarily and immediately lead to practical results. It does, however, propose an alternative to the self-contained, zerosum narrative of history and memory, and to the rejection of the other and their suffering. It requires the Palestinian people “to recognize that which is most inconceivable to it – the legitimacy of the Jewish-Israeli identity that evolved in the Land of Israel / Palestine,” and requires the Jews “to recognize the catastrophe that they brought upon the Palestinians.”

The second discussion concerns our historical understanding of the two events. Bashir and Goldberg maintain that “given the potential for radical violence found in ethnic nationalism and in the modern nation-state […] both the Holocaust and the Nakba are characterized by a purifying national violence.” Relying on extensive scholarly literature, they assert that two major characteristics of the nation-state are the desire to associate citizenship with ethnic-national ascription, and the aspiration toward homogenization of society. The Jews of Europe suffered from this urge toward national homogenization. While this in itself fails to explain the Holocaust, once the Jews were marked as another that did not belong, they immediately became an object of discrimination, and frequently suffered expulsion or murder.

“This type of nationalism,” note Bashir and Goldberg, “constantly engages in defining the ethnic identity of the nation-state and its efforts at ethnic homogenization.” In this respect, the new Jewish nationalism in Palestine regarded the Palestinians as a threat to Jewish sovereignty and an ethnic other (although there were of course other imaginations of the relations between Jews and Arabs). Once the Palestinians were marked as such, they were driven out during the 1948 war on behalf of the creation of a homogenous Jewish nation-state. Bashir and Goldberg emphasize here once again that the Holocaust and the Nakba were events of a different
magnitude and of a completely different historical character, and cannot be compared. Yet they are also events that “in certain senses share the same type of political logic.”

This methodological framework contributes to our understanding of the events’ memory and history without divesting them of their particularity. Bashir and Goldberg do not seek to show that the two events are identical, but rather endeavor to understand them within a broader panoply of traumatic pasts and homogenous nation-states. This approach does not detract from the particularity of either event, on the contrary. Take the Holocaust for example. This approach is compatible with insightful approaches to the study
of the Holocaust, which comprehend the extermination of the Jews within the broad context of modern comparative genocide. This scholarly approach examines the similarities as well as the differences between the Holocaust and other instances of genocide. The notion of exterminating racial groups thus appeared some hundred years prior to the Third Reich. And yet, the persecution and annihilation of the Jews was clearly pursued with greater urgency by the Nazis and was of greater historical significance than other
acts of genocide that they perpetrated. It is precisely this approach that underscores the particularity of the Holocaust within its historical context. Similarly, the particularity of the Holocaust and of the Nakba is in no way compromised when one thinks about the two events in tandem. In terms of historical method and interpretation, it is appropriate to discuss these two events together, as well as other events which exist on a spectrum of modern mass violence. The aversion on the part of Jews and Palestinians to do so stems from concerns over the identity and political implications of such a move.

Why are the two linked together?

And still, we are entitled to ask, why should we link these events? Is this book perhaps merely the outcome of a transitory fashionable moment at which the Nakba became a catchword within Israeli culture, or is the debate on the relations between the Holocaust and the Nakba rooted in a longer tradition? Our historical imagination connects at times very different events because by joining them they tell us something important about who we are, where we came from, how we got here, and where we are going. This, to my mind, is true of the linkage between the Holocaust and the Nakba in Israeli culture from 1948 to the present. In his tale “Hirbet Hizah,” which appeared in 1949 when the echoes of battle had hardly subsided, S. Yizhar depicted the expelled Palestinians as “a frightened and compliant and silent and groaning flock,” alluding to the metaphor that served to describe the Jews who, during the Holocaust, were led as “a flock to slaughter.” Shortly thereafter, in 1952, Avot Yeshurun’s jolting poem “Passover on Caves”
appeared in Ha’aretz newspaper. He subsequently described it in the following words: “The Holocaust of European Jewry and the Holocaust of Palestinian Arabs, a single Holocaust of the Jewish People. The two gaze directly into one another’s face.” Closer to our time, in his film “Waltz With Bashir” Ari Fulman placed the Palestinian refugees alongside the victims of the Holocaust. And the list can go on and on.

The linkage between the two events in society, literature, and politics has created a cultural tradition with its own language and images that enables Israelis to think about the two events separately and in tandem. This tradition is shared by those who connect the events and those who utterly reject this connection. For the mention of the two events in the same breath has always aroused fierce opposition and profound resentment. And yet this opposition is part of the cultural tradition that by connecting the events confront their memory and give them meaning.

Insights to be gained

The significance of the link between the two events has altered over the years with the transformations undergone by Israeli society. What insights can we gain from the book’s “Introduction” with regard to the connection between the Holocaust and the Nakba these days? While the Holocaust is a foundational event in modern history, it nevertheless, as a historical event, lies in the past. Of course, Holocaust victims bear the trauma throughout their life, but the Jews as a collectivity live in a completely different historical and political time, both by virtue of the existence of the state of Israel and because Germans and Jews harbor no political or territorial claims on each other. The enduring struggle is that over memory. One remembers the Holocaust with such intensity precisely because it has passed from the domain of history into the domain of memory.

Yet while the Holocaust has become part of history, not so the Nakba, which is in some way a continuous present. Its outcome impacts almost every Palestinian wherever he or she may be, and the Palestinians’ ongoing collective weakness is linked to the uprooting of the texture of their life in 1948. Although the Nakba – the uprooting of the Palestinians in the 1948 war – was an event specific in time and place, its results – the deprivation of the Palestinians’ national rights – continue to this day. The fact that the

Holocaust belongs to the past and the Nakba to the present explains why Jews and Germans find it easier to be reconciled with regard to the memory of the Holocaust than it is for Jews and Palestinians to be reconciled with regard to the memory of the Nakba.

A Dual Asymmetry

A further point should be noted. Jews are right to assert that one cannot compare the genocide committed during the Holocaust to the Nakba. But there is another aspect of asymmetry between the two events, and Jews should do well to take note thereof: the Palestinians are in no way responsible for the Holocaust of European Jewry, whereas Israel is closely linked to the Nakba. Israel had a hand in the expulsion of the Palestinians, in the confiscation of their property, and in obstructing the return of the refugees. The question here is not who is right and who is wrong. Whether one accepts Israel’s justifications of what occurred in 1948 and continues to occur to this day or not, the state of Israel is not a neutral party with regard to the suffering of the Palestinians, in contrast to the Palestinians who had no role in the Holocaust. There is no symmetry, write correctly Bashir and Goldberg: “there is a conqueror and there are the conquered; there is a sovereign and there are subjects; there are those who drove others out and there are those who were dispossessed; there is a people that established its homeland and that caused another people to lose its homeland.” In this sense it is not sufficient for Israeli Jews to recognize the Palestinian trauma only at the level of memory; a change must come about also at the political level.

The problem of both Holocaust and Nakba Denial

Several of the articles in the book object to discuss the Holocaust and the Nakba in the same breath. Palestinian resistance to this linkage has nothing to do with Holocaust denial. Salman Natour writes of “the incomparability of the Holocaust and the Nakba” because using the Holocaust “to legitimize the occupation of Palestine and the expulsion of the Palestinian people is an immoral act.” From a Zionist perspective, Elhanan Yakira denounces the project altogether because using “the word ‘Nakba’ as if it were equivalent to the word ‘Holocaust,’ or as if the events that these two words denote belong to the same family of historical events, is completely unfounded.” I do not accept his position, but this is a legitimate opinion. Yet Yakira proceeds to claim that “what they now call the catastrophe is nothing but their defeat in war […] it is not even altogether clear who sought to drive them out and to what extent.” These are notions that derive from the Jews’ collective memory of what they wish to believe to have happened in 1948, not from the history of what actually happened during the war. The Nakba is the expulsion and uprooting of the Palestinians in the war of 1948, the confiscation of their property, and the prevention of their return; it is linked to the war, but its meaning cannot be confined to the war itself. In this sense it resembles the Holocaust. The annihilation of the Jews between 1941 and 1945 was a part of the Nazi war in Europe, but its significance cannot be restricted to the war itself. As far as the 1948 expulsion goes, scholarly studies have made it quite clear who drove out whom and to what extent.
Precisely because the Holocaust and the Nakba are foundational events, it is essential to study their history. The purpose of the national narratives of both peoples is to explain and to justify their identity in the present, and less to become familiar with and to understand the complexity of past events. We must therefore be prepared to learn the past and face it unflinchingly. This requires willingness on the part of the Palestinians to learn about the Holocaust. If one adheres to the assumption that the Zionists were no more than European settler colonialists, as many Palestinians believe, one fails to understand that Zionism was also a movement of national liberation that grew out of the persecution of the Jews in Europe prior to the Holocaust. And it requires willingness on the part of the Jews to learn about the Nakba. One of the explanations for the uprooting of the Palestinians, which appeared immediately after the 1948 war and over the years became a part of the Israeli narrative, is that the Palestinians’ leaders ordered them to leave in order to facilitate the Arabs’ military campaigns, and assured them that they would return to their homes in the wake of the armies’ victory. This is a fable; even Zionist historians no longer believe it.

As a scholar of Germany and the Holocaust, as well as of 1948 in Palestine, I find it helpful to think in association about Holocaust and Nakba memory in order to learn and apply useful methods and approaches. The term “Holocaust” came to stand for the extermination of the Jews in Europe only in the late 1950s and the beginning of 1960s, although references to “Shoah” were already made during the Second World War. The term Nakba was coined to represent the dispossession of the Palestinians by the historian
Constantine Zurayk in his small, influential book “The Meaning of Disaster” written in mid-1948. But the term did not catch on among Israeli Jews, and, as far as I could attest, was not used regularly in public space by Palestinians citizens of Israel until the 1990s. In both historical cases the term that came to stand for the event was attached to it years after it actually happened. Also of interest is that while the Holocaust and the Nakba are foundational pasts that elicit strong emotional response, the history of denying they ever
happened is part of the history of their memory. Finally, Israeli Jews can look at how Germans remembered the Holocaust–at the road they traveled from years of denial and half-hearted recognition to assuming historical responsibility–and draw important lessons for the way they should assume historical responsibility for aspects of their 1948 past.

We can think about the Nakba by telling a story of 1948 that does not seek to lay blame, score points, and divide the world into clear-cut perpetrators and victims, but that recognizes the complexity of human affairs and accepts that perpetrator and victim may coexist in the same person. Since the topic is so charged, it is insightful to begin understanding it from a broader historical perspective. Something happened in Palestine in 1948. 750,000 Palestinians were uprooted. They did not just leave of their own accord. What happened in Palestine in 1948 was part of a history of forced migrations whereby nation-states sought to create homogenous
populations by violently removing thousands and even millions of people. The 1940s were a key decade in this respect that witnessed forced migrations in Europe, in India/Pakistan, and in Palestine/Israel. In Europe, among others, eleven million Germans were uprooted from Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary in a wave that began in 1944 as millions fled the advancing Red Army. In India, in 1947–1948, twelve million people were expelled from their homes in the new India and in the two parts of the new Pakistan.
Thousands of Hindis in Lahore and Muslims in Delhi left before the mass expulsions began for fear of their safety. Millions were driven out thereafter.

Two Possible Conclusions

Jews can draw two conclusions from their role in the forced migration of the Palestinians. They can emit a sigh of relief, “Well, everyone expelled people in the 1940s, that’s life, what can we do about it, let us be.” And some may even add, “it’s a pity we didn’t finish the job.” Of course, such an arrogant and disparaging attitude is inconceivable when discussing the atrocities visited upon the Jews in the 1940s, including the Holocaust. A second conclusion would be to view Zionism in general and 1948 in particular from a wider perspective; not as a unique story, but as a story of human beings acting within specific historical time, place, and circumstances. From this perspective, forced migrations took place in various locations during the first half of the twentieth century, and in particular during the 1940s. They had general causes, while they were acted out in specific historical contexts. But they did happen; they constitute a human tragedy that has to be acknowledged by those who are fully or partly responsible for them.

1948 is the year of the Nakba and is also the year in which the Jews founded a state of their own, with its own language, culture and vitality. The Nakba and Israel’s independence also “gaze directly into one another’s face.” Just as one cannot understand the rich history of the United States only through the prism of the genocide of the Native-Americans, so one cannot understand the rich history of the state of Israel only through the expulsion of the Palestinians. Yet it behooves the Jews to recognize the role played by their people in the Nakba, for a very simple reason. The Nakba is part of their history, and an important part: they remember the Nakba whether they deny it or relate it in prose or in poetry. The very attempt to erase the memory of the Nakba is the outcome of an immense mobilization of political, economic, and cultural effort. The erasure of memory is the outcome of an extraordinarily lively awareness. The Jews are condemned, in some sense, to remember and remember and remember the Palestinians who lost their homes and their homeland, and to tell this story in various ways because it is inextricably bound up with the way in which they themselves won their homes and their homeland. And this is one of the reasons that the defining past events of both peoples have continued to eye each other ever since 1948.

Why is this book important? Its power lies not in a quest for agreement or in an attempt to persuade, but in the act of Jews and Palestinians speaking, writing, and reading together about the Holocaust and the Nakba; this is the real event and the significant effort. This act in itself generates a jolt, without which there is no prospect of national rights and human rights for all the inhabitants of the land.

Alon Confino, review of the book: Bashir, Bashir; Goldberg, Amos (eds): The Holocaust and the Nakba. Memory, National Identity and Jewish-Arab Partnership. Jerusalem 2015. ISBN – was originally published in: H-Soz-Kult, 22.04.2016, <www.hsozkult. de/publicationreview/id/reb-24083>. [Alexander Korb]

Bashing Israel at the Harvard Divinity School Program

24.02.22

Editorial Note

The Harvard Divinity School program of Religion and Public Life is running events presenting Israel in a negative light.

The Religion and Public Life initiative was established in 2019. It integrates a number of existing Harvard Divinity School programs along with seminars, conferences, and other activities initiated by faculty, intending to “strengthen the public understanding of religion across multiple sectors, toward a more creative, just, and peaceful future.”

Instead of focusing on peace, they trash Israel. This is not surprising because Palestinian American Hilary Rantisi is the associate director. 

The radical Israeli academic activist is Atalia Omer, a senior fellow. She was interviewed in 2019 in an article by The Nation on BDS and anti-Zionist activism, where she discussed her book Days of Awe: Reimagining Jewishness in Solidarity With Palestinians. She revealed that “the radical synagogue I attend, Tzedek Chicago, invited Omar Barghouti, the cofounder of the BDS movement.”

The examples of their Israel bashing are numerous. For instance, a recent project, “Disrupting Injustice and Promoting Moral Imagination in Israel/Palestine” talked about “illuminating transnational solidarities, reimagining Jewish identity, Palestinian steadfastness (Sumoud), and cultivating moral imagination and creative possibilities for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.” In another event that took place recently, titled “Shared Resistance and Solidarity: A (Re)Newed Paradigm,” Oriel Eisner was in a conversation about “engaging in immersive solidarity work and shared resistance in the last year as a part of a renewal of efforts in joint struggle against the Occupation.”

In another event, “The Decolonizing Rubric: Modernity, Religion, and Re-imagining Palestine/Israel,” three scholars participated: Dr. Bashir Bashir, from the Israeli Open University, the co-editor of The Holocaust and the Nakba: A New Grammar of Trauma and History, in 2018 whose also authored The Arab and Jewish Questions: Geographies of Entanglement in Palestine and Beyond (2020); Dr. Mahmood Mamdani, Columbia University, who discussed his most recent book, Neither Settler nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities, in 2020. Mamdani argued that “the nation state was born of colonialism, urging us to rethink political violence and re-imagine political community beyond majorities and minorities”; Dr. Areej Sabbagh-Khoury of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem discussed her forthcoming book, which “examines encounters between kibbutz settlers and Palestinian inhabitants in northern Palestine’s Jezreel Valley before, during, and after 1948. Drawing on resources uncovered in the settler colonial archives.” It demonstrates the “coloniality of socialist Zionist settlers’ practices of purchase, expropriation, and accumulation by dispossession.”

In April, a discussion will take place on “Decolonize Now: A Conversation about Radical Love and Justice in Palestine/Israel”.  The speaker is Noura Erakat, from Rutgers University, whose anti-Israeli views are well known: “Since the signing of Oslo, or the Declaration of Principles, in 1993, the question of Palestine has been rammed into the constricting paradigms of statehood and diplomatic negotiations. The peace process framework not only eschewed the consequential dimension of power from the question of Palestine but limited its possible futures by reducing it to a matter of, at best, equitable partitions. This conversation aims to peel back those debilitating frameworks to consider how other approaches like anti-racism, feminism, and anti-imperialism can help overcome restrictive binaries and lead to decolonial futures.”

Also, in April, “Walking Through the Twilight: A Visual Exploration of Contemporary Jewish Anti-Occupation Activism.” The panel would feature “a photographic exploration of American Jewish activism in solidarity with Palestinians against the Israeli military occupation.”

Later in April, the program will feature “Expressions of Sumoud in Palestinian Higher Education,” questioning “What is the role of Palestinian universities in the struggle for freedom and justice?” Rana Khoury “shares her exploration of developing a dedicated curriculum and the experience of Dar Al-Kalima University in shaping Palestinian students as cultural activists.”

Last but not least, the event, “Yom Ha’atzmaut and the Colonization of American Judaism.” Rabbi Brant Rosen of Tzedek Chicago and Daniel Boyarin of the University of California, Berkeley, will converse on the “ways that Zionist hegemony is expressed through the Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) that has become a staple on the American Jewish holiday calendar, projecting themes of militarism, colonialism, and empire on to sacred religious tradition.” 

As can be seen, the sessions are all exercises in bashing Israel, featuring some of the more radical anti-Israel voices. More to the point, there is nothing in the Harvard program concerning the many issues the Palestinians have faced.  For instance, there is a real possibility that Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, under the guidance of the Quds Force, the foreign division of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards, would try to take over the West Bank. Fearing such an outcome, the Palestinian Authority canceled last year the democratic elections.

The organizers of the Harvard Divinity School program would be well advised to read the article of Daniel Levin, “Iran, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” published by The United States Institute of Peace, in 2018, updated in May 2021.  Levin discusses the real issues the Palestinian society faces today, not the convoluted presentations in which Israelis can do no right and the Palestinians can do no wrong.

References:

https://rpl.hds.harvard.edu/news/religion-conflict-and-peace-initiative-fellows-spring-series
Religion and Public Life – Harvard Divinity School | Harvard University

Disrupting Injustice and Promoting Moral Imagination in Israel/Palestine

January 31, 2022

Conflict and Peace Fellows at Religion and Public Life (RPL) talk about their projects illuminating transnational solidarities, reimagining Jewish identity, Palestinian steadfastness (Sumoud), and cultivating moral imagination and creative possibilities for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.

Shared Resistance and Solidarity: A (Re)Newed Paradigm
Tuesday, February 15 | 12–1:00pm EST | Zoom
REGISTER FOR FEBRUARY 15
Oriel Eisner, Topol Fellow at RCPI, and on-the-ground organizer with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence
In conversation with Neomi-Nur Zahor, Activist and Arabic teacher, and Basil al-Adraa, Activist and Journalist
RCPI Fellow Oriel Eisner in conversation with a Palestinian and an Israeli activist—talking about their experience engaging in immersive solidarity work and shared resistance in the last year as a part of a renewal of efforts in joint struggle against the Occupation.
Moderator: Hilary Rantisi, Associate Director, Religion, Conflict and Peace Initiative, HDS

Breaking Walls: Historical and Contemporary Mizrahi Feminist Struggles for Housing in Israel/Palestine
Tuesday, March 1 | 12–1:00pm EST | Zoom
REGISTER FOR MARCH 1
Sapir Sluzker-Amran, RCPI Fellow; Human Rights Lawyer and Co-founder of Breaking Walls Feminist Grassroots Movement
In conversation with Yali Hashash, Head of Gender and Criminology Department, Or Yehuda College
Sapir Sluzker Amran along with Yali Hashash will explore the role of powerful civic grassroots movements in Israel/Palestine that center feminist-queer-class-race intersectionality and solidarity while challenging secular liberal thinking about feminist leadership. They will discuss the role of alternative and community archives by showcasing feminist activism from the 1950’s onwards and highlighting Mizrahi feminist struggles for housing in Israel/Palestine.
Moderator: Lihi Yona, JSD candidate at Columbia Law School focusing on employment law and race theory in Israel and the United States.

The Troubled Everyday in/of Gaza: Restoring Agency and Creative Possibility
Tuesday, March 8  | 12–1:00pm EST | Zoom
REGISTER FOR MARCH 8
Salem Al-Qudwa, RCPI Fellow and Architect
In conversation with Sara Roy, Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University
Salem Al-Qudwa will showcase his work focusing on community and people with an emphasis on ethics, social injustice, and architecture in conflict zones such as the Gaza Strip. He will also introduce his work on gender and in-between spaces exploring barriers, exploitation, and the relationship of widowed women to space and architecture.
Co-sponsored by The Middle East Forum at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard

To Eat Alone Is To Die Alone: A Voyage into the Lives of Seeds and their Communities
Tuesday, March 22 | 12–1:00pm EST | Zoom
REGISTER FOR MARCH 22
Vivien Sansour, RCPI Fellow; Founder of Palestine Heirloom Seed Library
In conversation with Riad Bahhur, Professor of History and Global Studies at Sacramento City College
Vivien Sansour will be sharing excerpts of her upcoming autobiographical book weaving a poetic narration of people, plants, and other food stories from Palestine to South America, taking us on her journey of establishing the Palestine Heirloom Seed Library and the projects that resulted from it. Professor Bahhur will explore with Vivien how stories inform our political and social realities on a global level and how they can be catalysts for a new conversation about indigenous knowledge and spirituality.

A Home for the Human Spirit: Cultural Activism and the Moral Imagination in the Inherit Art Project
Tuesday, March 29 | 12–1:00pm EST | Zoom
REGISTER FOR MARCH 29
Taurean J. Webb, RCPI Fellow; Instructor of Religion and Race at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
In conversation with Brian Bantum, Professor of Theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and Lux Eterna, Australian-born Palestinian artist featured in exhibition
This presentation chronicles the evolution of the collaborative art exhibition, Ye Shall Inherit the Earth & Faces of the Divine. The exhibition featuring works of artists from the African Diasporic and Palestinian exilic communities, attempts to gesture towards some commentary about both the universality and specificity of conversations ranging from human rights, human dignity, and artistic production-as-a practice of resistance. Follow the Inherit exhibition on Instagram @inherit_exhibit22.

Decolonize Now: A Conversation about Radical Love and Justice in Palestine/Israel
*Wednesday, April 6 | 1–2:00pm EST | Zoom*
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Noura Erakat, RCPI Fellow; Associate Professor at Rutgers University, Department of Africana Studies
In conversation with Marshall Ganz, Rita E. Hauser Senior Lecturer in Leadership, Organizing, and Civil Society at Harvard Kennedy School
Since the signing of Oslo, or the Declaration of Principles, in 1993, the question of Palestine has been rammed into the constricting paradigms of statehood and diplomatic negotiations. The peace process framework not only eschewed the consequential dimension of power from the question of Palestine but limited its possible futures by reducing it to a matter of, at best, equitable partitions. This conversation aims to peel back those debilitating frameworks to consider how other approaches like anti-racism, feminism, and anti-imperialism can help overcome restrictive binaries and lead to decolonial futures.
*Please note that this event falls on a Wednesday at 1pm EST.

Walking Through the Twilight: A Visual Exploration of Contemporary Jewish Anti-Occupation Activism
Tuesday, April 12 | 12–1:00pm EST | Zoom
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Mati Milstein, RCPI Fellow; American Jewish photojournalist and documentary photographer
In conversation with Awdah Al-Hathaleen, Activist, Oriel Eisner, Activist, and Emily Glick, Activist
Walking Through the Twilight is a photographic exploration of American Jewish activism in solidarity with Palestinians against the Israeli military occupation. The project explores the interplay between Jewish religious identity and activism, discussing issues of identity, faith, and action.
Moderator: Atalia Omer, Professor of Religion, Conflict, and Peace Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at University of Notre Dame and T. J. Dermot Dunphy Visiting Professor of Religion, Violence, and Peacebuilding and Senior Fellow in Conflict and Peace at Harvard Divinity School

“Sumoud” by Varvara Abd al-Razeq, Dar Al-Kalima University
Expressions of Sumoud in Palestinian Higher Education
Tuesday, April 19 | 12–1:00pm EST | Zoom
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Rana Khoury, RCPI Fellow; Vice President for Development at Dar Al-Kalima University
In conversation with Hilary Rantisi, Associate Director, Religion, Conflict and Peace Initiative, Harvard Divinity School
What is the role of Palestinian universities in the struggle for freedom and justice? Rana shares her exploration of developing a dedicated curriculum and the experience of Dar Al-Kalima University in shaping Palestinian students as cultural activists.

Yom Ha’atzmaut and the Colonization of American Judaism
Tuesday, April 26 | 12–1:00pm EST | Zoom
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Brant Rosen, Topol Fellow at RCPI; Rabbi, Tzedek Chicago
In conversation with Daniel Boyarin, Hermann P. and Sophia Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture in the Departments of Near Eastern Studies and Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley
In conversation with Daniel Boyarin, Rabbi Brant Rosen interrogates the ways that Zionist hegemony is expressed through the Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) that has become a staple on the American Jewish holiday calendar, projecting themes of militarism, colonialism, and empire on to sacred religious tradition. He will also present an alternative framing of this day as a religious observance – one that expresses remembrance, repentance, and reparations.
Moderator: Atalia Omer, Professor of Religion, Conflict, and Peace Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at University of Notre Dame and T. J. Dermot Dunphy Visiting Professor of Religion, Violence, and Peacebuilding and Senior Fellow in Conflict and Peace at Harvard Divinity School

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https://rpl.hds.harvard.edu/news/2021/11/09/video-the-decolonizing-rubric-modernity-religion-and-reimagining-palestine-israel

Video: The Decolonizing Rubric: Modernity, Religion and Re-imagining Palestine/Israel

November 9, 2021

No longer do scholarly accounts of Palestine/Israel presume the “two-state solution” as a tangible political principle, if they are realists, or accountable for historical injustice and imagining of alternative futures, if they are concerned with justice, not only peace. This panel featured a conversation among authors of recent scholarly works that grapple with the changing paradigm of analysis with decolonial sensitivities. The panelists discussed the ethical limits of a paradigm based on ethnoreligious and national segregationist logic and illuminated where religion might fit (or not) in alternative political paradigms that undo exclusionary nationalist ideological frames.

This event took place on November 9, 2021.

AUDIO TRANSCRIPT:

SPEAKER 1: Harvard Divinity School.

SPEAKER 2: The Decolonizing Rubric: Modernity, Religion, and Re-imagining Palestine/Israel, November 9th 2021.

HILARY RANTISI: Hello, everyone, and welcome to today’s Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative webinar, The Decolonizing Rubric: Modernity, Religion, and Re-imagining Palestine/Israel. My name is Hilary Rantisi, and I am the Associate Director of the Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative, a program of Religion and Public Life at Harvard Divinity School. Our work at the Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative centralizes an analysis of structural injustice, violence, and power, and examines how more capacious understanding of religion can yield fresh insights into contemporary challenges and opportunities for just peacebuilding.

The primary case study we’re focusing on is on Israel/Palestine. Our aim is to stretch the scholarly discourse around religion and the practices of peacebuilding and examine the decolonial potentialities of art, religion, and identity transformation. Our fall series has focused on the themes of religious terminologies and secular nationalism and political violence, and on decolonial sites of practice and theory in Israel/Palestine, and political emancipatory theologies from a comparative perspective. Today’s event addresses decolonial sensitivities and gives us a space for reimagination.

I’ll now hand off to my colleague Atalia Omer, who will introduce herself and our panelists. Atalia?

ATALIA OMER: Thank you, Hilary. So greetings, everyone. My name is Atalia Omer. I’m a Professor of Religion, Conflict, and Peace Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and the Keough School of Global Affairs, both at the University of Notre Dame in the United States. And I’m also, and it is in this capacity that I’m here today, I’m also the [INAUDIBLE] visiting professor in religion, violence, and peacebuilding at Harvard Divinity School’s Religion and Public Life program, which is kind of the umbrella framework of the Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative, which hosts and sponsors this event today.

OK, so our starting point for this panel today is that no longer do scholarly and activist accounts of Palestine/Israel presume the, quote, “two-state solution” as a tangible political principle, if they are [? realized ?] or accountable for historical injustice and imagining of alternative futures, if they are concerned with justice not only peace. This panel features a conversation among established and emerging authors of recent scholarly works that grapple with the changing paradigm of analysis with the colonial and anti-colonial sensitivities. The panelists will discuss the ethical limits of a modernist paradigm, based on ethnoreligious and national, majoritarian, segregationist logic, and will illuminate where religion might fit or not in alternative political paradigms that undo exclusionary, nationalist, ideological frames.

I’m now going to introduce the speakers extremely briefly in alphabetical order. So first, Dr. Bashir Bashir is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Political Science and Communication at the Open University of Israel. He’s also a senior research fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. Among other numerous publications, he is the co-editor of The Holocaust and the Nakba: A New Grammar of Trauma and History, which came out with Columbia University Press in 2018. And the second book, a recent book, is The Arab and Jewish Questions: Geographies of Entanglement in Palestine and Beyond, also with Columbia University Press in 2020.

Next, Dr. Mahmood Mamdani is the Herbert Lerman Professor of Government and Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. IN his most recent book, Neither Settler nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities that was published in 2020 with Harvard University Press, Mamdani draws valuable lessons from the history of the United States, Sudan, Palestine/Israel, Nuremberg, and South Africa, and argues that the nation state was born of colonialism, urging us to rethink political violence and re-imagine political community beyond majorities and minorities.

Next, Dr. Areej Sabbagh-Khoury is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research interests lie in political and historical sociologies, colonialism, indigenous studies, and critical social theory. Her forthcoming book with Stanford University Press examines encounters between kibbutz settlers and Palestinian inhabitants in northern Palestine’s Jezreel Valley before, during, and after 1948. Drawing on resources uncovered in the settler colonial archives, it demonstrates the coloniality of socialist Zionist settlers’ practices of purchase, expropriation, and accumulation by dispossession. She shows in the book, in the forthcoming book, how their representation of the past facilitated disavowal of the indigenous right to sovereignty. Sabbagh-Khoury received her PhD from Tel Aviv University and has held postdoctoral appointments at Columbia, New York, Brown, and Tufts University. She’s a member of the board of Mada al-Carmel Arab Center of Applied Social Studies and its academic research committee.

The format for the event is conversational. I encourage the audience to submit your questions via the Q&A function in your Zoom screen. At this point– I see that all the panelists already turned on their cameras, so that’s wonderful. So let me go ahead and just proceed with the first question to Professor Mamdani. So in your book, Neither Settler nor Native, which I just alluded to, you write toward the end of your Palestine/Israel chapter, and I quote, “De-Zionization would involve the de-politicization of Jewish and Palestinian identity so that Israel may be a rights-protecting democracy, rather than the servant of a permanent national majority”– end of quote. This is from page 55.

Would you please unpack and contextualize this statement, paying, perhaps, particular attention to your analysis of what Jews, Judaism, and Judaization, or Zionization, have to do with this case of settler colonialism? Also, if you could bring into your analysis or discussion just now the case of the [INAUDIBLE], perhaps also the Ethiopians and their, quote-unquote, “Judaization,” that would be greatly appreciated, as I’m aware that many people in the audience may be especially attuned to this issue. Thank you.

MAHMOOD MAMDANI: Thank you, Atalia. Great question. Let me just begin by saying that and Jews and Judaism have no necessary relationship to settler colonialism. The Jewish population of mandate Palestine belong to three different groups. There were those who had never left Palestine. I consider these among the natives of Palestine.

Then there were those who returned to the Holy Land on a pilgrimage, seeking a religious homeland. They were content to be part of the existing polity. They’re known in the literature and in Jewish history as the First Aliyah. They were not natives, but they were immigrants.

And then finally, in contrast, were those in the Second and the Third Aliyahs. They look to create their own exclusive polity. In other words, they look to displace the existing polity with one of their own, a Jewish nation state in place of the existing polity. These were the settlers. The settlers, from my point of view, are defined by a political project.

Both Jews and Judaism have flourished without settler colonialism. You just have to look at New York City, which is where I live. And contrasted with Israel, Jews in New York City are far safer and have a far more productive environment to create a flourishing Jewish life than they are in Israel.

Now I come to Judaization, Zionization. Unlike Jews and Judaism, Judaization is integral to settler colonialism. Underlying Judaization is the conviction that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, and not necessarily to citizens of the state, and not to those who reside on the land.

A number of Jewish organizations have been historically created, the Jewish National Fund amongst them. And they’ve been established towards realizing this purpose: they historically, systematically privilege Jews, and just as systematically discriminate against Jews. They function as if they were state organizations, but are not subject to nondiscrimination laws.

Now, if Israel is to be a state for Jews only, it has to answer the question, who is a Jew? Its answer cannot avoid flattening the diversity of world Jewry into the Jewry sanctioned by the state. At the legal level, this question has bedeviled Israeli authorities since the Law of Return was passed in 1950. Is a Jew defined by religion, or by ethnicity, or both?

The state of Israel now has two legal definitions of who is a Jew: the narrow definition, provided by religious law, Halakha law, which Israel enforces in the sphere of personal affairs, and the broad definition in the amended Law of Return. Now, at the political and social level, Judaization eliminates unacceptable forms of Jewishness.

The acceptable form is associated with Ashkenazi, European Jews who trace their lineage to Yiddish-speaking parts of Europe. Ashkenazim were the founders of the state who claimed to be civilizers committed to bring other Jews into line with the national ideal. In particular, Ashkenazim have sought to civilize Mizrahim, and then later, the Falasha, Ethiopian Jews.

The Mizrahim are Jews. They present a special challenge to Zionism, for Zionism presumes that Arab and Jewish identity are both incompatible and indelibly hostile toward one another. Otherwise, there would be no need of a Jewish state in historic Palestine. Ashkenazi Israel has demanded of the Mizrahim that they denounce their Arab culture and embrace only their religion, Judaism. After several decades, the Mizrahim have paid back by standing behind a stark religious Zionism that has two targets: the Palestinians, but not only the Palestinians, also the Ashkenazi.

Judaization has two dominant aspects: Judaizing the land and Judaizing Jews, in particular Arab Jews. At the core of political Zionism is a political project to build not just a Jewish religious community in the Holy Land, but a Jewish state. Political Zionism seeks to erase the distinction between state and society. Thank you.

ATALIA OMER: Great. Thank you for getting us started already on the very depth of the grammar, the logic, that is unfolding, has unfolded, in Palestine/Israel.

So next I’ll turn to you, Dr. Sabbagh-Khoury. In recent work that I had the amazing privilege to read just recently, you have examined the production of knowledge in Israel in Israeli academia, highlighting the ideological blinders of most Jewish Israeli critical sociology, and you are listing of a few exceptions. How, in your view, has scholarship in Israeli academia persistently obscured the enduring and entrenched Jewish Zionist hegemony? And how does the field of comparative settler colonialism studies, this particular field, help to subvert this myopia? And what is the significance that such scholarship is often articulated by Palestinian Israeli scholars, such as yourself? More broadly, how do you think ’48 Palestinians fit into the colonial potential futures? Thank you.

AREEJ SABBAGH-KHOURY: Hello, everyone, and thank you for inviting me to participate today and for the [? generative ?] [INAUDIBLE] [? in ?] [? Somalia. ?] I should note the symbolism of giving a talk on decolonization as a Palestinian currently visiting in South Africa. I hope this will been an indication of the transmission of more political struggle.

In my work, I have traced [? how ?] [? much ?] [? protection ?] the Israeli scientific field has become embedded in broader regimes of power. For me, it wasn’t enough to rely on a simple formula of positionality automatically causes the production of a given discourse. In the end, it’s true that, where one feels oneself situated in social life, one’s relation not simply to the means of production in Marxist terms, but to land ownership, to the nation state via citizenship, to the [INAUDIBLE] via hierarchies of belonging. This is one important facet in understanding why discourses take shape as they do.

Sociologically, I have been interested in the practices of knowledge production, its collective nature, the attempts to the place accepted, or normative claims within movements, the diffusion of paradigms across geographies and temporalities. Doing so was particularly painstaking for me, as a Palestinian indigenous scholar citizen in Israel who received my degrees, all of my degrees, in Israeli institutions. I examine primarily why it is that national paradigms have dominated understanding of the political stakes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and find that such paradigm is, if it taken by itself, a mechanism of mystification that misses the fundamental settler colonial nature of Zionism, even if and when imaginations of nationalism and religion become institutionalized and [INAUDIBLE].

To be sure, Zionism fuses colonialism, nationalism, and religion, or, as [INAUDIBLE] writes, “Zionism is an articulation of all the major categories of modernity.” I examine why Israeli critical scholars may usefully take up post-colonial theory to explain constitutive inequalities between Mizrahim and Ashkenazim and the discrimination of Palestinian citizens in Israel, but omitted theories of colonization to describe the nature of relations between Zionist settlers and Palestinian officials, or why the analytic of colonialism was utilized to describe the 1967 occupation, but not the 1948. I pay attention to the formation of Israeli social theory in relation to modernization theory, where scholars [? elided ?] the state and settler violence and disposition that reshaped Palestinian social and political life.

I think about how Israeli epistemological apartheid, including the imposition of settler schemes of knowledge, shaped what the Israeli scholars came to conclude about the Arabs in their midst. I think about how one-quarter of Palestinian population that remained in Israel after 1948 was socially, politically, and economically devastated and still taking time to rebuild social life and, especially, an academic strata, following the devastating effects of the Nakba. Moreover, the very nature of the state violence in Israel, the military rule period that lasted from the emergence of the Israeli state in 1948 until ’66 and the social control that followed, alongside cultural marginalization and discrimination, precluded Palestinians from participating in Israeli institutions of knowledge production for decades.

I find that, in fact, it was primarily Palestinian scholars in the ’60s and ’70s and now who asserted that the nature of Israeli/Palestinian social relation was settler colonial. I argue that the settler colonial paradigm is an interpretative framework of [? conjugative ?] historical analogies and analytical comparisons. Settler colonialism is a series of contingent processes in which hierarchies of social kind become routinized and institutionalized in ways that advance settler claims of land and territorial sovereignty, often through encroaching violence.

The [AUDIO OUT] the [? exceptionalizes ?] Israel/Palestine. Comparative settler colonialism traces [INAUDIBLE] mechanisms across cases of colonial settlery that are shared and, thereby, also identify differences in the emergence of violence in interaction between settlers and natives. This feels direct as to what Edward Said would call a contrapuntal approach. In my work in this regard, I examine top-down processes, state actions, institutionalized practices, the gradual segmentation of structures, and also bottom-up practices, agency, [? daily ?] [? life, ?] struggle, popular resistance.

Since the Second Intifada in 2000 especially, that began the beginning of the failure, also, and the paradigm of the two states, and the repositioning of the Palestinian Israel within the Palestinian national movement, external political movement has contributed to the reanimation of Palestinian citizens of Israel in their articulation of an analytical approach to settler colonialism in Palestine. These are social actors who are by their historical situatedness in this place hold a phenomenological proximity to Jewish Israeli.

They speak Hebrew. Some live in so-called mixed cities. They may interact daily with Israeli Jews. They are educated with Israeli curriculum. But they also possess experience of exclusion. Many are subject to what Wacquant would call advanced marginality– ghettoization, spatial separation, abandonment by the welfare state.

They encounter symbolic and material violence, and they are steeped in what I theorize as a habitus of [INAUDIBLE] steadfastness, wherein they have acquired experiential knowledge to live in and navigate forms of subjugation and counteract them. They are deeply shaped by historical events, recalling the last political protest in May 2021, where Palestinian citizens organize a trans territorial strike unseen since the Great Arab Revolt in 1936-39. Importantly, the encounter between Palestinian and Israeli and Jewish Israelis is markedly different from that between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians in the 1967 occupied territories.

So in thinking about how we can theorize out of [? impasse, ?] we must consider all these accumulated features and political moments, recalling Mandela’s theorization on South Africa, [? or ?] the lenses of everyday life a Palestinian encounters in the Jewish state, but also, with a future of political liberations that Palestinian and Israel imagined for themselves, in unity with Palestinians everywhere, where they can play a major role in decolonization. In Mandela’s writing, the South African political [? moment ?] represented that transition period between apartheid and decolonization, when resistance transformed from spontaneous acts of contention to a durable force. This is what Palestinians and Israel have started to propose, organize to change, theorizing further questions of decolonizing the Jewish Israeli existence in Palestine Israel. Thank you.

ATALIA OMER: Thank you. I wonder if, Professor Mamdani, if you have an immediate reaction, since Areej is engaging with your work, or we can return to your thinking later.

MAHMOOD MAMDANI: Maybe return to me later, because I couldn’t hear very well. They’re all kind of muffled. The instrument muffles the voice.

ATALIA OMER: Yeah, we had– I also had a little bit difficulties, some difficulties, hearing. But I’m not sure what to do about that. All right, so I’ll turn to our third panelist, Dr. Bashir.

So my first question for you is really highlighting one critical thread in your scholarship in recent years has entailed the need to kind of deepen our analysis of Christian European modernity and its relevance to the three so-called questions– the Jewish question, the Muslim question, and the Palestine question. In a recent synthetic reflection that you contributed to the “Contending Modernities” blog that is housed at the University of Notre Dame– it’s kind of a synthetic reflection on the two recent publications that I mentioned, The Holocaust and the Nakba and The Arab Question and the Jewish Question.

So you write, and I quote, “The question of Palestine, the Jewish question, and the Muslim question are conceptually and historically linked, and their entanglement continues to fuel tensions in the Middle East, Europe, and the US”– end of quote. So I just would like to invite you to unpack these entanglements and their significance for a decolonial analysis of Palestine/Israel

BASHIR BASHIR: Thank you, Atalia. So let me just contextualize the unpacking that I will be shortly doing, and that is why the unpacking, or why this intertwining and intersection between these three questions are important, in the context of Israel/Palestine. And they are important for the following reason, that is that, if we interrogate these questions and reveal their intersections, we are stepping in what I call new moral and political [? agreement ?] for Israel Palestine.

And why this new moral and political [? agreement ?] is important– It’s important for the following reason. And I think there is a story to be told for us to make sense of these types of kind of sometimes even silenced connections and links and oppressed and policed types of links. And obviously, all of these links are under the banner of what I call interrogating modernity. But let me just tell the story very briefly in relation to the question of Israel/Palestine so we understand why these questions are important and how we unpack them.

And that is that for the past 30, 40 years, the question of Palestine has been imagined and articulated in a very particular type of vocabulary, imagination, concepts, and notions. And basically, this articulation and phrasing and framing of the Palestinian question, since the mid ’70s all the way to recently, about a decade ago, was shifting from emancipatory liberation discourse of anti-colonialism into peacemaking, or if you wish to, the statehood kind of discourse. And this was a remarkable shift that I am not going to assist now its strategic value. There are debates– there were debates back at the time in the Palestinian national movement. There are debates today who are reflecting back on this kind of pragmatic shift. Whatever the evaluation of that shift, that shift has been an extremely fundamental structural shift in Palestinian nationalism.

Therefore, the question of Palestine by the mainstream tendencies of it– I’m not saying that what I am proposing is exhaustive of the range of vocabularies that were displayed in order to explain Palestine, but the dominant vocabulary, the one that even embraced by the international community, so to speak, and by liberal normativity and its coordinates in that sense, has been framed around the language of peacemaking, around the language of conflict resolutions of different types. And basically, the state is, or the Palestinian state on the boundary, was basically the aim. And all of this is being articulated within the paradigm of partition because, without that, you don’t understand anything. Partition, as a colonial and imperial tool, is the paradigm within which these kind of concepts are being articulated.

Now, to cut a longer story short, there is a very serious, deep crisis when it comes to the question of Israel/Palestine in the past two decades, three decades, in light of the failure of partition epistemologically and politically to deliver any serious thing that brings us anywhere closer to what has been endorsed as a form of a possible political solution. And therefore, many scholars have been engaging in trying to understand these kind of realities through different lenses.

Some have appealed to history. Some to anthropology. Some have microhistory. Others have looked to political theology. In my contributions of my work that has been preoccupying me, my work and many other colleagues that we convene in the Kreisky Forum in Vienna, has been to attack this from a different angle. And that is actually to zoom out rather to zoom in, not in order to undermine the zooming in. The zooming in is happening– extremely critical and very inspirational for our work.

But the zooming out is very critical, in the sense that we need to understand for us to bring back the language of colonialism and settler colonialism to the equation, we need to reframe the question of Palestine in the larger global context and definitely through embedding it in the context within which it emerged. And that is political modernity. And that is– and with political modernity, I am eluding to the [? front ?] [? end ?] to several other things. And here I will start the unpacking in a few minutes.

One is the issue of the Jewish question. The Jewish question is a European question, and it is the failure of a Christian European nationalism to accommodate Jews. And therefore, by extension of the Jewish question, you have created the Palestinian question, which is basically meaning that actually we are here invited to interrogate European nationalism, because European nationalism with all– it comes with all of these– package of being very much informed by desire of homogeneity and purity as a very constitutive feature of political modernity, is something that I think we need really to understand and, surely, that the Jewish question is still burning and is still relevant. It’s not solved, from my assessment. So this is one thing to keep in mind.

But there is another feature that is very constitutive of political modernity that I think is very important to bring into the equation. Not only the drive for a purity and homogeneity, which has many manifestations, not only vis-á-vis the Palestinian questions, but also vis-á-vis many parts of Europe and beyond Europe, as many scholars have shown, and that this is within the rubric of nationalism. But if we add to that something that is intimately constitutive of that, which is a co-founding of modernity, of political modernity, that is settler colonialism, or imperialism, if you wish, with different iterations. And that is basically seeking to eliminate and exterminate natives for the purpose of creating new societies in different parts and rearranging boundaries and different technologies and different tools and practices and policies that were at the disposal of the enterprise of the nation state, when we move from the imperial order to the colonial– to the national order.

So these things all, if you wish– when we look at the question of Palestine in the contemporary times, we also see how, if you wish, we bring also anti-Semitism as a ready accusation, mobilized, weaponized, abused, used, in order to criminalize, silence Palestinians in their struggle for justice. And this is exactly the issue where, actually, in this sense, the discourse of Islamophobia has been indispensable to the articulation and reproduction of modernity and political violence, instead actually of focusing on anti-Semitism and showing how Europe hasn’t– Christian Europe hasn’t handled sufficiently the question, the Jewish question. Actually, the blame is shouldered on Muslims as racialized other in that context.

And all of these questions cannot be disconnected from each other because, in certain particular understanding, not only through the lens of Palestine– but I’m not going to make that claim now, because that is not the focus of my attention at the moment for the sake of this argument, because these questions also are related to many other spheres. So if I try to sum all of this, what we are trying to do in this kind of enterprise to this– through my work, at least, is really to interrogate European nationalism, to interrogate Zionism, and to interrogate Arab nationalism in a particular way. And I think these are very clearly intertwined and only through these kind of things, together with many other perspectives and contributions, I think we can pave the way for viable alternatives, theories and methodologies of decolonization that I think might be at our disposal in the context of Israel/Palestine.

ATALIA OMER: Great. Thank you so much for contextualizing and unpacking, and unpacking the kind of work that you are doing, in terms of thinking and articulating an alternative ethical normative grammar to think through the depths of the contextuality of the place. Before I turn to the next round of questions, I want to return to Dr. Sabbagh-Khoury and ask her to– maybe there are two– you said so many things that were so powerful and so important. And I wanted to ensure that the audience get a chance to think together with you about two points that you made, or two issues that you highlighted.

One is the cons– what you spoke about, what you understand as an epistemological apartheid. What does it mean? What are the political ramifications of an epistemological apartheid? I am highlighting this because, of course, what decoloniality is doing that is distinct, perhaps, from the anti-colonial stance, although they are interconnected, as well, is that it makes an intervention that is epistemological. So perhaps if we can kind of stay with it for a moment before we move on.

And another phrase that you use that really grabbed me was habitus of [INAUDIBLE]. And so I want to invite you to maybe say a few more words about that.

AREEJ SABBAGH-KHOURY: Thank you, Atalia. Could you hear me now more clearly?

ATALIA OMER: I hear you just fine.

AREEJ SABBAGH-KHOURY: Yes? Because I changed the setting here. I’m in a room that I am not adjusted to. So it’s clear now, more clear?

ATALIA OMER: Yes. I can hear you quite well.

AREEJ SABBAGH-KHOURY: OK. So I was talking about how the Palestinian/Israel– a very new proposal– proposing to study Israel as a settler colonial is they are trying to deconstruct the epistemological apartheid in terms that, previously, the Palestinians scholarship wasn’t part of the Israeli academia for different reasons. So for me, it was one of the things to think about and write through tracing the knowledge production in Israel, how we can think about deconstructing this epistemological apartheid. And when I examined the transformation and different paradigms through the Israeli– mainly through Israeli [? sociology ?] and history, I came to understand how proposing a different moment, a different political moment, that was first organized and articulated through political activism, through– I’ll talk more later about this– through the return of history that mobilized the Palestinian scholars to meet the nature of the Zionist movement.

As to the habitus of [INAUDIBLE], I just argued that the Palestinian encounter symbolic and material violences. And they are seeped in this habitus of [INAUDIBLE] that their daily life somehow turns to be a struggle and navigating through different forms of hierarchies and discrimination. But at the same time, their agency in navigating against and working against these structures of power since the beginning of the Nakba in 1948– they had this ability to formulate and to act politically in a way that– you want an example that I can draw from the [? closet ?] period when most of the world was under military– enclosed in their houses, and et cetera. I say to myself, the– all of the world became Palestinian, in terms that we are in this framework of military rule, despite our ability to mobilize, because we are– all the time, Palestinians are [? surveillanced. ?] But they learned how to navigate against it and to propose different forms of sociality that I’ll relate later to.

ATALIA OMER: Great, thank you. So before I turn to the next round of questions, interrelated questions, I would like to invite the audience to submit your questions. And we’ll try to get to as many as possible, and the hope is to have a fruitful conversation. OK, so as I said, now round two, a set of interrelated questions for all the participants, with the recognition that each one of you will come at that question or the set of questions from a different perspective, different set of intellectual genealogies. So again, that makes the discussion deeper and more layered.

So the question is, what do you think about decolonial scholarship’s role in deepening the potential for decolonial and anti-colonial political praxis? And since this event, this panel, is happening in an academic space attentive to how religion intersects with violence in all its forms, but also, potentially, with emancipatory scripts, what space do your visions of decoloniality or the anti-colonial give to religious meanings and identities? Why and how naming the situation, using the comparative analytic of settler colonialism, or the comparison with the end of South African apartheid, or other kind of resources that you draw on to think comparatively, to de-exceptionalize, in some respects, the case, help us shift from the enthnoreligious, national, separationist, majoritarian formula that has defined the grammar of, quote-unquote, peace in that context. So maybe we’ll start with you, Dr. Bashir.

BASHIR BASHIR: Yeah, sure. Let me relate to two points here that I think are relevant for– or they captured my attention, the first regarding the scholarship. I think the scholarship has been incredibly useful for the past 20 years in pushing very seriously the discourse of settler colonialism as a relevant frame for integrating Israel/Palestine. You have to understand that the [? odds ?] were great, and you have to understand the dominance and the hegemony of the discourse that I just alluded earlier on about this peacemaking discourse. And the industry that was, or the industries, that was feeding, that were feeding these types of hegemony and paradigm were really, really remarkable.

And in that sense, there has been very remarkable achievements for the scholarship that has been persistent in the past 20, 30 years or so in penetrating these, if you wish, castle that was hermetically closed, in terms of not really allowing much these voices to come and become vocal about that. And I think what we are witnessing recently about the legitimacy of these kind of terms as lenses, vocabularies, and terms and concepts that have become more legitimate than any time before to use, even among– not only in academic circles, but also in diplomatic activist circles, including settler colonialism, apartheid et cetera. So in that sense, there is a very serious pioneering role for reviving, because this discourse has existed in Palestinian contexts in a way or another, and persisted all the way through. But it never had the attention that it is receiving recently with the help of many others, and in that sense, many, many, many contributors and in different parts of the world. So that’s really the remarkable thing.

However, I have one major reflection here that I think is a type of critique on that. And that critique has two faults. One, I think settler colonialism has been established as an interpretive analytical frame. I think it’s about time that we also not stop there, but move very much about trying to say what decolonization would entail. There is a difference between saying settler colonialism is the analytical and interpretive frame– that’s fine. That’s very helpful for diagnosis, and I think it comes against [? wild ?] [? odds. ?] And I think there are serious qualifications here that need to be very tailored very carefully.

This is my second point. The first point, nevertheless, has been that I think we need also to move to what a process of decolonization, and doing colonialism meaning decolonization, what decolonization means. This is a very critical question. And I think here the spectrum is very wide about the potentialities, the methodologies, and the alternatives, and the theories. And I think the disagreements are greater than we are willing to admit when it comes to the outcome of decolonization. This takes me to the second point.

And the second point is that I think, as much as South Africa and many other cases have been inspirational for our context– I think that has been extremely, tremendously useful and educational and informative. However, I think we need to be very careful about drawing these kind of analogies without qualifications and care of the particular type. In the context of Israel/Palestine, Zionism is definitely a settler colonial movement par excellence, in my point of view. But it also has a very powerful dimension of nationalism that I think has been remarkably successful, by the way.

Without now passing judgment about what did it do, as Professor Mamdani was alluding, reducing the potentiality of being a Jew under the rubric of Zionism has shrinked, whereas before that, things and the spectrum was wider. So that’s something that– it needs to be debated, and I think it’s very relevant. And today, I was earlier speaking to a group of Jewish leaders in this here– in Jerusalem in that perspective. I think this is something that we need to open. And Palestinians have say and have something to contribute to that. But that’s– so this is one.

And the second thing is that I think, while we are engaging– and this takes me to the second point that you raised, Atalia, about majoritarianism and what is the entry here. And I think there are really very serious clashes and tensions, way more than we are willing to admit, between constitutional liberalism as a potential way forward and post-national type of engagement, if you wish, and between national rubric and national grammar as the answer to that. And I think these are very serious clashes. There are serious contradictory tensions between them. Obviously, the spectrum is wide how you can accommodate some combinations of some sort.

And I definitely think that the way for that is what I conceptualize in my private work, and some of it is jointly with other, what I call egalitarian binationalism. And I think egalitarian binationalism, the way, at least, I theorize and conceptualize in my work, is much more promising, if you ask me, not necessarily from the perspective of ethics, but definitely from the perspective of sensitivities of the specificities of the context of Israel and Palestine and the history of the Jews and the history the Palestinians with some these kind of rubrics, with certain conditions, obviously.

And the most important condition of that– and I finish by this, because this relates also to the issue of religion, is basically dismantling and rejecting any form of exclusivity of Jewish supremacy of any sort. Under the egalitarian binationalism that I am proposing, inspired by some other who have done some important work in that respect, is to say that, under this rubric, there is no possibility, even by definition– defining egalitarian by nationalism normatively, the way I define it, doesn’t tolerate at all any form of privileges, exclusivity, and form of a Jewish supremacy of any particular type. But it does allow certain space for certain communitarian national dealing of some sort to be accommodated under the rubric of possible arrangement and possible things.

So I think, to sum this point and finish. I think it’s about time that we scholars who are engaged in that, who are, some of us, also activists in the field, to start moving also, in this very specific context of Israel/Palestine, to start moving towards unpacking and naming the visions and the contradictions, the tensions, that are involved in that, not with the hope that what you design in labs and intellectual gymnastics in libraries necessarily is going to be the platform of activism. But actually, we are inspired very much by the specificities of what we are witnessing in Israel/Palestine.

And this is precisely why I believe this is decolonizing, as well, because this goes against the fixes of political modernity, the way Zionism wanted to implicate in that through what– understanding Zionism to entail statist enterprise, statist logic, [INAUDIBLE] and, obviously, vulgar ethnonationalism of the mainstream Zionism, because Zionism is also many things. It’s not one thing. And in that sense, I think it’s the time for us who are involved in this to push a little bit forward and move from the prognosis to the– from the diagnosis also to the prognosis, and start moving out to do these visions and what it entails in decolonization process.

ATALIA OMER: Thank you. I feel very compelled by the kind of argument that you made, because you highlight the effectiveness, the analytic effectiveness, of that kind of comparative application of the lens of settler colonialism, or apartheid, or whatnot. But kind of what I heard very strongly is the call for not only the demolition, but recognizing that there need to be a– for sure, if you want to think along decolonial register, we need to destabilize and undo any kind of supremacist discourse, and within that context or that grammar of egalitarian by nationalism that you have articulated.

But it’s not only about demolition. It’s also about building. And you use the language of vision and be specific in terms of the vision and here there is a space for thinking of the positive content that will– not only on the negative, but the positive ethical meaning that will constitute this, the space or the political community. So I think this is a very important constructive intervention that is in contrast to that image that you put forward of the lab or the seminar room, that purism of the lab discourse.

So Dr. Sabbagh-Khoury, maybe we’ll turn to you now for your reactions, reflections on that question.

AREEJ SABBAGH-KHOURY: Yeah, I think, Atalia, your question also is related to what I said previously that Mahmood didn’t hear, which is– I really want to repeat, because I find his work is very illuminating while we think about decolonization. And I argue that in thinking about how we can theorize out of impasse, we must consider all the accumulated features and political moments that Mamdani talks about of the violences of everyday life, as well, and which Palestinian encounters in the Jewish state, but also, of a future political liberation that Palestinian and Israel imagine.

They are not just talking about settler colonialism or diagnosing the case as settler colonialism. But they are proposing and imagining forms of unity with Palestinians everywhere, where they can play a major role in decolonization. And again, in Mandela’s writing about the South Africa political moment represented that transition period between apartheid and decolonization, when resistance transformed from spontaneous acts of contention to a durable force– this is what Palestinians in Israel have started to propose, organize the change, theorizing for the question of decolonizing the Jewish Israeli existence in Israel/Palestine.

And referring also to the question that I didn’t address completely about the role of this Palestinian, ’48 Palestinians, we should clarify here that we are talking about two different things. One is Palestinian political action and intellectual knowledge production. The other is material decolonization. They are inseparable and co-productive. Knowledge production– and this is why it is important, also, to trace settler colonialism, is an indispensable tool for struggle.

[? Autessere ?] teaches us settler colonialism is a struggle for materialism. I argue in parallel way to Marxian thought that critical intellectuals, especially indigenous scholars, must carry out a theorizing distractive to the colonial apparatus, while it’s the political praxis, including the return of history, that is, the return of the Nakba to the public sphere and international solidarity, that allows for the intellectual change. It is the scholar role, beside the activists, to propel thoughts into political actions and contribute to the articulation of the just political projects. The settler colonial framework is an accessory tool in anti-colonial liberation praxis and decolonization. We must be capable of diagnosing and then explaining the colonial condition.

And with that, there’s a condition that makes Zionism so [INAUDIBLE], the context of European modernity and racialization, the Holocaust and more, in order to proscribe liberatory ways out for Palestinians and Jewish Israelis. Perhaps you don’t have to be a Palestinian scholar to be able to describe the colonial condition. And even social and spatial conditions shape an everyday life defined by Israeli supremacy. So theoretically, we need to continue unpacking technologies of power, in which the colonizer and colonized hierarchically construct a system of control. But we must caution ourselves against easy structuralist explanations, and instead understand how contingencies may lead to institutionalized violence.

Last, we must continue debunking the conflation of Zionism and Judaism. The intellectual is implicated as a subject with responsibility in decolonization. In this sense, Antonio Gramsci articulates the role of organic intellectual in countering cohesion, while, for him, it will always be the mass who can precipitate a revolution. And Edward Said sees a powerful role for the intellectual as someone who can contest convictions and institutions and be wholly invested in critique for public. Here, too, feminist thought and theory becomes crucial. In the tradition of feminist thought, scholarship works toward identifying structural conditions and social construction of gender, critiquing masculinist power and patriarchy and [? filtering ?] the subjectivity that has been prominently absent from much intellectual criticism.

This is a way of reflecting on additional frames that structure society– gender, sexuality, and race, which are contingent formations that interact and intersect [INAUDIBLE] across geographies and temporalities, without neglecting materialist aspects. The articulation of [INAUDIBLE] political [INAUDIBLE] we must recognize how the circulation of the settler colonial paradigm not only contributes to an indictment of power structure, but counters with a different way of being in the world, a model of relation and socially predicated on the disposal of colonial privileges and the envisioning of a just future for all.

I will not, however– that I don’t want to overestimate the role of the intellectual. Intellectual labor embeds the scholar in institutional settings that constrains certain action and delimits possibilities. And movements for decolonization don’t necessitate the forms of intellectual discourse we invest our lives in producing. The Palestinian intellectual leader, Azmi Bishara, that moved from the academy to the formal political sphere to propose the project of the state for all of its citizens, for instance, illustrate the ways material decolonization becomes intertwined with intellectual efforts.

That was decades ago. The challenge now is to rearticulate a liberationist and decolonizing project with the atmosphere of the Israeli right wing [INAUDIBLE] and the nation-state law, and to overcome the discrepancy between the decolonizing academic project [? here. ?] We all talk about, in academia, in critical academic discourses, about decolonizing academic project, on the one hand, and the present. But there is a present fractured Palestinian nationalist political movement that embraced that.

But ending with a hopeful note, Palestinian youth all over Palestine maintain a renewed hope. They sense their own volition in decolonization. I think they will be the force to propose these formulas or political project [INAUDIBLE] that will work to decolonize our epistemologies and our existence. Thank you.

ATALIA OMER: Thank you. So many points– one that I think that is so profoundly important is– among the many that you articulated, is the point about the political economy that is often, or is not always, center to the analysis, and also for thinking about the decolonial and the anti-colonial. And I was reflecting back to the initial response by Professor Mamdani about– Professor Mamdani, you mentioned in your first response the Jewish National Fund and its participation in the colonization of Palestine, preceding, of course, 1948, preceding the Nakba. And so that point about the political economy is so critical.

And also the point about the role of scholarship in political movement– of course, not to overemphasize the importance of the scholar– this is a point well taken. But it’s also in a context that is very anti-intellectual. It’s this kind of intervention that is epistemological. It is about the very framing of the discourse, like Bashir spoke, Dr. Bashir spoke about the hegemony of peace, the peacebuilding hegemony that presumes segregation, separation, ethnoreligious homogeneity. And this is where I see, also, convergences.

And I’ll turn to you, Professor Mamdani. For instance, in your book you engage very critically with the whole discourse of transitional justice. So that was kind of like one point of connections that I was thinking about when Bashir spoke about the hegemony of peacebuilding, with respect to thinking concretely about Palestine/Israel. So I’ll turn to you and what grabbed you in that set of interrelated questions.

MAHMOOD MAMDANI: Thank you. Thank you very much. Let me just say at the outset that I am inspired by the responses of my colleagues. They are very productive, and they take our discussion forward. And they take our discussion forward, I think, not as much by providing answers, but providing a set of questions which open up new areas of inquiry.

Now let me start where I agree. South Africa– what should be the status of our study of South Africa? I certainly do not think that we should be studying South Africa in order to draw from it a blueprint, not at all. I think South Africa can provide lessons. South Africa can not provide a one size fits all formula, because history is specific.

Political movements are specific. A political mobilization is lesser or greater. And it is around not always the same issue, but different issues. But she had mentioned the tremendous importance of nationalism in the Israel/Palestine case today. And I think all that has to be taken into account.

At the same time, the lessons of the same place, the history of the same place– Dr. Sabbagh-Khoury mentioned, made reference to, Azmi Bishara and the notion of a state of all the people, not a state of the majority, a state of all the people, a state of all citizens. And I will make a distinction between citizens and people. So let me go to your set of questions, including this what does it mean to be thinking on decolonial terms.

I think first of all, it means changing the frame. And I think the critical change in the frame has to be from the criminal to the political. It has to take a settler colonialism not as a collection of individual crimes, but as a political project. And there is a difference between the two. Taking settler colonialism is a collection of criminal crimes with a view to moving forward in a notion of crime and punishment, either courts or the battlefield, I think that’s the heart of transitional justice, not the battlefield, but the courts, anyway. And I think that’s hugely problematic.

I think part of the problem is that the American notion of criminal justice has become a hegemonic notion. The journey began with Nuremberg in Nazi Germany. And the problem with criminal justice is always that crime is transgression of the law. And therefore, the state cannot commit a crime, because the state makes law. Crime can only be committed by individuals. It can be committed by individual agents of the state, but not by the state.

Now, that’s a very problematic starting point. If your starting point is political, then you understand that this question cannot be addressed from the point of view of grievances of individuals. It has to be addressed from the point of view of entire groups which have been excluded from the political process. And the solution can only be political. It cannot be individual. It cannot be based on the question of crime and punishment. So that’s my first understanding.

Second, your question of religion and violence– and let me say, I, again, find it find it very interesting but educative that Bashir puts this as a problem of modernity. And I agree entirely, because modernity politicizes culture. And it politicizes particular cultural identities, right from 1492 Iberia– the claim that this land must be a land of a single people with a single religion, the trigger to the Hundred Years’ War, which followed in Europe, more or less 100 years, a war between different religions, Catholics and Protestants.

The solution to that war, whether theoretically in John Locke or politically in the series of agreements, was basically that the majority must have sovereignty. And this majority should respect the individual rights of the minority, but the minority cannot have sovereignty. Now that was the liberal state. But the Iberian state was the non-liberal one. This is the liberal one. And the liberal state has been the basis of the problem.

The problem of Israel is that it began with a claim to create a liberal state with a sovereign majority but respecting individual rights of minorities, and has now moved to the non-liberal Iberian-style state trying to ethnically cleanse the land, by hook or by crook. And from then on, you had different identifiers of civilization, civilizing mission, race being one of the most important ones.

So what about the place of religion? In my view, cultural diversity is crucial, but it has to be in the domain of culture. We need to depoliticize, or we need to think of ways of depoliticizing culture, so that politics itself can rise above these diversities and does not just duplicate and reflect these diversities. And politics itself, which has become the basis of identity formation, not culture– really, politics has become the basis of identity formation under modernity is– that’s the paradigm, we need to change.

Final question– why and how naming the situation using the competitive analytical settler colonies helps us to shift from the problem to something forward. So I go to South Africa. I said we can take lessons from it, and I’ll just take one lesson from it. In 1955, the ANC had a program called the Freedom Charter. Freedom Charter had a ringing declaration in it. It said South Africa belongs to all those who live in it. It didn’t say South Africa belongs to all its citizens. It said South Africa belongs to all those who live in it, all its residents.

In 1994, the first post-apartheid election, there was a big controversy who should be allowed to vote– citizens of South Africa or everybody who lives in South Africa? Now, the question was hugely important, because millions of people lived in South Africa who were not citizens. These were migrant workers from just outside of South Africa. And the migrant workers had been critical in trade union elections– in trade union formation, sorry. And the decision then was that anybody who lives in South Africa must have a right to vote.

But from then on, with Mangosuthu Buthelezi and inkatha Party taking over internal affairs in a post-apartheid South Africa, from then on, the rights of migrants were chipped away at step by step. And you had this confrontation between citizen and migrant with xenophobic violence in South Africa. Now, I just want to draw two lessons from it.

One lesson is, if you take this lesson for Israel/Palestine, to me it means that the question of the ’48 Palestinians, the 1948 Palestinians who lived outside the borders of Israel/Palestine is critical and crucial. How that question is resolved will decide whether any resolution will work or not.

Secondly, I don’t think the role of the intellectual– I do not think it is the business of the intellectual to come up with solutions. I don’t think intellectuals can frame a blueprint within the confines of his or her study. I think– so I’m a political theorist, but not in the liberal sense of trying to form a blueprint of what’s the good society. No, I think we take our starting point– popular struggles, a political mobilization, social mobilization, social movements, political movements, which are necessarily internally contradictory, which necessarily move– the center of gravity in these movements shifts as the movements are shaped by actual conflict on the ground.

The business of the intellectual is to take the raw material from the experiences of these movements. And then the work of the intellectual is to address the internal contradictoriness of this raw materials and to present back to the movement its own work, but in a rethought form. Thank you very much.

ATALIA OMER: Thank you. Again, so many critical issues about the concept, of course, of the decolonial is a response– it’s the other side of that construct coloniality that emerges, especially in the context of Latin American thought that understands the history and the epistemology that relates to the colonial space from Christian Europe to modernity. So to think about– so I appreciate so much how those conversations, Bashir’s particular focus on modernity with respect to the three interrelated, quote-unquote, “questions,” and Mahmood’s points that you just unpacked right now, how the recent interventions, of course, also on the epistemological apartheid– those convergences are so powerful.

And already, I think that some of the questions in the Q&A have already been alluded to in just those final reflections, especially the issue of– one question was with respect to the issue of the return of Palestinian refugees and the degree to which its criticality to that discourse of the decolonial register, the thinking through of that different frame. And that also relates to kind of a specific question addressed to Bashir, with respect to that the specificity, that concreteness, of that new ethical grammar of the egalitarian binationalism. And perhaps you can– maybe that would be– we’ll conclude with this here from you, and then maybe another word from Dr. Sabbagh-Khoury, if you want to add anything.

But, Bashir, would– basically, the question that came from the audience was about the– what’s the chance for that vision, that egalitarian binationalism to actually be– to materialize? So certainly, not within the contemporary frame, but go ahead.

BASHIR BASHIR: So I think my understanding of the question is that there is a confusion between egalitarian binationalism as an ethical principle and between binationalist state as an institution, a constitutional arrangement of some sort. I think these are very, very different things. Definitely, egalitarian binationalism, as an ethical principle and a political frame, can lead to a binational state. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be subscribing to this particular thing.

So binationalism, in that sense– the way I look at it with the help of others and for instance, my work with Amos Goldberg places, for instance, the Holocaust and the Nakba at the very core of this. And this takes us, again, to the refugees, the question of the Palestinian refugees. You have– you cannot have any decolonizing process or any imagination that is alternative to the dominant paradigm without bringing the question of the refugees to the center of this politics. The Nakba and before the Nakba, it’s definitely the case. But definitely the issue of the refugees is at the center, and the right of Palestinians, to return is at the center of this configuration. This is, potentially, by invoking that, is definitely the way to decolonize, and it has a potential of decolonization.

Now, the very concrete solution of how you really materialize the right of return is something that I think, as Professor Mamdani was alluding, the specificities of the context are really [? troublingsome ?] and changing and shifting, depending on gravity and power and arrangements. But in terms of the very basic principle, that very much of invoking the right of return has to be constitutive central thing is the most important thing, because the Palestinian question is not about statehood. Statehood is the vehicle through which Palestinians achieve rights. The rights are the [INAUDIBLE] that are much fundamental here. And the right of self-determination of return and many other rights are the fundamental core issues here.

But the last point that I want to make, nevertheless, in this context that I think one of the things that we need really to face very powerfully, and as the South African has a charter, freedom of charter, it’s true that political theorist doesn’t have necessarily to propose solutions. But nevertheless, political theorists also have some role with other activists of envisioning certain visions of some sort that can be fueled and can be platforms for political deliberations and articulation.

And that sense, I think, this is precisely where now those who are engaged in this scholarship needs and ought to start passing the way forward, through which also they will bring to the center of this attention, also, the Jewish Israeli rights to this, because the minute you start saying that the Mediterranean river between– the territory between the river and the sea is the analytical frame and you want to decolonise, part of what you need also to confront and engage with a very daring way is also bringing to the very center of attention not only the Palestinian rights, which are fundamental and the basic structural thing. But also, you will have to bring to the equation also the presence of the Israeli Jews and the success of the formation of certain national identity of a particular type.

That is not something that liberal normativity can accommodate, at least in the context of what we are trying. But definitely we will have to be very careful about the disasters and the problematic capital of ethno vulgar nationalism, the way Zionism definitely have impacted also Palestinian nationalism. We need to open up these types of questions and put for them forward and try to unpack them with [INAUDIBLE] and courage, and intellectual and political courage through which we can– now, does that commit us to a very particular institutional solution of a particular type?

No, I think these are things that will be the subject and the object and the result of a political process that is going to be very painful, because the present and the future, for the [? seen ?] future, is very bleak and very, very, very problematic in that sense, because it’s all about Jewish privilege and Jewish supremacy. And this is why we need, in that shift that we are doing, in the new paradigm or the new grammar that, at least in my work with Amos Goldberg and people who that you alluded to and others such as [INAUDIBLE] and many others who are saying, basically, that we need to shift to this language of right, but bearing in mind also aspects of political theology.

And in that sense, I have something to say about religion that I think might be a little bit too much now to bring in, because we are running out of time. But I think religion– the way it was depicted in this conversation is also very problematic. I think religion in the very specific context of Zionism needs to be unpacked very seriously, because it needs to be understood in relation to this kind of interrogating modernity, because of the question of political theory, the way Zionism is materialized in Palestine, also is something that is worth paying attention and unpacking in a very critical way.

ATALIA OMER: Perhaps you want to say just a few words since you kind of– about what you mean by how we– the ways in which religion has been portrayed in this conversation is problematic? Bashir?

BASHIR BASHIR: Sorry.

ATALIA OMER: I said perhaps you want to just say– unpack a few– say a few more words about–

BASHIR BASHIR: I don’t want to be unfair, because we didn’t pay much attention to that. But my point is that you wouldn’t understand it in isolation from political theology. Zionism is a religious thing. They make it with the language of secularism, and secularism– we slip into this kind of thing that you are very familiar and in your writings, as well, about this relationship between the secular and religious and all of that type.

But in the very specific context here I think, while we need to very much be critical about the potential of religion being conflated with nationalism, we need to be very, very seriously, also, in that kind of decolonization, also through the insistence of not– on the issues of exclusivity and issue of eliminating any form of superiority and privilege. I think we, by definition, committed to these principles, already mediate a very particular notion of religion that actually remains to be relevant for politics, but not in the way that it is actually leading to certain exclusivity and international politics of some sort.

ATALIA OMER: Yeah thank you for bringing this up. And I’ll just telegraph that we’ve had– earlier this semester, we had a panel that interrogated those issues. We also had [INAUDIBLE] as part of the panel on a new book called When Politics Are Sacralized, co-edited by Nadim Rouhana and Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian that really illuminates even the secular registers of Zionism as a political movement. Of course, it relies on a biblical grammar that religion, in the context of contemporary Israel, really obscures– obscures that and obscures that of the settler colonial dynamics. So thank you for bringing this up.

So perhaps a last word from Dr. Sabbagh-Khoury from South Africa.

AREEJ SABBAGH-KHOURY: Thank you, Atalia. I want to just propose that the challenge now, I think, for Palestinian is if Palestinians can convert from the Palestinian question to the Jewish question and to the existence of the Israeli Jews in Palestine. And this is how I think decolonization is possible. And I think that all of Palestinians and critical Israeli [INAUDIBLE] should combine to work together, including the intellectuals and the political activists, to propose such a political moment of transformation, because we have– again, to just accentuate the idea of diagnosing the settler colonial conditions. Most of Israelis don’t perceive themselves as settlers, because of the specificity of the relation of the Israelis, of the Jews, to Palestine or to the areas of Israel.

So this is a crucial component that proposing and asking about proposing their existence in Palestine and deconstructing the supremacy of being a Jewish Israeli is very important for this realization of– to decolonize we must bring back the question of the history of this [? existence, ?] but also enabling a different way of sociality and being in Palestine that is not supremacist, that is for all Palestinian and Israelis. And this is what I perceive as the major challenge for decolonization.

ATALIA OMER: Thank you. How to be a [? political ?] community that is not supremacist is a profound challenge. Thank you so much for this incredibly generative conversation. Thank you for staying a few extra minutes. There are so many more questions and so many more threads to unpack. And really, the hope is that this kind of decolonial engagement will just continue to deepen intellectually and also materially, in terms of praxis. So thank you. It’s such a great honor to be a part of this conversation for me. So thank you, everybody.

SPEAKER 2: Sponsor Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative.

SPEAKER 1: Copyright 2021, President and Fellows of Harvard College.

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https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/bds-anti-zionist-activism-atalia-omer-interview/A New Generation of Jewish Activists Is Transforming Judaism Itself

Atalia Omer’s new book considers how American Jews are making solidarity with Palestinians a central feature of their spiritual practice and identity.

By Nathan Goldman

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019

Over the past few years, especially since the 2014 Gaza war, a growing number of younger American Jews have been questioning the supposedly unquestionable bond between Jewish identity and support of Israel. Many of them have been moved to organized action to unsettle the American Jewish community’s pro-Israel consensus. In her new book, Days of Awe: Reimagining Jewishness in Solidarity With Palestinians, Atalia Omer—associate professor of religion, conflict, and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame—sets out to document and contextualize this burgeoning movement. She charts the rise of organized Jewish movements (including IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace) that directly speak and act against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, often targeting the mainstream Jewish establishment, which champions Israel and opposes dissent. She also looks at groups (such as the student group Open Hillel and the radical synagogue Tzedek Chicago) that seek to integrate more complex and critical discussions of Israel into the Jewish community. By analyzing the rhetoric, practices, and self-conceptions associated with these movements and organizations, Omer considers how a new generation of Jewish activists is making solidarity with Palestinians a central feature of their Jewish practice and identity—and is thus transforming the very meaning of contemporary Jewishness.

But how is this transformation taking place? Omer suggests that it involves a fusion of critiques of American Jewish complicity in structures of oppression and the retrieval of Jewish prophetic and ethical traditions. In Days of Awe, Omer brings together interviews with activists, historical analysis, and theoretical interventions (drawing from religious studies and social movement theory, among other disciplines), all in the service of one of the first extended studies of this growing movement of American Jews standing against the Israeli occupation, and standing up for justice for Palestinians.

Omer delves into the details of the movement’s theory and praxis, while also tracing its relationship to and intersection with other sites of struggle—for instance, against anti-Semitism, anti-black racism, and Islamophobia, and for decolonization, feminism, and queer liberation. She also probes the movement’s possible limits. She offers sophisticated, sympathetic critiques and asks what untapped intellectual resources might complicate the movement’s preconceptions while also advancing its aims.

Top ArticlesREAD MOREFlushing Democracy

I spoke with Omer by phone for this interview. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

—Nathan Goldman

Nathan Goldman:What was the impetus behind the research that would become Days of Awe? How did it develop over the years you were working on it?

Atalia Omer: Initially, I wanted to do some comparative work. I was trying to get away, actually, from an exclusive focus on Israel-Palestine. But the more I started talking to American Jewish diaspora activists, the more I realized that there was a really important story there to focus on. I saw that it needed to have its own book.

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NG: You argue that when Jewish anti-occupation and Palestine solidarity activists deploy Jewish religious ideas, liturgies, and ritual in protests, it’s not just an instrumental political tactic. Rather, by actively engaging religious practices, texts, and symbols, Jewish activists are actually transforming their meaning in a religious sense. How does that distinction manifest itself?

AO: To start with, the reinterpretation of Jewish symbols, holidays, and liturgies as forms of protest is used to shock and confront the Jewish establishment. The movements use the establishment’s language, which makes it a very effective form of protest. When, for instance, activists build a sukkah in front of the embassy on Sukkot to protest ethnic cleansing of Bedouins, it has a particular impact. That’s the instrumental impact. But also, when I talked to people who participated in those kinds of protests, some of them talked about how, for the first time, they felt welcome and at home and consistently Jewish. In that space of protest, and in the very act of protest, they also rediscovered what it meant to be Jewish. So this becomes something that moves beyond just fighting the occupation or particular policies.

NG: How is that use of the Jewish establishment’s language against itself related to rediscovering what it means to be Jewish?

AO: Jewish anti-occupation and Palestine solidarity movements, such as IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace, use the language of “transforming the Jewish community.” This involves a sense of anger against the elders: the establishment, the educational institutions, the various summer camps and day schools. All that goes beyond just fighting Israeli policies, and how they pretend to represent Jews worldwide and American Jews specifically. It goes beyond the complicity of the American Jewish establishment in enabling the occupation through financial support and political lobbying. Jews in these movements come to feel and say, “My Judaism is not occupation.” But then there comes the recognition that they need to also ask, “Well, what is my Judaism?”

I missed it, but the day before Passover this year, the radical synagogue I attend, Tzedek Chicago, invited Omar Barghouti, the cofounder of the BDS movement, to speak. He was stopped by a US immigration agent in Tel Aviv, and he wasn’t allowed to come. But he still talked to us over Skype. Even though he couldn’t come physically, it was meaningful that he came to a Jewish space. He talked about liberation struggle on the eve of Passover. That moment was meaningful, beyond the question of how it can help the movement. And it’s important for us to think beyond that instrumental level, to generate some sort of constructive reimagining.

NG: In the book, sociologist James M. Jasper’s notion of “moral battery” and your own idea of “critical caretaking” are two of the key concepts you use to understand how anti-occupation and Palestine solidarity activism can lead to this reshaping of the communal definition of Jewishness. Could you briefly explain those concepts and how they function here?

AO: “Moral battery” comes from Jasper’s study of social movements and their mechanics. It describes something I saw and felt in my research, especially during the delegation to the West Bank I went on with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence. There’s the electrifying sense of that communal space. Durkheim calls it “collective effervescence.” Jasper talks about it in terms of the negative and positive of a battery. On the one hand, standing in the southern hills of Hebron, it’s devastating, it’s horrific. You have a feeling of ethical outrage and disgust, and a sense of “this is not my Judaism.” That’s the negative. But the very act of engaging in solidarity, taking directives from the other—in this case, from the Palestinian partners—that creates this electrifying sense of love, and of self-love. That’s the positive. And that combination generates a sense of force and transformative capability.

My concept of “critical caretaking,” which I started to develop in my first book, is about bringing religion into conversations about addressing and transforming violence. This always involves a process of critique—of historicizing identities, historicizing narratives, of “unlearning” (which is the language that the activists often use). But there’s also caretaking of the religious tradition, which is the constructive sense, and requires religious, cultural, and historical literacy. So I’m putting the critical lens and the constructive practices together. They need to come together. Reimagination needs both to be deeply historical and to have that opening for innovation and change. The effort of reshaping the communal self operates multidirectionally.

NG: Much of the activism you discuss in the book relies, at least to some extent, on social media. What do you see as social media’s role in contemporary Jewish anti-occupation and Palestine solidarity activism?

AO: It’s absolutely critical. So many of the activists, especially the young activists, really want to have their stories out there: their stories of transformation and change. For instance, when they go to the occupied territories and come back. It’s a tool to reach out to broader publics, and to educate, and to generate counter-narratives. Especially since in mainstream Jewish formal spaces there are so many restrictive practices, like the policing of questioning. And the movements produce a lot of the reimagining of Jewishness online. Blogs become spaces for alternative liturgies, for the weekly parashot—readings from the Torah—which often reinterpret.

NG: Are there broad lessons that the forms of political work you’ve examined in Days of Awe hold for radical political movements in general?

AO: One of the fascinating facets of these Jewish movements against the occupation and for Palestine solidarity relates to how they participate within a broader struggle for justice. The way, for instance, that Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow understand that they need to fight for the interconnectedness of all the sites of struggle. That they need to fight against homophobia in the US, and that this is absolutely related to the other questions that they’re talking about.

These movements also understand the necessity of focusing on discourse and narrative. They know they need to find ways of changing the story, changing perceptions, changing narratives. Because there is a broader realization on the part of the activists that they’re not only fighting to end the Israeli occupation that is happening in their name, but also, they need to transform the community. So thinking about how to do that really brings to the fore some humanistic engagements: art and very broad coalitions, and actual alternatives—imagined alternatives  

The Return of ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ in 2022

17.02.22 

Editorial Note

Last week, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) announced the return of ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ to the campuses and public spaces in 2022.  

The BDS movement’s website is maintained by the BNC, “the coalition of Palestinian organizations that leads and supports the BDS movement and by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a BNC member organization.”

For the BNC, the Israeli Apartheid Week promotes the “struggle for freedom” and shares global experiences of “countering cultural erasure and cultural imperialism.”  


This year, the BNC plans to shed light on “the role of culture, and art in particular, in decolonizing our minds in our collective struggles against cultural appropriation and oppression.”

According to the BNC, Israeli Apartheid Week is a “tool for mobilizing grassroots support on the global level for the Palestinian struggle for justice. It is a grassroots mechanism to raise awareness about Israeli apartheid and to mobilize support for strategic BDS campaigns to help bring an end to this system of oppression.” 

It claims that the Israeli Apartheid Week provides an “opportunity to network and strengthen the links between the Palestinian liberation struggle and other struggles against racism, oppression, and discrimination. In 2022, as in every year since 2005, we will once again join our voices to denounce apartheid and celebrate our diversity… From March to April, communities around the globe will come together to organize inspiring actions and events to show that now, more than ever, we are #UnitedAgainstRacism.”

The BNC notes that “Despite decades of ruthless Israeli ethnic cleansing and brutal repression, Palestinians from all parts of historic Palestine, as well as in exile, took to the streets last May to challenge Israel’s regime of occupation, apartheid and settler colonialism.” As the Palestinians have “dismantled psychological colonial walls that divide us.”

The banner used this year is “United Against Racism,” to celebrate “cultures of resistance” and explore the “intersectional ties between the Palestinian liberation struggle and global struggles for justice.”   

The dates provided for the Israeli Apartheid Week 2022 are: Europe and North America 21 – 28 March; Africa from 21 March – 4 April; Asia-Pacific 28 March – 4 April; Latin America and Arab World (incl. Palestine) 11 – 18 April.

Global Rally Against Israeli Apartheid on March 26th. “On this day, we will be joined by artists from around the world centering art and culture as critical arenas of our collective resistance to Israeli apartheid and all forms of racism and oppression. From dance, to music, to poetry, the rally will highlight the critical role that culture and art play in decolonizing our minds. This rally comes as part of the Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), which over the last 18 years has propelled discussion of Israeli apartheid and organizing for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns into the popular narrative in order to help bring an end to this crime against humanity.”

The BNC announces, “Fighting oppression and apartheid requires liberated minds… Only Liberated Minds Can Dismantle Apartheid… with liberated minds and souls, we embark on a radical process of hopeful, globalized resistance, transformation, and emancipation.”

The BNC claims, “Israel as an apartheid state is becoming increasingly mainstream, and we are witnessing unprecedented support for the cultural and academic boycott of Israel. Apartheid Israel is realizing that its South Africa moment is nearing.”  

However, following the recent Amnesty International report accusing the Israeli authorities of enforcing apartheid policies, the US rejected this view. Ned Price, the State Department spokesperson, moved to “reject the view that Israel’s actions constitute apartheid. The Department’s own reports have never used such terminology.” Price also added that “it is important, as the world’s only Jewish state, that the Jewish people must not be denied their right to self-determination, and we must ensure there isn’t a double standard being applied.”

It is ironic that the Palestinians espouse slogans calling the “liberated minds” to fight oppression and apartheid and urging to perform a globalized resistance and emancipation.   While such slogans may appeal to the transectional crowd on the campuses, which is a coalition of racial, ethnic minorities and LGBTQ groups. Trying to mainstream the Israeli apartheid equivalency is a hard slog.  Amnesty International was harshly criticized for its double standards.  Critics have pointed out that human rights groups have disproportionately targeted Israel while keeping silent about egregious human rights violators.  This policy does not help the Palestinians who recently protested against their own authorities in the West Bank and Gaza.   The human rights community’s unique obsession with Israel hurts millions of victims worldwide in desperate need of advocacy.  

There are no campus activities published for the Israeli Apartheid Week yet. Once the program is announced, IAM would provide it to warn Jews and Israelis.

References:

https://bdsmovement.net/iaw

BDS

ISRAELI APARTHEID WEEK

#UnitedAgainstRacism 

ISRAELI APARTHEID WEEK

OVERVIEW

Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is a tool for mobilizing grassroots support on the global level for the Palestinian struggle for justice. It is a grassroots mechanism to raise awareness about Israeli apartheid and to mobilize support for strategic BDS campaigns to help bring an end to this system of oppression.

IAW provides an opportunity to network and strengthen the links between the Palestinian liberation struggle and other struggles against racism, oppression, and discrimination. In 2022, as in every year since 2005, we will once again join our voices to denounce apartheid and celebrate our diversity. This year, we plan to shed light on the role of culture, and art in particular, in decolonizing our minds in our collective struggles against cultural appropriation and oppression. From March to April, communities around the globe will come together to organize inspiring actions and events to show that now, more than ever, we are #UnitedAgainstRacism. 

IAW Region                            IAW Dates
Europe21-28 March
North America21-28 March
Africa21 March – 4 April
Asia-Pacific28 March – 4 April
Latin America11 – 18 April
Arab World (incl. Palestine)11 – 18 April

To host an event for IAW in your community, fill out this form to register it with the International Coordinating Committee.Stay tuned for IAW program updates, including the registration link for our global Rally Against Israeli Apartheid on March 26th!

All Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) activities must conform to the BDS movement’s anti-racist principles and respect its affiliation guidelines.

2022 CALL OUT

Only Liberated Minds Can Dismantle Apartheid 

“We are reminded that just as we fought together to defeat apartheid in South Africa, we need to forcefully challenge Israeli apartheid as it is deployed against the Palestinian people today.” – Angela Davis

Fighting oppression and apartheid requires liberated minds. This year, we plan to shed light on the role of culture, and art in particular, in decolonizing our minds in our collective struggles against cultural appropriation and oppression. 

Under the banner United Against Racism, Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) this year celebrates cultures of resistance, exploring the intersectional ties between the Palestinian liberation struggle and global struggles for justice. In IAW, we promote BDS campaigning as the most effective form of solidarity with our struggle for freedom, and we share global experiences in countering cultural erasure and cultural imperialism. 

This year, we are taking our actions back to the streets, campuses, and community spaces, wherever health and safety conditions allow. 

Despite decades of ruthless Israeli ethnic cleansing and brutal repression, Palestinians from all parts of historic Palestine, as well as in exile, took to the streets last May to challenge Israel’s regime of occupation, apartheid and settler colonialism. In the process, we have dismantled psychological colonial walls that divide us. 

Simultaneously, the recognition of Israel as an apartheid state is becoming increasingly mainstream, and we are witnessing unprecedented support for the cultural and academic boycott of Israel. Apartheid Israel is realizing that its South Africa moment is nearing.

More than two years of pandemic have revealed and worsened the existing global inequalities and destructive forces of racial capitalism, militarism, surveillance and other tools of oppression. Yet, affirming their profound aspiration for emancipation, communities have continued to resiliently resist oppression and struggle for social, racial, gender, economic and climate justice. They’ve insisted on freedom and dignity for all, building networks of people power and international solidarity across cultures and borders with inspiring creativity.

In this IAW, with liberated minds and souls, we embark on a radical process of hopeful, globalized resistance, transformation, and emancipation.

This year, IAW will take place between March 21st – April 18th across the globe, as we will be organizing a series of on-the-ground actions and online events. 

2022 GLOBAL RALLY

Save the date for the 2022 Global Rally Against Israeli Apartheid on Saturday, March 26th at 10AM EST / 3PM GMT / 5PM Palestine!

On this day, we will be joined by artists from around the world centering art and culture as critical arenas of our collective resistance to Israeli apartheid and all forms of racism and oppression. From dance, to music, to poetry, the rally will highlight the critical role that culture and art play in decolonizing our minds. 

This rally comes as part of the Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), which over the last 18 years has propelled discussion of Israeli apartheid and organizing for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns into the popular narrative in order to help bring an end to this crime against humanity. 
This year, from March to April, communities around the globe will come together to organize inspiring IAW actions and events to show that now, more than ever, we are #UnitedAgainstRacism. For more information on Israeli Apartheid Week check out the website here.

This website is maintained by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the coalition of Palestinian organisations that leads and supports the BDS movement and by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a BNC member organisation.

TAU Prof. Gadi Algazi and the Bedouin Village al-Arakib

10.02.22

Editorial Note

A recent Haaretz article discusses findings of History Professor Gadi Algazi of Tel Aviv University on the issue of Bedouins in the Negev. 

Algazi is a specialist in the social and intellectual history of European Judaism. His latest academic work pertains to the Mutina Hebraica Project which, “proposes a dialogue between the digital humanities, the history of knowledge and Jewish history,” using new archival investigations and the development of computer tools for the automated reading of manuscripts by applying artificial intelligence to the analysis of texts.

Outside observers may be puzzled why a professor of the history of European Jewry should present himself as an expert on Israeli Bedouins. But Algazi is part of a group of activists who uses his academic perch to advocate for issues outside his academic field. He was hired to teach and research in his field of expertise then switched to political activism disguised as academics.  According to the article, Algazi provided an expert report to the Israeli court.

The illogic of Algazi is glaring. There are two problems with the article, Algazi discusses a letter written by the South Commander, General Moshe Dayan, who raised the possibility of moving Bedouins and compensating them. Algazi then moves to juxtapose the court case of al-Arakib (Araqib), where the Bedouin claimants failed to prove ownership, as the Supreme Court dismissed the case in 2015. Clearly, Algazi has an agenda, by connecting Moshe Dayan’s memo on moving Bedouins from one place to another – not particularly the al-Arakib Bedouins – to the claimants’ lack of proof of ownership and the shacks they built that have been destroyed hundreds of times by the police. 

The article purports to influence another Bedouin court case, as it states, something the Israeli public would consider unethical.

The al-Arakib court case pertains to the Bedouins’ efforts to establish ownership of approx. 2000 dunam.  Their case was rejected because the claimants failed to prove they cultivated such a large territory of the so-called Mewat Land, a land which under the rules of the Ottoman Empire could not be owned. Their ownership was neither established under the British Mandate nor later by Israel. Had the claimants claimed a land size they could cultivate, their case might have been accepted.

As the article indicates, Forensic Architecture provided the digital imaging of al-Arakib, headed by another anti-Israel Israeli activist, Prof. Eyal Weizman, from Goldsmiths University of London. Still, no imaging can provide a continuous presence in al-Arakib. Bedouins are nomadic and roam many areas during a year.  

In the verdict of the al-Arakib case by the Supreme Court in 2015, Aref Al-Aref, a historian and governor of the Beer Sheva District during the British Mandate period, was cited. He wrote in 1933, “The Bedouin had extended periods of time during which they had no interest whatsoever in land. Moreover, they looked down on anyone connected with working the land, because they perceived that as a disruption and a distraction to the life of wandering and brigandage. It is possible that the foundation of their hatred of farmers and their lifestyle can be found here. However, at present [1933] the situation has changed and the Bedouin have begun leaning towards agriculture.” 

Algazi is an academic with a pro-Palestinian agenda. As such, he is not a neutral researcher.

Algazi has a long history of political activism. IAM published a post last year identifying Algazi as Israel’s first conscript objector who wrote in 2001 a chapter that praises draft dodging. Moreover, the Netherlands radio program “Vox Humana” interviewed Algazi, who said, “At the age of 12, he had already decided that he would refuse the inevitable military service in the occupied territories that would eventually be expected of him. And at 18, when he became the first Israeli to publicly refuse to serve there, he was used as an example by the establishment. For years, every time he was called up for service and refused, he was imprisoned.” 

While it is his right to have an opinion or refuse army service and face the consequences, his academic career would not have been possible without the strong support of several backers. Possibly, one of them was the late Leon Sheleff, a professor of law and sociology at Tel Aviv University whom Algazi thanked at the end of the draft-dodging chapter.   An obituary of Sheleff in Haaretz in 2003 stated that “Professor Sheleff was a moral and conscientious man who specialized in the relation between law and society,” a close colleague said. “The South African born Sheleff was a member of the Habonim, a socialist-Zionist movement, who became a passionate peace advocate upon immigrating to Israel.  He wrote a book dealing with the circumstances in which refusing military service is possible.”  It would not be beyond the realm of imagination to assume that Sheleff helped Algazi, the celebrated draft dodger, to obtain his position at Tel Aviv University. 

Another possible backer is Gerardo Leibner, a professor in the Department of History at TAU.  A highly activist academic who became involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In 2002 Algazi and Leibner submitted an article to a Palestinian anti-Israel propaganda outlet based in Ramallah. They detailed how they and their friends support the Palestinians and oppose Israel. 

In the recent article on the Bedouins, Algazi minimizes the Army’s concerns about the radicalization of the Bedouin community.  It is well known that Palestinians have tried to destabilize the situation in the Negev, a situation that would impose new security challenges.   For example, The New Arab newspaper based in London reported on February 01, 2022, that “Historical archive reveals Israel’s plans to expel Negev Palestinians.” Another pro-Palestinian media outlet, Middle East Eye, published an article on January 31, 2022, “Historical documents reveal Israel’s plan to empty Negev of Palestinians.”   This new propaganda line aims to persuade the Bedouins that they share the same fate as the Palestinians. 

Turning the Bedouin community into a “mini Palestine” is a major concern for Israel’s security, but for pro-Palestinian Algazi, Israel’s interests are not on the agenda.

References

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-documents-reveal-israel-s-intent-to-forcibly-expel-bedouin-from-their-lands-1.10579891
Documents Reveal Israel’s Intent to Forcibly Expel the Bedouin From Their Lands

Published by “If Americans Knew

1951 Documents Reveal Israel’s Intent to Ethnically Cleanse Bedouin from their Lands

 CONTACT@IFAMERICANSKNEW.ORG FEBRUARY 8, 2022

New research has uncovered an Israeli military operation commanded by Moshe Dayan, whose goal was to forcibly remove Bedouin Palestinians from their lands. ‘Transferring the Bedouin to new territories would annul their rights as landowners and make them tenants on government lands,’ wrote Dayan in 1951. The documents show an orderly state expulsion plan…

Israel has evicted the Bedouin from the Negev village of Al-Arakib dozens of times, but they keep coming back. Israeli forces then demolish their homes again

To a large extent, Al-Arakib’s story is that of the entire Negev Bedouin community. Israel doesn’t recognize as theirs the tens of thousands of dunams they once lived on and where they still live…

By Netael Bandel, reposted from Ha’aretz (video below translated and added by IAK)

It’s quiet in the unrecognized Negev Bedouin village of Al-Arakib. It was even quiet a month ago, when stormy protests against the Jewish National Fund’s tree planting were taking place some 30 kilometers away.

But another issue could prove even more explosive, perhaps much more. And it stems from this quiet village.

At first glance, there’s nothing special about what Justice Ministry officials are calling the “national strategy case.” It’s just another Bedouin lawsuit over ownership of Negev lands that the state expropriated after the 1948 War of Independence.

Bedouin have testified previously that soldiers forcibly expelled them. For the first time, however, Algazi’s research seems to provide evidence of an orderly state expulsion plan

It will most likely fail in court, just like all its predecessors. And the Justice Ministry thinks it will be the last of its kind – that the state’s victory in this case would preclude any further Bedouin suits.

However, an appendix to this suit might change the outcome, albeit unlikely. It’s an opinion by Prof. Gadi Algazi, a historian from Tel Aviv University. His in-depth research has uncovered a military operation commanded by Moshe Dayan whose goal, the documents show, was to forcibly expel Bedouin from their lands.

“Transferring the Bedouin to new areas will revoke their rights as landowners and the land will be leased as government land,” wrote Dayan, then head of the army’s Southern Command, in a letter Algazi discovered. And a document written by the military government predicted that if the Bedouin, who refused to leave, didn’t move voluntarily, the army “would have to move them,” Algazi’s opinion added.

The Justice Ministry still thinks this case will end like all the others. Nevertheless, there’s a chance this historical material could set a legal precedent with implications far beyond recognizing Bedouin ownership of this one village.

What’s left of Al-Arakib is easy to reach. Head south on Route 40, turn right after the Lehavim Junction and you’ll see what looks like ruins. An ancient cemetery may be the clearest evidence of the life still here. At the moment, there’s a tent and two vans here. One van serves more as shelter from the weather than as a means of transportation.

The state has already evicted the Bedouin from Al-Arakib’s roughly 2,000 dunams dozens of times, but they keep coming back and reassemble. Israel then demolishes their homes again.

To a large extent, Al-Arakib’s story is that of the entire Negev Bedouin community. The state doesn’t recognize as theirs the tens of thousands of dunams they once lived on and where they still live.

‘The research proves that what David Ben-Gurion explicitly denied in the Knesset actually happened, and how. There was an organized transfer of Bedouin citizens’

Officially, the Bedouin left during the war and didn’t return, so the state expropriated the land. Then, the Land Acquisition Law of 1953 made this situation permanent. The law states that expropriated land would become state property if its Arab owners, despite still living in Israel, didn’t return to it between May 15, 1948 and April 1, 1952, and if the land was expropriated for “essential development needs” and still served those needs.

The state expropriated 247,000 dunams in the Negev, but 66,000 of them remain unutilized to this day. That underutilization has sparked a wave of Bedouin lawsuits, but the courts have rejected them time after time.

“Given the unique nature of the Acquisition Law and the unique historical circumstances leading to its enactment, there’s no room today for challenging the constitutionality of the expropriations carried out under it,” the Supreme Court wrote in three separate rulings. In one, then-Justice Asher Grunis wrote that even though the courts have authority to hear all these cases, “the decision, practically speaking, is largely moot.”

Nevertheless, “largely” isn’t the same as “always,” especially since the Bedouin are now raising a new argument – that the expropriation itself was illegal. Granted, Bedouin have testified previously that soldiers forcibly expelled them. For the first time, however, Algazi’s research seems to provide evidence of an orderly state expulsion plan.

‘Move away for a little while’

Ismail Mohammed Salem Abu Madiam was born in Al-Arakib in 1939, a scion of a family that had lived there for many years. They grew various crops, including wheat, barley and corn. They also raised camels, horses, donkeys and sheep. When he was a child, during the British Mandate, he would go to Be’er Sheva with his uncle to sell the sheep.

“I was 9 when the war broke out in 1948,” he said in an affidavit to the court. “We feared attacks by the army, so the neighbors’ families moved to our plot to be less vulnerable. They returned to their lands when the end ended.”

When he was 14, he said, the military governor came to the village to speak with his grandfather. “He ordered us to move away for a little while. We were told the army was planning maneuvers in the area and we could come back afterward.”

‘I scrolled down the screen in the archive and the file got stuck on page 999. It was probably just a simple technical error – somebody didn’t think there’d be files any longer than that’

They were moved to a site around 300 meters from their land. They eventually returned to Al-Arakib and he bought a house in Rahat, not far from his family’s lands.

“Throughout this period, I never knew the state claimed that the land wasn’t ours or that it had been expropriated,” he said. But when the repeated evictions began, he and other villagers realized that the state viewed the land as no longer theirs.

Over the past decade, Al-Arakib has become the standard bearer for the Bedouin’ fight for recognized ownership of Negev lands. The state has evicted the residents – who consider themselves the owners but are called squatters – dozens of times.

The narrow opening left by Grunis’ ruling encouraged the Abu Madiam and Abu Freih families now to sue for ownership of Al-Arakib’s 2,000 dunams. They are represented in the Be’er Sheva District Court by attorneys Michael Sfard and Carmel Pomerantz.

Another local tribe filed a similar petition and lost, but that petition lacked Algazi’s findings.

“Even if we don’t win, heaven forbid, I’ve achieved my goal,” said Dr. Awad Abu Freih, the head Sapir College’s biotechnology department and the lead plaintiff. “The history has been told, and also written. My story, that of my father and my grandfather, won. This isn’t just another case, just another name. This is Al-Arakib, which has insisted on continuing to live and refused to die, even if they buried us alive.”

Algazi’s research reveals for the first time the large-scale operation to evict the Bedouin and move them elsewhere in the Negev that Southern Command launched in November 1951, with approval from Chief of Staff Yigael Yadin. The eviction had security justifications, but it also had another goal – severing the Bedouin’s ties with their lands.

“The research proves that what David Ben-Gurion explicitly denied in the Knesset actually happened, and how,” Algazi told Haaretz, referring to Israel’s first prime minister. “There was an organized transfer of Bedouin citizens from the northwestern Negev eastward to barren areas, with the goal of taking over their lands. They carried out this operation using a mix of threats, violence, bribery and fraud.”

Letter from Moshe Dayan, the head of the Southern Command, to the deputy chief of staff, dated Sept. 25, 1951.Letter from Moshe Dayan, the head of the Southern Command, to the deputy chief of staff, dated Sept. 25, 1951.

He said his opinion shows how the operation was carried out, down to the level of the notes exchanged by military government officers implementing it. The most senior of them knew it was an illegal operation, and that’s why it was important to them not to give the Bedouin written “transfer” orders, he added.

Another discovery was “the Bedouin resistance and protests, the stubbornness with which they tried to hold onto their land, even at the cost of hunger and thirst, not to mention the army’s threats and violence,” he said. Yet another finding was the way the official story was drafted. “It shows how they censored and edited the reports step by step, until the version in which the Bedouin moved ‘voluntarily’ was accepted,” Algazi said.

For years, Algazi has been an active participant in the Bedouin’s struggle in general and in that of Al-Arakib’s residents in particular. He began his current research in 2011 by delving into documents in the archives of the Defense Ministry and the Negev kibbutzim. “I had heard things and wanted to see if there was any truth to them,” he explained.

“I found a treasure trove in the kibbutzim’s archives. Sometimes I found myself with an archivist who had devoted years to collecting and organizing the material. Other times I was simply sent to dig through an old cupboard. But in any case, I never imaged this would gradually turn into research that would keep me busy for eight years.”

Algazi’s research led to the letter Dayan sent to the General Staff on September 25, 1951. “It’s now possible to transfer most of the Bedouin in the vicinity of [Kibbutz] Shoval to areas south of the Hebron-Be’er Sheva road,” he wrote. “Doing so will clear around 60,000 dunams in which we can farm and establish communities. After this transfer, there will be no Bedouin north of the Hebron-Be’er Sheva road.”

Dayan raised security considerations in favor of moving the Bedouin to the area of the Jordanian border, but security was not the only consideration. “Transferring the Bedouin to new territories will annul their rights as landowners and they will become tenants on government lands.” Dayan made a similar statement a year earlier, in June 1950, during a meeting of Mapai. “The party’s policy should be aimed at seeing this community of 170,000 Arabs as if their fate has yet to be sealed. I hope that in the coming years, we will be able to transfer these Arabs out of the Land of Israel.” A year after expressing this aspiration, the documents reveal, he partially executed his plan, moving them within but not outside the state’s borders.

Dayan’s letter was not easy to find, says Algazi. “In November 2017, a huge, disorganized file of correspondence of the military government, containing 1037 pages, was released for viewing,” he recalls. “The scanned file was once a big fat, disorderly folder lying on a dusty shelf somewhere full of correspondence, some interesting, some boring. I scrolled down the screen in the archive and the file got stuck on page 999. It was probably just a simple technical error – somebody didn’t think there’d be files any longer than that.”

Algazi was told the file would be fixed. Two years later, he was informed it was. “Dayan’s letter turned up in the final 40 pages along with another two parts of the correspondence that completed the missing puzzle pieces,” he recalls. “I was sitting in the archives, and I could hear Dayan speaking. In his unique style, he said openly things that others would wrap in cellophane paper: ‘Transferring the Bedouin to new territories would annul their rights as landowners and make them tenants on government lands.’ Clear and simple.”

But, adds Algazi, the cunning Dayan, in charge of Southern Command, thought he had managed to arrange the transfer with the Bedouin’s agreement and was making sure not to explain exactly how he achieved that agreement. “Dayan cooked it up, and it failed,” he says. “When it transpired that there was no agreement, the pressure and violence began. Indeed, right after Dayan’s letter, I found in the same file a report by the military government concerning the Bedouin’s refusal to move – and what needs to be done to meet the goal.” This time, the author is the acting military governor of the Negev, Major Moshe Bar-On. He wrote: “We received orders from the head of Southern Command to pressure the Bedouin tribes in the northern region, even going so far as to say that if they don’t move of their own free will, the army will be forced to move them.”

The means of ‘persuasion’

There were many means of persuasion, but some of the information remains censored. For example, Maj. Misha Hanegbi described in his report on November 21, 1951, a patrol in the region that was aimed at “hastening” the transfer of Bedouin when it ran into “stiff resistance from the locals to leaving their lands.” The report stated that only “after negotiations” was the transfer carried out. However, an entire paragraph is then blacked out – one that could shed light on the means used to “persuade.”

However, testimonies submitted by locals as court affidavits reveal some details. “I remember how the army ordered my family to leave Al-Arakib and head northward,” recalls 80-year-old Hussein Ibrahim Hussein. “Some people who resisted the deportation were arrested. We were told the lands were being confiscated for a few months for military purposes. The Military Police turned up, tied up our things, and told them to move.” They moved but tried to return. It didn’t end well. “I was arrested. My uncle was arrested, we were all arrested” he states. “We would go in to see, the army would detain us for a day or two and then release us.”

Not everyone in the military supported the operation. The Negev governor, Lt. Col. Michael Hanegbi, wrote to the chiefs of staff that “the presence of the Bedouin in the area serves as a buffer against attacks by infiltrators from the east against our settlements along that line. The fact is that our settlements in this area hardly suffer from attacks, which are very frequent in other areas.” He also warned that the alternative lands designated for the Bedouin were barren and that “the problem of water is the eastern region was getting worse.” On another occasion, Hanegbi reported that “despite restrictions prohibiting the use of violence, attempts were made, with the agreement of command, to try and force them to move.” He added: “A military government unit took down a number of tents and loaded them on to a vehicle. The tent owners did not leave and did not join their families who had been transferred.”

Additional testimonies to events were received from residents of nearby kibbutzim. The area “was surrounded by police and military government in military vehicles,” Yosef Tzur of Kibbutz Shuval wrote to kibbutz movement leaders. “People fled, tents were taken down and those who were caught were piled into vehicles and taken to Tel Arad.” A little of what happened when the uniformed officers turned up was revealed by Sheikh Suleiman Al-Okbi in an interview with Yedioth Aharonoth in 1975. “Military units began turning up on our lands from time to time and they would shoot in the air,” he told Yedioth. “People were scared and the women were frightened to work in the field and graze the animals.”

Lieutenant Colonel Hanegbi wrote in one of his letters that “the transfers were conducted primarily through persuasion and economic pressure.” He went on to reveal more. “We had no legal foundation and we were also under orders not to use force, so we had to behave cautiously in our actions and without becoming entangled in legal problems.”

Algazi found evidence of this economic pressure in a note written by the prime minister’s advisor on Arab affairs back then, Yehoshua Palmon (who, the researcher says, was “the most senior figure in setting policy toward Israel’s Arab citizens”). Palmon wrote that the military government prevented the Bedouin from sowing their lands to pressure them into agreeing to move. There was evidence of this practice on the ground. Kibbutz Shuval wrote to the Mapam Party on January 28, 1952, that “the military government forced the Bedouin to leave their lands. Their food supplies were stopped.” According to the kibbutz residents, food supplies were stopped over a period of months.

Other methods of harassing the Bedouin were employed according to an affidavit submitted to the courts by Hussein Ibrahim al-Touri, who was born in 1942. He described how the military “would come and harass us, take us to prison, and so on.” He stated: “The soldiers would take a rope, tie a tent to a command car and demolish it. We were told to move and that if we were to return they would burn our homes down and take us to Jordan.” Abed Hasin Abu-Sakut, a fellow villager, said that after leaving their lands, they returned occasionally, but then “the soldiers would shoot or arrest us and fine us.”

They didn’t just return to their lands of their own accords. Algazi says the state gave the Bedouin the impression they were only being temporarily evacuated. In a letter from the time, Captain Avraham Shemesh wrote that he had allowed evacuated Bedouin to return from time to time to work the soil “until the Beni Okba tribe was allowed to return to its lands.” According to the testimony of local Bedouin similar statements were repeatedly made to them. “The elders said the military governor gave my uncle a letter saying that the army needs the land for six months, after which we would return,” Ahmad Salam Mahmoud al-Okbi testified in court. “I remember how a year after the deportation in 1951, my uncle returned to the land with others. I was there and grazed sheep. One day, a military officer by the name of Sasson Bar Zvi who I knew turned up. He said that if we didn’t leave, he would take us to jail.”

The document reveals that the area kibbutzim raised objections on several occasions to the policy. In late 1951, Kibbutz Mishmar Hanegev, Kibbutz Shuval and Kibbutz Safiach (Beit Kama) wrote a letter to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee protesting the transfer of Bedouin, arguing that they helped settlement.

“We felt a duty to emphasize that this was being done through conspiracy, bribery, and pressure,” they wrote, reporting that “some tents were moved by force.” The kibbutzim’s protest led Mapan to investigate the matter in November 1952. Lieutenant Colonel Hanegbi testified that he had only carried out the orders given him, but confirmed that the army’s intention was to “undermine the status of the tribes being transferred, so they would leave the country.” As part of the operation, he said, “scare tactics and bribery were used, but not always.” Hanegbi contended that military personnel had behaved “cruelly and crudely” toward the Bedouin. As a result, a recommendation was made to annul his party membership.

Algazi says that while there have been a number of studies in recent year about the period of military rule, “there was no study or affirmation until today that the 1951 deportation took place.”

A matter of timing

Throughout the hearings, the state and the prosecution did not deny the operation’s existence but argued that against Algazi’s opinion emphasized the civilian considerations of the transfer while playing down the security considerations. The state also raised a claim concerning the operation’s timetable. They argued that operation began before the law was passed, so Dayan could not have known what criteria would be set for seizing land. However, some could argue that Dayan possibly knew about long-term political plans because of his position and standing.

Another issue concerns how long Al-Arakib has existed. The state denied the claim that there was a permanent settlement on Al-Arakib’s lands. The petitioners assert there had been a Bedouin settlement at the site prior to the state’s establishment, based on an opinion provided by Forensic Architecture, a research group at the University of London. Forensic Architecture, headed by Prof. Eyal Weizman, combined digital tools with maps and reconnaissance of Al-Arakib to reach that conclusion. The opinion will take on greater significance if the claimants manage to progress to the second stage of the hearing on proof of ownership.

The state argues the court should reject the claim due to a delay of decades in filing it. But the Bedouin also have a response for that: They were never told the lands were appropriated and the state misled them into thinking the lands had been taken away only temporarily. A letter received in 2000 from the Israel Lands Administration stated that “no appropriation has taken place” on the lands.

One way or the other, all parties are waiting to hear from the court. Meanwhile, Algazi expects to make further findings. “The difficulty is in reconstructing an operation carried out by people who knew it was not really legal, and therefore made sure not to put down certain things in writing,” he tells Haaretz. “In addition, although we are talking about events that took place 70 years ago, only some of the documents have been revealed. We are waiting for the day when we will be able to study all of them.”

****

Netael Bandel is an attorney who writes for Ha’aretz

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https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/archive-reveals-israels-plans-expel-negev-palestinians
Historical archive reveals Israel’s plans to expel Negev Palestinians

MENA2 min read
The New Arab Staff
01 February, 2022
Newly researched documents dating back to 1951 support Palestinian Bedouins’ claims to lands in the Negev Desert, where protests have been going on for the past month over lands targeted for seizure.

Newly studied archives showing Israel’s intention to forcibly displace thousands of Palestinians from the Negev Desert (also known as the Naqab) could help Bedouins claim back their lands, Israeli media reported on Monday.

Professor Gadi Algazi, a historian from Tel Aviv University, uncovered archives documenting a 1951 Israeli military operation to forcibly expel Palestinian Bedouins from their lands in the Negev, a large desert historically inhabited and cultivated by Bedouin tribes.  

The archival materials were originally released in 2017.  

They include a letter written by Moshe Dayan, then head of the Israeli army’s Southern Command, and a document written by the military government in the area. According to Algazi’s research, the two documents prove the army’s intention to forcibly move the Bedouins from their lands in order to seize them.

“There was an organized transfer of Bedouin citizens from the northwestern Negev eastward to barren areas, with the goal of taking over their lands. They carried out this operation using a mix of threats, violence, bribery and fraud,” Algazi told the Israeli daily Haaretz.

Some believe the documents could shift the balance in favour of displaced Negev Palestinians in various lawsuits against the Israeli government, and create a legal precedent.

Bedouins from the Negev have testified for years that Israeli soldiers expelled them but this is the first time historical research provides evidence of an orderly state expulsion plan.

Israel’s official stand on the Negev is that Palestinian Bedouins left their land following Israel’s 1948 declaration of independence, and never returned.

Known as the Nakba – or Catastrophe – by Palestinians, this dramatic event witnessed the flight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from massacres committed by Zionist militias, who seized their villages and towns.

In 1953, Israel passed laws expropriating all land whose owners had been absent and not returned by April 1952, effectively seizing the property of Palestinians who left during the Nakba.

The new archival revelations come as protests continue in the Negev against an afforestation plan led by the controversial Jewish National Fund (JNF), a quasi-state organ whose aim is to buy a maximum amount of land on behalf of Israeli Jews. The protests began in early January.

The Israeli Land Authority assigned some 1,300,000 square metres of land belonging to a Bedouin tribe to the JNF, with 370,000 square metres being allocated for forest planting.

Several protests have taken place across Palestine in solidarity with Negev residents. The latest one took place on Sunday in Jerusalem.

Israeli forces have arrested dozens of activists and demonstrators, including several children, since the start of their campaign to “Save the Negev”.

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 https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-negev-palestinians-empty-plans-revealed-new-documentsHistorical documents reveal Israel’s plan to empty Negev of Palestinians

Documents cited in a legal challenge against the Israeli government acknowledge that officials knew operation was ‘illegal’ post-1948

By MEE staff
Published date: 31 January 2022 17:02 UTC | Last update: 5 days 18 hours ago

Newly unearthed Israeli historical records reveal officials’ relentless efforts to forcibly empty Palestinian lands of their Bedouin inhabitants in the Negev during the 1950s.

Haaretz reported that the records were revealed as part of a legal case over land ownership pursued by Palestinian citizens of Israel in al-Araqeeb, one of the dozens of villages deemed illegal by Israel and barred from water, electricity and transportation services, among others.

Araqeeb was demolished 197 times by Israel, which seized its lands, and its Palestinian inhabitants have long challenged the Israeli government in courts over the issue.

Haaretz reported on Monday that the Israeli government is considering the case as of “national strategic” importance to set the bar of other lawsuits filed by Palestinian citizens of Israel contesting the confiscation of their lands.

However, Araqeeb’s case has been followed with an opinion and appendix by Gadi Algazi, an Israeli history professor at Tel Aviv University, who spent the past eight years studying the government memos, records and letters regarding the Negev, the largest region in the country.

Algazi had revealed documents as part of the legal case of numerous plans to push Palestinians, who remained in what became Israel after the 1948 war, out of their lands.

A military operation was set up by Moshe Dayan, the southern region commander, in November 1951 to kick out Palestinian Bedouins from areas in the northwest of the Negev to the east and from north of Hebron-Beer Sheva road to the south of it.

This would turn Palestinians who became citizens of Israel into tenants.

“The transfer of the Bedouins to new territories will nullify their right as landowners and they will be [treated] as tenants of government lands,” Dayan wrote in a letter, first reported by Haaretz.

Dayan’s plan was then approved by Israel’s army chief of staff Yigael Yadin, which also suggested that if the Palestinians were not “voluntarily transferred”, the Israeli fledgling forces would “be forced to transfer them” and forcibly remove them from their lands.

Officials at Israel’s Ministry of Justice believe that Araqeeb’s case would end like its predecessor, in other words, in favour of the government. Still, these historical documents unearthed by Algazi could have legal implications, Haaretz said.

The village of Araqeeb spread over 200 dunams (200,000 square metres), and what remained of it, which Israel continuously demolished, has been rebuilt repeatedly.

Palestinian lands in Araqeeb were seized, like many other villages, according to the 1953 Land Acquisition Law.

Israel said that lands in the Negev, which Palestinian owners did live on between 15 May 1948 and 1 April 1952, belonged to the Israeli government that had expropriated 247,000 dunams in the Negev.

The new historical records reveal that Palestinians in that period were forcibly deported by Israeli forces deploying threats, violence, bribery and fraud, Haaretz reported.

‘Discrimination and neglect’

Algazi told Haaretz that senior Israeli officials knew that the operation to deport Palestinians from the Negev was “illegal”, thus they avoided giving them “written eviction orders”.

He also said that the records attested to a resistance undertaken by Palestinian Bedouins against the Israeli plan to move them out of their lands.

“[It was] a revelation the stubbornness with which they tried to hold on to their land, even at the cost of hunger and thirst, not to mention threats and military violence,” Algazi told Haaretz.

In recent weeks, hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Negev have protested against a forestation plan in their villages led by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which they see as a way to deprive them of their lands.

On Sunday, almost 200 of them demonstrated outside Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office in Jerusalem against the plan, calling it a “policy of discrimination and neglect”.

About 300,000 Palestinian citizens live in the Negev; 100,000 live in 35 unrecognised villages and lack essential public services

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The Supreme Court sitting as a Civil Appeals Court

CA 4220/12

Before:                                      The Honorable Deputy President E. Rubinstein

                                                  The Honorable Justice S. Joubran

                                                  The Honorable Justice E. Hayut

The Appellants:                        1.       The Late Saliman Muhammed Al-Uqbi

                                                  2.       Saeed Ali Al-Uqbi

                                                  3.       Majed Ali Saliman Al-Uqbi

                                                  4.       Maher Ali Al-Uqbi

                                                  5.       Fatma Al-Navari Al-Uqbi

                                                  6.       Noel Al-Aasem Al-Uqbi

                                                  7.       Dalal Al-Uqbi

                                                  8.       Tamam Al-Uqbi

                                                  9.       Raja Al-Uqbi

                                                  10.     Khasan (Nouri) Saliman Al-Uqbi

                                                  11.     Anwar Saliman Al-Uqbi

                                                  12.     Ibrahim Saliman Al-Uqbi

                                                  13.     Saeed Saliman Al-Uqbi

                                                  14.     Khalil Saliman Al-Uqbi

                                                  15.     Rakhab Saliman Al-Uqbi

                                                  16.     Khalma Saliman Al-Uqbi

                                                      v e r s u s

The Respondent:                     The State of Israel

Appeal on the judgment of the Beer Sheva District Court in CC 7161/06, CC 7275/06, CC 7276/06, CC 1114/07, CC 1115/07 and CC 5278/08, that was delivered on March 15, 2012 by the Honorable Deputy President S. Dovrat

Date of Session:                                   4th of Sivan, 5774 (June 2, 2014)

On behalf of the Appellants:  Adv. Michael Sefarad; Adv. Adar Grayevsky

On behalf of the Respondent: Adv. Moshe Golan; Adv. Havatzelet Yahel

J U D G M E N T

Justice E. Hayut:

An appeal on the judgment of the Beer Sheva District Court (the Honorable Deputy President S. Dovrat) dated March 15, 2012. The judgment was delivered in a consolidated manner for six land settlement cases (CC 7161/06, CC 7275/06, CC 7276/06, CC 1114/07, CC 1115/07 and CC 5278/08) and denied the Appellants’ claims of ownership of various land lots in the northern Negev, and accepted the State’s claim that the ownership of such lots should be registered in its name and in the name of the Development Authority.

The Background and the District Court’s Judgment

1.      In 1971 a land settlement proceeding, pursuant to the Land Rights Settlement [New Version] Ordinance, 5729-1969 (hereinafter: the “Settlement Ordinance“), began with respect to lands in the Northern Negev. In the framework of this proceeding, Appellant 1 claimed ownership of three land lots south of Rahat (known as Araqib 2, Araqib 6 and Araqib 60) and of three land lots north of Netivot (known as Sharia 132, Sharia 133 and Sharia 134) (hereinafter: the “Araqib Lots” and the “Sharia Lots“, respectively, and jointly, the “Lots“). The State, for its part, also claimed ownership of said Lots, and in its claim primarily relied on the fact that the Lots are located within the boundaries of the blocks in that area which had been expropriated in their entirety in 1954 by virtue of the Acquisition of Land (Confirmation of Deeds and Compensations) Law, 5713-1953 (hereinafter: the “Acquisition Law“). The settlement proceeding, which relates, inter alia, to the discussed Lots, was not completed for many years, and in 2006, Appellant 1’s heirs (Appellants 2-16) filed six claims to the court of first instance, in which they petitioned that they be declared owners of the Lots and that the Lots be registered in their name.

2.      The six claims were consolidated and, as stated in its judgment dated March 15, 2102, the court of first instance rejected these claims with instructions that the blocks in which these Lots, among others, are located, be registered in the name of the State and the Development Authority (Blocks numbered 400367, 400369, 400371, 400526 and 400527). The court first examined the validity of the expropriation executed by the State in 1954 pursuant to the Acquisition Law. Upon rejecting a series of arguments raised by the Appellants against the validity of such expropriation, the court concluded that the expropriation was lawfully performed, and that the Appellants’ claim survey, in which they claimed ownership of the Lots, should be rejected. However, the court of first instance ruled, in reliance upon the case-law that was adjudicated in CA 4067/07 Jabareen v. The State of Israel (January 3, 2010) (hereinafter: the “Jabareen Case”), that the fact of a valid expropriation does not nullify the need to address the matter of the rights, if any, held by Appellants prior to the expropriation, in order to rule regarding any compensation deriving therefrom. In addressing this matter, the court of first instance analyzed the provisions of the Land Law, 5729-1969 (hereinafter: the “Land Law“), including Sections 152-156 of the Law, and ruled that the main acts of legislation upon which the matter of the rights held by the Appellants prior to the 1954 expropriation should be examined, are: The Ottoman Land Code of 1274 to the Hijra (1858) (hereinafter: the “Ottoman Land Code” or the “Land Code “) and the (Mewat) Land Ordinance, 1921 (hereinafter: the “Mewat Ordinance“), which were in force and effect on the effective date (1954). This is in light of the provision of Section 156 of the Land Law, which prescribes that the provisions of Sections 152-155, which abolish the classification of the lands that were in effect pursuant to Ottoman legislation, do not derogate from land rights that existed prior to the legislation of the Land Law.

3.      The court examined the Appellants’ rights in and to the Lots on the effective date (1954) in accordance with the provisions of the Land Code and the Mewat Ordinance. It concluded that on the effective date, these lands were State-owned Mewat lands. In reaching this conclusion, the District Court relied primarily on the State’s expert opinion by Prof. Ruth Kark, which it preferred over that of the Appellants’ expert opinion, Prof. Oren Yiftachel. The court rejected the Appellants’ argument that the Lots in dispute are “Miri” lands which had been possessed and cultivated ab antiquo by the Al-Uqbi tribe, to which they belong (hereinafter: the “Al-Uqbi Tribe” or the “Tribe“). Additionally, it rejected the Appellants’ argument that even if the land at issue is Mewat land, they acquired such rights by virtue of cultivation and revival. The court further rejected the Appellants’ argument that at some stage, and in accordance with internal arrangements that were made among the members of the Tribe, the ownership rights regarding such Lots were acquired by the Appellants’ family. In this context, the court did not accept the Appellants’ argument that during the Ottoman period and the subsequent period of the British Mandate the Bedouin tribes, including the Al-Uqbi Tribe, benefitted from autonomy such that the governing authorities recognized internal arrangements made by the members of the Tribe with respect to the lands in the Negev as valid arrangements reflecting property rights, even if such rights were not registered in the Land Registry (the “Tabu“).

The court of first instance elaborated that in order for land to be considered Miri land pursuant to the Ottoman Land Code, it must be demonstrated that at some point it was assigned to some person by the authorities. The court of first instance ruled that the Appellants had not proven that the Lots were assigned at any time whatsoever by the authorities to their family or to any other person, and therefore they had not proven that the land at issue is Miri land. On the other hand, the court ruled that the Lots should be classified as State-owned Mewat land from the date of the expropriation, since, as emerges from Prof. Kark’s opinion, in the year in which the Ottoman Land Code was legislated (1858), the Lots stood barren and uncultivated and were more than a mile and half (2.2185 km) away from a permanent town. Thus, the conditions prescribed in the Land Code for classifying land as Mewat land were met. In the factual dispute between the parties regarding the Lots’ distance from a place of settlement at the time of the legislation of the Land Code, the court of first instance ruled that the Appellants did not meet the burden to prove the existence of a permanent town within a mile and half of the Lots, and also did not prove that the Tribe ever settled on the Lots in dispute. In this matter, the court of first instance adopted the opinion of the State’s expert, Prof. Ruth Kark, who testified that until the end of the First World War (1918) there were no permanent towns in the area of the Lots and these Lots were barren and uncultivated, preferring this opinion over that of the Appellants’ expert, Prof. Oren Yiftachel, who claimed that the Tribe established towns on the Lots and had cultivated them ab antiquo. The court of first instance elaborated on the fact that Prof. Kark’s opinion was detailed and thorough and relied on reliable historical sources from which it emerges that the Lots were barren wild areas at the relevant time. On the other hand, the court ruled, Prof. Yiftachel’s conduct left an uncomfortable feeling and compromised his credibility. The court of first instance elaborated on the fact that during his cross examination, it was discovered that Prof. Yiftachel relied on sources without having read them, cited some of the sources upon which he relied in a tendentious manner and ignored sources which did not support the conclusion he wished to present. As for the possibility of acquiring rights in and to Mewat lots by way of cultivation and revival, the court ruled that this possibility was eliminated upon the legislation of the Mewat Ordinance in 1921, and therefore, the Appellants must prove that they cultivated and revived the Lots prior to 1921. Based on Prof. Kark’s opinion and testimony, the court of lower instance reached the conclusion that the Lots were also barren and uncultivated when the Mewat Ordinance was legislated in 1921. Therefore, it ruled that the Lots have always been Mewat land, in and to which the State is granted ownership, and that at no stage were the conditions that are required for changing its classification from Mewat to Miri, and for acquiring private ownership therein and thereto by the Appellants’ family, fulfilled.

4.      The court of first instance further ruled that the additional opinions that were filed by the Appellants regarding the Lots’ condition during the years preceding the establishment of the State also do not come to the aid. With regard to the opinion of Mr. Shlomo Ben Yosef (hereinafter: “Ben Yosef“), the aerial photograph interpreter on behalf of the Appellants, the court ruled that it cannot substantiate the Appellants’ argument as to the cultivation and possession of the Lots during the relevant years, given the fact that it is based on one sole aerial photograph from 1945. The court of first instance emphasized that according to Ben Yosef’s testimony, it emerges from the aerial photograph that in 1945 the Lots were cultivated in a very sparse manner, and that Ben Yosef’s claim, that in that year there was a Bedouin rural town on the Lots’ area, is unfounded and refers to the presence of a thin population spread over an area of 30,000 dunams. With regard to the opinion of Mr. Abu Friecha, the surveyor on behalf of the Appellants (hereinafter: “Abu Friecha“), the court of lower instance elaborated on the fact that, except for one, all of the sites that were marked by him on the map, and with respect to which it was argued that they attest to the existence of an ancient Bedouin town in the area of the Lots, are outside of the area of the Lots. Additionally, the court of first instance stated that Abu Friecha admitted in his testimony that he did not measure the area of the Lots at all, and only marked sites on the map to which Appellants referred him. Additionally, Abu Friecha confirmed in his testimony that some of the sites that were marked on the map that he presented are not in fact located where they were marked. Therefore, the court of first instance ruled that this opinion also does not substantiate the Appellants’ argument regarding the existence of a permanent town within a mile and a half of the Lots at the relevant period of time, or that they were cultivated prior to the legislation of the Mewat Ordinance in 1921.

5.   In addition, the court of first instance rejected the Appellants’ argument that nomadic or semi-nomadic settlements (meaning, settlements that move within a single tract of land in accordance with the seasons of the year), can also, pursuant to the Ottoman Land Code, be considered a “town” such that the lands adjacent thereto would not be considered Mewat lands. The court of first instance elaborated on the fact that according to the interpretation of the Land Code that was given in case-law, a town for which the surrounding lands shall not be considered Mewat lands is a permanent town that is grounded in one place throughout the entire year. Therefore, the court of first instance ruled that even if the Al-Uqbi Tribe roamed in the area of the Lots between 1858 and 1921, this does not grant them ownership of the Lots. As was already stated, the court rejected the Appellants’ argument that even if the Lots at any stage were classified as Mewat, they acquired ownership of the Lots due to cultivating and reviving them. In this context, the court further ruled that even had the Appellants’ argument regarding cultivating and reviving the Lots not been rejected on a factual level, the cultivation and revival thereof alone would not have been sufficient to lead to the conclusion that the Appellants became owners of the Lots. This is because neither the Lots nor any part thereof were ever registered in the Land Registry (the “Tabu“) in their name, in the name of Appellant 1 who is the testator thereof or in the name of the person from whom Appellant 1 allegedly inherited the rights therein and thereto. In this context, the court mentioned the provisions of Section 2 of the Mewat Ordinance pursuant to which a person who cultivated Mewat land before the ordinance was published is required to register as the owners of the rights within two months from the date of its publication, otherwise he will lose his rights in and to the land. The court of first instance further rejected the Appellants’ argument that the Tribe is not required to register the Lots in its name in the Land Registry (the “Tabu“) in order to acquire rights therein since the Ottoman administration and the British Mandate government granted the Bedouin autonomy in the Negev areas and granted legal validity to rights that were acquired in and to the land pursuant to traditional Bedouin law. The court of first instance also adopted Prof. Kark’s opinion in this matter, pursuant to which both during the Ottoman period and the British Mandate period there was no sweeping recognition of the Bedouin’s ownership of lands in the Negev, and preferred it over the opinion of Prof. Yiftachel who posited that the Ottoman administration and the British Mandate government granted legal validity to rights that were acquired pursuant to traditional Bedouin law, even without being registered in the Land Registry (the “Tabu“). In this context, the court of first instance rejected the Appellants’ argument that their position is supported by the declaration voiced by Winston Churchill, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in a meeting he held with the High Commissioner in 1921, that the British will not harm the special rights and customs of the Bedouin (Official Report, 29 March 1921, Great Britain Public Record Office, C.O. 733/2/77; hereinafter: the “Churchill Declaration“). In this matter, the court of first instance ruled that one cannot attribute a legal status to the said declaration without it having been anchored in explicit acts of legislation, and that had the British been interested in granting binding legal status to the Bedouin land ownership system, it can be assumed that they would have expressed this in official legislation. Additionally, the court of first instance ruled that it is not at all clear what Churchill meant in the said declaration, and therefore one cannot rely on this declaration in order to create legal rights ex nihilo.

6.      The court of first instance further stated that the Appellants’ argument that they are exempt from registering their rights in and to the Lots in the Land Registry (the “Tabu“), is not consistent with various contracts that were presented by them as testimony. For example, in contracts C/1 and C/13, which relate to the Araqib 2 and Sharia 132 Lots, the seller undertakes to register the lot in the name of the purchaser. The court of first instance elaborated on the fact that had the members of the Tribe believed that purchasing rights in accordance with traditional Bedouin law was sufficient in order to grant legal validity to their ownership of the land, it can be assumed that they would not have bothered to stipulate the registration of the lot in the Land Registry (the “Tabu“), in the sale agreement. As to the contracts themselves, the court of first instance stated that they do not state the origin of the Lots’ sellers’ rights in and to the land, and that in the absence of registration of the sellers’ rights in the Land Registry (the “Tabu“), these contracts cannot constitute evidence that rights therein and thereto were lawfully acquired. Additionally, the court of lower instance ruled that contracts between private parties do not bind the authorities or grant them rights in and to the land, when rights were not lawfully acquired therein and thereto to begin with.

7.      After ruling that the Appellants’ family did not acquire rights in and to the Lots by virtue of cultivation and revival, the court of first instance examined whether they have a claim by virtue of a period of prescription. In this context, the court of first instance elaborated on the fact that the Ottoman land laws do not allow acquiring rights in and to Mewat lands by virtue of prescription, and therefore, once it was determined that the Lots are Mewat classified lands, the Appellants do not have a prescription claim. Above and beyond that which was necessary, the court of first instance also rejected the Appellants’ claim of acquired rights in and to the Lots by virtue of a period of prescription on its merits. The court ruled that, pursuant to the Ottoman Land Code and Section 22 of the Prescription Law, 5718-1958 (hereinafter: the “Prescription Law“), insofar as at issue is possession that began before 1943, continuous possession of the land for the duration of 15 years is required in order to acquire rights in and to land by virtue of a period of prescription. In the case at hand, the court of first instance ruled, the majority of the documents that the Appellants presented with respect to the Lots relate to the years between 1943 and 1951 (when the Appellants claim they were expelled from the land) and the earliest document they presented with respect to the Lots was a tithe payment certificate from 1937. The court of first instance therefore ruled that the Appellants did not meet the burden of proving that they held the Lots continuously for the period of time required by the above-mentioned laws.

8.      An additional claim that was raised by the Appellants related to the rights in and to the Lots by virtue of indigenousness and transitional justice. In this matter, the court of first instance ruled that this is a weighty matter that the legislature should address, but further ruled that the existing law does not recognize rights by virtue of indigenousness and therefore it is inappropriate to address this claim. Furthermore, the court of first instance stated that it doubts whether the Al-Uqbi Tribe can be considered an indigenous group under international law since they themselves claim that they arrived in the Negev after it was already controlled by the Ottoman Empire, and therefore they are not an indigenous minority which was conquered by a foreign administration that arrived to its land.

For all of these reasons, the court of first instance rejected the Appellants’ claim of rights in and to the Lots and ordered that they be registered in the name of the State and the Development Authority. Additionally, and in light of the conclusions it so reached, the court of lower instance did not find it appropriate to rule that the Appellants are entitled to compensation due to the expropriation of the Lots, pursuant to the Acquisition Law.

The Appellants’ Arguments

9.      The Appellants do not accept the District Court’s judgment and in the appeal before us they claim that their family has been living in the Negev for centuries, and that despite this the court of first instance ruled that during that entire time it did not acquire any rights whatsoever in and to its lands. According to the Appellants, this is an unjust and unreasonable outcome that derives from the adoption of an historical and legal doctrine, rooted in case-law, by virtue of which the Bedouin tribes are dispossessed of their historical lands. The Appellants dispute the court of first instance’s factual findings, including, inter alia, the rulings that the Lots were barren and uncultivated between 1858 and 1921 and were further than a mile and half from a town. Additionally, the Appellants dispute the legal conclusion that the court of lower instance reached, that the Lots are State-owned Mewat land. Finally, the Appellants claim that the court of first instance’s findings and conclusions with respect to the validity of the State’s expropriation in 1954 pursuant to the Acquisition Law are also erroneous and warrant intervention.

10.  On a factual-historical level, the Appellants claim that the court chose to ignore substantiated evidence that was presented before it and that relies on various research and historical sources which prove that the Al-Uqbi Tribe had been settled on the Lots and had cultivated them since as early as 1807. In this context, the Appellants refer, inter alia, to the opinion of Prof. Yiftachel, and the annexes thereto, to the opinion of the surveyor Abu Friecha, to the opinion of the aerial photographs interpreter Ben Yosef, and to the testimonies of the Tribe’s elders (hereinafter: the “Tribe’s Elders“), who allegedly delivered a first-hand version as to the condition of the Lots at the relevant time. Additionally, the Appellants refer to various official publications of the Mandate government and of the State of Israel in the years following the establishment of the State, which, according to them, prove that the Tribe was settled on the Lots and cultivated them. The Appellants claim that given the many pieces of evidence as to the possession and cultivation of the Lots by the Tribe throughout generations, the court of first instance erred when preferring Prof. Kark’s opinion to that of Prof. Yiftachel. It is argued that contrary to Prof. Yiftachel, who visited the area of the Lots and who, in addition to the historical-theoretical research, also elaborated on the physical evidence of the existence of an ancient Bedouin town in the said Lots, Prof. Kark’s opinion relied exclusively on the journey literature of various 19th century European travelers, missionaries and researchers who passed through the Negev areas on their journeys. According to the Appellants, the travel literature upon which Prof. Kark relied should not be considered credible, since their authors did not come to the Negev in order to research the Bedouin population and their entire reference to such population was incidental and is suffused with western prejudice. In addition, the Appellants argue that even if it would have been appropriate to trust the testimonies of the 19th century researchers who visited the area of the Lots, Prof. Kark’s opinion ignored testimonies and letters of many Negev researchers who were mentioned in Prof. Yiftachel’s opinion and who reported on extensive Bedouin agriculture and settlement in the Negev.

11.  Alongside the appeal they filed, the Appellants are also petitioning to submit an additional piece of evidence at the appeal stage, which relates to the Tribe’s possession and cultivation of the Lots. At issue is a document which is alleged to be a report that was prepared by the Hachsharat Hayishuv company in 1920, which includes a survey regarding the condition of the Negev lands. In this survey, it is argued, areas that were possessed and cultivated by the Appellants’ testators were appraised, and it proves their rights in and to the Lots. This evidence, it is argued, was discovered at the last stages of conducting the proceeding at the court of first instance, as a result of research that was conducted by Prof. Yiftachel together with additional researchers in order to write a joint article. According to the Appellants, its submission at the appeal stage should be allowed in light of its importance and in light of the fact that at hand is a case addressing a matter of principle. I shall begin by stating that I do not find it appropriate to allow the evidence to be submitted at the appeal stage, based on the criteria outlined in this matter in case-law. It has been ruled that leave to submit new evidence in appeal shall be granted sparingly and only in cases in which the evidence that is being requested to be added is simple and conclusive and bears significant importance relating to the core of the dispute between the parties (CA 105/05 Dahan v. Michele Kason, paragraph 4 of Justice E. Arbel‘s judgment (November 10, 2005); CA 1773/06 Aleph v. Kibbutz Ayelet Hashachar, paragraph 17 of Justice A. Procaccia‘s judgment (December 19, 2010); CA 679/11 Dardikman v. Nadav, paragraph 29 of Justice U. Shoham‘s judgment (March 27, 2014)). This is not the case in the case at hand. Precedent also establishes that the party requesting to add the evidence must demonstrate that it did not know of its existence when the hearing in the procedural instance was conducted and also could not have discovered it had it acted with proper diligence to do so (see CA 374/08 Katan v. Horenstein, paragraphs 9-10 of Justice Z. Zylbertal‘s judgment (December 25, 2012)). In the case at hand, it emerges from the application itself that the evidence was in the Appellants’ possession at the time the case was being heard in the court of first instance. Despite this the Appellants did not bother to submit it nor do they not provide any explanation whatsoever for such conduct.

12.  At the legal level, the Appellants argue that according to the laws that applied to the Negev area until the establishment of the State, the fact that the Al-Uqbi Tribe had lived and resided on the Lots for generations granted them ownership thereof. The Appellants repeatedly argue that both the Ottoman administration and the British Mandate government granted the Bedouin legal autonomy to manage their property and their lands in accordance with traditional Bedouin law. Therefore, according to the Appellants, the Ottoman Land Code and the Mewat Ordinance did not apply at all to the Negev areas until the establishment of the State and the law that was in effect in the Negev at the relevant time was traditional Bedouin law. According to the Appellants, the court of first instance ignored the many pieces of evidence that were presented attesting to the existence of such autonomy from which the Bedouin tribes benefitted at such time in the Negev expanses and the evidence that was presented regarding the acquisition of rights in and to the Lots by the Appellants’ family in accordance with traditional Bedouin law. In this context, the Appellants emphasize the fact that both during the Ottoman period and the British Mandate period many Bedouin registered land in the Negev in their name and sold them to the Zionist institutions. This fact, it is argued, proves that prior to the establishment of the State the authorities recognized the Bedouin’s rights in and to the Negev lands and allowed them to register these lands in their names, if only they wanted to do so – both before the legislation of the Mewat Ordinance and thereafter.

13.  Alternatively, the Appellants claim that even if their rights in and to the Lots should be examined in accordance with the Ottoman Land Code and the Mandate Mewat Ordinance, the court of first instance erred when ruling that the Lots were State-owned Mewat classified lands rather than Miri lands owned by the Appellants. In this context, the Appellants claim that the court of first instance erred by not transferring the burden of persuasion to the State, given that the State has acted with a material lack of good faith and, for over 30 years, intentionally avoided bringing the conflicting claims that were filed with respect to the Lots in the framework of the settlement proceedings before the court. This conduct, it is argued, caused the Appellants severe evidential damage and severely sabotaged their chances of proving their ownership of the Lots. According to the Appellants, the court of first instance erred by not expressing this in the form of shifting the burden of persuasion, such that instead of the Appellants being required to prove family ownership of the Lots, the burden would transfer to the State to prove that at hand are Mewat lands that were owned thereby.

14.  On the merits of the matter, the Appellants argue that the correct interpretation of the Ottoman Land Code should lead to the conclusion that in the case of the Lots, the conditions required for classifying lands as Mewat lands were not met. First, it was argued that it was proven that the Appellants’ family had been possessing and cultivating the Lots for many years, and therefore they are not abandoned and barren lands which pursuant to the Land Code could be considered Mewat lands; Second, it was argued that the Lots were not more than a mile and half from the location of a town as the Land Code requires. In this context, the Appellants argue that according to its correct interpretation, the Ottoman Land Code also recognized nomadic (or semi-nomadic) settlement of Bedouin in the Negev as a “town” such that the lands adjacent thereto are not Mewat lands. It was argued that this interpretation coincides with that which is stated in other Mandate government acts of legislation in land matters. The Appellants further argue that the said interpretation of the term “town” in the Ottoman Land Code coincides with the purpose of such law to encourage agricultural cultivation of barren lands by way of granting ownership of the cultivated lands that are adjacent to population concentrations. The Appellants further argue in this context that the court of first instance erred when it ruled that even according to the Appellants the Lots were not settled year-round and the towns in which it was alleged that they resided were no more than temporary camping locations that were built on occasion. According to the Appellants, this ruling is an erroneous interpretation that was given by the court of first instance of their claim that the Al-Uqbi Tribe were not nomads, but rather semi-nomads. The meaning of this claim, so it is alleged, is that the members of the Tribe settled in permanent camping sites from which they would roam during the winter season and to which they would return once the rains stopped. It was argued that the Al-Uqbi Tribe had two such permanent camping sites, one in the Araqib Lots and the other in the Sharia Lots. However, the Appellants emphasize, they never argued that the towns that the Tribe built in the Lots existed only during part of the seasons or that they ceased to exist when they went out to graze.

15.  Additionally, the Appellants argue that the interpretation offered by them of the term “town” in the Ottoman Land Code is warranted in the instant circumstance in order to prevent the absurd and discriminatory result that the court of first instance reached, by which areas of livelihood that functioned for centuries as towns for all intents and purposes are not recognized as towns for the purpose of determining the ownership of the land. According to the Appellants, the narrow definition which this court adopted in the past for the term “town” in the Ottoman Land Code, pursuant to which only a permanent town that is built with stone houses is a town which is surrounded by Miri lands, does severe injustice to Bedouin and discriminates them due to their nomadic lifestyle and culture. Therefore, it was argued that the court of first instance erred when it did not consider the interpretation offered by the Appellants of the term “town” in the Ottoman Land Code, and instead adopted the existing case-law in this matter, without reexamination, as requested by the Appellants.

16.  An additional argument raised by the Appellants is that the court of first instance erred when it ruled that the Lots should be classified as privately-owned lands or as Mewat, in accordance with their condition in the year in which the Ottoman Land Code was legislated (1858). According to the Appellants, the court of first instance perceived itself as bound by case-law established by this court. However, the Appellants argue, this is a legal mistake, since terms that are prescribed in an act of legislation should be interpreted at the time they are being implemented in a given case. Therefore, according to the Appellants, one must deviate from existing case-law rules with respect to classifying lands in the Land of Israel pursuant to the law that preceded the Land Law, and rule that the classification of the Lots, as privately-owned lands or as Mewat, should be examined in accordance with their condition at the time the settlement proceedings therein began.

17.  Alternatively, the Appellants argue that even if the Lots should be classified as Mewat lands, it should be ruled that their family acquired ownership therein by virtue of cultivation and revival, as it was proven that the family cultivated these lands for many years. In this context, the Appellants argue that the fact that their family did not act to register the Lots in its name within the period of time prescribed by the Mewat Ordinance does not deny the possibility that it acquired rights therein and thereto by virtue of revival. This approach, it is argued, coincides with the Mandate Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Mewat Ordinance and with the fact that those who did not register their rights in and to cultivated Mewat land within two months following the publication of the ordinance nevertheless succeeded in registering their lands in their name in the framework of the settlement proceedings that followed its legislation. Additionally, the proposed interpretation is consistent with the fact that, even many years after the publication of the ordinance, many Bedouin did not have difficulty registering lands throughout the Negev in their names and selling them to the Zionist movement. Additionally, according to the Appellants, said interpretation coincides with the fact that Section 2 of the Mewat Ordinance was omitted from the “Drayton” Official Compilation of Mandate Acts of Legislation that was published in 1933. Therefore, it was argued that not registering the Appellants’ family’s rights in and to the Lots does not lead to the loss of such rights.

18.  An additional argument by the Appellants is that the Lots should be registered in their name even if they did not acquire rights in and to them pursuant to the Ottoman Land Code and the Mandate Mewat Ordinance that preceded that Land Law. In this context, they point to three normative sources, as follows: the laws of equity, the basic laws and international law. With regard to the laws of equity, the Appellants argue that the Mandate law and case-law recognized that use and possession of land for many years create equity rights therein. Therefore, even if their family did not acquire rights in and to the Lots pursuant to the Ottoman Land Code and the Mandate Mewat Ordinance, it acquired ownership rights therein and thereto by equity, due to the fact that it possessed and cultivated the Lots for generations. With regard to the basic laws, the Appellants argue that the Ottoman Land Code and the Mandate Mewat Ordinance should be interpreted in accordance with the constitutional principles of equality and human dignity. These principles, it is argued, warrant interpreting the land legislation that preceded the Land Law in a modern manner which would prevent discrimination against the Bedouin population and its continued dispossession from its historical areas of livelihood in the Negev. With regard to international law, it was argued that since the Bedouin are an indigenous group on the Negev lands, such laws should be interpreted in a manner that grants them rights in and to their historical lands. The Appellants further argue that the Bedouin have unique protections and rights by virtue of international law which should be considered when ruling on the matter of their ownership of the Lots. Therefore, even if according to the Mandate and Ottoman land legislation that was in effect during the relevant years, they did not acquire rights in and to the Lots, at present there is an obligation to recognize these rights by virtue of international law. According to the Appellants, the court of first instance erred when it ruled that the law in Israel does not recognize rights by virtue of indigenousness. It was further argued that the rights of the Bedouin in and to the Negev lands are grounded in this context in customary international law. Such grounding, it was argued, requires the Israeli courts to consider the rights that the Bedouin acquired in and to their historical lands even if this law was not adopted in an Israeli act of legislation.

19.  Finally, the Appellants raise arguments that relate to the legality of the expropriation orders that were issued to the Lots by virtue of the Acquisition Law. According to them, these orders were issued to Lots based on the erroneous assumption that at hand are barren Mewat lands that are not owned by anyone. However, once it was been proven that the Lots were owned by the Appellants’ family, this case falls within those special and extraordinary cases in which one can appeal that which is stated in the expropriation certificate. It was further argued that the expropriation orders for the Lots should be cancelled on the grounds that since the expropriation, the Lots have stood barren for 58 years and only in the last two years was an attempt made to plant a few groves therein. Therefore, the Appellants argue that the court of first instance erred when it ruled that the purpose for which the Lots were expropriated was realized. This ruling is based on the fact that the expropriation of the Lots was made as part of the expropriation of a larger tract of land, and assumes that if the purposes of the expropriation in part of such tract of land were realized, then it can be said that the purpose of the expropriation was realized with respect to its entirety. However, the fact that other land lots that were expropriated along with the Lots in dispute were used does not mean that the purpose of the expropriation was also realized with respect to those lots which remained barren. The question whether the purpose of the expropriation was realized should be examined with respect to each lot on its own.

The State’s Arguments

20.  The State relies on the judgment of the court of first instance and claims that the appeal should be denied. On a factual level, the State argues that the court of first instance was presented with abundant evidence to the fact that, from the beginning of the 19th century until after the establishment of the State, the Lots stood barren and uncultivated. With regard to the parties’ expert opinions, the State argues that it was proven to the court of first instance that Prof. Yiftachel’s opinion is tendentious and unfounded and it follows that the court of first instance justifiably preferred Prof. Kark’s opinion and testimony. With regard to the opinion that was submitted by the surveyor Abu Friecha and by the interpreter Ben Yosef, the State claims that it was proven that they were materially flawed and cannot be relied upon as opinions that substantiate the Appellants’ arguments. Therefore, the State claims that the Appellants did not succeed in proving that the Al-Uqbi Tribe settled on the Lots and cultivated them for many years prior to the establishment of the State and that at most it was proven by them that during certain periods of time the Lots served the Tribe for grazing and camping.

21.  The State further argues that the Appellants acted unlawfully, and, in the framework of the appeal, submitted a revised version of Prof. Yiftachel’s opinion without receiving leave, despite the fact that the court of first instance did not permit its submission and instructed that it be ignored. Additionally, in the framework of the appeal, again without receiving leave, the Appellants submitted an article written by Prof. Yiftachel relating the issues emerging in this proceeding and allegedly constituting an adaptation of the opinion that he submitted in the proceedings (the article of Prof. Yiftachel, Sandy Kedar and Ahmad Amara “Re-Examining the ‘Dead Negev Doctrine’: Property Rights in Arab Bedouin Regions” Mishpat U’mimshal 14 7 (2012)). This article was also not presented to the court of first instance. Therefore, the State requests that this Court ignore both the revised version of Prof. Yiftachel’s opinion which the Appellants submitted at the appeal stage, as well the article that he wrote based on this proceeding. The State further argues that some of the professional literature that the Appellants submitted in the framework of the appeal was not submitted thereby in the court of first instance, and it claims that for this reason it should also be ignored. I shall begin by stating in this matter that a review of the article to which the argument refers indicates that it is indeed based on the opinion that Prof. Yiftachel submitted in this proceeding, while adapting the opinion to the format of an academic article, and that the Appellants are using it as an additional opinion on their behalf, and without the article having been submitted with the court of first instance. Additionally, the Appellants cite various sources to which the article refers without them having been submitted with the court of first instance or in the appeal. There is merit to the State’s argument in all that relates to reliance upon the article or upon the new references to which it refers. Additionally, and in accordance with the decision of the court of first instance dated March 7, 2010, that which is stated in Prof. Yiftachel’s third opinion should be ignored insofar as it exceeds referring and responding to Prof. Kark’s opinion.

22.  At the legal level, the State argues that there is no substance to the Appellants’ argument that the Ottoman Land Code and the Mandate Mewat Ordinance should not be applied in this matter due to the autonomy which was granted to the Bedouin in the Negev during the periods of time when the Ottomans and British ruled the area. According to the State, the Bedouin in the Negev never received autonomy as alleged and even if there were periods of time in which the Mandate and Ottoman administrations had difficulty effectively controlling the Negev areas, they always perceived it as part of the sovereign land of the Land of Israel, that is subject to their control, and acted with respect thereto accordingly. It was further argued with respect to the Mandate period that not only is there no reflection of the fact that the Mandate government granted the Bedouin autonomy in the Negev areas and adopted their customs as a legal source of acquisition of rights in and to land, but actually the acts of legislation that were legislated and the Mandate case-law indicate the contrary. As to the Appellants’ argument that the Bedouin managed to register many lands in the Negev areas in their name even after the legislation of the Mewat Ordinance, the State claims that there may be various explanations, but whatever the reason may be, a sweeping conclusion that the ordinance does not apply in the Negev area or that the Bedouin were granted legal autonomy by the Mandate authorities cannot be drawn from such registration of lands in the name of the Bedouin after the legislation of the Mewat Ordinance.

23.  Given the conclusion that the state of the rights in and to the Lots must be examined pursuant to the Ottoman Land Code and the Mandate Mewat Ordinance, the State argues that the ruling of the court of first instance, that the Appellants’ family did not acquire any right whatsoever in and to the Lots, should be adopted. In this context, the State argues, inter alia, that Appellants’ interpretation of the term “town” in the Ottoman Land Code such that it includes Bedouin camps that are populated seasonally, is contrary to the language and the purpose of such law. According to the State, the Bedouin lifestyle was not foreign to the Ottoman Empire, which controlled vast areas in the Arabian Peninsula and Northern Africa. Therefore, had the Ottoman legislator perceived the Bedouin lifestyle as a source for acquiring property rights, it would have explicitly prescribed this in the law. Not doing so is not an inadvertent omission, and the conclusion that should be drawn is that the Ottoman legislator did not intend to grant rights in and to the land by virtue of the Bedouin lifestyle. The State further states that the Ottoman legislator distinguished between Mewat classified land and other classes of land when determining the criterion of distance from the end of a town (a mile and half). This fact also indicates that the Ottoman legislator did not wish to exclude the nomadic tribes’ areas of livelihood from the Mewat definition.

24.  The State further argues that given the conclusion that the Lots were Mewat lands, and given the Appellants did not prove the cultivation or revival of the Lots as required nor that that they received the authorities’ permission for these activities, the court of first instance was correct in ruling that the Lots were Mewat lands when the Mewat Ordinance was legislated in 1921, and remained such thereafter. With respect to the interpretation of the Mewat Ordinance that is offered by the Appellants, the State claims that there is no substance to the Appellants’ argument that Mandate case-law interpreted the ordinance as allowing the acquisition of rights by virtue of revival of Mewat lands, even after its publication in 1921. It was argued that the judgments to which the Appellants refer in support of their argument all ratify the validity of the Mewat Ordinance and hold that after its legislation it is no longer possible to acquire rights in and to Mewat lands by virtue of revival. As to the fact that Section 2 of the Ordinance was omitted from the Drayton legislation arrangement of 1933, the State states that even the Appellants agree that this does not mean that the section is cancelled, and that in any event, this is not sufficient to change that which is prescribed in Section 1 of the ordinance, i.e., that a person who revived Mewat lands without the authorities’ permission will not be entitled to acquire rights therein and thereto. Additionally, the State argues that the court was correct in ruling that the Appellants do not have a claim by virtue of a period of prescription, since this is not possible in Mewat lands. It further argues that in any event the rulings of the court of first instance should also be adopted on their merits, as the Appellants did not prove continuous possession and cultivation of the Lots for the period of time that is required to substantiate a claim of prescription in accordance with the Ottoman Land Code and Section 22 of the Prescription Law. With regard to the Appellants’ argument that rights in and to the Lots were acquired due to the fact that the Al-Uqbi Tribe has been possessing and using them ab antiquo, the State argues that even if this argument had been proven, the meaning thereof is that these are lands that were used in a collective-public manner by the Tribe. The legal conclusion that is derived from that is that these are Matruka-classified lands, and in accordance with Section 154(a) of the Land Law, they should be registered in its name.

25.  As to the burden of evidence, the State claims that, contrary to the Appellants’ arguments, the starting point in land settlement cases is that the person claiming the right in and to the land is required to prove his claim, and if he has not met the burden, the land shall be registered in the name of the State. Additionally, the State posits that there are no grounds for the Appellants’ claim that the delay in the examination in court of their claim to the Lots transfers the burden of evidence to the State to prove that the Lots were not Mewat lands. The State claims in this matter that it avoided filing a claim in relation to the Lots and advancing the examination in court of the rights therein and thereto as a result of its policy to prefer promoting compromises in Negev land settlement claims rather than seeking judicial resolutions. According to the State, this was because of the fact that the Bedouin population does not have legal rights in and to the Negev lands, and it assessed that judicial rulings to this effect would not advance the integration of this population in the life of the State. Therefore, the State preferred to promote unique decisions for the benefit of the Bedouin in the Negev by virtue of which they would be able to receive compensation even in the absence of rights in and to the land. The State adds that in the case at hand it also avoided bringing the Appellants’ matter for judicial ruling because it preferred the path of a compromise, and that it should not be charged with acting in bad faith conduct for doing so. The State further claims that the Appellants refused to any compromise arrangement that was offered to them with respect to the Lots, and emphasizes that if and to the extent the Appellants believed that the delay in completing the settlement proceedings related to the Lots was causing them damage, they had the option of filing a claim to the court at any time they wished, just as they eventually did in 2006. In any event, the State claims, even if it shall be ruled that the burden of evidence in this case lies on it to prove that the Lots are Mewat land, it met this burden in light of the evidence that was presented to the court of first instance.

26.  As is recalled, the Appellants raised additional claims that even if rights in and to the Lots were not acquired under the Ottoman Land Code and the Mewat Ordinance, these rights can be normatively anchored in the laws of equity, the basic laws and international law. In this matter, the State claims that ownership by virtue of laws of equity is no more than a recognition of a legal right, and in the absence of rights pursuant to law, it is inappropriate to adjudicate equity rights. The State further claims that if and to the extent there is substance to the claim that the Appellants’ tribe had been settled on the Lots for many years, then this would have constituted forceful unlawful seizing of lands from the authorities’ possession. Such seizure does not grant equity rights, and internal agreements among the members of the Tribe also do not have the power to grant a legal right in and to land when such a right would not have existed to begin with. With respect to the argument that the Mandate and Ottoman land legislation should be interpreted in the spirit of the basic laws, the State claims that it is inappropriate to interpret acts of legislation that have long been cancelled in a manner that is not true to the language and purpose thereof only in order to grant the Appellants rights that they never acquired in and to the land. The State further argues that accepting the Appellants’ claim to a new interpretation of the Mandate and Ottoman land legislation in the spirit of the basic laws, will prejudice legal stability and certainty, and would mean a retroactive infringement of rights that third parties acquired in and to Negev lands throughout the years pursuant to existing law. With regard to international law, the State claims that the court of lower instance was correct in ruling that Israeli law does not recognize rights of indigenous people, and further claims that the State of Israel did not join the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of 2007 to which the Appellants refer and which does not constitute a binding international norm even among those nations that have signed it. The State further argues that the existence of such a customary norm in international law has not been proven and that there is no comparison to be drawn between indigenous people in countries such as Australia and Canada on the one hand, and the Bedouin population in Israel in general, and the Appellants in particular, on the other. In this context, the State emphasizes that in the countries that recognized the rights of indigenous people that reside in their area, at issue were collective rights that were granted to the entire indigenous population in their area. By contrast, in the case at hand the Appellants are requesting to register the Lots in their name, and to acquire private ownership thereof.

27.  The State does not object to the approach adopted in the judgment which is the subject of the appeal and which, while rejecting the arguments raised by the Appellants with respect to the validity of the expropriation in 1954, further examined whether the Appellants have a right or an interest in the Lots for the purpose of ruling in the matter of compensation to which they might be entitled by virtue of the Acquisition Law as a result of the expropriation. The State does not object even though the Appellants did not raise claims regarding compensation at all and sufficed with claims regarding the rights in and to the Lots to which they are allegedly entitled and regarding the expropriation orders being null and void. Therefore, in the appeal, the State focused its arguments on both of these issues as well. The State’s response to the Appellants’ arguments regarding the rights in and to the Lots to which they are allegedly entitled was detailed above, and with regard to the voidness of the expropriation orders, the State claims that the conclusions of the court of first instance should be adopted. It emphasizes that the possibility of challenging the expropriation orders which were issued by virtue of the Acquisition Law is very narrow to begin with, and is non-existent in the case at hand in light of the fact that the Appellants are challenging the legality of the expropriation of the Lots more than 60 years after the expropriation. On the merits of the matter, the State claims that the question of whether the Lots were privately-owned at the time of their expropriation is not relevant to the legality of the expropriation, since the Acquisition Law allows expropriating privately-owned land if and to the extent it was not in the owners’ possession at the time of the expropriation. As to the Appellants’ argument that the expropriation should be cancelled on the grounds that the purpose of the acquisition was not realized, the State notes that the case-law regarding the cancellation of expropriations in which the purpose was not realized, does not apply to expropriations by virtue of the Acquisition Law. In any event, the State also notes that according to the Land (Acquisition for Public Purposes) Ordinance, 1943 (hereinafter: the “Land Ordinance“) as amended in Amendment no. 3 in 2010, expropriations to which such case-law applies will also be valid even if their purpose was not realized if 25 years have lapsed since the publication of the notice. For this reason as well, the State argues, and given the fact that in the case at hand more than 60 years have lapsed since the expropriation was effected, the claim regarding the purpose of the expropriation not being realized does not aid the Appellants.

Discussion and Ruling

28.  The six consolidated claims which were heard by the District Court addressed conflicting claims of ownership that were raised in the framework of a land settlement proceeding. Although the Appellants’ claims in this matter were pushed to the margins of the appeal, the first issue that must be addressed in this appeal is the issue of the validity of the expropriation pursuant to the Acquisition Law. This is due to the fact that the State’s claim in the settlement proceedings primarily relied on that expropriation, and the ruling in this matter materially projects onto the other issues that were raised in the proceedings (regarding the possibility of objecting to the validity of an expropriation pursuant to the Acquisition Law, by way of an indirect challenge, see CFH 1099/13 The State of Israel v. Abu Friech (April 12, 2015)). If and to the extent I shall reach the conclusion that these claims are to be rejected, it will be necessary to further examine whether the Appellants had any right or interest whatsoever in the Lots prior to the expropriation, including all of the sub-issues that emerge in this context. This examination is necessary in order to rule whether the Appellants were entitled to compensation or to alternative land due to the expropriation. It should be noted that the reference in the judgment which is the subject of the appeal to the matter of the right or interest of the Appellants in and to the Lots prior to the expropriation for the purpose of ruling in the matter of the compensation due to the expropriation was at the initiative of the court of first instance. The court deemed itself obligated to examine the issue in light of that stated in the judgment in the Jabareen Case (paragraphs 38-39 of the judgment). This is despite the fact that the Appellants, on their part, did not raise the said arguments regarding compensation due to the expropriation before the court of lower instance. I posit that it is doubtful whether this is what the judgment in the Jabareen Case intended. However, once the court of first instance chose to take this path, and once the State agreed therewith, and did not raise any in limine argument in this matter, I shall also continue to take this same path if and to the extent I shall reach the conclusion that the arguments in the matter of the voidness of the expropriation should be rejected.

The Expropriation of the Lots

29.  On more than one occasion, this court has addressed the unique characteristics of the Acquisition Law and of the expropriations that were performed by virtue thereof as a law that was intended to retroactively legitimize the seizing by the government of abandoned lands without legal authority, in the years following the establishment of the State (see CA 3535/04 Dinar v. The Minister of Finance (April 27, 2006), in paragraph 6 of the judgment of Justice (as was her title at the time) D. Beinisch (hereinafter: the “Dinar Case”). Section 2 of the Acquisition Law provides that upon the fulfillment of three cumulative conditions which are prescribed in the section “[the property] shall vest in the Development Authority and be regarded as free from any charge, and the Development Authority may forthwith take possession thereof.” These are the terms: (a) on April 1st 1952, the property was not in the possession of its owners; (b) the property was used or assigned for purposes of essential development, settlement or security during the period between May 14th, 1948 and April 1st, 1952; (c) on the date of the expropriation it was still required for any of the said purposes. Section 2 of the Acquisition Law further provides conditions for issuing an expropriation certificate. With respect to these certificates it has been ruled that they constitute conclusive evidence to the veracity of their contents and that the possibility of challenging their legality is very narrow (see HCJ 5/54 Younis v. The Minister of Finance, IsrSC 8 314, 317 (1954); CA 816/81 Gera v. The Development Authority, IsrSC 39(1) 542, 547 (1985); HCJ 84/83 El-Wachili v. The State of Israel, IsrSC 37(4) 173, 179-180 (1983); CA 517/85 The Commissioner of the Waqf of the Maronite Church v. The Development Authority, IsrSC 42(1) 696, 701-702 (1988), as well as the Dinar Case, in paragraph 6). The original owners of the abandoned lands that were seized by the government and expropriated pursuant to the Acquisition Law are entitled, under the law, to compensation or to alternative land in the event that the expropriated land was used for agriculture and was its owners’ main source of livelihood (Section 3 of the Acquisition Law). However, there is no opening whatsoever in the Acquisition Law allowing the return of the expropriated land to its original owners, even if the owners returned thereto. There is no denying that the Acquisition Law severely infringes the right to property that was recognized as a constitutional right in the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, and the opinion has even been expressed in the past that had the Acquisition Law been legislated at the present time, it would have been appropriate to cancel it due to it being unconstitutional (see the Dinar Case, in paragraph 7). However, it is an old law that is at issue, and the preservation of laws section that is prescribed in Section 10 of the Basic Law, which has its own logic, does not allow harming its validity, despite the constitutional difficulty it raises. Additionally, it had been ruled that in light of the Acquisition Law’s special nature and the unique historical circumstances that led to its legislation, it is inappropriate at the present time to appeal the constitutionality of the expropriations that were effected by virtue thereof or to determine criteria that are more flexible that those that were prescribed in case-law for the purpose of interpreting the conditions for expropriation that are prescribed in Section 2 of the law (see the Jabareen Case, in paragraphs 35-36 of the judgment of Justice Y. Danziger, see also the Dinar Case, in paragraph 7).

30.  In the case at hand, the Appellants do not argue that the conditions prescribed in Section 2 of the Acquisition Law were not fulfilled with respect to the Lots. For example, they are not claiming that they possessed the Lots at the Acquisition Law’s effective date (April 1, 1952). All that the Appellants argue is that the relevant expropriation orders were issued based on the erroneous assumption that the Lots are barren Mewat lands while in fact they were lands that were owned by their family. Even if the Appellants’ claim that they are the owners of the Lots had been accepted, it would not have been sufficient to lead to the expropriation being void. Indeed, according to the condition prescribed in Section 2 of the Acquisition Law, for it to be possible to expropriate it under this law, it was sufficient that the expropriated land not be in its owners’ possession on April 1, 1952, provided that the other two conditions prescribed in the section were also fulfilled.

31.  The additional claim that the Appellants raised regarding the validity of the expropriation is that the orders should be declared void due to the fact that the purpose of the expropriation was not realized. This argument was justly rejected by the court of first instance since it relies on the case-law from HCJ 2390/96 Karasik v. The State of Israel, IsrSC 55(2) 625 (2001) (hereinafter: the “Karasik Case”), which, as has already been decided on more than one occasion, does not apply to expropriations that were effected pursuant to the Acquisition Law (see the Dinar Case, in paragraph 8; and HCJ 840/97 Sabit v. The State of Israel, IsrSC 57(4) 803, 815 (2003)). In any event, it was ruled in the Karasik Case that the application of its case-law rule is meant to be based on legislation that shall implement the principle and shall prescribe the conditions for its application (in this matter also see HCJ 2390/96 Karasik v. The State of Israel (February 9, 2009)). In this context the State correctly referred in its arguments to Amendment no. 3 of the Land Ordinance, pursuant to which the application of the Karasik case-law rule was limited to 25 years from the date of the publication of the expropriation notice. Given the fact that at hand is an expropriation from more than 60 years ago, there is no application to the Karasik case-law rule, even if we were of the opinion that is applies to expropriations pursuant to the Acquisition Law (see in this matter: HCJ 9804/09 Shawahna v. The Development Authority (May 29, 2014), in paragraph 18 of the judgment of Justice D. Barak-Erez; and CA 6288/98 Klil v. The Development Authority (August 11, 2011), in paragraph 9 of the judgment of Justice (as was his title at the time) A. Grunis). It shall be noted, above and beyond that which is necessary, that according to the findings of the court of first instance, the claim that the purpose of the expropriation was not realized, should also not be accepted on its merits. It emerges from the evidence that was presented (the affidavit of Mr. Shlomo Tzizer, Head of the Development Department at the Southern Region of the Israel Lands Authority, which was attached as Exhibit Res/5 in the Appeal), that 4 out of 6 of the Lots in dispute (Sharia 133, Sharia 134, Araqib 6 and Araqib 60) have, for years, been used for agricultural and forestation purposes, and this is sufficient in order to contradict the claim regarding non-realization of the purposes of the expropriation with respect to all of the Lots on its merits (see the case-law rule that in this context, the uses in all of the expropriated area should be examined and not in each lot separately, in HCJFH 4466/94 Nuseibeh v. The Minister of Finance, IsrSC 49(4) 68 (1995), in paragraph 9 of the judgment of Justice E. Goldberg; the Jabareen Case, in paragraph 36).

32.  Once the Appellants’ arguments regarding the validity of the expropriations in 1954 pursuant to the Acquisition Law were rejected, it is inappropriate to intervene in the ruling of the court of first instance that the Lots should be registered in the name of the State and the Development Authority, and the Appellants’ claim for ownership of those Lots was justly rejected. However, in accordance with the course of the discussion that was outlined in paragraph 28 above, we must now examine whether prior to the expropriation the Appellants or their heirs possessed a right or an interest in and to the Lots, entitling them to receive compensation or alternative land due to the expropriation in accordance with that stated in Section 3 of the Acquisition Law.

The Normative Framework for Examining the Appellants’ Rights in and to the Lots

The Autonomy and Traditional Bedouin Law Argument

33.  The question of whether the Appellants or their heirs possessed any right or interest in and to the Lots prior to the expropriation should be examined in accordance with the law that applied to these Lots at such time. At hand is a case of an expropriation from 1954, and the question that arises is what the law was that applied to the Lots at such time which determined the existence of a right or interest therein and thereto. Prior to the legislation of the Land Law in 1969, and even after the establishment of the State, the land laws that had been legislated during the Ottoman period and the Mandate period remained in effect. The Appellants claim that these laws should not be applied to their matter since the Ottoman administration and the subsequent Mandate government granted legal autonomy to the Bedouin in the Negev and allowed them to conduct themselves in accordance with traditional Bedouin law and to acquire rights in and to land by virtue thereof. The Appellants further claim that according to traditional Bedouin law, prior to the expropriation, Appellant 1 and they as his heirs, possessed an ownership right in and to the Lots. A similar claim regarding the special law that relates to the Negev lands and the rights of the Bedouin therein and thereto was raised in the past and rejected by this court in CA 218/74 Huashela v. The State of Israel, IsrSC 38(3) 141 (1984) (hereinafter: the “Huashela Case”), where Justice A. Chalima ruled as follows:

“And the last among the arguments that were voiced on behalf of the appellants claims that the appellants should be granted special treatment due to the special nature of the Negev lands. This claim is not to be recognized in this appeal. If the Ottoman legislator did not find it appropriate (and the Mandate authorities acted in the same way when legislating the 1921 ordinance), to designate special laws in the framework of the law to the Negev lands, which were similar to many and widespread areas in the Ottoman state, it is not the court’s role to grant reliefs such as those that are requested, which do not comply with the legislator’s explicit provisions. This argument shall also not be accepted and is rejected.” (ibid, on page 154)

The Appellants are aware of this court ruling in the Huashela Case, however according to them this is an erroneous ruling and they call for it to be changed. On the other hand, the State claims that it is not appropriate to change that which was ruled in this matter in the Huashela Case. According to it, the District Court justly ruled that the question whether the Appellants’ family acquired any right or interest in and to the Lots should be examined in accordance with the Mandate and Ottoman land laws that were in effect in the Land of Israel prior to the establishment of the State and which remained in effect until their cancellation in 1969, upon the legislation of the Land Law.

34.  After examining the parties’ arguments regarding this matter, I am of the opinion that the Appellants’ arguments regarding the existence of Bedouin autonomy in the Negev area prior to the establishment of the State should be rejected. In this context, the Appellants refer to geographical-historical research in which it was stated that the Ottoman administration and the subsequent Mandate government had difficulty controlling the area of the Negev and the Bedouin tribes that resided therein, and attributed little importance to this area (see Ruth Kark, The Negev During the British Mandate – The Jewish Settlement, page 1 (1974), attached as Supporting Reference 8 of the Appellants’ Supporting References Binder; Ruth Kark, Landownership and Spatial Change in Nineteenth Century Palestine: an Overview, in Transition From Spontaneous To Regulated Spatial Organization, 96 (M. Roscizewsky Ed., 1984) attached as Supporting Reference 9 of the Appellants’ Supporting References Binder; Ruth Kark, The History of the Jewish Frontier Settlement in the Negev 1880-1948, page 33 (2002), attached as Supporting Reference 7 of the Appellants’ Supporting References Binder (hereinafter: “The History of the Settlement“) – I shall parenthetically note that these supporting references, and additional supporting references to which the Appellants referred in their summary arguments, were presented to the court of first instance, contrary the State’s allegation that these supporting references were first submitted at the appeal stage. As shall be specified below, this research does not substantiate the Appellants’ claim that in the years preceding the establishment of the State, the Bedouin were granted autonomy in the Negev which included the authorities’ official recognition of traditional Bedouin law in the sense that the Bedouin were granted property rights in and to the Negev lands.

35.  It emerges from the sources to which the Appellants referred that during the Ottoman period the Ottoman administration perceived the Negev to be an area that is subject to its sovereignty and acted to gain the upper hand over the Bedouin population residing therein. For example, researcher Yasmin Avci states, in her article that was attached as Supporting Reference 10 of the Appellants’ Supporting References Binder, that:

The second half of the nineteenth century was a period when the Ottoman government’s centralization efforts gained momentum. In Southern Palestine, this entailed a struggle for central government to gain the upper hand over the Bedouin tribes. In the 1860’s, the Ottoman government was still using military power to end the internal strife between the Bedouin tribes. However, from the 1890’s on, the government began to use sophisticated means and tactics in order to secure control and encourage the migration of the Bedouin element in the empire. The creation of a new town, namely Beersheba, the changing apparatus of administration, the construction of public buildings in the desert, all meant that the government attempted to penetrate the nomad’s way of life (see Yasmin Avci, The Application of Tanzima in the Desert: the Bedouins and the Creation of a New Town in Southern Palestine (1860-1914), in MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, Vol. 45, No. 6, 969, p. 969 (2009))

Prof. Kark wrote similarly in her book, excerpts of which were attached as Supporting Reference 11 of the Appellants’ Supporting References Binder, where Prof. Kark states that:

The Ottoman period reveals a very robust policy on the part of the Ottoman government to gain firm control over the Negev and its nomadic population. Through registration of land, granting land to local sheikhs inside the municipality, establishing a trading center and market place and establishing a permanent military presence and settled villages on the periphery, the Negev was changed dramatically. In addition the seeds for Bedouin sedenterization were sown. (see Ruth Kark and Seth J. Frantzman, The Negev: Land, Settlement, The Bedouin and Ottoman and British Policy 1871-1948, in BRITISH JOURNAL OF MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, Vol. 39(1), 53, p. 58 (2012))

The Appellants request to rely on the weakness of the authorities that characterized the Ottoman period with regard to the Negev areas and to interpret it as the granting of autonomy to the Bedouin tribes that resided in that area. However, even if the sources to which the Appellants referred are sufficient to indicate difficulty in controlling this territory, in the absence of explicit evidence to such effect neither the alleged granting of autonomy nor the alleged granting of property rights in and to the Negev areas pursuant to traditional Bedouin law can be inferred therefrom. Such evidence was not presented by the Appellants. It shall be noted that the fact that the sources which the Appellants presented indicate that during the Ottoman period the Bedouin divided the rights in and to the lands of the Negev among themselves, in accordance with traditional Bedouin law, does not constitute sufficient evidence to this end. At most, they are sufficient to prove that at the Bedouin-tribal level there was significance to this division, but they do not prove that it was entitled to official recognition on the part of the Ottoman administration. Thus, the majority of the sources to which the Appellants refer in this context do not at all state that the Ottoman authorities recognized the property rights of the Bedouin that derived from traditional Bedouin law (see Clinton Bailey, Bedouin Law From Sinai And The Negev: Justice Without Government, pp. 263-271 (2009), attached as Supporting Reference 12 of the Appellants’ Supporting References Binder; Chanina Porat, From Wilderness to a Settled Land: Land Acquisition and Settlement in the Negev 1930-1947, on pages 16-17 (1996), attached as Supporting Reference 14 of the Appellants’ Supporting References Binder (hereinafter: “From Wilderness to a Settled Land“)). Some of the sources upon which the Appellants rely explicitly state that the Ottoman administration did not recognize Bedouin ownership of the Negev lands (see Sasson Bar Zvi, The Tradition of Adjudication among the Negev Bedouin – Studies of Encounters with Bedouin Elders, on pages 146-147 (1991), attached as Supporting Reference 15 of the Appellants’ Supporting References Binder). The only source to which the Appellants refer from which such recognition may be implied, is the article by Gideon M. Kressel, Joseph Ben-David and Khalil Abu Rabi’a, Land Ownership Among the Negev Bedouin (Supporting Reference 13 of the Appellants’ Supporting References Binder, on page 41), where the authors state that “after the establishment of Beer Sheva (1903), the official Ottoman institutions recognized the special autonomous arrangements of the Bedouin society, and such recognition is what led to the establishment of the tribal tribunal. […] In hearings that addressed ownership of lots, three [judges] customarily presided…“. However, this general statement is not sufficient to substantiate the Appellants’ claim that the Ottoman administration recognized property rights granted under traditional Bedouin law. In this context it is not superfluous to note that the article’s authors themselves state therein that very little is known about the legal status of the Negev lands at the end of the Ottoman period and that the only information in this matter is indirectly inferred from transactions that the Zionist movement made with the Bedouin regarding such lands (ibid). We shall relate to this below.

36.  The Appellants wish to find support to their claim that the Bedouin were able to acquire rights in and to Negev lands by virtue of traditional Bedouin law in the fact that the Ottoman Empire purchased the lands upon which the city of Beer Sheva was built from the Muhammadeen Tribe (of the Azazma Tribal Confederation). This fact, which was not disputed and was mentioned by the experts on behalf of both of the parties, does not come to the aid of the Appellants, since such purchase does not necessarily attest to the fact that the rights were granted to the Muhammadeen Tribe by virtue of traditional Bedouin law. It is certainly possible that these were rights which were recognized by the Ottoman authorities by virtue of the Ottoman Land Code. For example, collective rights to use Matruka-classified lands for camping and grazing (to which we shall relate more elaborately further below). Support to this position can be found in the fact that the payment that was given to the Muhammadeen Tribe by the Ottoman authorities for the Beer Sheva lands was given to the entire Muhammadeen Tribe and not to certain individuals thereof. To this one must add what is stated in Prof. Kark’s opinion, that in all that relates to the Beer Sheva lands, the Ottoman Empire indeed agreed to pay the Bedouin tribes for purchasing the land, however shortly before then, at the end of the 19th century, Sultan Abdul Hamid II transferred extended areas in the Negev in which Bedouin roamed, to his private ownership, without paying them anything. This leads to the conclusion that the Sultan deemed these lands to be the Ottoman Empire’s property with respect to which he can act as though they were his own (see Prof. Kark’s opinion dated January 31, 2010, Res/C1, on pages 16-17 and the references therein).

37.  In addition to the purchase of the Beer Sheva lands from the Muhammadeen Tribe, the Appellants wish to infer the Ottoman administration’s recognition of rights acquired by virtue of traditional Bedouin law from the fact that Bedouin from the Al-Atawneh Tribe managed to register Negev lands, in an area then called Jemama, in their name and sell them to the Hachsharat Hayishuv company. These lands were later used to establish Kibbutz Ruchama, and according to the Appellants, this proves that the Ottoman administration recognized the Bedouin’s ownership of the Negev lands, and therefore allowed them to register it in their name and to sell it. The Appellants further state in this context that in her testimony Prof. Kark did not know how to provide another explanation to the fact that these lands, which according to her were Mewat-classified lands, were registered in the name of the members of the Al-Atawneh Tribe (see Prof. Kark’s testimony, on pages 51-52 of the minutes of the hearing dated June 23, 2010), and they find this to also reinforce their position.

I am not of the opinion that one can draw such a sweeping conclusion as the Appellants wish to draw from the private case of the Ruchama lands that were sold to the Hachsharat Hayishuv company by the members of the Al-Atawneh Tribe after they were registered in their names. In her book, The History of the Settlement, to which the Appellants refer, Prof. Kark states that the said case is the only case in the Ottoman period in which lands in the Negev were registered in the name of Bedouin and that in that case it was done so as to enable the sale to Zionist institutions after the authorities had raised obstacles in approving the transaction (ibid, on pages 44-45). As mentioned, sweeping recognition by the Ottoman administration of traditional Bedouin law as entitling rights in and to land cannot be inferred from this single case nor can conclusions be drawn therefrom regarding the Lots that are the subject of the claim.

38.  The Appellants’ claim regarding autonomy that was granted to Bedouin in the Negev during the Mandate period also primarily relies on reports that the Mandate government had difficulty controlling the Negev and the Bedouin tribes residing therein. However, as the State mentions, the Mandate government, similarly to the Ottoman administration, also made efforts to gain the upper hand over the Bedouin tribes in the Negev and legislated special laws to such effect, including: The Prevention of Crimes (Tribes and Factions) Ordinance, 1935 and the Bedouin Control Ordinance, 1942. As was already stated, the difficulty of controlling the Negev areas should not lead to the conclusion that autonomy was granted to the Bedouin tribes residing therein, and the fact that the Mandate government applied efforts to effectively control the Negev and the Bedouin tribes residing therein indicates that it perceived the Negev as its sovereign area and not as area in which the Bedouin have control in the form of autonomy. With regard to the Appellants’ claim that the Churchill Declaration constituted a legal autonomy for the Bedouin tribes in the Negev, I agree with the ruling of the court of first instance that it is not clear what Churchill meant when he undertook towards the heads of the Bedouin tribes that their special customs and rights would not be harmed. This is a general and vague statement, and the Appellants did not present any supporting reference that substantiates the far-reaching meaning they wish to attribute thereto. Therefore, the Appellants’ position that at hand is a declaration that grants Bedouin autonomy in the Negev areas cannot be accepted, particularly given that explicit acts of legislation from the Mandate period rule out this conclusion.

39.  The Appellants further refer to Article 45 of the Palestine Order in Council, 1922 (hereinafter: the “King’s Order in Council“) and wish to find support for their claims regarding the autonomy that was granted to Bedouin during the Mandate period. Article 45 prescribes as follows:

The High Commissioner may by order establish such separate Courts for the district of Beersheba and for such other tribal areas as he may think fit. Such courts may apply tribal custom, so far as it is not repugnant to natural justice or morality.

The Appellants wish to infer the alleged autonomy, and the possibility in the framework thereof to acquire title to the Negev lands that was recognized by the Mandate authorities, from the fact that the Mandate authorities allowed the Bedouin, under said Article 45, to operate in accordance with their traditional laws and even to conduct legal proceedings in special courts of their own. This argument is to be rejected. The establishment of the special courts for the Bedouin population and the powers granted thereto were regulated in the Tribal Courts Regulations, 1937 (hereinafter: the “Tribal Courts Regulations“). Regulation 3 of these regulations instructs that these courts may only address disputes that were transferred thereto by the President of the District Court or the District Clerk (a similar provision also exists in Section 3 of the Order Establishing Certain Courts in Palestine, 1924, that was published in the Official Gazette 120, page 764, 1924), and Regulation 6 of these regulations explicitly instructs that “A tribal court is prohibited from deciding on any matter of ownership of land assets, but it is rather permitted to issue such an order that it shall deem fit in the matter of possession of the land assets“. These provisions indicate that the tribal courts that the Mandate government established were meant to settle internal disputes among the Bedouin themselves, if and to the extent such disputes were transferred to them to be ruled upon with the authorities’ approval, but that these courts were not authorized to decide and rule on anything that relates to property rights in and to the Negev lands. Indeed, the regulations indicate that such power was explicitly denied therefrom. Thus, it can be deduced that the Mandate government wished to maintain the power to address matters that relate to ownership of the Negev lands, and this conclusion clearly contradicts the Appellants’ position in this context. The Appellants refer to the judgment in the matter of Ashour Ghandour v. Abdullah Abuo Ghaban, 1 P.L.R. 458 (1929) and claim that it supports their position that the Mandate government recognized the rulings of the tribal courts regarding rights in and to the Negev lands. A review of this judgment indicates that it too does not support this position, and that all that was ruled therein is that the tribal court may address a dispute regarding the possession of land if the dispute was transferred thereto by the President of the District Court.

40.  The Appellants further refer in their arguments to records (notebooks) which, according to their approach, reflect the traditional Bedouin system of ownerships of the land and the manner by which the Bedouin divided the Negev lands among themselves. The Appellants further claim that the Mandate government recognized the validity of these records as records that attest to their rights in and to those lands. The Appellants did not present any evidence that supports their claim regarding the Mandate government’s official recognition of such alleged traditional ownership system, and in this context it is not superfluous to note that the traditional ownership system alleged by the Bedouin with respect to the Negev lands was not the only unofficial system of rights that that was maintained in the country during the years preceding the establishment of the State. During such period there were a number of communities in the country, including: the settlements of the first wave of immigration (the first “Aliya“) and the Templer colonies, which created internal rights registers. However, the Mandate law did not give any consideration to these registers and did not recognize the rights thereunder insofar as they contradicted the Ottoman title deeds or records (see Sandberg, Land Title Settlement in the Land of Israel, on page 161). Similarly, it is difficult to assume, and in any event, it was not proven, that the internal registers that the Bedouin maintained were treated differently. In this context, it is not superfluous to note that the Correction of Land Registers Ordinance of 1926, allowed the abovementioned internal registers to be incorporated into the new register (ibid, on page 164). Such incorporation was not performed with respect to the unofficial internal records which they allege that the Bedouin maintained with regard to the Negev lands.

41.  The Appellants further claim that during the Mandate period the Bedouin registered many parts of the Negev lands in their names in the Land Registry (the “Tabu“) (the Ottoman register that was recognized as the official register by the Mandate government) and sold them to the Zionist institutions, and they argue that this supports their claim that the Mandate authorities recognized the rights that the Bedouin acquired in and to these lands under traditional Bedouin law. The fact that transactions to purchase land in the Negev between Zionist institutions and Bedouin were registered in the Mandate transaction register does not mean that the Bedouin succeeded in registering ownership of the Negev lands or that the Mandate authorities recognized the Bedouin’s rights in and to these lands. The reason being that during the Mandate period, in the case of land that had not undergone a settlement proceeding – and this was the status of the lands of the Negev at such time (and to a great extent, also at the present time) – the land register was only a register of transactions and did not constitute evidence of ownership of the land (see Moshe Doukhan, The Land Laws in the State of Israel on page 147 (Second Edition, 5713) (hereinafter: “The Land Laws in Israel“); Aharon Ben Shemesh, Land Legislation in the State of Israel, on page 261 (1953) (hereinafter: “Land Legislation in Israel“); Sandberg, Land Title Settlement in the Land of Israel, on pages 180 and 188). Section 9 of the Land Transfer Ordinance, 1920, explicitly states as follows regarding this matter:

No guarantee of title or of the validity of the transaction is implied by the consent of the Administration and the registration of the deed. A person acquiring land under this Ordinance will be subject to any registration which may hereafter be introduced by the Government of Palestine …

42.  Thus, the registration in transactions’ register of the transactions that were made by and between Bedouin and Zionist entities with respect to Negev lands only proves that the Mandate officers agreed to register these transactions, and they did so without this obligating them to recognize the validity thereof or the rights that were acquired thereby. This conclusion is supported by the sources upon which the Appellants rely in their arguments. It emerges from these sources that the Zionist entities that purchased the lands from the Bedouin in the Negev were aware of the fact that the Bedouin’s rights in and to the Negev lands were not yet clarified and that it is possible that this would become a difficulty when they requested to register as the owners of the land (see Kark, The History of the Settlement, on pages 58, 76 and 78; see also Porat, From Wilderness to a Settled Land, on page 16). Additional support of this conclusion can be found in various reports of the Mandate government from which it emerges that even though the Mandate authorities recognized the fact that the Bedouin have certain rights in and to the Negev lands, they were of the opinion that these are not rights of ownership of the land, but rather some sort of collective usage rights (such as grazing rights), and ruled that it would not be possible to determine the precise nature of these rights until the completion of the settlement proceeding of the Negev lands. It further emerges from these reports that the British viewed the traditional Bedouin system of ownership of the land as a way in which the Bedouin divide their areas of livelihood among themselves, and not as a system of laws with legal validity. Thus, for example, in a report that was prepared for the Secretary of Colonies in 1930 regarding the matter of the settlement of lands in the Land of Israel, it was written as follows:

One of the problems of land administration in Palestine lies in the indefinite rights of the Bedouin population. […] The majority of these Bedouin wander over the country in the Beersheba area and the region south and south east of it, but they are found in considerable numbers in the Jordan valley and in smaller numbers in the four other plains. Their rights have never been determined. They claim rights of cultivation and grazing of an indefinite character and over indefinite areas. Mr. Shell recorded that they have established a traditional right to graze their cattle on the fellah’s land after the harvest. In region which they regard as their own, they divide the country among their various tribes, and in the tract recognized as the sphere of the tribe, the Sheikhs or the tribal Elders divide the individual plots among the families of the tribe. The position is unsatisfactory. If, for instance, artesian water were discovered in the Beersheba area, there is little doubt that claims would immediately be urged, by the tribes of the Beersheba tract, to the land commanded by that water. The Bedouin are an attractive and picturesque element in the life of the country, but they are an anachronism wherever close development is possible and desired. At the same time their existence cannot be overlooked. In any solution of the Palestine problem, they are an element which must be recognized. Also in any plans of development it will be necessary carefully to consider, and scrupulously to record and deal with their rights (see Report on Immigration, Land Settlement and Development, by Sir John Hope-Simpson, C.I.E., p. 73 (1930) in LAND LEGISLATION IN MANDATE PALESTINE, Vol. 7, No. 3, 27, p. 101 (M. Bunton Ed., 2009) (hereinafter: the “Simpson Report“); see also the Mandate Government’s Letter to the Jewish Agency which was attached as Annex 52 of the opinion of Prof. Yiftachel, on page 3).

The court of first instance rightfully found additional significant evidence that members of the Al-Uqbi Tribe did not consider the internal records upon which they claim the ownership system of the Negev lands allegedly relied to be officially valid in the fact that some of the agreements which the Appellants presented with respect to the Lots included stipulations and undertakings to register the transaction in the Land Registry (the “Tabu“).

43.  Interim summary – the Ottoman administration and the subsequent Mandate government perceived the Negev to be part of the sovereign area that is subject to their control. The conclusion that is drawn from all that which is stated in paragraphs 33-43 above is that the Appellants did not succeed in proving the existence of a legal autonomy for the Bedouin in the Negev during the years prior to the establishment of the State in the framework of which said authorities allowed the Bedouin to acquire property rights in and to the Negev lands by virtue of traditional Bedouin law. Therefore, one must further examine whether, under the Mandate and Ottoman land laws that preceded the Land Law, the Appellants’ family acquired any rights whatsoever in and to the Lots which are the subject of this appeal, for which they are entitled to compensation or to alternative land as a result of their expropriation under the Acquisition Law.

I shall now turn to this question.

The Ottoman Land Code and the Mandate Mewat Ordinance

44.  Section 1 of the Ottoman Land Code (as per the translation of the President of the Mandate Lands Court in Jerusalem, Richard C. Tute), prescribes as follows:

Land in the Ottoman Empire is divided into classes as follows:

(I) ‘Mulk” land, that is land possessed in full ownership;

(II) “Mirie” land;

(III) “Mevqufe” land;

(IV) “Metrouke” land;

(V) “Mevat” land.

(see Richard Clifford Tute, THE OTTOMAN LAND LAWS, p. 1 (1927) (hereinafter: “The Ottoman Land Laws“)

Mulk” is land that is wholly owned by a private individual; “Waqf” is land that was dedicated to G-d; “Miri” is State-owned land, to which a private individual was granted the right of use for certain purposes; “Matruka” is State-owned land, in which the entire public or a certain public was granted collective usage rights for certain purposes; and “Mewat” land is State-owned barren land that was not assigned for anyone’s use (see Frederick M. Goadby & Moses J. Doukhan, THE LAND LAW OF PALESTINE, p. 17, 37, 44, 52 and 69 (1935) (hereinafter: the “Land Laws of Palestine“); Tute, The Ottoman Land Laws, on pages 1-2; Ben Shemesh, Land Legislation in the State of Israel, on pages 28-38; Doukhan, The Land Laws in Israel, on pages 39, 46, 47, 54 and 62; Pliah Albeck and Ran Fleischer, Land Laws in Israel, on pages 40, 47, 68, 79 and 85 (2005) (hereinafter: “Land Laws in Israel“); Eliyahu Cohen, Land Transactions and Registration, on pages 3, 5, 27, 30 and 34 (D. Maimon, Editor, 1988)). The Ottoman Land Code did not create new classes of land but rather only statutorily anchored the land classification that existed across the Ottoman Empire prior to its legislation. However, once legislated, the Land Code defined the various classes of land across the Ottoman Empire in a clear and absolute manner (see Ben Shemesh, Land Legislation in Israel, on page 27). It was not argued, and hence not proven, that the Lots were classified as Mulk or Waqf land. Therefore, the possibilities of classification of the Lets prior to the legislation of the Land Law are narrowed down to the three remaining classes of land (MiriMewat or Matruka). According to the Appellants, the land at hand is Miri-classified land, while the State claims that it is Mewat-classified land. As mentioned, the court of first instance rejected the Appellants’ claim that at hand is Miri-classified land and accepted the State’s claim that at hand is Mewat-classified land. Furthermore, the court of first instance rejected the Appellants’ claim that even if at hand is Mewat-classified land, they acquired rights therein and thereto.

Are the Lots Miri-Classified Land?

45.  Section 3 of the Ottoman Land Code prescribes what Miri land is:

State land, the legal ownership of which is vested in the Treasury, comprises arable fields, meadows, summer and winter pasturing grounds, woodland and the like, the enjoyment of which is granted by government. Possession of such land was formerly acquired of sale or being left vacant, by permission of or grant by feudatories (sipahis) of “timars” and “ziamets” as lords of the soil, and later through the “multezims” and “muhassils”. This system was abolished and possession of this kind of immovable property will henceforward be acquired by leave of and grant by the agent of the Government appointed for the purpose. Those who acquire possession will receive a title-deed bearing the Imperial Cypher. The sum paid in advance (muajele) for the right of possession which is paid to the proper Official for the account of the State, is call the Tapu fee (Tute, The Ottoman Lands Laws, on page 7).

As emerges from the section, Miri land is any land in and to which the government granted possession and usage rights to a private individual. Prior to the legislation of the Ottoman Land Code, the rights of possession and usage in and to Miri land were granted by tenants appointed by the Ottoman administration and the tenants were responsible for collecting taxes in consideration for the use of the land. At some stage the Ottoman authorities reached the conclusion that those tenants were misusing their position and exploiting the farmers who were cultivating the lands for which they were responsible. Therefore, the tenant regime was cancelled and in its stead another regime was instated, pursuant to which the right to use Miri land was granted directly by the State and the taxes in consideration for the use of the land were paid directly to its purse, without the tenants’ brokerage. This change, which is reflected in the provisions of Section 3 of the Ottoman Land Code, was essentially administrative, and did not change the classification of the land that existed prior to the legislation of the law (see Goadby and Doukhan, Land Laws of Palestine, on pages 2-6; Ben Shemesh, Land Legislation in Israel, on pages 12-13, Doukhan, Land Laws in Israel, on pages 34-37; Albeck and Fleischer, Land Laws in Israel, on pages 7 and 237-239; Tute, The Ottoman Lands Laws, on page 8).

46.  We learn from Section 3 of the Ottoman Land Code that in order to prove that at hand is Miri-classified land, it is necessary to demonstrate that it was, at some point in time, assigned by the authorities to the use of a private individual (see Goadby and Doukhan, Land Laws of Palestine, on page 17; Tute, The Ottoman Land Laws, on page 8). Additionally, the section conditions the possession and the use of Miri land upon receipt of a title deed (a Kushan) (see Goadby and Doukhan, Land Laws of Palestine, on pages 17-18; Sandberg, Land Title Settlement in the Land of Israel, on pages 136-137). However, due to the many flaws of the Ottoman registration method, there were in fact Miri lands that were also possessed without a Kushan and without having been registered as such in the old land registers (see CA 87/50 Libman v. Lifshitz, IsrSC 6 57 on pages 91-92 (1952) (hereinafter: the “Libman Case”); Sandberg, Land Title Settlement in the Land of Israel, on pages 147-155; Doukhan, Land Laws in Israel, on pages 367; Goadby and Doukhan, Land Laws of Palestine, on page 271), and in this context it was even ruled that a Kushan or registration in the old land registers, do not constitute conclusive evidence of the existence of rights in and to land (see the Libman case, on pages 91-92; and CA 7210/00 Dana v. The Israel Land Administration, IsrSC 57(6) 468, 476 (2003)).

47.  The Appellants did not at any stage present a Kushan for the Lots or any registration thereof as Miri lands in the old land registers. I am willing to assume that that in and of itself is not sufficient to reject the Appellants’ claim that at hand are Miri lands in and to which they acquired rights. However, in order to prove their claim in these circumstances, the burden lies on the Appellants to demonstrate that the Lots were at some time assigned by the authorities for the use of any of their testators or to any other private individual from whom they acquired the rights therein and thereto.

This burden was not met by the Appellants since none of the evidence that they presented substantiates such a finding. Thus, for example, Prof. Yiftachel attached as Annex 13 to his opinion, two pages from a hand-written chart that according to him were photographed from the IDF Archives, and which relate, inter alia, to the Araqib area (in some of the cases “Aragib” or “Ragib” was stated in the column referring to the “location of the land”). These pages include lists of dozens of persons who cultivated the land, and “Al-Uqbi” or “Uqba” are noted alongside most of them in the ownership column, and it is stated that this is Mulk-classified land (Annex 13). According to Prof. Yiftachel, this table is an Israeli document that attests to the Al-Uqbi Tribe’s ownership of the disputed Lots, and to them having been cultivated, and to the agricultural crops therein. In the heading of the first of the two pages of Annex 13 that were attached to Prof. Yiftachel’s opinion, the words “IDF Archives 1953/233-834” are printed, and it thus prima facie emerges that it is a document that was prepared in 1953. This document does not specify to which years the documentation incorporated therein refers, but given the Appellants’ claim that the Al-Uqbi Tribe was transferred by force in 1951 by the Israeli Military Administration to the Siyagh area (the Beer Sheva, Dimona, Arad triangle), it is clear that it is not documentation that relates to the year in which the document was allegedly prepared. Additionally, it is not clear who prepared the document, for what purpose and in what context, and in any event it is a not an official document that documents the property rights in and to the Negev lands. It does not refer to a private owner and the ownership that is stated therein is to the entire tribe, without relating to specific lots in the Araqib area. Additionally, the document relates to Mulk-classified land, while the Appellants themselves do not raise a claim that the Lots are so classified, and rather claim that they are Miri land. In light of the many question marks that emerge with respect to the two-page Annex 13 of Prof. Yiftachel’s opinion, it appears that it is not possible to conclude therefrom about the assignment of the disputed Lots for the use of the Appellants’ family or for the use of any other private individual. An additional document that was attached to Prof. Yiftachel’s opinion, and from which he wishes to infer that the State of Israel recognized the Lots as land that belongs to the Appellants’ family, is the document that was attached as Annex 14 of his opinion. According to him, this is a certificate of the Development Authority from 1956 in which all of the lots that were expropriated are classified as Miri-classified lands. A review of Annex 14 does not indicate any of that which Prof. Yiftachel wishes to deduce therefrom. It is an illegible copy of a hand-written chart, and it is not clear who prepared it, when it was prepared, and for what purpose, and therefore no evidential weight whatsoever should be granted to this document.

48.  Once we have reached the conclusion that not only did the Appellants not acquire rights in and to the Lots as Miri land, but that no evidence was presented at all by virtue of which it is possible to classify the Lots as Miri to begin with, then, in fact, the need to discuss the additional claim that the Appellants raised – that they acquired rights in and to the Lots by virtue of a period of prescription – becomes superfluous. It shall however be noted, above and beyond that which is necessary, that even if we were to assume that the Lots were Miri-classified land, this would not have come to the aid of the Appellants, because, as the District Court rightfully ruled, they did not prove the existence of the terms and conditions that are required in order to create a claim by virtue of a period of prescription, neither under Section 20 nor even under Section 78 of the law (regarding the terms and conditions prescribed in these sections, and the differences between them, see Pliah Albeck “About Land Limitation Laws in Israel” Kiryat Hamishpat, A 335, on pages 344-350 (5761-2001) (hereinafter: “Land Limitation“); and Albeck and Fleischer, Land Laws in Israel, on pages 207-212; Tute, The Ottoman Land Laws, on pages 23-24 and 75-80; Goadby and Doukhan, Land Laws of Palestine, on pages 257-261; Ben Shemesh, Land Legislation in Israel, on pages 53-65 and 131-134; and Doukhan, Land Laws in Israel, on page 316).

49.  In order to acquire rights under Section 20 or under Section 78 of the Ottoman Land Code (together with Section 22 of the Prescription Law), continuous possession of land for a period of at least 15 years, or 20 years if it began after March 1, 1943, is required. In order to acquire rights under Section 78 it is additionally required that the possession of the land shall be accompanied by significant cultivation thereof by the possessor (see Albeck, Land Limitation on pages 344-350; and Albeck and Fleischer, Land Laws in Israel, on pages 207-212). As shall be clarified below, the Appellants, at most, proved continuous possession of part of the Araqib 2 Lot, from 1936. This possession lasted at most until 1948, when the Al-Uqbi Tribe fought alongside the Arab armies and dispersed, after the State of Israel’s victory, to Gaza and to Jordan (see the testimony of Muhammed Al-Grinawi, on pages 53-55 and 60-61 of the minutes of the hearing dated June 7, 2009; the testimony of Ahmad Abu Siam, ibid, on pages 74-75; the testimony of Ismaeel Muhammed Salem Al-Uqbi, ibid, on pages 89-94 and 102-103; the testimony of Younes Salem Muhammed Al-Uqbi, ibid, page 114; the testimony of Muhammed Al-Asibi, on pages 50 and 55 of the minutes of the hearing dated October 26, 2009; also see the opinion of Prof. Kark dated January 31, 2010, Res/C1, pages 20-22 and the references therein). Therefore, it was not proven that the Appellants’ family possessed the Lots or any of them for the period of time that is required in order to acquire rights by virtue of a period of prescription. Additionally, the Appellants did not succeed in proving that they cultivated the Lots continuously throughout the said required period of time, and as shall be clarified below, at most the Appellants proved partial and interrupted cultivation of some of the Lots in certain years.

50.  In light of additional arguments that the Appellants raised in this context, it is important to emphasize that even if we shall assume for the benefit of the Appellants that the Al-Uqbi Tribe indeed lived and roamed in the areas of the Lots for many years, this fact does not entitle it to rights in and to these Lots by virtue of a period of prescription. Support of this can be found in the judgment of the Mandate Supreme Court in the matter of Village Settlement Committee of Arab en Nufei’at v. Samaonov, 8 P.L.R. 165 (1941) (hereinafter: the “Samaonov Case”), where it was explicitly ruled that the Bedouin lifestyle, in the framework of which Bedouin tribes roam from one tract of land to another, in accordance with the seasons of the years, does not entitle rights by virtue of a period of prescription:

It is clear that grazing and wood cutting are rights which are recognized by the law, but I do not think that their exercise gives any right to the land itself. As to camping, whether or not the pitching of tents on the same spot for many years would give rise to prescriptive rights it is not necessary to determine, as in this case the Settlement Officer found that the tents were pitched in the most convenient and accessible places according to the seasons and occupations followed at time. I do not think that by moving tents hither and thither over a tract of land the owners of the tents can establish prescriptive title to the land.

      An appeal on the judgment in the Samaonov case was filed to the Privy Council, which denied the appeal and ruled that it is inappropriate to interfere in the Mandate Supreme Court’s judgment (see P.C.A. 17/44 The Village Settlement Committee of Arab En Nufei’at v. Aharon Samaonov (1944); also see in this matter, Haim Sandberg, The Land of the State of Israel – Zionism and Post-Zionism, on pages 144-146 (2007)).

Interim summary – The Appellants did not prove that the Lots were Miri-classified Lots. And even had they proven that, it would not have come to their aid, since they did not succeed in proving that they acquired rights therein, not even by virtue of a period of prescription.

Were the Lots Mewat-Classified Land?

51.  As was mentioned, the State claimed that the Lots were and always had been classified as Mewat land, and this claim was accepted by the District Court. In the appeal, the Appellants reiterate their claim that the terms and conditions that are required in order to classify the Lots as Mewat land were not proven, and they further argue that the burden of persuasion in this matter lies on the State due to the fact that it acted with lack of good faith and delayed bringing the conflicting claims that were filed with respect to the Lots before the court to be ruled upon, and thus caused them evidential damage.

This argument was rightfully rejected by the court of first instance.

Section 22 of the Settlement Ordinance prescribes that “The State’s rights in and to the land shall be examined and settled regardless of whether or not they were officially claimed, and any right in and to land that was not proven in the claim of another, shall be registered in the name of the State“. Therefore, the State is not required to prove its rights in and to the land in the framework of the settlement proceedings, and if and to the extent the claimant did not prove that he has rights in and to the land that is being claimed, it shall be registered in the name of the State (see CA 182/54 The Custodian for Absentees’ Property v. David, IsrSC 10 776, 782-783 (1956)). The Appellants’ claim, that the State acted in bad faith by delaying the transfer to judicial ruling of the claims that Appellant 1 filed with respect to the Lots and in doing so caused them evidential damage, lacks substance. First, nothing prevented the Appellants from filing the claims on their own to be examined by the court, as they eventually indeed did in 2006. Second, the State explained that, on its part, it refrained for years from transferring claims to be ruled upon judicially due to a policy of preferring to promote compromise agreements in land settlement claims in the Negev rather than judicial rulings (see the testimony of Ms. Chagit Manos, Claims Controller at the Beer-Sheva Land Rights Settlement Office, page 6, lines 11-12 of the minutes of the hearing dated July 7, 2010). This is a worthy policy in land settlement cases, in general, and in land settlement cases in the Negev, in particular, and therefore, this should not be held against the State (see Sandberg, Land Title Settlement in the Land of Israel, on pages 294-295 regarding the advantages of the approach that prefers a compromise in settlement claims rather than a judicial ruling). In the case at hand, the Appellants rejected various compromise offers that the State raised in accordance with the Israel Land Administration’s decisions before and after the claims were filed thereby with the court (regarding this matter see recent decision 1383 of the Israel Land Council “Land Prices, Compensation and Building Lots for Bedouin in the Negev” (September 29, 2014)).

52.  Did the court of first instance err when it ruled that the Lots are Mewat land? Section 6 of the Ottoman Land Code defines Mewat land:

Dead land (mevat) is land which is occupied by no one, and has not been left for the use of the public. It is such as lies at such a distance from a village or town from which a loud human voice cannot make itself heard at the nearest point where there are inhabited places, that is a mile and a half, or about half an hour’s distance from such (Tute, The Ottoman Land Laws, on page 15)

Section 103 of the Ottoman Land Code further rules in this matter that:

The expression dead land (mevat) means vacant (khali) land, such as mountains, rocky places, stony fields, pernallik and grazing ground which is not in possession of anyone by title deed nor assigned ab antiquo to the use of inhabitants or a town or village, and lies at such a distance from towns and villages from which a human voice cannot be heard at the nearest inhabited place. Anyone who is in need of such land can with the leave of the Official plough it up gratuitously and cultivate it on the condition that the legal ownership (raqabe) shall belong to the Treasury The provisions of the law relating to other cultivated land shall be applicable to this kind of land also. Provided that if any one after getting leave to cultivate such land, and having had it granted to him leaves it as it is for three consecutive years without valid excuse, it shall be given to another. But if anyone has broken up and cultivated land of this kind without leave, there shall be exacted from him payment or the tapou value of the piece of land which he has cultivated and it shall be granted to him by the issue of a title deed (ibid, on page 97).

53.  It emerges from the integration of that stated in these sections, that in order for land to be deemed Mewat, three cumulative terms and conditions must apply with respect thereto: First, that it is not possessed by anyone and was not assigned to anyone by means of a title deed (Kushan) (“is occupied by no one” [Section 6]; “is not in possession of anyone by title deed” [Section 103]); Second, that it was not assigned for public use (“not been left for the use of the public” [Section 6]; “nor assigned ab antiquo to the use of inhabitants or a town or village” [Section 103]); Third, that it is barren and is more than a mile and half (2.2185 km) away from a city or a village (“vacant … land” [Section 103]; “at such a distance from a village or town… that is a mile and a half” [Section 6]; for this matter see CA 518/61 The State of Israel v. Badran,IsrSC 16(3) 1717, on pages 1719-1720 (1962) (hereinafter: the “Badran Case”); see also the Huashela Case, on pages 147-149). The first condition is meant to exclude lands that are possessed by virtue of a Kushan, i.e. Miri and Mulk lands, from the definition of Mewat, while the second condition is meant to exclude lands that were assigned for public use, i.e. Matruka land, from the Mewat lands. The third condition, that the Mewat land must be more than a mile and a half away from a town or a village is meant to exclude grazing lands that are adjacent to villages and are used by their residents, even without having been assigned thereto, and which, as I shall specify below, constitute a type of Matruka (see Tute, The Ottoman Lands Laws, on pages 15 and 97; Doukhan, Land Laws in Israel, on page 48; Albeck and Fleischer, Land Laws in Israel, on pages 68-71; and Ben Shemesh, Land Legislation in Israel, pages 37-38).

As was specified in paragraphs 45-50 above, the Appellants did not prove that at hand are Miri-classified Lots, and did not claim that at hand is Mulk-classified land. Therefore, for the purpose of classifying them as Mewat lands, the first condition that is prescribed in Sections 6 and 103 of the Ottoman Land Code, is met. What remains to be discussed in this context is the fulfillment of the second and third conditions, and for the sake of the convenience of the discussion, we shall first address the question of whether the third condition is met.

The Fulfillment of the Third Condition: The Lots’ Distance from a “Town or a Village”

54.  The Appellants claim that the Lots do not meet the third condition that Mewat land must be more than a mile and half away from a town or a village. According to them, there was an ancient Bedouin town of the Al-Uqbi Tribe on the Lots, and the Al-Uqbi tribe resided thereon and possessed them in a permanent manner. This claim was rejected by the court of first instance, which ruled that it was not proven that the Al-Uqbi Tribe ever resided in the area of the Lots (page 23 of the judgment). This ruling is too sweeping, and justifies our intervention on several grounds. First, it appears that the State neither disputes the fact that the Al-Uqbi Tribe roamed in the areas of the Lots nor the fact that it is possible that it used them during certain periods of time for grazing and camping (see paragraphs 27 and 79 of its summary arguments). Second, it appears that there is no dispute that the cultivations visible in the 1945 aerial photographs were the products of Tribal activity. And third, it emerges from the evidence that was presented, including various sources and testimonies of the Tribe’s Elders, that there is substance to the Appellants’ claim that members of their Tribe customarily roamed in the area of the Araqib Lots (see the testimony of Muhammed Abu Jaber, on pages 4-5 of the minutes of the hearing dated June 7, 2009; the testimony of Younes Al-Uqbi, ibid, on pages 107-108; and the testimony of Muhammed Al-Asibi on page 51 of the minutes of the hearing dated October 26, 2009). It further emerges from the sources to which the Appellants refer that in addition to the Araqib Lots, the Tribe also customarily roamed in the area of the Zahliqa Lots (see Aref Al-Aref, The History of Beer Sheva and its Tribes – The Bedouin Tribes in the Beer Sheva District, on pages 100-103 (translated by: M. Kapeliuk, 2000), attached as Supporting Reference 31 of the Appellants’ Supporting References Binder (hereinafter: the “Bedouin Tribes“); and Yosef Braslavi (Braslavsky) Do You Know The Land, Volume B The Negev Land (The Northern Negev), on pages 270-271 (5716); attached as Supporting Reference 32 of the Appellants’ Supporting References Binder).

55.  However, while it emerges from the evidence stated above that, during certain periods, the Tribe customarily roamed in the area of the Lots, this is not sufficient to substantiate the Appellants’ claim that there existed, simultaneous with the periods in which the Tribe roamed to other places, an ancient Bedouin town in which the Tribe resided in a permanent manner. Contrary to that which was alleged by the Appellants, no physical evidence was found in the Lots that attest to the existence of an ancient Bedouin town at the location. As the court of first instance stated, all of the sites (excluding one) that the surveyor Abu Friecha marked on the map, that the Appellants submitted and that according to them attest to Bedouin settlement in the area of the Lots, are in fact outside of the boundaries of the Lots (see the testimony of Abu Friecha on page 63, lines 12-17 of the minutes of the hearing dated February 24, 2010). Additionally, it emerges from the opinion and the testimony of the interpreter Ben Yosef that, according to the aerial photograph of the Lots from 1945, there is one house in the Lots, on Sharia 133 Lot, with respect to which it was not clarified when it was built and to whom it belonged, and an additional house on the Araqib 2 Lot with respect to which the Tribe’s Elders testified that it belongs to Appellant 1, and the Appellants themselves claim that it was built in 1936, meaning, during the Mandate period (see paragraph 14 of their summary arguments in the Appeal). Other than that, the aerial photograph from 1945 does not include any other characteristics that attest to the existence of a permanent Bedouin town in the area of the Lots. It shall be emphasized that according to the testimony of interpreter Ben Yosef, the water pits and the camps that were sighted in the photograph are all outside of the area of the Lots (see pages 12-17 of the opinion of Mr. Ben Yosef, submitted as Exhibit App/3; and his testimony on page 41, line 21 until page 42 line 8 of the minutes of the hearing dated February 24, 2010). It should be further noted that Ben Yosef clarified in his testimony that, from his experience, the settlement that appears in the 1945 aerial photograph outside of the boundaries of the Lots is also not a permanent, but rather a nomadic settlement (ibid, on page 19, lines 5-6, and page 20, lines 6-12).

56.  The historical certificates and documents upon which Prof. Yiftachel wishes to support his opinion with respect to the existence of an ancient Bedouin town in the area of the Lots, also do not substantiate this conclusion: Annexes 12 and 17 of Prof. Yiftachel’s opinion are a copy of a document that is alleged to constitute a directive of the Military Administration to the members of the Appellants’ tribe to concentrate in the “original location“; Annex 18 of the opinion is a copy of a document that is alleged to be a letter from the office of the Military Governor of the Negev to the Sheikh of the Al-Uqbi Tribe in which he is required to submit a report regarding the lands that are cultivated by the members of the Tribe, and the owners of which are not present within the borders of Israel; Annex 19 is a document that is alleged to be Appellant 10’s school report card from 1950 at the “Bnei Uqbi” School; Annex 22 is a copy of a handwritten note which was allegedly written by the representative of the Military Administration in the Negev, in which he specified the areas that would be handed over to the Tribe “until the members of the Bnei Uqba Tribe return to their lands“; Annex 23 is a copy of a letter which was allegedly sent to Appellant 1 from the Custodian of Absentees’ Property, in which he was required to deliver agricultural produce that belongs to someone else; Annexes 24 and 25 are illegible copies of maps, the original of which is unclear as regards the question of where the Lots of the claim appear thereon, if at all. With respect to the map that was attached as Annex 24, it should be noted that Prof. Kark states in her opinion that the name of the Al-Uqbi Tribe appears thereon at a location that is distant from the Lots, while the names of other tribes are written in the Lots (see Res/C1, on page 17); Annex 30 is a copy of a handwritten letter that was allegedly sent by the Sheikh of the Al-Uqbi Tribe in which he complains about having been taxed twice for the same crops. Other than Annex 18 (which was also submitted as Exhibit App/6 in the Appeal), no translation was attached to any of the Annexes that were specified above and no confirmation or verification was presented with respect to any of the Annexes, attesting that they are authentic documents. In any event, even if I shall assume for the benefit of the Appellants that these are authentic documents, and that the contents thereof are as they are alleged to be, none of these documents substantiates the existence of a permanent Bedouin town in the area of the Lots (and in this context, also see Prof. Kark’s reference to the annexes that were mentioned in pages 17-18 of her opinion (Res/C1).

57.  An additional document upon which Prof. Yiftachel relies in support of the claim regarding the existence of a Bedouin town on the Lots, is a list of the names of places in Palestine that the Mandate government published in 1940 (A Gazetteer of Place Names Which Appear in the Small Scale Maps of Palestine and Trans-Jordan (1940); Annex 56 of his opinion; hereinafter: the “Names List“). The name of a place called El-Araqib appears in this list. The Appellants did not bother to attach an expert opinion that clarifies whether the coordinates appearing next to the name El-Araqib on the Names List corresponds with the actual locations of the Lots or of any of them. However, even assuming that the location appearing in the Names List as El-Araqib is located in the area of the Lots, this list does not support the claim that this it is a permanent town. To the contrary. In the prologue to the Names List it is written that this list also specifies unsettled places that appear on the map. It is further stated in the prologue that the notation “Vill.Unit” will appear alongside places that are officially recognized by the government as a town (a ‘Village Unit’) for tax and administration purposes, along with a notation of the area of the town and an estimation of the number of residents residing therein. It is evident that such a notation does not appear in the list alongside the name “El-Araqib” nor is its area nor the number of residents residing therein stated with respect thereto. All that is stated alongside the name “El-Araqib” on the list is that it is a “locality”, a note that does not necessarily indicate that it is a settled area (regarding this matter, see Prof. Kark’s testimony on page 110-114 of the minutes of the hearing dated May 6, 2010). An undated list of tithe tax payers (Annex 35 of the opinion), which is mentioned in Prof. Yiftachel’s opinion as an additional document that supports his position that there was an ancient permanent Bedouin town on the Lots, also does not attest to this. Prof. Yiftachel states that “El-Araqib” is written in that document in the column designated for specifying the town. However, this alone is not enough to draw a conclusion that a permanent Bedouin town existed at that location, especially given the fact that the other evidence that we reviewed thus far, does not support this conclusion. Therefore one can assume that the words “El-Araqib” were meant to describe the area of the crops for which the tithe tax was collected pursuant to such list, and the existence of a permanent town on the Lots cannot be inferred therefrom. An additional piece of evidence upon which Prof. Yiftachel supports his claim regarding the existence of a permanent town in the Lots is a voter’s notice which was sent to Appellant 1 in 1949, upon which “El-Araqib” was written in the slot designated for specifying the “name of the city or the village” (Exhibit App/7 in the Appeal). As was already noted, Appellant 1 built his house on the Araqib 2 Lot in 1936, and therefore it can be assumed that the voter’s notice stated “El-Araqib” for the purpose of identifying the location where he resides. However, one house is not a town, and the existence of a town cannot be inferred from one voter’s notice. Therefore, this document also does not substantiate the claim that the Appellants raised in this matter.

58.  Hence, the documents and the sources upon which Prof. Yiftachel relied are not sufficient to substantiate the Appellants’ claim regarding the existence of a permanent Bedouin town on the Lots. A similar conclusion also emerges from the testimonies of the Tribe’s Elders that the only permanent characteristic that appears at the site is Appellant 1’s house on the Araqib 2 Lot, (see the testimony of Muhammed Abdalla Abu-Jaber on pages 4-17 of the minutes of the hearing dated June 7, 2009; also see the testimony of Elayn Muhammed Al-Grinawi, ibid, on pages 43-47; the testimony of Ahmed Jachada Abu Siam, ibid, on pages 53-65; and the testimony of Muhammed Al-Asibi, on pages 42-52 of the minutes of the hearing dated October 26, 2009, who in their testimonies do not mention any characteristic, other than Appellant 1’s house, of permanent settlement in the Lots). Some of the witnesses testified as to the existence of houses and water pits that were dug in the area of the Araqib Lots (see, for example, the testimony of Younes Salem Muhammed Al-Uqbi, on page 112 of the minutes of the hearing dated June 7, 2009). However, considering the fact that in the aerial photograph from 1945 no houses or water pits are seen within the boundaries of the Lots, and considering the fact that according to the Appellants themselves, the Tribe lived and roamed in a wide tract of land of 19,000 dunam, it can be assumed that the pits to which these witnesses refer are located outside of the area of the Lots. It should be further noted that contrary to Prof. Yiftachel’s claim that there was a school building on the Araqib Lots where the Tribe’s children studied, it emerges from the testimonies of the Tribe’s Elders that there was no school on these Lots: Witnesses Ismaeel Al-Uqbi and Muhammed Al-Asibi testified that the schooling took place at Appellant 1’s house on the Araqib 2 Lot (see page 89 of the minutes of the hearing dated June 7, 2009, and pages 45-46 of the minutes of the hearing dated October 26, 2009), while witnesses Muhammed Al-Grinawi and Younes Salem Muhammed Al-Uqbi testified that the children of the Tribe did not study in the Araqib area at all but rather in neighboring villages (see pages 73 and 112 of the minutes of the hearing dated June 7, 2009).

59.  In contrast, and as the court of first instance stated, in the framework of Prof. Kark’s opinion the State presented abundant evidence attesting to the fact that there never was a permanent Bedouin town on the Lots and to the fact that the Lots were not cultivated between 1858 and 1921. The claims raised by the Appellants against Prof. Kark’s opinion cannot be accepted, and contrary to that which is alleged by them, her opinion does not exclusively rely on the writings of researchers who travelled the Negev in the past but rather on a wide variety of reliable sources, including: land surveys, historical maps and various official certificates that relate to the area of the Lots from which it emerges that the Lots were not settled and cultivated between 1858-1921. Fault should not be found in Prof. Kark’s reliance on the reports of various researchers who travelled in the Negev during the previous centuries (with respect to an expert’s reliance of professional literature, see CrimA 889/79 Hemo v. The State of Israel, IsrSC 36(4), 479 (1982), in paragraph 13 of the judgment of Justice M. Ben Porat), and as the court of first instance rightly stated, Prof. Yiftachel also extensively relied on the reports of various western researchers who passed through the Negev during the last centuries, insofar as they supported his arguments. As is recalled, the court of first instance preferred Prof. Kark’s opinion over that of Prof. Yiftachel’s based on the reasons that were specified above in the chapter that describes its judgment, and we have not found it appropriate to intervene therewith, both because this is a matter in which an appeal instance does not customarily intervene (see, for example, CA 4126/05 Chagazi v. Amutat Va’ad Edat Hasfaradim (June 20, 2006), in paragraph 11; CA 5131/10 Azimov v. Binyamini (March 7, 2013), paragraph 12), and because we have found that in the case at hand the underlying reasons justify this preference.

60.  Due to all of the reasons upon which we have elaborated above, it is to be ruled that although the Al-Uqbi Tribe roamed in the area of the Lots and used them during certain periods of time for camping, grazing and seasonal agriculture, there was no permanent town of the Tribe on the Lots, neither at the time the Ottoman Land Code was legislated (1858) nor thereafter. Therefore the Appellants’ claim that with respect to the Lots, the third condition among the conditions prescribed in Sections 6 and 103 of the Ottoman Land Code for the purpose of classifying lands as Mewat is not met, is to be rejected. However, the Appellants do not suffice with the claim that was rejected regarding the existence of a permanent town. In the alternative, they further claim that said third condition is not met, even if there was no permanent town in the area of the Lots in the relevant years, since it is sufficient that the Tribe maintained nomadic settlement at the location for the condition prescribed in Sections 6 and 103 of the Ottoman Land Code, that Mewat land must be more than a mile and half away from a city or a village, to not be fulfilled. They further claim that even if the Lots were barren and not settled at the time of the legislation of the Ottoman Land Code, this does not mean that they are Mewat lands, since the examination of the Lots’ distance from a town should be done at the time the land settlement proceedings take place. According to them, the interpretation that the land’s classification is determined at the time of the legislation of the Ottoman Land Code and remains set from that time onwards is not logical, and a reasonable interpretation of the Ottoman Land Code should consider the changes that occurred over the years in the area of the Lots. The Appellants are aware of the fact that these claims were rejected in the past by this court, which ruled that the location of a town pursuant to Sections 6 and 103 of the Ottoman Land Code is only a permanent town and also a permanent town that existed at the time of the legislation of the Ottoman Land Code (see the Badran Case, on page 1720; the Huashela Case, in paragraph 4 of the judgment of Justice A. Chalima; and CA 55/63 Suaed v. The State of Israel, IsrSC 20(2) 3 (1966)). However, the Appellants claim that this interpretation is erroneous and discriminatory and they request that it be revisited.

61.  After reviewing the arguments raised by the Appellants in both of these matters, I reached the conclusion that it is inappropriate to change the precedents from the Badran Case and in the Huashela Case regarding the type of settlement to which the third condition, that is prescribed in Sections 6 and 103 of the Ottoman Land Code for the purpose of classifying Mewat land, relates, nor with respect to the effective date for the examination of the distance between the land being classified and the location of a town.

In the translation by Tute and Ben Shemesh of Sections 6 and 103 of the Ottoman Land Code, the term “city or village” was used, and this is also the case in the translation by Doukhan of Section 6 (see Tute, The Ottoman Land Laws, on pages 15 and 97; Ben Shemesh, Land Legislation in Israel, on pages 37 and 147; and Doukhan, The Land Laws in Israel, on page 466; however in his translation of Section 103 of the Ottoman Land Code, Doukhan uses the term “town”: ibid, on page 480). It is difficult to see how a nomadic settlement can be seen as “city or village.” As the State notes, the Bedouin lifestyle was not foreign to the Ottoman legislator, and it appears that if it had been its intention to include nomadic Bedouin settlement among the towns for which the surrounding lands are not deemed Mewat lands, it is presumed that it would have used the appropriate terms to do so and not terms that clearly describe permanent settlement. The purpose that the Appellants attribute to the Ottoman legislator in this context was also not proven at all. According to them, nomadic Bedouin settlement should also be included among the definition of the towns with respect to which the surrounding lands are not Mewat, because the legislator wanted “to encourage people to cultivate lands that are distant from towns” (paragraph 38 of their summary arguments). This claim does not bear any substance, and is actually contrary to the purpose for which Section 103 of the Ottoman Land Code was legislated, to which I shall refer below, which was meant to incentivize cultivating and reviving Mewat land that was distant from places of settlement and which, for example, was used for nomadic settlement, by allowing the person who revived Mewat land to acquire rights therein and thereto.

62.  The Appellants wish to find support for the interpretation they suggest in the fact that the Village Administration Ordinance, 1944, the Mandate Settlement Ordinance, and the Settlement Ordinance that replaced it, define the term “village” also as a “tribal area”. One cannot simply carry the definition of the term “village” in acts of legislation of the Mandate government and of the State of Israel, that were intended for different purposes, to the distinct context of interpreting the Ottoman Land Code. As the State mentions, the definition of the term “village” in the acts of legislation to which the Appellants refer was meant for administrative purposes and did not determine substantive rights in and to land. Therefore, it appears that there is no foundation for the interpretation the Appellants suggest for Sections 6 and 103 of the Ottoman Land Code, relying upon these acts of legislation. Additionally, it emerges from various official publications of the Mandate government that even it interpreted the terms “city or village” in Sections 6 and 103 of the Ottoman Land Code as relating only to permanent towns. Thus, in an official notice that the Mandate government published on November 10, 1921, regarding “Determining the Boundaries of the Government’s Lands” (published in the Official Gazette 56, page 9, 1921) it was stated that a committee shall be established to determine and mark the borders of the Government’s lands in the country. In Section 4 of the notice it was written that “all of the abandoned lands, with respect to which there are no title deeds and which were not delivered to the residents of any place or village, and that are at such a distance from the last house of the place or village from which a human voice cannot be heard, shall be marked by the committee as Mewat lands” (my emphasis; ibid, on page 10). Hence, even the Mandate government did not consider nomadic settlement as a town for which the adjacent lands are not Mewat lands.

63.  As mentioned, an additional claim that the Appellants raised is the claim that the date when the status of the land should be examined for the purpose of its classification under the Ottoman Land Code is that date when the settlement proceedings take place and not the date when the law was legislated. This claim is also to be rejected. Contrary to Miri lands, for which the Ottoman legislator made sure to prescribe provisions that arrange their status upon the change of the nature of the land (see, for example, Sections 5 and 6 of the Law of Possession of Real Estate from 1331 of the Hijra (1913) and Sections 44, 82 and 89 of the Lands Code; for more on this matter see Goadby and Doukhan, Land Laws of Palestine, on pages 29-32; and Tute, The Ottoman Land Laws, on pages 2, 6-7 and 169-170), similar provisions were not prescribed for Mewat lands. Therefore, there is no reference in the Ottoman Land Code to the impact of the expansion of towns or of the establishment of new towns on the classification of the lands adjacent thereto. Tute wrote about this as follows:

The Land Code (vide Art. 31) did not contemplate the extension of the inhabited sites which were in existence when it was passed. It was not therefore foreseen that the extension of those sites would create difficulties. Their rapid growth in recent years brings them continually nearer to the former Mewat area, and, under the definition we are discussing, must result in a progressive curtailment of that area. The process, at the same time, brings into existence an indeterminate class or land, which was formerly Mewat. On this area which is neither Mewat, Mirie, nor assigned pasture, squatters are likely to settle, against whom the present law gives the State no rights, other than those conferred by a strict enforcement of the prohibition of building contained in Art. 31. Such land cannot regarded (under Art. 105) as unassigned pasture, because, ex hypothsi, it lies outside the boundaries of any town or village (Tute, The Ottoman Land Laws, page 16).

Further on, he adds as follows:

The Code does not contemplate any great extension or the village sites which existed when it was framed (Vide art. 31). Of late years the sites of many towns and villages have, however, been greatly extended, and new inhabited-sites have been formed. This means that the limits or the Mewat have retreated with the advance or habitation. The process results in the creation of intermediate land which cannot be brought under any of the classes dealt with by the Code. As the rakaba of such land has never been transferred it apparently remains with the State. It might however be held that, under the conditions referred to, the boundaries of towns or villages adjoining the Mewat must be held to enlarge with the area reachable by the human voice. Whatever view is taken the result is that the Mewat lands of the State are being steadily reduced by the subtraction or areas which, are often of great and increasing value. Legislation is clearly required to deal with the situation. (ibid, on page 98).

64.  Despite Tute’s position that the land created as a result of the expansion of the towns that existed at the time of the legislation of the Land Code towards the area of the Mewat lands is of an undefined class, it appears that it can be classified by means of interpretational principles which the Mandate courts applied when they dealt with such issues. Indeed, a situation in which certain land does not precisely correspond with one of the land definitions existing in the Ottoman Land Code, was quite common in the law that preceded the Land Law (see Ben Shemesh, Land Legislation in Israel, on page 27). In order to deal with this difficulty, the Mandate Supreme Court in Cyprus ruled in the matter of Kyriako v. Principal Forrest Officer, 3 C.L.R. 87 (1894) (hereinafter: the “Kyriako Case”) that in the event in which certain land does not precisely meet any of the land definitions existing in the Ottoman land legislation, the law that is most suitable should be applied thereto, and it should be classified as the class of land to which it is closest (ibid, on pages 94-95). According to Goadby and Doukhan, such land will generally be classified as Mewat (see Goadby and Doukhan, Land Laws of Palestine, on page 45; and see Doukhan, The Land Laws in Israel, on page 48).

It thus emerges that any land, which at the time of legislation of the Ottoman Land Code (1858) was Mewat land and was more than a mile and half away from a permanent town, shall generally continue to be deemed Mewat land and that the expansion and development of the towns in the years following the promulgation of the land legislation cannot change this. This is the case unless the land became a different class of land by way of revival or assignment by the authorities, pursuant to the provisions of the Ottoman Land Code.

In the case at hand it was proven that the Lots were not cultivated and were not near a permanent town when the Ottoman Land Code was legislated. Since the establishment of new, and particularly nomad, towns in their vicinity cannot change the classification relevant at the time of the legislation of the Ottoman Land Code, it is sufficient that the Lots were more than a mile and half from the site of a permanent town on the effective date in order to meet the third condition that is prescribed in Sections 6 and 103 of the Ottoman Land Code, for their classification as Mewat land.

The Fulfillment of the Second Condition: Are the Lots Not Matruka Land ?

65.  Once we have ruled that the third condition that is prescribed in Sections 6 and 103 of the Ottoman Land Code is met with respect to the Lots, it remains to be examined whether the second condition that is required in order to classify the land as Mewat – that it is not land that was assigned or left for public use, i.e. that it is not Matruka land – is met.

Section 5 of the Ottoman Land Code defines Matruka land as follows:

Land left for the use of public (metrouke) is of two kinds: –

(I) That which is left for the general use of the public, like a public highway for example;

(II) That which is assigned for the inhabitants generally of a village or town, or of several villages or towns grouped together, as for example pastures (meras) (Tute, The Ottoman Land Laws, page 14)

      The section distinguishes between two types of Matruka land: that which was “left” to the public and that which is assigned for the use of the inhabitants of a certain city or village. According to Tute, the difference in the terminology between the sections indicates that Matruka land for the use of the general public can become such by being left to the general public to be used even without it being explicitly assigned for its use. By contrast, Matruka land that is intended for the use of a specific population can only become Matruka land by way of explicit assignment by the authorities (ibid, on page 14 and 100; also see Goadby and Doukhan, Land Laws of Palestine, on page 56). This approach was rejected by the Mandate Supreme Court and also by this court which ruled that Matruka land that serves a specific public can also be created by way of an implied assignment if it was left to be used by that public, and there is no obligation that there by an explicit assignment by the authorities for such purpose (see Abu Hana v. The Attorney General, 5 P.L.R. 221, p. 224 (1938); CA 4/50 The Attorney General v. The Tel Aviv Municipality, IsrSC 5(1) 725, 726-727 (1951); CA 673/85 Peki’in Local Council v. The State of Israel, IsrSC 42(3) 627, 631-632 (1988) (hereinafter: the “Peki’in Case”)). As to the duration of the use of the land that is required in order for it to be considered Matruka, it was ruled that it is necessary to demonstrate use over such a long period of time that no one remembers when it began (ibid, and also see CA 24/57 Malakh v. Jandekalo, IsrSC 12 757 (1958), in paragraph 3 of the judgment of Deputy President S.Z. Cheshin). It was additionally clarified that use that began in our generation cannot be considered use ab antiquo, which can entitle collective rights of usage in and to land (see CA 504/61 The State of Israel v. The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality, IsrSC 16 872, 875 (1962) (hereinafter: the “Tel Aviv Municipality Case”)). According to the interpretation of the Mandate Land Court when examining the duration of the use, each case must be examined as per its circumstances, however it is difficult to assume that use that is less than 100 years can entitle collective rights of usage in and to land (see Government of Palestine v. Village Settlement Committee of Sajad and Qazaza, 2 C.O.J. 672, p. 676 (L.C. Jaffa, 1933) (hereinafter: the “Qazaza Case”)). It was further ruled that the entitling use must be continuous and that different uses in different periods cannot be deemed one continuous use which has the power to make land become Matruka (see the Tel Aviv Municipality Case, on page 875; the Peki’in Case, on page 632; and CA 438/70 The Umm Al-Fahm Local Council v. The State of Israel, IsrSC 26(1) 813, 816 (1972)). It was additionally ruled that the use that creates Matruka land that was assigned to a specific public must be exclusive to such public, and if others could have also benefitted from the land in the same manner that the specific public claiming rights could have, it should not be deemed as land that was assigned for the use of that specific public (see the Tel Aviv Municipality case, on page 875, and the Peki’in case, on page 632).

66.  The Ottoman Land Code refers to a variety of public uses of Matruka land, such as: public roads, vehicle parking, gathering cattle, markets, granaries, worship areas, wood-chopping area and grazing areas (see Sections 91-101 of the Ottoman Land Code). The use relevant to the case at hand is grazing rights. The code distinguishes in this matter between grazing lands that were assigned ab antiquo to a specific public (Sections 97 and 101) and grazing lands (Section 105) that are within the boundaries of the village and that serve its residents for grazing even without having been assigned thereto (see Tute, The Ottoman Land Laws, on pages 92-94 and 100 regarding the said distinction between the types of grazing lands. Also see Tute’s approach, ibid on page 14, that lands that comply with the definition of the category of Section 105 of the code, are Mewat lands). Section 97 of the Land Code entitles the residents of the village to an exclusive right to graze their herds in areas that were assigned to them and to prevent strangers from doing so. By contrast, under Section 105 the residents of the village are only entitled to a right to graze in the areas that are adjacent to their village without paying taxes therefor, but it does not allow them to prevent strangers from grazing in these areas. Furthermore, while the grazing rights under Section 97 are protected against both private individuals and against the State, grazing rights under Section 105 do not prevent the State from expropriating the land or granting it to any person as Miri land (see The Attorney General v. Village Settlement Committee of El Maqaibla, 8 C.O.J. 485 (L.C. Nablus, 1935); and Tute, The Ottoman Land Code, on page 96). Section 101 refers to seasonal (summer and winter) grazing rights and it is unique in that in addition to use for grazing purposes, it also allows cultivating the lands with the consent of the residents to whom grazing rights were assigned. Section 101 indeed uses prohibitory language, and provides that one cannot cultivate the lands listed therein without the consent of the residents to which they were assigned. However it can be inferred that upon the consent of the residents, they can be cultivated (see Tute, The Ottoman Land Laws, on pages 95-96). With regard to Matruka lands that are designated for grazing under Section 101, Tute writes that it can be presumed that the Bedouin are the ones that have a special interest in the option of cultivating the land in addition to the grazing rights. In his words:

It may be presumed that the persons chiefly interested in the provisions of this article are members of the Bedouin tribes, who wander in search of pasture and water, and do a little sporadic cultivation when the rainfall permits (ibid, on page 96)

67.  Indeed, the possibility that various parts of the Negev lands were left ab antiquo for the use of various Bedouin tribes for purposes of camping, grazing and seasonal agriculture emerges from the evidence that was presented in this proceeding, and the possibility that the said Lots were also left for such use of the Al-Uqbi Tribe as Matruka lands, cannot be ruled out. However, the Appellants did not claim this in the court of first instance or in the appeal, and the relevant facts were not sufficiently examined or clarified in the framework of the discussions in this proceeding. In any event, even if the Appellants were able to substantiate an argument regarding the Lots being Matruka lands that had been left for the use of the Al-Uqbi Tribe under Section 101 of the Ottoman Land Code, this would not have aided the Appellants in any way, since rights in and to Matruka land are always collective rights and the Ottoman Land Code prohibits private individuals to acquire rights of their own in and to lands of such classification (see Goadby and Doukhan, Land Laws of Palestine, on pages 54-55). Section 101 of the Ottoman Land Code even explicitly provides that:

These summer and winter pastures cannot be bought and sold, nor can exclusive possession of them be given to anyone by title deed … (Tute, The Ottoman Land Laws, page 95).

The Ottoman Land Code further prescribes that it is not possible to use Matruka land for any purpose other than that for which it was assigned. Additionally, it was prohibited to turn the right to public use of Matruka land into private rights, and it is not possible to transfer the rights that were granted therein and thereto to private hands by way of distribution, sale or transfer. Additionally, it is not possible to acquire rights in and to Matruka land by virtue of a period or prescription (see Section 102 of the Ottoman Land Code; and Tute, The Ottoman Land Laws, on pages 15, 89, 93 and 96; Ben Shemesh, Land Legislation in Israel, on pages 164-174; Albeck and Fleischer, Land Laws in Israel, on pages 86-87). For these reasons, the classification of the Lots as Matruka lands, even if they were to be classified as such, does not in any way advance the matter of the Appellants who claim to have private rights in and to such Lots.

68.  In any event, the Appellants did not claim, and obviously did not prove, that the Lots were Matruka land. Therefore, and to the extent that this relates to the proceeding at hand, the second condition prescribed in Sections 6 and 103 of the Ottoman Land Code for the purpose of classifying the Lots as Mewat land, is also met. However, even given this conclusion, it is still necessary to examine the Appellants’ alternative argument that if, and to the extent it shall be ruled that, at hand are Mewat lands, they acquired rights in and to these Lots by virtue of the cultivation and revival thereof, pursuant to Section 103 of the Ottoman Land Code and the Mewat Ordinance.

Cultivation and Revival of Mewat Land

69.  Section 103 of the Ottoman Land Code indeed allows acquiring rights in and to Mewat land by virtue of its cultivation and revival, and prescribes that a person who revived Mewat land with the authorities’ permission shall receive a Kushan therefor, without consideration. Similarly, a person who revived Mewat land without permission by the authorities shall pay the value thereof and thereafter shall be given a Kushan therefor. In the past, prior to the legislation of the Land Code, a person who revived Mewat land with the authorities’ permission received it as fully owned Mulk. The Ottoman Land Code cancelled this option and thereafter Mewat land that was revived is inhabitable only as Miri (see Ben Shemesh, Land Legislation in Israel, page 148; Tute, The Ottoman Land Laws, on page 99). The Mandate courts ruled that in order to acquire rights in and to Mewat land by virtue of revival, continuous and effective cultivation thereof which leads to a clear and permanent change in its quality, is required (CA 226/42 Kirkorian v. The Attorney General, 10 P.L.R. 302, p. 304-305 (1943) (hereinafter: the “Kirkorian Case”); CA 153/46 Habbab v. Government of Palestine, 14 P.L.R. 337, p. 341 (1947) (hereinafter: the “Habbab Case”); also see Goadby and Doukhan, Land Laws of Palestine, pages 48-49; Doukhan, The Land Laws in Israel, on pages 51-52; Sandberg, Land Title Settlement in the Land of Israel, on pages 125-128). It was further ruled that the mere revival of land does not turn it into Miri and that it is necessary to such end to submit an application to register the land in the name of the reviver (see the Kirkorian Case, on page 304 and Doukhan, The Land Laws in Israel, on page 52).

This was the state of affairs until 1921, when the Mandate government legislated the Mewat Ordinance. This ordinance prescribes that anyone who revived Mewat land without the authorities’ permission, not only will not receive rights therein and thereto, but will be considered a trespasser and shall be subject to punishment. In this manner the Mewat Ordinance cancelled the possibility of acquiring rights in and to Mewat land by virtue of reviving it without the State’s permission. As to the revivals that were effected prior to its legislation, the ordinance prescribed a period of two months from the date of its publication during which a person who revived Mewat land without permission may report this to the register officer and request that the land be registered in his name. It should be noted that de facto, the Mandate authorities applied a lenient approach and agreed to recognized revivals that were effected before 1921 even if they were not reported within the period of time that the Mewat Ordinance allocated (see Goadby and Doukhan, Land Laws of Palestine, on page 47; and Doukhan, The Land Laws in Israel, on page 50).

70.  In order to substantiate their argument that they acquired rights in and to the Lots by virtue of cultivation and revival pursuant to Section 103 of the Ottoman Land Code, the Appellants would have had to first prove that their family cultivated the Lots continuously and effectively before 1921. Second, the Appellants would have had to prove to that the family approached the register officer pursuant to the Mewat Ordinance and requested to receive a registration certification of the Lots in their name by virtue of such cultivation and revival, and that they received such a certificate. The court of first instance examined the evidence that was presented thereto and ruled that the Appellants did not prove this. As a rule, the appeal court does not tend to intervene in factual rulings and reliability findings of the court of first instance, except in extraordinary cases of a conspicuous error, relating to evidence presented or to ignoring evidence which could change the conclusion the court of first instance reached (see CrimA 8146/09 Avshalom v. The State of Israel, paragraph 19 (September 8, 2011)). In the matter at hand, the Appellants claim that the court ignored evidence and many testimonies that were presented thereto which could lead to a different conclusion in the matter of the cultivation and the revival. Therefore, we were of the opinion in this case, and even only for the sake of caution, that it is appropriate to examine the entirety of the evidence to which the Appellants referred in this context. However, even after examining all of the evidence we are of the opinion that the conclusion reached by the court of first instance, that the Appellants failed to prove cultivation and revival of the Lots as Mewat lands at the relevant times, nor the existence of a registration certificate that was issued in the name of any member of the family under the Mewat Ordinance by virtue of said cultivation and revival, should remain unchanged.

71.  Prof. Yiftachel, the expert on behalf of the Appellants, states in his opinion that “The lands that are claimed at El-Araqib and Zahliqa […] are only a small part of wide areas that are estimated, according to oral testimonies, to be approximately 19,000 dunam, that were possessed and cultivated by the [Al-Uqbi] Tribe, during the first half of the 20th century” (page 11 of the opinion). However, the Appellants did not present any objective evidence that attests to the fact that their family cultivated the Lots in dispute before 1945. In his opinion, Prof. Yiftachel states that these Lots were cultivated by the Al-Uqbi Tribe ab antiquo and he substantiates this based on various sources from which it emerges, in a general manner, that the Negev lands were cultivated by Bedouin tribes, and on sources from which it emerges that the Lots at hand are located in areas in which the Al-Uqbi Tribe customarily roamed. The earliest document which was attached to Prof. Yiftachel’s opinion, and which according to him relates to the Lots, is a receipt that relates to the years 1927-1928 for the payment of tithe taxes (Annex 6 of this opinion). Prof. Yiftachel further claims that the tax was paid for agricultural product from harvests on the Araqib Lots (three of the six Lots in dispute), which were cultivated by the Appellants’ family. The Appellants did not bother to attach a true and correct translation of the writing in the said receipt, but the examination thereof shows that the receipt form does not even have a slot in which the area relevant to such agricultural produce is to be stated and specified. Therefore, it cannot be ruled that the said receipt indeed relates to agricultural produce from the Araqib Lots (compare with the Huashela Case, on pages 153-154). This is the case even if we ignore the fact that at hand is only one receipt and the fact that this receipt is from 1927, meaning, six years after the effective date in the Mewat Ordinance (1921), after which it was no longer possible to acquire rights by virtue of Section 103 of the Ottoman Land Code through cultivation and revival. Additional evidence that Prof. Yiftachel presented of the cultivation of the Lots by the Appellants’ family are: a receipt of payment of tithe tax from 1950, which was also alleged to have been issued for taxes that were paid for agricultural produce from the Araqib Lots (Annex 19 of the opinion), and two additional receipts for payment for plowing, also from 1950 (Annex 21 of the opinion). Similar to the receipt from 1927, these receipts also do not state to which areas they refer, and in any event, given the fact that they relate to 1950, they cannot substantiate the Appellants’ claim regarding cultivation and revival of the Lots in the years that preceded 1921.

Prof. Yiftachel further attaches two lists of tithe tax payers to his opinion. One, which allegedly relates to the Araqib Lots, does not bear a date (Annex 35 of the opinion), and the other, which allegedly relates to the Zahliqa Lots (Sharia 133 and Sharia 134 Lots), which are adjacent to the Sharia 132 Lot, bears the date of September 22, 1937 (Annex 36 of the opinion). Due to the quality of the photocopy, and in the absence of a translation or an explanation regarding the contents of such documents, it is very difficult to understand what is said therein. From the little that was legible, it is not possible to reach the conclusion that Prof. Yiftachel reached regarding the Appellants’ family’s alleged continuous cultivation of the Lots which are the subject of the hearing during the relevant years.

72.  Additional documents which were attached by Prof. Yiftachel as Annex 13 of his opinion (two pages from the IDF Archives), also do not substantiate the cultivation and revival claim for the reasons specified in paragraph 47 above, where we addressed these documents in another context, and it is not necessary to reiterate what was stated. Additionally, Prof. Yiftachel sought to rely on aerial photographs of the Lots from 1945 and 1949 in order to substantiate the cultivation and revival claim. With respect to the aerial photograph from 1945, it emerges from Prof. Yiftachel’s opinion, and from the testimony and opinion of interpreter Ben Yosef, that a certain part of the Lots was indeed cultivated in that year. In the absence of a contradicting argument, I am willing to assume that the cultivation was effected by the members of the Al-Uqbi Tribe. An opinion of an interpreter was not attached to the aerial photograph from 1949, and in light of its poor quality it is difficult to infer anything therefrom. Therefore, we have at most a piece of evidence of cultivation of a certain part of the Lots in 1945, and this too is not intensive cultivation that covers the majority of the area of the Lots, as Prof. Yiftachel claims. The court of first instance elaborated on this when it addressed the testimony of interpreter Ben Yosef and said that the picture that emerges from his testimony is entirely different from the one that Prof. Yiftachel tried to portray. In the court’s words:

An entirely different picture emerged, of very partial cultivation [of the Lots], to say the least. Thus the percentage of cultivation in Araqib 6 is 21%, in Araqib 60 at a rate of 5%, where only 3 dunams are arable, the rest being the a channel of a river, ravines where no cultivation is possible at all, not even for grazing. He adds that 10% of the Araqib lands are unusable ravines. With regard to lot 6 he states that most of the area was expropriated by the military and military posts are stationed thereon. In Araqib 2, the entire area is being cultivated (page 26-27, 51). It is not clear from this data as to how Prof. Yiftachel saw intensive cultivation covering most of the Araqib lots – puzzling. The conclusion is that no basis of evidence has been presented of intensive cultivation, also not in 1945 (paragraph 19 of the judgment).

These conclusions of the court of first instance are well substantiated and it is inappropriate to intervene therein.

73.  The Appellants further refer in their arguments to the testimonies of the Tribe’s Elders and object to the fact that the court of first instance ignored these testimonies and did not attribute proper consideration thereto. A review of such testimonies indicates that it is difficult to substantiate the conclusions that the Appellants are trying to reach thereupon, since they are very general and sweeping testimonies with respect to the cultivation of the Lots in dispute which do not contain any precise identification of the Lots or of the years of cultivation or of the nature of the cultivation. As to the continuity of the cultivation, some of those witnesses confirmed that every few years there was a draught year in the Negev during which it was not possible to grow harvests in the ground (see, for example, the testimony of Muhammed Al-Grinawi, pages 52-53 and 62 of the minutes of the hearing dated June 7, 2009; the testimony of Ahmed Abu-Siam, ibid, on page 81; the testimony of Ismaeel Al-Uqbi, ibid on page 86; the testimony of Muhammed Al-Asibi, on pages 43 and 61 of the minutes of the meeting dated October 26, 2009). These testimonies correspond with that which is stated in Mandate government official reports, such as the Village Statistics of Palestine from 1945 (attached as Annex 54 of Prof. Yiftachel’s opinion; hereinafter: the “Village Statistics“), where it was written that:

The Beersheba sub-district has been inhabited from time immemorial by the Bedouin tribes of Palestine who cultivated what areas they were able to depending on the amount of rainfall in a given year. Furthermore, it should not be forgotten that Arab practices have been to rotate cultivation, that is, land cultivated one year are left fallow for one or two subsequent years because of lack of fertilizer and sufficient rainfall (ibid, on page 35)

      Similar words were written in a letter dated March 13, 1937, that the Mandate government sent to the Jewish Agency regarding the Jewish settlement in the Negev lands (Annex 52 of the opinion; hereinafter: the “Mandate Government’s Letter to the Agency“), in which it was written that the Bedouin in the Beer Sheva region cultivate their lands only in “favorable seasons” (ibid, on page 3). Therefore, the testimonies of the Tribe’s Elders regarding cultivating lands in the Araqib area, even if we were to attribute them to the Lots, relates at most to certain years that were not explicitly defined. In any event it is not possible, from these testimonies, to draw the conclusion of continuous and effective cultivation in the relevant years, as required in order to prove the condition of cultivation and revival that grant rights in and to Mewat lands by virtue of Section 103 of the Ottoman Land Code. In this context it is not superfluous to note that contrary to the position of Prof. Yiftachel that the Bedouin engaged in agriculture ab antiquo, it emerges from Prof. Kark’s opinion and from the sources that were presented that this was a gradual and relatively late development. For example, Aref Al Aref, the historian and governor of the Beer Sheva District during the Mandate period, writes that “The Bedouin had extended periods of time during which they had no interest whatsoever in land. Moreover, they looked down on anyone connected with working the land, because they perceived that as a disruption and a distraction to the life of wandering and brigandage. It is possible that the foundation of their hatred of farmers and their lifestyle can be found here. However, at present [1933] the situation has changed and the Bedouin have begun leaning towards agriculture” (see Aref Al Aref, The Bedouin Tribes, attached as Supporting Reference 31 of the Appellants’ Supporting References Binder and cited on page 10 of Prof. Kark’s opinion dated January 31, 2010, which was submitted as Exhibit Res/C1).

74.  It emerges from the analysis of the evidence specified above that Prof. Yiftachel does not rely in his opinion on any objective evidence whatsoever that indicates that the Lots were cultivated by the Appellants’ family before 1945. However, even if I shall assume, for the benefit of the Appellants, that the receipts, the tax records, the aerial photographs and the rest of the testimonies and documents that were presented can prove the cultivation of the Lots in certain years, this is not sufficient to meet the condition of continuous and effective cultivation before 1921, as required under Section 103 of the Ottoman Land Code and under the Mewat Ordinance, in order to acquire rights in and to Mewat lands. Furthermore, even had the Appellants proven that they cultivated and revived the Lots before 1921, they would have had to further prove, as stated above, that they approached the register officer under the Mewat Ordinance within the time that was prescribed therein and requested to be registered as the owners of the Lots by virtue of said cultivation and revival, and that their said request was granted. The Appellants did not prove any of the above. This is sufficient to deny the Appellants’ alternative claim that if it shall be found that the Lots are Mewat lands, the Appellants’ family acquired rights therein and thereto by virtue of cultivation and revival. The Appellants are aware of this difficulty and therefore they further argue that the Mewat Ordinance was not applied to the Negev areas, and therefore, according to them, its provisions should not be considered when addressing the matter of the rights they acquired in and to the Lots by virtue of cultivation and revival. This argument is to be rejected since, as was already mentioned, the Mandate government perceived the Negev as area that is subject to its sovereignty, to which the laws it legislated, including the Mewat Ordinance, apply.

The Appellants further argue in this context that the Mewat Ordinance was not de facto implemented, and that the Mandate government allowed the acquisition of rights in and to Mewat lands by virtue of cultivation and revival, without the authorities’ permission, even after the legislation of the Mewat Ordinance in 1921. They refer in this matter to Mandate case-law rulings that support their said approach. However, a review of these judgments reveals that they do not support the Appellants’ claim: the judgments in the Habbab Case and in the Kirkorian Case addressed lands that were revived prior to 1921, and in the Kirkorian Case, the application to register the land in the name of the possessors was even filed within the time prescribed in the Mewat Ordinance. In the Habbab Case, the application was indeed not filed in time but since the register officer was willing to address it, the court ruled that it does not find it appropriate to be punctilious with the Appellants in this matter; the Genama Case also addressed land that was allegedly revived without the authorities’ permission prior to 1921 and the ordinance’s provisions were applied in that case; the judgment in the Debbas v. The Attorney General, 1 A.L.R. 205 (1943) also addressed land that was revived by the appellants therein and the Mandate government agreed to grant them rights therein and thereto in consideration for the payment of its value, even though they did not meet the conditions of the Mewat Ordinance. The settlement officer was of the opinion that since the Mewat Ordinance cancelled the appellants’ right to receive rights in and to the land by virtue of revival, he was not permitted to approve the settlement by and between them and the government. The Mandate Supreme Court ruled that the Mewat Ordinance does not deny the settlement officer’s authority to approve the agreement that the government made with the appellants.

Thus the Mewat Ordinance was binding and was implemented in the Mandate case rulings, inter alia, in respect to the Negev areas.

75.  An additional claim that the Appellants raise in an attempt to overcome their inability to present a registration certificate with respect to the Lots in accordance with the Mewat Ordinance, is the claim that Section 2 of the Mewat Ordinance should be interpreted in a manner that does not deny the rights of a person who revived Mewat land to acquire rights therein and thereto and to register them in his name, even upon the lapse of the two month period that was allocated in that section. According to the Appellants, the said Section 2 indeed prescribes that any person who revived Mewat land without the authorities’ permission must notify the register officer of this within two months from the date of publication of the ordinance and must submit an application to register the land in his name. However, so the Appellants claim, the section does not prescribe that a person who does not do so loses the rights he acquired in and to the land by virtue of revival. The Appellants find support for their claim in the fact that Section 2 of the Mewat Ordinance was omitted from the publication of the ordinance in the “Drayton” Compilation of Mandate Acts of Legislation. The interpretation of the Mewat Ordinance that is suggested by the Appellants was not accepted by this court, which explicitly ruled that any person who revived Mewat land prior to the publication of the Mewat Ordinance, but did not submit an application to register his rights at the date prescribed therein, is not entitled to register the land in his name. For example, it was ruled in CA 298/66