BGU Gal Ariely Promotes Analogies of Israel with Apartheid and Holocaust Reductionism

13.05.21

Editorial Note

Much of the delegitimization of Israel comes from the same old Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University, which is notorious for espousing anti-Israel radicalism. Recently, Dr. Gal Ariely, a senior lecturer there, has published a book titled Israel’s Regime Untangled: Between Democracy and Apartheidwhich the Department launched in Zoom last month.

The book discusses various descriptions of the Israeli political sphere. It begins with a tale on how a tourist who visits Israel will be shocked by the status of the population living in Area C in the West Bank, the Oslo II accord administrative division of the West Bank outside Areas A and B. He wrote, “our visitor will likely find it very difficult to decide whether Israel is a democracy or not.” If the visitor is a political scientist, he will wonder “whether democracy is a relevant concept for analyzing the Israeli regime.” This political scientist might even question where exactly Israel is, or “is the Israeli regime limited only to the territory over which it holds formal sovereignty or does it include the entire territory under its various forms of control and influence?… in light of these contradictory elements and how to decide on the borders of the Israel regime.” 

In an interview with Dr. Dov Waxman, the director of the Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at UCLA, Ariely said, “the claim that Israel is apartheid is a very, very strong argument in the case of the political implications of the situation in Israel.”  

Ariely should note that Israel is not an apartheid. Clearly, apartheid refers to racial segregation which is not the case here. Second, the Palestinian Territories in the West Bank and Gaza are at war with Israel since its founding. Third, the Palestinian Territories are not democratic while some of their population lives in areas that are intertwined with Israeli population. The parties signed the Oslo Accord II agreement in response to this unique case.

Ariely is also a part of the growing group of scholars who promotes Holocaust reductionism, minimizing the scale of the catastrophe of the Holocaust by equating it to other political crimes. Ariely is using it to discuss the plight of African asylum seekers in Israel.    

His article “Historical analogies under dispute: Reactions of Israeli Jews to analogies between the Holocaust and the plight of African asylum seekers in Israel” is a case in point. Ariely discusses some “historical analogies,” where he analyzes responses by Israeli Jews to comparisons between the “situation of African asylum seekers” in Israel and Holocaust Jewish victims. For this, Ariely quotes a letter written in 2018 by some Holocaust survivors against the proposed forced deportation of asylum seekers.

Ariely conducted a “population-based survey” during the Holocaust Remembrance Days to evaluate whether attitudes toward the expulsion of asylum seekers were affected by the analogy.” He found that “Respondents who identity [sic] with the right wing and hold nationalist views who believe in Israel’s superiority over other nations were less likely to accept an historical comparison with the Holocaust. They rejected the idea that the Jewish experience of the Holocaust requires Israel to include asylum seekers. In fact, their responses to the historical analogy implied that it created a backlash among them, as it challenged their belief in the uniqueness of the Holocaust.”

He then moves on to describe the “African asylum seekers and the mobilization of Holocaust analogies.”  He suggests that “The fundamental logic behind Israel’s immigration and asylum policy is to include Jews and exclude non-Jews from the possibility of settling in Israel.” In the 2000s, Israel faced an influx of asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan through the Egyptian border.  According to Ariely, the “Israeli policy regarding asylum is to prevent the entry of individuals who threaten the Jewish identity and Jewish character of the state. Israel is, therefore, committed to preventing the recognition of those people who crossed into the country from Egypt as refugees… Most of the asylum seekers have not been treated as individuals in need of protection but defined as ‘infiltrators,’ dangerous citizens of an ‘enemy state’ who should be arrested, detained, and deported.”   

Ariely proceeds to promote the so-called “counter-discourse,” which “endeavors to draw a parallel between the suffering of the refugees and that of the Jews during the Holocaust and to deconstruct the economic threat of this migration. Asylum seekers as well as NGOs have used the Holocaust narrative to create a welcoming environment for African refugees living in Israel, employing a discourse based on the ‘kinship of genocide.’” They use slogans such as “We are all refugees” and “The never again is here again,” comparing the plight of the Eritreans and Sudanese to Jews escaping from the Holocaust.   The Israeli government’s proposed forced deportation of African asylum seekers in 2018 intensified the ways in which Holocaust analogies were used in public discourse to challenge the policy, even to the point of breaking the law and hiding asylum seekers from the authorities.” 

Ariely is also a member of the group “Democratic Erosion,” claiming that “Recent years have witnessed a deluge of commentary warning of imminent threats to democracy in the US, the West and the world. In the US, this rhetoric has become especially heated with the rise of Donald Trump. Is American democracy really under threat? What about democracy in the West, or the world more generally? If democracy is under threat, what can we do about it? And if it’s not under threat, why are so many of us so worried that it is? The Democratic Erosion consortium aims to help answer these questions through a combination of teaching, research, and civic and policy engagement.”

Ariely joined the Politics and Government Department in 2012, exactly when the Department promised to hire bona fide political scientists, unlike the “activists” that populated the Department and brought it to the brink of academic bankruptcy.  Judging by his writings, he has faithfully continued the radical activist tradition of the Department. 

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Gal Ariely <galariel@bgu.ac.il>
Date: Wed, Mar 31, 2021 at 12:11 PM
‪Subject: [Politics] הזמנה לאירוע השקת הספר “המשטר הישראלי בין דמוקרטיה ואפרטהייד” , אפריל 11‬
To: Politics@listserver.cc.huji.ac.il <politics@listserver.cc.huji.ac.il>

 ספרו של גל אריאלי “המשטר הישראלי בין דמוקרטיה ואפרטהייד” יושק באירוע מקוון  ביום ראשון 11/4/21 1400-1600. האירוע בהנחיית פרופ’ אילת הראל-שליו ובהשתתפות אורית קדר, פרופ’ דוד לוי-פאור ופרופ’ תמר הרמן. פרטים נוספים ופלייר לרכישת הנחה בצרופות.

לרישום לאירוע
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https://assets.cambridge.org/97811088/45250/excerpt/9781108845250_excerpt.pdf
Cambridge University Press
978-1-108-84525-0 — Israel’s Regime Untangled
Gal Ariely
Excerpt
More Information
© in this web service Cambridge University Press www.cambridge.org
Introduction
A tourist arriving in 2018 to Jerusalem – the declared but internationally
unrecognized capital of Israel – might visit the Knesset, the Israeli
parliament. Here, the tourist might encounter Member of Knesset
(MK), Hanin Zouabi, an Arab-Palestinian citizen of Israel who has
represented the Arab party Balad for almost a decade. As a member of
this party – many of whose members openly declare their sympathy
with those Israeli Jews perceive to be Israel’s most intransigent
enemies – Zouabi participated in the 2010 Marmara Flotilla that
sought to defy the Israeli blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza
Strip. Accused by Jewish MKs of being a traitor, numerous attempts
were made to oust her from the Knesset and prevent her and the Balad
party from reelection. These efforts were blocked by the Supreme
Court and Zouabi was reelected in both 2013 and 2015. Her political
activities are not, however, limited to the conflict, and her feminist
agenda challenges the exclusive authority over personal status held by
the religious (Jewish and Islamist) courts that undermines gender
equality. Despite her strong political commitment, Zouabi did not
run in the April 2019 elections, but her Balad party continued to take
part in the elections.
Continuing eastward from the Knesset, our visitor enters East
Jerusalem, a territory Israel occupied from Jordan in 1967 and subsequently
annexed – an area that is also designated as the future capital
of the Palestinian state. At present, the majority of East Jerusalem
Palestinians – around 37 percent of the city’s population – are not
Israeli citizens. Just over one-third of the residents of the self proclaimed
“united capital” of Israel are thus excluded from citizenship,
lacking the right to vote for the Israeli parliament which is located
in their city. Wandering around East Jerusalem, the tourist will pass by
areas with a strong visible presence of the Israeli state and neighborhoods
beyond fences and walls with scant manifestation of the state.
Proceeding on the tour, our visitor then reaches territory that
1
challenges the definition of Israel as a democracy even more significantly:
the West Bank. Occupied in 1967, about 40 percent of this
region has been under the (partial and limited) control of the
Palestinian Authority since the 1990s, while the remaining 60 percent
continues to be directly governed by Israel, albeit not formally annexed
like East Jerusalem. In the West Bank, there is a dual legal system: one
for Jewish settlers as Israeli citizens and another for Palestinians as
subjects, challenging the classification of Israel as a democracy yet
more. However, while strolling around the West Bank and passing
through Israeli checkpoints and meeting the Palestinian Authority
police, the visitor might find it hard to understand where Israel begins
and where it exactly ends.
What is our tourist to make of these circumstances? On the one
hand, the reactions to Zouabi’s views and actions demonstrate just
how far short Israel falls with respect to one of the fundamental
requirements of established liberal democracies, namely, political tolerance.
On the other hand, despite efforts to disqualify her, Zouabi
was twice reelected and her party is still part of the Knesset. Although
framed as a traitor and constantly struggling for her seat in the
Knesset, she remains within the Israeli parliamentary system. Her
citizenship enables her to be elected to the Knesset, while the
Palestinians in Jerusalem are denied this right and the Palestinians in
the West Bank are denied both civil and political rights. Having
traveled the country, our visitor will likely find it very difficult to
decide whether Israel is a democracy or not, given that the regions
visited, the people met, and the institutions and practices encountered
provide evidence of diverse types of regimes with inherent
contradictions.
If a political scientist, our visitor might wonder what can explain
such a close intertwining of democratic and undemocratic, liberal and
illiberal elements, and possibly even ponder whether democracy is a
relevant concept for analyzing the Israeli regime at all. This political
scientist might even question where exactly Israel is, noticing that the
state lies beyond the regular constitutional or juridical order in which
there is a political entity with clear borders. Is the Israeli regime limited
only to the territory over which it holds formal sovereignty or does it
include the entire territory under its various forms of control and
influence? The visitor’s first challenge in the attempt to make sense of
what is seen in this tour has two components: how to classify the Israeli

regime in light of these contradictory elements and how to decide on
the borders of the Israel regime. If the visitor stays in Israel for a longer
period, questions might also emerge concerning what factors shape the
regime and how, despite the inherent tensions and contradictions, the
regime remains fairly stable.
This book is an attempt to address such wonderings by focusing on
three questions:
1. How can the Israeli regime be classified?
2. What are the borders of the Israeli regime?
3. What are the key factors that shape the regime and support its
relative stability?
The question of how the Israeli regime can be classified is not new.
There are various conflicting classifications of Israel. While it is frequently
regarded and analyzed as a democracy (Lijphart 1984;
Sprinzak and Diamond 1993), it is also classified as undemocratic
(Jeenah 2018), an “ethnocracy” (Yiftachel 2006), a “herrenvolk democracy”
(Benvenisti 1988), or an “apartheid regime” (Greenstein
2012). Between these extremes, it is variously labeled as a limited type
of democracy, an “ethnic” (Smooha 1990) or “illiberal” democracy
(Peleg 2007). This book is not looking to suggest the correct classification
of the Israeli regime; instead, I argue that the Israel case illustrates
the analytical weakness of the concept of democracy in the context of
disputed regimes. There is an inherent challenge in the classification of
a regime as a whole in cases that deviate from the model of established
liberal democracies or rigid authoritarianism, which undermines the
efficacy of the concept of democracy as an analytical tool for studying
regimes.
Using the Israeli case to illustrate this, I follow the approach that
calls for disaggregating democracy into specific dimensions (Coppedge
et al. 2011). The term “democraticness” is the pivot for this approach;
neither a typology nor a classification of a specific form of regime,
democraticness describes a continuum along which are situated more
and less democratic systems of government. By looking at diverse
aspects of the Israeli regime, it seeks to determine the level of
democraticness exhibited rather than classifying the regime as a whole.
This shift of focus from a “closed” definition of democracy to the
disaggregated examination of levels of democraticness across different
dimensions provides better analytical leverage, allowing an
3
exploration of both the thin minimalist components and the more
extensive thick elements of democracy. These are analyzed across three
dimensions: (1) political contestation – the procedural and institutionalized
arrangements for political competition for power; (2) protection
– the defense of citizens against arbitrary state activity; and (3)
coverage – the extent to which the entire population can participate in
political processes and enjoy protection from the state without segmentation
or sectorization. The levels of democraticness of these dimensions
are used to sketch the Israel regime, offering a disaggregated view
of the regime that also illustrates a novel perspective on the third
question, namely, the key factors shaping the regime and supporting
its stability.
The question regarding the borders of the Israeli regime is also not
new. The bulk of the existing scholarly literature has addressed what is
termed Israel proper – a unit that does not include the Occupied
Territories (Sasley and Waller 2017). This approach is also in line with
the classifications of Israel in cross-national regime indexes. Though
less common, the Israel/Palestine definition is offered as a critical
alternative to the focus on Israel proper (Azoulay and Ophir 2012;
Ghanem et al. 1998). The location of Israel’s borders defines the unit of
analysis, and that definition determines how the regime is classified; in
other words, determining the unit of analysis as Israel proper or as
Israel/Palestine establishes the nature of the regime as a democracy/
diminished democracy or a type of non-democracy, respectively.
I argue that the justifications advanced for the choice of borders are
rather limited. This flawed approach can be rectified by a conceptual
discussion on the notions of state and regime – a discussion that will
lead to an alternative classification of the unit of analysis. A conceptual
elaboration shows that the units of Israel proper or Israel/Palestine
cannot be used to define the borders of the regime. I propose instead a
spatial analysis that divides the Israeli regime into different zones of
control at different time periods.
The first two questions focus on the question of the classification of
the Israeli regime, namely, what is the appropriate notion for describing
the regime. Much less attention has been given in the existing
literature to the third question. Most studies that focus explicitly on
the Israeli regime have overlooked this question of the key factors
shaping the regime and supporting its stability, while comparative
studies of regimes rarely include the case of Israel. I suggest moving

away from just debating regime classification, i.e., naming the dependent
variable, toward examining independent variables that shape the
regime and explain its stability.
There are dozens of potential explanations of the Israeli regime. The
major distinction between such explanations in the literature is
between actors and macro factors (see Linz and Stepan 1996). Actors
in the case of Israel could be institutions like the military and the
Supreme Court or politicians like David Ben-Gurion or Benjamin
Netanyahu. Macro factors could be economic development, political
culture, geostrategic environment, and others. This book does not
offer a complete account of all the factors that shape the Israeli regime;
a comprehensive inspection would require several books. Instead,
I focus on just two key contextual factors: the conflict and state
capacity. I illustrate how the Arab–Israeli conflict shapes the regime
in order to demonstrate how the disaggregated view offers new
insights for the link between the conflict and the regime – insights
overlooked by previous accounts that analyzed the regime as a
whole. I suggest that the relative stability of the regime as well as
some changes in the levels of democraticness and zones of control
can be explained by state capacity and offer an outline of how the
ability of the state to “get things done” via coercive and administrative
capabilities sustains the regime’s stability despite the various
challenges.
This book thus provides a comprehensive account of the Israeli
regime according to a comparative politics framework on regimes. It
contributes to the field by providing a better understanding of the
Israeli case, its inherent contradictions notwithstanding. Beyond the
specific Israeli case, it also illustrates the pros and cons of this framework
for analyzing disputed regimes.
A Note on the Method
In order to answer the aforementioned three questions, this book
adopts a comprehensive outlook which is based primarily on previous
studies on regime and on Israel. The book does not explore new
archival sources, interview key actors, or generate any novel data.
The answers to the three questions are instead grounded on the theoretical
framework, and the conceptual discussion is based on reviews of
previous accounts of the regime.
A Note on the Method 5
Cambridge University Press
978-1-108-84525-0 — Israel’s Regime Untangled
Gal Ariely
Excerpt
More Information
© in this web service Cambridge University Press www.cambridge.org
The answer to the question concerning the classification of the Israeli
regime follows an overview of what can be termed the local debate on
the topic. It shows that very few studies have provided explicit descriptions
of the assumptions and premises on which their arguments rely.
In addition, the majority of studies have made rather limited use of the
literature on regime conceptualization and classification, and their
primary goal appears to have been determining whether or not Israel
is a democracy. Beyond the local debate, I show how cross-national
regime indexes, the benchmark for studying regimes, cannot be used to
circumvent the challenges of Israel’s classification. Once challenges to
the definition of democracy are taken into account, the debate of the
general classification of the Israeli regime can never be conclusively
resolved. Instead, conflicting interpretations of the Israeli regime can be
bypassed by following the current trend in studies of regimes: disaggregated
analyses of different levels of democraticness across different
dimensions. The conceptual discussion is therefore used here to offer
an alternative outlook on the Israeli regime.
In a similar way, the question of the unit of analysis, namely,
borders, is based on a discussion about the concept of state and regime.
This conceptual elaboration shows that the units of Israel proper or
Israel/Palestine cannot be used to define the borders of the regime;
instead, a spatial analysis is required, which divides the Israeli regime
into different zones of control at different time periods. The description
of the regime, the discussion of the impact of the conflict, and the
elaboration of state capacity as key explanations for the regime’s
relative stability are all based on ideas gathered from previous studies
conducted by prominent scholars of Israel. My added value here is the
integration of these perspectives into a general discussion of the regime
through theoretical lenses.
The discussion of the key factors which shape the regime also
follows the theoretical framework from the existing literature on
regimes and democratization. Its inherent limitations should therefore
be clear from the outset. Explanations for democraticness are limited.
Despite the fact that political regimes have been studied for decades, it
is clear that the knowledge in this field is “partial, probabilistic, conditional
and forever, and always provisional” (Coppedge 2012: 326).
The only thing that is clear by now is that there is no general theory for
regimes and that even the most common explanations, like economic
development, are subject to debate (Morlino 2012). Furthermore, part
6 of the debate on the explanations of democratization is caused by the
challenges to defining and measuring democracy that are emphasized
when discussing the Israeli case. Therefore, it should be understood
that any attempts to offer definitive explanations of the Israeli regime’s
levels of democraticness are limited.
A Note on the Israeli Case
One glance at the academic literature on the Israeli regime and our
wandering tourist might be even more confused. Not only can the
regime be classified along an extensive spectrum that is anchored by
liberal democracy on one end and proceeds through different types of
partial or diminished democracy before reaching the opposite end of
the spectrum that is occupied by non-democracy, but there are different
frameworks for understanding Israel from the very start.
According to one approach, Israel should be analyzed as a so-called
normal state that doesn’t differ much from countries elsewhere. Put
differently, there is no need for a special framework to analyze Israel,
and issues like the place of the Palestinian citizens of Israel in the state
can be analyzed from the perspective of general majority–minority
relations that can be found across many countries. This approach is
common among many Israeli scholars and can be found in journals
like Israel Studies as well as key publications by political scientists
(see, for example, Lijphart 1984; Sprinzak and Diamond 1993). Not
surprisingly, this approach tends to view Israel as a democracy.
A completely different approach proposes that the colonial/postcolonial
framework is a more suitable way of studying Israel and
Palestine. Israel should be understood as a settler colonial society
(Busbridge 2018), and therefore the Palestinian citizens of Israel
should not be analyzed from the perspective of majority–minority
relations but as part of an ongoing colonial situation. This approach
can be found mainly among Palestinian and Arab scholars (see, e.g.,
Rouhana and Huneidi 2017) and in journals such as Settler Colonial
Studies and Journal of Palestine Studies. According to this approach,
only wide-scale decolonization can transform the Israeli nondemocratic
apartheid regime into a democracy. These two perspectives
differ fundamentally and are subject to methodological and
epistemological polemics across various disciplines (see, e.g.,
Ghanim 2018; Peled 2017; Sternberg 2016; Zureik 2016). Beyond
7
such debates, however, they don’t usually engage with one another as
they exist in isolated academic circles.
These opposing perspectives are not just manifestations of a theoretical
debate; after all, the classification of the regime has broad political
implications. A country’s definition as a democracy or non-democracy
can have far-reaching effects on its internal and external legitimization.
Regime classification has thus evolved into a highly politicized discussion
(Munck 2009), and for countries that are neither clearly democratic
nor authoritarian, this issue is fiercely contested. Israel’s
categorization as a democracy could therefore be viewed as promoting
the legitimization of its regime; defining it as a non-democracy, on the
other hand, may call its legitimacy into question while indicating the
need for a radical regime change. Categorization as a democracy is
beneficial to many states but for Israel it is especially crucial given its
alliance with the United States and its use of “the only democracy in
the Middle East” slogan for international legitimization.
This book has chosen to follow insights from previous studies
regardless of whether their framework is based on the assumption that
Israel is a normal state or a settler colonial society. I have used a tight
conceptual discussion following studies from both approaches to provide
a comprehensive account of the Israeli case. I do not advance any
claims about the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the Israeli regime, preferring
to use theoretical lenses for a better understanding of the three
overarching questions. Nor do I have any claims about the social
groups mentioned in the analysis. For example, Palestinian citizens of
Israel, Palestinian subjects, and the Jewish settler movement are all
framed as potential challenges to the stability of the Israeli regime in
the discussion on state capacity. Combining these three groups is not
based on any normative argument about their actions and motivations
nor is there any implicit assumption that they should be viewed on a
parallel level; they are simply used to emphasize the functions of
state capacity.
Outline of the Book
The attempt to answer the question about the classification of the
Israeli regime starts with a comprehensive review of previous
classifications. Chapter 1 reviews these classifications while focusing
on two fundamental questions: the definition of democracy and the

parameters of the unit of analysis. It provides a detailed description of
the local dispute among students of Israel and examines the way in
which Israel is categorized in cross-national regime indexes. It thus
exposes the limits of attempts to classify the Israel regime, arguing that
this debate can never be conclusively resolved.
An attempt to bypass the inherent limitations in the debate about
classification takes place in Chapters 2 and 3. Chapter 2 maintains that
the way in which the concept of democracy is usually employed limits its
potential analytical leverage and argues for the need to shift the focus
from classification to a multidimensional understanding of democraticness
with three proposed dimensions. It demonstrates that the use of
disaggregated regime dimensions to classify different types of democracies
overcomes the inherent limits of the whole-regime classifications that
have been used in former analyses of Israel and other disputed cases.
A comparative analysis demonstrates that only regimes whose levels of
democracy are not contested can be classified in toto. Chapter 3 moves to
the question of the unit borders, arguing for the need for a spatial analysis
of the Israeli regime across diverse zones of control. It reviews the
answers given to the question of the Israeli regime’s borders to date and
points to their flaws in analyzing the Israeli regime. The changes that have
occurred since the 1990s also challenge clear divisions, especially when
distinguishing between control and influence. Rather than examining
Israel proper or Israel/Palestine, Chapter 3 proposes three spatial zones:
the 1949 borders (1949–2019), Israel and the Occupied Territories from
the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea (1967–1994), and Israel and
parts of the Occupied Territories (1994–2019). Chapter 4 provides a
comprehensive description of the regime across the three regime dimensions
and zones of control via a short historical overview combined with
several indexes that reflect different components of the regime. It shows
that in Israel proper the highest levels of democraticness are in political
contestation followed by protection,while the levels of coverage are much
more limited. The regime in Israel proper is, overall, fairly stable despite
some increase in democraticness after state consolidation and some more
recent signs of possible decline in protection and coverage. In the
Occupied Territories, on the other hand, the levels of democraticness
are minimal in the dimension of political contestation and coverage and
highly limited in the area of protection. The regime in the Occupied
Territories is not as stable as the regime in Israel proper due to changes
in the zones of control.
Outline of the Book 9
Cambridge University Press
978-1-108-84525-0 — Israel’s Regime Untangled
Gal Ariely
Excerpt
More Information
© in this web service Cambridge University Press www.cambridge.org
Chapters 1 to 4 are thus the attempts to offer an alternative perspective
on the classification and borders of the Israeli regime. This perspective
is subsequently used to discuss the key factors which shape the
regime in Chapters 5 and 6. Chapter 5 explains the function of the
conflict in shaping the regime’s democraticness across different dimensions
and the ways it influences the regime’s zones of control via a
review of the main theoretical frameworks for understanding conflicts
and regimes. As this specific conflict has external and internal dimensions,
I inspect both, before outlining the main elements of the conflict,
explaining how these dimensions are interlinked and offering an
explanation of how the conflict has shaped the regime. Despite the
conflict and the potential for instability, the regime is, by and large,
quite stable. Changes in the levels of democraticness have been fairly
modest, and the gaps between the different dimensions of democracy
are also quite stable; the major change in the regime has been in its
zones of control. Chapter 6 outlines state capacity as a possible explanation
for this general stability and emphasizes the importance of the
state in explaining the regime. After clarifying the concept of state
capacity and its relationship with regime stability and reviewing the
historical origins of the Israeli state capacity, it discusses the ways that
state capacity sustains the regime despite the various challenges. Three
such challenges are discussed: the internal aspect of the conflict, the
challenge to state authority from political tensions among Jews, and
the ways that the zones of control shifted under the limited ability of
state capacity to ensure direct control of the entire Occupied
Territories. In the conclusion, I highlight the book’s contribution to
understanding Israel as well as other disputed cases, including a discussion
on the implications of the key arguments.
10 Introduction

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https://www.international.ucla.edu/israel/articletranscript/237873

Transcript of Israel In Depth podcast

Host: Dov Waxman

Guest: Gal Ariely

Dov Waxman: Welcome to Israel in Depth, where scholars, policymakers, and leading experts come to discuss topics about Israel in depth. You’re listening to a podcast by the Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at UCLA. I’m Dov Waxman, the director of the Nazarian Center and the host of this podcast. Joining me for this episode of Israel in Depth is Gal Ariely. He’s a senior lecturer in the Department of Politics and Government at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. And his new book, Israel’s Regime Untangled: Between Democracy and Apartheid, has just been published by Cambridge University Press. Welcome to Israel in Depth. So let me begin by asking you, why did you write this book? What was your motivation for writing this book?

Gal Ariely: I like this question. I think that — when you look at the case of Israel as someone who is engaged in Israel, or as a scholar or who is interested in the Israeli case, or someone like me who lives in Israel and who is deeply influenced by her politics in many spheres of life. It’s sort of a puzzle. It’s sort of a puzzle because when you look at Israel, there are many questions that you don’t — at least I don’t have very clear answers to them. And I wanted to use my knowledge as a political scientist who works in the field of comparative politics and studies of regime and to see to what extent, or in what way, I can use this knowledge in order to better understand the Israeli case. Not only the classification of the regime, but also to what extent the knowledge that we have in political science about the nature of regimes. Their stabilities, their changes in regimes can better help us to clarify the Israeli case. This was my original motivation in trying to write this book. And I have to admit that although I just published it a two weeks ago, it’s still a positive case. I’m not sure that I revealed most of the of the puzzle, but at least I tried to shed light on some aspects on the Israeli regime.

Waxman: So in your book, I think what it seems that you’re trying to do is to is to reframe the the current debate that’s been going on both in Israel and overseas, including within academia, the debate over whether Israel is in fact, a democracy. I mean, there’s this ongoing debate over Israel’s democratic status, a debate that has flared up in the news recently, following the recent report by the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, which I’m sure, you know, which came out and said that Israel is essentially an apartheid regime. Now, how does your book try to reframe this debate? Or what in your view is wrong with the way the debate over whether Israel’s a democracy is currently held?

Ariely: Well, as you clarify, the debate or the way to classify the Israeli regime is not new. It’s going on in the literature for more than I know — like 30 years. There are very different classifications. Go all the way from a democracy, illiberal democracy, or some diminished type of democracy, and all the way up to different versions of non-democracy regimes like an apartheid regime. And I think that when you look on all these classifications, and you go just through the literature, and different ways scholars have tried to address the Israeli case, you can find that in most cases — not all cases, of course, but in most cases — it seems that the way the regime is classified is a little bit detached from political science literature’s about how we classify regime from the first place. And when you try to connect the debate for the current understanding of the regime classification in comparative politics literature, you find that in many ways, the attempt to offer an overall definition of a regime is problematic by itself. It’s problematic by itself because, in many ways, the concept of democracy by itself. Again, it’s the most important concept in political science, probably was one of the most important concepts in political science. But it also it has some inherent weaknesses, at least analytical weaknesses, because in the political science literature, regardless of the Israeli case, there is a very long debate about how we should classify democracy from the first place. And I’ve tried in the book to show that any attempt to offer a definite definition of the regime overlooks the ways, the current standing of regimes, the current standing of democracy in political science. So in a sense, I’m not trying to offer a correct definition of the regime, because I don’t think that there is a possibility for a methodological point of view. Instead, I offer to look at it in different ways or in different framing of the debate from the beginning – from the outset.

Waxman: Right. So if I’m understanding the question that’s often asked, you know, is Israel a democracy or not? This can be framed in either-or terms…is the wrong kind of question. Instead of trying to make a decision, yes, Israel is a democracy. No, it isn’t. We should really be asking, in what respects is Israel a democracy? Or how democratic is Israel, rather than whether or not. And so your book is focusing on on the degrees of Israel’s democracy, or its dimensions of democracy rather than a kind of either or proposition. It is or isn’t that democratic. Is that is that correct?

Ariely: Yeah, because, again, from a political point of view — and when you look on from a normative point of view, from a political point of view — it’s very reasonable to ask if a country is a democracy or not, because it has a lot of political normative implications. But if you want to analyze the regime, not just to give it a name, not just to use the name, in order to justify or condemn the regime. If you want to understand the regime, the either note — perceptions or the attempt to offer a unique name to the Israeli case — have limits. I don’t think it’s wrong. I don’t think it’s wrong to offer classification of the regime. Again, the literature on the different classification have, of the Israeli regime, have a lot of merits. But in a way, the ability to use it in order to explain an aspect of the regime, is a bit limited. So what I propose is, instead of a clear definition of the regime, I propose to look on the level of ‘democraticness’ of the regime. The level of extent it is a democracy across different dimensions of democracy. Across different spheres of democracy. Across different aspects of democracy. And also across different zones of control. Because one of the debate, which is very clear in the Israeli case, is a question what exactly is the border of the regime? There are different answers to the question. And, of course, different answers lead to different classification of the regime from the outset. So I propose just to disentangle, disaggregate the perceptions of the old regime to different spheres, different level of ‘democraticness’ lists, and different zones of control.

Waxman: So I’m just picking up this different zones of control. And I think you’re alluding to the distinction, if you like between the regime within Israel proper or within the green line, and the regime in the occupied territories, in the West Bank, and East Jerusalem and maybe Gaza Strip as well. So do you then distinguish between these as two distinct regimes? The regime within the green line…the one Israel…and the regime, an Israeli regime, but a distinct regime from in the occupied territories?

Ariely: Well, I think that the key to understanding where exactly is the Israeli regime is to offer a very, very delicate distinction from the outset, form control, and influence. If you look on all the entire territory, what the so-called between the Jordan and the sea — Israel/Palestine — you can see that it’s a zone where there is direct control of Israel in what is called Israel proper, in East Jerusalem, and also in most of the part of the “C” zone in the West Bank where Israel has actual direct control. But when it comes to Gaza, and to some extent, also the Palestinian enclaves under the control of the Palestinian Authority, there is a very, very strong Israeli influence. But it’s not direct control. It’s something else. So the level of ‘democraticness’ of the regime is different in Israel proper. It’s different in East Jerusalem and “C” zone. And I think that Gaza is out of the definition of the regime. Again, a lot of influence of the regime, but not direct control. And when it comes to the Palestinian enclave, again, it’s an indirect control. So I’m not sure it’s part of the regime….

Waxman: So in that sense, you would reject the kind of, you know, claim that’s often made today that there’s a one-state reality between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. That effectively, there was only one state. Well, your analysis is kind of looking at this as a range of influence — from direct control to indirect influence.

Ariely: I’m not totally rejecting the idea of one-state reality because it really depends on how you understand the state. Right? It will depend on how you define a state from the outset. If you understand a state is a mechanism of bureaucratic control. So in a sense, Israel has influence also in the some aspects of the Palestinians enclaves, and also, to some extent, also some aspects of the Gaza…in the Gaza Strip, and it’s so much stronger democratic control on East Jerusalem and on “C” zone. But it’s not clear cut because I think that’s describing all the territory Gaza,  Nablus, Bethlehem, East Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and West Jerusalem, as one state. Again, it’s maybe has some important political implications. But from an analytical point of view, it really overlooks differences, which I think, are very relevant to understanding the regime between these spheres of influence and control. So I don’t think there is a clear-cut border that you can say this is Israel proper; this is a regime which is outer. And also there is not a very clear-cut border between a one-state reality in all the territory, including Gaza and the Palestinians enclave as it was before the….

Waxman: So I wonder, I mean, extending this, this analysis to think about, you know, degrees of control and the extent of bureaucratic control. Could you not go even further and say the same holds true even within Israel proper? I mean, you can take certain areas where the ultra-orthodox reside. And we’ve seen over the last number of months in Israel, where the resistance to members of the ultra-orthodox community to some of the regulations and restrictions imposed by the ..battling the COVID pandemic, that even within Israel itself, there are limits to the Israeli state’s bureaucratic control over certain parts.

Ariely: Well, I think that most states control or the ability of states to now commonly described as state capacity. The idea of states to implement policy, not only in Israel, but in many other countries, especially not countries which are in dispute… change between the center and the periphery and between different groups in society. It’s not something which is unique to Israel. But there should be a distinction between the capacity to implement public policy and the level of ‘democraticness’. The level of democraticness’ is the same, by in large, for the ultra-orthodox and for the non-orthodox inside Israel proper and also outside Israel proper in the settlements — the orthodox settlements in the occupied territories. When it comes to ‘democraticness’ in the spheres of political competition instead of limited illiberal rights, some of them exist in Israel. And it’s different from the ability of the state to implement their policy.

Waxman: I see – that’s an important distinction. So in terms of this ‘democraticness,’ in what areas, in what domains do you see, do you think Israel’s democratic is strongest, is most democratic? And in what areas or domains is it weakest?

Ariely: Well, as previous analyses have already shown, and I am not saying anything new here. The stronger aspect of the Israeli democracy it’s in the level of the political competition, in the inclusiveness of the election. Again, I’m talking only on the aspect of the regime, which is allowing people to petition. I’m not including East Jerusalem or zone “C” which are part of the regime. I’m talking only on this first, well, from the outset, there is a possibility of political competition. And this is the strongest aspect of the Israeli democracy. And when you go and look on, for example, on the liberal aspect of the Israeli democracy on the….you explore the defense of citizens against the state. The liberal aspect of democracy. It’s much more weaker. We have for many of course, many aspects. The liberal aspects or the liberal elements of the Israeli democracy are much more limited. And when you look at the extent to which there is coverage ….to what extent the entire population can participate in the political process and enjoy protection from the state without segmentation and securitization. This is the lowest aspect of Israel democracy when it comes to questions of the relation between Jews and Arabs in Israel proper. These are the most lowest levels of democracy. And again, of course, they’re quite stable. There are some changes, but they are quite stable. And again, we have an election next week in Israel, so we can see that there is also some ongoing decline in the liberal aspect of democracy in the last 10 years, 5 years. Depends how you exactly define it. But by and large, these three dimensions there’s a gap between them, but they’re rather stable across the years.

Waxman: So that was – you anticipated my next question. I was…I mean….myself and others have written about a kind of process of democratic backsliding occurring in Israel. A term that political scientists have used to describe developments in places like Hungary and Turkey and Poland, India, even the United States. Do you agree with this? Or are you saying that, actually, you know, Israel, Israeli democracy has always been illiberal in terms of the rights or freedoms of the individual? But really, it’s actually been, it’s actually fairly stable. And these concerns are exaggerated about democratic backsliding.

Ariely: I think it’s a very, very good question. And I’ve a seminar with my students under the title, “Is Israel’s Democracy Backsliding?” And we are debating this question for two years by now. And I think that it’s really depends how you understand backsliding or democratic backsliding from the beginning. As you know, it’s not a solid concept in the literature. And even different definitions or different understanding of what democratic backsliding would lead to different results. So I’m not sure that we can say, yes, there is democratic backsliding in Israel, to the extent that there was in Turkey for sure, or even to the extent that we can locate in Hungary or even in Poland. I’m not sure this is the case. I think it’s much, much more debatable. But from the outset, the concept of democratic backsliding, in a way, assumes liberal democratic forms from the first place. There was some advancements like in the 90s of the last century. And one might wonder if what we see now in Israel in the last few years is a democratic backsliding or just a backlash against the liberal forces that try to reshape the country. So I’m not sure it’s a democratic backsliding, or just a debate between very … some aspects of the Israeli regime.

Waxman: So you mentioned that the upcoming election and one of the claims that that have been made by competitors to (Benjamin) Netanyahu is that, you know, Netanyahu is a threat to Israeli democracy. And that this is you know, not just a competition, a political competition between, you know, different political parties, but between kind of democrats and…in Netanyahu’s case it would be autocrat. Do you think that there…that’s misplaced? That in fact, you know, the 10 years that Netanyahu has been in power haven’t really…he hasn’t really threatened Israeli democracy in the way that his critics suggest he has?

Ariely: I think that there are different ways to understand this question. One way would argue that maybe Netanyahu is a threat to Israel’s democracy, but he’s no different than previous prime ministers, which were by and large — the popular ones (those who hold power for a long time) weren’t, I would say, motivated by democratic reasoning. If you compare some incidents of Netanyahu to (Ariel) Sharon. Even to previous prime ministers, you wouldn’t find that they were motivated by the need to strengthen democracy. You know, it’s a bit funny because these days, there’s a lot of nostalgia to Menachem Begin, who is now portrayed as a big democrat. But when Menachem Begin came to power, the Israeli elites viewed him as a direct threat to democracy. And the perception was that if Begin will rule, Israel democracy, or at least the democratic aspect of Israel (because I’m not trying to say that Israel is a democracy). But the democratic aspects that are in Israel will be ruined by Begin because he’s a populist, and he’s etc, etc. And we know that, at least in these aspects of Israel’s democracy, there was an improvement after Begin’s period. So this is one way to understand that. It’s in a way, a nostalgic view of those who worry that Netanyahu…some believe that they were more democratic than he. Another way to understand it that perhaps Netanyahu is just unmasking the illiberal, undemocratic aspect of the Israeli regime in a much bolder way than previous prime minister or previous political elites. So it’s not Netanyahu itself. It is this regime, which again when someone has a grip on power for a long time, he can advance these aspects which are at the heart of this regime. Like the Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People, which again, it wasn’t a project of Netanyahu. It was a project that started with Tzipi Livni in Kadima — or Tzipi Livni was one of the advocates for that. So it’s not necessary Netanyahu itself. Another way to think about it, it’s perhaps Netanyahu because of a unique situation and because the allegation he’s facing to, might be the trigger, might be the actor that will enable the forces that don’t like the liberal aspect of Israeli democracy, or the advances that there were in the position in the status of the high court to change these aspects of a regime and to create backsliding — not in the entire regime, but at least in this aspect, and especially when it comes to the status of the court. So I don’t think there is a simple answer to this question.

Waxman: But I think you’re absolutely right that that we shouldn’t really focus exclusively on Netanyahu or see him as somehow a unique threat to Israeli democracy or the great risk to it. That there are deeper forces that play, and there are other groups that certainly, when it comes to the power of the Supreme Court, have long wanted to reduce the Supreme Court’s power. And in some sense, Netanyahu’s legal trouble has provided them an opportunity to try and challenge the court. I want to turn in the time that we have left to maybe a very tricky topic. Also, in your book, the question of apartheid. And as I mentioned in my introduction, this is not a new question that’s been…not a new allegation that’s been leveled against Israel. It’s been leveled for many years by Palestinians and some of their supporters. But in recent months, B’Tselem — an Israeli human rights organization, a prominent organization — has itself made this allegation. Has itself come out and called Israel essentially an apartheid regime, not just the Israeli military rule in the West Bank, but Israel itself. How do you see this claim of apartheid? I mean, what’s your response to this?

Ariely: I think that my attempt to view if the Israeli regime, as I mentioned at the beginning, is to use perspective that I, as a political scientist, adopt to understand reality. And when we classify regime, when we discuss regime, we don’t just use analog. We don’t just say this regime is like that — Israeli is like an apartheid, Israel is like India, Israel is like the U.S., Israel is like the French. Because such comparisons are not the way we try to analyze the reality when we are doing a political science. So in a sense, I’m not engaged with the debate because B’Tselem, it’s one NGO who claim Israeli is apartheid, and someone else who said, okay, but B’Tselem claimed Israel is apartheid, but Freedom House, which is an NGO who classifies regime for a living, don’t claim that Israel is an apartheid. Classify Israel as an illiberal democracy, or something close to illiberal democracy. So why we can take B’Tselem NGO argument as superior on another NGO argument. And so such debate, it’s not, not my interest. And I think that I would say that even more, the claim that Israel is apartheid is a very, very strong argument in the case of the political implications of the situation in Israel, that’s in many ways, it’s very hard to justify what’s going on in the occupied territories…So I’m not saying…I’m not arguing anywhere, that’s the way such claims are wrong. I’m not in any debate with B’Tselem. My motivation is to expand reality, and if I’m claiming, or if someone is claiming that Israel is apartheid, so the way we can use it to explain issues is very limited. For example, again, we have elections next week, and there is a very strong competition for the Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship – electors. There is a very, very strong competition of them. If I’m claiming that Israel is an apartheid regime, so my ability to explain how could it be that there is such a strong competition, a vote of the Palestinian citizens will be very limited. Because if it is an apartheid regime, so maybe they don’t have free will, they cooperate with the regime who marginalize them. So but why do they do that? Why don’t they use other means in order to challenge the Israeli regime? And if my motivation is not to name Israel, but to understand why in front of all the Israeli policies, in front of all the ongoing inequality, why the very strong political participation among Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, So the concept of apartheid will be very limited in his ability to help me explain it. So this is why I will not use the concept of apartheid. And I also don’t use the concept of democracy because claiming that, yeah, because it is democracy is also very limited, because it ignores the zones that Israel controls and the Palestinian people who don’t have a citizenship who don’t take part in the political process. And I have to understand this as well because this is part of the regime.

Waxman: Absolutely. I think that’s very important that these these labels, these terms, may be useful in political and public debate. But when it comes to serving as an analytical tool, or to actually explain what’s happening, they can often obscure more than they illuminate. And that we really need to have a much more fine-tuned in nuanced approach. And I think, you know, in your book — and in this interview —  you really express very clearly what that would look like and how to take a much more nuanced approach to these very contentious topics. I want to thank you for that and for sharing your knowledge and expertise with our audience. And I encourage everyone to find the book — it’s just come out. So congratulations. The title again is Israel’s Regime Untangled: Between Democracy and Apartheid. You’ve been listening to an episode of Israel in Depth, produced by the UCLA Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. Thank you for listening.
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Gal Ariely

Gal Ariely is senior lecturer at the Department of Politics & Government, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. Employing cross-national analysis and experimental survey research, he examines political attitudes and national identity. In addition, his research addresses methodological questions of measurements across different contexts. He’s currently working on a book project Israeli Democracy: Reality or Myth. The book seeks to untangle the conflicting interpretations of the Israeli regime by focusing on the structural factors shaping the regime rather than seeking to classify it. It’s focus is the question: Which factors undermine and which factors support Israel’s levels of “democraticness” across different dimensions and zones of control.

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Recent years have witnessed a deluge of commentary warning of imminent threats to democracy in the US, the West and the world. In the US, this rhetoric has become especially heated with the rise of Donald Trump.

Is American democracy really under threat? What about democracy in the West, or the world more generally? If democracy is under threat, what can we do about it? And if it’s not under threat, why are so many of us so worried that it is? The Democratic Erosion consortium aims to help answer these questions through a combination of teaching, research, and civic and policy engagement.

Democratic Erosion is a cross-university collaboration that helps students and faculty evaluate threats to democracy both here and abroad through the lens of theory, history and social science.

Since fall 2017, faculty at over 40 universities have taught from the same shared syllabus on democratic erosion. We have also constructed a unique event dataset capturing the symptoms and precursors of democratic erosion across countries and over time, which we have used to conduct research and prepare reports for our partners in the policy community. Our students collaborate on assignments and are expected to engage not only with their peers, but with the public as well.

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Ethnic and Racial Studies
ISSN: 0141-9870 (Print) 1466-4356 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rers20
Remembrance Day influence on national sentiments and hostility towards out-groups: evidence from a panel study in Israel
Gal Ariely
To cite this article: Gal Ariely (2016): Remembrance Day influence on national sentiments and
hostility towards out-groups: evidence from a panel study in Israel, Ethnic and Racial Studies,
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2016.1234629
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2016.1234629
Published online: 10 Oct 2016.
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Remembrance Day influence on national sentiments
and hostility towards out-groups: evidence from a
panel study in Israel
Gal Ariely
The Department of Politics & Government, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva,
Israel
ABSTRACT
While scholars have long emphasized the significant impact of national days on
the masses, the actual impact of national days on people’s national sentiments
have been ignored. This study set out to examine the ways in which exposure to
Remembrance Day impacts national sentiments and hostility towards outgroups.
Unlike previous cross-sectional-design studies, it adopted longitudinal
design in order to explore the actual impact of exposure to Remembrance
Day amongst Israeli Jews. While exposure to Remembrance Day increased the
respondents’ sense of nationalism, neither their level of national identification
and hostility towards out-groups nor the magnitude of the positive link
between nationalism and hostility towards out-groups changed significantly.
While national identification was unrelated to hostility prior to Remembrance
Day, it became negatively related to it on Remembrance Day itself. The
findings shed new light on the prevalent assumption regarding the impact
national days have on public sentiment.
ARTICLE HISTORY Received 20 October 2015; Accepted 31 August 2016
KEYWORDS National identity; nationalism; collective memory; xenophobia; national days; panel design;
Israel
Introduction
More than a century after Memorial Day was officially established, the US Congress
passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act that instituted “a
symbolic act of unity” marking a “National Moment of Remembrance to
honor the men and women of the United States who died in the pursuit of
freedom and peace.”1 The rationale adduced for this move was that
“greater strides must be made to demonstrate appreciation for those loyal
people of the United States whose values, represented by their sacrifices,
are critical to the future of the United States”.
Such acts are common practice in the life of nations, elites making specific
moments part of the national calendar. Remembrance Day is one of a wider
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
CONTACT Gal Ariely galariel@bgu.ac.il
ETHNIC AND RACIAL STUDIES, 2016
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2016.1234629
repertoire of “nationhood performances” that includes national holidays and
the use of national symbols (Woods and Tsang 2014). Congress’s claim that
remembering the fallen is imperative to the nation’s future echoes Anthony
Smith’s assertion that “ceremonial and symbolism help to assure the continuity
of an abstract community of history and destiny” (1991, 78). It is thus no
wonder that scholars have long drawn attention to the significant affect
national days have upon national identity and the construction of a sense
of nationhood (McCrone and McPherson 2009; Elgenius 2011). To date,
however, the majority of studies have focused on the top-down production
of national days by elites (Roy 2006; Hemple 2012; Zuev and Virchow 2014).
This approach is based on the assumption that national days wield a profound
impact on the national identity of the masses, increasing citizen identification
with the nation. This premise rarely being subject to critical investigation,
however, the actual ways in which national days impact people have been
relatively ignored (Fox 2006; Fox and Miller-Idriss 2008). As Jon Fox observes:
“While the scholarship on nationalism has convincingly demonstrated how
national holidays can generate national attachments, they have not shown
how they do generate such attachments” (2014, 38 [original italics]).
Using large-scale surveys, recent studies have focused on national days
themselves and the way in which they are linked to public attitudes and behaviours.
2 While these suggest that national days are related to some aspects of
people’s national identity and out-group attitudes (Meuleman and Lubbers
2013; Fozdar, Spittles, and Hartley 2015; Coopmans, Lubbers, and Meuleman
2015), their cross-sectional design has precluded them from directly examining
the influence exerted by exposure to national days.
Taking Israel as a test case, this study focused on the impact of exposure to
Remembrance Day upon national sentiment, hostility towards asylumseekers,
and attitudes towards the Israeli-Arab conflict. It employed a longitudinal
design to examine the actual impact of Israeli Jews’ exposure to Remembrance
Day. A three-wave panel survey measured national sentiment (national
identification and nationalism), hostility towards asylum seekers, and attitudes
towards the Israeli-Arab conflict several weeks prior to Remembrance Day, on
Remembrance Day itself, and eight weeks later.
The results demonstrate that nearly all Israeli Jews participated in Remembrance
day-related behaviours. Despite the extent of Israeli Jewish exposure
to Remembrance Day, the influence appears to be more limited than
expected. National identification, hostility towards out-groups and attitudes
towards the conflict did not change significantly across time, the magnitude
of the positive link between nationalism and hostility towards out-groups also
remaining the same. Remembrance Day did, however, increase a sense of
nationalism. While national identification was unrelated to hostility towards
out-groups prior to Remembrance Day, it became negatively related to
these feelings on Remembrance Day itself.
2 G. ARIELY
This study contributes not only to an understanding of the influence
exerted by national days in general and Remembrance Day in particular but
also to the study of nationhood. One of the central debates in the nationhood
literature relates to the primordial vs. modernist view of the nation. The latter
adopts a top-down approach that highlights the role elites play in nation
building via such nationhood performances as Remembrance Day. The
former emphasizes the role of the masses in bottom-up processes (Woods
and Tsang 2014). Much of this debate has taken the influence exerted by
national days for granted, failing to adduce any empirical support. The few
recent studies that have looked empirically at the impact of national identity
have been cross-sectional. They were thus unable to estimate the actual effect
of exposure to national holidays. This study explores the impact of Remembrance
Day – a “meeting point” between national subjects and the imagined
collective coordinated by the state via a longitudinal design. The same
respondents from heterogeneous sample of Israeli Jews answered a survey
some weeks prior to Remembrance Day, on Remembrance Day itself, and
eight weeks later. This allowed me to assess the actual influence on Remembrance
Day on their sense of national identification, nationalism, hostility
towards asylum seekers and attitudes towards the Israeli-Arab conflict.
National days, remembrance day, and national identity
National days are specific moments in time a nation holds in celebration or
commemoration of formative events in its history. Rather than constituting
part of the “banal” repertoire of a nation’s everyday reflections (Billig 1995),
they frequently take the form of a nationwide day off from work whose significance
is explicated and reinforced by extensive media commentary, thus
synchronizing – at least temporarily – with citizens’ memories (McCrone
and McPherson 2009; Elgenius 2011; Woods and Tsang 2014). National days
constitute part of the rituals and symbols performed at a specific moment
in the national calendar.
Remembrance Day forms an important part of the repertoire of national
days modern nation-states have evolved. State expansion has led to the institution
of national days of remembrance for those who have died on behalf of
the country as part of its symbolic framework. Specifically, the state’s role in
war commemoration has been heightened by an increase in mass-mobilization
and citizen conscription, the two world wars and enormous sacrifice
they entailed leading directly to the institution of memorial days in many
countries (Mosse 1991). The member-states of the Commonwealth, for
example, observe Remembrance Day every November on the anniversary of
the end of the First World War with official ceremonies and a minute of
silence in honour of the fallen. In the USA, the origins of Memorial Day – a
federal holiday – lie in the civil war.
ETHNIC AND RACIAL STUDIES 3
Remembrance Day commemorates the ultimate sacrifice the nation
demands from its citizens – the laying down of their lives in the service of
their country. This patriotic act attributes not only significance but even a
degree of sanctity to Remembrance Day (Young 1993). The collective commemoration
of those who died on behalf of their nation engages citizens
with the national past, highlighting the deeds of those who gave their lives
in its defence. This differentiates Remembrance Day from other types of
national days or daily symbols and national representations – such as the
flag – which fall into the category of “banal nationalism” (Billig 1995). Remembrance
Days are designed by state elites to promote national identity amongst
their citizens, providing the cognitive and emotional knowledge upon which
the legitimacy of the nation rests and thereby enabling citizens to identify
with fellow co-nationals in a shared experience. They thus serve an important
role in strengthening a sense of national identity (Smith 1981).
Like Remembrance Day, national rituals afford opportunities for the visual
and audible realization of symbolic attachment to the nation, prompting citizens
to remember, re-enact, and re-redefine the national past and enhancing
their emotional attachment to the nation-state. Through the choreographed
exhibition and collective performance of national symbols, those in attendance
are united in a transitory awareness of heightened national cohesion
and solidarity (Smith 1981; Fox and Miller-Idriss 2008). National days are commonly
assumed to wield a profound impact on the national identity of the
masses, increasing citizen identification with the nation and sometimes
strengthening the distinction between members of the nation and outgroups
(Woods and Tsang 2014).
Few studies have examined how national days are related to public sentiment.
One cross-sectional-survey study in Perth, Australia, looked at flagwaving
behaviours on Australia Day, national sentiment, and out-group attitudes
(Fozdar, Spittles, and Hartley 2015). Flag wavers ranked higher on
both the patriotism and nationalism scales, also holding more negative
views towards Muslims and asylum seekers. While the findings from Australia
display significant differences in all aspect of national identity and out-group
attitudes, in the Netherlands one study (Meuleman and Lubbers 2013) found
less clear constructs. This large cross-sectional-survey study investigated the
way in which nationalist attitudes and perceived ethnic threats are related
to national behaviours such as listening to domestic music, voting for farright
parties, and participation in national celebrations and commemorations.
While those who participated in national celebrations and commemorations
were more likely to be proud of their nation, they did not differ with
respect to their feelings of national superiority or perception of cultural/
ethnic threats. Another study in the Netherlands found that participation in
various types of national days – Remembrance Day, Liberation Day, and
Queen’s Day – correlated diversely with feelings of national belonging
4 G. ARIELY
(Coopmans, Lubbers, and Meuleman 2015). Participation in Queen’s Day was
related more strongly to national belonging than Remembrance Day and
Liberation Day – a finding explained by the higher visibility of Queen’s Day.
Overall, these three studies imply that exposure to national days appears to
be related to some aspects of national identity. Their cross-sectional design
precluded them from directly examining the influence exerted by exposure
to national days, however. As Coopmans and her colleagues observe:
…as the current results are based on cross-sectional data, we must be careful
with drawing conclusions that suggest causality. Experimental or longitudinal
data are therefore needed to be able to make more firm conclusions regarding
the direction of the relationship between national day participation and feelings
of national belonging. (2015, 12)
In light of this observation, the current study employed a longitudinal design.
While the impact of national days has been largely neglected to date,
several studies have adopted social-psychology experimental approaches in
order to analyse the casual effects of exposure to national symbols – principally
the flag (Butz 2009). One American study, in which the participants completed
a survey questionnaire in the presence or absence of the American flag,
indicated that the flag increased nationalism but not patriotism (Kemmelmeier
and Winter 2008). Exposure to the Austrian flag increased national pride
and, to a limited extent, nationalism (Gangl, Torgler, and Kirchler 2015). In
India, exposure to the flag increased national identification and a sense of solidarity
(Charnysh, Lucas, and Singh 2015). In contrast, a study in Germany
found that exposure to the German flag did not impact nationalism but did
increase out-group prejudice amongst highly nationalistic respondents
(Becker et al. 2015). Other studies also found that exposure to the flag in
Israel or the USA affected out-group attitudes (Butz, Plant, and Doerr 2007;
Hassin et al. 2007). While these studies evince that exposure to the national
flag indeed impacts some aspects of national identity, they ignored national
days.3
The studies of flag exposure and national holidays conducted to date have
generally overlooked the fundamental distinction between national identification
(sometimes labelled as patriotism) and nationalism (often labelled as
chauvinism). National identification pertains to the level of attachment one
feels with regard to one’s national community. Nationalism is defined as
the feeling that one’s nation is superior to others (Kosterman and Feshbach
1989; Blank and Schmidt 2003; Roccas, Klar, and Liviatan 2006). While
related, the findings indicate that these two dimensions shape attitudes
towards out-groups and other issues in divergent ways. Nationalism is inherently
related to out-group devaluation. While national identification is positively
related to one’s own national group, however, it does not necessarily
involve out-group devaluation (De Figueiredo and Elkins 2003; Raijman
ETHNIC AND RACIAL STUDIES 5
et al. 2008). A longitudinal study in Germany (Wagner et al. 2012) that enabled
the establishment of causality demonstrates that nationalism may increase
out-group devaluation but that out-group devaluation does not increase
nationalism. National-identity negative effect on out-group devaluation was
only evident when nationalism was controlled. In light of these findings,
one may wonder what sort of effect Remembrance Day – a unique type of
national symbol – may exert on national identification and nationalism and
the correlation of these sentiments with attitudes towards out-groups and
towards the conflict in Israel.
National identity and Israeli remembrance day
As in other countries, national identity and collective memory has a profound
impact on attitudes towards out-groups and on the Israeli-Arab conflict in
Israel. Studies evince that nationalism is positively related to hostility
towards various types of out-groups (Canetti-Nisim and Pedahzur 2003;
Raijman et al. 2008; Raijman & Hochman, 2011). Remembering the Holocaust
was found to be associated with increased support for inter-group violence,
being mediated by higher levels of national identification and reducing
support for compromises designed to bring about peace (Canetti et al.
under review).
It is therefore no wonder that the Remembrance Day plays a key role in
moulding Israel national identity. Since its establishment, Israel’s day of commemoration
for those who have died on its behalf has formed a central
element of Israeli civic religion (Liebman and Don-Yih ya 1983). Known as
“Israel’s Remembrance Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror Attacks”,
it takes place according to law between Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance
Day and Independence Day, in close proximity to the Passover feast
that establishes the fundamental, mythical pattern of Jewish history as a
recurring cycle of persecution and redemption. The Holocaust and Heroism
Remembrance Day observed a week earlier commemorates the worst catastrophe
ever to befall the Jewish people. Remembrance Day and Independence
Day mark the fact that a Jewish state willing to go to war to defend
itself is the only viable answer to the persecution of the Jewish people (Handelman
2004).
During Remembrance Day, places of entertainment and restaurants are
closed by law. On its eve, a one-minute siren sounds, a two-minute silence
during another siren being observed at 11:00 on the day itself, people stopping
whatever they are doing and standing in honour of the fallen. Memorial
ceremonies are held across the country at cemeteries, schools, and universities,
radio and TV broadcasting programmes all being dedicated to the
topic throughout the day (Ben-Amos 2003). As the results of the survey indicate,
exposure to Remembrance day-related rituals is widespread.
6 G. ARIELY
Remembrance Day is particularly poignant because of the on-going conflict
in which the country is embroiled, which sees new names added to the
list of casualties each year. Several months before this study was conducted,
for example, Israel was involved in intense conflictual violence in Gaza. Many
studies evincing that increased threat stimulates identification with the nation
and hostility towards out-groups (Huddy et al. 2003; Riek, Mania, and Gaertner
2006), it is reasonable to expect that as occasions on which national conflicts
are remembered Remembrance Days are likely to magnify awareness of
threats to the nation, thereby further heightening their effect. The country’s
involvement in protracted conflict shaping it in the socio-political sphere
(Bar-Tal 2013), exposure to Remembrance Day may be expected to exert a
profound influence upon respondents.
Over all, the expectations are that:
H1: Exposure to Remembrance Day will increase national identification and
nationalism.
H2: Exposure to Remembrance Day will heighten hostility towards out-groups
and attitudes towards the conflict.
H3: Exposure to Remembrance Day will magnify the link between nationalism,
hostility towards out-groups and attitudes towards the conflict.
RQ1: In light of the dissimilarity between the effects of nationalism and national
identification on out-group hostility (Wagner et al. 2012), I will also inspect how
exposure to Remembrance Day affects the link between national identification,
hostility towards out-groups, and attitudes toward the conflict.
Method
Procedure
A three-wave panel design in which the same participants answered identical
questions at three time points via an online questionnaire was employed. T1
was March 2015, five weeks prior to Remembrance Day. Eight hundred and
sixty-seven respondents completed the questionnaire, sixty-seven of whom
were excluded due to an instructional manipulation checks (IMC) failure
(Oppenheimer, Meyvis, and Davidenko 2009) indicating lack of sufficient
attention to the survey questions. T2 was Remembrance Day (22 April
2015). The 800 respondents from T1 were emailed at 11:10, immediately following
the siren. Day beginning at nightfall in Israel, Independence Day formally
begins at 20:00. Data were thus collected up until 19:00 in order to
ensure that T2 data related exclusively to Remembrance Day. T2 consisted
of 535 participants, ten of whom were excluded due to IMC failure.
While T2 was during the Remembrance Day itself the design also allowed
for the possibility of longer impact. The third wave was thus implemented
ETHNIC AND RACIAL STUDIES 7
eight weeks later. Although this interval is rather short, it adopted in order to
isolate the impact of Remembrance Day exposure from other possible events
– for example, conflict-related events common in the Israeli setting – that
might influence the respondents’ national sentiments, attitudes towards
asylum seekers, and opinion of the conflict. During the eight-week interval
(22 April 2015 to 23–25 June 2015) no noteworthy conflict event occurred
that might have impacted the respondents.
T3 consisted of 525 respondents who were invited to participate in the
survey again. Ten respondents dropped out. Ninety-two respondents who
failed the IMC test were not included in the analysis. Five respondents who
indicated no exposure to Remembrance Day practices were also excluded.
The total sample of the three waves I analysed thus consisted of 418 respondents.
The overall panel attrition from T1 to T3 was 52 per cent. The dropout
was unrelated to gender, education, or religiosity.4
Data collection and participants
Studies of national-symbols effects have adopted social-psychology experimental
approaches (Butz 2009) that involve sampling students in labs. The
current study seeking to examine non-lab conditions and a more diverse
sample, the participants were recruited via an online panel, completing an
online questionnaire in exchange for a sum approximating $2. Online
panels conduct web-based surveys amongst respondents who form the
pooled sample. While the sample was heterogeneous (47.5 per cent
women; mean age 43; 15 per cent born outside Israel; 59 per cent secular;
30 per cent high-school education or less; 44 per cent under-average family
income; 21 per cent political left-wing identification), it is not a probability
sample; nor should it be regarded as a representative sample of Jews in Israel.
These limitations notwithstanding, online panels possess two advantages.
Firstly, the evidence indicates that despite demographic differences online
panel and population-based survey experiments yield similar findings (Weinberg,
Freese, and McElhattan 2014; Revilla et al. 2015).5 Likewise, attention
levels and socially desirable response differ only minimally in lab and online
settings (Clifford and Jerit 2014). Secondly, and more importantly, the
online survey allowed collection of data on Remembrance Day itself across
a broad set of participants, respondents being able to use their mobile
phones to answer the questionnaire.6
Exposure to remembrance day
To examine exposure to Remembrance Day, several questions were posed at
T2, pertaining exclusively to behavioural acts related to Remembrance Day in
order to capture participation in its practices. Overall, 79 per cent reported
8 G. ARIELY
watching Remembrance Day-related TV programmes, 81 per cent exposure to
such content on the internet, and 88 per cent discussion of Remembrance Day
with family or friends. More than half of the respondents (51 per cent) participated
in Remembrance Day ceremonies, nearly all (97 per cent) affirming that
they stood during the sirens. These results clearly demonstrate the extraordinary
level of exposure to Remembrance Day practices amongst Israeli Jews.
While they might be biased by socially desirable responding, their accuracy
is suggested by the fact that more than a million and half people – one out
of every five Israeli Jews – visited an army cemetery before or on Remembrance
Day.7
Measures
National identification was measured by four items (adopted from Roccas, Klar,
and Liviatan 2006): “I identify with Israel”; “Israel is an important part of my
identity”; “Israeli identity is more important to me than other types of identity”;
and “It is not important for me to see myself as Israeli” (reserved item).8
Nationalism was also measured by four items (adopted from Roccas, Klar,
and Liviatan 2006; Davidov 2009): “The world would be a better place if
people from other countries were more like Israelis”; “Generally speaking,
Israel is a better country than most other countries”; “In comparison with
other nations, Israel is very moral nation”; and “Other countries can learn a
lot from Israel.”
In line with previous studies, national identification and nationalism were
strongly positively correlated (T1 r = .46; T2 r = .49; T3 r = .52). The scales
were found to be distinct in an EFA analysis, however, and possessed of sufficient
internal reliability (T1 α = .80; T2 α = .85; T3 α = .82. Nationalism: T1 α
= .86; T2 α = .88; T3 α = .89). To further validate the measures, the divergent
validity between nationalism and national identification was examined by
comparing models in which the eight items were loaded on one or two
factors. Model comparison at T1 ΔAIC was 400. At T2, ΔAIC was 446. At T3,
the ΔAIC was 356. At the three time points, the one-factor model was far
from any acceptable-model fit (CFI < .8; RMSEA > .2). CFA across the three
time points (Little 2013) was also used to examine for measurement invariance
over time. Model fits (ΔCFI < .003; ΔRMSEA < .005) are in line with
Chen’s (2007) criteria for mean comparisons.9
Hostility towards out-groups was measured by the endorsement of the exclusion
of asylum seekers scale via four items: “Israel should deport asylum
seekers”; “Asylum seekers must be held in camps while their requests are
being processed”; “Israel should not consider asylum seekers’ requests for
asylum”; and “Israel should be generous towards asylum seekers” (reserved
item). This scale measures public sentiment towards the asylum seekers
who have arrived in Israel in recent years, commonly defined in the official
ETHNIC AND RACIAL STUDIES 9
discourse as “infiltrators” seeking jobs in Israel – a representation that promotes
exclusionist attitudes (Duman 2015; Hochman 2015). The scale’s
internal reliability was sufficient (T1 α = .86; T2 α = .88; T3 α = .87).
Basic attitudes towards the conflict (labelled conflictual attitudes) were
measured via four items partially adopted from Halperin et al. (2011): “I
support territorial compromises with the Palestinians based on the 1967
borders” (reserved item); “I support the partition of Jerusalem for peace”
(reserved item); “Israel has no choice but to attack Iranian nuclear sites”;
and “There will never be peace with the Arabs.” The scale’s internal reliability
was sufficient (T1 α = .82; T2 α = .81; T3 α = .83). A strong positive correlation
existed between conflictual attitudes and endorsement of the exclusion of
asylum seekers (T1 r = .52; T2 r = .54; T3 r = .50).10
Controls for education, gender, and religiosity were included in the
regression models. Remembrance Day being a personal as well as collective
experience, the regression models also controlled for potential personal
effect, respondents being asked if they had relatives or friends amongst the
losses.11
Results
To test the first hypothesis – that Remembrance Day exposure increases
national sentiments – I examined the means across the three time points
(see Table 1). While national-identification levels rose slightly (Δ = .041)
between T1 and T2, the change in national-identification was insignificant
(F[1.92, 802] = .824, p = .43). Nationalism levels, in contrast, altered significantly
(F[2, 834] = 15.37, p < 000), rising (Δ = .117) on Remembrance Day
itself and between T2 and T3 (Δ = .099). Overall, between T1 and T3 they
increased by approximately 3 per cent. These results provide partial
support for H1. While exposure to Remembrance Day heightened a sense
of nationalism – the same effect also existing later – national identification
remained unchanged, despite its strong positive correlation with
nationalism.
Table 1. National sentiments and hostile attitudes towards out-groups means across
time.
T1 T2 T3
National sentiments
National identification 5.87 (1.18) 5.91 (1.16) 5.86 (1.13)
Nationalism 5.02 (1.28) 5.14 (1.24) 5.24 (1.27)
Hostile attitudes towards out-groups
Endorsing asylum seekers exclusion 4.14 (1.68) 4.07 (1.75) 4.11 (1.67)
Conflictual attitudes 4.57 (1.69) 4.59 (1.65) 4.63 (1.67)
Notes: N = 418. Unstandardized coefficients and SE (in parentheses). T1 five weeks before the Remembrance
Day, T2 the Remembrance Day itself, T3 eight weeks after the Remembrance Day.
10 G. ARIELY
The second hypothesis – that Remembrance Day would affect hostile attitudes
towards out-groups – was tested in a similar fashion. No significant
differences obtained across the three time points for exclusionary attitudes
towards asylum seekers (F[1.20, 504] = 1.78, p = .18). Similarly, no significant
differences across time obtained for conflictual attitudes (F[1.93, 807] = 1.35,
p = .25). Overall, H2 was thus refuted, exposure to Remembrance Day not
changing hostility towards out-groups.
The second part of the analysis examined the third hypothesis – that
exposure to Remembrance Day would magnify the link between nationalism,
hostility towards out-groups and attitudes towards the conflict. In addition, it
examines the impact on national identification magnitude in line with RQ1.
Here, I conducted ordinary least squares (OLS) regressions models for the
three time points to discover whether national identification and nationalism
predicted hostility towards asylum seekers and conflictual attitudes. Table 2
presents the results of the models for the exclusion of asylum seekers. Nationalism
is strongly related to exclusionary attitudes towards asylum seekers
across the three time points. No meaningful change occurred in the magnitude
of these relations across time. With respect to national identification,
however, a clear shift occurred in the magnitude of the relations. While the
relation between national identification and exclusionary attitudes towards
asylum seekers was not significant at T1 or T3, a negative relation obtained
at T2. In other words, on Remembrance Day itself, higher levels of national
identification were negatively related to exclusionary attitudes. This negative
relation dissipated after eight weeks, however.
Table 3 presents the similar results for conflictual attitudes towards the
conflict. While no meaningful change in the close relation between nationalism
and these attitudes across the three time points occurred, an insignificant
relation did obtain between national identification and conflictual attitudes at
T1. These relations became negative in T2. In contrast to attitudes towards
asylum seekers, however, this remained negative at a similar magnitude at
T3. Another analysis controlling for personal exposure to Remembrance Day
Table 2. Predicting endorsing asylum seekers exclusion across time.
T1 T2 T3
Gender (female) −0.20 (0.15) −0.31 (0.15)* −0.33 (0.15)*
Education −0.07 (0.03)* −0.06 (0.03) −0.07 (0.03)*
Religiosity 0.49 (0.16)** 0.62 (0.17)** 0.50 (0.16)**
National identification −0.04 (0.07) −0.15 (0.08)* −0.08 (0.08)
Nationalism 0.43 (0.07)*** 0.47 (0.08)*** 0.41 (0.07)***
R2 .16 .17 .15
Notes: N = 418. Unstandardized coefficients and SE (in parentheses). T1 five weeks before the Remembrance
Day, T2 the Remembrance Day itself, T3 eight weeks after the Remembrance Day.
*p < .05.
**p < .01.
***p < .001.
ETHNIC AND RACIAL STUDIES 11
did not alter the results. Overall, H3 was thus refuted, the relation between
nationalism, hostility towards out-groups and conflictual attitudes not increasing.
Under the impact of Remembrance Day, national identification in fact
became negatively related to hostility towards out-groups.
Discussion
In his classic 1882 essay “What is a Nation,” Ernest Renan identified two
elements that constitute the nation as “a soul, a spiritual principle. One lies
in the past, one in the present. One is the possession in common of a rich
legacy of memories; the other is present-day consent, the desire to live
together…” (Renan [1882] 1990, 19). Remembrance Day, which forms part
of the “nationhood’s performance” repertoire of national days, constitutes a
unique meeting point between past and present, between the nation as symbolic
entity and the individual. Its uniqueness and importance has led scholars
to emphasize its impact upon national sentiment amongst individuals and
thus upon the construction of the nation as a shared subjective meaning
amongst its citizens. As, Gabriella Elgenius argues in her comprehensive
account of national days, however, “It is difficult to appropriately assess individual
sentiments associated with national days…in the absence of adequate
or comparative qualitative or quantitative data” (2011, 25).
The impact of national days on national sentiments having rarely been subjected
to empirical examination, this study sought to examine the affect of
Remembrance Day in Israel on Jewish national sentiments and hostility
towards out-groups. The expectations were that exposure to Remembrance
Day would increase national sentiment and hostility towards out-groups
and strengthen the link between nationalism and such hostility. Via a threewave
panel survey of Israeli Jews, I analysed the respondents’ levels of
national sentiment and hostility towards out-groups five weeks prior to
Remembrance Day, on Remembrance Day itself, and eight weeks later. The
proximity between Remembrance and Independence Day makes it difficult
Table 3. Predicting conflictual attitudes towards the Israeli Arab conflict across time.
T1 T2 T3
Gender (female) 0.34 (0.13)* 0.20 (0.13) 0.09 (0.13)
Education −0.08 (0.03)** −0.05 (0.03) −0.09 (0.03)**
Religiosity 1.05 (0.15)*** 0.97 (0.15)*** 0.97 (0.15)***
National identification −0.09 (0.07) −0.19 (0.07)** −0.19 (0.07)**
Nationalism 0.48 (0.06)*** 0.52 (0.07)*** 0.53 (0.07)***
R2 .31 .29 .30
Notes: N = 418. Unstandardized coefficients and SE (in parentheses). T1 five weeks before the Remembrance
Day, T2 the Remembrance Day itself, T3 eight weeks after the Remembrance Day.
*p < .05.
**p < .01.
***p < .001.
12 G. ARIELY
to isolate the effect of Remembrance Day from that of the broader “national
period”. While this study focused on Remembrance Day, collecting data solely
on this day, no clear distinction between its effect and the overall effect of
Holocaust and Independence Days, which create a unique period within the
national calendar, could thus be adduced. The study findings can therefore
only point to the impact of Remembrance Day as part of the overall influence
of this “national time”.
Before discussing the results vis-à-vis the expectations, the levels of
exposure to Remembrance Day must be noted. The results demonstrate
that nearly all Israeli Jews participated in Remembrance Day-related behaviours.
In fact, only five people from the sample claimed that they did not
perform any behavioural act such as standing in silence during the siren.
The majority of the respondents participated in more than one Remembrance
Day-related ritual. These findings indicate a far greater magnitude of personal
involvement in the national construction of Remembrance Day than that
found in Australia (Fozdar, Spittles, and Hartley 2015) or the Netherlands
(Coopmans, Lubbers, and Meuleman 2015). While these findings are not surprising
in light of the role Remembrance Day plays in Israeli civil religion
(Liebman and Don-Yih ya 1983), they highlight the need for a comparative
examination of the impact of national days in order to account for crossnational
differences.
Despite the extensive Israeli Jewish exposure to Remembrance Day, the
influence of the latter appears to be more limited than expected. Exposure
to Remembrance Day increased a sense of nationalism, an effect also found
eight weeks later. Despite its strong positive correlation with nationalism,
however, national identification remained unchanged during this period. Hostility
towards out-groups – in the form of supporting the exclusion of asylum
seekers and conflictual attitudes towards the conflict – also remained
unchanged. The magnitude of the positive link between nationalism and hostility
towards out-groups also did not change across time. While national
identification was unrelated to hostility towards out-groups prior to Remembrance
Day, it became negatively related to these attitudes on Remembrance
Day itself, however. This negative relation continued after Remembrance Day
with respect to conflictual attitudes towards the conflict but not in relation to
exclusionary attitudes towards asylum seekers. In other words, exposure to
Remembrance Day changed the function of national-identification relevance
in shaping hostility towards out-groups. No difference existed between
respondents with a personal connection to Remembrance Day (in the form
of family/acquaintance casualties) and other responders. The impact of
Remembrance Day therefore appears to be more collective than personal.
These results shed new light on the prevalent assumption regarding the
impact of national days, opening up new avenues for fruitful research questions.
Firstly, they provide clear evidence that exposure to “national time”
ETHNIC AND RACIAL STUDIES 13
alters national sentiments with respect to nationalism, the average levels of
the latter increasing significantly and holding for eight weeks. In light of the
longstanding scholarly debate over whether nations are constructed by
elites or represent embedded public sentiments (Woods and Tsang 2014),
the findings also indicate that a top-down process of dedicating specific
moments in time to national rituals impacts the masses. Such “meeting
points” between national subjects and the imagined collective nation coordinated
by the state thus appear to be significant. This result being based on
exposure to Remembrance Day and a short period afterwards, the question
of long-term effects remains open. Future studies into long-term impact
must therefore be conducted.
Remembrance Day in Israel forming part of a “national time” that includes
Holocaust Remembrance Day and Independence Day, other studies in other
national settings must also be conducted in order to isolate the effect of
Remembrance Day from “national time”. As Coopmans, Lubbers, and Meuleman
(2015) pointed out in their Netherlands study, the impact of other
national days must be examined. The fact that exposure to “national time”
in Israel impacts nationalism but not national identification may reflect the
“hot” nature of Israeli national identity – represented by the high levels of
national identification and nationalism. Although this further highlights the
need for comparative studies, the stability of nationalism in shaping prejudice
was also found in Germany (Wagner et al. 2012). Although the longitudinal
design of this study was based on the assumption that self-reported behaviours
indicate exposure to Remembrance Day practices, I did not examine
the meaning people attribute to Remembrance Day. Future studies employing
tools such as in-depth interviews are required to explore such perceptions
beyond the limitations imposed by survey research.
Secondly, the results suggest that the impact of exposure to the Remembrance
Day is complex. I expected that exposure to Remembrance Day
would increase national identification, hostility towards out-groups and conflictual
attitudes rather than nationalism alone, especially in the light of Israel’s
“hot” form of nationalism. In line with Fox’s (2006) observations regarding the
varied meanings attributed to national holidays in Eastern Europe, additional
studies examining this factor are required.
Another explanation may lie in the divergence between nationalism and
national identification. Previous studies have found that national identification
and nationalism are related diversely to attitudes towards out-groups
(De Figueiredo and Elkins 2003; Roccas, Klar, and Liviatan 2006; Kemmelmeier
and Winter 2008; Wagner et al. 2012). While nationalism is associated with
negative attitudes towards out-groups, national identification is not always
related to this perspective, in some contexts being related negatively to xenophobic
attitudes. In the context of Remembrance Day, some reaction to the
symbolic meaning of this period that impacts national identification relations
14 G. ARIELY
with out-group hostility may thus exist. Recollection of all the sacrifices made
for the country in conflicts may trigger a longing for a nation and national
identity that stands for peace rather than increasing hostility. The psychological
concept of inclusive and exclusive victim consciousness (Vollhardt and
Bilali 2015) may be helpful in developing such explanation. Remembrance
Day being an event that makes group victimhood salient, it is plausible to
impact inclusive and exclusive victim consciousness. This possibility must
be tested empirically by future studies.
The findings also indicate that the pattern changes according to the issue
discussed. The link between national identification and support for the exclusion
of asylum seekers became insignificant after “national time”, the negative
link with conflictual attitudes towards the conflict remaining. While exposure
to Remembrance Day clearly impacted national identification, the precise
nature of this impact requires further research employing various methods
to examine the ways in which citizens understand Remembrance Day. The
uniqueness of the Israeli setting similarly requires the adoption of a comparative
design to explore the variations in the influence Remembrance Day
exerts. Future studies might also follow insights from recent studies demonstrating
that national rituals do not simply function as mechanisms reproducing
the nation-state structure but also challenge the hegemonic
representation of the state and national memory (Lomsky-Feder 2011; Zembylas
2013).
In conclusion, the findings evince support for the premise behind the
American National Moment of Remembrance Act (2000) and other state
mechanisms designed to shape national sentiment. The impact of the specific
moment at which the individual and nation are supposed to meet is more
complicated than previously assumed, however. In light of the seminal role
national sentiment plays in shaping attitudes and behaviours, future studies
must examine such meeting points in depth.
Notes
1. 106th Congress Public Law 579, 28 December 2000.
2. Other types of studies have focused primarily on national rituals themselves
(e.g., Lomsky-Feder 2011; Zembylas 2013).
3. A recent study in the US looking at 9/11 commemoration found that standard
commemorations promote hawkish attitudes towards Iran (Adams and Hakim
2016).
4. Of the 800 respondents at T1, the missing values were lower than 0.005 per cent.
At T2, after excluding respondents due to an IMC failure, the missing data
were 0.002 per cent. At T3, there was no missing data after excluding respondents
due to an IMC failure. This proportion of missing data falls far below the
recommended full information maximum likelihood threshold (Schafer and
Graham 2002) and Multiple Imputation (Enders 2010). Missing value treatment
was therefore not used.
ETHNIC AND RACIAL STUDIES 15
5. Such validation studies have not been conducted in Israel, concern for the data
quality remaining an open question.
6. The participants were recruited by the Midgam Project, a leading online survey
research firm with a pool of over 30,000 potential respondents. They were
informed that participation was anonymous, given contact details in case of
queries, and filled out a consent form.
7. Y. Offer, Remembrance Day 2015. NRG news website: http://www.nrg.co.il/
online/1/ART2/689/501.html.
8. All items were measured on a 7-point Likert-type scale (7 = strongly agree, 1 =
strongly disagree). The item order for all the scales was randomized.
9. The factor loadings were rather similar, justifying use of plain means for the
scales.
10. The four measures were found to be extremely stable, the correlations between
the three time points being higher than .7. Measurement invariance across time
was also acceptable for mean comparisons using maximum likelihood
estimation.
11. Twenty-six per cent of the respondents reported that an extended-family
member had been a war/terror casualty, 52 per cent an acquaintance.
Acknowledgements
I would like to thank the participants of the 4th Annual Conference on Migration and
Diversity, WZB, Berlin for their comments.
Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author.
Funding
This research was supported by the German–Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research
and Development [grant number I-2312-1036.4/2012].
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ETHNIC AND RACIAL STUDIES 19

Committee of University Heads’ Complexities with Ariel University

06.05.21

Editorial Note

The Committee of University Heads in Israel (VERA), has advised and liaised on university matters since the 1960s.  It has been recently debating whether to admit Ariel University to its ranks. Ariel has been upgraded from college status to University in 2012 and recently opened a new Faculty of Medicine named after Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, its prime donors.   The new faculty is expected to alleviate the acute shortage of professionals in the field of medicine.

VERA consists of a plenum of university heads, including the presidents, rectors, and CEOs of the seven research universities. The Open University has an “observer” status.  VERA convenes several times a year when needed.  The office of VERA deals with the administrative and logistical coordination, monitoring, and implementation of the VERA decisions in the various forums and bringing a variety of issues to the VERA table. VERA’s office is responsible for the relations between VERA and the various regulatory bodies such as the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education (VATAT-MALAG), Knesset committees, government ministries, requests from student unions, the public, and others.

The political activism of some academics is deeply rooted. Some in the academic echelon see Ariel as part of the right-wing government that cannot be trusted. Worse, as part of the “Illegal Occupation.”  They wish to influence VERA’s decisions. 

For example, Prof. David Levi-Faur, a political scientist at the Hebrew University and the founder of the email list service to the academic community Academia-IL-Bashaar network, has recently written an email to the academic community.  Titled “Protest over the intention to include Ariel to the Committee of University Heads,” he disseminated it last week. He stated, “I read with great sorrow the article by Or Kashti in Haaretz about the intention of VERA to add Ariel University to their ranks. I call on the presidents of the institutions to refrain from this move. Certainly not without putting pressure and not without having something in return. Ariel University is not a barrier to peace right now, it is a positive project that expands wisdom and research, and certainly, there will be a solution when a peace-loving Palestinian state is established. Furthermore, Ariel University is still part of another People’s occupation and humiliation project. Therefore, there is no intention to boycott it or its faculty. But to keep it in a special status as a semi-foreign institution to the system. There is room for political considerations at the activities of VERA, but, at the moment, there is no place for the inclusion of Ariel at VERA. Certainly not on an equal footing. The Open University waited many years for its acceptance as a full member. (Too many years I understand) Ariel will wait for peace to come and the end of the occupation.”

Professor Amiram Goldblum, a longtime radical political activist, continued Levi-Faur’s string of thoughts: “Perhaps the presidents of the universities in Israel are jealous of Ariel and want their students to also receive academic credit for participating in the activities of the settlement’s youth. Maybe even advance the activities of Lehava and La Familia – for example, if Smotrich or Ben-Gvir or Orit Struck or Avi Maoz will be education minister, clearly their fear takes over – they mustn’t confront the education minister. The fact that university presidents did not unequivocally announce a “NO” morally justified by the monstrosity of the occupation and apartheid that Ariel is one of its anchors, which clarifies who and what they are. “I have seen you again doing nothing”?? Not at all, I have seen you again with no heart, truth and morality,” he wrote.

Professor Asher Yahalom from Ariel University responded: “Anyone who supports Arab colonialism and imperialism, and the lies of the Palestinian people should not let the word “morality” slip through their lips.”

The Haaretz article reported that anonymous senior officials at academic institutions explained this month that the readiness to include Ariel University in VERA is proactive.  Allegedly, the group fears pressure from the next education minister, who may come from a right-wing government or a petition to the Supreme Court. “The fight against Ariel is an old battle,” said one president.” One of his colleagues added that “we are one petition away from which we would have had to accept Ariel. We had to decide whether to disperse or allow Ariel to enter. We preferred to take the initiative and not wait for the next minister or a supreme court verdict.”

There is another possible explanation.  In 2012, when the Ben Gurion University Department of Politics and Government was under the threat of closure because of low standards of its core studies, some Israeli scholars appealed to the international academic community to intervene. After a deluge of petitions and “open letters,” the Israeli Council for Higher education succumbed to the pressure and decided to keep the department open for fear of the damages to the Israeli academy. In a similar vein, VERA is possibly worried about the easily swept pro-Palestinian international academic community, which seeks to see Ariel University shun from any academic platform.

Facing headwinds from all sides, VERA postponed this decision to a future date.

———- הודעה שהועברה ———
מאת: David Levi-Faur
תאריך: יום ו׳, 9 באפר׳ 2021 ב-13:17
נושא: [Academia-IL-Bashaar] מחאה על הכוונה לצרף את אריאל לועד ראשי האוניברסיטאות
אל: Academia Network <academia-il@listserver.huji.ac.il>

שלום רב
קראתי בצער רב את הכתבה של אור קשתי בהארץ על הכוונה של ור”ה לצרף את אונ’ אריאל לשורותיהם.  אני קורא לנשיאי המוסדות להימנע מצעד זה. בוודאי ובוודאי ללא שהופעלה עליהם לחוץ ובלי שניתה תמורה נאותה.  אונ’ אריאל אינה מחסום לשלום, כרגע. היא פרויקט חיובי ככל שהיא מרבה דעת ומחקר ובוודאי שיימצא לה פיתרון כשתוקם מדינה פלשתינית שוחרת שלום. אם זאת ועדיין אונ’ אריאל היא חלק ממפעל הכיבוש, הביזוי וההשפלה של עם אחר.  כיוון שכך אין להחרים להבנתי את המוסד או את הסגלים שבו. אלא לשמור על מעמדו המיוחד כמוסד זר למחצה למערכת. 
יש מקום לשיקולים פוליטיים בפעילות ור”ה אבל ברגע זה אין מקום לצירוף של ור”ה למוסד. בוודאי ובוודאי לא במעמד שווה.  האונ’ הפתוחה המתינה שנים רבות לקבלתה כחברה מלאה.  (יותר מידי שנים להבנתי)  תמתין אריאל לבוא השלום ולסיום הכיבוש. 
בברכה

דוד לוי-פאור

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ועד ראשי האוניברסיטאות דחה את הדיון על צירוף אריאל לשורותיו

 אור קשתי לפני 6 ימים


ועד ראשי האוניברסיטאות דחה את ההחלטה בעניין צירוף אוניברסיטת אריאל לגוף היוקרתי למועד לא ידוע. בדיון שהתקיים בשבוע שעבר התברר כי כמה מנשיאי האוניברסיטאות מעדיפים שלא לקבל כעת החלטה בנושא. הוועד החליט לאחרונה על צירוף האוניברסיטה לשורותיו בתום מאבק בן עשור, שכלל גם עתירה לבג”ץ, ודיון בנושא תוכנן לשבוע הבא.

מקורות הבקיאים בפרטי הדיון אמרו כי עם הגורמים לדחייה נמנים מחאה שהביעו אנשי סגל באוניברסיטאות השונות, לצד חשש שהמהלך יצטייר כתמיכה עקיפה בשר החינוך יואב גלנט. לאחרונה השתמש גלנט בקריאתו של פרופ’ עודד גולדרייך שלא לשתף פעולה עם אריאל כסיבה לעכב את זכייתו בפרס ישראל, בניסיון לבטלה.

בכירים במוסדות האקדמיים הסבירו החודש את הנכונות לצרף את אוניברסיטת אריאל לוועד בחשש מלחץ של שר החינוך הבא, שעשוי לבוא משורות הימין, או מעתירה לבג”ץ. “המאבק נגד אריאל הוא המלחמה הקודמת”, אמר אחד הנשיאים, “קשה להמשיך ולהתנגד לה מבחינה משפטית”. אחד מעמיתיו הוסיף כי “אנחנו מרחק עתירה אחת שבעקבותיה היינו נאלצים לקבל את אריאל. היינו צריכים להחליט אם להתפזר או לאפשר לה להיכנס. העדפנו לנקוט יוזמה ולא לחכות לשר הבא או לפסק דין”.

ואולם, התוכניות המוקדמות לנקוט יוזמה ולא להצטייר כמי ש”נכנעים” ללחץ חיצוני – פוליטי או משפטי – השתנו במידה רבה בעקבות סירוב גלנט לקבל את המלצת ועדת השופטים ולהעניק את פרס ישראל בתחום המתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב לפרופ’ גולדרייך. בתשובה לעתירה לבג”ץ שהגישה ועדת השופטים, ולאחר ששורה של טענות נגד גולדרייך הועלו והוסרו, ביקש גלנט מהשופטים ארכה של חודש כדי לבדוק אם חתימתו של פרופ’ גולדרייך על עצומה שקראה לאיחוד האירופי שלא לשתף פעולה עם המוסד מהווה הפרה של “חוק החרם” – ויכולה לשמש כעילה לפסול אותו מלקבל את הפרס. השופטים יצחק עמית, נעם סולברג ויעל וילנר קיבלו את הבקשה, שמשמעותה המעשית היתה מניעת מתן הפרס לגולדרייך בטקס שנערך ביום העצמאות.

החלטת גלנט חייבה את ראשי האוניברסיטאות לנקוט עמדה ברורה. בהודעה משותפת לשבעה מתוך שמונת נשיאי האוניברסיטאות (מלבד בר אילן) נכתב כי התנהלותו של שר החינוך “חוטאת לרעיון שביסוד קיומו של פרס ישראל ומהווה פגיעה חמורה בחופש הביטוי ובחופש המחשבה”. במקביל, כתבו חברי סגל לנשיאיהם כי הם מתנגדים לצירוף אריאל לוועד – ומצפים כי יפעלו באופן דומה.

הדיון בוור”ה נערך ביום חמישי שעבר. לדברי מקור הבקיא בפרטי הדיון, “ראשי האוניברסיטאות לא רצו להצטייר כמי שנותנים ‘פרס’ למי שמשתמש באריאל ככלי במשחק הפוליטי”. מקור נוסף אמר כי יו”ר הוועד, נשיא האוניברסיטה העברית פרופ’ אשר כהן, ביקש לדון בצירוף אריאל, בעוד שנשיאים אחרים “חשבו שזה לא נכון לקבל עכשיו החלטה, אלא לדחות אותה למועד לא ידוע. זה שינוי מהותי מההסכמה הרחבה, שהיתה שבועיים-שלושה קודם לכן, על המהלך”. לדברי גורם אחר, “הנשיאים הביעו את דעתם בצורה חדה על גולדרייך, אך כל החלטה על אריאל היתה נצבעת מיד בצבעים פוליטיים. במצב כזה עדיף לא להחליט”.

ככל הנראה, פרסום ב”הארץ” בשבוע שעבר, שלפיו במשרד היועץ המשפטי לממשלה ובמועצה להשכלה גבוהה בודקים את החלטת אוניברסיטת אריאל להעניק נקודות זכות אקדמיות עבור התנדבות במאחזים בלתי חוקיים, לא הקל על תומכי צירוף המוסד שבשטחים.

מוועד ראשי האוניברסיטאות נמסר בתגובה כי “הדיון בנושא טרם מוצה, ולכן לא התקבלה החלטה. ייקבע דיון המשך”.

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———- Forwarded message ———
From: Amiram Goldblum
Date: Thu, Apr 29, 2021 at 5:25 PM
‪Subject: Re: [Academia-IL-Bashaar] ועד ראשי האוניברסיטאות דחה את הדיון על צירוף אריאל לשורותיו‬
To: Academia Network <academia-il@listserver.huji.ac.il>

אולי נשיאי האוניברסיטאות בישראל מתקנאים באריאל ורוצים שגם הסטודנטים שלהם יקבלו נקודות זכות אקדמיות על השתתפות בפעילות של נוער הגבעות.. ואולי גם יתקדמו לפעילות של להב”ה ולה פאמיליה – למשל, אם סמוטריץ’ או בן גביר או אורית סטרוק או אבי מעוז יהיו שר החינוך, הלא הפחד אוכל אותם –  חלילה להם מלהתנגש עם שר חינוך. העובדה שנשיאי האוניברסיטאות לא הודיעו “נייט” חד משמעי, מנומק מוסרית במפלצתיות של הכיבוש והאפרטהייד שאריאל היא אחד מעוגניו, מבהירה מיהם ומהם. “ראיתיכם שוב בקוצר ידכם” ?? לא ולא. ראיתיכם שוב בקוצר הלב, האמת והמוסר.

==========================================———- Forwarded message ———
From: Prof. Asher Yahalom
Date: Sun, May 2, 2021 at 7:51 PM
‪Subject: Re: [Academia-IL-Bashaar] ועד ראשי האוניברסיטאות דחה את הדיון על צירוף אריאל לשורותיו‬
To: Academia Network <academia-il@listserver.huji.ac.il>

מי שתומך בקולוניאליזם והאימפריאליזם הערבי ובשקר העם הפלסטיני אל יהין לעלות את המילה “מוסר” על דל שפתיו.

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https://jfjfp.com/in-about-face-israeli-university-heads-decide-to-admit-settlement-university-to-joint-body/

In about-face, Israeli university heads decide to admit settlement university

April 15, 2021
REPORT
JFJFP

After a nearly decade-long dispute, Association of University Heads admits Ariel University located in West Bank settlement

Ariel University

Or Kashti reports in Haaretz on 10 April 2021:

After almost a decade’s struggle and a petition to the High Court of Justice, Israel’s Association of University Heads decided to admit Ariel University to its ranks.

One of the main reasons for the move was the university heads’ fear of heavy pressure by the next education minister, who will most likely come from the right. Should they wait until then, the move would be seen as a surrender on their part, they said.  “We are one High Court petition away from being forced to accept Ariel,” one university president said. “We had to decide whether to disperse or let it in. We preferred to take the initiative rather than wait for the next minister or wait for a court verdict.”

According to informed sources, the decision is expected to be passed without opposition at the association’s next meeting in two weeks.  Until now the association had objected to accepting the university in the West Bank to its ranks and in recent years the issue was a source of constant tension between the university heads and rightist ministers, who exerted heavy pressure in favor of Ariel University.

The association, consisting of seven research university presidents and the Open University as an observer, is a voluntary body. It represents the universities before ministries, the Council for Higher Education, the Planning and Financing Committee and others. Since it isn’t statutory, rightist ministers like Naftali Bennett and Zeev Elkin couldn’t force it to admit Ariel University, which they hold dear for political reasons.

The struggle included open threats like stopping the cooperation with the association and covert threats regarding issues that are important to the universities.  A senior university official told Haaretz that “the struggle against Ariel is the previous war. We fought and lost. Even though I’m convinced it was born in sin and there are doubts as to its academic quality, it’s hard to continue to object to it on a legal basis.”

One of his colleagues said the decision being drafted stems also from the desire “not to give a prize to the next education minister.”

In this regard, association members cite the High Court of Justice’s decision on Thursday. The court permitted Education Minister Yoav Gallant to examine whether a petition signed by Professor Oded Goldreich of the Weizmann Institute, which called on the European Union not to cooperate with Ariel University, could deprive him of the Israel Prize for mathematics and computer science.

Another source said that as long as Ariel’s status as a university was “based on the Judea and Samaria council of higher education’s decision, which was ratified by the army’s Central Command, there was no justification to accept it to the association.”  However, he added that the situation changed fundamentally after the Judea and Samaria council of higher education was abolished in February, 2018, when the Knesset voted to put Ariel University under the control of the same accreditation body as other Israeli colleges and universities. “Formally Ariel is an Israeli university and there’s nothing we can do about it,” said the source.  Another official added: “We expected an international outcry would be raised. It didn’t happen.”

The main implication of accepting Ariel to the association is that its decisions will probably not be unanimous anymore, a source said.

Other officials slammed the decision and its timing. Professor Nir Gov of the Weizmann Institute said that in the last two to three years previous university heads, who “experienced firsthand the ugly process in which the Likud government’s education ministers did all they could to upgrade Ariel’s status, have been replaced. The new generation treats it like an Israeli university to all intents and purposes. Ariel is the clearest symbol of the higher education’s politicization. The presidents’ agreeing to it is a badge of shame. For pragmatic reasons, the presidents decided to put their values into deep freeze and toe the line with the ruling power and its demands.”

Gov said he wasn’t sure the university senates will oppose the decision even if “most professors think they should. The government succeeded in instilling in them a fear of expressing that [view].”

Another source said that if the association wants to renounce its principles, it should do it as part of negotiations, not for nothing. “There’s no reason to believe that the next minister will make do with this step. He’ll also try to prove that he subjugated academia,” he said.

In the past decade numerous confrontations took place between the association and Ariel University. In 2012 the university heads petitioned against the decision made by the Judea Samaria council for higher education, which was promoted by then education minister Gideon Sa’ar, to turn the Ariel college into a university. According to the petition, serious flaws were made in the three major considerations – academic, planning and budgetary – to recognize the college as a university.

The High Court denied the petition, saying that even after the recognition, the Judea and Samaria council for higher education would still have to consult with the Planning and Budgeting Committee.

But the obligation to consult with the committee gradually lost its meaning after it became another tool in the political game.

This article is reproduced in its entirety

BGU Oren Yiftachel’s Two Decades of Apartheid Analogy

29.04.21

Editorial Note

Oren Yiftachel, a professor of Geography at Ben Gurion University, is presenting two seminars on his new book Land and Power: from Ethnocracy and Creeping Apartheid in Israel/Palestine, in Hebrew. 

Yiftachel explains in a Haaretz article, that the “process I’ve referred to in my research as ‘creeping apartheid’ that gradually reinforces the principles of Jewish supremacy and ‘separate and unequal’ in all areas of life between the Jordan and the sea. In such settings, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas only control the areas of life that Israel isn’t interested in controlling, and as such they too become (reluctant) servants of the apartheid order.”

Yiftachel has been a political activist for several decades.  He was one of the pioneers of the notion that Israel is an apartheid state.  Over time, Yiftachel has fiddled with the concept to fit the South African reality.  For instance, he states that Israel, with a “consistent process of violent and putatively legal colonization on both sides of the Green Line, a hierarchy of citizenships has crystallized, reminiscent of the former South African system of “whites” (full citizens), “coloureds” (partial citizens) and “blacks” (subjects without citizenship). Their counterparts in Israel/Palestine are Jews (full citizens throughout the territory), Palestinian Arabs in Israel (partial citizenship) and Palestinian subjects with no citizenship in the occupied territories.”

YIftachel’s methodology is absurd in the extreme and hardly deserves commentary. One example suffices. According to his definition, the Ethiopian Jews, who are full Israeli citizens, are “white,” but the Palestinian Arabs (in Israel) are not white.  He never bothered to explain why a “white colonial government” would bring African blacks as immigrants to Israel and even proceed to make them “white,” that is, give them full citizenship.  The real explanation would blow his apartheid theory to pieces, so it is not mentioned.   This is not unusual for Yiftachel and his ideological peers.  Reality is often ignored, truth falsified, and logic twisted beyond comprehension.  

Still, Yiftachel seems to be quite happy with his performance.  He mentioned a report published by the Israeli human rights group B’tselem, which he refers to as the “apartheid document.”  Yiftachel, a board member of B’tselem, co-authored this report and seemed to be alluding to the fact that it played a part in the decision of the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into alleged human rights crimes in Gaza. 

Yitachel noted that “the apartheid argument has already been raised for some time in academic circles.” This is correct. Since 2002 Yiftachel has been espousing the idea that Israel is an apartheid state as part of his scholarship. 

Throughout his activist-academic career, Yiftachel has discussed his apartheid analogy on the pages of the anti-Israel media outlets, including in 2009, the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP).

Yiftachel has been attacking Israel from other angles as well. Recently, Yiftachel collaborated with the Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies (MADAR), an independent research center based in Ramallah, specializing in “Israeli affairs.” Yiftachel provided MADAR with an article in Arabic, very similar to his “Welcome to the era of Coronialism,” claiming that under the guise of “emergency,” states, such as Israel, are using COVID-19 to “consolidate power, prop up the neoliberal order, and clamp down on the disenfranchised,” termed “Coronialism.” Yiftachel warns that if we fail to struggle against it, “regressive forces will recolonize society, notably in Israel-Palestine.” The article was published one year ago, but the claims are breathtakingly false.  Israel has become an internationally recognized leader in fighting the pandemic, which was recognized worldwide.

Yiftachel’s apartheid analogy began in 2002. The Guardian newspaper detailed how an academic paper submitted by Yifachel and a colleague to a British journal was returned unopened with a note saying they did not accept papers from Israelis. After negotiations with David Slater, one of the editors, Yiftachel agreed to insert comparisons of Israel with apartheid South Africa. As stated by the Guardian: “In this report we referred to the treatment of a paper written by Professor Oren Yiftachel of Ben Gurion University and Dr Asad Ghanem of Haifa University, which was submitted to the journal Political Geography. We reported that Professor Yiftachel had, after a protracted dispute, agreed to revise the paper according to suggestions made by Political Geography, including the insertion of a comparison of Israel and apartheid South Africa, and that on this basis the paper had been accepted for publication.”   The Guardian detailed the pressure on Yiftachel by Slater, a geography professor at Loughborough University, and a “prominent British supporter of Palestinian causes.” Slater responded to the Guardian by saying, “But I was familiar with some of the author’s previous work… I was not sure to what extent he had been critical of Israel.” Slater said he hesitated what to do with Yiftachel’s paper, “for a while.” After some long months, “Yiftachel agreed. He still sounds slightly puzzled at how he ran into such difficulties with an apparent political kindred spirit like David Slater. Slater maintains that Political Geography is not officially hostile to contributions from Israel. But then, almost in passing, he mentions something interesting. At some point last spring or summer, while he was pondering Yiftachel’s paper, Slater signed a petition calling for an academic boycott of Israel.” Eventually, Yiftachel’s article was published in 2004.

Clearly, Yiftachel mishandled the incident. Right from the start, he could have contacted the academic leadership of Ben Gurion University to seek advice, and they should have contacted the journal for clarifications.

However, the Palestinian-Israeli dispute is century-long. In 1948 the Palestinians with their Arab allies tried to destroy the nascent Jewish state but were unsuccessful. Israel fought back and won several wars since. The fighting continues to this day. It is easy to see that Yiftachel’s apartheid analogy is not scientific. In fact, he abused his scholarship to promote his political agenda.

אוניברסיטת בן-גוריון בנגבהשקת ספרו של אורן יפתחאל: עוצמה ואדמה

השקת ספרו של אורן יפתחאל: עוצמה ואדמה

28 אפר’ 2021 18:00הדפסה

​מרכז חיים הרצוג לחקר המזרח התיכון והדיפלומטיה, המחלקה לגיאוגרפיה ופיתוח סביבתי
מזמינים אתכם להשקת ספרו של אורן יפתחאל: עוצמה ואדמה : מאתנוקרטיה לאפרטהייד זוחל בישראל/פלסטין

כריכת הספר

ברכות:
דוד וטשטיין, דיקן הפקולטה למדעי הרוח והחברה, אוניברסיטת בן-גוריון בנגב
חיה במבג’י-סספורטס, מרכז חיים הרצוג, אוניברסיטת בן-גוריון בנגב​

דוברים:
נורית אלפסי, המחלקה לגיאוגרפיה ופיתוח סביבתי, אוניברסיטת בן-גוריון בנגב
ראיף זריק, מרכז מינרבה למדעי הרוח, אוניברסיטת תל-אביב, מכון ון-ליר בירושלים
דניאל דה-מלאך, המחלקה למנהל ומדיניות ציבורית, המכללה האקדמית ספיר

מגיב:
אורן יפתחאל, המחלקה לגיאוגרפיה ופיתוח סביבתי, אוניברסיטת בן-גוריון בנגב

מנחה:
ארז צפדיה, המחלקה למנהל ומדיניות ציבורית, המכללה האקדמית ספיר

קישור למפגש ב-zoom »

Meeting ID: 849 5166 6800
Passcode: 896401

לפרטים: 08-6472538 hercen@bgu.ac.il​

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https://in.bgu.ac.il/humsos/soc-ant/pages/events/seminar-26-05-2021.aspx
  אוניברסיטת בן-גוריון בנגב   
 המחלקה לסוציולוגיה ואנתרופולוגיה26 מאי 2021 12:15 – 13:45

אורן יפתחאל
 “לדובב את המרחב – הערות על אפרטהייד זוחל” 
דיון לאור פרסום ספרו “עוצמה ואדמה – מאתנוקרטיה לאפרטהייד זוחל בישראל/פלסטין” (רסלינג, 2021)תקציר:מה הקשר בין עצמה ואדמה? מה ההשפעות ההדדיות של יחסים חברתיים ופוליטיים על המרחב, ולהפך? כיצד ניתן להבין את המרחב היהודי פלסטיני בארץ? איך התעצבה האתנוקרטיה הישראלית? וכיצד השתנו היחסים בין הקבוצות באוכלוסייה כך שהאתנוקרטיה הפכה לאפרטהייד.בהתבסס על סדרת מחקרים ביקורתיים פורצי דרך, הספר מציע זוויות מבט מגוונות על תהליך היווצרותו של משטר האפרטהייד דרך הקולוניזציה המרחבית, הכלכלית, הפוליטיות וכו’.
פרופ’ אורן יפתחאל  חוקר ומלמד גיאוגרפיה פוליטית ומשפטית ותכנון עירוני באוניברסיטת בן-גוריון בבאר שבע; פעיל חברתי ופוליטי בארגוני שלום, צדק חברתי וזכויות אדם. מבין ספריו “תכנונו של אזור מעורב: ערבים ויהודים בגליל” (הוצאת אייברי, 1992); “שומרים על הכרם – מג’ד אלכרום כמשל” (ון-ליר, 1997); “סְפָר ופריפריה אתנית” (עם אבינועם מאיר, הוצאת ווסטוויו, 1998); “כוחו של תכנון” (עורך, הוצאת קוולר); “אתנוקרטיה – קרקע, זהות ופוליטיקה בישראל/פלסטין” (הוצאת אוניברסיטת פנסילבניה, 2006); “אי-צדק ילידי” (עם אחמד אמארה ואסמעיל אבו-סעד, הוצאת הרווארד, 2013); “אדמה מרוקנת: הגיאוגרפיה המשפטית של הבדווים בנגב” (עם סנדי קדר ואחמד אמארה, הוצאת סטנפורד, 2018).
יפתחאל הוא מהחוקרים הביקורתיים הבולטים בישראל ובעל שם עולמי.
https://in.bgu.ac.il/humsos/soc-ant/DocLib/Pages/events/seminar-26-05-2021/%D7%A4%D7%95%D7%A1%D7%98%D7%A8%20%D7%A1%D7%9E%D7%99%D7%A0%D7%A8%20%D7%A1%D7%95%D7%A6%D7%99%D7%95%D7%9C%D7%95%D7%92%D7%99%D7%94%20%D7%95%D7%90%D7%A0%D7%AA%D7%A8%D7%95%D7%A4%D7%95%D7%9C%D7%95%D7%92%D7%99%D7%94-26-05-2021.pdf

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jfjfp

Israel’s apartheid debate: smash the mirror or fix reality?

Oren Yiftachel writes in Haaretz on 5 March 2021:

B’Tselem’s “apartheid document,” published in January, and the International Criminal Court’s decision soon after to investigate Israel’s potential war crimes in the occupied territories have stirred much debate on the nature of the Israeli regime. The subject was also the focus of the online Haaretz Conference on Democracy on Wednesday.

However, despite this important debate, a majority of Jewish-Israeli reactions preferred to smash the mirror rather than think about fixing the reality. With the election coming up, this reality should be confronted head-on, leading to the question “What next?” to which I turn below.

Notably, the apartheid argument has already been raised for some time in academic circles. The B’Tselem report marks the first time a local civil society organization has published a systematic analysis of the regime covering the entire area under Israel’s control – between the Jordan River and the sea. Of course, the only way to characterize an entity is to include all of its parts, although most organizations and leaders have refrained from doing so for decades. After five decades of colonial rule and permanent settlement, the excuse of “temporary occupation” has become meaningless.

The facts are beyond any doubt: Israel is the direct sovereign power in 90 percent of the territory between the Jordan River and the sea (the ’67 borders plus Area C). It also indirectly but quite tightly controls the remaining 10 percent in which 5 million Palestinians are forcefully concentrated in controlled enclaves. Applicable to all this area are laws, regulations or government practices that implement the principle of Jewish supremacy.

B’Tselem’s report demonstrates how, via a consistent process of violent and putatively legal colonization on both sides of the Green Line, a hierarchy of citizenships has crystallized, reminiscent of the former South African system of “whites” (full citizens), “coloureds” (partial citizens) and “blacks” (subjects without citizenship). Their counterparts in Israel/Palestine are Jews (full citizens throughout the territory), Palestinian Arabs in Israel (partial citizenship) and Palestinian subjects with no citizenship in the occupied territories.

Importantly though, in the international political and legal discourse, apartheid has come to mean a general type of regime and not necessarily an exact copy of South Africa. Indeed, there are also key differences between the two cases: In South Africa, the whites amounted to only 20 percent of the population, while here the Jews are about half. Unlike in South Africa, in Israel/Palestine there are two internationally recognized national movements, and two future states under international law.

B’Tselem’s argument can certainly be challenged and debated. Notably, many pertinent reactions have come from different places around the globe. Most importantly, it has won the support of many Palestinian civil society organizations, something not to be taken for granted in this time of deep separation and boycott.

Yet, in Jewish circles, the responses from the center-right have largely been Pavlovian, notably Education Minister Yoav Gallant’s hysterical reaction in banning B’Tselem representatives from schools. This was echoed by Netanyahu’s equally hysterical response accusing the court in The Hague of “pure antisemitism.”

The responses by right-wing columnists like Nave Dromi in Haaretz’s Hebrew edition, and leading columnists like Ari Shavit, Ben-Dror Yemini and Irit Linor in other newspapers have been dominated by a flood of curses and derogatory comments accusing B’Tselem of hatred, hypocrisy, antisemitism and anti-Zionism, while also blaming Palestinians for the Israeli colonial policies. These politicians and commentators would rather smash the mirror than be alarmed by the reflection.

On the center-left, the main reaction has been to look away from the mirror. In that vein, pieces in Haaretz by Zvi Bar’el, Israel Shrenzel and Shaul Arieli, as well as statements by Labor’s Merav Michaeli and Meretz’s Nitzan Horowitz at the Democracy Conference have stuck to the worn-out formula of “democracy here, a temporary occupation there.” But what about the fact that in nine of the past 11 elections, it was the West Bank’s settlers’ votes that crowned the colonialist right to rule Israel? Apparently, “democracy” now includes the Jews in the occupied territories but not the disenfranchised Palestinians. In other words, this democracy isn’t a democracy.

The selective right to vote is of course just one aspect of the increasingly deepening connection between Jewish Israel and the Palestinian territories in a process I’ve referred to in my research as “creeping apartheid” that gradually reinforces the principles of Jewish supremacy and “separate and unequal” in all areas of life between the Jordan and the sea. In such settings, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas only control the areas of life that Israel isn’t interested in controlling, and as such they too become (reluctant) servants of the apartheid order.

The most important question following the debate is “Where to now?” The B’Tselem report serves as a flashing warning sign. It aims to motivate all parties concerned with democracy and human rights to recognize what is reflected in the mirror so clearly, and to begin struggling harder than ever to halt the apartheid and decolonize Jewish-Palestinian relations.

Importantly, the end to apartheid does not necessarily lead to a one-state solution, as the international debate usually puts it. Such a solution would encounter profound difficulties given the recognized right of the Palestinians and Israelis to self-determination, a collective right no people is likely to ever give up.

There are several other possibilities, like the establishment of two separate independent states (which failed repeatedly for 80 years), or what I believe are more appropriate models of confederation and federation that would allow for sovereignty and self-determination for both peoples, while permitting freedom of movement, a united capital and an integrated economy in the shared homeland. The joint Israeli-Palestinian peace movement A Land for All has been promoting this path for several years, with modest but growing support.

But first, of course, the election is around the corner, so it’s vital to firmly oppose the broad spectrum of parties, from Kahol Lavan and Likud to the religious parties, that promote all shades of apartheid. Changing the momentum begins with supporting the (very few) parties that promote real democracy and equal collective and personal rights for all inhabitants of our land.

Beyond voting, much can be done in all walks of policy and daily life to break the racist separation between Jews and Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line. Hence, the big challenge posed by B’Tselem’s report is to resist the urge to smash the mirror or turn away from it. Instead it urges all concerned to bravely look at the unpleasant view reflected in the mirror and begin its transformation – the earlier the better.

Prof. Oren Yiftachel is a co-author of the B’Tselem report mentioned in this piece. He is a founding member of the A Land for All peace movement.

This article is reproduced in its entirety
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https://www.972mag.com/welcome-to-the-era-of-coronialism/

Welcome to the era of Coronialism

Under the guise of ’emergency,’ states are using COVID-19 to consolidate power, prop up the neoliberal order, and clamp down on the disenfranchised. If we fail to struggle for a new order, regressive forces will recolonize society, notably in Israel-Palestine.
By Oren Yiftachel April 30, 2020

The spread of COVID-19 has wrought massive changes over the last two months in the realms of politics, economy, and geography across the world. Basic norms have changed, emergency legislation has been passed, massive economies have ground to a halt, and simple daily human contact has been reduced to a minimum.

Although the crisis will undoubtedly ease, it is unlikely that things will return to “business as usual.” Substantial social and political changes are afoot, signaling the onset of a new era we may now term “coronialism,” most notably in Israel-Palestine.

The term coronialism echoes, of course, “colonialism,” but it operates under different circumstances. In coronialism, the relatively stable fabric of life is undermined by a dangerous invasion of an external force. The invasion transforms society in ways not envisaged by the local population, with structural changes spawning short and long-term transformations. The health crisis of the coronavirus may only be the tip of the coronialism iceberg, the consequences of which will be mainly social, economic, and political.

Coronialism, like its predecessor, attempts to conquer the minds of those under its rule. It would be impossible to understand how, against the spread of what currently remains a medium-scale disease, billions of people have come to accept draconian closures, political disempowerment, and economic ruin with little protest or disobedience. This is made possible by an atmosphere of fear, which provides governments and the media cover to bombard us with an avalanche of details of the impending “disaster.”

In Israel, one cannot explain the decision by Benny Gantz, who claimed to represent the anti-Netanyahu opposition, to betray his voters and join Netanyahu’s government without resorting to coronialist rhetoric. Gantz has now agreed to play second fiddle in a coronial “emergency government,” which will save Netanyahu (for the time being) from his corruption trial, while emboldening the prime minister to make constitutional changes that further bolster governmental power.

To be sure, the global coronial order is still in the making. In the short and medium term, the regime is building the foundations of a new “emergency routine” based on a number of new realities. For one, the failure of market forces has been resounding, shedding new light on the inability of neoliberal capitalism to deal with lesser crises, such as rising housing prices or the decline in quality of education.

Meanwhile, globalization has been slowing down considerably while the putatively weakened nation-state is returning to center stage. Governments are quickly falling back to their old habits of inciting against migrants, imposing harsh border controls, forcing strict limits on movement, introducing intrusive surveillance measures, and putting into motion the rapid centralization of powers. Spatially, life is being reformatted, with new patterns of social distancing and digital communication changing our everyday reality.

Yet, when it comes to the long term, matters are far less clear, which is precisely why we must treat coronialism as an opportunity for struggle. After all, hegemonic forces have been quick to change the rules of the game in their favor.

Politically, this has included the bypassing of democratic institutions, the bolstering of unchecked executive powers, and new emergency regulations. When it comes to the economy, governments around the world have launched unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimuli directed primarily at supporting financial markets. It is already clear that most of these new arrangements will mostly go to helping prop up corporations and industries, while leaving behind the marginalized who are now even weaker, stripped of their jobs, and dispossessed of social services. These policies will particularly affect labor migrants, temporary workers, small business owners, and the newly unemployed.

On the other hand, now that decades of “small government” and “neoliberal” policies have been exposed for their irresponsible neglect, we have begun to witness a new hunger for alternatives that will ensure public (state, urban, communal) provision of essential services. This applies, first and foremost, to health, but also to transportation, housing, the environment, and education. The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the fundamental problem of privatizing and distributing these services according to profit, while giving us a glimpse of how unequipped capitalist societies are to deal with nightmare scenarios such as climate change or a potential world war.

In this light, the link between coronialism and colonialism goes beyond phonetics. History warns us against oppressive forces exploiting “emergencies” for the purpose of seizing power and resources. In Israel-Palestine, this has already become a reality, with business elites and the Finance Ministry already pushing for “painful cuts” (in other words: the transfer of resources from poor to rich, from the public sphere to private hands, and from minorities to the majority). At the same time, the state is “importing” severe measures used against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in order to govern Jewish citizens inside Israel.

Meanwhile, Israel’s far-right pro-apartheid bloc, which has ruled Israeli politics in its current composition for the past five years, hopes to use the new “emergency government” as a vessel for unilateral annexation of large parts of the West Bank. Such measures will turn Israel into an official apartheid state, with open contempt for Palestinian rights and international law. Here the coronial and the colonial merge, creating a dangerous change in direction for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Democratic forces must realize that the period ahead will be a long and bitter struggle to shape the nature of the coronialist order. We must be aware of both the dangers and potential for positive change in this fragile time. We should learn from the failures of previous campaigns, most notably the Second Intifada and the 2011 social protests, neither of which established a multi-group movement for progressive change in Israel-Palestine. We must work to unite the interests of many sectors and groups that can rally against apartheid and privatization, and for equality, accessibility, and democracy.

The long path to building those alliances begins with genuine and equal partnership between Jews and Arabs inside Israel, as well as with Palestinians in the occupied territories, while remembering that we all live under the same regime, whether directly or indirectly. These partnerships will expose the real goal of the current regime, which is to strip millions of their political and social rights and establish an undeclared apartheid regime under the guise of an “emergency.”

We must find new spheres — in neighborhoods, towns, and cities on both sides of the Green Line — where we can work together to build a just society. A society based on such principles would be more stable and resilient for future health, environmental, political, and economic crises that are inevitable in the post-coronial period ahead.
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https://merip.org/2009/12/creeping-apartheid-in-israel-palestine/

“Creeping Apartheid” in Israel-Palestine

Oren YiftachelIn: 253 (Winter 2009)

On July 5, 2009, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, said something that had many rubbing their eyes in disbelief. Reviewing his government’s first 100 days, he pronounced, “We have managed to create a national agreement about the concept of ‘two states for two peoples.’” Can it be that the hardline leader of the Likud, known for opposing almost every withdrawal from occupied territory Israel has ever undertaken, now believes in a peaceful two-state solution?

On the surface, it is hard to tell. On the one hand, Netanyahu is hardly the first Zionist leader to declare support for peace through Palestinian statehood accompanied by Israeli territorial withdrawals. On the other hand, he is solidly within the Zionist consensus behind colonial and oppressive practices that work to further “Judaize” contested space and deny Palestinians — on both sides of the Green Line marking off Israel proper from occupied Palestine — their legitimate rights.

But the prime minister is not schizophrenic, and there is no contradiction between these two positions, which in fact crystallize the latest phase in the changing political geography of Zionist-Palestinian conflict: a phase of neither two states nor one. In place of movement toward two states or one, there is a process of “creeping apartheid” — undeclared, yet structural — reordering the politics and geography of the country between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The colonized West Bank, the besieged Gaza Strip and Israel proper, each with its own official set of rules, are in fact merging into one regime system, ultimately controlled by the Jewish state, which increasingly appears to bear the characteristics of apartheid, and inhabited by people with citizenship status akin to “blacks,” “coloreds” and “whites.” Repeated statements by Israeli leaders in support of Palestinian statehood have thus far functioned to lend this process legitimacy, rather than lead to the end of colonial settlement, military occupation, minority oppression and resolution of the conflict.

The Israeli regime system has long been “ethnocratic,” that is to say, an overall logic of Judaization prevails in all regions under Israeli control despite the differences in their legal and political circumstances. Over time, however, the contradictions of ethnocracy have led to a deepening of the “separate and unequal” conditions in Israel-Palestine. Jews enjoy a relatively even and privileged political and legal position, while Palestinians are divided into several proto-groups, each having a differently inferior set of rights and capabilities. Under the process of creeping apartheid, Palestinians are increasingly confined to a series of what may be called “black” and “colored” ghettoes, while Jews reside in relatively open localities, both in Israel and in the Judaized West Bank.

Crossing the Rubicon?

A new political geographic phase has prevailed since the early 1990s, leading to a sea change in the discourse of Israeli leaders toward the Palestinians. Under the new approach, Israeli leaders are gradually recognizing Palestinian collective rights, although in vague terms and with perpetual delays in implementation. The shift came after decades of intransigent denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination and statehood, combined with support of Jewish expansion into the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Palestinian regions inside Israel.

A notable early turn into the new discourse was taken by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was willing to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization and “Palestinian national political rights” as enshrined in the Oslo accords of 1993. Another premier from the Labor Party, Ehud Barak, negotiated at Camp David in 2000 and at Taba in 2001 over the shape of a Palestinian state, and ordered withdrawal of the Israeli army from Lebanon. The Labor Party’s reputation, if not its policies or actions, had been moderate for some time, so the change in discourse became much more conspicuous when right-wing nationalist leaders such as Ariel Sharon and Netanyahu began to use it. These men had built their careers on advancing Zionist colonization and advocating violence in order to achieve strategic defeat of Palestinian nationalism, what Baruch Kimmerling aptly termed the “politicide” of the Palestinians. [1]

The transformation was starkest in Sharon, justly regarded as the father of the settlement project in the West Bank and a long-time champion of the idea that Israel’s security required a Greater Israel stretching from the river to the sea. In 2002, Sharon rejected the idea of leaving even the most isolated outposts in Gaza: “Under my leadership there will be no empty concessions to the Palestinians. The fate of Netzarim and Kfar Darom is the same as Tel Aviv.” Just over one year later, the aging premier reversed himself: “It is impossible to continue keeping 3.5 million Palestinians under occupation. Yes, it is occupation, and it is bad for Israel.” Moreover, unlike other Israeli leaders who had expressed comparable sentiments, Sharon turned his words into action, carrying out a unilateral military withdrawal and evacuation of 25 Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank in 2005. It was the first time that Israel had willingly vacated areas it considers to be the Jewish homeland, that is, the biblical Land of Israel.

Before he slipped into a coma in early 2006, Sharon also led a coterie of ideological confreres out of Likud and formed a new party, Kadima, whose raison d’etre was to complete similar withdrawals, or “disengagements,” from more of the West Bank. His successor as prime minister, Ehud Olmert of Kadima, actively sought to effect this withdrawal and, failing that, to negotiate a two-state agreement with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In a rare burst of frankness, Olmert later declared: “Failure to reach a peace agreement and create a viable Palestinian state could plunge Israel into a South African-style apartheid struggle.” If that happens, he said, “the state of Israel is finished.” He was backed in the spirit of these comments by his foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, now leader of Kadima, whose 2009 election campaign was heavily focused on the two-state horizon.

Does this transformation signal the crossing of the peace Rubicon? It appears not. While the Greater Israel agenda is all but dead, its replacement is unlikely to be either a viable Palestinian state alongside democratic Israel or one democratic state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. Rather, its replacement will probably be peace-seeking rhetoric masking a reality of apartheid. In other words, the Israeli ethnocratic project is changing its character, from horizontal to vertical, and its main goal, from expansion to enhancement of ethno-national privilege. Jews, wherever they live, will be at the top of the ladder, and the Palestinians varying numbers of rungs below them.

This outcome is not inevitable. Concerted and determined international pressure, led by the United States, could still bring about a viable and fully sovereign Palestinian state, with international law implemented, Palestinian rights respected, legitimate Israeli rights protected and the region stabilized. Yet such a peaceful trajectory would require both Jews and Palestinians, and especially the former, to deal honestly with the core issues shaping the conflict, such as the consequences of 1948 war, the plight of Palestinian refugees, Jerusalem, borders and the future of Palestinians inside Israel. It appears unlikely that any political force, including Israel’s American patron, will have the wherewithal or the willpower to compel Israel to halt the process of creeping apartheid.

Aggression and Conciliation

The contours of the contemporary phase in Israel-Palestine’s political geography are complex, including measured readjustment and some shrinkage of the Zionist territorial project, mixed with new forms of domination over Palestine and Palestinians. The new phase follows decades of unabated Zionist demographic and spatial expansion, characterized by Jewish-only immigration, tight military control, construction of some 800 Jewish settlements in Israel proper and over 200 in the Occupied Territories, massive land confiscation and uncompromising attempts to Judaize all of the country.

Transition to the current phase occurred gradually, as a response to a range of events demonstrating that the previous colonial momentum could not be sustained. Chief among these events were the two intifadas beginning in 1987 and 2000, the Palestinian resort to suicide terror against Israeli civilians, the rise of Hamas and its rocket campaign from Gaza, and growing pressure against Israel’s illegal settlements from an increasingly antagonistic world community. Israeli elites began to realize that further expansion and direct oppression bear high security, economic and social costs, which run counter to the increasingly popular agendas of globalization and liberalization.

In the absence of a genuine wish for reconciliation with the Palestinians according to binding international decisions, however, Israel sought to rearrange control over Israel-Palestine so as to minimize these costs. The overall strategy was unilateral separation, which saw the creation of parallel geographies for Palestinians and Jews in the West Bank, with concrete walls and high fences penning in Palestinian towns and villages, and asphalt highways easing settler travel, as well as the evacuation of Gaza and the maintenance of uneven segregation inside Israel.

Beyond the thrust for separation, Israel’s moves were often confused. On the one hand, it allowed settlers to build new “outpost” settlements wedged between Palestinian population centers; accelerated the expansion of existing settlements; mounted a series of “anti-terror” offensives using state terror against civilians; constructed the massive illegal separation barrier in the West Bank and East Jerusalem; tightened the years-long siege of Gaza; and launched highly destructive invasions of the coastal strip as well as southern Lebanon. These moves found echoes in new discriminatory policies toward Palestinian citizens of Israel, whose political and civil status within the Jewish state was further compromised. [2]

On the other hand, Israel also made gestures toward Palestinian rights: It recognized the PLO, allowed the establishment of the Palestinian Authority and declared its support for Palestinian statehood, which only a decade previously was anathema to over 90 percent of Israeli Jews. Israel also retreated from the main Palestinian towns and cities, southern Lebanon and the entire Gaza Strip; evacuated settlements; enshrined previously denied Palestinian rights to purchase Israeli state land; and recognized ten (out of 45) previously “illegal” Bedouin villages in the Naqab desert. In surveys, a steady majority of Jews agrees, in theory, at least, that Palestinian citizens should have equal individual rights in Israel proper, and that Israel should conclude a peace with a newly established Palestinian state encompassing the majority of the Occupied Territories.

And yet — barring intense international pressure — these gestures do not provide a sufficient foundation for peace, because they are tactical and utilitarian, rather than strategic. They are evidence of conflict management, rather than a drive for reconciliation. Zionism remains a deeply ethnocratic movement, premised on a self-constructing narrative of an historical “right” to the entire Promised Land and the associated dispossession of Palestinians who object to the exclusivity of that right. Most Israeli Jews are accordingly unable to think productively about the core issues of the conflict, chiefly Israel’s role in the 1948 nakba. Denial of the nakba, as the Palestinians term their defeat in the 1948 war, the loss of their would-be state and the flight of refugees, has become a core Zionist value. Most Jews — officials, scholars and ordinary citizens — simply refuse to enter a discussion on the nakba, or alternatively justify it as “necessary,” thereby legitimizing the 1948 ethnic cleansing and the subsequent destruction of over 400 Palestinian villages and towns, and endorsing the continued “right” of Jews to colonize Palestine.

Thus blinded to the past, Israeli Jews cannot or will not look objectively at the present and future, whether regarding the Palestinian refugees, East Jerusalem, borders or the status of the Palestinians inside Israel. This avoidance is wrapped into Zionist discourse by continuous public invocation of (often genuine) communal fears in the face of anti-Jewish violence and the more radical, at times anti-Semitic, communiqués of Hamas and its allied organizations. These fears feed on ambient memories of the Holocaust, as well as distortion of Arab intentions toward Israel. In the end, avoidance and denial are what bestirred Israel to make both its sets of unilateral moves, the aggressive and the conciliatory, toward Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line.

Ethnocracy and Democracy

Apartheid conditions always develop on the basis of existing political and cultural foundations. In Israel, these foundations are the state’s long-standing ethnocratic regime and the associated racist treatment of Palestinians who stand in the way of the state’s program of Judaization.

Ethnocratic regimes are commonly found in contested territories in which a dominant ethnic nation appropriates the state apparatus to further its expansionist aspirations. Significantly, such regimes tend to keep in place democratic procedures that can be selectively applied to groups under their control. Being able to portray the regime as democratic is important for the legitimacy of the ethnocratic project in the eyes of the majority group as well as international circles. The democratic frame also allows minorities to mobilize politically and to enjoy substantial (if not equal) civil and political rights.

But despite their democratic features, ethnocratic states such as Israel are typified by ongoing subjection and exploitation of weakened groups, who invariably resist the order, often violently. This asymmetry tends to produce closely held identities and polarize the polity. Examples of ethnocratic regimes include Serbia, Estonia, Latvia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Turkey, apartheid South Africa and nineteenth-century Australia. [3]

Despite its history of eviction, conquest and occupation, Israel is still considered democratic by politicians and the public, even in countries where Israel is routinely criticized. Even scholars critical of Israel use the term “Israeli democracy,” though often with qualifiers such as “imagined,” “ethnic” or “deeply flawed.” This tendency draws on the continuing illusion that Israel is an entity neatly contained within the Green Line, even though this very entity settles hundreds of thousands of Jews in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and separates them legally and spatially from local Arabs.

The political system in Israel proper does maintain key democratic practices, such as periodic (though not universal or free) elections and protection of important civil rights such as freedom of speech, movement and association, relative (though far from complete) gender equality and homosexual rights. Israel boasts a strong, quite independent judiciary and relatively open media. Further, since the early 1990s, Israeli society has undergone significant liberalization, privatization and globalization, with greater exposure to international standards and influx of foreign investment. These processes have allowed Israelis greater economic and cultural freedoms, and enabled them to portray the nation as Western, free and progressive. [4] It is mainly Jews, however, who have benefited from these processes, while Palestinians remain either on the margins or locked out. In addition, the democratizing changes have not modified the most oppressive facets of the Israeli regime, such as the ongoing Judaization of land, the disenfranchisement of nearly 4 million Palestinians, the central role of the military and security forces, the Jewish-only immigration policies and the marginality of the 1.2 million Palestinian citizens.

Phases of Colonization

The historical momentum of Israel’s ethnocratic-colonial system is particularly important for the making of apartheid-type relations and requires some elaboration. The Zionist colonization of geographic Palestine has taken place in five main stages. The first, lasting from the late nineteenth century until 1947, can be termed the “colonialism of survival.” Most Jews who came to Palestine in these years were fleeing as refugees, from Eastern European pogroms, the mortal threat of Nazism and, then, the Holocaust. In Palestine, organized by Zionist groups and ideas, they expanded their area of settlement by purchasing land, often from absentee Arab owners, while forming proto-national institutions and armed forces, as foundations for a future state.

The second stage, during the 1947-1949 war, was characterized by ethnic cleansing. It saw the establishment of the state of Israel following the Arabs’ rejection of the UN partition plan and attack on the nascent Israeli polity. The war ended with Palestine conquered by Israel, Jordan and Egypt and the majority of Palestinians rendered homeless and stateless. 1948 was the watershed year shaping the Israeli regime, which is built to protect the military and demographic achievements of the 1948 war for Zionism, such as the seizure of Palestinian territory beyond the allocation of the UN partition plan, the expulsion of most of the land’s Arabs and the Judaization of vast tracts of land. Israel was accepted as a member state of the UN. The Palestinians became a fragmented and defeated nation, dispersed among six countries, unable to contest the Judaization of their homeland.

The third phase, from 1949 to 1967, was typified by “internal colonialism”: Most Palestinian villages now within Israel were destroyed, and the return of Palestinian refugees prohibited. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of Jews, mainly refugees or forced migrants from Europe and the Middle East, settled in hundreds of new Jewish settlements, some erected on the previously Arab lands. The Jewish settlement project was centrally planned with modern methods, not only to de-Arabize Palestine, but also to build the Zionist nation. Israel established a formal democracy, although its Palestinian citizens were concentrated in enclaves and placed under military administration until 1966.

The fourth phase from 1967 to 1993 was marked by external, expansionist colonialism. It followed Israeli conquest of Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and saw a huge project of state-sponsored colonization. Over 100 Jewish settlements that today host nearly half a million Jews were built in breach of international law. The illicit settlements include those built in occupied Arab Jerusalem, which was partly and illegally annexed to Israel. Religious themes became central to the narratives of both nations, helping to justify the escalating violence. Much of the Jewish settlement was driven by the desire to “return to sacred sites” and Palestinians increasingly used Islamic rhetoric to fire their resistance. Within Israel proper, Judaization continued through the construction of dozens of semi-suburban Jewish housing tracts in predominantly Arab regions, with concomitant restrictions on building by Arabs.

The fifth and present stage, beginning with the 1993 Oslo accords, can be characterized as “oppressive consolidation” and marks the effective end of significant Zionist expansionism. Settlements are still being built in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, but the vast majority of Jewish population increase in the West Bank occurs in settlements of long standing. At the same time, bypass roads connect the existing settlements ever more closely to Israel proper, further “Israelizing” Jewish colonies. The wall-and-fence complex that has replaced the Green Line as the de facto border between Israel proper and the West Bank and the enormous terminals that have replaced checkpoints outside most Palestinian cities cast a mighty shadow over both Palestinian daily life, but in strategic terms, they are management techniques of the overall stalemate. Maximal separation (in Hebrew, hafrada) is the new logic. Both nations, not surprisingly, have become more polarized, and radical factions have risen. Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections and violently took over Gaza in 2007. In Israel, two hardline Likud governments were elected, first in 2001 and then in 2009, and Orthodox Jews have become more influential in the country’s leadership and in the army.

And so it is not accidental that the term “apartheid” has entered the discourse about Israel-Palestine. The momentum of straightforward colonization — the conquest of Arab lands and expansion of Jewish settlements — has slowed, but the resulting stalemate is hardly acceptable to Palestinians, who resist in various ways. From the Israeli side, the attempt is to reduce the costs of its control while maintaining political and military superiority. It has chosen an undeclared system that resembles apartheid, a system of rule that aims to cement separate and unequal ethnic relations.

Master Types

But the definition of the Israeli regime is complicated by several factors, not least the mismatch between the territory under the state’s control and that within its internationally recognized borders. Creeping apartheid in Israel-Palestine is thus best described as a process, rather than a well-delineated system of government. The occupation of the West Bank and discrimination against the Palestinians there are considered by Israel, and to some extent by international law, as temporary conditions subject to the self-defined security needs of the occupier. At this point, with the occupation over 40 years old and the settlements being consolidated, these conditions are in total breach of international law. While Israeli elites and their apologists still resort to such manipulations, their legal and political power is waning.

For example, Jewish settlements in the West Bank — outside the state’s recognized sovereign territory — are both civilian and permanent. They cannot be understood as part of a temporary military occupation, as Israel still claims in legal forums. Why would Sharon and Netanyahu press for the “natural growth” of towns they view as ephemeral? The progress of the settlement project in the Palestinians’ midst shows that the indigenous residents have been unwillingly and unwittingly incorporated as third-class subjects of the regime. Israel’s ongoing interest in representing this situation as “temporary” derives from its “need” to avoid endowing West Bank Palestinians with full civil rights.

Further, in the fifth stage of ethnocratic colonization, apartheid practices are creeping back into Israel proper, albeit with lesser severity than in the first and second phases. In the first decade of the twenty-first century, as documented by Mossawa, Adalah and other human rights organizations in Israel, the state has promulgated a series of new restrictions upon the movements, personal freedoms, employment, land ownership and political rights of Palestinian citizens. There is openly racist talk of “punishing the Arab enemy,” redrawing borders for the purpose of “population exchange” (a code name for annexing settlements and, “in return,” excluding Arab towns near the West Bank border from Israel), and stripping Palestinians in Israel of their citizenship.

The creep of apartheid is most apparent to Bedouin Palestinians in the Naqab region, who struggle against constant threats to their localities on their ancestors’ land. As part of withholding recognition of land and residency rights, the state denies the Bedouin basic services such as water, electricity, roads and schooling. The state also refuses to recognize the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages, elected by the Bedouin as a regional leadership. State violence is commonly used against the Bedouin, with 604 demolitions of unauthorized homes from 2001 to 2008. In some important respects, the plight of Bedouin in the unrecognized villages is worse than that of most of their brethren in the West Bank and Gaza.

The vagueness of the adjective “creeping” captures another definitional difficulty: the existence of legal and political differences between the various Arab areas under Israeli control. The West Bank is officially designated as under “belligerent occupation” and the Gaza Strip as “hostile territory,” while Israel proper is commonly called a formal democracy, where Palestinians hold equal individual rights under the law. But Israel itself ruptured the boundaries between these regions and hence undermined the fine distinctions of legal-political status. It has imposed Israeli law in the Jewish settlements whose jurisdiction now covers around 40 percent of the West Bank — an act of de facto annexation. Israel continues to control nearly all key components of sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza, such as immigration, population registration, imports and exports, water management, transportation infrastructure, land and planning policies, foreign relations and investment. Simultaneously, Arabs inside Israel have become second-class citizens, de facto and de jure.

It is no longer possible to distinguish between different “regimes” in Israel-Palestine, as the entire space is ultimately controlled by the Jewish state. There are, however, gradations in rights and capabilities between Jews and Palestinians, and among various groups of Palestinians, which bring the process of creeping apartheid into focus. Israel officially ranks Palestinian groups and awards each a separate status according to a combination of ethnicity and location, while Jews, differences of class, color and religiosity notwithstanding, remain everywhere equal in civil status. Palestinians are classified as follows, in descending order of legal status: the Druze, many of whom serve in the army; Palestinians in the Galilee and “triangle” regions; Bedouin in the Naqab, the most under-privileged citizens; East Jerusalem Palestinians, non-citizen permanent residents who have yellow Israeli plates on their cars because they live in a city that Israel has partially annexed; Palestinians in the West Bank; Gazans; and refugees located outside Israeli-controlled territory who are denied their claims of residency and property rights by the regime.

The logic of Judaization underpins Israeli policies toward all these groups in unique ways, though the groups fall into two broad categories of citizens and non-citizens. The variations in legal standing and exposure to oppression and violence make a significant difference in Palestinians’ life opportunities, economic standing and ability to exercise rights.

To borrow the language of apartheid South Africa, Israel appears to have created three master types of civil status in the areas under its control: “white” (Jewish), “colored” (Palestinians with Israeli citizenship) and “black” (Palestinians in the Occupied Territories). Two brief examples will illustrate the point. Take, first, socio-economic status: The per capita gross domestic product of Israeli Jews in 2006 was about 15 times higher than that of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, but also twice as high as that of the Palestinians in Israel. Unemployment in the Occupied Territories reached 50-60 percent, while hovering around 12-15 percent among Palestinians in Israel, and around half that figure among Jews. About three quarters of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories live in poverty, as compared to some 53 percent of the Palestinians in Israel and 17 percent of the Jews.

Second, take the issue of planning and construction. In Area C of the West Bank, the territory that remains under direct Israeli administration by the terms of the Oslo agreement, only one of the 149 Palestinian villages has an approved outline plan, enabling the residents to build legally. Consequently, 1,626 houses were demolished from 2000 to 2008 and an additional 4,820 were served demolition orders. At the same time, half the Palestinian localities in Israel lack an approved plan and they, too, are constantly subject to house demolition. In 2000, according to an inter-ministerial committee headed by Shlomo Gazit, there were 22,000 unauthorized buildings in Palestinian localities in Israel’s central and northern regions and 16,000 in their Jewish counterparts. Arabs had suffered over 800 demolitions in the preceding decade, as opposed to only 24 for Jews. This disparity was also vivid in the Naqab, where Jews built 62 family farms with no planning approval. Despite the appeals of several human rights and environmental groups, all were retroactively legalized in 2009. At the same time, Bedouins in the Naqab who reside on their ancestors’ land suffered 604 home demolitions between 2000 and 2008.

Ghettoes…

Geography is vital because the creeping apartheid process relies heavily on a range of skewed settlement, land, development and boundary demarcation policies and regulations. Palestinians amount to 48 percent of the population between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, but control only 15 percent of the land, while Jewish groups and authorities, including the army, control the rest, including most parks, expanses of wilderness and natural resources. Inside the Green Line the inequality is even starker: Palestinians amount to 18 percent of the population but control less than 3 percent of the land. In 1947, Jewish individuals and institutions controlled only 5 percent of historical Palestine or 7 percent of what became Israel.

As a result, the Palestinians have been enclosed in “rough space” — an archipelago of ghettoes with their settlement system remaining nearly frozen since 1948. At the same time, Jews greatly expanded their living space and enjoy freedom of habitation, settlement and travel in the vast majority of the land. In its management of space, too, Israel-Palestine has been divided into three master types — “black,” “colored” and “white.” “Black” ghettoes, mainly in Gaza and the West Bank, are harshly policed, the residents confined by walls, checkpoints and periodic curfews. Physical and legal barriers also cut off the “black” ghettoes from each other, according to the desiderata of Jewish settlements and the military.

“Colored” ghettoes, where Palestinian citizens of Israel and most Palestinians of East Jerusalem reside, have more porous boundaries but also have major restrictions on land rights and development for the inhabitants. For example, Palestinians in Israel struggle to move out of their ghettoes due to limitations on their ability to purchase land and lack of educational, cultural and religious facilities elsewhere. The Arab areas are not only inferior in status to Jewish areas, but Israel also strives to prevent mixing of “black” and “colored,” as with the 2008 restriction on marriage between Palestinians from the Occupied Territories and those from Israel. Most boundaries, not least the Green Line, apply to Palestinians only.

In contrast, the “white spaces” where most Jews reside come in a variety of shapes and forms. Importantly, though, they are all situated within contiguous, “smooth” Jewish territory precisely because the state effectively Judaizes all spaces where Jews settle. They enjoy freedom of movement and similar rights. It is the uniform legal and geographical status of Jewish space between the river and the sea that effectively connects the variegated Arab spaces under the one regime. Jewish localities generate their boundaries from within, mainly for preventing the entry of Palestinians and, in some cases, “undesirable” Jews, such as working-class Mizrahim or the ultra-Orthodox. By law and practice, and with the backing of the army, Jews can reside and purchase land nearly anywhere in Israel-Palestine. This geography is the backdrop against which statements in support of Palestinian statehood appear particularly empty.

…and Beyond

In theory, the change of the political discourse to support Palestinian statehood has potential to move the political geography of Israel-Palestine toward peace and reconciliation. Close examination, however, reveals that Israel has so far acted to lend legitimacy to its strategy of consolidating control over the Palestinians. Jewish expansion appears to be ending, but in its place the confinement of Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line in ghettoes proceeds. The ensemble of new discourses and regulations has combined to create an order best described as creeping apartheid. This highly oppressive and internationally illegal order is, needless to say, replete with suffering and prone to outbursts of violence.

This predicament necessitates new thinking. How long, for example, can Israel stick to its legal argument that the occupation is “temporary,” without being declared an apartheid regime by the international community? This question is paramount.

There is a need as well to investigate the various types of apartheid regimes that deviate in detail, but not in principle, from what obtained in South Africa. It appears that the creeping apartheid in Israel-Palestine is based on ethnic, national and religious, but not “racial,” or skin color, categories. What political and moral difference does this entail? Does Israel resemble a Serbian model of apartheid more than the multi-racial South African one? And what difference does the existence of the state of Israel with its legitimate UN standing make for resolution of the conflict?

In addition, the intersection of identity and class is critical: What is the connection between apartheid-like forced separation and accelerating privatization and globalization of the economy in Israel-Palestine? What roles do the US and European economies and military industries play in this process? What are the consequences of Israel’s systematic import of foreign labor to replace Palestinians? How does the apartheid process feed on rapid accumulation of capital among small national elites? And, finally, is the ghettoization of the Palestinians effecting a parallel economic and political ghettoization of Israel itself in the Middle East?

One can imagine several visions that might resolve the predicament. The best appears to be an old one that was abandoned far too easily — socially progressive binationalism. There could be an Israeli-Palestinian confederation (based on two sovereign spaces, possibly leading to a federation) with an integrated economy, a joint capital city, open borders and fair accommodation of the Palestinian refugees. Discussions about these options have already begun in several arenas and are likely to pick up steam. They may sow the intellectual and political seeds of a genuinely just and peaceful future for this strife-torn land.

Endnotes

[1] Baruch Kimmerling, Politicide: Israel’s Policy Toward the Palestinians (London: Zed, 2005).
[2] See Oren Yiftachel, “The Shrinking Space of Ethnocratic Citizenship” in Joel Beinin and Rebecca L. Stein, eds., The Struggle for Sovereignty (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006); and Oren Yiftachel, “Voting for Apartheid: The 2009 Israeli Elections,” Journal of Palestine Studies 38/3 (Spring 2009).
[3] See Oren Yiftachel and Asad Ghanem, “Understanding Ethnocratic Regimes: The Politics of Seizing Contested Territories,” Political Geography 23/6 (August 2004).
[4] See Uri Ram, The Globalization of Israel (Tel Aviv: Resling, 2008).

====================================================
https://www.academia.edu/20095222/Understanding_ethnocratic_regimes_the_politics_of_seizing_contested_territories

Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676
www.politicalgeography.com
Understanding ‘ethnocratic’regimes:
the politics of seizing contested territories
Oren Yiftachel a, , As’ad Ghanem b
a Department of Geography, Ben-Gurion University, 84105 Beer-Sheva, Israel
b Department of Political Science, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
Abstract
The paper proposes a preliminary political-geographical theory of ‘ethnocratic’regimes. It
identifies such regimes as a distinct type, neither democratic, nor authoritarian. The paper
defines and illustrates the evolution and characteristics of ethnocratic states, and examines
their impact on ethnic relations and political stability. While these regimes represent themselves
as democratic, their main project promotes the ethnicization of contested territory
and power apparatus. Their logic, structure, features and trajectories are articulated and generalized,
especially as regards key dimensions such as: democracy, minorities, ‘ethno-classes’,
ethno-nationalism and religion.
Three examples of ethnocratic regimes—in Sri Lanka, Israel and Estonia—are briefly
described, analyzed and compared. On this basis, the paper constructs a tentative model,
identifying six ‘regime bases’as constituting a hegemonic regime core, including: immigration
and citizenship, land and settlement, the role of the armed forces, the legal system,
the flow of capital and public culture. These ‘bases’largely determine the character of
‘regime features’, such as party politics, elections, gender relations and the media. But the
hegemonic status of these bases is frequently challenged by groups marginalized by the
expansion and control of the dominant ethnos. These groups attempt to exploit the ‘cracks’
emanating from the state’s self-representation as democratic. The ceaseless ethnocraticdemocratic
tension typically results in chronic instability and prolonged ethnic conflict.
# 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Democracy; Ethnicity; Regime; Sri Lanka; Estonia; Israel; Palestine
Corresponding author. Tel.: +9728-6472011; fax: +9728-6472821.
E-mail address: yiftach@bgu.ac.il (O. Yiftachel).
0962-6298/$ – see front matter # 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.polgeo.2004.04.003
Introduction
The rapid transformation in the world political order during the last decade and
half has generated active debate on regime types in general, and democratization in
particular (see: Bermeo, 1997; Diamond, 2002; Harris, 2001; Huntington, 1997;
Linz & Stephan, 1996; Keating & McGarry, 2001). Yet, the academic discourse has
been unduly constrained by a binary democracy–non-democracy framework of
analysis. The emphasis by most western scholars on a formal–procedural definition
of democracy, on free markets and on various forms of constitutionalism, caused
many to overlook the persistence of an ethno-national ‘engine’of political change.
This has obscured the on-going existence, and recent proliferation; of a regime type
we term here—‘ethnocracy’.1
In this paper, we aim to address the deficiency by focusing on this type of
regime. We will define and illustrate a model of what we term ‘open ethnocratic’
regimes, and examine its impact on ethnic relations and political stability. Our
theoretical argument centers on the mechanisms of the regime, which explain both
the persistent patterns of ethnic dominance and its chronic instability. A related
theoretical contribution is the existence of ethnocratic regimes as a distinct identifiable
type, which promotes a central (political-geographical) project of ethnicizing
contested territories and power structures.
We contend that the logic, structure, features and trajectories of open ethnocratic
regime can be articulated and generalized, and that the model we proposed
below can frame a new understanding of politics and geography in many states
embroiled in protracted ethnic conflicts. Such understanding forms a necessary step
in managing the typically volatile inter-group relations of ethnocratic societies. In
this vein, the paper attempts to make a theoretical, conceptual and practical contribution
to the understanding of deeply divided societies, and to illustrate the
dynamics of ethnocratic regimes, by briefly comparing the relevant cases of Sri
Lanka, Israel and Estonia.
Scholarly settings
Our discussion focuses on regimes, which we define as frameworks determining
the distribution of power, values and resources. A regime reflects the identity,
goals, and practical priorities of a political community. The state is the main
vehicle for the regime, providing institutions, mechanisms, laws and legitimized
forms of violence to implement the projects articulated by the regime.
Ethnocratic regimes may emerge in a variety of forms, including cases of ethnic
dictatorships or regimes implementing violent strategies of ethnic cleansing, as
occurred in Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo by means of control and exclusion as
1 The term ‘ethnocracy’has appeared in previous literature (see Linz & Stephan, 1996; Little, 1994);
However, as far as we are aware, it was generally used as a derogatory term, with very little discussion,
or development into a theoretical model or concept, as formulated here.
648 O. Yiftachel, A. Ghanem / Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676
happened in Sudan, pre-2003 Iraq or pre-1994 South Africa (Mann, 2000). In this
paper, however, we are interested in ethnocratic regimes, which represent themselves
as democratic, and uphold several formal democratic mechanisms, although
they still facilitate a disproportional and undemocratic expansion of the dominant
ethno-nation. They can thus be described as ‘open ethnocracies’. Examples of such
regimes at present include states such as Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Estonia, Latvia,
Serbia, and Israel, as well as past cases such as 19th Century Australia or Canada
until the 1960s.
Our analysis of ethnocratic regimes ‘converses’with a range of scholarly debates
and a number of disciplinary fields. We present below a combined political geography
and political science perspective, which seeks to contribute to debates on key
concepts such as nationalism (for key texts, see Brubaker, 1996; Hechter, 2000);
ethnicity (see Connor, 1994; Conversi, 2002), political regimes (Collier & Levitski,
1997; Linz & Stephan, 1996); political stability (Lustick, 1993; McGarry &
O’Leary, 1993, 1995), multi-cultural citizenship and the postcolonial condition
(Benhabib, 2002; Kymlicka, 2001). The knowledge accumulated in these fields
forms an important basis for our new formulations.
Ethnocracies: key components
We define ethnocracy as a regime facilitating the expansion, ethnicization and
control of contested territory and state by a dominant ethnic nation. ‘Open ethnocracies’,
on which we focus here, exercises selective openness: they possess a range
of partial democratic features, most notably political competition, free media and
significant civil rights; although these fail to be universal or comprehensive, and are
typically applied to the extent they do not interfere with the ethnicization project.
Given this selective and partial openness, open ethnocratic regimes cannot be
classified as democratic (as elaborated below). Neither they can be classified as
authoritarian, given their extent of political freedoms and openings, which far
exceeds the typical range characterizing such regimes (see Linz & Stephan, 1996).
The most striking differences between open ethnocracies and autocracies are:
(a) the real possibility of government change in most ethnocratic regimes, as
opposed to long-term dominance of one ruler or party typifying autocracies; (b)
the strong emphasis on ethnic loyalties as a foundation of politics, not found in
most autocracies.
The combination of democratic and ethnocratic features makes open ethnocracies
a particularly interesting, and not uncommon, case during the current age of
‘superficial democratization’( Zakaria, 1997). Instability is typically generated by
marginalized and oppressed minorities, who often use the partial openings granted
by the state to resist, mobilize and challenge the regime. But at the same time,
regime legitimacy is augmented by the introduction of democratic features, which
possess an appeasing effect on restive minorities. The ethnocratic–democratic tensions
in open ethnocracies thereby creates a high level of regime dynamism and
O. Yiftachel, A. Ghanem / Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676 649
instability, found neither in more oppressive ‘closed’ethnocra cies, such as pre-2003
Iraq or Sudan; or in liberal democracies, such as Denmark or Sweden.
Structure
As elaborated elsewhere (see Yiftachel, 1999) ethnocratic states emerge from the
time–space fusion of three main historical-political forces: (a) settler-colonialism,
which may be external (into another state or continent) or internal (within a state)
(Lustick, 1993; McGarry, 1998); (b) ethno-nationalism, which draws on the international
legitimacy to national self-determination to buttress the political and territorial
expansionist goals of the dominant ethno-nation (Connor, 1994; Mann,
1999); and (c) a conspicuous ‘ethnic logic’of capital, which tends to stratify ethnic
groups through uneven processes of capital mobility, immigration and economic
globalization (Sassen, 1998; Soysal, 1994). These settings mean that ethnocratic
regime reflect, and at the same time reproduce, patterns of ethnic stratification and
discrimination. The parallel workings of these structural forces have shaped several
key regime characteristics—all enhancing the process of ethnicizing contested territory.
These are2:
. Ethnicity, and not citizenship, forms the main basis for resource and power
allocation; only partial rights and capabilities are extended to minorities; there is
a constant ethnocratic-civil tension.
. The dominant ethnic nation appropriates the state apparatus and shapes the
political system, public institutions, geography, economy and culture, so as to
expand and deepen its control over state and territory.
. Political boundaries are vague, often privileging co-ethnic of the dominant group
in the Diaspora, over minority citizens; there is no clearly identified ‘demos’.
. Politics are ethnicized, as the ethnic logic of power distribution polarizes the
body politic and party system.
. Rigid forms of ethnic segregation and socioeconomic stratification are maintained,
despite countervailing legal and market forces.
A central point is that in ethnocratic regimes, the notion of the ‘demos’ is
crucially ruptured. That is, the community of equal resident-citizens (the demos)
does not feature high in the country’s policies, agenda, imagination, symbols or
resource distribution, and is therefore not nurtured or facilitated. But the ‘demos’
forms the necessary basis for the establishment of democracy (‘demos-cracy’), and
as a foundation for the most stable and legitimate form of governance known
to human society. Needless to say, the concept of the demos is open to many
interpretations, as evidenced by the variety of federal, multi-cultural or unitary
state structures. Yet, the structural diminution of the demos by ethnocratic regimes
2 The characteristics are worded as assertions which may be subject to further theoretical and
empirical validation.
650 O. Yiftachel, A. Ghanem / Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676
highlights their qualitative difference from the norms and practices of democratic
governance.
Notably, the ethnocratic model presented here is dynamic, depicting and interpreting
processes, rather than fixed reality, most notably ethnic expansion, and the
challenges and resistance it faces. One of our main arguments is the inherent instability
of open ethnocratic regimes, born out of the dynamism of societies embroiled
in ethnic territorial conflicts. Let us now explore further the structure of ethnocratic
regimes by elaborating on additional key dimensions, regarding territory,
religion and class.
Territory
Ethnocracies are driven, first and foremost, by a concerted collective project of
exerting ethno-national control over a territory perceived as the nation’s (exclusive)
homeland. The regime is thus propelled by a sense of collective entitlement
among the majority group to control ‘its’state, and ‘its’homela nd, as part and
parcel of what is conceived as a ‘natural’right for self-determination. But given the
perennial existence of multi-ethnic and multi-national territories, the imposition of
ethnic control over a mixed territory (and at times beyond) is likely to cause bitter
and protracted conflicts generated by rival claims for the same territory made by
other groups, typically those controlling the areas in different historical periods (see
Hakli, 2001; Murphy, 2002; Yiftachel; 2002).
While geographers and political scientists have compiled many studies of ethnic
politics and geographies (see Boal, 1987; Eyles, 1990; Peach, 1996), there has been
a relative paucity of studies linking questions of power, identity and ethnic conflict
to the dynamics of spatial expansion. Yet, the last years have seen several important
beginnings, with recent geographical studies beginning the task of systematically
describing, theorizing and offering critical evaluation of ethnocratic spatial
practices.
Penrose (2000a,b), for example, shows how the very structure of modern nationstates
(termed ‘nationalist democracies’) spawns societal projects, which ghettoize
and marginalize minority groups, and at the same time attempts to forcefully
assimilate them into the mainstream. Penrose theoretically and empirically exposes
the embedded contradiction between the claims of such states to be democracies,
and their systematic oppression of part of their citizenry
. . .systemic inequalities arise when the application of democratic principles is
constrained by the more fundamental need to demonstrate that the state represents
a single, coterminous nation. Accordingly. . . efforts to improve democracies
must begin with the assumption that the spaces and places in which this
ideology operates are not neutral. Instead, I suggest that [under the nationalist
order—OY] the context in which democratic principles are applied, and their
interpretation challenged, both produces and reflects ongoing, structural
unequal, power relations. (Penrose, 2000a,b: p. 35).
O. Yiftachel, A. Ghanem / Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676 651
Likewise, geographers Paasi (1999, 2000), Herb and Kaplan (1999) and Murphy
(2002) provide detailed accounts on the historical evolution of the close nexus
between identity and territory as a fundamental basis for the existing dominant
political order. This nexus provides the normative ‘ideal’, and the political basis for
mobilization, which stand behind the making of the global nation-state order. Notwithstanding
recent processes of globalization and localization, which erode their
power, national states remain the main repository of political, violent and economic
power, especially as regards minorities.
Paasi (2000) elaborates on the principles and methods of state building, which
invariably include a quiet, hegemonic, process of ‘spatial socialization’, whereby
cultural norms, official cartography, military activity and education infuse the
taken-for-granted link of people to their exclusive ethno-national homeland. Sibley
(1996) and Sack (1993) address the phenomenon of territoriality, with Sibley adding
a critical psychological-spatial dimension by introducing the concept of ‘pure
space’, as a social desire apparent on all scales. This often contradicts with the dictates
of global capitalism, creating a spatial politics of difference, manifested perversely
and often brutally, in the planning and making of the built environment:
The built environment assumes symbolic importance, reinforcing a desire for
order and conformity. . . space is implicated in the construction of otherness and
deviancy. ‘Pure space’exp oses difference and facilitates the policing of
boundaries. . . This xenophobia is based. . . on a purified national identity; (it)
sits uneasily with the flows and cultural fusions, which are generated by global
capitalism. But the contradiction between a racist nationalism and the imperatives
of capitalist economies is denied. . . The myth of cultural homogeneity
is needed to sustain the nation-state. . . It is convenient to have an alien other
hovering on the margins (Sibley, 1996: pp. 106–108).
Based on these theoretical foundations, we can proceed to observe the process of
ethnicizing contested territory as involving several key steps: (a) structural segregation,
without which the expansion of the majority group would not be possible;
(b) the construction of minorities as a ‘threat’or ‘enemies’to the project of ‘purifying’ethnic
spatial control, embedded in the model of the national state, from
which ethnocratic regimes receive their ultimate internal, and at times international,
legitimacy; (c) the formulation of public policies and practices, in the field
of land, development and planning, which enhance ethnocratic spatial control; (d)
the structural, and hence enduring, discrimination of minorities in the fields of land
control, planning rights, development and access to decision-making powers.
The manipulation of ethnic political geographies is hence one of the most central
pillars of all ethnocratic regimes; that is, the ethnicization of political space. The
legal, political, cultural and demographic ‘bases’of the regime, as elaborated
below, all facilitate this collective goal. But the geographical process in which
ethnocratic regimes are enmeshed, also expose their long-term weakness: as shown
by the recent work of social and political scientists such as Brubaker (1996),
Gurr (2000), Mann (2000), McGarry (1998) and Hechter (2000), the process of
652 O. Yiftachel, A. Ghanem / Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676
state-led ethnic territorial expansion may and marginalize minorities to such an
extent, that their resistance often generates serious threats to the regime, most commonly
on a regional or transnational scale. The remaking of ethnic geography is
also closely related to another key component of most ethnocratic regime—the
reigning of religion to advance the ethnic project.
Religion
While the main mobilizers of politics in ethnocratic states is definitely ethnonationalism,
in most cases, the ‘national’que stion is intimately involved with an
institutionalized and politicized religion, because the religion held by the dominant
majority is often an ‘ethnic religion’. This creates reciprocal relations, where religion
is influenced by contemporary ethnic and national struggles, while the nature of
the ethno-national struggle is, in turn, shaped by religious motives. The expansive
type of ethno-nationalism typical to ethnocracies is thus able to develop resilient
forms of internal legitimations, based on the mutual reinforcement of nationalism
and religion.
Examples of the intimate connection between religion and ethno-national segregation
are rife in ethnocratic states, and are evident in the cases of Sri Lanka (with
a major Buddhist–Hindu division), Israel/Palestine (Jewish–Muslim), Serbia (Eastern
Orthodox–Catholic), Northern Ireland (Protestant–Catholic), Estonia
(Lutheran–Russian Orthodox) and Malaysia (Muslim–Confutes). Yet, our analysis
of the ethnocratic model still points to the general subordination of religion vis-avis
ethno-nationalism. This is the reason our terminology and explanation stress
the ethnic and national ‘engines’of mobilization, through which religion assumes
its contemporary political and cultural potency.
Significantly, religious narratives, norms and practices enhance in most ethnocratic
societies the project of ethnic spatial expansion. This is mainly due to the
sanctification of space, common in areas of ethnic and religious conflict. This process
sees religious texts and norms reinterpreted so as to make the exclusive claim
to territory a matter of divine truth. This gives rise to a range of religio-spatial
practices on all major scales. On the urban level, as well illustrated by Shilhav
(1991), and Kong (2001) religious discourses constantly inform the making of
‘sacred urban spaces’. These may include neighborhoods and quarters where
enough religious people congregate, so as to elevated their religious customs to the
level of public norm. This relates to customs such as dress, eating, gender mixing,
content of signs and billboards, the aesthetic, vocal and physical prominence of
places of worship.
On regional and national scales too, religious practices, such as the demarcation
and celebration of sacred sites, the association of certain areas with religious miracles
or major mythical events, movements or wars, are coupled with ethnic claims
for that region or state as a homeland. These tend to effectively fuel the struggle
for exclusive territorial control. As shown by Stump (2000) and Akenson (1992),
religious narratives and goals in conflict situations are inherently spatial, with constant
mobilization to widen influence and control.
O. Yiftachel, A. Ghanem / Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676 653
Winichakul (1994) and Smith (2002a,b) elaborate further on the impact of religion
on the national scale, by noting that the ‘layered’and ‘selective’hist orical interpretations
of many modern nations is commonly based on popular religious myths,
which emphasize ‘our’control over the land. Such selective collective memories are
then extrapolated into present day political territorial claims. Hence, the present
(often tacit) coalescence of religious leaders and discourses with the national framework
creates a process of sanctification of the entire state territory, which becomes
a complete and holy ‘geobody’, embodying, symbolizing and mobilizing the nation.
Hence, despite the putatively secular foundation of nationalism (Anderson,
1991), the histories, identities and boundaries of the dominant groups in ethnocratic
societies are never very far from their religious affiliation. The religious logic
is instrumental for most ethnocratic regimes by generating an essentializing discourse
of rigid political and social boundaries. The existence of such boundaries is
commonly justified in public opinion, in politics and the media as stemming from
divine or ancient roots, and is thus portrayed as ascriptive and insurmountable
(Smith, 1995).
The reinforcement of boundaries by nationalism and religion thus assists the
dominant and expanding ethnic nation to segregate and marginalize peripheral
minorities. Moreover, since ethno-nationalism is enmeshed in the definition of the
state, and since it often has clear religious undertones, the entry of marginalized
minorities to a ‘common good’de fined by the state is extremely difficult. The
regime can also use religion to create formal and informal differentiation between
citizens, where ‘objective’or ‘god-given’ religious criteria function as a basis
for discriminatory policies; in the allocation of resources, power and prestige
(Akenson, 1992).
But—significantly—the close association between ethnocratic regimes and
religious institutions is never totally congruent, because at a structural level, religion
and nationalism advance competing hegemonic projects. The first is structurally
bound to the state, and regards its development and power as a goal in itself. The
latter (religious institutions), however, promotes a competing regime of truth and
power, which holds a global or international ‘redemptive’vision, often ‘in waiting’
for the right historical circumstances. For religious movements, particularly of the
fundamentalist kind, control of state territory is never an end-state goal, but rather
a stepping stone towards a grander vision of broader salvation and control, which
may make the nation-state redundant (see Lustick, 2002; Stump, 2000).
Hence, religions such as Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Eastern Orthodox Christianity—
found in most ethnocratic societies—also commonly hold uneasy relations
with their state governments. As shown below, in cases such as Sri Lanka and
Israel, the bands holding together the Statist and religious projects has been under
increasing strain, with religious forces, buoyed by the past support of the ethnic
state, now threaten to undermine their territorial, social and political stability.
654 O. Yiftachel, A. Ghanem / Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676
Ethno-classes
The power of religion and ethnic struggle tend to overshadow class politics in
ethnocratic societies, although socioeconomic considerations are still central in the
shaping of political struggle over resources. Typically, such considerations are
expressed indirectly by the politics of religion and ethnicity, with a general association
between poverty, religion and nationalism. But as noted above, ‘the ethnic
logic of capital’operate s constantly in ethnocratic societies, and puts in train
mechanisms, which generally result in persisting ethnic stratification. These
mechanisms include the ‘cultural division of labor’(Hechter, 2000), the flow of
international and domestic capital, which tends to favor the more educated groups,
the uneven pattern of urban and industrial development, the typically skewed distribution
of governmental assistance and incentives, and the tendency of capital to
avoid risks. All these combine to create a socioeconomic map, which tends to separate
ethnic groups, thereby fueling inter-ethnic tensions.
Consequently, we observe that politics in ethnocratic states operates on two
main and distinguishable levels: ethno-nations and ethno-classes (for a fuller discussion,
see Yiftachel, 1998). This begins with an ethnic logic of politics, which is
generated by the national struggle, where ‘our’e thnic nation is routinely elevated,
while rival groups are demoted (Connor, 1994). This logic is often diffused into
both majority and minority communities, bestowing legitimacy for the use of hierarchical
ethnicity as a political and distributive category, and causing various
forms of ethno-class divisions. Hence, ethnocratic regimes do not only promote the
dominance of a specific ethnicity, but also the general dominance of ethnicity as a
political and socioeconomic category.
The two levels of ethnicity operate with different social effects. Typically, the
ethno-national discourse attempts to unite the various groups in the nation (as
defined by the dominant group, barring ‘external’of ‘foreign’minor ities); while the
ethno-class logic tends to fragment groups within the nations according to their
socioeconomic status and/or regional locations (see Hechter, 2000). Needless to
say, there is never a clear-cut division between ethno-national and ethno-class stratifications,
but the analytical distinction helps us trace the central role of ethnicity
in both national and economic lines of demarcation, and account for its various
manifestations in the ‘thick’political struggles prevalent in ethnocratic societies.
Consequently, the contours of political mobilization and organization within
each ethnic nation often combines ethnic, religious and class affiliation. The patterns
of ethno-class stratification typical to ethnocracies has been explained and
elaborated elsewhere (see Stasiulis & Yuval-Davis, 1995). Its importance for the
present discussion is the inherent tension it exposes between the parallel projects of
nation- and state building, and the attention it draws to the material aspects of ethnic
struggle, frequently overlooked in recent scholarship on politics memory and
identities.
The tension between the use of ethnic and civil categories is highly evident during
the process of nation-building, which usually entails an active exclusion of groups
who are constructed as ‘external’by the prevailing discourse of the dominant
O. Yiftachel, A. Ghanem / Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676 655
nation, a status reified by a combination of legal measures, public policies and cultural
norms. The excluded are usually indigenous peoples or peripheral minorities,
but also collectivities marked as ‘enemies’or ‘foreigners’. Yet, at the same time,
these groups are incorporated (often coercively) into the project of state building.
The crises emanating from the process of ‘incorporation without legitimation’
(Mann, 1999; Soysal, 2000) is at the heart of the chronic instability experienced by
ethnocratic regimes, to be discussed further below.
The making of ethnocratic regimes: three illustrations
The following section will briefly illustrate the process of ethnicization in three
representative states—Sri Lanka, Estonia and Israel. The common politicalgeographical
elements emerging from these three examples will then assist to create
a more robust and refined model of the ethnocratic regimes, to which the following
sections are devoted.
As in all comparative analyses, there are obvious differences between the three
states, in history, economy, culture and geography. However, the main commonality,
which makes these cases comparable, is the institutionalization of an ethnocratic
project ‘within’a self-declared democratic setting. Hence, several important
democratic characteristics, such as separation of powers and elections, exist alongside
a state project of deepening ethnic control. This combination sets ‘open’ethnocratic
states, including the three following cases, apart from most other nationstates.
This point requires some elaboration. It is often claimed that most nation-states
advance a project of ethnic domination (see Brubaker, 1996), thereby diminishing
the distinctiveness of the ethnocratic type (see Smooha, 2002a,b). However, we
claim that there exists a qualitative difference between what Brubaker terms ‘nationalizing
states’, and between ethnocratic regimes. This difference lies in the deliberate
undermining of the political demos. As elaborated below, ethnocratic regimes
work ceaselessly to prevent the making of an inclusive demos—a community of
equal citizens within a definable territory. Instead—they use a rhetoric of the
nation-state, but do not allow minorities any feasible path of inclusion. Indeed, the
ethnocratic project is often constructed specifically against these minorities. There
is no attempt to assimilate ‘external’co mmunities of citizens, quite the contrary—
their identity is well demarcated and structurally marginalized.
Put differently, contrary to most nation-states, ethnocratic regimes actually work
against the project of universal citizenship. The universal project is of course
incomplete in most nation-state, and often involves oppressive policies and practices,
such as forced assimilation, discrimination or state-led economic stratification,
the state framework, de-jure, still leaves members of minority communities
an option of integration.
Ethnocracies, on the other hand, annul this inclusionary option. The state is constructed
so as to prevent the integration of minorities, typically through the rejection
of citizenship, limiting personal laws, restriction on immigration and land rights or
656 O. Yiftachel, A. Ghanem / Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676
denial of accessibility to decision-making powers. This is a significant structural difference,
which sets ethnocratic regimes apart from most ‘normal’nation-st ates.
Hence, one may point to the zone on a continuum between actively exclusionary
and inclusionary regimes, as the ‘tipping zone’between democracy with an ethnic
bias, to ethnocracy. It is analytically difficult to sharply define this zone which may
concurrently contain contradictory movements towards democracy and ethnocracy,
as evident by the Israeli case below. However, when the political demos has been
fundamentally undermined by the state’s ethnocratic laws, policies and institutions,
the regime can be said to have crossed the ethnocratic threshold, as evident in Sri
Lanka. Estonia, on the other hand, appears to be moving across the tipping zone in
the other direction, from ethnocracy to democracy. The three brief cases outlined in
the following pages were selected to demonstrate the above processes.
The three cases were also chosen because of the different potential trajectories of
the ethnocratic project they display—from deterioration into an open ethnic war,
to the possibility of peaceful democratization. In Sri Lanka, deepening oppression
and intensifying minority resistance have led to a virtual collapse of state into a
protracted civil war. In Estonia, the opposite process of non-violent democratization
and gradual inclusion of the Russian minority has been gathering pace; while
Israel is caught between the conflicting logics of ethnicization and democratization.
Its relative openness and high standard of living, as well as the weakness of the
Palestinian-Arab minority, have so far halted the eruption of open ethnic conflict,
but it is positioned at a historical juncture of delicate fragility.
The different trajectories of political development are highlighted by the political
and cultural freedom index data, compiled by the Freedom House project
(www.freedomhouse.org). Estonia scores low on political and cultural freedoms
during the early 1990s (3 on both assessment, on a scale of 1–7, with 1 being most
free). But it significantly improves in the last few years, scoring 1 and 2, respectively
in 2003. On the other hand, Sri Lanka scored relatively well during the 1970s
with 2 on political freedom and 3 on cultural. The situation deteriorates during the
1990s, when Sri Lanka scores a very low pair of 4 and 5, only to improve slightly
during 2003, scores of 2 and 3. Israel remains relatively stable since the 1970s, scoring
around 2 on each count for the entire three decades. These three cases then
illustrate a wide spectrum of development possibilities apparent under ethnocratic
regimes.
Finally, it should be emphasized that we see the development of ethnic relations
and regime structure as dialectical. That is, state actions and majority politics in
ethnocratic states are informed and fueled by minority activity and mobilization.
While the dialectics are commonly asymmetrical (with the state having far more
power than marginalized minorities), the evolution of these regime cannot be
understood without acknowledging the role of minority mobilization, especially as
regards the use of violence and terror, and the articulation of dissenting, often
threatening, collective narratives.
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Sri Lanka: from biethnic democracy to Sinhalese ethnocracy
The island state of Sri Lanka (previously Ceylon) is composed of two main
ethno-national groups. Sinhalese, who are mainly Buddhist, make up 75% of
the state’s 19 million inhabitants. Tamils, who are mainly Hindu, make up 18%.
Sri Lanka gained its independence from Britain in 1948, after an anti-colonial
struggle dominated by the Sinhalese groups, but shared by Tamils, as well as other
small ethnic groups on the island. However, in the decade following independence,
the state gradually turned towards a Sinhalization strategy. This orientation intensified
due to Tamil resistance and an ensuing process of ethnic polarization.
Sri Lanka was formed as a democratic state, with formal institutions and
governing procedures following, initially, the Westminster model (Little, 1994). But
in later years, the Sri Lankan state was gradually appropriated by the Sinhalese
community, mainly due to its demographic advantage and strong sense of ethnonationalism
(de Silva, 1996; Uyangoda, 1994). The Sinhalese used their dominance
in the legislative, judiciary and executive arms of government to advance an
explicit Sinhalization process. As declared in 1983 by the Sri Lankan development
minister (Nissan, 1996: p. 176):
Sri Lanka is inherently and rightfully a Sinhalese state. . . this must be accepted
as a fact and not a matter of opinion to be debated. By attempting to challenge
this premise, Tamils have brought the wrath of the Sinhalese on their own
heads; they have themselves to blame.
This approach found expression in several key policies and programs, beginning
in the 1950s with the adoption of religious Buddhist state symbols, which denote,
in the Sri Lankan context, a purely Sinhalese affiliation. Another major step was
taken in 1956 when Sinhalese was declared the only official state language. The
state’s official culture was also developed around a series of Buddhist ‘‘invented’’
histories, symbols and values, glorifying the link between Buddha and the Sinhalese
‘guardians’of ‘his’ island (Little, 1994), and glorifying the images of the Sinhala
nation as the indigenous ‘sons of the earth’, and hence the only rightful
owners and controllers of the state (Uyangoda, 1994).
A further aspect of the Sinhalization strategy was evident in Sri Lanka’s
citizenship policies. Over a million long-term Tamil residents who migrated to the
island during the period of British rule, mainly as plantation workers, have been
denied citizenship as part of the Sinhalization approach, by being officially classified
as ‘Indian Tamils’. This forced large sections of this community to leave the
island and settle in India during the 1950s and 1960s. Many from this group who
remained on the island have remained to date. The Sinhalese majority has thus
managed to contain the size of the Tamil community, and reinforce geographical
and political intra-Tamil cleavage between ‘Indian’an d ‘Sri Lankan’Tam ils. Geographically,
Indian Tamils mainly reside in the central heights, while Sri Lankan
Tamils inhabit the island’s northern and eastern regions. Politically,
the disenfranchised Indian Tamils became totally dependent on the Sinhalese
regime for basic rights and services, and hence remained politically immobilized.
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Consequently, Indian Tamils have rarely participated or assisted in the militant
resistance staged by Sri Lankan Tamils against the Sinhalizing state.
The island’s ethnic geography has also been the main cause of another notable
ethnocratic policy—the Sinhalization of contested space. The British rulers had
already encouraged the Tamils to immigrate into Sinhalese areas, breaking a centuries-
long tradition of (mainly voluntary) spatial separation. Likewise, the
Sri Lankan government encouraged Sinhalese to settle in the island’s central and
eastern regions, which previously were dominated and claimed by Tamils as part of
their ‘own’regions .
This has been most evident in the large-scale Mahaweli irrigation and settlement
project carried out predominantly during the 1970s and 1980s (Roded, 1999). The
project opened up large tracts of agricultural land in the island’s central and northeastern
regions, which were offered mostly to landless or impoverished farmers. By
1993, 1.1 million people (the vast majority Sinhalese) were resettled in these
regions, creating a new Sinhalese regional lower-class collectivity and exacerbating
the conflict with the Tamils, who considered the region as part of their historical
‘Elam’homela nd (Peiris, 1996).
Subsequently, the regions in question became a destination for large-scale (and
mainly unauthorized) Tamil counter-settlement. As the two populations increasingly
intermingled in competitive settings (largely as a result of settlement initiatives
like the Mahaweli project), antagonism and discrimination against the
minority deepened, intensifying the breakdown of social and political order since
the early 1980s.
The civil (ethnic) war, which has dominated the Sri Lankan state since the early
1980s, has brought to the fore the military as a major agent in the Sinhalization of
contested space, and the reinforcement of Sinhalese dominance in Sri Lankan politics.
The army gradually extended state (that is, Sinhalese) control north and eastwards,
confining the resisting Tamil groups to the Jaffna Peninsula, at the state’s
northeastern end. It has also caused a major internal refugee problem, with some
550,000 residents losing their homes during the fighting, 78% of them Tamils (de
Silva, 1996). During the same time, a series of emergency and ‘security’legi slation
reduced the protection of Tamil citizens against arbitrary state oppression
(Uyangoda, 1994). A parallel constitutional move increased the powers of a popularly
elected president at the expense of the previously powerful legislature. Finally,
in 1978, several Tamil parliamentarians were disqualified on the basis of ‘acting
against the Sinhalese state’, reducing the already limited Tamil political power
(Little, 1994).
The accumulating alienation of Tamils from the Sri Lankan state drove many of
them to boycott the political process altogether. From 1978 until 2001, the
majority of Tamils boycotted the Sri Lankan elections and only rarely participated
in other state affairs. The state, on its part, did little to induce the Tamils back into
the political arena until 1987, when further constitutional reforms attempted to
ease ethnic tensions by decentralizing state authority and granting autonomy to
regional authorities. However, the Tamils did not accept the plan that was prepared
without their participation, claiming that: (a) it compromised their drive for
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self-determination, and (b) it legitimized the ‘unlawful’Sinhale se domination of the
eastern regions (Nissan, 1996). Further, the state maintained ultimate control by
classifying ‘national projects’that could bypass the proposed decentralized forms
of decision-making (Gunasekara, 1996).
The Sinhalization strategy generated widespread Tamil resistance. The Tamils
initially struggled for territorial-political autonomy within the Sri Lankan state,
but following the state’s ethnocratic policies, began a campaign to reinstate their
vision of Tamil Elam—an independent Tamil state. Tamil disengagement from the
state further polarized the two groups, culminating in increasing inter-communal
mistrust, Tamil withdrawal from state politics and eventually the breakout of a
civil war. The fighting, which had been fluctuating since 1982, reached a peak of
widespread inter-ethnic violence during the mid-1990s, and exacted a toll of 70–
80,000 casualties, most of them civilians.
Only in 2002 was a ceasefire declared, when the Tamil leadership agreed to
return to negotiations after the Sinhalese promised serious constitutional amendments
and made a more genuine attempt to include the Tamils in devising a new,
highly devolved state structure. However, during late 2003 and early 2004, following
serious negotiations between the government and the LTTE for substantial
Tamil autonomy, Sri Lanka was thrown into a deep political crisis. The ensuing
elections of April 2004 returned to power the United People’s Freedom Alliance,
traditionally opposed to a federated Sri Lankan state. At the same time, a major
split occurred in the LTTE. These developments appear to usher another period of
political instability and ethnic conflict.
The case of Sri Lanka illustrates well the emergence of ethnocracy and
the inherent tensions between formal democratic procedures and a parallel state
project of ethnicizing contested spaces and political institutions. It also demonstrates
the inability of an ethnocracy to be sustained for the long term, and its need
to structurally reform in order to survive as a state.
Estonia: from communism to (democratizing?) ethnocracy
The independent Estonian state re-emerged during the collapse of the Soviet
Union in the 1989–1992 period. It is situated on the Baltic Coast, and has a population
of 1.5 million, of whom 65% are ethnic Estonians, 14% Russians with citizenship
and 25% non-citizen residents (mainly Russian speaking) (EHDR, 2000).
The new polity was formed as a result of an anti-Soviet (and by implication anti-
Russian) struggle, which followed five decades of often-brutal Soviet rule. It has
since adopted an explicit program of Estonization (de-Russification), designed to
reinstate the ethnic and national situation existing during a previous period of
independence 1918–1939). During that period, ethnic Estonians dominated the
state—politically, demographically, economically and culturally. The Soviet Union
subsequently promoted a process of Russification and encouraged Russian immigration
to Estonia, thereby threatening Estonian demographic and cultural dominance
in their homeland.
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Since official independence was declared in 1992, state building has assumed ethnocratic
characteristics. For example, in 1992, the Estonian parliament (Riigikogu)
decided not to grant citizenship to ‘non-ethnic’Estonia ns. It classified them as
‘aliens’, thus excluding them from the 1992 referendum on a new constitution.
Estonian state policies in the 1989–2000 period clearly aimed to ensure the political,
territorial and cultural dominance of ethnic Estonians by focusing on
citizenship, culture, language and land.
In 1992, Estonia adopted the new Constitution, according to which the bearers
of the supreme power are ‘the people’(that is, the citizens; art. 1). The constitutional
preamble contains a clause obliging the state to ensure the preservation
of the (ethnic) Estonian nation and culture. Courts have actively referred to this
preamble in a variety of rulings on citizenship and property matters.
Hence, the new Constitution includes special clauses concerning the priority of
ethnic Estonians, Estonian culture and language (Ruutsoo, 1998: p. 176). Every
Estonian is entitled to preserve his/her national identity, but no special minority
rights are recognized by the Constitution. Some state symbols are of purely ethnic
character (e.g. flag, anthem, stamps and official letterheads). The state holidays
include Protestant sacred days, not Russian Orthodox. There is no State Church in
Estonia, but the majority of ethnic Estonians are (Protestant) Lutheran, and Estonian
nationalism is widely associated with a Lutheran way of life, as an antithesis
to the Orthodox Russian influence. During the Communist years, the population
became largely secular, but since the return of Estonian nationalism as a legitimate
ideology, the church has increased markedly its public profile (www.estonica.org).
The issue or citizenship (and by association culture and language) has been most
central to the Estonization project. The Citizenship Law of 1992 (amended 1995)
granted citizenship to all pre-1940 citizens and their descendants and prohibited
dual citizenship. Because in 1940, the state was 92% ethnic Estonians, this law
actually granted superior citizenship rights to ethnic Estonians (in and outside the
state) over the state’s own Russian residents.
The law sets a difficult path for acquisition of citizenship by non-Estonians,
including long-term state residents who previously had full (Soviet) citizenship
rights and are now considered ‘aliens’. Such ‘aliens’ are required to reside in Estonia
for at least five years, pass demanding language tests, prove command of the
Estonian constitution, have a steady income, establish permanent residency and
pledge allegiance to the state and its (ethnic) character (The Aliens Law, 1989;
2000; Human Rights Watch, 2000).
The ethnicization strategy is also evident in Estonia’s language policies, which
have reinforced the imposed dominance of the Estonian language in most spheres
of life, including education, street signs and government services. This dominance
was deepened by a new language law, introduced in 1989 (and amended in 1995,
1999 and 2000), which demoted Russian to the status of a ‘foreign’languag e,
similar to dozens of other languages used by immigrants and minorities. The
requirements of the new law severely restricts the public usage of any language
except Estonian. For example, ‘foreign’language s are prohibited in all street and
commercial signs, and all TV broadcasts must have Estonian subtitles. Estonian is
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the compulsory language in the parliament and local councils, for state employees
and for government dealings in both public and private sectors. The only exception
is minority language usage in territories where they form a majority, but this is
implemented in a very restrictive manner.
In 1993, the Riigikogu enacted a new law for Cultural Autonomy of National
Minorities (Estonian Government, RT 1993, 71,1000). But the law defined a minority
as consisting of citizens only. Thus, the state did not recognize special rights
of the vast majority of the non-Estonian population. Previously, the Soviet Law on
National Rights allowed minorities full enjoyment of certain rights obtainable
through special autonomous organs and under the supervision of the State.
Ethnicization has also been prominent on the political level. After 1992, rightwing
nationalist parties have dominated the Riigikogu. A process of ethnic political
polarization has seen electoral competition revolving around the intensity of the
Estonization (and de-Russification) process. Changes of government during the
1990s did not result in any significant change in Estonia’s policies toward its Russian
minority. Russians have suffered persistent political under-representation: in the
1992 Parliament, there were no ethnic Russians, while in 1995 and in 1999, their
numbers rose to only six members (out of 100). In the Riigikogu, Russians have
always belonged to the opposition and have had no significant influence on the
decision-making process.
Ethnic Estonian dominance is also expressed in denial of state recognition of the
local Orthodox Church under its pre-war name (Estonian Apostolic Orthodox
Church; see Theile, 1999). That means the deprivation of the church pre-war property
in the process of property restitution, as noted below. In 1993, the Government
registered the EAOC an ‘exile’entit y whose legitimacy is highly disputable.
As expected, and as planned by Estonian policymakers, the laws created considerable
difficulties for non-ethnic Estonians to acquire citizenship, and have caused substantial
emigration, mainly into Russia, with some 133,000 Russians leaving Estonia
during the 1990s (Statistical Office of Estonia, 2000). By 1999, only about 38% of
this group received Estonian citizenship, while 19% have retained foreign (mainly
Russian) citizenship, and 43% have remained stateless. Non-citizens are excluded
from many political and economic arenas in Estonian life, and are prohibited from
voting or being elected at a national level. The Russians have voting rights for local
elections, but cannot stand for mayorship (EHDR, 1999; Hallik, 1998).
The discrepancy between citizenry and the residential composition of Estonian is
highlighted by the following figures: in 1999, ethnic Estonians constituted 81% of
the citizenry, but only 65% of the population. Likewise, Russians were 28% of the
residents, but only 14% of the citizenry. However, due to pressure from the
European Union, into which Estonia seeks to integrate, and from international
human rights organizations, Estonia introduced in the beginning of the 2000s several
measures which open a path of naturalization for the Russians, evolving
mainly around language acquisition, military service or contribution to the Estonian
public (Berg, 2002; Pettai & Hallik, 2002).
The Estonian government also attempted to reinforce ethnic land control, by resurrecting
the traditional ‘indigenous’Estonia n system of family farms to replace
662 O. Yiftachel, A. Ghanem / Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676
the Kolchoz and Sobchov Soviet system of collective cultivation. This was aided by
the Law for Land Reform (1992), the Law of Agrarian Reform (1994) and a complex
system of financial incentives designed to assist the restitution and privatization
of land, while at the same time restrict the benefits of this process chiefly to
ethnic Estonians (Anderson, 1999).
In sum, like Sri Lanka, but within different historical and geographical settings,
Estonia demonstrates the deep logic of ethnicization behind ethnocratic structure
and policies. Estonia adopted a structure of an ‘open’formal democracy, but at
another level has set into motion an ethnic transformation of the state from a Russified
communist republic into an ethnic Estonian state. The new state structurally
discriminates against most of its long-term Russian residents, and actively facilitates
the Estonization of institutions, politics, culture and territory. However,
unlike Sri Lanka, the ethnicization process has not been violent, and appears to be
waning, mainly due to the influence of the European Union and the globalization
of ethnic politics (Berg, 2002). Hence, Estonia appears to be an ethnocracy undergoing
a gradual process of democratization.
Israel: an ethnocratic settler-state
Following half a century of Jewish colonization of (mainly Arab) Palestine,
tacitly supported by the British rulers, Israel gained its independence in 1948. This
followed a failed UN partition attempt, rejected by the Arabs, and a Palestinian–
Jewish war, in which some 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven out of their
homeland. Israel seized control over 78% of Mandatory Palestine, about 40% larger
than the territory allocated to it by the UN plan. This area—known as ‘Israel
Proper’(the sovereign state within its pre-1967 borders)—is the focus of our analysis
here, not including the occupied Palestinian territories. We do acknowledge, of
course, that the occupation and on-going Jewish settlement in Palestinian territories
have had an immense impact on ethnic relations, but for comparative and
methodological reasons, ‘Israel Proper’—where Israeli sovereignty is internationally
recognized—is a more appropriate scale of analysis. This, without
diminishing the significance of the increasingly oppressive regime imposed by Israel
in the Palestinian occupied territories for nearly four decades, and the waves of
mutual violence it generated.
In 1949, only 160,000 Palestinian-Arabs remained in Israel, and received state
citizenship. In the next five decades, Israel absorbed some 2.7 million Jewish refugees
and immigrants, and prevented the return of the Palestinian refugees, who
remained chiefly in surrounding Middle-Eastern states. In the year 2002, Palestinian-
Arabs have become 18% of Israel’s population of 6.3 million.
Both ethno-national groups claim to have historical rights over the country. The
Palestinian-Arabs claim continuous residence as indigenous people, and a natural
right for self-determination in a national homeland. The Jewish-Zionist justification
rests on the existence of ancient Israelite kingdoms on the land before
the Jews were forcefully exiled, and on sacred Jewish texts, which promise the land
to the Israelite ‘chosen people’. The Zionist movement claims that Jews maintained
O. Yiftachel, A. Ghanem / Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676 663
in their diasporas a continuous bond with the ‘promised land’, and that following
the eruption of genocidal European anti-Semitism, the Land of Israel (Palestine)
became the rightful and natural site in which to build a safe, independent, Jewish
state (Kimmerling, 2001).
On a formal level, Israel formed a democratic regime in 1948, but in parallel
initiated a concerted project of Judaizing the land and the polity. Israel’s Declaration
of Independence, for example, stresses the Jewish connection to an ancient
homeland, and its expression as political control over this contested land:
In the Land of Yisrael the Jewish people was created. Here its spiritual, religious
and political identity was shaped. . . the people kept faith with it throughout
their dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return. . . According
to our natural and historical right. . . we are hereby declaring the establishment
of a Jewish state in this Land of Israel. . .
The Judaization project, which turned Israel into a ‘frontier state’( Shafir &
Peled, 2002) was significantly aided by Jewish diaspora, which not only funded
many Israeli projects, but also circumvented the state apparatus by forming and
maintaining Jewish organizations, which operate in Israel officially as ethnic arms
of the states. These organizations—notably the Jewish National Fund and/or the
Jewish Agency—enabled the implementation of ethnocratic ‘Jews only’
policies in the allocation of key resources, powers and land, thereby structurally
undermining the notion of equal citizenship (Rouhana, 1997; Kretzmer, 2002).
Until 1966, Israel’s Arabs citizens were placed under military rule. In the following
decades, and against the on-going conflict with their Palestinian brethren,
Israel’s enacted a series of laws, which enshrine the legal, institutional and political
dominance of Jewish goals and interests. Despite small advances in the last decade,
discrimination against Israel’s Arab citizens has remained rampant, leading a
recent comprehensive study as to label the minority as ‘citizens without citizenship’
(MADA, 2003).
Judaization took many substantive forms, including the mass expropriation of
Arab land in Israel (Kedar, 1998), the building of over 700 Jewish settlements,
often on the sites of the hundreds of Arab villages destroyed after the 1948 war (see
Falah, 1996, 2003), the Hebraization of the landscape and erasure of its Palestinian
Arab past (Benvenisti, 2001), and the establishment of a highly centralized economy
and political systems in which the Arab minority was marginalized and weakened.
Expansion of Jewish control continued after the 1967 war, with the conquest
and settlement of the West Bank and Gaza, but also in Israel’s own outlying
regions, mainly the northern Galilee and southern Negev, where hundreds of thousands
of Jews were settled in close proximity to Arab towns and villages. This was
facilitated by the Israeli land and planning systems which have worked consistently
for the transfer of spatial control from Arab to Jewish hands, and have legitimized,
planned and funded large-scale projects of Jewish settlement (see Benvenisti, 2001;
Yiftachel & Kedar, 2000; Yacobi and Yiftachel, 2003).
664 O. Yiftachel, A. Ghanem / Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676
Notably, then, despite the formal appearance of the Israeli regime as democratic,
the state has advanced an ethnocratic strategy in key bases of the regime. For
example, immigration policies, governed by the Jewish Law of Return, allow any Jew
and his/her immediate family to enter Israel and receive citizenship. At the same
time, the immigration and naturalization of non-Jews, those born on the land or
married to an Arab Israeli has been made extremely difficult (Kretzmer, 1990).
Other building blocks of Israel’s Judaization strategy are manifest in the state’s
development policies, which have consistently privileged Jewish capital and localities
over their Arab counterparts. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF), too, is in
essence a Jewish army, and military service is a prerequisite for substantial benefits
in employment, education, land allocation, and access to the state’s centers of
power. Jewish-Israeli Hebrew culture is the dominant force in shaping Israel’s public
spaces. While Arabic is an official state language, it is virtually impossible to
deal with the Israeli bureaucracy, legal system, arms of government or national
media in Arabic (Ghanem, 1998; Rouhana, 1997).
The state culture also reflects a deep connection with the Jewish religion: Jewish
holidays and the Sabbath are Israel’s main rest days, no public transport or free
commerce is available on these holidays, and all public (and most private) food
outlets observe Jewish dietary laws. Personal matters are run according to religious
laws, giving the Arab citizen a measure of religious autonomy. Arabic is also an
official language, used in the separate Arab education stream. But despite these
measures, Jews control decision-making in most educational and religious arenas,
meaning that communal autonomy is severely restricted. The above measures are
hence often interpreted as preserving institutional communal segregation between
Jews and Arabs (Shafir & Peled, 2002).
In addition, while Israel lacks a formal constitution, the state’s legal system has
reinforced its Jewish character, with legislation privileging Jewish interests and goals.
According to a recent study, 18 laws explicitly discriminate against Israel’s Palestinian-
Arab citizens, rupturing the notion of the ‘demos’as a political community of
equals. This despite concerted legal activity, especially through appeals to the Israeli
High Court, which have managed to outlaw or contain several legal obstacles to
Arab civil equality (Adala, 1998, 2003). It is worth noting that even the 1992 new
and putatively liberal basic Laws—hailed as signaling a ‘civil revolution’( Barak,
1998)—still ambiguously declare the state’s character as Jewish and democratic.
Israeli-Jewish culture fostered an exclusive Jewish bond to the land, and for
many years denied, delegitimized and ignored the existence of Palestinian nationalism,
and hence the minority’s collective territorial or political rights. Following the
1993 Oslo agreement and the mutual recognition of Jewish and Palestinian
‘national rights’, the rhetoric has somewhat changed, although Jewish settlement
and expansion of land control has continued in parallel to contraction in several
heavily populated Palestinian areas.
Like in Sri Lanka, oppression has met with increasing minority resistance. This
has been expressed by continuing waves of large-scale protest against state policies,
which reached a notable height in October 2000, when 12 Arab citizens were killed
by state forces during mass demonstrations in support of the Palestinian al-Aqsa
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Intifada. Political polarization has also deepened between the two ethnic groups,
with increasing votes going to non-Zionist Arab parties, reaching 70% in 1999, and
an all time high of 81% in the 2003 elections. In the special Prime Ministerial elections
of 2001, and following the killing of 12 Arab demonstrators, 82% of
Arab citizens boycotted the vote, signaling again the intensifying process of polarization.
3
As we can see, although Israel managed to project a democratic image, mainly
because of a competitive electoral system and relatively independent judiciary and
media, in effect it became a state dedicated to the expansion and control of one
ethnic group, at the expense of a homeland minority community, and with significant
undermining of basic democratic principles (see Ghanem, et al., 1998).4 To
date, the Judaization strategy had remained a main foundation of the Israeli ethnocratic
regime.
Ethnocracy and regime components
The foregoing accounts of Sri Lanka, Israel and Estonia highlighted the changing
ethnic relations in states undergoing a planned process of ‘ethnicization’. The
three illustrative cases facilitate the next step of our exploration: a discussion of the
relationships between ethnocracy and key regime components—namely, democracy,
minority status and political stability.
Ethnocracy and democracy5
The ‘open’e thnocratic regimes studied here combine partial elements of both
authoritarian and democratic systems. But regardless of the formal political
system, they enhance a rule by, and for, a specific ethnos. As such, they cannot be
classified as democracies in a substantive sense, as they structurally privilege one
group of citizens over all others, and strive to maintain that privilege.
Ethnocracies are, therefore, neither democratic, nor authoritarian (or ‘Herrenvolk’)
systems of government. The lack of democracy, as noted above, rests on the
rupture of the concept of the ‘demos’, on their unequal citizenship, and on their laws
and policies that enable the seizure of the state by one ethno-national group. They
are not authoritarian, as they extend significant (though partial) political rights to
ethnic minorities.
3 While most Arabs (62%) returned to vote in the 2003 elections, the Arab turnout was the lowest
among all ethnic groups in the country and the second lowest in history after 2001.
4 It should be noted, however, that Israel’s electoral system has not been universal since the 1970s,
given the voting rights granted to Jewish settlers (who reside outside the state’s sovereign area), and the
denial of such rights from all Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. The settlers have determined the
outcome of several key elections and are over-represented in Israel’s government apparatus. This clearly
breaks the concept of universal suffrage, which calls for an overlap of territory, citizenship and voting
power, and has further marginalized the Arab citizens politically. In addition, Israel’s electoral laws prohibit
any party opposed to Zionism from contesting the elections, placing another serious breach of the
concept of universal and free elections.
5 The following two sections are summarized from Yiftachel (2000).
666 O. Yiftachel, A. Ghanem / Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676
Importantly, we do not treat the term ‘democracy’uncritical ly, recognizing that
it is a contested concept, widely abused, particularly in multi-ethnic states (see
Mann, 1999). This is not the place to delve deeply into democratic theory. Suffice is
to note that several key principles have emerged as foundations for achieving the
main tenets of democracy—equality and liberty. These principles include equal citizenship,
protection of individuals and minorities against the tyranny of states,
majorities or churches, and a range of civil, political and economic rights (Held,
1990). A stable constitution, periodic and universal elections and free media generally
ensure the attainment of these rights (Dahl, 1995). In multi-ethnic or multinational
polities, as illustrated by the seminal works of Lijphart (1977), Kymlicka
(1995) and Rawls (1999), a certain parity, recognition and proportionality between
the ethnic collectivities is a pre-requisite for democratic legitimacy and stability.
While no state ever implements these principles fully, ethnocratic regimes are conspicuous
in breaching the spirit, purpose and major tenets of the democracy ideal.
Generally, ethnocratic regimes emphasize the procedural aspects of their selfdefined
democracy, but attempt to draw attention away from substantive matters,
such as privileges for the dominant group in the allocation of resources, political
representation, territorial control or preference by the law. The emphasis on procedural
aspects also diverts attention from the substantive limitations placed on
minority rights and capabilities, and from the lack of equal treatment by state policies,
laws and institutions.
To further fathom the workings of ‘open’ethnocra cies, and drawing on Gramscian-
informed analysis, we differentiate analytically between regime features and
structure. As noted in Fig. 1, ethnocracies demonstrate ‘visible’democ ratic features,
such as periodic elections, free media and autonomous judiciary that protects,
and (some) human rights legislation. But these tend to work on a ‘surface
level’, while the deeper structure of such regimes it undermines key democratic
principles, such as civil and legal equality within agreed state boundaries, protection
of minorities, maintenance of equality and a measure of proportionality
between the state’s main ethnic groups.
The analytical differentiation between ‘features’and ‘structure’highli ghts the
selective and often hollow use of the term ‘democracy’by the dominant ethnic
group. The democratic discourse, partial as it is, often has the effect of legitimizing
the regime, especially in the eyes of the majority, as evident so vividly in Sri Lanka,
Israel and Estonia.6
A hallmark of the ethnocratic hegemony is the common waging of political
struggles around the ‘shallower’state features, while relatively few battles are
fought over the ‘deeper’ethn ic (and class) hegemony, which is painted as ‘natural’
6 The distinction between ‘features’and ‘structure’is, needless to say, never overt or stable, with a
constant flow of reciprocal influences. However, during the intense process of state building, the ethnocratic
logic of the regime structure generally dictates the terms of much of what transpires in the more
visible arenas of political features.
O. Yiftachel, A. Ghanem / Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676 667
and universal. As powerfully argued by Antonio Gramsci (1971); as synthesized by
Sasoon (1987: p. 232), a ‘moment’of hegemony is marked by:
. . .the unquestioned dominance of a certain way of life. . . when a single concept
of reality informs society’s tastes, morality, customs, religious and political
principles. . .’ (Sasoon, 1987: p. 232).
Drawing on the cases of Sri Lanka, Israel and Estonia discussed above, we have
identified several structural ‘bases’, which constitute the foundation of ethnocratic
regimes. These are key components of the dominant hegemony, which are generally
protected by the boundaries of public discourse and political discussion. Let us
emphasize again that we see the structural bases of the regime as dynamic, evolving
over time in an effort to maintain their ‘natural’and popularly accepted status. But
as part of the conflict-riddled ethnocratic regime, they are never sustainable in the
long term. The main regime bases thus include:
Fig. 1. Ethnocratic regime: structure and features a conceptual framework.
668 O. Yiftachel, A. Ghanem / Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676
. Demography: rights of entry and membership into the political community define
the all important boundaries of political (and by implication social) power. In
ethnocracies immigration and citizenship are chiefly determined by affiliation
with the dominant ethnic-nation.
. Land and settlement: territorial control is central for ethno-national politics. As
such, the ownership, use and development of land, as well as planning and settlement
policies are shaped by the state’s project of extending ethno-national control
over its (multi-ethnic) territory.
. Armed forces: violent force is critical in assisting the state to maintain (oppressive)
ethno-national control over contested regions and resisting groups. To that
end, the armed forces (the military, the police), which bear the name of the
entire state, are predominantly affiliated with the leading ethnic nation.
. Capital flow: while the flow of capital and development is deeply influenced by
an ‘ethnic logic’, privileging the dominant ethno-classes; notably, these market
mechanisms are often represented as ‘free’or ‘neutral’an d hence beyond challenge.
. The Constitutional System: legalism often depoliticizes and legitimizes patterns of
ethnic control. Such controls are often premised on redundant, absurd, non-existent
or only partially functional constitutional settings. This is often presented
as ‘the law of the land’, and subsequently placed outside the realm of legitimately
contested issues.
. Publicc ulture: the ethnocratic public culture is formulated around a set of symbols,
representations, traditions and practices, which tend to reinforce the narratives
of the dominant ethno-national group; while silencing, degrading or
ridiculing contesting cultures or perspectives.
Genuine open debates on these ‘taken-for-granted’issue s are generally absent
from the public discourse, especially among the dominant majority. When these
issues are questioned by resisting groups (say, in the parliament, or through the
media) they are usually silenced, ridiculed or represented as ‘state enemies’. But the
dominance of regime ‘truths’is of course never absolute, and may be exposed and
resisted by political entrepreneurs exploiting the tensions between the declared
‘democracy’and its substantive discriminatory manifestation. In such settings,
destabilizing cracks are likely to appear in the ethnocratic structure.
Ethnocracy and minorities
Central to the ethnocratic regime is its ability to maintain the dominance of the
leading ethno-national group while marginalizing and/or excluding indigenous or
national minorities. But not all minorities are treated equally, with some incorporated
as ‘internal’whi le others are constructed as ‘external’. A critical difference
exists between those considered part of the ‘historical’of even ‘genetic’ nation, and
others whose presence is portrayed as mere historical coincidence, or as a ‘danger’
to the security and integrity of the dominant ethnos. These discourses strip
O. Yiftachel, A. Ghanem / Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676 669
‘external’minor ities from means of inclusion into the meaningful sites of ‘the
nation’( Penrose, 2000a,b).
Ethnocracies are generally driven by a sense of collective entitlement among the
majority group to control ‘its’homela nd—that is, the state—as part and parcel of
what is conceived as a universal right for self-determination. Thus, belonging to
the dominant ethno-nation (and to its leading ethno-classes) is the key to mobility
among peripheral groups. This is the strategy adopted by most immigrant minorities,
who thereby distance themselves from indigenous or other ‘external’minorities.
As such, ethnocratic societies continuously maintain an ‘ethnic project’,
which similarly to the ‘racial project’iden tified by Omi and Winant (1994),
attempts to build an informal public image of ‘separate and unequal’.
The leading ethno-classes (also often termed ‘the ‘charter’or ‘titular’ groups) can
thus play a dual game, vis-a-vis peripheral minorities. On the one hand, they
articulate a discourse of belonging, which incorporates immigrant and peripheral
groups not associated with any ‘external’or ‘rival’ nation. These groups are ‘invited’to
assimilate into the moral community of the dominant ethno-nation. But on
the other hand, the dominant groups use this very discourse of inclusion and
belonging to conceal the uneven effects of its strategies, which often marginalize the
immigrants economically, culturally and geographically. It would be a mistake,
however, to treat this as a conspiracy; it is rather an expression of broad social
interest, generally unarticulated, privileging social circles that are closest to the
ethno-national core. This ‘natural’process tends to broadly reproduce—though
never replicate—patterns of social stratification.
In contrast, the strategy towards indigenous and/or national (homeland) minorities
is generally more openly oppressive. They are represented and treated, at
best, as ‘external’to the ethno-national project, or, at worst, as a subversive threat.
The examples of Sri Lanka, Estonia and Israel show that the tenets of self-determination
are used only selectively, pertaining to ethnicity and not to an inclusive
geographical unit, as required by the basic principles of democratic statehood.
Oppressive policies are often ‘wrapped’in a discourse of modernity, progress and
democracy, but the political and material reality is unmistakable, entailing
minority dispossession and exclusion.
However, the self-representation of most ethnocracies as democratic creates
structural tensions, because it requires the state to go beyond lip service and
empower external minorities with some (though less than equal) formal political
powers. The tensions between the claims of democracy and the denial of minority
equality create spaces of struggle and ‘‘cracks’’ in the hegemonic order. These often
fuel minority resistance and inter-ethnic conflict typical to ethnocratic states (see
Mann, 1999).
Ethnocracy and political instability
One of our main theoretical arguments relates to the instability of ethnocratic
regimes. We do not have the space to enter here the diverse and rich discussion
670 O. Yiftachel, A. Ghanem / Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676
over the definition and measurement of political stability beyond noting that we
accept the main parameters offered by the likes of Lane and Ersson (1991) or
McGarry and O’Leary (1995). They see political instability as strongly related to
regime illegitimacy among minorities, which results in a combination of social disorder
and breakdown of regime functions. This is often followed by the bypassing
of the regime by disgruntled minorities, by increasing forms of political polarization,
and by intensifying waves of anti-governmental protest and violence.
In this sense, the ethnocratic model builds on, and critiques, the ‘control’mod el
of political stability, first offered by Lustick (1979, 1993) and later used by geographers
such as Taylor (1995) and Rumley (1999). Lustick’s argument pointed
usefully to the ability of regimes to maintain stability through a range of control
mechanisms, including the construction of hegemonic discourses and institutions,
and the cooptation and fragmentation of oppositional elements. But our observation
is that in ethnocratic regimes, such controls are only viable for the short
term, leading in the long term to a destabilizing momentum.
The chronic instability of the ‘open’ethnocra tic regimes stems from a combination
of two of their main attributes: (a) the long-term impact of the spatial,
political and economic expansion of the dominant majority, and the associated
control mechanisms exerted over ethnic and national minorities, and (b) the democratic
self-representation of the regime.
The first factor is quite clear: ethnocratic regimes often reflect and exacerbate
ethnic tensions and conflicts, because they structurally privilege one ethnic nation,
both within the state and among its diasporas over the state’s resident minorities.
As clearly shown in the cases of Sri Lanka, Estonia and Israel, the dominant group
then uses the state apparatus, and the international legitimacy accorded to state
sovereignty, to expand its power, resources and prestige, often at the expense of
minorities. In this sense, ethnocratic regimes tend to generate constant tensions
between minorities and majorities.
However, minority resistance to control and discrimination is necessary, but not
sufficient, to destabilize the regime. It is the semi-open nature of ethnocratic
regimes, their partial democratization, and the limited rights extended to minorities,
which combine to develop, in a complex process, the situation of structural
instability. In the short-term, we have often seen that partial democratization, and
especially the extension of mere procedural measures (such as ‘representation without
influence’, commonly allowed for minorities in ethnic regimes) may actually
prolong the control of the dominant group.
At the same time, the self-representation of the state as democratic, despite its
violation of democratic principles on most substantive arenas of state operation,
does enable the development of minority consciousness and political mobilization.
Such mobilization will typically rally around the contradictions and tensions
embedded in the coterminous existence of limited democratic institutions and
procedures, and entrenched patterns of ethnic dominance.
It also draws on the growing importance of human and minority rights in the
international political discourse, and on the growing institutionalization of democratic
norms among the international community. Due to the strengthening links
O. Yiftachel, A. Ghanem / Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676 671
between international politics and economy, these new arenas can, and do, influence
majority–minority relations traditionally perceived as ‘internal’( Soysal, 2000).
The effectiveness of minority mobilization, however, is generally limited, as it
encounters insurmountable cultural, political, economic and geographical obstacles
to full integration and/or equality within their states. Within such settings, minorities
have several options, which include assimilation (unlikely in ethnocracies), the
intensification of their protest to escalating levels of violence, or the establishment
of competing frameworks of governance and resource allocation accompanied by
disengagement from the state.
The last two courses of action tend to reinforce one another and undermine the
political stability of divided states and regions. They have been evident in the cases
of Sri Lanka and Israel Palestine, but not in Estonia as yet. The difference may lie
in the short time period since the establishment of the ethnocratic Estonian state,
and the hope among the Russian minority to improve their situation by political
means (Hallik, 1998). This hope has totally been abandoned by Tamils in Sri
Lanka (de Silva, 1996), and is quickly fading for Palestinian-Arabs in Israel (see
Ghanem, 2000).
The susceptibility of such regimes to the surfacing of open ethnic conflict, and
their chronic instability, are powerful engines of political change. Yet, this change
may take varying, and at times contrasting, directions. We find a number of ethnocratic
states which have responded to the pressures and contradictions of ethnic
dominance with a series of democratization steps, such as Canada, Belgium, Spain,
Greece, and most recently South Africa and Northern Ireland.
At the same time, other ethnocracies have reacted to the grievances of marginalized
minorities by tightening the control over minorities and by deepening the
state’s undemocratic ethnic structure. Several other states—such as Israel, Estonia
and Slovakia—have oscillated between the two options, attempting to keep afloat
both their links with the western democratic world, with the democratization this
entails, and concurrently preserve the control of the dominant ethnic group.
The dynamics of ethnocratic regimes should thus be understood as moving along
a continuum, between the poles of democratization and ethnicization. Quite often,
no clear direction prevails for long periods, and the state policy agenda may be driven
by crises rather than design. A thorough discussion of the possible transition
of regimes from ethnocracy to democracy remains outside the scope of this paper,
but clearly, it is one of the most urgent challenges facing such regimes. As already
mentioned, such an analysis is currently being developed by the authors.
A concluding note
The paper presented a framework for understanding ethnocratic regimes. It
showed that in certain geographical and historical circumstances, various forces
combine to create such regimes, and associated processes of ethnicization and
stratification. The paper focused on ‘open’ethnocra cies, where the state represents
itself as democratic, while simultaneously facilitating the seizure of a contested territory
and power by a dominant ethnic nation. It outlined the characteristics of
672 O. Yiftachel, A. Ghanem / Political Geography 23 (2004) 647–676
such regimes, showed their distinctiveness from the ‘normal’nation-st ate model,
and analyzed their ability to maintain ethnic dominance. The paper also discussed
the relation of ethnocratic regimes with minorities, democracy and political instability,
and explored the tensions and contradictions which generate their decline
and transformation.
Our framework here is both broad and preliminary. It needs to be tested, challenged
and expanded, in order to gain depth, validity and robustness. This undertaking
can advance in various directions, the most obvious are: (a) comparative
research which would test, calibrate and modify the assertions made above; (b) indepth
case studies, which would study the more detailed and subtle form of ethnocratic
expansion and hegemony, as well as the forms of resistance and challenge to
the system; (c) theoretical explorations and modifications, especially vis-a-vis new
structural forces influencing the nation-state, such as the increasingly globalizing
world economy, and/or the growing force and influence of the discourse of human
rights and multi-culturalism. Efforts in these directions have begun by the authors,
but much further research is needed to enrich our understanding of ethnocratic
states, and their volatile ethnic relations.
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https://www.theguardian.com/education/2002/dec/12/highereducation.uk
‘It’s water on stone – in the end the stone wears out’This summer, a little-known Manchester academic caused an international storm when she sacked two Israeli scholars from the editorial board of her journal. But was it an isolated freelance protest – or the first skirmish in a wider academic boycott?Andy BeckettThu 12 Dec 2002 11.57 GMT

Until a few months ago, Dr Oren Yiftachel was the kind of Israeli dissident that foreign critics of his country found admirable. He was born on a socialist kibbutz half a century ago. During his 20s and 30s, as that strain of cosmopolitan idealism began to lose its influence on Israel, he went abroad to live and travel. In 1994, he returned to Israel to work in the geography department at Ben Gurion University in the arid south of the country, where the particular proximity of Palestinian settlements and the challenges of desert life in general had made collaboration with Palestinian academics a local tradition.

Over the next eight years, with his open-necked shirt and his open, inquisitive face, Yiftachel became a familiar irritant to Israeli rightwingers. He made a point of working with Palestinians whenever possible. He published books and articles about his government’s illicit appetite for Palestinian land. He told Israeli newspapers that, “Israel is almost the most segregated society in the world.” He set up an Arab-Israeli journal that so enraged some Israeli conservatives that they campaigned to have it banned.

Given these radical credentials, Yiftachel did not anticipate any problems when, last spring, he submitted a paper to a left-leaning periodical called Political Geography. He had written for the respected British journal before. It specialised in the same probings of territory and power as he did. This time Yiftachel’s paper, co-written with a Palestinian academic, Dr Asad Ghanem of Haifa University, described Israel as “a state dedicated to the expansion and control of one ethnic group”; the paper concluded that such societies “cannot be classified as democracies in a substantive sense”.

Yet when Yiftachel heard back from Political Geography, he got a shock. The precise details of what happened are disputed but, according to Yiftachel, the paper was returned unopened. An explanatory note had been attached, he says, stating that Political Geography could not accept a submission from Israel.

“I hadn’t read the paper,” says David Slater, one of the periodical’s editors, who is also a geography professor at Loughborough University and a prominent British supporter of Palestinian causes. “But I was familiar with some of the author’s previous work… I was not sure to what extent he had been critical of Israel.” Slater says he hesitated about what to do with the paper, “for a while”.

“I protested,” Yiftachel says. Through the summer and autumn, it is agreed by both sides, there was a tense exchange of email. Among the editors of the periodical, Slater admits, there was “a slight disagreement” over how to proceed: his colleagues were keener on the paper than he was. Eventually, Yiftachel says, Political Geography was “forced” to consider his work; but between May and November, whenever he asked if it was actually going to be published, the journal simply responded that the paper was “under consideration”.

Finally, in mid-November, between six and eight months after Yiftachel first submitted his paper, depending on whose account you believe, Political Geography informed him that it would publish his article as long as he made “substantial revisions”. Yiftachel was asked to include a comparison between his homeland and apartheid South Africa.

Yiftachel agreed. Yet he still sounds slightly puzzled at how he ran into such difficulties with an apparent political kindred spirit like David Slater. Slater maintains that Political Geography is not officially hostile to contributions from Israel. But then, almost in passing, he mentions something interesting. At some point last spring or summer, while he was pondering Yiftachel’s paper, Slater signed a petition calling for an academic boycott of Israel.

The idea first surfaced as a polite, almost diffident letter to this newspaper on April 6. “Despite widespread international condemnation for its policy of violent repression against the Palestinian people, the Israeli government appears impervious,” the letter began, somewhat predictably. Yet then it proposed a novel solution: “Many national and European cultural and research institutions regard Israel as a European state for the purposes of awarding grants and contracts. Would it not therefore be timely if a moratorium was called upon any further such support unless and until Israel abides by UN resolutions and opens serious peace negotiations with the Palestinians… “

The letter had been written by two British academics: Steven Rose, professor of biology at the Open University, and his wife, Hilary, professor of social policy at Bradford University. Besides their signatures, the letter listed 123 other academics as supporters, mostly European but a few from the US and Israel.

All this did not come completely out of the blue. Nine months earlier, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign had called for a British boycott of Israeli agricultural produce, with some success. Other boycotts of Israeli tourist resorts, Israeli-manufactured goods and Israeli investment opportunities had been long been mooted on the internet. In liberal British academic and literary circles, which for years had contained critics of Israel, there had been renewed stirrings of protest against the Israeli government during 2001 and early 2002: circular letters of support for Palestinian writers, collective statements of outrage at Israeli military tactics, and occasional flashes of public anger, such as the poet Tom Paulin’s repeated comparisons of Israeli nationalists to Nazis. Finally, in the fortnight before the Roses published their letter, there were the daily television and newspaper images from Israel and the Palestinian territories. As invading Israeli tanks ground parts of Jenin to dust and Palestinians bombed chattering cafes in Tel Aviv and civilians on both sides were killed in greater numbers than for decades, it was hard for the politically conscious in Britain and elsewhere not to take sides. “There was this cumulative frustration,” says Steven, “that European governments were not doing more to stop things.”

However, what seemed straightforward in April now seems less so. The original, quite limited, boycott proposed then has grown into something larger and less well-defined. As the Roses’ petition has acquired hundreds more signatures, other, more radical calls for academic boycotts of Israel have been launched from Britain and abroad. Rival counter-petitions condemning the boycotts have been set in motion. And around all this has swirled a vast and ferocious debate about Israel and the Palestinians, about anti-semitism, about academic freedom, about boycotts in general. International political figures have been drawn in: from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who issued a statement supporting the Roses and comparing their protest to the struggle against apartheid, to Tony Blair, who last month reportedly told Britain’s chief rabbi that he was “appalled” at the academic boycott and would “do anything necessary” to stop it.

One obvious but significant feature of a political dispute involving academics is that they tend to relish arguments. They have access to the internet. They have international contacts and horizons. And since April, as the violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories has continued almost unabated, universities in both places have been directly affected. Israeli campus buildings have been bombed; Palestinian universities have been blockaded by Israeli troops. Whatever your view of the academic boycott, it has become increasingly difficult to dismiss it as pure ivory tower politics.

Yet the extent to which an actual academic boycott of Israel exists, beneath all the rhetoric for and against, has remained mysterious. In April, the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education voted for “all UK institutions of higher and gurther education… to review – with a view to severing any academic links they may have with Israel”. In May, the Association of University Teachers voted for a funding boycott of Israeli universities. But when I rang both unions almost six months later to ask what concrete effect these resolutions had had, a Natfhe press officer said, “I’m unaware of any action being taken so far. Given the size and complexity of higher education institutions, implementing a boycott will take a long time… We’ve asked our branches to engage in a discussion as to what an academic boycott should be.” At the AUT, no one even seemed able to remember what boycott they had agreed.

There have been instances of individual British academics boycotting Israel. In June, two Israeli professors were removed from advisory positions on a pair of small academic journals put out by a Manchester publishing firm called St Jerome. The editor of the journals and the co-owner of St Jerome, Mona Baker, was and is – for the time being at least – a professor of translation studies at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (Umist). She briefly became the most infamous academic in Britain and is currently subject to an investigation by Umist, the limits of which have remained ominously unstated. The inquiry is expected to conclude within weeks.

In April, an English lecturer at Birmingham University called Sue Blackwell removed the links to Israeli institutions from her personal website. A dispute about her underlying attitude to Israel has flickered intermittently since, between her and the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Blackwell’s website has been scrutinised by Birmingham University; last month it was cleared of alleged breaches of university regulations. As with Baker, the very length of the controversy generated by what originally seemed a small political gesture suggests that openly boycotting Israel may be a hard and lonely road to take.

More discreet withdrawals of cooperation, however, may be another matter. As Yiftachel discovered, the workings of academic journals and academia in general, with its intricate, stop-start machinery of international collaborations, research grants and references, paper submissions and promotions and assessments – much of this screened from outsiders by traditions of confidentiality, and by anxiety about damaging careers – provides plenty of opportunities for boycotts and semi-boycotts and temporary boycotts that never declare themselves as such. At some Israeli and British universities, and in some Jewish pressure groups, there are persistent and growing murmurs about boycott-related discrimination. Some cases are minor but revealing. “I am concerned about my return to England at the end of the academic year,” a British lecturer at an Israeli university writes to a friend in London. “English friends have made me feel like a settler for being here.” Other cases are more substantial – a thesis supervisor at a British university, it is alleged, is currently refusing to support an Israeli student’s work due to the student’s nationality – but impossible to prove without the breaking of professional confidences. Other cases are verifiable but add little to the overall picture: St Jerome Publishing recently refused to fulfil an order for a single book placed by Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

On British campuses, the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) claims that anti-Israeli posters and pamphlets and stickers are appearing and anti-Israeli meetings are being held with increasing frequency. Alleged hostility to Jewish student societies and Jewish individuals is also on the rise. “Students are incredibly worried,”says Michael Phillips, the campaigns director of the UJS. “The boycott may have started with reasonably legitimate aims, but it’s a very different thing now.”

In Israel, it is starting to have an effect on everyday academic life. “Every year we send most of our research papers abroad for refereeing,” says Professor Paul Zinger, the outgoing head of the Israel Science Foundation. “We send out about 7,000 papers a year. This year, for the first time, we had people writing back – about 25 of them – saying, ‘We refuse to look at these.'” At the Academic Study Group on Israel and the Middle East, a fund for joint projects between Israeli and British universities, the number of people applying for grants has fallen by a third. “There is a palpable slowing down of academic activity,” says John Levy, who helps run the fund. “We’re not even attempting to set up [joint] workshops. What we’re encountering is very many people who are saying, ‘Can we simply delay matters?'”

Not all of this change, Levy says, is directly because of the boycott. Anxiety about visiting Israel amid the current violence is putting off foreign academics, too. But security concerns can be a useful cover for people who want to withdraw cooperation without causing a fuss. “Since the intifada began we’ve had conferences that people have said they would come to but haven’t,” says Frank Schuldenfrei of the British Council in Tel Aviv. “If someone looks you in the face and says, ‘I’m not coming over because my wife doesn’t want me to come,’ who can say if that’s the reason? There is no doubt that in certain circles Israel has become less popular in the last six months.”

In one of the curious symmetries of politics, strong supporters of the boycott offer the same sort of vague-but-potent anecdotes about its impact as the boycott’s opponents. “We’ve had specific instances of people reporting in, as it were, saying they’ve cancelled such and such a project with Israeli colleagues,” says Steven Rose.

Colin Blakemore, an Oxford University professor of physiology who was one of the original signatories of the Rose letter, says with certainty, “I do not know of any British academic who has been to a conference in Israel in the last six months.”

This matters more to Israel than you might imagine. Academic activity, and particularly science, are areas in which the country excels. “In physiology and neuroscience, physics and computer science, the Israelis certainly punch above their weight,” says Blakemore. Schuldenfrei calls Israel “a very important player in the academic marketplace”. For a small nation without abundant natural resources, this has had obvious benefits. From agriculture to arms manufacturing, Israel has become more technology-driven and successful than comparable nations.

At the same time, though, the nature of Israel’s academic pre-eminence makes it vulnerable to a boycott. “We are top of the world league with Switzerland and, I think, Sweden for the proportion of research projects that are international collaborations,” says Zinger. “Close to 40% of papers published in Israel involve cooperation abroad.” For complicated and expensive scientific research, there is often no alternative; yet for the weightiest historical and political reasons, campus links between Israel and its Arab neighbours have always been limited. Instead, Israel has developed academic connections with the west, and Europe in particular – which has its own equally weighty historical reasons, notably the holocaust, to treat it generously. Israel receives subsidies from EU funds for scientific research, the only non-member state to do so. “In the most recent four-year framework programme, we paid in €150m,” says Zinger, “and we got research grants of €165m.”

Back in April, when Steven and Hilary Rose composed their letter, targeting this cashflow seemed clever politics. “We both had an academic-political interest in EU science policy,” says Hilary, as if this were the most natural thing in the world. “We tried out the letter on a few friends, and they said it was a goer.” There is a pause. Then her husband says: “It’s not the first time we’ve done something like this.”

The Roses are sitting side by side, sharp-eyed and slouching confidently in their casual, donnish clothes, on a low sofa in their living room in north London. Together and separately, they have been involved in left-wing political causes for decades. They speak in long, fluently argued paragraphs.Since April, the Roses have written newspaper letters and articles defending the boycott and the right of people such as Mona Baker to interpret it in their own way. In August, Steven Rose, who is Jewish, publicly renounced his entitlement to Israeli residence and citizenship. At times, he and Hilary can make the boycott sound almost beyond criticism. It has generated important debates, they say. It has put pressure on an unjust government. It has Palestinian support: “It is rather touching,” says Hilary, “to have the chancellor of Bir Zeit [the main Palestinian university] write to you.” Finally, the boycott has reasserted the important right of people to challenge Israel without being anti-semitic. Steven Rose gets up from the sofa and disappears upstairs to fetch a piece of paper. It is a copy of a letter from Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt and dozens of other prominent Jews to the New York Times in 1948, condemning the then brand-new state of Israel for containing extreme Jewish nationalists of a “fascist” nature, who had recently carried out a “massacre” of Palestinian villagers. The boycott, the Roses say, is in this tradition of constructive criticism.

Yet occasionally an unease slows their rhetoric. “Our initiative has produced a certain number of would-be supporters,” says Steven, choosing his words carefully, “who are pathologically anti-Jewish.” He produces another letter, this time with a recent date and a plastic folder around it as if it were poisonous.

“Dear Professor Rose,” it begins, “I write to congratulate you on the campaign to boycott Israel which I believe you and your husband are sponsoring. The problem is that it does not go far enough. We need to set up a boycott of all Jewish businesses, organizations and individuals. Hit the Zionist Yids where it hurts them – in their pockets… ” The typed letter ends with a shaky blue signature and an address in south London. “We called the commission for racial equality,” says Hilary crisply.”We are keeping the letter in plastic so we can give it to the police.”

Since April, the boycott has awakened other ugly impulses. The Roses’ email addresses, like those of many people drawn into the debate have been flooded daily with abusive messages. “Become a suicide bomber and blow yourself up… if you died the world would be a better place… what you are doing is worse than what the Nazis did… you sonderkommando [concentration camp collaborator] scum… ” From the day the first boycott petition appeared, what you could call a counter-boycott has been organised against the Roses and their allies. Like the boycott itself, this campaign has its moderates and extremists, its public gestures and undeclared initiatives, its concrete steps and carefully directed threats.

In June, Patrick Bateson, a professor of animal behaviour and provost of King’s College, Cambridge, who had signed the Rose letter, became involved in a correspondence with Henry Gee, a senior editor at the science magazine Nature. Gee made clear his objections “as a Jew” to the academic boycott. Then he continued: “I would not, of course, do anything as crass as ‘boycott’ papers from you and your colleagues that might happen to pass across my desk at Nature, though I would get much less pleasure in reading them… knowing what I do of your attitudes… [These] confirm my view… that Cambridge, and particularly the university, would be an uncomfortable place for me to visit.”

“The implicit threat was plain,” Bateson says. When contacted recently, Gee declined to discuss their correspondence further. Bateson says he will continue sending articles to Nature: “It may be an interesting test case.”

Colin Blakemore’s experience since he signed the Roses’ petition has been more bruising. “I was contacted by Steven just two days before it was submitted,” he says. “I was a bit hesitant about signing, because I saw a lack of balance. I asked for a sentence condemning Palestinian terrorism. But there was not enough time – the letter was about to be sent out.”

So he signed it anyway. Shortly afterwards, a French translation of the petition began circulating, which was significantly more aggressive than the original, with Blakemore and the other initial signatories’ names attached.

“I found myself being sucked in,” he says. Over the summer, although he still had links with Israeli academia Blakemore found himself facing a public campaign. He was, and is, president of the Physiological Society. Without naming him, a motion was proposed by a Jewish member for the society’s annual general meeting stating that, by supporting the boycott, Blakemore was breaking an important international convention on academic freedom, statute five of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). Since the 30s, the Physiological Society and other ICSU members had agreed to behave “without any discrimination on the basis of… citizenship, religion, creed, political stance, ethnic origin, race, colour, language, age or sex”. For many opponents of the academic boycott, this is a clinching argument.

In the end, Blakemore never faced a hostile annual general meeting. “My train was late.” The motion was withdrawn, he says, “after a lot of talk”. But he remains anxious about the consequences of his involvement in the boycott and how his stance became distorted: “I am deeply concerned for relations with my Jewish colleagues. The misrepresentation sticks. You can’t explain your personal position to everyone.”

In truth, boycotts are blunt weapons. Even the most apparently straightforward and justified ones, on closer inspection, have their controversies and injustices. Since the academic boycott of Israel began, both its supporters and its opponents have frequently cited the cutting of campus links with apartheid South Africa as an example of a less contentious action. But the South African boycott did not necessarily seem like that at the time.

The first calls for a general boycott of South Africa came in the 50s. Yet it was not until 1980 that the UN passed a resolution urging “all academic and cultural institutions to terminate all links with South Africa”. Opposition to this boycott persisted throughout the 80s: conservatives around the world disliked such anti-apartheid initiatives; campus libertarians perceived a loss of academic freedom; and some liberal South Africans argued that their universities, as centres of resistance to apartheid, made precisely the wrong targets.

Then, as now over Israel, some boycott participants seemed to become infamous almost by accident. In 1985, it was Professor Peter Ucko of Southampton University, who reluctantly banned South Africans, including personal friends, from an archaeological convention. This time, the boycott’s anti-heroes have been Mona Baker and her husband Ken.

Unlike the Roses, and many of their petition’s signatories, the Bakers are not prominent or politically connected academics. They now move in a lurid new world of death threats, feverish messages of support, conspiracy theories about Zionist networks, and computer viruses sent almost monthly to sabotage their business. For critics of the Bakers, they have received support from some awkward quarters. The leftwing, anti-Zionist Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe, is in regular, approving contact; Ken describes him as “fabulous”. In Israel, Pappe’s career has been regularly threatened by right-wingers who disapprove of his pro-Palestinian views. Like the harassment of Palestinian students by the Israeli army, this is a tricky fact to take on board for those who oppose the academic boycott on the grounds that it threatens campus freedoms in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

So far, the boycott feels less substantial than the issues around it. “It is annoying but there is no damage,” says Paul Zinger of the Israel Science Foundation. “It doesn’t seem that it has gathered any momentum.” The Roses insist it is too early to judge the boycott’s effectiveness. “Boycotts are slow,” says Hilary. “We didn’t eat South African oranges for about 1,000 years.” Steven adds: “It’s water on stone – eventually water on stone wears away.”

There are signs that the turbulent experiences of some of the boycott signatories have made them more, not less militant. At the Physiological Society, Colin Blakemore has set up a study group to examine when conventions about academic freedom should give way to boycotts. Its conclusions, he hints, are not likely to be favourable to Israel. More broadly, he has come to question whether academia should be insulated from politics at all: “Is it really true that scientific research is such a special activity that it should be last on the list when it comes to boycotts?” Steven Rose goes further: “Academic freedom I find a completely spurious argument in a world in which science is so bound up with military and corporate funding.”

Even Oren Yiftachel, for all his difficulties with Political Geography, agrees that academia cannot and should not function in a vaccuum. Yet that does not mean he has become a convert to the academic boycott of Israel. His objections are not just personal or philosophical, but tactical. Recently, he went to America with a Palestinian colleague to speak about Israel. “In all our lectures, we would talk about roadblocks, terrorists, a colonial situation. Everyone in the crowd would ask about whether the boycott was anti-semitic.”

In this report we referred to the treatment of a paper written by Professor Oren Yiftachel of Ben Gurion University and Dr Asad Ghanem of Haifa University, which was submitted to the journal Political Geography. We reported that Professor Yiftachel had, after a protracted dispute, agreed to revise the paper according to suggestions made by Political Geography, including the insertion of a comparison of Israel and apartheid South Africa, and that on this basis the paper had been accepted for publication. We now understand that the paper’s acceptance for publication has not been guaranteed, and that agreement has not been reached between Professor Yiftachel and Dr Ghanem and Political Geography over all the changes the journal suggested – in particular the comparison of Israel and South Africa. Professor Yiftachel and Dr Ghanem have received a list of comments and suggestions from three academic referees appointed by Political Geography, and they are considering what revisions are most appropriate for the paper, purely on scholarly grounds. Whatever revisions are finally made, the paper will then be refereed again. Professor Yiftachel, as we reported, has consistently opposed the academic boycott, and he remains committed to his position, as well as to the ending of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

The following correction was printed in the Guardian’s Corrections and Clarifications column, Wednesday January 15 2003

In this article, we quoted from correspondence between Patrick Bateson of King’s College Cambridge and Henry Gee, a senior editor of the science magazine, Nature. Dr Gee, has asked us to make it clear that the correspondence was quoted without his agreement or permission.

The Nexus of Army Refusal and Israeli Academics

21.04.21

Editorial Note

With the country mourning its fallen soldiers on Memorial Day, it is time to reflect on conscription refusal and reserve duty evasion. The fallen soldiers, estimated at 23,928, fought in numerous wars, some of which presented an existential threat to the State of Israel.  Because of their sacrifice and the resolve of their brethren, Israel’s existence is now more secure. 

Israel, like other democracies, has a liberal approach to service refusal.  In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that conscientious objection is legal, based on “principled pacifism.”  However, selective refusal, frequently associated with service in the Palestinian territories, is not.  

There is little doubt that academic activists who have driven much of the Israeli refusal movement are not “principled pacifists.” If they were, they would have renounced all violence in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

One of the earliest posts by IAM was a 2002 petition by academics supporting their students who “refuse to serve as soldiers in the occupied territories,” which garnered 360 signatures from all Israeli institutions of higher learning. The nexus of faculty and refusal is evident in the long list of anti-conscription activities. It includes Yishai Rosen-Tzvi, Idan Landau, Yigal Bronner, to name a few. Some glaring examples are listed below. 

In 2004 Prof. Gadi Algazi, Israel’s first conscript objector, wrote a chapter praising draft dodging. Radio Netherlands program “Vox Humana” interviewed Algazi, who “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.”

TAU Philosopher Dr. Anat Matar, an early promoter of BDS, is the mother of conscript evader Haggai Matar. As she wrote in 2004, “Haggai, my elder son, served time in the civilian prison in Ramie, having been convicted by the Israeli military court for refusing to enlist in an army of occupation and oppression,” when he called from prison and said “Mom. prison is not a place for human beings,” she said, “My heart sank. We thought we knew a bit of what lay ahead of us, what prison was like.” 

In 2014 a group of young Israeli reservists wrote a petition against serving as reservists in the Israeli Army that reached the Washington Post. They wrote, “We are more than 50 Israelis who were once soldiers and now declare our refusal to be part of the reserves. We oppose the Israeli Army and the conscription law.” Because “The central place of the military in Israeli society, and this ideal image it creates, work together to erase the cultures and struggles of the Mizrahi, Ethiopians, Palestinians, Russians, Druze, the Ultra-Orthodox, Bedouins, and women.”   In the protest “against attacks on those who resist conscription, we support the resisters.” In Israel, “war is not merely politics by other means — it replaces politics. Israel is no longer able to think about a solution to a political conflict except in terms of physical might; no wonder it is prone to never-ending cycles of mortal violence. And when the cannons fire, no criticism may be heard… there is a reason to oppose combat operations in Gaza, there is also a reason to oppose the Israeli military apparatus as a whole… We were soldiers in a wide variety of units and positions in the Israeli military—a fact we now regret, because, in our service, we found that troops who operate in the occupied territories aren’t the only ones enforcing the mechanisms of control over Palestinian lives. In truth, the entire military is implicated. For that reason, we now refuse to participate in our reserve duties, and we support all those who resist being called to service.”   The petition was signed by academics such as Efrat Even Tzur, Ofri Ilany, Dalit Baum, Yotam Gidron, Uri Gordon, Diana Dolev, Ariel Handel, Chen Misgav, Tom Pessah, Eyal Rozenberg, among others.

There are several organizations supporting and encouraging army refusal.  On February 21, 2021, Shatil, the action arm of the New Israel Fund, helped to publish a part-time paid position for a coordinator offered by the network of Mesarvot.  Mesarvot (Refusing) is a political refusal network that started five years ago as an “activist initiative which accompanies refusers in the public struggle against the occupation and militarism. It helps them to formulate and publish their positions, organize public actions, guidance, accompany and support of prison inmates, maintain contact with the families, and with other organizations and refusal groups that are participating in this network.”  

The contact person is Tair Kaminer, an army draft refuser from an activist family. Her late grandfather, Reuven Kaminer, previously Vice Provost of the School for Overseas Students at the Hebrew University, is considered by Joel Beinin, emeritus professor at Stanford University, “the godfather of Israel’s radical left.” Her late uncle Noam Kaminer, whose Ph.D. dissertation is from the University of California, began his political activities at the Communist Party of Jerusalem in the 1960s, participated in the “Black Panthers” demonstrations in Jerusalem in the early 1970s, was one of the founders of the Jewish-Arab group Campus (Students for Political Involvement) movement at the Hebrew University. He refused to participate as a reservist in the first Lebanon war in June 1982. As a result, he was sentenced several times to a military prison and contributed significantly to establishing “Yesh Gvul.” He worked within the framework of the Israeli socialist left, one of the components of the Hadash party.  Noam’s son, Tair’s cousin, is Matan Kaminer, an army refuser, is currently a Buber fellow at the Hebrew University and postdoctoral researcher in Anthropology at the University of Haifa.

Refuser Solidarity Network, which “educates the American public about the efforts by refusers and conscientious objectors to achieve a peaceful resolution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians,” is run by Shimri Zameret, the conscription objector. He also lectures at the International Institute University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Since 2004, Refuser Solidarity Network “provides crucial support to Israel’s military refusers in the toughest of political circumstances. We provide funds for demonstrations outside prison, for legal fees, for media campaigns that tell conscientious objector’s stories to the general public, for education programs for Israeli and American audiences about their important resistance to the occupation. Refusers work to end the Israeli occupation and create a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis, and Refuser Solidarity Network is here for them.”

Like other political activists, academics who promote refusal turned their political work into a scholarship. For example, Prof. Tamar Katriel dedicated a chapter in her 2020 book Proclaiming Dissent. She historicizes and analyzes public resisters’ letters as they evolved in the Israeli culture to become the “emblem of open dissent” and a “mobilizing force.” She explores proclamations as they pertain to military service by considering the public letters over the past five decades. These public letters “mark them as political acts rather than private acts of conscience. Forming affinity groups grounded in a shared moral vision, the public letters’ signatories engage in a self-politicizing move by expressing ‘selective refusal,’ that is, refusal to serve in a particular region or in a particular war, rather than by rejecting the military system as such. Taken as criticism from within, these letters are analyzed as employing a double gesture of dissent which is comprised of a complex stance-taking act that gives voice to dissenters’ protest even while affirming their commitment to the country and to its security needs.” 

Prof. Idith Zertal dedicated her 2018 book to Refusal: Conscientious Objection in Israel. The book was supported by The Foundation of Middle East Peace, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, and The Foundation for the Defense of Democracy in Israel. Zertal thanks Yishai Menuhin, Yesh Gvul refusal network spokesperson, and Adv. Michael Sfard, who represents army refusers in court.  The book launch was held at Tel Aviv University. Among the participants, Prof. Adi Ophir; Adv. Michael Sfard; Prof. Gadi Algazi; Meretz MK Zehava Galon; Prof. Amal Jamal; Prof. Idith Zertal; and Yonatan Shapira, former air force pilot refuser.   As IAM reported in the past, radical scholars, whether supporting refusal or advocating BDS, found cushy positions in some activist departments in Western universities which use Israelis to hide their anti-Israel bias.

It is hardly surprising that the anti-draft scholars blame Israel alone for the continuation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  While support for draft dodging is marginal within the Israeli society, the numbers are high in Israeli institutions of higher learning, where many of the advocates target their susceptible young students, mostly reservists and former soldiers, who populate their classrooms.

https://ii.umich.edu/ii/people/all/z/zameret.html

International Institute University of Michigan Ann Arbor
  Shimri Zameret  

Research Area Specialist Intermediate, Donia Human Rights Center; Adjunct LEO Lecturer, Winter 2021 term, Program in International & Comparative Studies zameret@umich.edu

Office Information:

Weiser Hall, 500 Church St., Suite 300
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1042

Donia Human Rights CenterDHRC StaffProgram in International and Comparative StudiesPICS Faculty

Education/Degree:MSc in Global Politics, London School of Economics

About

Areas of Interest

International Organizations; Global Civil Society; Civil Disobedience; Climate Change; Financial Crisis and Regulation; Wars and Human Rights; Democracy Promotion.

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

https://www.guidestar.org/profile/75-3103052

REFUSER SOLIDARITY NETWORK INC

New York, NY   |  www.refuser.org

Mission

THE REFUSER SOLIDARITY NETWORK EDUCATES THE AMERICAN PUBLIC ABOUT THE EFFORTS BY REFUSERS AND CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS TO ACHIEVE A PEACEFUL RESOLUTION TO THE CONFLICT BETWEEN ISRAELIS AND PALESTINIANS

Ruling year info

2003

Principal Officer

Shimri Zameret

Main address

244 Fifth Avenue Suite F39

New York, NY 10001 USA

EIN

75-3103052

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization’s current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

REFUSERS

RSN SPONSORS EVENTS, SUPPORTS TOURS OF REFUSERS, PUBLISHES NEWSLETTERS, MAINTAINS A WEBSITE (WWW REFUSER ORG), AND RAISES FUNDS TO SUPPORT EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS BY THE REFUSER ORGANIZATIONS INSIDE ISRAELPopulation(s) ServedBudget   $22,100
https://www.refuser.org/

Refuser Solidarity Network

Refuser Solidarity Network provides an international base of support for those who refuse to serve the Israeli occupation.  

Who We Are

Since 2004, Refuser Solidarity Network provides crucial support to Israel’s military refusers in the toughest of political circumstances. We provide funds for for demonstrations outside prison, for legal fees, for media campaigns that tell conscientious objector’s stories to the general public, for education programs for Israeli and American audiences about their important resistance to the occupation. Refusers work to end the Israeli occupation and create a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis, and Refuser Solidarity Network is here for them.

We are a 501(c)(3) organization, and donations are tax deductible in the US.

Ending the occupation, one soldier at a time.

Military refusers come from all segments of Israeli society. They are Mizrahi and Ashkenazi; they are religious and secular; they are Druze, Bedouin, and Russian, they are people of all gender identities, from the large cities and from the small towns. As refusers are standing up against endless war in the most difficult time and climate to do so, we work to support their activities.

You can Help us to support the refusers by making a donation today!  

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https://www.shatil.org.il/advertisingajobadvertisement/23718

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רשת מסרבות מחפשת רכז/ת חדש.ה!
21.2.2021

מסרבות- רשת סרבנות פוליטית היא יוזמה אקטיביסטית בת חמש שנים, המלווה סרבניות וסרבני גיוס למאבק ציבורי נגד הכיבוש והמיליטריזם, לניסוח של עמדותיהם ופרסומן, ארגון פעולות ציבוריות, הדרכה, ליווי ותמיכה בכלואות/ים, שמירה על קשר עם משפחות הסרבנים/ות ועם ארגונים וקבוצות סירוב אחרות השותפות ברשת.

המשרה מתאימה לאקטיביסטית בעלת יוזמה עם אהבה לפעילות שטח ויכולת מנהיגות.

דרישות התפקיד:

  1. יכולות ניהול, ריכוז והנעת א.נשים
  2. אחריות, ארגון, יוזמה ומשמעת עצמית
  3. ניסיון בהדרכת נוער- יתרון
  4. קשר למאבקים אחרים בכיבוש ותנועת הסירוב- יתרון
  5. קשרי אנוש מעולים, עם בני נוער ומבוגרים: פעילות, סרבניות, אנשי תקשורת, פוליטיקאים והורים
  6. גמישות בשעות העבודה
  7. יכולות טכנולוגיות בסיסיות בהפעלת מייל, פייסבוק, וואטסאפ
  8. מחויבות לטווח ארוך- יתרון

יש להגיש קורות חיים עד 1/3/2021 למייל: info.mesarvot@gmail.com

היקף: חצי משרה. התפקיד מוצע לשנה, אפשרות להארכה.

תחילת עבודה מיידית.

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https://kotar.cet.ac.il/KotarApp/Index/Book.aspx?nBookID=105482521

סירוב : חובת הציות וזכות המצפון : מסה

מחבר: עדית זרטל שנת ההוצאה:  2018 מילות מפתח: סרבנות גיוס ושירות צבאי; סרבנות מטעמי מצפון; סרבני גיוס מטעמי מצפון; סרבני מלחמה; סרבנות פוליטית מה קורה לאדם שנוף מולדתו הושחת ונגזל ממנו, שמדינתו וחוקיה השתעבדו לאי־חוקיות ולאי־צדק? האם עליו לציית אוטומטית לתביעות המדינה או לדבוק בחופש המצפון וכבוד־האדם שלו ולסרב, מכוח אהבת המולדת שלו? סירוב מצפוני הוא אירוע נדיר שמעטים מסוגלים לו. כיצד נעשה אדם לסרבן? מהם התנאים האינדיווידואליים, החברתיים והפוליטיים, שבהם מבשיל אירוע כזה ומתחולל? איך מהדהד הסירוב במרחב הציבורי ומה הוא מעיד עליו? זיקתו של הסירוב המצפוני למדינה הדמוקרטית ברורה ויכולה לשמש תו־תקן לעצם מהותה הדמוקרטית של מדינה. אולם הדמוקרטיה הישראלית רודפת את סרבני המצפון שלה, במיוחד מאז היו הכיבוש ומלחמותיו למניעיהם העיקריים. שעה שמצב הכיבוש מוכחש או נחשב לנורמטיבי הצבא, בגיבּוּיָן של המערכות הפוליטית והמשפטית, מגדיר את סרבני המצפון כאיום ביטחוני קיומי, סכנה לדמוקרטיה ולשלטון החוק, ומענישם בהתאם: צעירים וצעירות ישראלים, חיילי מילואים או סרבני־חִיּוּל טרם גיוס, המסרבים לשרת בצבא כובש, משוגרים זה חצי מאה לפרקי זמן ממושכים בכלא הצבאי. ציות וסירוב; מַחְשֶׁבֶת הסירוב והזכות – והחובה – של אזרחים לומר “לא” לשלטון ולחוק; הרקע האינטלקטואלי, הפוליטי והתרבותי של סרבנות המצפון; המניעים הקונקרטיים, המעוגנים בזמן ובמקום, של סרבנות המצפון ואופני הפעולה שלה, תכליותיה, והתנגשויותיה עם מוסדות המדינה ועם מיתוסֵי היסוד שלה; והפולמוס המתמשך המתנהל סביב הסירוב במרחב הציבורי – בצבא, בבתי המשפט, בתקשורת ובאקדמיה – הם נושאי הדיון בספר מעמיק, סוחף וחיוני זה. אל הספרנושא/נושאים: , שלטון וממשלפוליטיקה וממשלתוכן הספר:

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http://video.tau.ac.il/events/index.php?option=com_k2&view=itemlist&task=category&id=1614:refusal&Itemid=552

Tel Aviv University
סירוב -  חובת הציות וזכות המצפון

סירוב – חובת הציות וזכות המצפון

תאריך: 6.1.19

דברי ברכה

דברי ברכה

  • Lecturer(s) יו”ר: אורי לנדסברג, מרכז מינרבה למדעי רוח, אוניברסיטת תל אביב
  • Location אולם רוזנברג
  • Date Sunday, 06 January 2019

Published in סירוב – חובת הציות וזכות המצפון     מרכז מינרבה

עדי אופיר

עדי אופירLecturer(s) עדי אופיר, מכון קוגוט למדעי הרוח, אוניברסיטת בראון

חגית גור זיוLecturer(s) חגית גור זיו, המחלקה לחינוך לגיל הרך, מכללת סמינר הקיבוצים

מיכאל ספרד

מיכאל ספרדLecturer(s) מיכאל ספרד, עורך דין

מושב א’ – דיון

מושב א' - דיון

יונתן שפירא

גדי אלגזיLecturer(s) גדי אלגזי, החוג להיסטוריה כללית, אוניברסיטת תל אביב

זהבה גלאוןLecturer(s) זהבה גלאון, יו”ר מרצ לשעבר

אמל ג'מאלLecturer(s) אמל ג’מאל, בית הספר למדע המדינה, ממשל ויחסים בינלואמיים, אוניברסיטת תל אביב

עדית זרטל

עדית זרטלLecturer(s) עדית זרטל, מחברת הספר “סירוב – חובת הציות וזכות המצפון”

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https://www.972mag.com/dozens-protest-outside-idf-base-in-support-of-conscientious-objector/

Dozens protest in support of Israeli conscientious objector

By Haggai Matar January 10, 2016

Tair Kaminer is expected to be sentenced to a month in military jail for refusing to enlist in the IDF. Kaminer: ‘Military jail frightens me less than our society losing its humanity.’

Conscientious objector Tair Kaminer is greeted by supporters outside the Tel Hashomer induction base, Ramat Gan, Israel, January 10, 2016. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Approximately 40 demonstrators accompanied Israeli conscientious objector Tair Kaminer to the Tel Hashomer induction base on Sunday, where she is expected to be sentenced for her refusal to enlist in the Israeli army.

The demonstrators held signs chanted against the occupation at the entrance to the base. Some of them organized a short performance, in which they wore IDF uniforms and pledged their loyalty to the state while their eyes, ears, and mouths were covered.

Kaminer, 19, recently finished a year of national service with the Israeli Scouts (“Tzofim”) in the southern development town of Sderot. There she volunteered with children who suffer from trauma due to multiple wars in Gaza and continual rocket fire on the city. “The children I worked with grew up in the heart of the conflict and have had extremely difficult experiences from a young age, experiences that caused them to feel hatred, which can be understood, especially when it comes from young children,” Kaminer wrote in a statement several days ago.

“Like them, many children who grow up in Gaza or in the West Bank, in an even more difficult environment, learn to hate the other side,” she continues. “They, too, cannot be blamed. When I look at all of these children, and the next generation on both sides and the reality in which they grow up, I see only more trauma and pain. And I say enough! That is why I refuse: so that I do not take an active part in the occupation of the Palestinian territories and the injustices that the Palestinian people face under occupation, so that I do not take part in this circle of hate in Gaza and Sderot.”

Demonstrators organize a performance in support of Tair Kaminer, a 19-year-old Israeli conscientious objector, at the Tel Hashomer induction base, Ramat Gan, Israel, January 10, 2016. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Kaminer also writes that she aspires to peace, equality, democracy, and security for all people who live in Israel/Palestine, emphasizing the security of those whose security tends to be forgotten — Palestinians and Israeli residents of the western Negev Desert. “They convince us that the army has nothing to do with politics, but serving in the army is a political decision. Military jail frightens me less than our society losing its humanity.”

The protest, which was organized by a new group called “Mesarvot” (“Refusers” in Hebrew), included anti-occupation activists, Druze conscientious objectors, anarchists, communists, and others. Participants also included members of the Kaminer family, including Tair’s cousin, Matan Kaminer, who served two years in military prison for his refusal to enlist 13 years ago (full disclosure: I served in prison alongside Matan and a number of other friends for refusing to enlist in the military. Matan and I remain friends until this day).

Kaminer is expected to be sentenced to a month in military jail. (Update, 10 p.m.: Kaminer was sentenced to 20 days.) She will then be released and return to the induction base where she will be required to enlist once again. Should she refuse, she will be sentenced to another month in jail. This process repeats itself ad nauseam until the army decides to officially discharge her. Over the past few years, a number of conscientious objectors have been sentenced up to 10 times in this vicious cycle.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here

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Haggai Matar is an award-winning Israeli journalist and political activist, in addition to serving as the executive director of “972 – Advancement of Citizen Journalism,” the nonprofit that publishes +972 Magazine.

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https://www.juancole.com/2014/08/mideast-democracy-dissent.html

Refusal from Within the Army

“We support anyone who refuses,” said Yotam Gidron, a 24-year-old Israeli reservist who co-organized and signed an open letter published in late July, along with over 50 other reservists, declaring their refusal to serve due to ethical objections to the military’s actions. Despite a climate in which opponents of war are “regarded as traitors,” Gidron explained to Common Dreams that an even greater number of reservists are quietly dodging their service through “grey” refusal… “If you oppose the war now you are regarded as a traitor,” said Gidron. “It has been like that every time Israel went to war, but it is worse this time.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/07/23/we-are-israeli-reservists-we-refuse-to-serve/
We are Israeli reservists. We refuse to serve.A petition.By Yael Even Or July 23, 2014 at 3:37 p.m.

Whenever the Israeli army drafts the reserves — which are made up of ex-soldiers — there are dissenters, resisters, and AWOLers among the troops called to war. Now that Israel has sent troops to Gaza again and reserves are being summoned to service, dozens are refusing to take part.

We are more than 50 Israelis who were once soldiers and now declare our refusal to be part of the reserves. We oppose the Israeli Army and the conscription law. Partly, that’s because we revile the current military operation. But most of the signers below are women and would not have fought in combat. For us, the army is flawed for reasons far broader than “Operation Protective Edge,” or even the occupation. We rue the militarization of Israel and the army’s discriminatory policies. One example is the way women are often relegated to low-ranking secretarial positions. Another is the screening system that discriminates against Mizrachi (Jews whose families originate in Arab countries) by keeping them from being fairly represented inside the army’s most prestigious units. In Israeli society, one’s unit and position determines much of one’s professional path in the civilian afterlife.

To us, the current military operation and the way militarization affects Israeli society are inseparable. In Israel, war is not merely politics by other means — it replaces politics. Israel is no longer able to think about a solution to a political conflict except in terms of physical might; no wonder it is prone to never-ending cycles of mortal violence. And when the cannons fire, no criticism may be heard.

This petition, long in the making, has a special urgency because of the brutal military operation now taking place in our name. And although combat soldiers are generally the ones prosecuting today’s war, their work would not be possible without the many administrative roles in which most of us served. So if there is a reason to oppose combat operations in Gaza, there is also a reason to oppose the Israeli military apparatus as a whole. That is the message of this petition:

We were soldiers in a wide variety of units and positions in the Israeli military—a fact we now regret, because, in our service, we found that troops who operate in the occupied territories aren’t the only ones enforcing the mechanisms of control over Palestinian lives. In truth, the entire military is implicated. For that reason, we now refuse to participate in our reserve duties, and we support all those who resist being called to service.

The Israeli Army, a fundamental part of Israelis’ lives, is also the power that rules over the Palestinians living in the territories occupied in 1967. As long as it exists in its current structure, its language and mindset control us: We divide the world into good and evil according to the military’s categories; the military serves as the leading authority on who is valued more and who less in society — who is more responsible for the occupation, who is allowed to vocalize their resistance to it and who isn’t, and how they are allowed to do it. The military plays a central role in every action plan and proposal discussed in the national conversation, which explains the absence of any real argument about non-military solutions to the conflicts Israel has been locked in with its neighbors.

The Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are deprived of civil rights and human rights. They live under a different legal system from their Jewish neighbors. This is not exclusively the fault of soldiers who operate in these territories. Those troops are, therefore, not the only ones obligated to refuse. Many of us served in logistical and bureaucratic support roles; there, we found that the entire military helps implement the oppression of the Palestinians.

Many soldiers who serve in non-combat roles decline to resist because they believe their actions, often routine and banal, are remote from the violent results elsewhere. And actions that aren’t banal — for example, decisions about the life or death of Palestinians made in offices many kilometers away from the West Bank — are classified, and so it’s difficult to have a public debate about them. Unfortunately, we did not always refuse to perform the tasks we were charged with, and in that way we, too, contributed to the violent actions of the military.

During our time in the army, we witnessed (or participated in) the military’s discriminatory behavior: the structural discrimination against women, which begins with the initial screening and assignment of roles; the sexual harassment that was a daily reality for some of us; the immigration absorption centers that depend on uniformed military assistance. Some of us also saw firsthand how the bureaucracy deliberately funnels technical students into technical positions, without giving them the opportunity to serve in other roles. We were placed into training courses among people who looked and sounded like us, rather than the mixing and socializing that the army claims to do.

The military tries to present itself as an institution that enables social mobility — a stepping-stone into Israeli society. In reality, it perpetuates segregation. We believe it is not accidental that those who come from middle- and high- income families land in elite intelligence units, and from there often go to work for high-paying technology companies. We think it is not accidental that when soldiers from a firearm maintenance or quartermaster unit desert or leave the military, often driven by the need to financially support their families, they are called “draft-dodgers.” The military enshrines an image of the “good Israeli,” who in reality derives his power by subjugating others. The central place of the military in Israeli society, and this ideal image it creates, work together to erase the cultures and struggles of the Mizrachi, Ethiopians, Palestinians, Russians, Druze, the Ultra-Orthodox, Bedouins, and women.

We all participated, on one level or another, in this ideology and took part in the game of “the good Israeli” that serves the military loyally. Mostly our service did advance our positions in universities and the labor market. We made connections and benefited from the warm embrace of the Israeli consensus. But for the above reasons, these benefits were not worth the costs.

By law, some of us are still registered as part of the reserved forces (others have managed to win exemptions or have been granted them upon their release), and the military keeps our names and personal information, as well as the legal option to order us to “service.” But we will not participate — in any way.

There are many reasons people refuse to serve in the Israeli Army. Even we have differences in background and motivation about why we’ve written this letter. Nevertheless, against attacks on those who resist conscription, we support the resisters: the high school students who wrote a refusal declaration letter, the Ultra orthodox protesting the new conscription law, the Druze refusers, and all those whose conscience, personal situation, or economic well-being do not allow them to serve. Under the guise of a conversation about equality, these people are forced to pay the price. No more.The petition for Israeli soldiers and reservists is located at Lo-Meshartot.org.
Efrat Even Tzur, Tal Aberman, Klil Agassi, Ofri Ilany, Eran Efrati, Dalit Baum, Roi Basha, Liat Bolzman, Lior Ben-Eliahu, Peleg Bar-Sapir, Moran Barir, Yotam Gidron, Maya Guttman, Gal Gvili, Namer Golan, Nirith Ben Horin, Uri Gordon, Yonatan N. Gez, Bosmat Gal, Or Glicklich, Erez Garnai, Diana Dolev, Sharon Dolev, Ariel Handel, Shira Hertzanu, Erez Wohl, Imri Havivi, Gal Chen, Shir Cohen, Gal Katz, Menachem Livne, Amir Livne Bar-on, Gilad Liberman, Dafna Lichtman, Yael Meiry, Amit Meyer, Maya Michaeli, Orian Michaeli, Shira Makin, Chen Misgav, Naama Nagar, Inbal Sinai, Kela Sappir, Shachaf Polakow, Avner Fitterman, Tom Pessah, Nadav Frankovitz, Tamar Kedem, Amnon Keren, Eyal Rozenberg, Guy Ron-Gilboa, Noa Shauer, Avi Shavit, Jen Shuka, Chen Tamir.****Yael Even OrYael Even Or is an Israeli journalist and activist who, during her service, evaluated candidates for the recruitment department of the Israeli army. She currently lives in New York City.========================================================

https://www.radionetherlandsarchives.org/a-conversation-with-gadi-algazi/Radio Netherlands

A conversation with Gadi Algazi

Published 10th August 2004Gadi Algazi (© Eric Beauchemin)Audio Player00:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.

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By profession, Professor Algazi is a historian at Tel Aviv University. By calling, he is a humanist and a passionate human rights advocate. At the age of 12, when his friends would have been engrossed in comic books, he had already decided that he would not do his compulsory military service in the Occupied Territories – Palestinian land seized by Israel in the 1967 war. At the age of 18 he became the first Israeli to publicly refuse to comply with military orders to serve there. He continues to suffer the wrath of the establishment he has taken on: he has been court-martialed, and over the years, has served seven prison sentences.

In 2000, after the second Palestinian uprising began, Professor Algazi witnessed a crumbling of the anti-war and anti-occupation movement in Israel. In response, he and a small band of dedicated activists formed the grassroots movement Living Together. One of their tasks is to try to counter what he calls the “creeping silent transfer” – that is, the government’s attempt to expel the Palestinians without overt force. Villages simply become “unrecognised” by the government. They have full property rights, but no water, schooling, electricity and so forth. Eventually a village that is not recognised as existing, in fact ceases to exist. Professor Algazi discusses the implications of Israel’s security barrier. According to him, the Wall will not only encircle Palestinian communities, it will also separate them from their land, water resources and each other. Even if the government tries at some future stage to change its current policy, he says, some effects may be irreversible. He in no way condones the horrifying trend of suicide bombers, but he understands the despair that drives them to such acts. His final words may well turn out to be the calling of Cassandra: “desperate people don’t become nicer. If you rob people of a political future, what remains is very little.”

Producers: Eric Beauchemin & Dheera Sujan

Broadcast: August 10, 2004

Transcript

Radio Netherlands presents “Vox Humana”. I’m Dheera Sujan. In this edition of the programme we present the highlights of a fascinating and insightful conversation with Gadi Algazi, professor of history at Tel Aviv University. Professor Algazi is also a tireless and eloquent advocate of peace in his country. He’s a man with a calling. 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. Professor Algazi talked with Radio Netherlands’ Eric Beauchemin about the increasingly complex and tragic tapestry of his troubled land and why recent events led him to form the movement “Living Together”.

In November 2000, after the 2nd Palestinian uprising broke, several of us had the feeling that something very important was happening and that in Israel itself, no response on the part of the left was there, which went first of all that the Palestinian uprising signalled the end of what in Europe is called the peace process, but which in many ways meant the modernisation of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. That had to end up in a disaster. But this disaster was not simply the uprising in its violence and the victims, but the fact that within Israel, the anti-war and the anti-occupation movement crumbled. People were disappointed by the Palestinians. Within Israel itself, the Israeli police killed 13 Palestinian demonstrators in the early days of the intifada. And again, Palestinian demonstrators found themselves alone facing the police. So our idea was to create a grass-roots movement of Jews and Arabs that does not exhaust its action in protest but tries to pose direct challenges to discrimination and domination within Israel and to the occupation in the occupied territories. So our idea is both to have a sense of what living together might mean beyond the walls and the barbed wire that encircle us here in the Middle East.

EB: Why don’t you give me an example? Well one example within Israel is a camp we organised in a small Palestinian community in the triangle that is more or less half way between Tel Aviv and Haifa. We got 400 volunteers, Jews and Arabs, to turn a dirt road into an asphalt road and to build a playground for the children of the village, all through voluntary work of Arabs and Jews and raising funding from communities. Now that is almost social, almost humanitarian project. But this is an absolutely illegal project because the community in question is one of the so-called unrecognised Palestinian villages. About 150 communities within Israel are villages that are not recognised by the administration. That is, they have full property rights, but no water, electricity, schooling, anything and the state is actually waging a long war against them in the process of Judaising the territory. So this camp was not simply a protest, saying this village exists and it intends to stay. It was an attempt to reinforce it concretely from below to engage hundreds of people in actually building the road, using the bulldozer, the most pertinent symbol of colonisation here into a different symbol of constructive work together. And it also meant that hundreds of people were engaged in stopping the police in hindering us from building something that is quite essential: a road connecting this village to the outer world and a playground for the children. Perhaps our more significant campaign were two attempts in which we tried to stop what we call the creeping silent transfer, that is the attempt to expel Palestinians without guns, without buses, without trucks, simply by undermining the civil and economic infrastructure of communities, bringing them under enormous pressure by settlers and army and forcing people gradually to leave their homes and go away on their own accord. This, for us, is one of the most dangerous processes, that endangers the future both of Israelis and Palestinians, and in two cases, we actually intervened by sending trucks, by bringing hundreds of volunteers to the place, by sleeping there and actually trying to face the army and the settlers when they came, by connecting the villages to international networks of solidarity, and in these two cases – one in the south Hebron hills and another in Khilbert (sp?) Yanun, a small village not far from Nablus, we actually managed to stop the process and to alert public opinion to the process itself. When you encircle and you isolate communities, especially the rural communities, when they are cut off from essential services – medicine, education – when economically, Palestinian peasants and workers cannot reach their fields or the places where they work, when such villages are cut off from the urban centres, what happens is that the social texture is diluted and a village loses its power to stay on the ground. So what you find is not a process of a dramatic moment in which a village vanishes but of people beginning to send their sons and daughters to study elsewhere and not go back. Where those who can still have jobs to not return to a village, knowing that it might take you 6 or 7 hours to come back to a village from a city, if the real distance is let’s say 15 or 10 kilometres away. So they stay away. So a village is left with very few resources. It loses its lands. It loses its economic basis and part of its population. The last stage is that such a village can be abandoned. And when that process continues for 5 or 10 years, Sharon may win his war against the Palestinians in a different way, not through a single, dramatic blow but through an accumulation of local pressure.

You know, this conflict is a colonial one. And as a colonial conflict, it is about very simple things. It’s about land. It’s about water. It’s about orchards and trees and olive trees. It’s about space. Now these are things in which natural justice is very easy to realise if you are willing, and it is decided on the ground by bulldozers and bombs. Very often the perception of this conflict, especially in Europe, is marked by a preference to interpret texts, to think it in diplomatic terms, to look into the details of a big diplomatic gesture: what did Sharon mean in that third sentence? What did Arafat mean when he did that specific declaration? Now, I’m not underestimating texts. I’m a historian. I make my living by interpreting texts. I’m an intellectual, if you want. I exercise the interpretation with students. But I think it’s essential for people outside to understand that the reality we live here is not one of texts and symbols. It’s about land and water. It’s about the construction of the Wall. It’s about peasants reaching their land. It’s a very concrete one. If you look at the future map of the West Bank, as it is now emerging, or if you look at the Gaza Strip, you realise that the so-called disengagement plan in the Gaza Strip means nothing else than home rule for the Palestinians, encircled by Israeli barbed wire, full Israeli control of water, land and sea. And then, you know, Sharon may withdraw from the Gaza Strip and leave Palestinians to the misery that years of occupation have created. And this is more or less the future of the West Bank: creating very small bantustans, sometimes enclaves of 3 to 7 villages, some of them 50,000 people like in the area around Tulkaram, easily disconnected and controlled by Israeli checkpoints on every venue, full fragmentation of the Palestinian territory, which means a very specific sort of system of control in which the occupying force doesn’t have to look after the people it controls because it pretends that they have their autonomy or home rule. The main difference that I must emphasise when we compare this with South African situation is that the apartheid regime, as far as I understand it, was also based on black labour, whereas the Palestinians are even worse off. They have become economically superfluous for Israel.

Since 1993-1995, when the system of checkpoints and closure of the West Bank has been implemented, there were Palestinian migrant workers who used to work within Israel and of course live from it within the West Bank have been barred from entering Israel – reasons of security have been adduced – and have been replaced by migrant labourers from Ghana, from Romania, from Thailand, a process that we know well from Europe. It means that this is worse than a bantustan. They have been robbed of an autonomous economic basis. They cannot rely on access to the Israeli economy to finance themselves. So they are in the very peculiar modern condition that we know from the Third World of people who are not even worthy of being exploited.

EB: What are the implications then for these bantustans, I mean, for the Palestinians living in them? In terms of Sharon’s strategy, as I see it, it’s partly about first of all giving a very serious blow to the Palestinian national movement for 10, 15 years ahead. This is already a time-scale on which most politicians in the United States and Europe would not think, and he’s a farmer by origin. This is his last term in office. He’s thinking in the term of 10, 15 or 20 years ahead. Within this period, his attempt is to demoralise the Palestinians completely, to subject them to a very tight system of control. He will continue the settlement project at the same time. His basic intention has been and remained to see them fading away. That would be the most polite way to say it, either leaving on their own accord or going to Jordan or sending many of them abroad to study and work elsewhere and to see in the West Bank a sort of a series of not even of bantustans or reservations for the remaining Palestinians.

EB: So in the long term Sharon hopes that there will be no Palestinian problem any more. It will solve itself. Yes. I mean, Sharon basically believes in having a greater Israel for the Jews alone. He’s realistic enough in order not to say it nowadays. He’s realistic enough in order to know that he will have to have at least part of the Palestinians still living here. But if they are willing to leave under a regime of tight control of such dimensions, if they’re unable to have any sort of unfragmented contiguous territory, if they are relegated to their own villages and completely dependent on a system of passes and allowing them to move from one place to the other, this, I believe, can be a very effective and demeaning system of control and I think he really believes he can break the will of Palestinians to remain for freedom. This must fail. But we are all going to pay the price. Desperate people do not become nicer. And if you rob people of a political future, what remains is very little. At the moment Sharon’s basic means of doing politics is not declarations or plans, promising a bright future. He never did this. He never promised Israelis peace. What he does is destroy hope, destroy it on the ground through killing, through bombing, through constructing the Wall, through creating cycles of violence that reduce political future to nothing. And all the people are left with is the notion, the fear for personal security, the day after and the next day, the last blow and the next blow. So with this, a reduction of politics to a very short time-span, he gains ascent to his politics not actively because people believe in it but because they lose hope that there is an alternative. Once you rob people of a project of the future, this is largely responsible to processes of barbarisation. The fact that Israeli citizens accept crimes of war in such a way, knowing full well what it’s about, and surely on the Palestinian side, the sense of despair is everywhere. In every village I go to in the West Bank – and few Israelis go now to see and ask people what they think and what they feel in the West Bank – there is an enormous sense of despair, of powerlessness which lies behind that sort of abstract identification with a suicide bomber that takes his or her revenge by annihilating other people and themselves. It’s not an aberration of history. It has nothing to do with Islam, certainly not with our demonisation of Islam that I now found so prevalent in Europe. It’s the disintegration of a political society which is robbed of its hope of shaping the future collectively. And I find people seemingly resigned to it, not liking it, but saying, well, if we cannot live together, at least we die together.

EB: You said that Sharon is serving his last term as prime minister. Can’t some of the things that he is now implementing be reversed when he leaves? Well, some of them surely. But that project of the wall…I mean, when I said that this is a colonial conflict, I meant that the major facts are not texts and if you look at the past 35 years after the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan by Israel, there are 2 or 3 fundamental facts that are shaping our future, in theory reversible, but only reversible in a historian sense. In political terms, they are irreversible in the sense that they leave such deep scars, such deep marks on people’s lives that even if you reverse them, you put an enormous amount of social energy and resources and by this I mean two major facts for which Sharon is personally responsible. One is the construction of the settlements: 200,000 settlers in the West Bank controlling about 45% of the whole West Bank. And the second major fact is the building of the walls, the system of walls, barbed wires, concrete and enclaves that we usually call the apartheid wall, but this is a misleading term because it is a whole system that spans the whole occupied territories. Now the Wall can be demolished, but it is built in an agrarian context. It’s not the Berlin Wall, which means that within three years it can destroy the income and the way of life of village communities. 160 kilometres of the Wall have already been built, and according to estimates, 210,000 Palestinians are directly affected, losing their access to the lands, losing access to water, to water wells, losing the possibility to move about, destroying whole networks of the flow of people and of merchandise. Now, this can be reversed. But if you look at the landscape, if you look at what this Wall looks like, then it would take years and years to repair the damage that has been done. What people call the Wall is still imagined as one piece of concrete or fence separating Israel from the occupied territories. And one really has to look at the maps, and the maps are not usually discussed. Only the words get discussed, but not the topography of the geographical reality. What is called the Wall is actually a whole system – and I have the maps here – of fences, of barbed wire, ditches, surveillance systems, in some cases using concrete walls, very often just a barbed wire fence of some 5 metres ditches and all that surrounds it. And they are built all over the West Bank, not along the border, but surrounding villages and towns from all sides. It’s a system of control. It’s a system of expropriation that is sold or presented as a means to achieve personal security for Israelis. It has nothing to do with it. If you just look at where it is built, enough military experts in Israel from the military establishment have clearly said this is not about improving Israel’s security. Four former heads of the Israeli intelligence have spoken publicly – all four of them in a joint press conference – saying this Wall is a political project of subjecting the Palestinians, and it’s not about security for Israelis. They’re not my friends. They’re not of my opinion. It’s unheard of that they would take such a clear stance against the project. So what Sharon is doing is using the real fears that people have for their own security in order to further a political project that is directly continuing his project of building the settlements. If you take his plan of the settlements from 1978 and you take the present map of the Wall as it is emerging from the ground, you see that one is actually a direct continuation of the other, that wherever the settlements were built, the Wall is also there. And the settlements were built in such a way as to separate major Palestinian population centres from each other.

EB: Is it also designed to increase Israel’s land mass because the Wall is encroaching on Palestinian territory and incorporating this into Israel? The most simple implication of the construction of the Wall is the de facto annexation of parts of the occupied territories. On paper, it looks very minor: between 4 to 10%, but if look at the map – and this is a very small land – you realise that the land already annexed through the construction of the Wall is in many cases the most fertile land in the West Bank. The region between Jenin, Tulkaram and Ramallah produces around 40% of the agricultural produce of the West Bank and it has most of the water wells.

EB: Why aren’t there more protests in Israel against what is happening on the ground? There are several reasons. One that I have to stress is that most Israeli citizens, even nowadays, have no idea about where exactly the Wall is being built. They have a vague sense that it is being built more or less along the border separating the West Bank from Israel. They know that it’s now being constructed in Jerusalem, making whole Palestinian neighbourhoods into small ghettos. I cannot use a different expression. But if you ask how many times did the Israeli press or television publish the map of the Wall, then you will find that two times in the space of four or three years. So first there is a problem of information. The second of course is fear. Fear is a potent force in this story and Sharon has been shrewd enough to exploit people’s fears and promise them security. Now that this security is a death trap in the long run for both peoples is something you don’t really think about. If you live in the present, if you don’t think about the longer term future which is the current state of Israeli public opinion – people are prisoners of the present and feel as if there is no history anymore.

EB: You spoke about ghettos. It’s ironic that Israel should be doing this given what happened during the Second World War. Well of course. Or I would not so easily evoke the Holocaust or the Second World War. I think we sometimes do it too easily. But if you look at the longer term of Jewish life in Western and Eastern Europe in the early modern and the modern period, then of course the reproduction of the experience of the ghetto is one of the most not only ironical but also tragic aspects of this all, and I think the use of the term ghetto is quite justified in this case, if you look at the future for Palestinian communities. I mean, most of the people who came to Israel did not come out of Zionist convictions but as refugees either in post-Second World War Europe or in the whole upheaval of Middle Eastern societies in the decolonization period, that they came to be responsible for the creating of the Palestinian refugee problem and one of the hardest things for Israelis to come to terms with is to take the moral responsibility for creating the refugee problem, and to try and think openly, not about achieving justice. I don’t think justice can be achieved, but at least of recognizing the wrongs and finding partial solutions to the injustice that has been done.

EB: Why is it that the international community isn’t able to exert any pressure on the government regarding some of the steps that it’s taking at the moment? America’s role at the moment in the Middle East is not the role of the good judge or the teacher of democracy. It’s about domination. It’s about oil. It’s about controlling Arab regimes, and it has never been one of implementing justice in the Middle East. And, on the other hand, Israel’s citizens instead of building a future in the Middle East as part of a larger movement of seeing an independent and democratic Middle East, are perceived all around the Middle East as an embodiment of the American interests. This may look like promising security in the short term, but it’s no less dangerous in the future than anything that happens vis-à-vis the Palestinians. But I think we should say something about Islam. It’s a tragedy that enlightened people in Europe would accept Islam as the main enemy. This, I think, is a modern form of racism. It is built on ignorance. One knows simply too little about Islamic history. One does not see differences but one huge block of Islam, not understood within the Judeo-Christian tradition. And it also shows that the historical experience of coming to terms with anti-Semitism is not enough in order to recognise other forms of racism. To put it very easily: people who would say, who would be very careful not to express themselves in very anti-Semitic terms about the Jews would say things about Islam or about Islamic believers or communities that are simply horrible and elsewhere. This I found very tragic. The third question is of anti-Semitism. I do not underestimate the role of anti-Semitic sentiment and tradition in European history. This does not mean that all forms of critique against Israel’s colonial war have to be equated with anti-Semitism. And I think that the Israeli governments make a very cynical use of anti-Semitism, both in order to shield themselves from critique and by endangering the future of Jewish communities in Europe and elsewhere by making them the ambassadors of an Israeli politics that is indefensible. The moment this link is created – although it speaks about the danger of anti-Semitism – it creates and reproduces anti-Semitic sentiment and it endangers the future of Jewish citizens of different democracies of the world by reducing them to being members of a trans-local tribe and local representative of a government that is engaged in crimes of war. I can see nothing more dangerous to the future of Jews than Sharon’s policy.

EB: Is there more than foreign countries should be doing to help Israel and the Palestinians solve this conflict? Well one thing that could…should have been done is of course pressure and looking for ways, not only of politely disagreeing, but saying we do not accept it. Very often the diplomatic pressure was based on the simple notion that you have two parties and they have to make decisions and negotiate. These are not two parties to a diplomatic conflict. One of them is the occupying force; the other has been reduced almost to no political power. By asking both Israelis and Palestinians to make concessions – when Israelis have the upper hand politically, economically and militarily – means that Palestinians from a position of weakness have to give up the rest, and they have very little to offer by way of a normal negotiation.

EB: You’ve spoken several times about crimes of war. What types of crimes are you specifically referring to? Well, there is a whole list of them, but the whole project of the settlement, of expropriation and of creating settlement is in clear violation of international conventions. It changes irreversibly the landscape, the demography, the economy of the occupied territory. Then the business of ruling Palestinians means that Israel has accepted the use of what it terms targeted killings. Targeted killings are simply acts of terror in which the state executes people without trial and very often, in the process, it’s also responsible for killing everyone around: children, friends, family, their homes. The numbers speak for themselves. This is an official policy. This is a state that almost officially now takes responsibility for acts of state terrorism. These are crimes of war. There come specific crimes of war, for example, even during Israel’s invasion into Lebanon in 1982, ambulances were free to move, as far as I know, whereas in the West Bank nowadays, Palestinian ambulances during military operation but sometimes in between have been prevented from moving, from supplying essential help to Palestinians. And the whole system of checkpoints is in itself, I think, verges on the criminal in the sense that you take 18, 19-year-old soldiers. The checkpoints are not located between Israel and the West Bank but on the outskirts of major Palestinian settlements and towns. You take those 18, 19-year-olds who do not speak Arabic, who have no idea what it means to have a family, who have no idea how Palestinians live because they do not enter the towns. They’re just controlling movement between one village and the next, and you give them the enormous power to decide over people’s fate. I saw that. I have been there myself. I saw you have old people coming and walking, trying to explain what they are doing, and soldiers may decide whether they are going to let them pass or not. Pregnant women, in more than one case – I think we have at least 12 good, well-documented cases – pregnant women were prevented from reaching the nursery and have given birth to babies on the checkpoints. Some of them died. Old people or the sick come with a bunch of papers and medical documents that the soldiers cannot read and cannot assess. So what this type of occupation, this specific type of control means is that you create an enormous social suffering without even realising what you are doing, and when both parties have actually no communication with each other. These soldiers understand some of…parts of what they are doing. Some of them go back, and they tell what they have witnessed or what they have done. And in Israeli society we’d have to…one of the questions is what are we going to do with this memory of inflicted pain? Now, these are clearly crimes of war.

Professor Gadi Algazi in conversation with Eric Beauchemin. I’m Dheera Sujan and you’ve been listening to Vox Humana on Radio Netherlands.
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http://readingmachine.co.il/home/books/book_462_168/article_600

גדי אלגזי “הקשיבו לקול הסירוב” (2004)

גדי אלגזי “הקשיבו לקול הסירוב” משפטי הסרבנים (דב חנין, מיכאל ספרד ושרון רוטברד עורכים. בבל, 2004)

הקשיבו לקול הסירוב

ב”בית הירוק” ביפו

יום שלישי בבוקר, 14 באפריל 2003. חמישה צעירים בבית-הדין הצבאי ביפו: חגי מטר, מתן קמינר, שימרי צמרת, אדם מאור, נועם בהט. האשמה: סירוב פקודה. כל החמישה ריצו כבר תקופות מאסר של שלושה עד ארבעה חודשים בגין סירוב חוזר ונשנה לשרת בצבא הכיבוש, ועכשיו החליטו רשויות הצבא להעמיד אותם בפני בית-דין צבאי, שבסמכותו לגזור עליהם עד שלוש שנות מאסר. במהלך החודשים הבאים ישתלב משפטם במשפטו של חברם יוני בן-ארצי, מתנגד הכיבוש ופציפיסט. יוני נימק את התנגדותו העמוקה לשירות הצבאי בהתכתבות ממושכת עם שלטונות הצבא. הוא פנה שוב ושוב לרשויות הצבא – וחזר ונדחה. שבע פעמים סירב ונשפט על סירובו לפני שהובא בפני בית-הדין הצבאי לאחר 200 ימי מאסר. החמישה הם מחותמי מכתב שמיניסטים, שבו הודיעו לראש הממשלה, אריאל שרון: “כשהממשלה הנבחרת רומסת ערכים דמוקרטיים ואת הסיכויים לשלום צודק באזור, אין לנו ברירה אלא לציית לצו מצפוננו ולסרב לקחת חלק במתקפה על העם הפלסטיני.” הם התחייבו “לא לשרת את הכיבוש” וקראו גם לבני גילם לנהוג כמותם. על נוסח המכתב המקורי (אוגוסט 2001) חתמו 62 נערות ונערים. על המכתב המחודש חתמו כבר, כשנה לאחר מכן, כ-300.

החמישה יושבים, מחייכים, על ספסל הנאשמים. אין מקום באולם בית-הדין לכל הקרובים והידידים שבאו לחזק את ידיהם. הקצין מבקש מכל האנשים שבאו, פרט לבני המשפחה, לצאת מן האולם. כולנו משפחה אחת, עונה לו אחד ההורים. זהו משפט ציבורי בעל משמעות פוליטית לכל אזרח, ולכן עלינו להיות כאן, אומרים לו אחרים. אחרי התעקשות, אנו עוברים לחדר אחר. עכשיו אנחנו יושבים בחדר אטום (הניילונים מימי המתקפה האמריקאית בעיראק עוד מודבקים על החלונות), בבית ערבי ביפו כדי לדון בחופש המצפון ובכיבוש.

כל אחד מן הצעירים פנה לוועדה הצבאית, הדנה בפטור משירות צבאי מטעמי מצפון. הוועדה סירבה: הסירוב שלכם הוא פוליטי, טענה, לא מצפוני. לוועדה הצבאית יש השקפה מאוד מגובשת בשאלה, באיזה סרבני מצפון היא מוכנה להכיר. היא משאירה רק סדק צר, שדרכו יכול צעיר לעבור ולהיחשב לסרבן מצפון מוכר. עד כדי כך צר, שבמשך 8 שנים, הכירה בסיבות המצפוניות של שבעה צעירים בלבד שסירבו להתגייס. איזה מצפון מחפשת הוועדה? איך ישיגו הסרבנים כזה מצפון, שיתאים לוועדה הצבאית? אולי יהיה פשוט יותר, אם החיילים יוכלו לקבל מן האפסנאות הצבאית את המצפון הדרוש? כזה שטוב להריסות הבתים ברפיח, שמתאים לעוצר בשכם, מצפון חסין שיתאים לחברון, אולי אפילו לשירות צבאי בג’נין?

הוועדה הצבאית טוענת, שנימוקי הסרבנים הם פוליטיים, לא מצפוניים, ולכן אי-אפשר לפטור אותם משירות צבאי ולאפשר להם לעשות שירות אזרחי כפי שביקשו. הסנגור מקריא מכתב סירוב שנשלח ללשכת הגיוס בשנה שעברה. המכתב אומר: זה שלושים שנה שישראל גוזלת את החירות מן העם הפלסטיני. צה”ל הוא המכשיר של המדיניות הזאת. לא אוכל לתת יד לגזל האדמות, להתנחלויות, לדיכוי, להשפלה. לא אשרת בצבא הכיבוש. הוא מקריא את תשובת הצבא: הנ”ל פטור משירות צבאי מטעמי מצפון. מבוכה ניכרת על פני שופטי בית-הדין הצבאי. של מי המכתב הזה? לא של סרבן גבר, אומר הסנגור, אלא של אשה – הדס גולדמן. נשים בישראל יכולות לקבל פטור משירות צבאי מטעמי דת או מצפון. הנה, אומר הסנגור, המכתב מוכיח שגם הצבא מכיר בכך, שסירוב לשרת בצבא הכיבוש יכול להיחשב סירוב מצפוני. האם יש מצפון אחר לנשים ולגברים? האם טעמי המצפון של גברים אינם ראויים להכרה ממש כמו אלה של נשים? מבוכה בבית-המשפט.

כך התחיל משפט, שנמשך בהפסקות עד ינואר 2004. הוא הסתיים כצפוי – בהרשעתם של כל הששה. ב-4 בינואר נגזר דינם של החמשה: שנת מאסר בפועל. לעומת זאת, בשבועות שלאחר מכן החליטו רשויות הצבא לפטור את חברם יוני בן-ארצי משירות ביטחון­ – לאחר שבית-הדין הצבאי נאלץ להודות בכנותו המצפונית וברצינות טיעוניו. רשויות הצבא העדיפו לפטור אותו מטעמי “אי התאמה”. זמן קצר לאחר מכן, הכריע בית-המשפט בדינו של יוני.

המשפט עורר שאלות עקרוניות. מהו מצפון? מה הם גבולות הציות שבו חייבים אזרחים? אלו דרכי התנגדות לגיטימיות מול הכיבוש? האם השירות בצבא המשליט זה 36 שנים את מרותה של ישראל על הפלסטינים יושבי השטחים הכבושים הוא מוסרי? באיזו אחריות נושאים אזרחים לנעשה בשמם? האם יש סתירה בין סירוב מצפוני לבין ניסיון לעורר את מצפונם של אחרים? אמצעי התקשורת בישראל מיעטו לדווח על הדיונים. הספר הזה מבקש לתקן במידת מה את המעוות. אין צורך להסכים לכל הנאמר בו. חשוב להקשיב לקולם של הסרבנים.

שאלה נעלמה

שוב ושוב עומדת החברה הישראלית מול האתגר שמציבים לה הסרבנים, ובכל פעם, כך נדמה, מעוררת הופעתם הפתעה מחודשת. נראה כאילו מסורת הסירוב נדחקת מן הזיכרון, חוזרת ומופיעה ושבה ונעלמת. הדבר אינו מפליא בחברה מגויסת, בה נשמרה עד עתה רמה גבוהה של ציות והגבולות בין חיילים ואזרחים נותרו מטושטשים. ההיסטוריה הישראלית עדיין נכתבת כרגיל כהיסטוריה של מלחמות, אך יש טעם לחשוב על צד אחר באותו סיפור עצמו – על מסורת ההתנגדות להן והסירוב המצפוני.

עם הקמתו, דחק הצבא הישראלי את מקומם של ארגונים חמושים, שפעלו בקרב הישוב היהודי בארץ, כגון הפלמ”ח והאצ”ל, שהשירות בהם היה התנדבותי. נורמות חדשות של משמעת וציות הושלטו בצבא, אך אלה לא מחקו לחלוטין את המסורת הקודמת, המניחה כי השירות מבוסס על הסכמת המתגייסים למדיניות אותה משרת הכוח הצבאי. הנה דיווח אחד על מקרה נשכח – כמה חיילים, שבמהלך מבצע “מטאטא” (מאי 1948), סירבו לקחת חלק בגירוש פלסטינים מן הגליל המזרחי:

מבצע מטאטא החל רשמית ב-3 במאי, ונמשך עשרה ימים. כיתת מרגמות מהגדוד השלישי [של הפלמ”ח] בפיקודו של גבי ברשי הפגיזה את הכפרים ערב זנגריה, ערב אל-סמכיה, טבחה וערב קודיריה. יגאל אלון כתב: “הגדוד [הראשון] פתח בפעולת טיהור שלמה של השטח המשתרע בין הכנרת לחולה משני עברי הכביש עד לירדן. הפלוגות חצו ברגל את המרחב המבותר ערוצים עמוקים וסלעי מגור, כשהם מטהרים אותו ומשמידים את בסיסי האויב. התנגדות הערבים נשברה והשטח טוהר עד לגבול ממש. אלפי תושבים ובני כנופיות נסו לסוריה.”

[רחבעם] זאבי היה אז בפלוגה ד’. מפקד הפלוגה, ישעיהו גביש, סיפר: “נפרסנו שלוש מחלקות לרוחב הגזרה, עברנו מכפר לכפר וגירשנו את כולם. כביש גינוסר–ראש פינה נשאר ללא כפרים ערביים. ביצענו את הפעולה בקרב אש ותנועה, כמו שלמדנו בקורסים. הערבים לא התנגדו.”

במבצע מטאטא השתרבבה פרשה של סרבנים יהודים, כולל איום להרגם אם לא יבצעו פקודות. אחד מהם כתב לחברו: “הרגשנו כמו רובוטים. הפרידו בין החברים ופיזרו אותנו במחלקות. ביקשנו להישאר יחד והמפקד אמר לנו: אתם עצורים ל-24 שעות. הנשק נלקח מאיתנו. הלכנו בתהלוכה לבית-הסוהר רדופי אספסוף של מאה איש שצעקו: משתמטים! פאשיסטים! פחדנים! כולם לקיר, אינטלגנטים! היו התנפלויות. כמה מאיתנו הופלו והוכו. נשלחנו למעצר מאחורי סורג ובריח ומנעול, זקיף עם רובה וכדור בקנה. אחזתי בסורג. היכה ברובה. אנחנו 16 איש בחדר. החלטתנו נחושה, לעזוב את החטיבה ויהי מה.”[1]

אין פלא, שמקרה אלה ודומים לו נשכחו מלב ולא הפכו חלק מן המסורת הפוליטית המודעת של החברה הישראלית. בשנים הראשונות לקיומה, לא היתה זו רק חברה מגויסת; היתה זו חברה אטאטיסטית, מוכוונת. היתה זו חברה שעוצבה ונשלטה על-ידי מנגנון מדינה, שצמח מתוך היישוב היהודי כפי שהתפתח בשנות המנדט הבריטי. מנגנון המדינה (שהגבולות בינו לבין המפלגה השלטת, מפא”י ההיסטורית על גלגוליה השונים, היו מטושטשים מאוד) ניתב משאבים, יישב מהגרים, הפקיע אדמות, הקים יישובים, פיקח באופן הדוק על כוח העבודה, השליט את מרותו על המיעוט הלאומי הערבי באמצעות מימשל צבאי וכיוון את הדיון הציבורי באמצעות מערכת החינוך וכלי התקשורת. תהליך עיצוב זה הותיר בחברה הישראלית עקבות עמוקים, ובעיקר – חולשה מבנית של המסגרות החברתיות בחברת המהגרים והמתיישבים היהודית אל מול מנגנון המדינה ורפיפותם של קשרי הסולידריות החברתית והקהילתית. מאז, תולדותיה של החברה בישראל הן במידה רבה סיפורו של תהליך ארוך וכאוב של דמוקרטיזציה ופלורליזציה, של הכרה חלקית בניגודים ובריבוי שבתוכה – תהליך שלא הושלם עדיין.

הסירוב מלווה את החברה הישראלית מראשיתה. הוא לא התמצה במקרי סירוב בודדים במלחמת 1948 עצמה, אלא זכה בתחילה להכרה חלקית. חוקת השיפוט תש”ח – ששימשה מסגרת משפטית זמנית לפעולת הצבא עד להשלמת ניסוחו של חוק השיפוט הצבאי – עמדה עדיין בסימן מסורות המחתרות שטרם קום המדינה. החוקה כללה לא רק סעיפים האוסרים למשל על מפקדים לנהוג שררה כלפי פקודיהם, אלא גם סעיף מפורש – סעיף 76 – שאיפשר לשופטים להקל בעונשם של חיילים בגין מעשים שעשו או שנמנעו מלעשות – אם עשו זאת מטעמי מצפון.[2] כפי שניסוחו המפותל של הסעיף מעיד, הוא עצמו היה תוצר פשרה, שכן שניים מחברי הוועדה שנתבקשה לבדוק את חוקת השיפוט לפני התקנתה – יעקב ריפתין (מפ”ם) וקלמן כהנא (פועלי אגודת ישראל) – תבעו לאפשר לפטור חייל לחלוטין מעונש, כאשר מדובר בטעמי מצפון.[3]

באוגוסט 1949, בשלהי הקרבות, החלה הכנסת הראשונה לדון בחוק שירות ביטחון החדש, שנועד להסדיר את שאלת הגיוס לצבא, ובהצעת חוק שיפוט צבאי, שנועד להחליף את חוקת השיפוט תש”ח. שני הדיונים השתרגו זה בזה. הועלו בהם שאלות יסוד, שרבות מהן נותרו עמנו גם כיום. נוסחו הראשון של חוק השיפוט הצבאי נתקל בביקורת חריפה ובסופו של דבר התמשכה חקיקתו על פני כעשר שנים. לא נעלם מחברי הכנסת, כי מן החוק החדש נמחקו יסודות של פיקוח חיילים על התנהגות. החוק החדש עמד בסימן “משמעת, משמעת מופרזת”, אמר אחד מהם.[4] במהלך הדיון בשני החוקים עלתה באופנים שונים גם שאלת הסירוב מטעמי מצפון.

תוצאתו של הדיון בחוק שירות ביטחון ידועה: הזכות לסירוב מטעמי מצפון לא זכתה לעיגון בחוק. לעומת זאת, זכו שרי הביטחון בחופש פעולה מרחיק לכת לגייס אזרחים – ולהימנע מגיוסם – בלי שיחויבו להכפיף את שיקול דעתם לנורמות ברורות. מכוח סמכות זאת – לא זכות מוקנית לאזרחים אלא מעשה חסד מטעמם של השליטים – יכלו שרי הביטחון להימנע מגיוסם של אזרחי ישראל הערבים (ולהשתמש בכך כדי להצדיק את הדרתם מאזרחות מלאה). גם הסדרי הפטור – לגברים יהודים או דרוזים הלומדים לימודי דת – התעצבו מכוח הסדרי מיקוח פוליטיים (כך נכשל כבר ב-1951 נסיונו של חיים שטיינברג, אזרח חרדי, לטעון כי יש לפטור אותו משירות צבאי מטעמי דת ומצפון כשם שפוטרים נשים). אך החוק שהתקבל בסופו של דבר כלל גם פטור משירות צבאי לנשים מטעמי מצפון או דת – עניין נדיר בחקיקה הישראלית.

ברור, כי הפטור לנשים משירות צבאי לנשים דתיות נוצר כפשרה בין המגמה להנהיג חובת גיוס כללית להתנגדותם של חוגים דתיים לגיוס נשים. כבר בדיון זה נחשפה אחת מתבניות היסוד של הפוליטיקה הישראלית – כאשר מישיבה לישיבה הלך ונדחק הדיון העקרוני בזכויות אוניברסליות והתגלגל בניסיון להבטיח את זכויותיהן הפרטיקולריות של קבוצות מתוחמות – במקרה זה, להבטיח כי נשים דתיות לא יגויסו. הדיון בשירותן הצבאי של נשים הבהיר היטב, עד כמה כרוכה האזרחות הישראלית בשירות האומה. הן מצדדי הגיוס והן מתנגדיו עשו שימוש בתרומתן של הנשים לאומה – אלה ביעודן כאמהות המביאות ילדים ואלה בתפקידן כחלוצות ולוחמות בשירות האומה. [5] בכל זאת, בחוק הסופי הוכרו גם טעמי מצפון שלא נמצאו בהצעת החוק המקורית. היו אלה כמה מחברי הכנסת הדתיים שעמדו על כך, שבמקום פטור גורף מכוח חברות בקבוצה – פטור לנשים דתיות – יעמוד החוק על זכותן הכללית של נשים לפטור משירות מטעמי מצפון או דת. המהלך החלקי להשתתת הפטור על בסיס אוניברסלי יותר נעשה ביוזמתם.[6] כך נוספו לחוק “טעמים של מצפון” או “טעמים שבהכרה דתית”.

במהלך הדיון בחוק הגיוס עלו גם חלופות אחרות, שרובן נשכח מלב. כמה מחברי הכנסת תבעו הכרה בפטור משירות צבאי מטעמי מצפון לגברים ונשים גם יחד. בעוד שהזרם השליט בויכוח נימק את חובת השירות הצבאי לנשים בשירותן לאומה, ואת הפטור החלקי (לנשים נשואות, אמהות ודתיות) – בתפקידן כאמהות בשירות האומה, בשירות המשפחה ובהנחלת המסורת הדתית, הציעו אחרים להכיר בזכות כללית לסירוב מצפוני. כך טענה ח”כ רחל כהן מסיעת ויצ”ו, שתמכה בגיוס נשים, אך הוסיפה: “אינני יכולה לא לקבל טעמים מצפוניים – ולאו דווקא דתיים. גם לגברים ישנם טעמים מצפוניים שאינם מרשים לשרת בשירות קרבי. החוק הזה נעשה לא רק בשביל יהודים. ובחוק, כפי שהוגש לנו, חסר סעיף המטפל בנקודה זאת. [אני] סבורה שמותר לאשה להגן גם על זכויותיו של הגבר.” ח”כ משה אונא מן החזית הדתית המאוחדת (שאיגדה את כל הסיעות הדתיות) הצטרף לדרישתה. [7]

בכלל, מנקודת מבט הנטועה בישראל של היום, קשה להאמין עד כמה קרובים היו חלק מחברי הכנסת להכרה בפציפיזם. הם שמעו, כי תנועת סרבני המלחמה בישראל ביקשה להחיל את הפטור המצפוני משירות צבאי על גברים ונשים גם יחד. לא נשכחה מהם עדיין גם המסורת הפציפיסטית הקטנה של הימים שלפני הקמת המדינה, והם מזכירים במפורש את אנשי “ברית שלום”. אחד מהם נזכר, כי גם אנצו סירני היה פציפיסט וסירב לשאת נשק – ורק במהלך מלחמת העולם השניה החליט לאחוז בנשק. [8] אפילו המחמירים שבחברי הכנסת, שסירבו להעניק פטור משירות צבאי מטעמי מצפון, הכירו עדיין בזכותם של פציפיסטים לא לשאת נשק – גם במלחמת הגנה.[9] שניים מהם הציעו לאפשר למי שמסרבים לשאת נשק לשרת ביחידות חלופיות.[10]

חוק שירות ביטחון שנוסח בסופו של דבר נשאר רובו ככולו בתוקף גם כיום. חברי הכנסת של מפא”י טענו כנגד הצעות התיקון, כי “הימנעות גברים משירות בטחון במדינת ישראל לרגל טעמי מצפון טהור” אפשרית “אך במקרים נדירים בלבד”. באלה יכריע שר הביטחון מכוח סמכותו לגייס ולפטור לפי שיקול דעתו: “אין צורך ליצור בחוק קטגוריה ‘מצפונית’ כזאת על-ידי הכנסתה כסעיף מיוחד בחוק.”[11] זהו הביטוי הראשון והמובהק למדיניות ארוכת ימים – הסירוב הרשמי לכל נסיון להכיר בסירוב המצפוני, שאת הדיו ניתן לשמוע בדברי התביעה ובפסק-הדין במשפטיהם של יוני בן-ארצי וחמשת סרבני הכיבוש: לא זכות אזרחית אלא מעשה חסד של הרשויות.

בינתיים המשיכו חברי הכנסת לדון בחוק השיפוט הצבאי שבא להחליף את חוקת השיפוט תש”ח. כאשר הוצגה בפניהם הצעת החוק החדש, באוגוסט 1949, לא נעלם מעיניהם, כי החוק החדש משליט בצבא מבנים הייררכיים מובהקים ומשמעת קפדנית. הם גם התיחסו ללקחי מלחמת 1948. המעשים שנעשו במהלכה הוכיחו לדעת כמה מהם, כי הצבא הישראלי לא עמד בניסיון “במגע עם האוכלוסיה האזרחית, בהתנהגות עם שבויים, בשמירה קפדנית על עקרונות המשפט הבינלאומי והנוהג במלחמה.” לכן הציע אחד מהם, יש להוסיף פרק העוסק ב”משפט החייל ככובש ומשחרר”.[12] אחר הזכיר פשעי מלחמה: “מלחמת השחרור שלנו הוכיחה שאין אנו נקיים בענין זה. […] מקרה דיר-יאסין לא היה מקרה בודד, וכולנו עשינו דברים שאני – ואולי גם הבית כולו – מתביישים בהם.” לכן הציע ח”כ לם להכליל בחוק השיפוט הצבאי את עקרונות המשפט הבינלאומי.[13]

אם לא די בכך, העלו במסגרת הדיון כמה חברי כנסת את האפשרות לעגן בחוק את האפשרות לסרב פקודה מטעמי מצפון. תפקיד מפתח מילאו כאן חברי הכנסת מטעם “החזית הדתית המאוחדת” – משה אונא וזרח ורהפטיג מ”הפועל המזרחי” ובנימין מינץ, איש פועלי אגודת ישראל. נסיונותיהם החוזרים ונשנים לעגן בחוק את האפשרות לסרב לפקודות מטעמי מצפון רלבנטיים גם כיום.

ח”כ ורהפטיג הציע להרחיב את האפשרות המוכרת בחוקת תש”ח להקל בעונשו של חייל שעבר עבירה מטעמי מצפון – ולאפשר מעתה לבתי-הדין הצבאיים לפטור אותו במקרה זה כליל מאחריות לעבירה.[14] ח”כ מינץ הרחיק לכת עוד יותר. הרי איננו רוצים, אמר, “ב’משמעת של כלב’ בצבא-ישראל… אין אנו רוצים שחיילינו יהיו מכונות ללא נשמה וללא לב. […] אין אנו רוצים שעם התגייסותו של אדם מישראל לצבאנו ייסתם מקור נשמתו ומצפונו, יחדל לחשוב ולתת לעצמו דין-וחשבון על מעשיו וייהפך לכלי נטול מחשבה ורגש בידי מפקדיו.” הוא הביע פליאה על כך, שמהצעת החוק החדשה נמחק הסעיף, “אשר לפיו יש לנהוג דין מיוחד בחייל היכול להוכיח כי מעשה שעשה או לא עשה ואשר עליו עמד לדין נעשה מטעמי מצפון”. לכן הציע מינץ תיקון מרחיק לכת עוד יותר:

“חייל הנאשם בעבירת אי-ציות, יזוכה מאשמה, ללא חקירה נוספת, אם יש בידו להוכיח שהיה לו יסוד מספיק להניח שהפקודה שלא ציית לה היא בלתי-חוקית: א) משום שהיא סותרת את חוקת הצבא והוראות המטכ”ל והרבנות הצבאית. ב) משום שהיא סותרת את חוקי היסוד של תורת ישראל. ג) משום שהיא סותרת את יסודות המוסר הישראלי.”[15]

כאשר הובאו התיקונים לחוקת השיפוט תש”ח לדיון נוסף בכנסת, לאחר דיונים בוועדת משנה מיוחדת, מצאו לפניהם חברי הכנסת בנובמבר 1949 הצעה חדשה. הצעתם של מינץ ווהרפטיג לא התקבלה, אך “סעיף המצפון” חזר ונכלל בה בנוסחו המקורי.[16] התנגדותם של חברי הכנסת של החזית הדתית המאוחדת עמדה בעינה. הם חזרו והציעו, כי בתי-הדין הצבאיים יוסמכו לא רק להקל בעונשם של חיילים שעברו עבירות מטעמי מצפון אלא יוכלו לפטור אותם לחלוטין מאחריות פלילית. בהכרזת העצמאות, נימק ח”כ משה אונא, “הודגש העקרון של חופש המצפון, ואני שואל: מתי אפשר יהיה להגשים את העקרון הזה אם לא במקרה שהמצפון מתנגד לחוק, בכל אופן במידה כזאת שתינתן הזכות לבית-הדין להתחשב במצפון. התקנה [שהוצעה] שוללת במפורש אפשרות כזאת, לפיכך אני שואל: באיזה אופן אפשר יהיה להגשים את העקרון היסודי הזה של המדינה? דומני שאם נשאיר את הסעיף ככתבו, הרי נבטל בכך את האפשרות הזאת ונעשה את העקרון פלסתר.”[17]

נציגי הוועדה, מנסחי החוק, לא הסכימו: הדבר “עלול להרוס את המשמעת בצבא.” ממש בדומה לתובע הצבאי במשפטם של החמשה, דרשו להבחין לחלוטין בין סרבני מצפון פציפיסטיים – שיש לאפשר להם שירות ללא נשק – לבין הפרת משמעת בסירוב לפקודות הצבא, שבה אין להכיר. הצעת התיקון נדחתה ברוב זעום.

ח”כ ורהפטיג לא ויתר ועשה ניסיון נוסף באוגוסט 1950, כאשר הובאו בפני הכנסת תיקונים נוספים לחוקת השיפוט תש”ח. ניכר כי הדבר היה בנפשו. בפעם הקודמת, אמר, נעדר מן הדיון ולצערו נדחה התיקון ברוב של קול אחד. אולי הפעם יתוספו הקולות החסרים (“לא נעשינו בעלי מצפון יותר,” זרק לו ח”כ יצחק בן אהרון).[18] על הנוסח הקיים הגן ח”כ מאיר גרבובסקי (ארגוב) ממפא”י, אשר בדיון קודם הזהיר את חברי-הכנסת מנטיות הומניסטיות בשעת חירום (“חכמים היזהרו בהומניזם זה!”). ורהפטיג הדגיש בדבריו עד כמה מתונה הצעתו, שכן אינו מעניק פטור אוטומטי מאחריות אלא מאפשר לבית-הדין לשקול, אם לפטור חיילים מאחריות פלילית למעשיהם, כאשר הם טוענים כי עשו אותם מטעמי מצפון. גרבובסקי התעלם מכך (ואולי לא הבחין בהבדל): “אין ליצור כעת תקדים ולהכניס לחוק אי-בהירות, שתהרוס למעשה כל משמעת בצבא.” התיקון לא התקבל.[19]

כך נכשל הנסיון לעגן בחוק את הסירוב מטעמי מצפון. עם זאת, הודות להתנגדותם של זרח ורהפטיג וחבריו, נשאר “סעיף המצפון” בתוקף (אין בידי לאתר מקרים בהם נעשה בו שימוש). הדיון בו התחדש ב-1954, כאשר הגישה הממשלה לכנסת את הצעת חוק השיפוט הצבאי החדש, שנועד להחליף את חוקת השיפוט תש”ח, על כל התיקונים שהוכנסו בה. הנואם השני בדיון היה ח”כ עו”ד נחום חת, האיש שערך את חוקת השיפוט. כבר בפתח דבריו העיר את תשומת לבם של חברי הכנסת להשמטת “עניין טעמי המצפון” מן החוק החדש.[20] ח”כ יצחק רפאל הבטיח מייד להיאבק על כך, ולמחרת, בישיבה הבאה – לאחר שבירך על שחרורו של סרבן המצפון אמנון זכרוני והציע שירות אזרחי חלופי עבור פציפיסטים – הציע להחזיר את סעיף המצפון הישן ולהרחיב אותו כך שיאפשר לפטור לחלוטין מעונש בשל עבירה שנעברה מטעמי מצפון.[21] אליו הצטרפו בישיבות הבאות גם ח”כ יעקב ריפתין (מפ”ם) וח”כ קלמן כהנא (פועלי אגודת ישראל) – שניהם מיוזמי סעיף 76 של חוקת השיפוט תש”ח.[22] פנחס רוזן, שר המשפטים, ענה להם, כשהוא מצביע על ניסוחו הפתלתל של הסעיף המקורי. הוא סירב להכיר בכל אי-ציון לפקודות מטעמי מצפון, אך שירטט “חזון, שלפיו סרבן, פאציפיסט, יישלח לשירות לאומי מיוחד, אחר, חמור, ואולי מסוכן”. ורהפטיג וריפתין הציעו שניהם לתקן את חוק השיפוט הצבאי ולהכיר בסירוב פקודה מטעמי מצפון. ורהפטיג חזר, תוך שינויים קלים, להצעתו המקורית לפטור חייל מאחריות, “אם המעשה שעשה והמהווה עבירה נעשה בגלל טעמי מצפון מוצדקים”. דווקא חובת הגיוס הכללית שאינה מכירה בפטור משירות מטעמי מצפון, כך טען, מחייבת להתחשב בטעמיהם המצפוניים של חיילים בשירות. אם בדבריו של ורהפטיג גלומה הכרה חשובה במתח בין פלורליזם חברתי לחובת הגיוס הכללית, הרי הצעתו של ריפתין ראויה לציון גם משום שהתבססה על הכרה בכבוד האדם. ריפתין הציע להכיר ב”צידוק מטעמי הגנה על הכבוד והמצפון” על מעשה שביצע חייל “כדי להגן על כבודו האנושי או על חופש מצפונו והשקפותיו.” שתי ההצעות נדחו.[23]

כך נעלם מחוק השיפוט הצבאי הישראלי ב-1955 השריד האחרון לחוקת תש”ח – האפשרות להקל בעונש כאשר נעברה עבירה מטעמי מצפון. בשנים שלאחר מכן ינסו משפטנים ישראלים לבקש הכרה בסירוב המצפוני בדרכים אחרות – באמצעות ניתוח הגדרת הפקודה הבלתי-חוקית, באמצעות הגנת הצורך ובהגנה על כבוד האדם. דברים מבוססים ומפורטים על כך אומרים המשפטנים בפרקים הבאים. אך חשוב לראות, כי היעדר הכרה חוקית מפורשת בזכות לסירוב מצפוני אינו מובן מאליו. הוא פרי דחייה מודעת של מסורות קיימות ושל הצעות חקיקה שהועלו עוד בראשית ימי מדינת ישראל. ההתעלמות המהדהדת מימין ומשמאל בפרלמנט הישראלי הראשון מטיעוניהם של כמה מחברי הכנסת הדתיים שופכת אור על נסיבות עיצובה של החברה הישראלית. לנגד עיניהם של אלה עמדו אומנם, בראש ובראשונה, מעשי סירוב לבצע פקודות הנוגדות את מצוות היהדות, אך בעקביות ראויה לציון ניסחו את הצעותיהם בלשון אוניברסלית, כשהם מצביעים על הצורך להציב גבולות לסמכויות הרשות ולפקודותיה ולהכיר במצפונם של אזרחים. על חזונו של בן-גוריון, לפיו יעצב הצבא את דמות העם (שבו קבע כי רוב העם “אינו עדיין מבחינה יהודית אלא אבק-אדם” ולכן יש “להתיך גלויות ועדות מרוחקות בתרבויותיהן ולעצב מחדש אומה אחידה”),[24] הגיב ח”כ זרח ורהפטיג באומרו, כי הדברים מעוררים בו פחד רב. במובן זה התייצבו הוא וחבריו כמגלמי מסורת, המציבה גבולות וסייגים למרות השלטון. מול מסורת זו ניצבה מדינת ישראל החדשה, שנמנעה מלתחום את גבולותיה הסופיים והעדיפה את הספָר הפרוץ על פני הגבול המוכר. ספר כזה גם הותירה פרוץ נוכח אזרחיה, בהימנעה מהכרה בזכותם לטעון שיש גבול – לשים סייג לצווי הרשות ולסרב מטעמי מצפון.

בתי קרבות

אין גבול – ואין ברירה. מרכיב מרכזי של מה שאפשר לכנות האידיאולוגיה הישראלית – לא אידיאולוגיה מנוסחת, אלא מערכת אמונות יומיומית – ניתן למצות בשתי מלים: אין ברירה. “אין ברירה” הכשיר את מדיניות ממשלות ישראל מאז היווסדן. אי-אפשר לעשות שלום. אי-אפשר להחזיר את הפליטים. אין עם מי לדבר. אין מה לעשות. כלומר: יש מה לעשות – את מה שצריך לעשות: להתכונן למלחמה הבאה, לסיבוב הבא.

הסירוב הוא אתגר לאין ברירה הרשמי. לא רק לכיבוש ולהתנחלות – אלא גם לאתוס המיליטריסטי, שלפיו טוב למות – ולהמית – בעד ארצנו. מבחינה זו, אף שיוני בן-ארצי הגדיר עצמו כפציפיסט ואילו החמשה העמידו במרכז את סירובם להפוך לחיילים של הכיבוש, לא זו בלבד שההתנגדות העקרונית לכיבוש וההתנחלות מאחדת את כל השישה, אלא שהסירוב לגווניו השונים – גם הסירוב הסלקטיבי וסרבנות הכיבוש – תורם לגיבושה של תרבות אזרחית, דמוקרטית ובלתי-אלימה בישראל. מטבע הדברים עוסק הספר רובו ככולו בסרבנות הכיבוש. דווקא משום כך ובגלל הנטייה הרווחת בישראל לפטור עמדות פציפיסטיות כמותרות שנועדו לימים טובים יותר, אין לטשטש את האתגר האנטי-מיליטריסטי הגלום בו.

צבאות – כל הצבאות – מגייסים ילדים. רק המוסכמות התרבותיות שלנו, התיחומים השרירותיים בין ילדים ומבוגרים, מאפשרים לנו להישאר שווי נפש נוכח העובדה, שבני 18 נשלחים להרוג ולהיהרג, ולהניח, כי הם שונים כל כך מאלה הצעירים מהם אך במעט, בני 16 או 14. צבאות העולם סומכים על הצעירים: סומכים עליהם, שלכל היותר יחשבו על המוות המופשט, ולא על הפציעה והנכות; סומכים עליהם (ועל משפחותיהם, ועל בתי-הספר, על מערכות הבניית הזהות המיגדרית, על הגדרות הגבריות הדומיננטיות) שיבקשו מן המדינה והצבא את האישור האולטימטיבי לגבריותם. והצבאות מצדם מוכנים ברצון לנפק אישורים כאלה, בתנאי שיתנו את גופם, את חייהם בתנאי שיסכימו לעשות לאחרים, את מה שאסור לבני-אדם לעשות זה לזה – להרוג, ויתנו לצבא לעשות מהם, מה שצבאות יודעים לעשות מבני-אדם, להפוך אותם לחיילים. קלאוס תֶוֶולַייט הראה, כיצד מתמסרים אנשים לזרועות המוסדות הממונים על ייצורה של אלימות מאורגנת בתקווה שאלה יבנו להם עטיפה יציבה, שריון זהות חלופי, נוקשה במקום העור האנושי הפגיע, החש.[25] בנסיבות כאלה, דרוש אומץ לב כדי לומר בפשטות, כפי שאומר זאת אדם מאור בדבריו בפני בית הדין הצבאי, שאנו ילדים. זהו האומץ להשיל את השריון, שבו עוטף הצבא את הבאים בשעריו. “אנחנו כבר נעשה ממך בן-אדם,” אומר הקצין. “רק תנו לי לטפל בך.” תנו לי לטפל בך – כדי שתלמד לטפל באחרים. איליין סקארי הזכירה, כי אלימות מאורגנת היא דרך אחת בין אחרות כדי ליצור בני-אדם מחדש – על-ידי הריסתם ופירוקם.[26] זהו המעגל שממנו מבקשים הסרבנים לצאת, כשהם מעזים להסיר מעליהם את השריון. יחד עם חברותיהם וחבריהם, הם בודקים את האפשרות להפוך לבני-אדם ללא מדים. וכאן יש משמעות מיוחדת לדבריו של יוני בן-ארצי, שמעז לכפור בעיקר – בהכרח להיות חייל. דבריו של יוני, דווקא כיוון שאינם מנוסחים כמניפסט אלא בלשון פשוטה, כמהלך של הבשלת הכרה והחלטה, הם אתגר חיוני לחברה, שהצבא נעשה לה טבע שני. כשקראתי אותם, חשבתי על הילד בשכונה – בן חמש, אולי שש – שהסביר לי פעם, מה יעשה כשיהיה גדול: “כשאגדל, אלך לבית-ספר. ואחר-כך לצבא, ואחר-כך אני ימות ואחר-כך אני יתחתן ויהיה לי גם אוטו”.

הקשיבו ליוני בן-ארצי מתאר את הרושם שהותיר בו שדה הקטל של ורדן, שם נהרגו מאות אלפים במלחמת העולם הראשונה: “אני יכול לשער שבשביל אנשים שהשתתפו שם בקרב, זו לחימה חשובה. אבל אם מסתכלים על זה מפרספקטיבה של זמן, רואים שזה היה קרב שבו לא זזו במשך שנה. הם ישבו בחפירות, אלה כאן ואלה שם וכתשו אחד את השני.” מה בין שדות הקטל של מלחמת העולם הראשונה לנופי המקום הזה ולמלחמותיו? מן הצד הישראלי, שום מלחמה בשורת המלחמות הארוכה, שאין לה סוף, עדיין לא נראתה כך (המוני קורבנות המלחמה הערבים נשכחו מן התודעה הציבורית בישראל – מי זוכר עוד למשל את ערי התעלה ההרוסות מ”מלחמת ההתשה”, את שיירות הפליטים ממבצע “ענבי זעם”?). ובכל זאת, המבט המרוחק של יוני, מבטו של מי שמגיע לאחר שנים רבות למקום הקטל ומנסה לשאול, על מה נהרגו והרגו אנשים זה את זה, לוכד משהו חשוב. במקום להיעצר במבצע החיסול הקודם או במכת המנע הבאה, הוא מתבונן במכלול כולו – במלחמה המתמשכת, שאין לה סוף, ומציב סימן שאלה לגביה. בארץ הזאת יושבים כבר שנים רבות “אלה כאן ואלה שם” וכותשים אחד את השני. משהו שראה יוני בוורדן אכן תופס לגבי המציאות שבה אנו חיים כאן. וכך אומר פרוטוקול המשפט:

כשבאים לשם רואים גם היום, שמונים שנה אחרי, גבעות מרוטשות שעליהן כבר גדלו צמחים, רואים עדות לפגזים שנפלו, רואים אזור שלם של קילומטרים רבועים רבים של אדמה הפוכה. כל האזור מלא בבתי קרבות מהתקופה ההיא. גם צרפתים וגם גרמנים, עם בית קרבות אחד מרכזי.

טעות ההקלדה תוקנה; ‘בתי הקרבות’ חזרו והפכו ל’בתי קברות’, כיאה וכיאות. אך במציאות, הם עדיין מתגלגלים אלה באלה – לא רק הקרבות ממשיכים למלא את הקברים, גם קברי המתים, במיוחד הקדושים שבהם, ממשיכים לתבוע קרבות וקורבנות חדשים.

מסורת הסירוב

ראשיתה של המסורת הפציפיסטית בתוככי החברה היהודית בארץ בתנועת “ברית שלום”, שנוסדה ב-1925. נתן חופשי, אחד מחבריה הוותיקים, הקים ב-1947 את אגודת סרבני המלחמה מטעמי מצפון בארץ-ישראל. מבין חבריה, מקרה הסירוב הראשון שזכה לתהודה ציבורית רבה היה זה של אמנון זכרוני, אשר סירב ב-1953. לאחר מאסרים חוזרים ונשנים, פתח זכרוני בסוף מאי 1954 בשביתת רעב; כשלושה שבועות לאחר מכן, בעקבות עצומות ומכתבים לשחרורו, קוצר עונשו. הוא שירת כמה חודשים בהג”א ללא מדים עד ששוחרר מן הצבא. סרבני גיוס דרוזים (כגון האני חסונה, ב-1956) וחרדים גילו, כי כאשר פנו לבתי-המשפט, אימצו אלה את הגירסה, לפיה אין זכות לסירוב מצפוני והדברים נתונים לשיקול דעתן של הרשויות. בשנות הששים נתנו פעילים כישעיהו תומא-שי”ק (כמזכיר הסניף הישראלי של התנועה הבינלאומית של סרבני מלחמה (War Resisters International) ועמוס גבירץ לתנועה הקטנה של סרבני המלחמה כיוון פוליטי רדיקלי יותר וקשרו אותה במאבק נגד הכיבוש.

דווקא המלחמות – שאמורות היו לשמש כדבק מלכד לחברה המגויסת – הביאו בעקבותיהן גם משברים פוליטיים, ערעורים על צדקת הדרך ומעשי סירוב. מקרי סירוב בודדים התרחשו במהלך המלחמות ממש. רק מעטים מהם תועדו ורבים מהם מצויים בתחום האפור – התחמקות ממילוי פקודות, ניסיון להשפיע על מהלכן, ויכוח פומבי על הצדקתן ולעתים – החלטת המפקדים המקומיים להרחיק את עושי הצרות מזירת הלחימה. ב”מלחמת סיני”, אותה יזמה ישראל יחד עם בריטניה וצרפת, שביקשו להחזיר לעצמן את השליטה בתעלת סואץ ולהפיל את משטרו של גמאל עבד אל-נאצר, נמצאו חיילים – כמה מהם קצינים – שסירבו להילחם, אך הדבר לא נודע בציבור.[27] ימיה של ‘מלכות ישראל השלישית’ עליה הכריז דוד בן-גוריון לאחר הניצחון, היו קצרים, וישראל נאלצה לסגת מסיני תחת הלחץ הבינלאומי.

המלחמה הביאה עמה גם את הטבח בכפר-קאסם (29 באוקטובר 1956), שבו נטבחו 49 פלסטינים – ילדים, נשים וגברים בלתי-חמושים – על-ידי חיילי משמר הגבול, שנשלחו לאכוף את העוצר שהוטל עם פרוץ המלחמה. [28]בפסק הדין המפורסם בעניין, בית-הדין הצבאי לא רק התיר אלא אף דרש מחיילים לסרב לפקודה בלתי-חוקית בעליל. הגדרת הפקודה הבלתי-חוקית בעליל ככזו שאי-חוקיותה אינה פורמלית בלבד, אלא כזו “הדוקרת את העין ומקוממת את הלב, כאשר העין אינה עיוורת והלב אינו אטום ומושחת”, נתפסה כהכשר להפעיל קריטריונים מוסריים לבחינת חוקיותן של פקודות ולסרב למלאן, כאשר “דגל שחור” מתנוסס עליהן. בית-הדין הצבאי לערעורים קבע, כי המבחן לפקודה בלתי-חוקית בעליל הוא “הרגשת החוקיות הצפונה במעמקי מצפונו של כל אדם באשר הוא אדם” ו”חובה על כל חייל לבחון לפי קול מצפונו את חוקיות הפקודות הניתנות לו”.[29] מצד אחר, הגדרה זו נתפסה בסופו של דבר כהגדרה מצמצמת, המתירה לחיילים לסרב אך ורק לאותן פקודות שאי-חוקיותן ברורה בעליל, בעודם חייבים לציית לפקודות בלתי חוקיות. הדגשת החובה יוצאת-הדופן לציית לפקודות בלתי-חוקיות והגדרתה של הפקודה הבלתי-חוקית בעליל כמעין מצב גבול קיצוני, שחיילים מתקשים להעלות על דעתם כיצד יתממש במציאות, הפכו בפועל את ההנחיה כולה לאות מתה כמעט, שמשמעותה הסמלית ניכרת הרבה יותר מזו המעשית. בצד הזעזוע שעורר המשפט, החנינות להן זכו הרוצחים וחמיקתו של הקצין הבכיר מעונש לא תרמו להתבססות הכרה ציבורית בזכות הסירוב. אותם מפקדים שנמנעו ממילוי הפקודה אשר הובילה לטבח לא סירבו לה במפורש אלא התעלמו ממנה או התחמקו מביצועה.

גם מעשי סירוב אינדיבידואליים ב-1967 התפרסמו רק שנים לאחר מכן. אחד המשמעותיים שבהם התרחש בשעת הנסיון לגרש את תושבי הערים הפלסטיניות קלקיליה וטול-כרם בשלהי המלחמה. הריסת העיר קלקיליה וגירוש תושביה נעצרו לאחר שכבר התחילו. לא היתה זו פקודת הגירוש היחידה. על סירובו לקחת חלק בנסיון לגרש את תושבי טול-כרם וענבתא סיפר רענן לוריא, מפקד פלוגה שמונה ב-7 ביוני 1967 למושל הצבאי של ענבתא, שלושים שנה לאחר מכן לעתונאי גדעון לוי:

“אחרי שנחתם כתב הכניעה [של ענבתא], מספר לוריא, יצא אל הרחוב. התמונה שראה הדהימה אותו: עשרות אוטובוסים של אגד ודן. ‘מוטקה טחן [סגן מפקד הגדוד] ושלמה גונן באו אלי. גונן היה בית”רי, בחור הגון וישר, והם אמרו: ‘אתה צריך להעמיס את כל התושבים על האוטובוסים. מעבירים אותם לצד השני של הירדן’. אני מסתכל מסביב ורואה משפחות שיוצאות עם מזרונים ועם ילדים קטנים, מחכות על המדרכות. אני אומר לטחן: ‘מוטקה, אני לא מסוגל לזה’. מוטקה אומר: ‘אתה צריך להעלות את כולם לאוטובוסים’. שוב חזרתי: ‘מוטקה, אתה לא מבין אותי. אני לא מסוגל לעשות את זה.’ היו לי אז שלושה ילדים קטנים בבית, בדיוק כמו הילדים שעל המדרכות.

מוטקה תופס אותי בכתף, מסיט אותי הצידה ולוחש: ‘רענן, מה שאתה עושה עכשיו זה סירוב פקודה בתנאי קרב.’ התרתחתי. אחרי מה שעברתי בבוקר, בדרך לצומת [ראמין, ליד טול-כרם], אני מקבל הרצאה על סירוב פקודה בתנאי קרב בגלל העמסת ילדים קטנים על אוטובוסים. אמרתי למוטקה: ‘אל תבלבל לי את המוח עם תנאי קרב. אני בהחלט מסרב למלא פקודה’.

כולנו היינו חברים בגדוד. שלמה גונן, שהרגיש שיש כאן דרמה, התקרב ואמר: ‘מה הבעיה, אני אטפל בזה. אני אעלה אותם על האוטובוסים. לרענן יש עיסוקים אחרים כמושל צבאי’.”

רענן לוריא לא נשפט על סירובו וקיבל למחרת צו שחרור. לוריא בירר, מה התרחש באיזור לאחר שעזב. “להערכתו, כ-7,000 מתושבי טול כרם וענבתא כבר הועלו על האוטובוסים. קצתם הורדו על הכביש הראשי, בואכה שכם, אחרים הובאו עד לנהר. ‘הכל היה תלוי במסירותם של נהגי האוטובוסים. אלה שמיהרו לחזור הביתה — הורידו את התושבים בדרך. אלה שלקחו את הג’וב ברצינות נסעו עד לירדן וגם דאגו שהנוסעים יחצו אותו’.”[30]

כאן, כבמקרי סירוב אחרים בשעת מלחמה, ברור כי יכולתם של קצינים לשנות את מהלך הדברים בשעת מעשה גדולה יותר מזו של חיילים פשוטים; הצבא נמנע מהעמדתם לדין ומעביר אותם מתפקידם. מכאן קל למתוח קו ישר אל התנגדותו של אל”מ אלי גבע (ובאופן אחר – של עמרם מצנע) במהלך פלישת ישראל ללבנון ב-1982 לתוכנית לפרוץ למערב ביירות. גבע לא סירב פקודה אלא ביקש לשחררו משירות כמפקד. הוא טען, כי הפריצה תביא לשפיכות דמים מיותרת של אזרחים לבנוניים וחיילים ישראליים, ונראה שהתנגדותו מילאה תפקיד חשוב במניעתה.[31] אלי גבע עצמו סולק מתפקידו ושירותו הצבאי נפסק. כאן, בניגוד למקרים הקודמים, התנגדותם של קצינים לביצוע פקודות נודעה ברבים ומילאה תפקיד מפתח בויכוח הציבורי על הלגיטימיות של הפלישה ללבנון, מלחמת יש ברירה.

בצד מקרי הסירוב הבודדים קיימים מקרים רבים של חיילים, שהיו עדים או השתתפו במעשים שלא ייעשו במהלך לחימה והעידו לאחר מכן על הדברים. ברור שמילוי פקודות המלווה בלבטים ובייסורים לאחר מעשה הפך פעמים רבות לטקס קבוע, להוכחה למצפוניותם של חיילים – המאפשרת להם להימנע מאחריות למעשיהם: יורים ובוכים, מיטהרים וחוזרים. [32] אך אין גם לזלזל בכנותם של חיילים, שמצאו עצמם לוקחים חלק בפשעי מלחמה, נשברו, בכו – ולעתים העידו. כך למשל קרה בשעת גירוש תושבי שלושת הכפרים יאלו, בית נובה ועמואס (ליד לטרון) והרס הכפרים לאחר כיבושם ביוני 1967, שאותו תיאר עמוס קינן:

“מפקד הפלוגה אמר שאת שלושת הכפרים בגיזרה הוחלט לפוצץ, וזאת מסיבות אסטרטגיות, טאקטיות, ביטחוניות. ראשית, ליישר את האצבע של לטרון, שנית להעניש את קיני המרצחים, שלישית, למנוע מהמסתננים בעתיד בסיס. […] נאמר לנו שתפקידנו לסרוק את בתי הכפר, שאם נמצא אנשים לא מזויינים יש לתת להם שהות לאריזת המטלטלים ואחר לומר להם ללכת לבית סורא, כפר לא רחוק. ועוד נאמר לנו, להתייצב במבואות הכפר ולמנוע כניסת תושבים החוזרים ממחבואיהם לאחר ששמעו את קריאתנו ברדיו אליהם, לחזור בשלום אל כפריהם. ההוראה היתה לירות מעל לראשיהם ולומר להם לא להיכנס לכפר. […]

במחי בולדוזר אחד נעקרו הברושים, הזיתים; תוך עשר דקות היה הבית לחורבה, על החפצים והרכוש המועט שבתוכו. לאחר שנהרסו שלושה בתים, הגיעה שיירת הפליטים הראשונה מכיוון רמאללה.

לא ירינו באוויר. נערכנו לחיפוי, ודוברי הערבית ניגשו אליהם למסור להם את ההוראות. היו שם זקנים שהלכו בקושי, זקנות ממלמלות, תינוקות בזרועות אמהותיהם, ילדים קטנים. הילדים בכו והתחננו למים. השיירה הניפה דגלים לבנים. אמרנו להם ללכת לבית סורא. הם אמרו לנו שמכל מקום מגרשים אותם ולאף מקום לא נותנים להם להיכנס, שכבר ארבעה ימים הם הולכים בדרכים בלי אוכל, בלי מים, שכמה מהם מתו. […] הילדים בכו וכמה חיילים שלנו פרצו בבכי.”[33]

בכיים של החיילים הוא גם ביטוי לתחושת חוסר-אונים. לעתים היתרגמה לעדות על המעשים – ולפעמים אלה שהתלבטו והתייסרו בשעת מעשה, הם שסירבו בפעם הבאה (כך למשל בולטת העבודה, שבקרב סרבני האינתיפאדה השנייה שהסבירו את החלטתם, לא מעטים נימקו זאת במה שעברו בעודם צעירים יותר במהלך האינתיפאדה הראשונה). אך מיגבלות האפשרות להשפיע על מהלך הדברים בשעת מעשה היו מניע חשוב בהחלטתם של רבים לפנות לדרך הסירוב הסלקטיבי – לנסיון לקבוע מראש, חרף כל הקשיים הכרוכים בכך – גבולות למעשים שאותם יהיו מוכנים לעשות במסגרת שירותם הצבאי.

ביטויים ראשונים לכך הופיעו בשנות השבעים הראשונות, ככל שהלך והתחוור, כי הכיבוש אינו עניין זמני, כי הוא כרוך בדיכוי מסיבי ומוביל למלחמות נוספות. סירובה העיקש של ממשלת ישראל לוותר על מה שכונה עדיין “השטחים המוחזקים” ולהיענות ליוזמות שלום שעלולות להוביל לנסיגה מהם, הולידו את מכתב השמיניסטים הראשון (28 אפריל 1970). לא בכדי, הפיסקה שעוררה שערוריה במכתבם של שמואל שם-טוב וחבריו היתה זו שבה רמזו לגיוסם הקרוב: “איננו יודעים אם נהיה מסוגלים לבצע את המוטל עלינו בצבא תחת הסיסמה ‘אין ברירה’.”

המכתב עצמו לא הוביל לסירוב, אך הדיון הציבורי בשאלה, האם יש ברירה, נפתח – במיוחד על רקע מעשי הדיכוי ברצועת עזה והנישול ההמוני של עשרות אלפים לצורך בניית ההתנחלויות בפיתחת רפיח. באוגוסט 1971 שלחו ארבעה צעירים מכתב לשר הביטחון שבו הודיעו, כי אינם מוכנים לשרת בצבא כובש. “כיבוש פירושו שלטון זר, שלטון זר פירושו תנועת התנגדות, תנועת התנגדות פירושה דיכוי, דיכוי פירושו טרור וטרור נגדי”, כתבו, כהד לדבריה החותכים של המודעה הידועה נגד הכיבוש, שהתפרסמה בספטמבר 1967, אותה יזמו כמה פעילי מצפן – הארגון הסוציאליסטי הישראלי.[34] גיורא נוימן עמד במריו וסירב להישבע שבועת אמונים לצבא. הוא נכלא למספר תקופות מאסר קצרות, לפני שהועמד למשפט ביוני 1972 ונדון לשמונה חודשי מאסר. לקראת תום השליש השני של מאסרו החלו מגעים להשגת פשרה עם רשויות הצבא. נוימן חתם על שבועת אמונים יוצאת-דופן, שלה נוסף על פי דרישתו הסייג המשמעותי: “לא אשתתף ולא אקח חלק בשום צורה במעשי הכיבוש ובפעולות המלחמה שאותם אני שולל בתוקף ונוגדים את מצפוני.” הוא שוחרר מן הכלא בנובמבר 1972 ושירת בצבא ללא נשק.

בצד הסירוב לשרת בצבא הכיבוש, החלו דיונים בקרב רבים ממתנגדי הכיבוש – במיוחד בקרב פעילי שי”ח (שמאל ישראלי חדש) – בדבר סירוב סלקטיבי: סירוב לשרת בשטחים הכבושים. אליהם הצטרפו פעילי שמאל, חלקם חברי המפלגה הקומוניסטית. כך נאסרו במהלך שנת 1973 לתקופות מאסר קצרות יצחק לאור, יוסי כותן, יוסי חן וגדי גדעון. יצחק לאור, שסירב בינואר 1973 לשרת בסיני, היה עד לנישול 16 משפחות ליד היאחזות נח”ל סיני, ליד אל-עריש. ברקע סירובו של יוסי חן באפריל 1973 עומדים מעשי הזוועה להם היה עד במהלך שירותו הצבאי ברצועת עזה, עליהם פיקד אלוף פיקוד דרום דאז, אריאל שרון.[35]

בתוך כך הלך הצבא וגיבש מעין נוהל משלו כדי להתמודד עם התופעה. במקום להכריז עליה מלחמת חורמה, ניסה להסדיר אותה – ולנטרל את המחאה שבבסיסה. זמן קצר לאחר כיבוש הגדה המערבית, רמת הגולן וסיני החלו חיילים לנסות להימנע משירות בשטחים הכבושים. במקרים לא מועטים הצליחו לעשות זאת בהסכמת דרגי הפיקוד הנמוכים. לעתים פנו לרשויות הצבא העליונות בבקשה לפטור אותם מכך מטעמי מצפון, ובמקרים בודדים נעתר הצבא לבקשתם (במקרהו של דורון וילנר – כבר במרס 1971). עתה, כנראה במענה לאתגר של סרבני הכיבוש, גובש נוהל חדש, שנודע אך למעטים. סרבני כיבוש פנו לרשויות הצבא או למשרד הביטחון בבקשה לפטור אותם משירות צבאי בשטחים הכבושים. לא תמיד נעתר הצבא מייד לבקשה, ולעתים הופעלו על המסרבים לחצים ואיומים. אך בסופו של דבר, נהגו רשויות הצבא להיעתר בדרך כלל לבקשה ופטרו בכתב את המבקשים משירות צבאי בשטחים הכבושים. היה זה נוהל רופף, שבקיומו לא הודה הצבא אלא כאשר נאלץ לעשות זאת (ולהכריז בה בעת על ביטולו) בנסיון להצדיק את פעולתו בפני בית-הדין הגבוה לצדק. הרשויות גילו בכך גמישות והתחשבות (אך לא הכירו בזכות לסרב), וחשוב עוד יותר – עיקרו מן הסירוב באופן אפקטיבי את האתגר הציבורי והפוליטי שהיה גלום בו. מבחינה אחרת, ההסדר הלא-מוכרז היה מביך את הצבא, לו נודע ברבים, שכן הראה בעליל, כי הכרה בסירוב סלקטיבי אכן אפשרית.

ביולי 1979 פנו 27 תיכוניסטיות ותיכוניסטים, ואני בתוכם, לשר הביטחון במכתב והודיעו, כי לא יתנו יד לכיבוש ההופך אותם למדכאים. הם הודיעו, כי החליטו לא לשרת בשטחים הכבושים. סירובם נבדל מקודמיו בכך שלמרות שכל אחד מהם עמד לסרב באופן אינדיבידואלי, התארגנו כקבוצה – ונתנו פומבי לסירובם. טענתם היתה, כי סירוב הנשמר בחדרי חדרים מאפשר לסרבן לרחוץ בניקיון כפיו – אך זאת בתנאי שלא יציב בפני אחרים את האתגר לסרב, לקבל החלטה מודעת ולשאת בתוצאותיה. בכך החל מחדש הוויכוח הציבורי בשאלת הסירוב לשרת בשטחים, שנקטע ב-1973. כמה מחברי הקבוצה – דני אמיר, אורון אדר וגיא פילבסקי – סירבו שוב ושוב לשרת בשטחים ונשפטו לתקופות מאסר קצרות חוזרות ונשנות. אחרים הגיעו לפשרות שונות. בדצמבר 1980, לאחר שבעה סירובי פקודה לשרת בשטחים הכבושים שבעטיים נשפטתי לארבעה חודשי מאסר בסך הכל, הוחלט להעמיד אותי לדין ונדונתי לשנת מאסר.[36] אך כבר במרץ 1981, לאחר מערכה ציבורית סוערת, נאלץ הרמטכ”ל, רפאל איתן, אשר לא הסתיר את החלטתו לשים קץ לתופעת הסירוב באמצעות ענישה מחמירה למען יראו וייראו, לקצר את תקופת מאסרי ולשחרר אותי מן הכלא הצבאי. לאחר השחרור, בדקו רשויות הצבא את האפשרות לחזור ולשלוח אותי לשרת בשטחים הכבושים, שכן עם קיצור תקופת המאסר הפכה יתרתו לשמונה חודשי מאסר על-תנאי. לאחר שסירבתי, הוחלט לפטור אותי מן השירות הסדיר בשל “אי התאמה” – ולהעביר אותי לחיל המילואים.

נדמה היה כי בכך מסתיימת מערכה בסיפור הסרבנות. אך כשלונו של הצבא לכפות את השירות בשטחים הכבושים במקרה זה רק חיזק אותה. וכך, קבוצת חיילי מילואים שהתארגנה כדי לסרב לשרת בשטחים הכבושים, מצאה את עצמה שנה לאחר מכן, עם פלישת ישראל ללבנון ביוני 1982, כגרעינה של תנועת הסרבנים החשובה ביותר – יש גבול. שבועות ספורים לאחר פתיחתה האופורית של מלחמת לבנון, לא ניתן היה עוד להסתיר מן האזרחים כי מדובר במלחמת ברירה – בפלישה שמטרותיה הפוליטיות היו הכנעת התנועה הלאומית הפלסטינית וכינון סדר חדש בלבנון. ערעור הלגיטימציה של המלחמה, הפגיעה הקשה באזרחים במהלכה והתחזקות ההתנגדות הצבאית לפולשים, הביאו מאות חיילים לסרב לשרת בלבנון. קשה מאוד לאמוד את מספרם של החיילים, רבים הרבה יותר, שנמנעו משירות בלבנון, התחמקו ממנו, או סירבו ולא נענשו. היתה זו הפעם הראשונה שהסירוב – שנשאר אומנם נחלתם של מעטים – הפך לאופציה בה התלבטו אלפים. כ-3,000 חיילי מילואים חתמו על עצומת יש גבול וכ-160 חיילים נשפטו על סירובם. רובם המכריע של הסרבנים נשפט לתקופות מאסר קצרות, אך עם התגברות זרם הסרבנים, ניסו רשויות הצבא באמצעות מאסר חוזר ונשנה להכריע כמה מהם (כגון יעקב שיין, אלי גוז’נסקי ואנטול יבלונקו – שנשפט בבית-דין צבאי לששה חודשים מאסר, מתוכם שלושה על תנאי). הסרבנים מילאו תפקיד מפתח בתנועה נגד המלחמה – ובהחלטת הממשלה לסגת מרוב שטח לבנון (ישראל נסוגה מן “הגדה הצפונית”, מ”רצועת הביטחון” שכבשה, רק בשנת 2000). אנשי תנועת יש גבול הדגישו מלכתחילה, כי הסירוב הוא מצפוני ופוליטי בעת ובעונה אחת. התנועה התמקדה לא רק בסירוב המצפוני של היחיד – אלא בנסיון לפתוח דיון ציבורי בדבר משמעותו בחברה דמוקרטית, בדבר גבולות הציות שחבים אזרחים לרשויות.[37] מעבר לכך, יש גבול הצליחה להפוך בית לסוגי הסירוב השונים, ובתוך יותר מעשרים שנות פעולה – לתפקד כמקום בו מצטבר ניסיון ודורות שונים של סרבנים יכולים להיפגש.[38] כך עברה יש גבול מתמיכה בסרבני המלחמה בלבנון – לתמיכה בסירוב הנרחב עוד יותר להשתתף בדיכוי האינתיפאדה הפלסטינית הראשונה שפרצה בסוף שנת 1987 וכיום – במאבקם של יוני בן-ארצי וחמשת סרבני הכיבוש. אלפים חתמו על עצומת הסירוב וכ-180 חיילים נשפטו על סירובם לקחת חלק בדיכוי המרד בשטחים הכבושים. עם פרוץ האינתיפאדה הפלסטינית השניה, באוקטובר 2000, נוסחה עצומה נוספת. יותר משבע מאות סירבו, וכמאתיים מן הסרבנים נשפטו עד עתה (ינואר 2004) לתקופות מאסר שונות.

בתוך קבוצות הסרבנים השונות נמשך הדיון הביקורתי בבעיות שמעורר הסירוב עצמו. הסירוב מערער אומנם על המשמעת העיוורת והאתוס המיליטריסטי, אך על נקלה הוא יכול לשעתק בעצמו דפוסים מיליטריסטיים – מעצם העובדה שהוא מתמקד בשירות הצבאי. הסירוב יכול להילכד אף הוא בשיח הבטחוני השליט, המקנה לאנשי הצבא – ולאותם אזרחים הלוקחים חלק בשירות הצבאי – מעמד מיוחד בדיון הפוליטי. הסרבנים יכולים לכן להתפתות בקלות לדרוש שיקשיבו להם בדיוק משום חלקם בשירות הצבאי שאותו הם מסרבים לבצע, כאילו קולם של חיילים חשוב מקולם של אזרחים, וקולם של קצינים – חשוב מזה של חיילים פשוטים. יותר מכך: לאזרחי ישראל אין כידוע משקל שווה בדיון הפוליטי; כמה מהם נחשבים ‘ישראליים’ יותר מן האחרים. ערבים הם פחות ‘ישראליים’ מיהודים, בחורי-ישיבה שאינם משרתים בצה”ל – מחילונים, ונשים – מגברים. להשתייכות המדורגת לישראליות תואמת הייררכיה של נושאי הוויכוח הציבורי: נושא נחשב פוליטי יותר – ו’גברי’ יותר – ככל שהוא יותר ‘ביטחוני’ ופחות ‘חברתי’. מכאן ההשתקה השיטתית של נשים בוויכוח, משעה שנושאו סוּוג כ’ביטחוני’, שהרי ידוע שגברים מבינים במלחמה ובהרג לסוגיו. התמקדות בלעדית של הסרבנים בשאלות שמעורר השירות הצבאי יכולה לכן להפוך אותו בקלות לנושא השמור לגברים.[39]

וכך, למרות שכל קבוצות הסרבנים מאז סוף שנות השבעים כללו הן נשים והן גברים, תרמה גם ההכרה החלקית בזכותן של נשים לסירוב מצפוני לטשטוש האתגר שמציב סירובן ולהמעטת חלקן בתנועת הסירוב. מבחינה זו יש חשיבות עצומה לפעולתה של פרופיל חדש – תנועה לאיזרוח החברה בישראל, שנוסדה ב-1998. פרופיל חדש חוללה תמורה בדיון הציבורי בסירוב, בכך שהציבה אותו בפרספקטיבה פמיניסטית. בצד תמיכה בסרבניות ובסרבנים לגווניהם השונים, העלו פעילות ופעילי פרופיל חדש שאלות עקרוניות בדבר נוכחות הצבא והלוחמה בחיים החברתיים בישראל והשלכותיהם בכל תחומי החיים. אם כיבוש וצבא, ציות ודמוקרטיה עמדו קודם לכן במרכז הדיון בסירוב, עתה נוספו כיווני פעולה חדשים, כגון החינוך האנטי-מיליטריסטי ופיתוח חלופות אזרחיות לשירות הצבאי לקראת איזרוחה של החברה הישראלית.[40]

כאשר פרצה האינתיפאדה השניה באוקטובר 2000, נמצאה בישראל תנועה מגוונת של סרבניות וסרבנים, של קבוצות ויחידים, ששיקפו רגישויות חברתיות ופוליטיות שונות. במהלך שנות התשעים הלך גם הסירוב הפציפיסטי והתרחב. בד בבד, נראה היה כי חלקם של הצעירים הישראלים המתגייסים לצבא ומסיימים בו את שרותם הולך ומתמעט (בסוף שנות 2003 דווח בעיתונות על פחות מ-80% מתגייסים מקרב הגברים וכ-63% מקרב הנשים, אך קשה לקבל נתונים בדוקים). יש לראות זאת בהקשר של חיזוק אופיו המקצועי של הצבא ואימוץ מדיניות גיוס סלקטיבית החל מתחילת שנות התשעים.

מכתב השמיניסטים של 2001, שששת הסרבנים שהועמדו לדין חתומים עליו, ממשיך מסורת של סירוב צעירות וצעירים העומדים בפני שירות סדיר. קבוצות כאלה הופיעו שוב ושוב מאז שנות השבעים. לאחר קבוצת ה-27, הופיעו בשנות השמונים מכתבי סירוב נוספים, כגון מכתב השמיניסטים של קיץ 1987, שכמה מן החתומים עליו (כגון עמית לוינהוף וצ’אד לנצ’נר) נאסרו בגין סירובם לשרת בשטחים הכבושים. לאלה שפקפקו בנחיצות סירובם, ענתה המציאות כמה חודשים לאחר מכן, עם פרוץ האינתיפאדה. אליהם ואל הארגונים הוותיקים – יש גבול ופרופיל חדש – הצטרפו בהדרגה קבוצות נוספות, מלב הממסד: בשנה השניה לאינתיפאדה, פורסם מכתב הלוחמים הקרביים והקצינים (ינואר 2002), ממנו צמחה תנועת “אומץ לסרב”. מאז ינואר 2002 חתמו על המכתב כ-600 אנשי מילואים.[41] בשנה השלישית לאינתיפאדה נוספו גם מכתבי סירוב של טייסים (ספטמבר 2003) ולוחמי מילואים השייכים ליחידות עילית (דצמבר 2003).[42] זמן רב שאלו רבים את עצמם, מתי יקומו טייסים ויסרבו לקחת חלק בביצוע פשעי מלחמה. הטייסים החתומים הכריזו במכתבם, כי הם “מסרבים לקחת חלק בתקיפות חיל האוויר במרכזי אוכלוסייה אזרחית ומסרבים להמשיך ולפגוע באזרחים חפים מפשע, משום ש”פעולות אלה הן בלתי חוקיות ובלתי מוסריות והינן תוצאה ישירה של כיבוש מתמשך המשחית את החברה הישראלית כולה.” בכך עבר הסירוב אל קבוצות הנטועות בזרם המרכזי של החברה הישראלית.

שאלת הסירוב עומדת כעת בפני רבים. עם זאת, הסירוב המפורש, המוצהר והקבוצתי נותר תופעה מוגבלת בהיקפה. מצד אחר חשוב לזכור, כי מאחורי הסרבנים המוכרים נמצאים רבים אחרים. עד לאחרונה קל היה להתעלם מסרבנותן של נשים, אך עם התרחבות הסרבנות המצפונית בקרב נשים – ובה בעת, עם התחזקות מאבקן של נשים נגד אפלייתן במסגרת השירות הצבאי – גבר גם הקושי עבור הצבא להצדיק את הפער בין הדרך שבה הוא נוהג בסרבנים גברים לדרך שבה הוא נוהג בסרבניות מצפון. בשעת כתיבת שורות אלה, מרצות ארבע סרבניות מצפון עונשי מאסר בכלא הצבאי, והעיתונים מבשרים על החמרה במדיניות הצבא כלפיהן.

להן יש להוסיף את סרבני המצפון הדרוזים, שהועמדו לעתים קרובות לדין צבאי ונשפטו לתקופות מאסר ממושכות הרבה יותר מסרבני מצפון יהודים. רבים מהם נתמכים, החל מ-1972, על ידי ועד היוזמה הדרוזי, אך ידועים סרבנים מקרבם החל משנות החמשים. [43]בשנות התשעים התרבה מספרם של סרבני מלחמה פציפיסטים מן הקבוצות הנוצריות השונות[44] ועוד רבים אחרים.

לסירוב המוכר יש להוסיף את הסירוב החברתי – את כל אלה שהצבא הישראלי ויתר עליהם והם ויתרו עליו.[45] בבתי הכלא פוגשים הסרבנים שוב ושוב באסירים צבאיים, שרבים מהם לא השתלבו במערכת הנורמטיבית הצבאית והאזרחית, בני שכונות ותושבי “ישראל השניה”, רבים מהם מזרחים ויוצאי אתיופיה, שהיו קורבנות לדורסנותה של המערכת החברתית, אלה שמדעת או שלא מדעת חרגו מגבולותיה. עבור רבים מהם, מקומם החברתי ומסלול חייהם לא איפשרו להם את אופציית הסירוב המודע והמנומק – אך מצד אחר, מחויבותם למערכת החברתית המדירה אותם אינה מובנת מאליה. הדיאלוג שנפתח ביניהם לבין סרבני כיבוש ליווה את חוויית הכלא של סרבנים רבים,[46] ואולי יפתח בעתיד גם פתח להצבת אתגרים אחרים למערכת החברתית – לא רק התנגדות לפקודה הישירה לקחת חלק בשעבודו של עם אחר, אלא גם לאפליה השיטתית ולדפוסי האי-שוויון המובנים בחברה הישראלית. הסרבנים מודעים היטב לכך, שגם בשעה שהם מסרבים לשתף פעולה עם מנגנון הכיבוש, הם עדיין נהנים מן הפריבילגיות ששיוכם האתני ומעמדם החברתי מאפשר להם. כמה מהן הם מסכנים בתהליך הסירוב, אך הסירוב הגדול, הדרמטי אינו סוף פסוק. הוא אתגר לא רק למערכת הפוליטית, אלא מציב בפני כל אחד מאיתנו שאלות קשות בדבר גבולות האחריות החברתית. יש הרבה דרכים לשתף פעולה עם עוול מאורגן, ושווה לחשוב על דרכים נוספות לסרב.

משמעויותיו החברתיות של הסירוב

הסרבנות היא חלק מתהליך ארוך-טווח של שינוי במעמדו של הצבא בחברה הישראלית ואיזרוחה החלקי. בתהליך זה הפכה – באופן חלקי מאוד – מחברה במדים לחברה פלורליסטית יותר, שבה נמצאו ליחידים ולקבוצות דרכי פעולה וביטוי שאינם מוכוונים באופן שיטתי על-ידי המדינה ומוסדותיה. פירוקה של חברה מגויסת יכול להתפתח בכיוונים שונים.

תהליכי איזרוח החברה הישראלית לא היו חד-משמעיים ופירותיהם לא התחלקו בין חבריה באופן שווה. ירידת כוחה של המדינה לכוון את גורלם של אזרחיה, להטמיע בהם נכונות להקריב את עצמם למען הגשמת מטרותיה מצאה בשנות השמונים והתשעים ביטויים שונים ומנוגדים. תהליכי איזרוח פתחו פתח לביטוי אישי, לערעור על מוסכמות ולהצבת חלופות פוליטיות ל”אין ברירה” הרשמי. ביטוי מובהק לכך הוא התפקיד המכריע שמילאו קבוצות הורים במאבק נגד המשך הנוכחות הצבאית הישראלית ב”גדה הצפונית”, בדרום לבנון, שהשתלב בתהליך עמוק יותר של הגבלת כוחו של הצבא על מגויסיו – להשליט עליהם משמעת, לנתק אותם מזהותם האזרחית, לשלוח אותם למשימות ולקבוע רשמית את משמעות המוות עבור אלה המתים וקרוביהם. כנגד הלאמת גופם של המגויסים – בתהליך הכשרתם הצבאי, בשירותם ובמותם – הוצבו במאבק זה חלופות אזרחיות, כגון זכותם של האזרחים לדעת מה נעשה בשמם ולשים גבול לצווי השלטון. אך במאבק זה מצאה המדינה עצמה מתמודדת גם עם מיתוסים ומוסדות, שהמדינה עצמה טיפחה ולהם התקשתה להתכחש – המשפחה, ההורות והאמהות. במאבק זה משורטטים מחדש הגבולות בין המדינה לבין המסגרות החברתיות – בראש ובראשונה המשפחה – אשר ממלאות תפקיד מפתח בהכנת צעירים לשירות צבאי ונושאות בנטל העצום, במחיר החברתי ובסבל האנושי של “שירות הביטחון”. חלק ממאבקים אלה הסתיימו בפשרות בין הצבא למשפחות המגויסים; אך הם חשפו בה בעת את השותפים הסמויים לתחזוקתה של חברה מגויסת והעלו שאלות נוקבות לגבי אחריות חברתית שאינה מתמצה בשירות צבאי ובתשלום מסים.

תהליך האיזרוח החלקי השתלב בחלקו גם במגמות ההפרטה בחברה הישראלית. בשנות התשעים התברר, עד כמה חלשה ההתנגדות החברתית בישראל לתהליכי הפרטה מהירים. המדינה – ומאחוריה, מרכיבים מרכזיים באליטה – התנערה בהצלחה מאחריותה החברתית, העבירה את עיקר נטל התשלום עבור שירותי בריאות אל הנזקקים להם ואיפשרה בידול פנימי מרחיק לכת במערכות החינוך. מבחינה זו, שינוי היחס לשירות הצבאי לא התבטא רק בדרישה לפיקוח אזרחי עליו אלא במגמה, ההפוכה לכאורה, של הפרטת מסלולי החיים, היבדלות ממסגרות חברתיות משותפות והתנערות ממעורבות חברתית. הפרטה ואינדיבידואליזציה פגעו בשירות הצבאי, אך לא ערערו בהכרח על ערכי היסוד שלו. אם בעבר מילא השירות הצבאי וטקסי החניכות שלו תפקיד מפתח בהנפקת אישורי גבריות מטעם המדינה,[47] הרי עתה ניתן היה בצידו להשיג אישורים פרטיים. בצד “מסע האלונקות” ו”מסע הכומתה” צמח היצע של סכנות, מסעות והרפתקאות פרטיים. בישראל הישנה הגדיר השירות הצבאי מהי אזרחות מלאה ומיגדֵר אותה, ומול האזרחות השווה, המופשטת של כלל האזרחים בדמוקרטיה, הנציח אזרחות מדורגת לפי מידת השותפות בשירות הביטחון. אך דווקא תהליכי ההפרטה ופירוק מדינת הרווחה פגעו ביכולתן של נשים לממש בפועל את אזרחותן, והדירו את חברי הקבוצות המוחלשות והמופלות עוד יותר מהאפשרות לעשות שימוש בזכויותיהן שעל הנייר.

שתי בעיות עולות מכך – ושתיהן חוזרות ועולות בטיעוני הסרבנים ובוויכוח הציבורי. האחת עניינה במשמעויותיו החברתיות של הסירוב. האם הוא בגדר התנערות מאחריות חברתית – כפי שטוענים לא רק אלה הרואים בסרבנים מי שמשאירים את העבודה המלוכלכת לאחרים, אלא גם אלה הרואים בסירוב המשך ישיר לתהליכי ההפרטה של החברה הישראלית? לכך עונים הסרבנים, כל אחת ואחד בדרכו, תשובות שונות. חגי, מתן, אדם, נועם, שימרי ויוני מציגים את הסירוב כאתגר הנובע ממחויבות חברתית עמוקה. כל אחד מהם מבטא בדרכו מודעות חברתית חריפה לצורות השונות של אי-שוויון בחברה הישראלית – ולא להשלכות הכיבוש בלבד. הסירוב אין פירושו לרחוץ בניקיון כפיים. ההחלטה היכן עובר הקו האדום היא תוצר של מתח מובנה בין השאיפה להימנע מלקחת חלק בעוול מאורגן, המובילה את המסרבים החוצה – לבין השאיפה לשנות את פני החברה, להישאר בתוכה – ולשלם את המחיר. הסירוב אינו ביטוי למימוש עקרונות מוחלטים; הוא פשרה קשה. נועם בהט מתאר בלשון חיה את תחושתו נוכח הסתירה הבולטת בין הערכים בהם האמין ולמענם פעל – שוויון, חירות, דמוקרטיה, סוציאליזם – ובין המציאות בישראל שלאחר אוקטובר 2000: “רציתי לעזוב, לטוס לחו”ל, רציתי גם להשפיע ולשנות.” ברור גם, כי החמשה הועמדו בפני בית-דין צבאי ונענשו בחומרה לא רק משום שסרבנות מצפון אינה מעוגנת היטב במשפט הישראלי וההכרעה בגורלם של סרבניות וסרבני מצפון נתונה לשרירות לבם של שלטונות הצבא. ענישתם המחמירה נבעה בכך שהבליטו את המרכיב החברתי והפוליטי של החלטתם האישית, קראו לאחרים להצטרף אליהם – ומספרם של החותמים על עצומתם גדל פי ארבעה מאז נשלחה. מבחינה זו ברור, כי סירובם של החמישה הוא ביטוי מובהק למחויבות חברתית עמוקה.

אך שאלת המשמעויות החברתיות של הסירוב אינה מתמצה בסרבנים עצמם – בנכונותם האישית לסרב בגלוי ובמפגיע למען שינוי החברה הישראלית. היא כרוכה גם בבניית חלופות לשירות הצבאי, בביסוס דגמים שונים של שירות חברתי. הסירוב מעלה לא רק את השאלה בדבר גבולות תהליך איזרוחה של החברה הישראלית כיום – אלא גם שאלות בדבר עתידה: האם נוכח פירוקה החלקי של החברה המגויסת יקומו בה גם חלופות חברתיות סולידריות? הוא מציב שאלות קשות ביחס לדמותו העתידית של הצבא הישראלי, שעשרות שנים של שליטה קולוניאלית הולכות ומעצבות אותו – משנות את הרכבו, מטשטשות את הגבולות בינו לבין המתנחלים והיחידות הצבאיות-למחצה שלהם ומחריפות את הברוטליזציה שלו. לא הסרבנים אלא הכיבוש עצמו משנה יותר מכל את אופיו של הצבא. הסירוב, מעצם טבעו, הוא תגובה אחת וחלקית לתהליך העמוק הזה. הוא לא פתרון פלא.

הבעיה השנייה עיקרה ביחס בין הסירוב כמאבק המתנהל בתוככי החברה הישראלית, ומערב בראש ובראשונה את הקבוצות הדומיננטיות בתוכה – לבין המשך העימות הקולוניאלי העקוב מדם בין ישראלים ופלסטינים. תהליכי ההפרטה והאיזרוח של החברה הישראלית נשארו מוגבלים וחלקיים. לאחר פרוץ האינתיפאדה השנייה, ברור לכל, כי הכיבוש לא נפסק והשאלה הקולוניאלית לא נפתרה. שנות התשעים נראות בדיעבד כשנים האבודות, שנות פריחת האשליה. בעיצומם של תהליכי המודרניזציה של הכיבוש ושל הכלכלה הישראלית בשנות התשעים נדמה היה לרבים, ש”תהליך שלום” אינסופי יוכל לפטור את אזרחי ישראל מהתמודדות עם השאלה הקולוניאלית, עם מכאובי תהליך הדקולוניזציה. ניתן היה לדמות מצב, שבו ישראל מתנערת מן השליטה הישירה בשטחים הכבושים ומקצה לתנועה הלאומית הפלסטינית את משימת השלטת הסדר וניהול הסבל; וכך נראה היה גם, שישראל עצמה מתפתחת מחברה מגויסת לחברה שבה צבא מקצועי מחליף את צבא האזרחים ועושה במקומו ביעילות את העבודה השחורה. אלה האשליות שמהן התעוררה החברה הישראלית באחת באוקטובר 2000. שפיכות הדמים שמאז, גלי הנוסטלגיה המאורגנת, הכמיהה להסתופף מחדש בחיקה של המדינה וללחום את מלחמת בני התרבות בברברים – פלסטינים, ערבים, מוסלמים – מעידה, עד כמה רעועים ושבירים היו תהליכי האיזרוח של החברה הישראלית, עד כמה תלויה הדמוקרטיזציה שלה בפתרון השאלה הקולוניאלית. ב”מבצר הפתוח” – כפי שכינה שמואל אייזנשטט את ישראל – אין מקום אלא לדמוקרטיה על תנאי.

מכך עולה, שהמאבק על אופי החברה הישראלית, שהסירוב הוא חלק ממנו – אינו פנימי בלבד, אלא קשור במישרין ביחסיה עם העם הפלסטיני ובמקומה של ישראל במזרח התיכון. בקלות רבה יכול הסירוב להתפרש כאקט שבו ניצבים יחידים מול המראה, בוחנים את דמותם בלבד מול האני המדומה. “יורים ובוכים” מלווים כצל את תהליך הכיבוש וההתנחלות; הוא רצוף מונולוגים של גז מדמיע[48] וקינות על הסכנה שבכיבוש לדמותנו ולטוהר דרכנו. אך הסרבנים מבטאים בבהירות רבה, איש איש בדרכו, מודעות חריפה לכך שהסירוב, עבורם, אינו שאלה פנימית בלבד – שאלת טוהר הנשק של יפי הבלורית התואר – אלא מהלך מכריע כדי לפרוץ את גבולות החומות המפרידות בין יהודים לערבים. אין ביטוי בולט יותר לכך מאשר בדבריו של חגי מטר, המתאר כיצד הגיע ללשכת הגיוס כדי להיאסר לאחר לילה שבילה במשמרות המתנדבים של תנועת תעאיוש – שותפות ערבית-יהודית בח’רבת יאנון, הכפר הזעיר שניטש זמנית באוקטובר 2002 על-ידי תושביו הפלסטינים לאחר מסע הפחדות והצקה של מתנחלי האזור. הסירוב הוא צעד ראשון ומהוסס ליציאה ממערכת גדרות התיל שבהן מקיף שרון את העם הפלסטיני, ממלכודת המוות שהוא בונה לתושבי ישראל, לשני העמים. ההכרה הפלסטינית הרחבה במאבקם של סרבני הכיבוש וביטויי הסולידריות כלפיהם מעידים, כי סירובם נופל על אוזן קשובה. היד הפלסטינית המושטת – לא לחיילי הכיבוש אלא לפעילי השלום, הנאבקים בתוך ישראל נגד המלחמה הקולוניאלית – יש לה חשיבות עצומה. היא אומרת, שיש חיים מחוץ לגטו החמוש של שרון. יש עתיד בסירוב לבנות חומות וגדרות, מכלאות וגטאות לפלסטינים. אך הבעיה בעינה עומדת – והיא אינה בעייתם של הסרבנים בלבד: אם הסירוב הוא מרכיב חיוני במאבק לשינוי פני החברה הישראלית, אך אינו מתכון פלא לכל חולייה – כיצד משתלב הסירוב במאבק הכולל? כיצד נקשרים המאבקים החברתיים והאזרחיים בתחומי ה”מבצר הפתוח” – עם הנסיון להפיל את החומות המקיפות אותו ואת גדרות התיל שבהן היא כולאת את הפלסטינים?

דלתיים פתוחות

גזר הדין ניתן. בית-הדין הצבאי ב”בית הירוק” ייפטר מעונשם של העשרות שצבאו על פתחיו ויוכל לנשום סוף-סוף לרווחה – לא עוד צחוק כבוש למשמע דברי התובע הצבאי, לא עוד חיבוקים לעבריינים הנכנסים – ולחזור לעבודתו הרגילה. ובעיקר: השקט המקווה ישתרר, דברי הבלע של הסרבנים לא יישמעו עוד: הסרבנים בבית-הסוהר, והסדר הושב על כנו.

כששערי הכלא ייסגרו עליהם, תתחיל שיגרת הכלא. יומו של סרבן המצפון כיומם של שאר האסירים: קימה, מסדר, אוכל, מסדר, עבודה, אוכל, מסדר, מכתבים. אך בניגוד לאסירים האחרים, עבור הסרבנים הכלואים, השעון עומד – ושערי הכלא פתוחים. כיוון שמבחינת רשויות הצבא וממשלת הכיבוש הסרבנים יושבים בכלא למען יראו וייראו, משום שהעזו להציב אתגר בפני אחרים – המשימה העיקרית היא לשבור את רוחם. “אם לא ישרתו מאהבה,” אמר התובע הצבאי, “ישרתו מיראה.” לכן אפשר להניח, על סמך נסיון העבר, שאם רק יגיד הסרבן “רוצה אני”, אם רק יסכים לשתף פעולה, לתת יד לכיבוש – ימצא את עצמו תוך זמן קצר מחוץ לסורגים. הדלת, אם כן, נשארת פתוחה. והשעון עומד: הזמן עובר לאט בכלא. עקרונית, אין לסירוב המצפוני סוף. היום שעובר אינו נחשב חלק מתקופת השירות. חשוב מכך: רשויות הצבא הקפידו להצהיר, כי בתום תקופת המעצר, יידרשו הסרבנים לעשות שוב את מה שסירבו לעשות בתחילה. יסרבו – וייענשו, יסרבו וייענשו, והזמן עומד לכאורה. זהו הצירוף הקשה: הזמן עומד – והדלת פתוחה. החופש נמצא לכאורה בהישג יד.

זה לא כל הסיפור. החופש הנמצא בהישג יד, השחרור מהכלא, כאשר הוא כרוך במתן יד לשעבוד, אינו חופש. הסרבנים בכלאם חופשיים יותר מאלה שהשתעבדו למנגנון הכיבוש. השוטר המתנצל כשהוא שם את האזיקים על ידי המפגינים, החייל המחלק שוקולד לילדים המפוחדים שלבתיהם פרץ, הפקידה שממלאת בשתיקה את טפסי הבקשה לחצות את המחסום, לעבור את הגדר, לבקר את הקרובים, אלה שמסביבנו, שבינינו, השותקים, שאינם אומרים דבר על מה שראו, שידעו, על מה שחוזר ומטריד אותם בחלומותיהם – ואיני מזלזל בייסורי המצפון שלהם: הסרבנים בכלאם חופשיים יותר.

וגם השעון עומד רק לכאורה: הסירוב המצפוני, כמעשה של התנגדות בלתי-אלימה, מציב את נכונותם של הסרבנים לסבול – מול נכונותם של בעלי השררה לעמוד מול המחאה. לכאורה יכולים הסרבנים לשבת בכלא לנצח. בפועל, נחישותם לשבת בכלא ולסרב עומדת מול המחיר הפוליטי שישלמו אלה, שפקדו לאסור אותם. זהו המתח הבסיסי הטבוע בדרך ההתנגדות הבלתי-אלימה, שאינה סתם הימנעות מאלימות, אלא התנגדות פעילה, מאמץ לעשות שימוש במעט שיש לנו, בעצמנו, כדי לעורר את מצפונם של אחרים. האתגר שמעמידים הסרבנים לזולתם אינו מתמצה בשורות במכתביהם, שעוררו את זעמו של בית-הדין, שבהן הם קוראים לאחרים לחשוב, לבחור, לסרב בדרכם. האתגר העיקרי הוא אילם: הוא מתחיל בנכונות השקטה לשלם את המחיר באובדן החירות האישית.

וכך, הגיע הזמן שגם כאן, במקום שמייצר בלי הרף חדשות אך דבר אינו קורה בו, במקום שבו אנו אסירי ההיסטוריה שעמדה מלכת, שקועים עד צוואר בביצה הקולוניאלית – יתחיל השעון לפעול, ויידעו השליטים – אדוני הבולדוזר והמפציץ, אבירי החיסול הממוקד ואלוהי החומות והגדרות והמובלעות והמכלאות – כי יש מחיר לפועלם. המאבק הציבורי בארץ ובעולם, היד המושטת, יכול לשחרר את הסרבנים מכלאם. אני עצמי חייב את שחרורי מהכלא הצבאי לאלפי אנשים, שמעולם לא הספקתי להודות להם. אנחנו, שיש לנו מידה של חירות, יכולים להרים קול למען שחרורם, למען שחרור כולנו מעול הכיבוש, למען חירותם של שני העמים יושבי הארץ הזאת.

* אני מבקש להקדיש את הטקסט לזכרו של לאון שלף.

הערות

[1] אורי מילשטיין, “מעתה אמור חילופי אוכלוסין”, העיר, 1.7.1988.

[2] מדינת ישראל, עתון רשמי, מס’ 20 (8.9.1948), תוספת ב, עמ’ 117: “א. בהתאם לכלל שנקבע בפרק הזה בתקנה 61 [כי הגורם למעשה או מחדל אינו צידוק לאחריות] – טענת הנאשם כי נאלץ לעבור עבירה בגלל טעמי מצפון, לא תוכל לשחררו מהאחריות לעבירה; לכל היותר יכולה טענה כזו לשמש כמסבה המקילה על העונש. ב. טעמי מצפון אינם שאלת חוק אלא עובדה, ועל הנאשם לשכנע את בית-הדין שאמנם היו לו טעמי מצפון ושגרמו לעבירתו. ג. טעמי מצפון – פירושם טעמים אשר מקורם ברגשותיו הדתיים או המוסריים של הנאשם או בעיקרי השקפת העולם שלו, אבל אינם כוללים טעמים אשר מקורם בדעותיו הפוליטיות גרידא.” לשון הסעיף מזכירה קטע מויכוח, ששאר מרכיביו חסרים: הסעיף מטעים, כי אי-אפשר לפטור מאחריות מטעמי מצפון – ובכך רומז לקיומה של חזקה הפוכה, לפיה ניתן היה לעשות זאת; הוא מאפשר לבתי-הדין הצבאיים להפחית מן העונש בגין עבירה שנעברה מטעמי מצפון – אך רק בעקיפין, תוך שימוש בלשון שלילה המגבילה את סמכותם (“לכל היותר”). עם זאת, חברי-הכנסת התעלמו מכך ותיארו אותו כסעיף המתיר להפחית בעונש בגין עבירה שנעברה מטעמי מצפון.

[3] הדברים התבררו בכנסת ביוני 1954, במהלך הדיונים בחוק השיפוט הצבאי החדש (ועל כך בהמשך). בדיון השתתפו עורך חוקת השיפוט, ח”כ עו”ד נחום חת, וכן כהנא וריפתין עצמם. דברי הכנסת, כרך טז, עמ’ 1992 (21.6.1954), 2019 (22.6.1954).

[4] ח”כ זרח ורהפטיג, דברי הכנסת, כרך ב, עמ’ 1314 (10.8.1949); ראו גם עמ’ 1312, 1319 ועוד.

[5] ניצה ברקוביץ, ” ‘אשת חיל מי ימצא?’ נשים ואזרחות בישראל”, סוציולוגיה ישראלית ב (1999), עמ’ 277–317.

[6] מ’ אונא, דברי הכנסת, כרך ב’, עמ’ 1522. היה ניסיון מאוחר יותר להוציא מן החוק את הפטור מטעמי מצפון, אך ההצעה לא התקבלה (דברי הכנסת, כרך יא, עמ’ 1559, 1569).

[7] שם, עמ’ 1519; עמ’ 1522 (1.9.1949).

[8] ח”כ יעקב ריפתין, שם, עמ’ 1489 (29.8.1949); ח”כ משה אונא, עמ’ 1523 (1.9.1949); ח”כ חיים בר-אשר, עמ’ 1443 (29.8.1949). סירני, מהפעילים הציונים החשובים באיטליה שעבר לארץ ב-1927, השתתף בארגון יחידות הצנחנים שאמורות היו להקים קשר עם יחידות פרטיזנים מאחורי קוי ההגנה של מעצמות הציר. הוא עצמו צנח בצפון איטליה במאי 1944, נתפס מייד ונאסר. הוא הוצא להורג במחנה הריכוז דאכאו בנובמבר 1944.

[9] ראו דברי דוד בן-גוריון, שם, עמ’ 1626 (8.9.1949).

[10] ח”כ יזהר הררי, שם, עמ’ 1448 (30.8.1949); עמ’ 1625 (8.9.1949); ח”כ אליעזר פראי, עמ’ 1650.

[11] ח”כ זלמן אהרנוביץ, שם, עמ’ 1626 (8.9.1949).

[12] ח”כ חיים בן-אשר (מפא”י), שם, עמ’ 1312 (10.8.1949).

[13] יוסף-מיכאל לם (מפא”י), שם, עמ’ 1321 (10.8.1949).

[14] שם, עמ’ 1314 (10.8.1949).

[15] שם, עמ’ 1347 (15.8.1949).

[16] דברי הכנסת, כרך ג’, עמ’ 179 (28.11.1949).

[17] שם, עמ’ 180 (28.11.1949).

[18] בוויכוח הפנימי במפ”ם בשאלת גירוש התושבים הפלסטינים במאי 1948 התייצב יצחק בן-אהרון, איש אחדות העבודה, נגד אלה שדרשו להטיל על מפקדי הצבא החברים במפ”ם אחריות למעשי עקירה וגירוש: מעשי שוד ביזה פסולים, אך הגירוש נחוץ מבחינה בטחונית. מאוחר יותר הציע מאיר יערי, מראשי הקיבוץ הארצי, כי קצינים חברי מפ”ם יבצעו את הפקודות “ויודיעו לרשות הגבוהה כי [הם] מוציאים את זה לפועל בניגוד למצפונם”. נוכח הנחייה זו – אולי הביטוי הראשון ל’יורים ובוכים’ המפורסם – האם יש להתפלא על הדרך שבה התגלגלו הדברים בהמשך? באוגוסט 1948, בנאום בפני כנס מורים מן הקיבוץ הארצי, הגיב מאיר יערי לפשעי המלחמה שעליהם נודע: “רציתי שיימצאו אנשים שימרדו ויסרבו להרוג ויעמדו למשפט צבאי – ולא זכיתי שיימצא איש אחד. […] שוד לא וגירוש כן. כל מי שאומר כך עושה שקר בנפשו.” בני מוריס, לידתה של בעיית הפליטים הפלסטינים, 1947–1949 (תל-אביב: עם עובד, 1991), עמ’ 440, 447, 451–452. מוריס מזכיר כמה מעשי סירוב של חיילים לבצע הרג (עמ’ 545, הערה 39).

[19] דברי הכנסת, כרך ג, עמ’ 2530–2531 (9.8.1950). לו התקבל התיקון, היה דומה מאוד בתוצאתו להצעתו של לאון שלף לאפשר לבתי-משפט להכיר בעבירה על החוק מטעמי מצפון: לאון שלף, “אי ציות לחוק מטעמי מצפון”, זכויות אזרח בישראל: קובץ מאמרים לכבודו של חיים ה’ כהן, עורכת: רות גביזון (ירושלים: האגודה לזכויות האזרח, 1982), עמ’ 116–151.

[20] דברי הכנסת, כרך טז, עמ’ 1995 (21.6.1954).

[21] שם, עמ’ 1999 (22.6.1954). ח”כ יוחנן בדר (חרות) לא רק התנגד להכרה בטעמי מצפון, אלא ביקש להבטיח שחיילים ייהנו מהגנה מלאה, אם ביצעו פקודות בלתי-חוקיות (עמ’ 2002–2003).

[22] שם, עמ’ 2019 (22.6.1954); עמ’ 2020 (23.6.1954). “אינני יודע מדוע צריכים היו להתעלם מנימוקי המצפון, שהיו גורם חשוב בתקופת המחתרת. אין לזלזל בגורם זה גם במדינת ישראל”, אמר ריפתין. דבריו של ריפתין בדיון בולטים נוכח התעלמותו משאלת הסירוב מטעמי מצפון בדיון הקודם במליאת הכנסת ב-1949.

[23] שם, כרך טז, עמ’ 2061 (21.6.1955). ח”כ יעקב שפירא, איש מפא”י, שעמד בראש הוועדה שניסחה את חוק השיפוט הצבאי, תבע לדחות את הצעות התיקון והמליץ לסרבנים לשבת בבית-הסוהר: “אם מצפונו של אדם מכריחו לעבור עבירה על החוק, הרי בוודאי ובוודאי שהוא מוכן להביא את הקרבן הזה לשאת בעונש, ללכת לבית-הסוהר. בוועדה עשינו לעתים קרובות סטטיסטיקה, שרוב חברי הוועדה ישבו בבתי-סוהר שונים בארצות שונות מטעמים שבמצפון, וזהו דבר נאה מאוד. לכן אני חושב שיש לדחות את ההסתייגות הזאת.”

[24] נאום דוד בן-גוריון בכנסת, 15.8.1949, בו הציג את חוק שירות הביטחון, תש”ט–1949, דברי הכנסת, כרך ב’ עמ’ 1338–1339; הנאום נדפס מחדש בקובץ מאמריו, יחוד ויעוד: דברים על בטחון ישראל (תל-אביב: משרד הבטחון, 1971), עמ’ 64-72.

[25] ראו:

Klaus Theweleit, Male Fantasies (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1987), וכן את הקובץ: Gendering War Talk, Miriam Cooke & Angela Wollacott, eds. (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1993).

[26] Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985).

[27] דליה קרפל, “זאת לא המלחמה שלי”, מוסף הארץ, 10.1.1997.

[28] ראו: רוביק רוזנטל (עורך), כפר קאסם – אירועים ומיתוס (תל-אביב: הקיבוץ המאוחד, 2000).

[29] ביד”צ מר /3/57 תובע צבאי נ’ רס”ן מלינקי, פ”מ יז עמ’ 213; ע/ 58 / 279-283 עופר נגד תצ”ר, פ”ע מ”ד, עמ’ 410.

[30] גדעון לוי, “שחם פקד לגרש. סירבתי פקודה”, מוסף הארץ, 5.6.1998.

[31] “שיחה פרטית עם אלי גבע”, מגוון (יולי-אוגוסט 1987), מס’ 81–82.

[32] ב-1976 פירסם קובי ניב במדורו בהעולם הזה את הרשימה “יורים ובוכים” (העולם הזה, 2050, 5.12.1976). הטקסט נדפס מחדש בקובץ בעצם, עד העצם: ארבעים שנות סאטירה, עורך: אמנון בירמן (ירושלים: כתר, 1988), עמ’ 133–135.

[33] עמוס קינן, ידיעות אחרונות, 20.6.1967.

[34] המודעה הודפסה מחדש כנספח 12 בספרם של עקיבא אור ומשה מחובר (שחתמו בשם העט א’ ישראלי), שלום שלום ואין שלום: ישראל–ערב 1948–1956 (1961, מהדורה שנייה, ירושלים, 1999), עמ’ 516.

[35] הקצין הבכיר אליו נשלח יצחק לאור כדי שיחמיר בעונשו, דן אותו למינימום האפשרי – 14 יום – משום שחשב שהתרשם ממניעיו המצפוניים וסבר שמקומו אינו בכלא. יוסי חן שלח את עדותו על עזה לשבועון רק”ח, זו הדרך; הצנזורה הצבאית מחקה את כולה (זו הדרך, 19.1.1972).

[36] לניתוח משפטי של הפרשה כולה, ראו: Yoram Shachar, “The Elgazy Trials: Selective Conscientious Objection in Israel”, Israel Yearbook of Human Rights 12 (1981), pp. 214-259; לאון שלף, קול הכבוד: סרבנות מצפונית מתוך נאמנות אזרחית (תל-אביב: רמות, 1989), עמ’ 95–129.

[37] ראו: גבול הציות, בעריכת דינה וישי מנוחין, תנועת יש גבול (תל-אביב: סימן קריאה, 1985); על דמוקרטיה וציות, עורך: ישי מנוחין (ירושלים: יש גבול, 1990)

[38] אתר יש גבול: www.yesh-gvul.org.

[39] גם ההתמקדות בסרבן הבודד הניצב מול המערכת עלולה להשכיח את העובדה, שהסירוב הוא אקט חברתי מובהק ואינו מתמצה בסירוב הישיר לפקודה. מחקרים על סרבנים במלחמת העולם הראשונה ועל עריקים גרמניים במלחמת העולם השנייה הראו, כי מאחורי כל מעשה סירוב עומדת רשת חברתית שלמה של תמיכה וסולידריות, שהחביאה את חלקם, הבריחה את האחרים, רשת ששותפים לה נשים וגברים, קהילות, שכונות ומשפחות. מבחינה זו יכול הסירוב לשעתק את עבודת הגיבורים שעליה בא לערער.

[40] אתר פרופיל חדש: www.newprofile.org.

[41] אתר אומץ לסרב: www.seruv.org.

[42] מכתב הטייסים: http://tayasim.org.il/.

[43] יוסף אלגזי, “פרופיל 21 – הגרסה הדרוזית”, הארץ, 30.1.1998. כאשר הקמנו בקיץ 1979 את “קבוצת ה-27”, דימינו לעצמנו – למרות שזכרנו את הסרבנים הדרוזים – כי אנו הראשונים להפוך את הסירוב האינדיבידואלי למרכיב בפעולתה של קבוצה. טעינו: אכן, אולי מילאנו תפקיד כזה ביחס לחברה היהודית – אך לא ביחס לחברה הישראלית בכללה, שכן אנשי ועד היוזמה הדרוזי הקדימו אותנו. כאן כבמקומות אחרים בחברה הישראלית, המיעוט הערבי, הנאבק על זכויותיו, ובכך – לדמוקרטיזציה של החברה הישראלית – היתווה את הדרך לאחרים. קל מדי לשוחרי הדמוקרטיה היהודיים לשכוח את חובם זה.

[44] כגון עדי יהוה, שכמה מהם קיבלו פטורים עד 1973 ולאחר מכן ביטלו אותם רשויות הצבא. הם נאסרו שוב ושוב וכעשרה מהם ישבו בכלא זמן ממושך – עד 14 חודשים, לפני ששר הבטחון החליט להימנע מגיוסם. שולמית אלוני, “זעקתם של הנמקים בכלא – ללא עוול וללא משפט”, ידיעות אחרונות, 2.1.1976; חמן שלח, חרות המצפון והדת במשפט הישראלי, חיבור לשם קבלת תואר דוקטור למשפטים (ירושלים: האוניברסיטה העברית, 1978), עמ’ 399. אליהם נוספו בעיקר משנות התשעים ואילך סרבנים מטעמי דת, רבים מהם יוצאי חבר המדינות, חלקם נוצרים (פרבוסלבים או בפטיסטים, למשל) ואחרים שפנו לדתות המזרח.

[45] ראו את מאמרו של מאיר עמור, “ההיסטוריה המושתקת של הסירוב החברתי” (11.10.2003), באתר “קדמה”:

http://www.kedma.co.il/opinion/opinionfile/AmorMeir111003.htm.

[46] חמשת סרבני הכיבוש גם הועברו מן הכלא הצבאי לכלא אזרחי על-פי דרישת הצבא כדי שלא ישפיעו לרעה על אסירים אחרים.

[47] קשה לי לחשוב על ניתוח טוב יותר מזה שפרש יהושע קנז בספרו “התגנבות יחידים” (תל-אביב: עם עובד, 1988).

[48] רשימתו של בועז עברון, “קונפורמיסט טוב עם כאבי-בטן”, התפרסמה בידיעות אחרונות (8.12.1978) בעקבות מונולוגים של חיילי צה”ל, שהשליכו רימוני גז מדמיע אל תוך כיתות לימוד בבית-ספר עממי בבית-ג’אלה. כמה מן הילדים קפצו מן החלונות ושברו את רגליהם, אחרים התעלפו בכיתות (“מונולוג של גז מדמיע”, שדמות, חורף תשל”ח).================================================

https://www.salon.com/2002/02/15/army_2/

The struggle of the refuseniks

A small but growing number of Israeli soldiers are refusing to serve in the occupied territories — awakening the nation’s dormant left, but also dividing it.

By FERRY BIEDERMANN

FEBRUARY 16, 2002 1:01AM (UTC)

“Don’t even talk to me,” said the Israeli soldier at the checkpoint outside Nablus to a group of Palestinian men who were trying to get out of the city earlier this month. They explained that they needed to go to Ramallah, normally a 30-minute trip by car, for business, and showed all kinds of documents supporting their claim to be vegetable traders. “No, I can’t do it,” said the Israeli soldier. “You don’t have the right papers and you know it. I have my orders. Now go back.”

These kinds of confrontations — and many far more traumatic — take place every day in the occupied territories, the lands seized by Israel after the 1967 Six-Day War. The overwhelming majority of Israeli soldiers, both conscripts and reservists, still adhere to army discipline and obey orders, no matter how unpleasant they may find them. The now 17-month-old Palestinian intifada and the army’s reaction to it, however, has spawned a growing movement that refuses to go along.

Last month, a group of some 50 enlisted men and officers signed a petition proclaiming their refusal to serve in the occupied territories, asserting that they were given orders that served no security purpose, and boldly stating that “we shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people.” The number of names on the petition, under the heading “Courage to Refuse,” has by now reached almost 250 and is updated regularly on the group’s Web site.

The people on the list, and as many as 500 others who refuse to serve but have not signed the list, are known as “refuseniks,” the name originally given to Soviet Jews who were denied permission to emigrate to Israel. The refuseniks are spearheading a reawakening of the Israeli left — but also revealing fissures within it.

The peace camp, stunned into dormancy by the failure of Ehud Barak’s peace moves and the outbreak of the intifada, is now slowly starting to regroup, led — as usual — by the grass roots rather than politicians. Last Saturday, fringe-left groups held the largest rally against the occupation in Tel Aviv since the outbreak of the intifada. The army objectors were made the centerpiece of the demonstration, which was attended by a rainbow coalition of some 10,000 people, from Gays and Lesbians Against Occupation to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and the Communist Youth.

“There are things that are forbidden,” one of the objectors, Yishai Rosen-Tzvi, told the crowd. “To humiliate people, to impoverish them and drive them to the verge of hunger, that is forbidden.” A reservist, Rosen-Tzvi served in the occupied territories during an earlier tour of duty and was appalled at what he was forced to do; he served a jail term for his refusal to go back to the territories last September. With his knitted skullcap, crew cut and blue shirt, Rosen-Tzvi looks more like a supporter of the National Religious camp than a refusenik, but he made the most attention-grabbing speech of the evening. “They duped us. When the soldiers get to the territories they enter a terrible reality. We see people who are humiliated and frustrated, who are poor and sometimes hardly have anything to eat. Then you get your orders, which are meant to push them even further into that humiliation and poverty. If you have even a grain of humanity in you, you say: ‘How can this happen, how can I do this?'”

The army chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz, reacted to the protest movement harshly, claiming that the protesters had a political agenda, not a moral one. “If some of the officers have ideological motives and are trying to advance those by means of the IDF, it’s much worse than refusing to serve. It’s mutiny,” Mofaz said. Many other reactions were also negative — predictably so, in a country where the army is still seen as the only guarantee of survival, as a melting pot and as representing all that is best about the Jewish State. When objectors accuse the army of committing war crimes, it jars with the notion of “purity of arms” — a concept most Israelis still believe in. But the Israeli public is deeply conflicted over the refuseniks: Although the hard-line administration of Ariel Sharon still commands high poll numbers, between 20 and 25 percent of the population sympathizes with the objectors.

The television and newspaper testimony of some of the refuseniks may have something to do with that. Some claim that Israeli forces shoot Palestinian children without justification. “There is a procedure for firing warning shots at Palestinian children,” one refusenik was quoted as saying in Israel’s largest newspaper, Yediot Aharonot. “When a child is 100 meters away from the outpost, a soldier must fire 50 meters to the child’s right or left. However, IDF soldiers do not always observe this procedure.” Another said, “People say that ‘the Palestinians shoot first and we just respond.’ This is untrue. One officer there told soldiers doing guard duty in the lookout posts: ‘If things are too quiet or if you don’t feel certain about the situation, just let off a few rounds.’ Shots were fired every night. We would start shooting and they would fire back.”

Another soldier charged that soldiers receive orders that result in indiscriminate killings. Reservist Ariel Shatil was quoted as saying that in response to Palestinian mortar fire, his squad was supposed to fire heavy machine guns at a Palestinian town. “The gunfire penetrates thin walls and windows, and that kills people, and you don’t know who you’re killing,” Shatil said.

The refuseniks’ tales illustrate the growing harshness of the occupation since the outbreak of the intifada. Palestinian villages and towns are largely closed off from the outside world and each other. The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem estimates that since the beginning of the intifada at least 22 people, including three babies, have died at roadblocks because they needed emergency medical care, even though there is a standing order to let urgent cases through immediately. “The abuses at the roadblocks are systematic. It is hard to estimate how many cases there are because Palestinians have gotten used to it. They don’t complain about a slap in the face anymore — that is normal by now,” said a B’Tselem spokesman. So far, just three soldiers have received mild sentences for mistreatment of Palestinians.

The sacrosanct status of the Israeli military, and Mofaz’s claim that the refuseniks were acting out of political motivations, has forced the activists to move carefully. The support from the radical left, and the explicitly political nature of Saturday’s demonstration, clearly posed a dilemma for them. Until the demonstration, they had studiously avoided identifying themselves with any political movement, saying that they objected on moral and legal grounds. They don’t talk to foreign journalists, on the grounds that “this is an internal matter.” They have even declined, thus far, to align themselves with the veterans’ organization of army objectors, Yesh Gvul — Hebrew for “There Is a Limit,” which can also be translated as “There Is a Border.” That organization sprang up at the beginning of the divisive 1982 Lebanon war, which Ariel Sharon, at that time defense minister, masterminded. Since then Yesh Gvul has assisted countless others who objected to serving in the occupied territories, particularly during the first intifada from 1987 until 1993, when some 2,000 people opted out.

Both the Lebanon war and the first intifada ended in Israeli pullouts, which Yesh Gvul likes to take part of the credit for. “It is part of a cumulative effect that makes people realize that something has to change, along with demonstrations and other actions,” said a spokesman.

But the peace camp, which has become smaller and more marginalized as Israelis have moved to the right after the collapse of the Barak peace initiative, is divided over the refuseniks. The mainstream peace group, Peace Now, the Israeli Labor Party and the more liberal Meretz Party all declined to join last Saturday’s rally and will hold one of their own this weekend instead. Although it is not openly admitted, it seems that the stumbling block is the refuseniks issue. Yossi Sarid, a veteran peace campaigner and chairman of Meretz, has even come out against them.

Tamar Gozanksi, a member of parliament for Hadash, which includes the Communist Party, did attend the rally in Tel Aviv and commented on the divide within the peace camp: “Meretz and Peace Now may say something else, but they refused to participate because of the rally’s support for the soldiers’ petition. They are in favor of serving.” A Meretz colleague, Naomi Chazan, stood nearby. Making it clear that she was there only in a personal capacity, not an official party one, she was diplomatic: “It is not so much the refuseniks that are important as much as the reasons behind their refusal. That is what we have to address.”

If the mainstream peace groups keep their distance from the petitioners, so do some of the more radical leftists. “Some of the people who came to us declined to sign the petition because it is too Zionist,” said the spokesman for Yesh Gvul. The Courage to Refuse statement opens by saying that the petitioners are “reserve combat officers and soldiers of the Israel Defence Forces, who were raised upon the principles of Zionism, sacrifice and giving to the people of Israel and to the State of Israel, who have always served in the front lines, and who were the first to carry out any mission, light or heavy, in order to protect the State of Israel and strengthen it.”

This patriotic rhetoric is meant to make clear that the refusal to serve is based on a criticism of the immoral aspects of the occupation, not the army itself. But the distinction is lost on many soldiers. Brigade Cmdr. and reserve Col. Ron Shachner said in the left-leaning Israeli daily Ha’aretz, “They ought to be thrown out of their units. They can’t be officers and then decide what missions they’ll take and what they won’t take. Those who refuse to serve should be thrown in jail.” That is the straightforward view taken by many who serve in the army. Most commanders prefer, though, to deal quietly with the issue and not create hundreds or thousands of refusenik martyrs. For every 10 objectors, estimates Yesh Gvul, one gets sent to jail.

When asked how the refuseniks would be punished, Lt. Col. Olivier Rafowicz, the army’s foreign press spokesmen, said, “Every case gets judged on its own merit.” Unlike chief of staff Mofaz, Rafowicz did not use the words “rebellion” or “mutiny” when speaking about the refuseniks, but he did call their action “undemocratic.” “The army only carries out orders from the political echelon, which has been democratically elected.” He acknowledged that the occupation is not always pretty, but laid blame for that on the Palestinians. “But as long as we are there and are ordered to be there, we do the best we can. We don’t always like it, but we don’t have a choice. What is happening now is counterproductive in the long run; it is not our goal but it is imposed on us by the other side.”

A former chief of military intelligence, Shlomo Gazit, warned of dire consequences if everybody decided for himself what orders to obey, raising the specter of right-wing Israeli soldiers refusing to obey orders to close down settlements. “Anyone who creates a law for himself and refuses to serve in the areas of Judea, Samaria [the West Bank] and the Gaza Strip for reasons of morals and conscience is encouraging his comrades to refuse orders issued by the elected political echelon that go against their conscience — for example, if called upon to evacuate settlers and settlements or end the occupation and leave the territories. Stop and think — don’t you understand this is the beginning of the end? Renege, without giving up the contents of your protest,” he wrote in the Jerusalem Post newspaper.

The objectors reject the undemocratic label. They call the occupation itself undemocratic and say they have a duty to resist it. The army is used for deeply political purposes, asserted Edan Landau, a 34-year-old reserve captain from Tel Aviv who refused to serve in the territories last year but did not sign the petition. He said his objection to serving in the territories was both moral and political, explaining, “To secure settlements and settlers is a political task.”

Landau served in the army during the first intifada and said his views have changed over the years. “We had to round up people in the middle of the night, accompanied by secret agents who would point out the suspects. We took kids and had mothers run after us. There was always a soldier who would find it necessary to beat the suspects and then they would be thrown in the jeep. Sometimes the interrogation would start on the way, with the secret service people twisting the suspect’s limbs or ears.” Landau said he never wanted to be part of that again, and was prepared to go to jail last September when he was called up. His service record and the proximity of the Jewish holidays saved him from the jail sentence the army first wanted to impose, he thinks; instead he served 10 days doing “boring jobs” at an army base in the country.

Landau also dismissed another argument put forward by people on the right and left who oppose the refuseniks: that officers and soldiers who have moral qualms should serve precisely in order to prevent excesses and make the occupation more humane. “The whole occupation is wrong — why make it more humane?” he says. He does not believe in the power of one person to change things on the ground, either. “If you’re in the middle of things it is much harder to object to certain things or refuse an order if you think it is illegal. It is better to stay out altogether.”

Unlike many other Yesh Gvul objectors, Landau is not from a highly politicized left-wing family. “My parents and brothers are still coming to terms with it,” he said. “They all served in the army but now they support me.” At work, as a university lecturer in linguistics, he does not talk much about his refusal to serve. “It is not the taboo it once was, but politics does not go well with the workplace.” Like most objectors, he doubts that his refusal to serve will have an impact on his career, as it was once bound to have.

Some of the potential objectors face a real dilemma, though, when their conscience clashes with their family and their career. A student of medicine from Tel Aviv in his early 20s who asked to be identified only as Shmuel said he was inclined to refuse to serve in the territories when his time came. The army has partly paid for his education, and in exchange he has to do five years of army duty, instead of the usual three. He has had basic training and has been doing stints of reserve duty but has not yet served in the occupied territories. “There could be a severe price for me to pay. The army could give me some other job than doctor and that will severely harm my career,” said Shmuel. “My family doesn’t agree either. They say we are fighting for our survival. But this last year, with everything that has been going on, I feel it just has to stop, I cannot be part of it.”

Survival, together with the string of horrible Palestinian attacks in Israeli cities, is the strongest argument the army and the opponents of the refusenik movement have. “If we didn’t do what we are doing in the occupied territories we would have thousands of Israeli casualties from terrorist attacks, not hundreds,” asserted Olivier Rafowicz, the army spokesman.

The refuseniks respond that if there were no occupation there would be no terrorism either. However true this might or might not be in the long run, few Israelis are willing to bet their life on it today.

At the peace rally in Tel Aviv last Saturday, the religious refusenik Yishai Rosen-Tzvi skirted the politically loaded question of what to ultimately do with the territories. But he did make it clear that he believed that continuing the occupation was no solution — indeed, that it was making things worse. “The occupation is a greenhouse for humiliation and anger,” he said. “The army is creating a greenhouse for terrorism.”  

======================================================https://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/03/13_refuseniks.shtml

UC Berkeley News
RefuseniksThree Israeli refuseniks, left to right: Ron Gerlitz, a software engineer now living in Cupertino; Ofer Shorr, a translator married to a UC Berkeley graduate student; and Ishai Rosen Zvi, a visiting scholar in Berkeley’s Near Eastern Studies department.
(BAP photos)

Refuseniks: Three Israeli soldiers tell why they will not serve in the occupied territories

By Bonnie Azab Powell, Public Affairs | 13 March 2003

BERKELEY – For his required three years of active service in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Ishai Rosen-Zvi was stationed at a checkpoint in Gaza starting in 1990. He didn’t see much action there, but the very banality of his everyday interactions with Palestinians began the process that turned him into a “refusenik” — one of the estimated 1,100 IDF soldiers who have signed conscientious-objector pledges declaring they will not serve in Israel’s occupied territories.

“We did not meet terrorists. They did not come to our roadblocks,” Rosen-Zvi told a UC Berkeley audience. “But we did meet many people. Most of them were very poor. They were just trying to get to their jobs … I have a vivid picture. It is 4:45 a.m. and the line [to cross a checkpoint] is hundreds, sometimes thousands of people long, some waiting with food in their hands. All their fate depends on some 19-year-old commander. If they are lucky, this guy already spoke with his girlfriend that morning and everything will go smoothly … You see their eyes. They’re looking at you with fear, frustration, hatred. You are their prison guard.”

Rosen-Zvi joined two other soldiers to deliver a March 11 lecture at Dwinelle Hall called “Why Do We Refuse to Serve in the Occupied Territories? Israeli Voices Against the Occupation.” The event was organized by Tzedek (a Hillel-sponsored Jewish group at UC Berkeley), funded by the Middle East Educational Programs Fund, and cosponsored by the Chancellor’s Educational Activities Committee, the Center for Middle East Studies, UC Berkeley Human Rights Center, Tikkun, Boalt Hall International Human Rights Student Board, Students for Justice in Palestine, A Jewish Voice for Peace, and the ASUC. Courage to Refuse and Yesh Gvul (“There is a limit”)— the organization of the refuseniks and the network that supports them in their stance — were also cosponsors.

Although the refuseniks’ official numbers represent but a fraction of the 1.3 million Israeli males fit for military service — Israeli law does not recognize conscientious objection for men, it does allow it for women — they are making their influence felt in lecture tours like this one. “They say we are just a small minority,” said one of the speakers. “We are a minority, yes, but not a small one.”

‘We shall take no part’

Since August, Rosen-Zvi has been teaching Talmud in UC Berkeley’s Near Eastern Studies department as a visiting scholar, on leave from his Ph.D. studies at Tel Aviv University. Sometimes stammering with passion and the determination to find the right words, he summarized his experience in Gaza, “For me, a good child from Tel Aviv, this is very crucial. It’s there I understood that it’s a very dirty story. And I am on the dirty side.”

Ron Gerlitz, the second speaker, is originally from Jerusalem and for the last five months has been working as a software engineer in Cupertino. Ofer Shorr, a captain in the IDF Reserve, translates fiction from English into Hebrew and has lived in the U.S. for nearly five years with his wife, a graduate student in Berkeley’s comparative literature department.

Glossary

intifada Translation of Arabic phrase for “shaking off.” Refers to a series of protests and riots, beginning in 1987, by Palestinians in the occupied territories

occupied territories Regions of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and Golan Heights that have been occupied by the Israelis since the Six-Day War of 1967

refusenik Refers to soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces who will not serve in the occupied territories, as well as those who in protest will not serve in the IDF at all

Zionist From (Mount) Zion, ancient Hebrew term for Jerusalem, symbolizing national-religious hopes for a Jewish homeland

The three men were there to share their stories of what ultimately led them to a position whose unpopularity has trailed them from Israel to much of the United States.

All three have signed the “Combatants Letter of Courage to Refuse,” that includes the signature of some 500 soldiers. The letter states that these combat officers and soldiers “who have served the State of Israel for long weeks every year, in spite of the dear cost to our personal lives, have been on reserve duty all over the occupied territories (areas in the West Bank and Gaza formerly under Palestinian control), and were issued commands and directives that had nothing to do with the security of our country, and that had the sole purpose of perpetuating our control over the Palestinian people.” It goes on to declare that the signatories will not “continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people. We hereby declare that we shall continue serving in the Israel Defense Forces in any mission that serves Israel’s defense. The missions of occupation and oppression do not serve this purpose — and we shall take no part in them.”

Last year Rosen-Zvi received a routine reserve duty summons for a week-long stint in the Nablus area, one of the occupied territories. He refused to carry out the order and was jailed for two weeks.

‘This is not democracy’

Citing his rough grasp of English, Gerlitz read from a prepared statement. He told how he was drafted at age 18, 11 years ago, and spent his three mandatory years as an officer in the Israeli navy. “I believed then that taking part in the defense of Israel was the right thing to do,” he said. “And I still do.”

The distinction that all three speakers were careful to make, however, is what constitutes “defense.” They emphasized their essential patriotism and their belief in the validity of an Israeli state. For his part, Gerlitz focused on the Israeli government’s identity as a democracy. “I believe that to refuse to serve is a democratic action,” he argued. “Democracy is not just a majority decision. It must protect the rights of the minority, including basic human rights … Curfews, tortures, checkpoints, closures — these are not democracy. Preventing freedom of movement, freedom to get medical treatment, this is not democracy.”

Gerlitz also gave a brief history of the Refusenik movement in Israel. Coined originally to describe a Jewish person who was refused an exit visa from the Soviet Union, the term now applies both to combat soldiers who will not fight in the occupied territories as well as conscientious objectors who refuse to serve at all in the IDF. The latter group includes Jonathan Ben-Artzi, whose uncle is former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and who has been jailed for months.

The first Refuseniks surfaced in 1982, in response to the Israeli incursion of Lebanon. At least 168 servicemen were jailed for refusing to serve in a campaign that they felt was “an act of naked and futile aggression,” according to the Israeli peace group Yesh Gvul. The first Palestinian “intifada” (series of protests and riots) in 1987 inspired several hundred more soldiers to disobey orders. The second intifada, which began two years ago, gave birth to a huge wave of military protesters and the “Courage to Refuse” group. By Gerlitz’s count, more than 1,500 soldiers have refused to serve in the occupied territories since the beginning of the last intifada.

Gerlitz himself took part in the 1996 bombing of Lebanon. “In retrospect I should have said no,” he admitted quietly. (Read his account of “Operations Grapes of Wrath” in Lebanon.)

He was the 55th soldier to sign the “Courage to Refuse” statement. As a result, he said, “Some Jews and others say I am anti-Israel. That is a mistake. I am against government policy, not Israel itself. We cannot stop the IDF but we can give the soldiers and the public some alternatives. If there will not be soldiers ready to serve in the occupied territories, there will be no occupation.”

‘Power poisons you’

Shorr, the oldest of the three Refuseniks, enlisted in 1985. He volunteered for the infantry unit and served in Gaza. Before he entered the service, he thought that Palestinians “did not like the occupation, but you know, they accepted it.”

Ofer Shorr
‘I was witness to beatings, roadblocks, curfew, going in the middle of the night to get people. And I thought it was OK because we were all decent people — no Satans or demons.’
-Ofer Shorr

All that changed in 1987 when the first intifada broke out. “Emotions on both sides were completely unleashed,” he said. “There are things I did and saw on the West Bank I am not proud of. What happens to a soldier, decent people, in the occupation is that power takes over, power poisons you. You can do anything. I was witness to beatings, roadblocks, curfew, going in the middle of the night to get people. And I thought it was OK because we were all decent people — no Satans or demons. We did this because this is what we were taught. The feeling was so strong that ‘we are the victims, we can do anything — we have a moral right.'”

Only after moving to the United States did his attitude begin to change: “I thought about how if in the U.S., if troops fired and killed 13 citizens, what an outcry there would be.” He added his name to the letter.

Said Shorr, “There were 190 days of curfew last year…hundreds of secret assassinations. Since the beginning of the current intifada, 2,000 Palestinians have been killed, 332 of them children under 18. [Israeli] settlements have grown by 50 percent, while the number of settlers has grown by 100 percent.”

Like the others, Shorr reiterated his faith in Israel as a country. “I do believe Israel has a right to exist. Zionism is not perfect, but it is not malicious, yet I began to see that Israelis are unwillingly blind. They do not want to see the things that are done in their name … The occupation is a cancer and it is eating actively the Palestinian society and passively the Israeli. If it is not stopped it will consume them both.”

‘People are starving’

In response to a query about what international intervention would be most helpful in Israel, Shorr shrugged before attacking the U.S. for its billions in military aid to Israel. “I believe this money only does bad,” he said. “Israel can protect itself. These weapons only hurt Palestinians.”

Ishai Rosen-Zvi
‘I don’t think Sharon’s dream is expulsions. He wants them to think not of a state, but about bread. People are starving. This is not a metaphor. People are literally starving 10 miles from Jerusalem.’
-Ishai Rosen-Zvi

The three speakers asserted that the coming conflict with Iraq would provide cover for Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to tighten measures and step up violence against Palestinians. Unable to contain himself, Rosen-Zvi burst out with one of the strongest criticisms voiced that evening: “I don’t think Sharon’s dream is expulsions. He wants them to think not of a state, but about bread. People are starving. This is not a metaphor. People are literally starving 10 miles from Jerusalem.”

Unquestionably, the conflict has had an economic effect. On March 5, The New York Times reported that a World Bank study found that almost 2 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or 60 percent of the occupied territories, live below the poverty level of $2 a day — triple the number from before the intifada conflict began with Israel more than two years ago. A majority of Palestinians are unemployed, the study found, and investment in the Palestinian economy has plummeted from $1.5 billion in 1999 to $140 million last year. The World Bank and the United Nations, which also conducted a similar study, both “said that the cause of the collapse of the Palestinian economy was the closures imposed on Palestinian areas by the Israeli Army,” according to the Times.

Asked whether they planned to visit members of Congress to tell their stories, the Refuseniks laughed, saying they did not have friends in high places.

“People in Israel didn’t have a lot of patience for me,” said Rosen-Zvi. “But compared to here, they were very patient. Here you have to identify yourself in an instant. ‘Are you pro-Israel or anti-Israel?’ There is no in between.”

The Refuseniks suggested that American Jews could help bring the violence to an end by following the example of Irish-Americans in that country’s conflict. They argued that if “Sharon could lose even a little support among the Jewish community here, it could make a huge difference.”

More information:

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  https://www.haaretz.co.il/misc/1.835851

מרצה באוניברסיטת ת”א נכלא בגלל סירוב לשרת בשטחים

29.10.2002 23:00 עודכן ב: 18.08.2011 10:29
מאת ראלי סער

יגאל ברונר, מרצה בחוג ללימודי אסיה באוניברסיטת תל אביב, נכלא אתמול ל-28 יום בבית כלא צבאי, עקב אי רצונו לשרת בשטחים. ברונר הוא מרצה מוערך ובקורס המבוא שלו על הודו משתתפים כ-250 סטודנטים. ברונר, איש שיריון קיבל צו לשרת בגזרת בית חורון. זו הפעם השנייה שברונר מסרב לשרת בשטחים. בשנה שעברה התחשב צה”ל בדעותיו הפוליטיות ואיפשר לו לעשות עבודות רס”ר בבסיס בתוך תחומי הקו הירוק. ברונר חבר בתנועה “אומץ לסרב” בה חברים 405 חיילים וקצינים במילואים.

בטרם מעצרו פירסם ברונר גילוי דעת בשם “מכתב לגנרל” שבו הוא מנמק את סירובו לצאת לשירות צבאי בצוות טנק, ולהיות “הבורג הקטן במכונת המלחמה המושלמת”. בפתח דבריו מציג ברונר ציטוט מכתבי ברטולד ברכט, המסביר את עמדתו: “גנרל, הטנק שלך הוא רכב חזק, הוא רומס את היעד, הוא מוחץ מאה אנשים אבל יש לו חיסרון אחד: הוא זקוק לנהג”.

מאז פרוץ האינתיפאדה, לפני כשנתייים, נעצרו ונכלאו בבתי כלא צבאיים כמאה סרבני שירות בשטחים. כיום עצורים בבתי הכלא הצבאיים 19 חיילים וקצינים בסדיר ובמילואים עקב סיבות אלה.  
=====================================================

https://web.archive.org/web/20170703113854/http://www.seruv.org.il/universitysupportEng_print.asp

BackOpen Letter from Faculty Members 
We, faculty members from a number of Israeli universities, wish to express our appreciation and support for those of our students and lecturers who refuse to serve as soldiers in the occupied territories. Such service too often involves carrying out orders that have no place in a democratic society founded on the sanctity of human life.
For thirty five years an entire people, some three and a half million in number, have been held without basic human rights. The occupation and oppression of another people have brought the State of Israel to where it is today.
Without an Israeli declaration of an end to the occupation, accompanied by appropriate action–unilateral, if necessary–the present war is not being fought for our home but for the settlements beyond the green line and for the continued oppression of another people.
We hereby express our readiness to do our best to help students who encounter academic, administrative or economic difficulties as a result of their refusal to serve in the territories. We call on the University community at large to support them.
Faculty members who wish to join are welcome to contact Anat Biletzki (anatbi@post.tau.ac.il).This letter is being updated. So far, 360 faculty members have signed it.Tel-Aviv UniversityGadi AlgaziBenjamin ArbelMira ArielMordecai ArieliAharon AtzmonIrit AverbuchMichal AviadArnon AvronRon BarkaiOfer BarneaOuti Bat-ElAvner Ben-AmosZiva Ben-PoratSigal Ben-PorathLinda Ben-ZviRuth BermanAnat BiletzkiYigal BronnerJose BrunnerRaya CohenYinon CohenGerald CohenLeo CorryBilha Davidson-HaradDaniel DorTommy DreyfusZohar EitanMiri Eliav-FeldonGuy EvenAharon EviatarOvadia EzraRivka FeldhayAmos FiatMenachem FischGideon FreudenthalAriella FriedmanLyat FriedmanIris FryChaim GansIsrael GershoniRachel GioraSnait GissisEli GlaznerOfra Goldstein-GidoniYuval GorenJoseph GrodzinskyUri HadarAvraham  HeffnerTalma HendlerHanna HerzogZe’ev HerzogYoram HirschfeldSylvie HonigmanJulia HorvathEva JablonkaDaphna JoelNaftali KaminskiHaggi KenaanAviad KleinbergNora Korin-LangerJudy KupfermanYehuda KupfermanYitzhak LaorHerardo LeibnerElia LeibovitzDafna LemishShimon LevyOrly LubinRuth ManorUri  MaorShmulik MarcoAnat MatarAriel  MeiravBen-Zion MunitzHannah NavehJudd Ne’emanJoseph NeumannYehuda NinyAdi OphirRonie ParciackYoav PeledEinat PeledTamar PiterbergDanny RabinowitzZvi RaziRaanan ReinElchanan ReinerTanya ReinhartFreddie RokemDana RonTova RosenSharon RotbardZeev RotemShlomo SandRakefet Sela-SheffyRuben SeroussiAharon ShabtaiRonen ShamirEdna ShavitUzi ShavitLeon SheleffYishayahu ShenYehuda ShenhavElana ShohamyTali SiloniAmy SingerRosalie SitmanZvi TauberShula VolkovPaul WexlerMina WilsonAmnon WolmanEli YassifNeta ZivMoshe ZuckermannHebrew UniversityZach AdamAmotz AgnonDaniel  AmitShalom BaerMalachi Beit-ArieMatania Ben-ArtziJochanan BenbassatGershon Ben-ShakharShlomo BentinTzvi BentwichMichel BercovierLouise BethlehemMichael BrandeisMenahem BrinkerVictoria BuchRuth ButlerErik CohenItamar CwikSidra DeKoven EzrahiAvner De-ShalitFanny DoljanskiOtniel DrorDavid EnochYehouda EnzelRuma FalkRaphael FalkEmanuel FarjounMichal  FrenkelElizabeth FreundEhud FriedgutDov FriedlanderAvraham  GalDaphna Golan-AgnonAmiram GoldblumCharles GreenbaumRuth HaCohenDon  HandelmanAlon HarelGalit Hasan-RokemYaacov HasingHannan HeverCarola  HilfrichPeter HillmanAriel  HirschfeldUdi HrushovskiRonen KadmonMichael KerenOrna KupfermanRaz  KupfermanJohn LandauYonata LevyNati  LinialJeanette MalkinNina MayorekPaul Mendes-FlohrNilly MorNava MoranStephane MosesUzi MotroGad NathanAnat NinioIlana PardesNurit Peled-ElhananShmuel  PelegMotty PerryYuri PinesItamar PitowskyJulia ResnikYaacov RitovIlana RitovMoshe RonZeev  RosenhekIdan SegevBenny  ShanonGideon  ShelachTuvia ShlonskyNita ShochatYinon ShrimDavid  ShulmanIvy SichelWilfred SteinZeev SternhellMorris TeubalDudy TzfatiAmiel VardiVered VinitzkyMarcus WasemJoseph WeidenfeldAvital WolmanMenachem YaariJoseph ZeiraAnat ZeiraMoshe ZimmermanBen-Gurion UniversityYael AmitaiArie ArnonDanny Bar-OnNaomi BenbassatShmuel  Ben-DorIts`hak  DinsteinDalia DraiGerda Elata-AlsterDanny FilcAlon FriedmanOfer GalNeve GordonHaim GordonLev GrinbergYitzhak HenSam KaplanShoshana KeinyHanan KischBecky KookIlana KrauzmanIdan LandauDaphna LevitAmnon MeiselsPnina Mutzafi-HallerIsaac (Yanni) NevoDavid NewmanIris ParushAdi ParushAmit PinchevskiRenee PoznanskiHaggai  RamUri  RamAmnon Raz-KrakotzkinNomi ShirZvi SolovBarak WeissNitza YanayOren YiftachelJoseph YonahHaifa UniversityAnat ArielUri Bar-JosephYair BaumlBenjamin Beit-HallahmiDevorah BernsteinDavid  BlancAmit GazitAvner GiladiIlan Gur-ZeevYossi  GuttmanMeir HemoTali ItzhakiDeborah Kalekin-FishmanTamar KatrielAmalia KoriatVered KraussHaggai KupermintzRon KuzarMicah LeshemJoyce LivingstoneJudah MatrasAvraham  OzNira PancerKobi Peter (Peterzil)Roni PiskerHenry RosenfeldIlan SabanDalia SachsHannah SafranMichael SaltmanAnna SfardArie ShapiraIlan  TorenMichael YogevYuval YonayTechnionColman AltmanErez  BraunDavid  DeganiMichael FryHaggai GilboaJacob KatrielUri  KatzHubert Law-YoneYaakov OshmanDanny RitterShammai SpeiserBronek WajnrybIrad YavnehOfer ZeitouniAcademic College, Tel-Aviv-JaffaOfer FeinHanan FrenkRebecca JacobyMichal ParnasAvraham SchweigerEran ShadakhDorit ShweikiDani  SzpruchRoy WagnerWeizman InstituteOfer AharonyOded GoldreichSteve KarlishRon NaamanYossi NirItamar ProcacciaAmitai RegevDaniel RohrlichVered Rom-KedarUzy SmilanskyInterdisciplinary CenterDanny Ben-ShaharMike DahanBezalel AcademyZivia Yair AvigdorYuval BaerEyal Ben-DovMichal Broshi-BenlevyIdo BrunoMaya Cohen LeviAnat DavidTzachi FarberDavid GintonShuka GlotmanDavid GuggenheimLance HunterShmuel  KaplanAnat KatsirYaacov KaufmanSharon KerenGil KleinMarylou LevinItzik RennertMiri SegalArie SivanKeren VinerHaim  YakovyReuven  ZehaviSapir CollegeDaniel DeMalachOrly SokerTel-Hai Academic CollegeAvihu RonenAshkelon Academic CollegeMenashe ShwedOpen UniversityAmira GelblumSimona GinsburgKaye College of EducationDoron NarkissGordon College of Education – HaifaAnat BarneaCollege of ManagementReuven HoreshBar Ilan UniversityHannah KasherRimon KasherBezalel ManekinDavid SeneshAcademic CenterOrly ShenkerBeit Berl CollegeDiana Silberman-KellerLevinsky College of EducationDorit CohenRamat Gan CollegeYael BerdaAbroadJacques Negre

https://web.archive.org/web/20180713025920/http://www.seruv.org.il/UniversitySupportHeb_Print.asp

 גילוי דעת של חברי סגל מהאוניברסיטאות והמכללותחזור
אנו חברי סגל מהאוניברסיטאות מביעים בזאת את תמיכתנו והערכתנו לסטודנטים ומרצים המסרבים לשרת כחיילים בשטחים הכבושים. שרות זה כרוך לעתים קרובות מדי בביצוע פקודות שאין להן מקום בחברה דמוקרטית המאמינה כי כל אדם נברא בצלם.
מזה 35 שנה, מוחזק עם שלם של שלשה וחצי מליון איש ללא זכויות אדם בסיסיות. הכיבוש והשליטה על עם אחר הביאו את מדינת ישראל אל המצב בו היא נמצאת היום.
ללא הצהרה ישראלית על סיום הכיבוש המלווה במעשים – ולו גם מעשים חד-צדדיים, אין מלחמה זאת מלחמה על הבית כי אם על המשך הדיכוי והמשך מפעל ההתנחלויות.
אנו מביעים בזאת את נכונותנו לעזור ככל יכולתנו לסטודנטים שכתוצאה מסירובם לשרת בשטחים יתקלו בקשיים לימודיים, כלכליים או מינהליים ואנו קוראים לקהילת האוניברסיטה לתמוך בסרבנים.
סטודנטים מוזמנים ליצור קשר עם כל אחד מהחתומים למעלה.
חברי סגל המעוניינים להצטרף מוזמנים לכתוב ל-anatbi@post.tau.ac.il
רשימה זאת מתעדכנת, עד כה חתמו עליה 360 חברי סגל מהאוניברסיטאות.
אוניברסיטת תל אביבמיכל אביעדאהרון אביתרגיא אבןארנון אברוןעדי אופיראירית אורבוךזוהר איתןגדי אלגזימירי אליאב-פלדוןבני ארבלמירה אריאלמרדכי אריאליענת בילצקיאבנר בן-עמוסזיוה בן-פורתסיגל בן-פורתלינדה בן-צבייגאל ברונרז’וזה ברונררות ברמןעופר ברנערון ברקאיאותי בת-אלעפרה גולדשטיין-גדעונייובל גורןרחל גיוראסנאית גיסיסאלי גלזנרחיים גנזיוסף גרודז’ינסקיישראל גרשוניבלהה דוידסון-הרדדניאל דורטומי דרייפוסאורי הדרסילבי הוניגמןג’וליה הורבטיורם הירשפלדתלמה הנדלראברהם הפנרחנה הרצוגזאב הרצוגמינה ווילסוןאמנון וולמןשולה וולקובפול ווקסלרנטע זיושלמה זנדצבי טאוברחוה יבלונקהדפנה יואלעלי יסיףרעיה כהןינון כהןג’רלד כהןחגי כנעןיצחק לאוראורלי לוביןשמעון לויאליה לייבוביץחררדו לייבנרדפנה למישאורי מאורבן-ציון מוניץענת מטראריאל מירברות מנורשמוליק מרקוג’אד נאמןחנה נוהיוסף נוימןיהודה נינירוזלי סיטמןטלי סילוניאיימי סינגררקפת סלע-שפיראובן סרוסיעובדיה עזראאהרון עצמוןעמוס פיאטתמר פיטרברגמנחם פישעינת פלדיואב פלדרבקה פלדחיגדעון פרוידנטלאריאלה פרידמןליאת פרידמןאיריס פריירוני פרצ`קמשה צוקרמןג’ודי קופפרמןיהודה קופפרמןליאו קורינורה קורין-לנגראביעד קליינברגנפתלי קמינסקידני רבינוביץטובה רוזןשרון רוטברדדנה רוןפרדי רוקםזאב רותםצבי רזירענן רייןטניה ריינהרטאלחנן ריינרעדנה שביטעוזי שביטאהרון שבתאיאילנה שוהמיליאון שלףרונן שמירישעיהו שןיהודה שנהבהאוניברסיטה העבריתצח אדםדוד אנוךיהודה אנזלויקטוריה בוךרות בטלרמלאכי בית-אריהלואיז בית-לחםמתניה בן-ארצייוחנן בן-בסטצבי בנטואיץ’שלמה בנטיןגרשון בן-שחרשלום ברמנחם ברינקרמיכאל ברנדייסמישל ברקוביארעמירם גולדבלוםדפנה גולןאברהם גלצ’רלס גרינבאוםאבנר דה-שליטפאני דולז`נסקיסדרה דיקובן אזרחיעתניאל דרורפיטר הילמןקרולה הילפריךאריאל הירשפלדרות הכהןדון הנדלמןיעקב הסינגאלון הראלאודי הרושובסקימרקוס ואסםיוסף ווידינפלדאביטל וולמןורד ויניצקיעמיאל ורדייוסי זעיראענת זעיראחנן חברגלית חזן-רוקםמנחם יעריאריק כהןיונתה לוינתי ליניאלג’ון לנדאוסטפני מוזסעוזי מוטרונילי מורנאוה מורןנינה מיורקז’נט מלכיןפאול מנדס-פלורענת ניניוגד נתןאייבי סישלאמוץ עגנוןדניאל עמיתאיתמר פיטובסקייורי פינסשמואל פלגנורית פלד-אלחנןרומה פלקרפאל פלקעמנואל פרגוןאילנה פרדסמוטי פריאהוד פרידגוטדב פרידלנדיראליזבת פריונדמיכל פרנקלאיתמר צביקמשה צימרמןדודי צפתירונן קדמוןאורנה קופרמןרז קופרמןמיכאל קרןזאב רוזנהקמשה רוןיעקב ריטובאילנה ריטובג’וליה רסניקעידן שגבניטה שוחטדוד שולמןזאב שטייןזאב שטרנהלטוביה שלונסקיגדעון שלחבני שנוןינון שריםמוריס תובלאוניברסיטת בן-גוריוןגרדה אילתה-אלסתריעל אמיתיאריה ארנוןנעמי בן-בסטשמואל בן-דורדן בר-אוןניב גורדוןחיים גורדוןעופר גללב גרינברגיצחק דינשטייןדליה דרעיברק וייסיצחק חןיוסי יונהניצה ינאיאורן יפתחאלדפנה לויטעידן לנדופנינה מוצפי-הלראמנון מייזלסיצחק (יאני) נבודוד ניומןצבי סולוברנה פוזננסקידני פילקעמית פינצ’בסקיעדי פרושאיריס פרושאלון פרידמןבקי קוקשושנה קייניחנן קישסם קפלןאילנה קראוזמןאמנון רז-קרקוצקיןחגי רםאורי רםנעמי שיראוניברסיטת חיפהענת אריאליאיר בוימלבנימין בית-הלחמידוד בלנקאורי בר-יוסףדבורה ברנשטייןיוסי גוטמןאילן גור-זאבעמית גזיתאבנר גלעדידליה זקשמאיר חמומיכאל יוגביובל יונאיטלי יצחקירון כוזרתמר כתריאלג’ויס ליוינגסטוןמיכה לשםיהודה מטרסאילן סבןמיכאל סולטמןאנה ספרדחנה ספרןאברהם עוזרוני פיסקרנירה פנסרקובי פתרחגי קופרמינץעמליה קוריאטדבורה קלקין-פישמןורד קראוסהנרי רוזנפלדאריה שפיראאילן תורןהטכניוןיעקב אושמןקלמן אלטמןארז בראוןחגי גלבועדוד דגניברונק ויינריבעופר זיתוניעירד יבנהאורי כץיעקב כתריאליוברט לו-יוןמיכאל פריידני ריטרשמאי שפייזרהמכללה האקדמית ת”א-יפורועי וגנררבקה יעקוביעופר פייןמיכל פרנסחנן פרנקערן שדךדורית שוויקיאברהם שוייגרדני שפרוךמכון וייצמןעופר אהרוניעודד גולדרייךיוסף ניררון  נעמןעוזי  סמילנסקיאיתמר פרוקצ`יהסטיב קרלישאמיתי רגבורד רום-קידרדניאל רורליךהמרכז הבין-תחומידני בן-שחרמייק דהאןאקדמיה בצלאלזיויה יאיר אביגדוראיל בן-דביובל ברעידו ברונומיכל ברושי בן-לוידוד גוגנהייםדוד גינתוןשוקה גלוטמןענת דודלנס הנטרקרן וינרראובן זהביחיים יעקובימיה כהן לוימרילו לויןמירי סגלאריה סיוןצחי פרבריעקב קאופמןגיל קלייןשמואל קפלןענת קצירשרון קרןאיציק רנרטמכללת ספירדניאל דה מלאךאורלי סוקרמכללה אקדמית תל-חיאביהו רונןמכללה אקדמית אשקלוןמנשה שוידהאוניברסיטה הפתוחהשמעונה גינצבורגאמירה גלבלוםהמכללה לחינוך ע”ש קיידורון נרקיסהמכללה לחינוך גורדון – חיפהענת ברנעהמכללה למנהלראובן חורשאוניברסיטת בר-אילןחנה כשררימון כשרבצלאל מנקיןדוד סנשהקריה האקדמיתאורלי שנקרמכללת בית ברלדיאנה סילברמן קלרמכללת לוינסקי לחינוךדורית כהןמכללת רמת גןיעל ברדהחו”לז’ק נגרה

New Definitions of Anti-Semitism Sprout like Mushrooms

07.04.21

Editorial Note

In January this year, IAM reported on “The Battle over the Meaning of anti-Semitism,” the report showed that pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel groups, among them academics, have urged to abandon the widely accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

Many countries and institutions accepted the definition. Former US President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order on December 11, 2019, which stated: “My Administration is committed to combating the rise of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incidents in the United States and around the world.  Anti-Semitic incidents have increased since 2013, and students, in particular, continue to face anti Semitic harassment in schools and on university and college campuses.” As a result, “Discrimination against Jews may give rise to a Title VI violation when the discrimination is based on an individual’s race, color, or national origin.”  The Executive Order instructed agencies charged with enforcing Title VI, to consider the IHRA Definition, which states: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.  Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” Trump added that the examples identified by IHRA “might be useful as evidence of discriminatory intent.” 

Likewise, in the U.K., as IAM reported in October 2020, Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, warned universities that they could have their funding cut if they refuse to adopt the IHRA definition. However, critics argued such a “broadened definition of anti-Semitism” could infringe on free speech because it is “targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement,” which encourages boycott against Israel “for what it deems violations of international law.”  When BDS groups on college campuses hold annual events like “Israeli Apartheid Week” to push for Palestinian rights, adopting the IHRA definition would “pander to Jewish constituents,” or serves “as a goodwill gesture toward Israel,” which tries to combat anti-Semitism and the BDS movement around the world.  

Many other states and institutions adopted the IHRA definition. As the IHRA website reports: 

Albania (22 October 2020); Argentina (4 June 2020); Austria (25 April 2017); Belgium (14 December 2018); Bulgaria (18 October 2017); Canada (27 June 2019); Cyprus (18 December 2019); Czech Republic (25 January 2019); France (3 December 2019); Germany (20 September 2017); Greece (8 November 2019); Guatemala (27 January 2021); Hungary (18 February 2019); Israel (22 January 2017); Italy (17 January 2020); Lithuania (24 January 2018); Luxembourg (10 July 2019); Moldova (18 January 2019); Netherlands (27 November 2018); North Macedonia (6 March 2018); Romania (25 May 2017); Serbia (26 February 2020); Slovakia (28 November 2018); Slovenia (20 December 2018); Spain (22 July 2020); Sweden (21 January 2020); United Kingdom (12 December 2016); United States (11 December 2019); Uruguay (27 January 2020). The following international organizations have expressed support for the working definition of antisemitism: United Nations:  Secretary-General Antonio GuterresSpecial Rapporteur for freedom of religion or belief Ahmed Shaheed. European Union: CouncilParliamentCommissionOrganization of American States. Council of Europe:  European Commission against Racism and Intolerance.

As IAM noted, there are no clauses in the IHRA definition which infringe on Palestinian rights, nor does it mention BDS. However, three clauses could affect the Palestinians, which are: 

·         “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;”

·         “Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation;”

·         “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

As IAM argues, some of the pro-Palestinian activism could be construed as anti-Semitic, a prospect that has fueled their efforts to replace the IHRA Definition. With the new US administration, several Jewish groups emerged to provide new definitions of anti-Semitism:

The “Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA)” declares itself as a “tool to identify, confront and raise awareness about antisemitism as it manifests in countries around the world today. It includes a preamble, definition, and a set of 15 guidelines that provide detailed guidance for those seeking to recognize antisemitism in order to craft responses. It was developed by a group of scholars in the fields of Holocaust history, Jewish studies, and Middle East studies to meet what has become a growing challenge: providing clear guidance to identify and fight antisemitism while protecting free expression. It has over 200 signatories.”

The “Understanding Antisemitism at its Nexus with Israel and Zionism,” composed of experts in antisemitism and U.S.-Israel policy, established in 2019. It aims to examine the issues at the intersection of antisemitism and Israel in American politics. The Group has discussed “Israel and Antisemitism: Policy at the Nexus of Two Critical Issues,” drafted in November 2020 and uploaded to their website in April 2021. It endeavors to define antisemitism, “relevant to the current context worldwide — especially with regard to the relationship between antisemitism, and Israel and Zionism. It is not meant as a legal document but rather as a guide for policymakers and community leaders as they grapple with the complexities at the nexus of these issues. On the Advisory Committee are Jeremy Ben-Ami, Daniel Kurtzer, Kenneth Stern, Aaron David Miller, and David N. Myers, among others, and on the Nexus Task Force, Dov Waxman, among others.

The “Jewish Faculty in Canada Against the Adoption of the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism” was composed by Jewish faculty from across Canadian universities and colleges “with deep concern regarding recent interventions on our campuses relating to Israel and Palestine.” They advocate for “addressing all forms of racism and discrimination, including antisemitism” as one category. They “add our voices to a growing international movement of Jewish scholars to insist that university policies to combat antisemitism are not used to stifle legitimate criticisms of the Israeli state, or the right to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people. We recognize that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is a legitimate, non-violent form of protest… The IHRA working definition has come under extensive criticism. Not only does it essentialize Jewish identity, culture, and theology, it also equates Jewishness and Judaism with the State of Israel – effectively erasing generations of debate within Jewish communities. The issue is particularly pressing as the IHRA working definition has been invoked by those seeking to interfere with collegial governance and student life at Canadian universities. The IHRA working definition distracts from experiences of anti-Jewish racism, and threatens to silence legitimate criticism of Israel’s grave violations of international law and denial of Palestinian human and political rights.” According to them, the New Israel Fund of Canada has recently retracted their support for the IHRA working definition of antisemitism.

It is important to note that Van Leer Jerusalem Institute is behind the Jerusalem Declaration of Antisemitism.  By its own admission, “In 2020, a group of scholars in Antisemitism Studies and related fields, including Jewish, Holocaust, Israel, Palestine and Middle East Studies, came together under the auspices of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute to address key challenges in identifying and confronting antisemitism. During a year of deliberations, they reflected on the use of existing tools, including the working definition adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), and its implications for academic freedom and freedom of expression.”

Van Leer’s Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism is long and convoluted.   For example, Neve Gordon and Mark LeVine, who back the JDA, wrote an article titled “Was Einstein an Anti-Semite?” to support the JDA line.  The authors argue that the IHRA definition would have defined Einstein as an anti-Semite, because Einstein wrote a letter to the New York Times, published on December 4, 1948.   The letter stated that Menachen Begin’s newly established Herut party was “closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties.”  Gordon and LeVine’s deception is apparent. The IHRA definition, “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,” and “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” are considered antisemitism. However, Einstein’s warning that Begin’s party resembles Nazi and fascist parties is not an antisemitic statement because Einstein did not refer to the state of Israel as Nazi or described Israel’s policies as Nazi. Gordon and LeVine’s argument, based on the JDA, has no merit and serves only to confuse.  

The Van Leer Institute, which is behind the JDA, has been the home, for years, for BDS supporters and anti-Semites, as defined by the IHRA definition. Their paid fellows, mostly radical scholars from around the country, have constantly degraded the Holocaust by equating it to the Palestinian Nakba.  The implication here is clear, if the Nakba is the equivalent of the Holocaust, then the Israelis in 1948 are equivalent of the Nazis. 

The IHRA definition reminds us that anti-Semitism has nothing to do with the ethnicity or religion of the individuals who espouse anti-Semitic ideas. Comparing Israel to Nazi Germany is the epitome of anti-Semitism.   

Ironically, the Israeli Council for Higher Education (CHE) offices are located on the grounds of Van Leer.  The CHE would be well advised to speak out against their landlord. 

https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2021/03/26/problems-increasingly-dominant-definition-anti-semitism-opinion

Was Einstein an Anti-Semite?

According to an increasingly dominant definition, the answer is yes, Neve Gordon and Mark LeVine argue.

Neve Gordon and Mark LeVine

March 26, 2021

Was Albert Einstein an anti-Semite? Was Hannah Arendt? These questions may sound ludicrous. Yet, according to the definition of anti-Semitism that more than 30 countries — including the United States through the Biden administration — recently adopted, these two leading intellectuals could very well be labeled as such. This is due to an open letter they sent on Dec. 4, 1948, to The New York Times, claiming that the right-wing Herut Party in the newly formed State of Israel was “closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties.”

The list of potential anti-Semites goes on. Take the British American Jewish historian Tony Judt, who not long before his death from Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2010 described Israel as “autistic” after it had put Gaza “under a punishment regime comparable to nothing else in the world.” The late Hebrew University philosopher and biochemist Yeshayahu Leibowitz would not have fared much better given his criticism of the growing “phenomena of Judeo-Nazism” following Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Finally, Israel’s most prominent human rights organization, B’tselem, would also fit the anti-Semitic bill, as it has recently published a report entitled “A Regime of Jewish Supremacy From the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This Is Apartheid.”

The definition in question is the 2016 International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) “working definition of anti-Semitism,” which has become a tool of choice for so-called pro-Israel organizations. This definition shifts the meaning of anti-Semitism from its traditional focus on hatred of Jews per se — the idea that Jews are naturally inferior and/or evil, or a belief in worldwide Jewish-led conspiracies or Jewish control of capitalism, or some combination thereof — to one based largely and, it seems, most importantly, on how critical one is toward Israel’s colonial and rights-abusive policies.

The problem, of course, is that when a state’s actions and its government’s policies cannot be critiqued, then the pursuit of knowledge and academic freedom are threatened. If successful, Israel’s use of the anti-Semitism charge to silence serious and well-grounded criticism could very well become the template for other countries, including the United States government, and powerful corporations to mobilize different kinds of hate-speech accusations to protect rights-abusive behavior.

A Confusing and Misleading Definition

According to the IHRA definition, “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” This formulation, as numerous Holocaust scholars have explained, is vague to the point of being unusable. It both relies on ambiguous terms such as “certain perception” and “may be expressed as hatred,” while also failing to mention key issues such as “prejudice” or “discrimination.”

The second part of the IHRA’s definition provides 11 examples of contemporary manifestations of anti-Semitism, seven of which refer to the State of Israel. One example of anti-Semitism is the claim “that the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavor” while another involves the requirement that Israel behave in a way “not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.” Surely it should be legitimate, not least in a university setting, to debate whether Israel, as a self-proclaimed Jewish state, is “a racist endeavor” or a “democratic nation” without being branded an anti-Semite.

On the one hand, as Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt rightly points out, the examples marginalize the kinds of anti-Jewish attacks in recent years — from Pittsburgh to Halle, Germany — that have resulted in mass casualties or the broader rise of fascism in the United States with its deeply ingrained anti-Semitism, as evidenced by the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol.

On the other hand, many scholars have criticized the Israeli state, underscoring its discriminatory and racist policies toward non-Jews. The controversial 2018 “nation-state bill,” which reaffirms the Jewish character of the state and legalizes discriminatory policies against Palestinian citizens, is a clear manifestation of a racist law. Moreover, the fact that millions of Palestinians have been living under Israeli occupation for over 50 years without basic civil rights undermines the IHRA document’s assumption that Israel is a liberal democracy like all others.

It is therefore not surprising that concern about the IHRA definition has been growing. Professional associations, such as the British Society for Middle East Studies, student groups and more than 100 Palestinian and Arab academics and intellectuals have argued that the IHRA definition is being used to stifle not just criticism of Israel but also, and more widely, support for Palestinian rights. Roughly 200 international scholars working in anti-Semitism studies and related fields — including Jewish, Holocaust, Israel, Palestine and Middle East studies — just drafted the Jerusalem Declaration on Anti-Semitism, a new definition that responds to the IHRA one and is inspired by the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the 1969 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Their aim is twofold: 1) to strengthen the fight against anti-Semitism by clarifying what it is and how it is manifested and 2) to protect a space for an open debate about the vexed question of the future of Israel/Palestine. Meanwhile, 40 Jewish organizations including the fastest growing — and explicitly anti-Zionist — Jewish organization in the United States, Jewish Voice for Peace, have “unequivocally opposed” the IHRA definition, precisely because its focus on Israel gives the definition a “strong potential for misuse.”

Today, however, it’s no longer a matter of potential misuse. That has become apparent even in colleges and universities, supposedly bastions of open intellectual and political debate. An article in The Conversation has traced how authorities have charged people who have criticized Israel with being anti-Semitic at several institutions in the United States where local jurisdictions have adopted the IHRA definition. There are currently ongoing investigations at Rutgers UniversityDuke University and the University of North Carolina, with another pending investigation at New York University. These attacks appear to be the harbinger of things to come. They are destructive not only for academic freedom but also for antiracist struggles on campuses.

In response, scores of Israeli academics working in the U.K. have written a letter denouncing the definition and called on university leaders to refuse the demand by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to adopt the definition or face punitive action. As noted in an extensive report about anti-Semitism on campus from a working group at the University College of London: “The IHRA working definition is unhelpful in identifying cases of harassment … the core definition itself is too vague and narrow, and the 11 examples often do not match experience.” Based on this report, the university’s academic board recommended retracting the adoption of the definition and replacing it with one “fit for purpose.”

Considering that most universities have robust guidelines that prohibit racist or anti-Semitic utterances, the adoption of the IHRA definition does not add substantive content that might help reduce hate speech on campuses. Moreover, antiracist working groups within universities that we have spoken to are all vehemently against adopting the IHRA definition.

Even the primary author of the definition himself, Kenneth Stern, has declared that “right-wing Jews are weaponizing it,” nowhere more so than on college campuses. As he put it, the widespread use of the definition on campuses “will harm not only pro-Palestinian advocates but also Jewish students and faculty, and the academy itself.”

Why Is the Criticism Ignored?

Unfortunately, such critiques have barely dented the definition’s acceptance within the corridors of institutional power. Here are six major reasons why.

First, all of Israel’s governments, from 1948 until the present, have equated Israel with the Jewish people. The equation is based, however, on an empirical fallacy, since more than half of the worldwide Jewish population does not live in Israel, more than 20 percent of the country’s citizens are not Jews, and an additional five million stateless Palestinians live within the area that Israel controls. The conflation of Israel with all Jews has, in fact, been a core goal of Zionism from the start, and its success has led to a myopic focus on criticism of Israel as the main threat to Jews worldwide.

Second, the fact that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance drafted the definition creates an immediate association with the Holocaust. That makes it exceedingly difficult to question the definition’s accuracy or motives.

Third, more than half a century of distorted media coverage of Israel has left the majority of Americans and many Europeans largely ignorant of Israel’s rights-abusive policies, helping to cast Israeli Jews as the eternal victims and Palestinians as aggressors. That has allowed the IHRA’s proponents to classify Israel as a liberal democracy when it’s anything but for half the people living under its control, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

Fourth, institutionalized Jewish life in the diaspora has, for over half a century, focused on supporting Israel. Thus, the IHRA definition serves the purposes of mainstream Jewish organizations quite well, especially when it comes to policing speech in the media and in cultural spheres as well as on college campuses. In this regard, it is not particularly surprising that 145 organizations representing a who’s who of right-wing Zionist groups sent a letter to Facebook’s Board of Directors, calling upon them to fully adopt the IHRA definition as the “cornerstone of Facebook’s hate speech policy regarding anti-Semitism.”

Fifth, while the IHRA document casts the definition as legally “nonbinding,” and therefore not capable of stifling free speech and academic freedom, it is packaged as especially relevant for law enforcement agencies and for “training police officials.” The impact of the document is thus clear: its “nonbinding” designation frames the definition as benign and distracts us from how it is being used to surveil and even criminalize critical speech about Israel.

The final and in many ways most important reason the IHRA definition has been widely adopted is that it allows conservative and even moderate political forces to discipline, silence and marginalize progressive voices against racism, poverty, the climate crisis, war and predatory capitalism. Palestinians have managed to globalize their struggle for self-determination, and progressives of different stripes has championed their cause over the years. Yet now if Black Lives Matter, climate, Indigenous or feminist activists voice support for the Palestinian cause while criticizing Israel, they can be branded anti-Semitic, which can, in effect, delegitimize the other progressive issues such activists support.

A Devil’s Bargain

The fact that the IHRA definition is being wielded as a weapon to suppress a variety of progressive causes and as a tool to punish activists who fail to dissociate from Palestine is also apparent on university campuses. If a recent opinion piece in Inside Higher Ed specifically cited the IHRA definition as “great … and readily available” for teaching about anti-Semitism in universities, the reality is that it isolates Jewish students who are concerned about social justice. Rakhel Silverman, national organizer for the group Judaism on Our Own Terms, or Joot (until recently known as Open Hillel) explained to us, “The official stance of Hillel against any collaboration with anti-Zionist or BDS-supporting (which is considered anti-Semitic according to the IHRA) groups on or off campus prevents Jewish students from working with other social and racial justice and interfaith groups, including progressive Jewish groups. We can’t work to unite against white supremacy or engage with Black-Palestinian solidarity groups because these groups support BDS, even though many Jewish students support BDS as well.”

Ultimately, however, the IHRA definition is not only deployed as a weapon against progressives, but it also allows Israel to create alliances with anti-Semites. Indeed, the definition can be seen as playing a role in achieving one of Theodor Herzl’s wishes, expressed in a June 12, 1895, diary entry, where he notes that a Jewish state would lead anti-Semites to “become our most dependable friends. The anti-Semitic countries our allies.” Once criticism of Israel becomes the primary marker of anti-Semitism, then the unquestioned support of American evangelicals for Israel is considered a blessing, even as anti-Jewish stereotypes remain prevalent among members of their communities, while Israel’s alliance with Europe’s most illiberal and anti-Semitic governments (particularly Hungary‘s and Poland‘s) is considered ethically kosher.

Despite the incessant work of the pro-Israel lobby and the Israeli government, this kind of devil’s bargain will not end up benefiting Jews, particularly those in the diaspora. Only the most honest and robust debate about Israel and Zionism, on campus as well as more broadly, will ensure Jewish students and the wider Jewish community are truly protected from anti-Semitism and can participate most fully in the struggles for social, racial, economic and climate justice that have finally been foregrounded today.

Bio

Neve Gordon (@nevegordon) teaches in the school of law at Queen Mary University of London. He is the co-author of Human Shields: A History of People in the Line of Fire and a signatory of the Jerusalem Declaration on Anti-Semitism and the letter of Israeli academics working in the U.K. Mark LeVine is professor of history at University of California, Irvine, and a 2020-21 Guggenheim Fellow. Among his books on Israel are Overthrowing Geography: Jaffa, Tel Aviv and the Struggle for PalestineStruggle and Survival in Palestine/Israel (with Gershon Shafir); and One Land, Two States: Israel and Palestine as Parallel States (with Mathias Mossberg).

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Neve Gordon and Mark LeVine
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https://archive.org/details/AlbertEinsteinLetterToTheNewYorkTimes.December41948/

A letter to The New York Times, published in the “Books” section (Page 12) of Saturday December 4, 1948  by Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, Sidney Hook, et.al.

Source: Text from original microfilm

 New Palestine Party                        ————————-Visit of Menachen Begin and Aims of Political Movement Discussed                        ———————— 
TO THE EDITORS OF NEW YORK TIMES:
Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the “Freedom Party” (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.
The current visit of Menachem Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States. Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome his visit. It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin’s political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents.
Before irreparable damage is done by way of financial contributions, public manifestations in Begin’s behalf, and the creation in Palestine of the impression that a large segment of America supports Fascist elements in Israel, the American public must be informed as to the record and objectives of Mr. Begin and his movement.
The public avowals of Begin’s party are no guide whatever to its actual character. Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character; from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future.

Attack on Arab Village
A shocking example was their behavior in the Arab village of Deir Yassin. This village, off the main roads and surrounded by Jewish lands, had taken no part in the war, and had even fought off Arab bands who wanted to use the village as their base. On April 9 (THE NEW YORK TIMES), terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, which was not a military objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants (240 men, women, and children) and kept a few of them alive to parade as captives through the streets of Jerusalem. Most of the Jewish community was horrified at the deed, and the Jewish Agency sent a telegram of apology to King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan. But the terrorists, far from being ashamed of their act, were proud of this massacre, publicized it widely, and invited all the foreign correspondents present in the country to view the heaped corpses and the general havoc at Deir Yassin.
The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character and actions of the Freedom Party.
Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of ultranationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority. Like other Fascist parties they have been used to break strikes, and have themselves pressed for the destruction of free trade unions. In their stead they have proposed corporate unions on the Italian Fascist model.
During the last years of sporadic anti-British violence, the IZL and Stern groups inaugurated a reign of terror in the Palestine Jewish community. Teachers were beaten up for speaking against them, adults were shot for not letting their children join them. By gangster methods, beatings, window-smashing, and wide-spread robberies, the terrorists intimidated the population and exacted a heavy tribute.
The people of the Freedom Party have had no part in the constructive achievements in Palestine. They have reclaimed no land, built no settlements, and only detracted from the Jewish defense activity. Their much-publicized immigration endeavors were minute, and devoted mainly to bringing in Fascist compatriots.

Discrepancies Seen
The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made by Begin and his party, and their record of past performance in Palestine bear the imprint of no ordinary political party. This is the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British alike), and misrepresentation are means, and a “Leader State” is the goal.
In the light of the foregoing considerations, it is imperative that the truth about Mr. Begin and his movement be made known in this country. It is all the more tragic that the top leadership of American Zionism has refused to campaign against Begin’s efforts, or even to expose to its own constituents the dangers to Israel from support to Begin.

The undersigned therefore take this means of publicly presenting a few salient facts concerning Begin and his party; and of urging all concerned not to support this latest manifestation of fascism.

ISIDORE ABRAMOWITZ, HANNAH ARENDT, ABRAHAM BRICK, RABBI JESSURUN CARDOZO, ALBERT EINSTEIN, HERMAN EISEN, M.D., HAYIM FINEMAN, M. GALLEN, M.D., H.H. HARRIS, ZELIG S. HARRIS, SIDNEY HOOK, FRED KARUSH, BRURIA KAUFMAN, IRMA L. LINDHEIM, NACHMAN MAISEL, SEYMOUR MELMAN, MYER D. MENDELSON, M.D., HARRY M. OSLINSKY, SAMUEL PITLICK, FRITZ ROHRLICH, LOUIS P. ROCKER, RUTH SAGIS, ITZHAK SANKOWSKY, I.J. SHOENBERG, SAMUEL SHUMAN, M. SINGER, IRMA WOLFE, STEFAN WOLFE.
New York, Dec. 2, 1948

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https://jerusalemdeclaration.org/

Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism is a tool to identify, confront and raise awareness about antisemitism as it manifests in countries around the world today. It includes a preambledefinition, and a set of 15 guidelines that provide detailed guidance for those seeking to recognize antisemitism in order to craft responses. It was developed by a group of scholars in the fields of Holocaust history, Jewish studies, and Middle East studies to meet what has become a growing challenge: providing clear guidance to identify and fight antisemitism while protecting free expression. It has over 200 signatories.
About JDA

In 2020, a group of scholars in Antisemitism Studies and related fields, including Jewish, Holocaust, Israel, Palestine and Middle East Studies, came together under the auspices of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute to address key challenges in identifying and confronting antisemitism. During a year of deliberations, they reflected on the use of existing tools, including the working definition adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), and its implications for academic freedom and freedom of expression. The JDA organizers and signatories represent a wide range of academic disciplines and regional perspectives and they have diverse views on questions related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But they agreed on the need for a more precise interpretive tool to help clarify conditions that are antisemitic as well as conditions that are not definitive proof of antisemitism.
The Jerusalem Declaration

  Preamble  

We, the undersigned, present the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism, the product of an initiative that originated in Jerusalem. We include in our number international scholars working in Antisemitism Studies and related fields, including Jewish, Holocaust, Israel, Palestine, and Middle East Studies. The text of the Declaration has benefited from consultation with legal scholars and members of civil society. 

Inspired by the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the 1969 Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, the 2000 Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust, and the 2005 United Nations Resolution on Holocaust Remembrance, we hold that while antisemitism has certain distinctive features, the fight against it is inseparable from the overall fight against all forms of racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, and gender discrimination.

Conscious of the historical persecution of Jews throughout history and of the universal lessons of the Holocaust, and viewing with alarm the reassertion of antisemitism by groups that mobilize hatred and violence in politics, society, and on the internet, we seek to provide a usable, concise, and historically-informed core definition of antisemitism with a set of guidelines.

The Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism responds to “the IHRA Definition,” the document that was adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in 2016. Because the IHRA Definition is unclear in key respects and widely open to different interpretations, it has caused confusion and generated controversy, hence weakening the fight against antisemitism. Noting that it calls itself “a working definition,” we have sought to improve on it by offering (a) a clearer core definition and (b) a coherent set of guidelines. We hope this will be helpful for monitoring and combating antisemitism, as well as for educational purposes. We propose our non-legally binding Declaration as an alternative to the IHRA Definition. Institutions that have already adopted the IHRA Definition can use our text as a tool for interpreting it.

The IHRA Definition includes 11 “examples” of antisemitism, 7 of which focus on the State of Israel. While this puts undue emphasis on one arena, there is a widely-felt need for clarity on the limits of legitimate political speech and action concerning Zionism, Israel, and Palestine. Our aim is twofold: (1) to strengthen the fight against antisemitism by clarifying what it is and how it is manifested, (2) to protect a space for an open debate about the vexed question of the future of Israel/Palestine. We do not all share the same political views and we are not seeking to promote a partisan political agenda. Determining that a controversial view or action is not antisemitic implies neither that we endorse it nor that we do not.

The guidelines that focus on Israel-Palestine (numbers 6 to 15) should be taken together. In general, when applying the guidelines each should be read in the light of the others and always with a view to context. Context can include the intention behind an utterance, or a pattern of speech over time, or even the identity of the speaker, especially when the subject is Israel or Zionism. So, for example, hostility to Israel could be an expression of an antisemitic animus, or it could be a reaction to a human rights violation, or it could be the emotion that a Palestinian person feels on account of their experience at the hands of the State. In short, judgement and sensitivity are needed in applying these guidelines to concrete situations.

Definition

Antisemitism is discrimination, prejudice, hostility or violence against Jews as Jews (or Jewish institutions as Jewish).

Guidelines

A. General

  1. It is racist to essentialize (treat a character trait as inherent) or to make sweeping negative generalizations about a given population. What is true of racism in general is true of antisemitism in particular.
  2. What is particular in classic antisemitism is the idea that Jews are linked to the forces of evil. This stands at the core of many anti-Jewish fantasies, such as the idea of a Jewish conspiracy in which “the Jews” possess hidden power that they use to promote their own collective agenda at the expense of other people. This linkage between Jews and evil continues in the present: in the fantasy that “the Jews” control governments with a “hidden hand,” that they own the banks, control the media, act as “a state within a state,” and are responsible for spreading disease (such as Covid-19). All these features can be instrumentalized by different (and even antagonistic) political causes.
  3. Antisemitism can be manifested in words, visual images, and deeds. Examples of antisemitic words include utterances that all Jews are wealthy, inherently stingy, or unpatriotic. In antisemitic caricatures, Jews are often depicted as grotesque, with big noses and associated with wealth. Examples of antisemitic deeds are: assaulting someone because she or he is Jewish, attacking a synagogue, daubing swastikas on Jewish graves, or refusing to hire or promote people because they are Jewish.
  4. Antisemitism can be direct or indirect, explicit or coded. For example, “The Rothschilds control the world” is a coded statement about the alleged power of “the Jews” over banks and international finance. Similarly, portraying Israel as the ultimate evil or grossly exaggerating its actual influence can be a coded way of racializing and stigmatizing Jews. In many cases, identifying coded speech is a matter of context and judgement, taking account of these guidelines.
  5. Denying or minimizing the Holocaust by claiming that the deliberate Nazi genocide of the Jews did not take place, or that there were no extermination camps or gas chambers, or that the number of victims was a fraction of the actual total, is antisemitic.

B. Israel and Palestine: examples that, on the face of it, are antisemitic

  1. Applying the symbols, images and negative stereotypes of classical antisemitism (see guidelines 2 and 3) to the State of Israel.
  2. Holding Jews collectively responsible for Israel’s conduct or treating Jews, simply because they are Jewish, as agents of Israel.
  3. Requiring people, because they are Jewish, publicly to condemn Israel or Zionism (for example, at a political meeting).
  4. Assuming that non-Israeli Jews, simply because they are Jews, are necessarily more loyal to Israel than to their own countries.
  5. Denying the right of Jews in the State of Israel to exist and flourish, collectively and individually, as Jews, in accordance with the principle of equality.

C. Israel and Palestine: examples that, on the face of it, are not antisemitic

(whether or not one approves of the view or action)

  1. Supporting the Palestinian demand for justice and the full grant of their political, national, civil and human rights, as encapsulated in international law.
  2. Criticizing or opposing Zionism as a form of nationalism, or arguing for a variety of constitutional arrangements for Jews and Palestinians in the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. It is not antisemitic to support arrangements that accord full equality to all inhabitants “between the river and the sea,” whether in two states, a binational state, unitary democratic state, federal state, or in whatever form.
  3. Evidence-based criticism of Israel as a state. This includes its institutions and founding principles. It also includes its policies and practices, domestic and abroad, such as the conduct of Israel in the West Bank and Gaza, the role Israel plays in the region, or any other way in which, as a state, it influences events in the world. It is not antisemitic to point out systematic racial discrimination. In general, the same norms of debate that apply to other states and to other conflicts over national self-determination apply in the case of Israel and Palestine. Thus, even if contentious, it is not antisemitic, in and of itself, to compare Israel with other historical cases, including settler-colonialism or apartheid.
  4. Boycott, divestment and sanctions are commonplace, non-violent forms of political protest against states. In the Israeli case they are not, in and of themselves, antisemitic.
  5. Political speech does not have to be measured, proportional, tempered, or reasonable to be protected under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and other human rights instruments. Criticism that some may see as excessive or contentious, or as reflecting a “double standard,” is not, in and of itself, antisemitic. In general, the line between antisemitic and non-antisemitic speech is different from the line between unreasonable and reasonable speech.

Coordinating group

Seth Anziska, Mohamed S. Farsi-Polonsky Associate Professor of Jewish-Muslim Relations, University College London

Aleida Assmann, Professor Dr., Literary Studies, Holocaust, Trauma and Memory Studies, Konstanz University

Alon Confino, Pen Tishkach Chair of Holocaust Studies, Professor of History and Jewish Studies, Director Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Emily Dische-Becker, Journalist

David Feldman, Professor, Director of the Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London

Amos Goldberg, Professor, The Jonah M. Machover Chair in Holocaust Studies, Head of the Avraham Harman Research Institute of Contemporary Jewry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Brian Klug, Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy, St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford; Member of the Philosophy Faculty, Oxford University

Stefanie Schüler Springorum, Professor Dr., Director of the Center for Research on Antisemitism, Technische Universität Berlin

FAQ

Q: What is the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA)?

The JDA is a resource for strengthening the fight against antisemitism. It comprises a preamble, definition, and a set of 15 guidelines.

Who are the authors?

International scholars in antisemitism studies and related fields, who, from June 2020, met in a series of online workshops, with different participants at different times. The JDA is endorsed by a diverse range of distinguished scholars and heads of institutes in Europe, the United States, Canada and Israel.

Why “Jerusalem”? 

Originally, the JDA was convened in Jerusalem by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute.

Why now? 

The JDA responds to the Working Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in 2016. “The IHRA Definition” (including its “examples”) is neither clear nor coherent. Whatever the intentions of its proponents, it blurs the difference between antisemitic speech and legitimate criticism of Israel and Zionism. This causes confusion, while delegitimizing the voices of Palestinians and others, including Jews, who hold views that are sharply critical of Israel and Zionism. None of this helps combat antisemitism. The JDA responds to this situation.

So, is the JDA intended to be an alternative to the IHRA Working Definition?

Yes, it is. People of goodwill seek guidance about the key question: When does political speech about Israel or Zionism cross the line into antisemitism and when should it be protected? The JDA is intended to provide this guidance, and so should be seen as a substitute for the IHRA Definition. But if an organization has formally adopted the IHRA Definition it can use the JDA as a corrective to overcome the shortcomings of the IHRA Definition.

Who does the definition cover?

The definition applies whether Jewish identity is understood as ethnic, biological, religious, cultural, etc. It also applies in cases where a non-Jewish person or institution is either mistaken for being Jewish (“discrimination by perception”) or targeted on account of a connection to Jews (“discrimination by association”).

Should the JDA be officially adopted by, say, governments, political parties or universities?

The JDA can be used as a resource for various purposes. These include education and raising awareness about when speech or conduct is antisemitic (and when it is not), developing policy for fighting antisemitism, and so on. It can be used to support implementation of anti-discrimination legislation within parameters set by laws and norms protecting free expression.

Should the JDA be used as part of a “hate speech code”?

No, it should not. The JDA is not designed to be a legal or quasi-legal instrument of any kind. Nor should it be codified into law, nor used to restrict the legitimate exercise of academic freedom, whether in teaching or research, nor to suppress free and open public debate that is within the limits laid down by laws governing hate crime.

Will the JDA settle all the current arguments over what is and what is not antisemitic?

The JDA reflects the clear and authoritative voice of scholarly experts in relevant fields. But it cannot settle all arguments. No document on antisemitism can be exhaustive or anticipate all the ways in which antisemitism will manifest in the future. Some guidelines (such as #5), give just a few examples in order to illustrate a general point. The JDA is intended as an aid to thinking and to thoughtful discussion. As such, it is a valuable resource for consultations with stakeholders about identifying antisemitism and ensuring the most effective response.

Why are 10 of the 15 guidelines about Israel and Palestine?

This responds to the emphasis in the IHRA Definition, in which 7 out of 11 “examples” focus on the debate about Israel. Moreover, it responds to a public debate, both among Jews and in the wider population, that demonstrates a need for guidance concerning political speech about Israel or Zionism: when should it be protected and when does it cross the line into antisemitism?

What about contexts other than Israel and Palestine?

The general guidelines (1-5) apply in all contexts, including the far right, where antisemitism is increasing. They apply, for instance, to conspiracy theories about “the Jews” being behind the Covid-19 pandemic, or George Soros funding BLM and Antifa protests to promote a “hidden Jewish agenda.”

Does the JDA distinguish between anti-Zionism and antisemitism?

The two concepts are categorically different. Nationalism, Jewish or otherwise, can take many forms, but it is always open to debate. Bigotry and discrimination, whether against Jews or anyone else, is never acceptable. This is an axiom of the JDA.

Then does the JDA suggest that anti-Zionism is never antisemitic?

No. The JDA seeks to clarify when criticism of (or hostility to) Israel or Zionism crosses the line into antisemitism and when it does not. A feature of the JDA in this connection is that (unlike the IHRA Definition) it also specifies what is not, on the face of it, antisemitic.

What is the underlying political agenda of the JDA as regards Israel and Palestine?

There isn’t one. That’s the point. The signatories have diverse views about Zionism and about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including political solutions, such as one-state versus two-states. What they share is a twofold commitment: fighting antisemitism and protecting freedom of expression on the basis of universal principles.

But doesn’t guideline 14 support BDS as a strategy or tactic aimed against Israel?

No. The JDA’s signatories have different views on BDS. Guideline 14 says only that boycotts, divestments and sanctions aimed at Israel, however contentious, are not, in and of themselves, antisemitic.

So, how can someone know when BDS (or any other measure) is antisemitic?

That’s what the general guidelines (1 to 5) are for. In some cases it is obvious how they apply, in others it is not. As has always been true when making judgments about any form of bigotry or discrimination, context can make a huge difference. Moreover, each guideline should be read in the light of the others. Sometimes you have to make a judgement call. The 15 guidelines are intended to help people make those calls.

Guideline 10 says it is antisemitic to deny the right of Jews in the State of Israel “to exist and flourish, collectively and individually, as Jews”. Isn’t this contradicted by guidelines 12 and 13?

There is no contradiction. The rights mentioned in guideline 10 attach to Jewish inhabitants of the state, whatever its constitution or name. Guidelines 12 and 13 clarify that it is not antisemitic, on the face of it, to propose a different set of political or constitutional arrangements.

What, in short, are the advantages of the JDA over the IHRA Definition?

There are several, including the following: The JDA benefits from several years of reflection on, and critical assessment of, the IHRA Definition. As a result, it is clearer, more coherent and more nuanced. The JDA articulates not only what antisemitism is but also, in the context of Israel and Palestine, what, on the face of it, it is not. This is guidance that is widely needed. The JDA invokes universal principles and, unlike the IHRA Definition, clearly links the fight against antisemitism with the fight against other forms of bigotry and discrimination. The JDA helps create a space for frank and respectful discussion of difficult issues, including the vexed question of the political future for all inhabitants of Israel and Palestine. For all these reasons, the JDA is more cogent, and, instead of generating division, it aims at uniting all forces in the broadest possible fight against antisemitism.

Signatories

Ludo Abicht, Professor Dr., Political Science Department, University of Antwerp

Taner Akçam, Professor, Kaloosdian/Mugar Chair Armenian History and Genocide, Clark University

Gadi Algazi, Professor, Department of History and Minerva Institute for German History, Tel Aviv University

Seth Anziska, Mohamed S. Farsi-Polonsky Associate Professor of Jewish-Muslim Relations, University College London

Aleida Assmann, Professor Dr., Literary Studies, Holocaust, Trauma and Memory Studies, Konstanz University

Jean-Christophe Attias, Professor, Medieval Jewish Thought, École Pratique des Hautes Études, Université PSL Paris

Leora Auslander, Arthur and Joann Rasmussen Professor of Western Civilization in the College and Professor of European Social History, Department of History, University of Chicago

Bernard Avishai, Visiting Professor of Government, Department of Government, Dartmouth College

Angelika Bammer, Professor, Comparative Literature, Affiliate Faculty of Jewish Studies, Emory University

Omer Bartov, John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History, Brown University

Almog Behar, Dr., Department of Literature and the Judeo-Arabic Cultural Studies Program, Tel Aviv University

Moshe Behar, Associate Professor, Israel/Palestine and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Manchester

Peter Beinart, Professor of Journalism and Political Science, The City University of New York (CUNY); Editor at large, Jewish Currents

Elissa Bemporad, Jerry and William Ungar Chair in East European Jewish History and the Holocaust; Professor of History, Queens College and The City University of New York (CUNY)

Sarah Bunin Benor, Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Wolfgang Benz, Professor Dr., fmr. Director Center for Research on Antisemitism, Technische Universität Berlin

Doris Bergen, Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor of Holocaust Studies, Department of History and Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Toronto

Werner Bergmann, Professor Emeritus, Sociologist, Center for Research on Antisemitism, Technische Universität Berlin

Michael Berkowitz, Professor, Modern Jewish History, University College London

Louise Bethlehem, Associate Professor and Chair of the Program in Cultural Studies, English and Cultural Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

David Biale, Emanuel Ringelblum Distinguished Professor, University of California, Davis

Leora Bilsky, Professor, The Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University

Monica Black, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Daniel Blatman, Professor, Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Omri Boehm, Associate Professor of Philosophy, The New School for Social Research, New York

Daniel Boyarin, Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture, UC Berkeley

Christina von Braun, Professor Dr., Selma Stern Center for Jewish Studies, Humboldt University, Berlin

Micha Brumlik, Professor Dr., fmr. Director of Fritz Bauer Institut-Geschichte und Wirkung des Holocaust, Frankfurt am Main

Jose Brunner, Professor Emeritus, Buchmann Faculty of Law and Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science, Tel Aviv University

Darcy Buerkle, Professor and Chair of History, Smith College

John Bunzl, Professor Dr., The Austrian Institute for International Politics

Michelle U. Campos, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and History Pennsylvania State University

Francesco Cassata, Professor, Contemporary History Department of Ancient Studies, Philosophy and History, University of Genoa

Naomi Chazan, Professor Emerita of Political Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Bryan Cheyette, Professor and Chair in Modern Literature and Culture, University of Reading

Stephen Clingman, Distinguished University Professor, Department of English, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Raya Cohen, Dr., fmr. Department of Jewish History, Tel Aviv University; fmr. Department of Sociology, University of Naples Federico II

Alon Confino, Pen Tishkach Chair of Holocaust Studies, Professor of History and Jewish Studies, Director Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Sebastian Conrad, Professor of Global and Postcolonial History, Freie Universität Berlin

Lila Corwin Berman, Murray Friedman Chair of American Jewish History, Temple University

Deborah Dash Moore, Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of History and Professor of Judaic Studies, University of Michigan

Natalie Zemon Davis, Professor Emerita, Princeton University and University of Toronto

Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, Professor Emerita, Comparative Literature, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Hasia R. Diner, Professor, New York University

Arie M. Dubnov, Max Ticktin Chair of Israel Studies and Director Judaic Studies Program, The George Washington University

Debórah Dwork, Director Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY)

Yulia Egorova, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Durham University, Director Centre for the Study of Jewish Culture, Society and Politics

Helga Embacher, Professor Dr., Department of History, Paris Lodron University Salzburg

Vincent Engel, Professor, University of Louvain, UCLouvain

David Enoch, Professor, Philosophy Department and Faculty of Law, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Yuval Evri, Dr., Leverhulme Early Career Fellow SPLAS, King’s College London

Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law, Princeton University; Chair of Global Law, School of Law, Queen Mary University, London

David Feldman, Professor, Director of the Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London

Yochi Fischer, Dr., Deputy Director Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and Head of the Sacredness, Religion and Secularization Cluster

Ulrike Freitag, Professor Dr., History of the Middle East, Director Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin

Ute Frevert, Professor of Modern History, Department of History, University of Zurich

Katharina Galor, Professor Dr., Hirschfeld Visiting Associate Professor, Program in Judaic Studies, Program in Urban Studies, Brown University

Chaim Gans, Professor Emeritus, The Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University

Alexandra Garbarini, Professor, Department of History and Program in Jewish Studies, Williams College

Shirli Gilbert, Professor of Modern Jewish History, University College London

Sander Gilman, Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences; Professor of Psychiatry, Emory University

Shai Ginsburg, Associate Professor, Chair of the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and Faculty Member of the Center for Jewish Studies, Duke University

Victor Ginsburgh, Professor Emeritus, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels

Carlo Ginzburg, Professor Emeritus, UCLA and Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa

Snait Gissis, Dr., Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University

Glowacka Dorota, Professor, Humanities, University of King’s College, Halifax

Amos Goldberg, Professor, The Jonah M. Machover Chair in Holocaust Studies, Head of the Avraham Harman Research Institute of Contemporary Jewry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Harvey Goldberg, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Sylvie-Anne Goldberg, Professor, Jewish Culture and History, Head of Jewish Studies at the Advanced School of Social Sciences (EHESS), Paris

Svenja Goltermann, Professor Dr., Historisches Seminar, University of Zurich

Neve Gordon, Professor of International Law, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London

Emily Gottreich, Adjunct Professor, Global Studies and Department of History, UC Berkeley, Director MENA-J Program

Leonard Grob, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Fairleigh Dickinson University

Jeffrey Grossman, Associate Professor, German and Jewish Studies, Chair of the German Department, University of Virginia

Atina Grossmann, Professor of History, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, The Cooper Union, New York

Wolf Gruner, Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies and Founding Director of the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, University of Southern California

François Guesnet, Professor of Modern Jewish History, Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University College London

Ruth HaCohen, Artur Rubinstein Professor of Musicology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Aaron J. Hahn, Tapper Professor, Mae and Benjamin Swig Chair in Jewish Studies, University of San Francisco

Liora R. Halperin, Associate Professor of International Studies, History and Jewish Studies; Jack and Rebecca Benaroya Endowed Chair in Israel Studies, University of Washington

Rachel Havrelock, Professor of English and Jewish Studies, University of Illinois, Chicago

Sonja Hegasy, Professor Dr., Scholar of Islamic Studies and Professor of Postcolonial Studies, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin

Elizabeth Heineman, Professor of History and of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies, University of Iowa

Didi Herman, Professor of Law and Social Change, University of Kent

Deborah Hertz, Wouk Chair in Modern Jewish Studies, University of California, San Diego

Dagmar Herzog, Distinguished Professor of History and Daniel Rose Faculty Scholar Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY)

Susannah Heschel, Eli M. Black Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies, Chair, Jewish Studies Program, Dartmouth College

Dafna Hirsch, Dr., Open University of Israel

Marianne Hirsch, William Peterfield Trent Professor of Comparative Literature and Gender Studies, Columbia University

Christhard Hoffmann, Professor of Modern European History, University of Bergen

Dr. habil. Klaus Holz, General Secretary of the Protestant Academies of Germany, Berlin

Eva Illouz, Professor, Senior Research Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and School of Advanced Studies, Paris

Jill Jacobs, Rabbi, Executive Director, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, New York

Uffa Jensen, Professor Dr., Center for Research on Antisemitism, Technische Universität, Berlin

Jonathan Judaken, Professor, Spence L. Wilson Chair in the Humanities, Rhodes College

Robin E. Judd, Associate Professor, Department of History, The Ohio State University

Irene Kacandes, The Dartmouth Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature, Dartmouth University

Marion Kaplan, Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History, New York University

Eli Karetny, Deputy Director Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies; Lecturer Baruch College, The City University of New York (CUNY)

Nahum Karlinsky, The Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Menachem Klein, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Studies, Bar Ilan University

Brian Klug, Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy, St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford; Member of the Philosophy Faculty, Oxford University

Francesca Klug, Visiting Professor at LSE Human Rights and at the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice, Sheffield Hallam University

Thomas A. Kohut, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Professor of History, Williams College

Teresa Koloma Beck, Professor of Sociology, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg

Rebecca Kook, Dr., Department of Politics and Government, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Claudia Koonz, Professor Emeritus of History, Duke University

Hagar Kotef, Dr., Senior Lecturer in Political Theory and Comparative Political Thought, Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS, University of London

Gudrun Kraemer, Professor Dr., Senior Professor of Islamic Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

Cilly Kugelman, Historian, fmr. Program Director of the Jewish Museum, Berlin

Tony Kushner, Professor, Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, University of Southampton

Dominick LaCapra, Bowmar Professor Emeritus of History and of Comparative Literature, Cornell University

Daniel Langton, Professor of Jewish History, University of Manchester

Shai Lavi, Professor, The Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University; The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

Claire Le Foll, Associate Professor of East European Jewish History and Culture, Parkes Institute, University of Southampton; Director Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations

Nitzan Lebovic, Professor, Department of History, Chair of Holocaust Studies and Ethical Values, Lehigh University

Mark Levene, Dr., Emeritus Fellow, University of Southampton and Parkes Centre for Jewish/non-Jewish Relations

Simon Levis Sullam, Associate Professor in Contemporary History, Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, University Ca’ Foscari Venice

Lital Levy, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, Princeton University

Lior Libman, Assistant Professor of Israel Studies, Associate Director Center for Israel Studies, Judaic Studies Department, Binghamton University, SUNY

Caroline Light, Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies Program in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Harvard University

Kerstin von Lingen, Professor for Contemporary History, Chair for Studies of Genocide, Violence and Dictatorship, Vienna University

James Loeffler, Jay Berkowitz Professor of Jewish History, Ida and Nathan Kolodiz Director of Jewish Studies, University of Virginia

Hanno Loewy, Director of the Jewish Museum Hohenems, Austria

Ian S. Lustick, Bess W. Heyman Chair, Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania

Sergio Luzzato, Emiliana Pasca Noether Chair in Modern Italian History, University of Connecticut

Shaul Magid, Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College

Avishai Margalit, Professor Emeritus in Philosophy, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Jessica Marglin, Associate Professor of Religion, Law and History, Ruth Ziegler Early Career Chair in Jewish Studies, University of Southern California

Arturo Marzano, Associate Professor of History of the Middle East, Department of Civilizations and Forms of Knowledge, University of Pisa

Anat Matar, Dr., Department of Philosophy, Tel Aviv University

Manuel Reyes Mate Rupérez,Instituto de Filosofía del CSIC, Spanish National Research Council, Madrid

Menachem Mautner, Daniel Rubinstein Professor of Comparative Civil Law and Jurisprudence, Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University

Brendan McGeever, Dr., Lecturer in the Sociology of Racialization and Antisemitism, Department of Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck, University of London

David Mednicoff, Chair Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies and Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and Public Policy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Eva Menasse, Novelist, Berlin

Adam Mendelsohn, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Cape Town

Leslie Morris, Beverly and Richard Fink Professor in Liberal Arts, Professor and Chair Department of German, Nordic, Slavic & Dutch, University of Minnesota

Dirk Moses, Frank Porter Graham Distinguished Professor of Global Human Rights History, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Samuel Moyn, Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence and Professor of History, Yale University

Susan Neiman, Professor Dr., Philosopher, Director of the Einstein Forum, Potsdam

Anita Norich, Professor Emeritus, English and Judaic Studies, University of Michigan

Xosé Manoel Núñez Seixas,Professor of Modern European History, University of Santiago de Compostela

Esra Ozyurek, Sultan Qaboos Professor of Abrahamic Faiths and Shared Values Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge

Ilaria Pavan, Associate Professor in Modern History, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa

Derek Penslar, William Lee Frost Professor of Jewish History, Harvard University

Andrea Pető, Professor, Central European University (CEU), Vienna; CEU Democracy Institute, Budapest

Valentina Pisanty, Associate Professor, Semiotics, University of Bergamo

Renée Poznanski, Professor Emeritus, Department of Politics and Government, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

David Rechter, Professor of Modern Jewish History, University of Oxford

James Renton, Professor of History, Director of International Centre on Racism, Edge Hill Universit

Shlomith Rimmon Kenan,Professor Emerita, Departments of English and Comparative Literature, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Member of the Israel Academy of Science

Shira Robinson, Associate Professor of History and International Affairs, George Washington University

Bryan K. Roby, Assistant Professor of Jewish and Middle East History, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Na’ama Rokem, Associate Professor, Director Joyce Z. And Jacob Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies, University of Chicago

Mark Roseman, Distinguished Professor in History, Pat M. Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies, Indiana University

Göran Rosenberg, Writer and Journalist, Sweden

Michael Rothberg, 1939 Society Samuel Goetz Chair in Holocaust Studies, UCLA

Sara Roy, Senior Research Scholar, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University

Miri Rubin, Professor of Medieval and Modern History, Queen Mary University of London

Dirk Rupnow, Professor Dr., Department of Contemporary History, University of Innsbruck, Austria

Philippe Sands, Professor of Public Understanding of Law, University College London; Barrister; Writer

Victoria Sanford, Professor of Anthropology, Lehman College Doctoral Faculty, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY)

Gisèle Sapiro, Professor of Sociology at EHESS and Research Director at the CNRS (Centre européen de sociologie et de science politique), Paris

Peter Schäfer, Professor of Jewish Studies, Princeton University, fmr. Director of the Jewish Museum Berlin

Andrea Schatz, Dr., Reader in Jewish Studies, King’s College London

Jean-Philippe Schreiber, Professor, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels

Stefanie Schüler-Springorum,Professor Dr., Director of the Center for Research on Antisemitism, Technische Universität Berlin

Guri Schwarz, Associate Professor of Contemporary History, Dipartimento di Antichità, Filosofia e Storia, Università di Genova

Raz Segal, Associate Professor, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Stockton University

Joshua Shanes, Associate Professor and Director of the Arnold Center for Israel Studies, College of Charleston

David Shulman, Professor Emeritus, Department of Asian Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Dmitry Shumsky, Professor, Israel Goldstein Chair in the History of Zionism and the New Yishuv, Director of the Bernard Cherrick Center for the Study of Zionism, the Yishuv and the State of Israel, Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Marcella Simoni, Professor of History, Department of Asian and North African Studies, Ca’ Foscari University, Venice

Santiago Slabodsky, The Robert and Florence Kaufman Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies and Associate Professor of Religion, Hofstra University, New York

David Slucki, Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life and Culture, Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation, Monash University, Australia

Tamir Sorek, Liberal Arts Professor of Middle East History and Jewish Studies, Penn State University

Levi Spectre, Dr., Senior Lecturer at the Department of History, Philosophy and Judaic Studies, The Open University of Israel; Researcher at the Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University, Sweden

Michael P. Steinberg, Professor, Barnaby Conrad and Mary Critchfield Keeney Professor of History and Music, Professor of German Studies, Brown University

Lior Sternfeld, Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies, Penn State Univeristy

Michael Stolleis, Professor of History of Law, Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, Frankfurt am Main

Mira Sucharov, Professor of Political Science and University Chair of Teaching Innovation, Carleton University Ottawa

Adam Sutcliffe, Professor of European History, King’s College London

Aaron J. Hahn Tapper, Professor, Mae and Benjamin Swig Chair in Jewish Studies, University of San Francisco

Anya Topolski, Associate Professor of Ethics and Political Philosophy, Radboud University, Nijmegen

Barry Trachtenberg, Associate Professor, Rubin Presidential Chair of Jewish History, Wake Forest University

Emanuela Trevisan Semi, Senior Researcher in Modern Jewish Studies, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice

Heidemarie Uhl, PhD, Historian, Senior Researcher, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna

Peter Ullrich, Dr. Dr., Senior Researcher, Fellow at the Center for Research on Antisemitism, Technische Universität Berlin

Uğur Ümit Üngör, Professor and Chair of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Amsterdam; Senior Researcher NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam

Nadia Valman, Professor of Urban Literature, Queen Mary, University of London

Dominique Vidal, Journalist, Historian and Essayist

Alana M. Vincent, Associate Professor of Jewish Philosophy, Religion and Imagination, University of Chester

Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi, Head of The Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Anika Walke, Associate Professor of History, Washington University, St. Louis

Yair Wallach, Dr., Senior Lecturer in Israeli Studies School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, SOAS, University of London

Michael Walzer, Professor Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science, Princeton

Dov Waxman, Professor, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Chair in Israel Studies, University of California (UCLA)

Ilana Webster-Kogen, Joe Loss Senior Lecturer in Jewish Music, SOAS, University of London

Bernd Weisbrod, Professor Emeritus of Modern History, University of Göttingen

Eric D. Weitz, Distinguished Professor of History, City College and the Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY)

Michael Wildt, Professor Dr., Department of History, Humboldt University, Berlin

Abraham B. Yehoshua, Novelist, Essayist and Playwright

Noam Zadoff, Assistant Professor in Israel Studies, Department of Contemporary History, University of Innsbruck

Tara Zahra, Homer J. Livingston Professor of East European History; Member Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies, University of Chicago

José A. Zamora Zaragoza, Senior Researcher, Instituto de Filosofía del CSIC, Spanish National Research Council, Madrid

Lothar Zechlin, Professor Emeritus of Public Law, fmr. Rector Institute of Political Science, University of Duisburg

Yael Zerubavel, Professor Emeritus of Jewish Studies and History, fmr. Founding Director Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life, Rutgers University

Moshe Zimmermann, Professor Emeritus, The Richard Koebner Minerva Center for German History, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Steven J. Zipperstein, Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History, Stanford University

Moshe Zuckermann, Professor Emeritus of History and Philosophy, Tel Aviv University

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

https://jewishfaculty.ca/

Jewish Faculty in Canada Against the Adoption of the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism  

We write as Jewish faculty from across Canadian universities and colleges with deep concern regarding recent interventions on our campuses relating to Israel and Palestine. Addressing all forms of racism and discrimination, including antisemitism, is imperative at this historical moment. Among the signatories, many share family histories profoundly and intimately shaped by the Holocaust. We write out of a strong commitment to justice, which for some of us is vital to an ethical Jewish life.

We add our voices to a growing international movement of Jewish scholars to insist that university policies to combat antisemitism are not used to stifle legitimate criticisms of the Israeli state, or the right to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people. We recognize that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is a legitimate, non-violent form of protest. While not all of us endorse the BDS movement we oppose equating its support with antisemitism. We also are deeply disturbed by the upsurge of antisemitic acts in recent years which display painfully familiar forms of antisemitism.

We are specifically concerned with recent lobbying on our campuses for the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. This definition offers a vague and worrisome framing of antisemitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews” and that may be “directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property.” The most serious problem however is that the definition is tied to a series of examples of which many are criticisms of the Israeli state. For this reason, the IHRA working definition has come under extensive criticism. Not only does it essentialize Jewish identity, culture, and theology, it also equates Jewishness and Judaism with the State of Israel – effectively erasing generations of debate within Jewish communities. The issue is particularly pressing as the IHRA working definition has been invoked by those seeking to interfere with collegial governance and student life at Canadian universities. The IHRA working definition distracts from experiences of anti-Jewish racism, and threatens to silence legitimate criticism of Israel’s grave violations of international law and denial of Palestinian human and political rights.

On campuses where this definition has been adopted it has been used to intimidate and silence the work of unions, student groups, academic departments and faculty associations that are committed to freedom, equality and justice for Palestinians. A range of international Jewish institutions have recognized this problem; for example, the New Israel Fund of Canada has recently retracted their support for the IHRA working definition of antisemitism. Furthermore, the University College London (UCL) has seen its Academic Board advise that the university seek an alternative definition of antisemitism and reverse adoption of the IHRA model. The UCL Academic Board joins a growing chorus of voices, including over 500 Canadian academics and multiple statements by Jewish and Israeli academics, British academics who are Israeli citizens, and specialists in Jewish and Holocaust history, opposing the adoption of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism.

We know that there is serious and occasionally fractious disagreement on our campuses about antisemitism and its relationship to criticism of the State of Israel. These disputes cannot and will not be resolved by definitional fiat. If the goal of adopting the IHRA definition is to quell further conflict around the legitimate scope of criticism of Israel, it will surely fail. This is already evident at many academic institutions.

Adopting a seriously flawed framework to confront antisemitism is antithetical to the broader pursuit of justice and tolerance at the core of the mission statement of many universities. Freedom to criticize the policies and practices of any state without exception, including the State of Israel, is central to accountable scholarship, learning and education. We believe it is also central to building a more just academy.

Signed,Howard Tzvi Adelman, History and Jewish Studies, Queen’s University Jonathan Alschech, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, University of Northern British Columbia Vered Amit, Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Concordia University Meir Amor, Associate Professor, Concordia University Shira Avni, Associate Professor, Concordia University Abigail B. Bakan, Professor, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto Joel Bakan, Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia Lisa Barg, McGill University Bruce Baum, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of British Columbia Daniel Bender, History and Food Studies, Department of Historical and Cultural Studies, University of Toronto Joseph Berkovitz, Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto Rachel Berger, Associate Professor, History, Concordia University Jody Berland, Professor, Department of Humanities, York University Bruce J. Berman, Queen’s University Rachel Berman, Associate Professor, Early Childhood Studies, Ryerson University Lauren Bialystok, Associate Professor, Department of Social Justice Education, OISE, University of Toronto Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Professor of Critical Development Studies & Global Health University of Toronto Gary Bloch, Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto Michael Blum, Professor, École des arts visuels et médiatiques, Université du Québec à Montréal Shamma Boyarin, English Department/Religion Culture and Society Program, University of Victoria Lara Braitstein, Associate Professor, School of Religious Studies, McGill University Elise K. Burton, Assistant Professor, History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto Nadya Burton, Associate Professor, Midwifery Education Program, Ryerson University Shelley Ruth Butler, Lecturer, McGill University Nergis Canefe, Associate Professor of Politics, Public Policy and Law, York University Eric Cazdyn, Professor, University of Toronto Claudia Chaufan, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Health Policy and Management, York University Rebecca Comay, Professor, Philosophy and Comparative Literature, University of Toronto Jonah Corne, Associate Professor, Department of English, Theatre, Film and Media, University of Manitoba Deborah Cowen, Professor, Geography and Planning, University of Toronto Leah Decter, Canada Research Chair in Creative Technologies, Division of Media Arts, NSCAD University Sheila Delany, Emerita, Simon Fraser University James Deutsch MD, PhD, Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Toronto Mark Etkin, MD, FRCPC, Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba Aaron Ettinger, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Carleton University Alvin Finkel, Retired Professor of History, Athabasca University Elle Flanders, Lecturer, Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto John Fox, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, McMaster University Sid Frankel, Associate Professor, University of Manitoba Gavin Fridell, Associate Professor, Saint Mary’s University Harriet Friedmann, Professor Emerita of Sociology, University of Toronto Lara Rosenoff Gauvin, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Manitoba Stella Gaon, Professor, Department of Political Science, Saint Mary’s University Judith A. Garber, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Alberta Roni Gechtman, Associate Professor, Department of History, Mount Saint Vincent University Mimi Gellman, Associate Professor, Emily Carr University of Art and Design Amanda Glasbeek, Associate Professor, Department of Social Science, York University Harry Glasbeek, Professor Emeritus, York University Luin Goldring, Professor of Sociology, York University Tara Goldstein, Professor, Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, OISE, University of Toronto Cy Gonick, Founder Canadian Dimension magazine, retired economics professor University of Manitoba Rachel Gorman, Associate Professor, Critical Disability Studies, York University Barbara Graves, Professor, Faculté d’éducation, University of Ottawa Jonathan Greene, Associate Professor, Political Studies, Trent University Jesse Greener, Professor of Chemistry, Université Laval Ricardo Grinspun, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, York University Kevin A. Gould, Associate Professor, Geography, Planning and Environment, Concordia University Gal Gvili, McGill University Jasmin Habib, Associate Professor, University of Waterloo Chaya Halberstam, King’s University College at Western University Judy Haiven, PhD. Retired Professor, Saint Mary’s University Larry Haiven, PhD. Professor Emeritus, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Max Haiven, Associate Professor, CRC in Culture, Media and Social Justice, Lakehead University Orit Halpern, Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology, Concordia University Rick Halpern, Professor, History, University of Toronto Monica Heller, Professor, University of Toronto Judith Adler Hellman, Senior Scholar and Professor Emerita, Politics and Social Science, York University Stephen M. Hellman, Senior Scholar and Professor Emeritus, Department of Politics, York University Sivane Hirsch, Professor, Education Department, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Risa Horowitz, Associate Professor, Visual Arts, University of Regina Penelope Ironstone, Department of Communication Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University Dan Jacobson, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Calgary JoAnn Jaffe, Professor, Department of Sociology and Social Studies, University of Regina David Kahane, Professor of Political Science, University of Alberta Ivan Kalmar, Professor, University of Toronto Ilan Kapoor, Professor, York University David Kattenburg, University of Manitoba Ariel Katz, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto Ryan M. Katz-Rosene, Assistant Professor, School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa W. Reuben Kaufman, Professor Emeritus, Dept. Biological Sciences, University of Alberta Robert Kirchner, PhD. University of Alberta Linguistics Dept., Associate Professor (retired) Martin Klein, Professor (Emeritus), University of Toronto Peter Klein, Professor, University of British Columbia Natalie Kouri-Towe, Assistant Professor, Concordia University Jeffrey Kugler, Executive Director (retired), Centre for Urban Schooling, OISE, University of Toronto Michael Lambek, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto Robert Latham, Department of Politics, York University Gordon Laxer, Professor Emeritus, Political Economy, University of Alberta Michael A. Lebowitz, Professor Emeritus, Economics, Simon Fraser University Barbara Leckie, Professor, Department of English and Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art, and Culture, Carleton University Josh Lepawsky, Memorial University Richard Borshay Lee, University Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto Erica Lehrer, Professor, Concordia University Melissa Levin, Assistant Professor: Teaching Stream, New College, University of Toronto Charmain Levy, Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Université du Québec en Outaouais Joel Lexchin, Professor Emeritus, School of Health Policy and Management, Faculty of Health, York University Felice Lifshitz, Professor, University of Alberta Andrew P. Lyons, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Wilfrid Laurier University. Harriet Lyons, Professor Emerita, Department of Anthropology, University of Waterloo Shoshana Magnet, Professor, Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies, University of Ottawa Sara Matthews, Associate Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University Don Mazer, Associate Professor of Psychology (retired), University of Prince Edward Island Marguerite Mendell, Distinguished Professor Emerita, Concordia University, Montreal Jeffrey B. Meyers, TRU, Law Dorit Naaman, Full Professor, Film, Media and Cultural Studies, Queen’s University Joanne Naiman, Professor Emerita, Ryerson University, Toronto Neil Naiman, Senior Scholar, York University Sheryl Nestel, PhD, Lecturer (retired), Ontario institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto Jesse Salah Ovadia, Associate Professor Department of Political Science, University of Windsor Shiri Pasternak, Assistant Professor, Criminology, Ryerson University Alejandro I. Paz, Associate Professor, University of Toronto Scarborough Karen Pearlston, Professor of Law, University of New Brunswick Shayna Plaut, Adjunct Professor Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Manitoba Natasha Pravaz, Associate Professor, Anthropology and Cultural Analysis and Social Theory, Wilfrid Laurier University Janna Promislow, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria Yakov M. Rabkin, Professor Emeritus, Department of History, University of Montreal Dennis Raphael, Professor of Health Policy and Management, York University Ester Reiter, Professor Emeritus, York University Shelley Zipora Reuter, Professor, Concordia University Jillian Rogin, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor Richard Roman, University of Toronto Reuben Rose-Redwood, Professor, Department of Geography, University of Victoria Daniel Rosenblatt, Associate Professor, Carleton University Reuben Roth, Associate Professor, School of Northern and Community Studies, Laurentian University Natalie Rothman, Associate Professor, University of Toronto Scarborough Alan Rutkowski, Librarian (retired), University of Alberta Deborah Rutman, Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Victoria Ariel Salzmann, Queen’s University Itay Sapir, Associate Professor, Art History, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) Rebecca Schein, Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies, Carleton University Alan Sears, Professor, Department of Sociology, Ryerson University Naomi Seidman, Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto Devin Zane Shaw, Regular Faculty, Department of Philosophy and Humanities, Douglas College Lincoln Z. Shlensky, Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Victoria Jonathan Sterne, Professor, McGill University Jeremy Stolow, Department of Communication Studies, Concordia University Mira Sucharov, Professor, Political Science and University Chair of Teaching Innovation, Carleton University Gail Super, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Sociology (UTM), University of Toronto Mark Sussman, Concordia University, Theatre Department/Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society & Culture Donald Swartz, Professor, Carleton University (retired) Vannina Sztainbok, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, University of Toronto Judith Taylor, Associate Professor, Sociology and WGSI, University of Toronto Eliot Tretter, Associate Professor, Geography and the Urban Studies Program, University of Calgary Eric Tucker, Professor Osgoode Hall Law School, York University Brenda Vellino, Department of English/Human Rights, Carleton University Richard Wellen, Associate Professor, Department of Social Science, York University Abraham Weizfeld PhD, former Course Director York University, Departments of Political Science & Social & Political Thought Joel Westheimer, University Research Chair in Democracy & Education, University of Ottawa Daphne Winland, Department of Anthropology, York University Yves Winter, Associate Professor, Political Science, McGill University Lesley Wood, Associate Professor, Sociology, York University b.h. Yael, Professor, Faculty of Art, OCAD University Maya A. Yampolsky, Assistant Professor, Université Laval Anna Zalik, Associate Professor, York University Keren Zaiontz, Assistant Professor, Department of Film and Media, Queen’s University Natalie Zemon Davis, Professor of History (retired), University of Toronto Marvin Zuker, OISE, University of Toronto===================================================================

https://israelandantisemitism.com/understanding-antisemitism-at-its-nexus-with-israel-and-zionism-white-paper/
https://israelandantisemitism.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Antisemitism-White-Paper-November-22.pdf

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  Understanding Antisemitism at its Nexus with Israel and Zionism1   

Draft – November 22, 2020

 This document endeavors to define antisemitism 2 so that it is relevant to the current context worldwide — especially with regard to the relationship between antisemitism, and Israel and Zionism. It is not meant as a legal document but rather as a guide for policymakers and community leaders as they grapple with the complexities at the nexus of these issues.

Antisemitism

Antisemitism consists of anti-Jewish attitudes, actions or systemic conditions. It includes negative beliefs and feelings about Jews, hostile behavior directed against Jews, and conditions that discriminate against Jews and impede their ability to participate as equals in political, religious, cultural, economic, or social life.

Uniting all of antisemitism’s strands is a persistent demonization that casts Jews not only as “others” (i.e., as intrinsically different or alien) but also as irredeemably threatening and dangerously powerful There are multiple reasons that people may have for opposing Zionism and/or Israel. Such opposition does not necessarily reflect specific anti-Jewish animus nor purposefully lead to antisemitic behaviors and conditions. For example, someone might oppose the principle of nationalism or ethnonationalist ideology, of which Zionism is an example. Someone’s personal or national experience may have been adversely affected by the creation of the State of Israel (e.g., Palestinians for whom Zionism/Israel has created inequality and/or led to exile). Indeed, there are Jewish anti-Zionists who hold ethical and religious convictions that oppose a Jewish state. None of these motivations or attitudes toward Israel and/or Zionism necessarily constitute antisemitic behavior as troublemakers, shysters, capitalists, anarchists, communists, sexual degenerates, etc. The elements that make up antisemitism derive from various historical conditions, and in our current time combine to form pejorative claims that include religion, race, culture and politics. They portray Jews as secretive, manipulative, untrustworthy, controlling, and dangerous — as well as responsible for other people’s suffering.

Understanding and addressing antisemitism is important in its own right, and it is a critical part of the broader struggle against all forms of oppression.

Antisemitic behaviors and conditions may emerge from indifference, stereotyping, or the rejection of Jewish perspectives and interests because they are held by Jews. It is even possible to engage in antisemitic behavior, or to promote antisemitic conditions, without holding expressly prejudicial attitudes toward Jews. In some cases, antisemitic behaviors and conditions may coexist with positive attitudes toward certain Jews or Jewish institutions.

Antisemitism can present in different forms; people change it and adapt it to their own social, political, cultural, religious, and historical circumstances. It can be used to target Jews of all races, denominations, gender identities, levels of observance, and political ideologies.

Antisemitism fulfills a social function: It provides an explanation for social disorders. People use it to demonize and fuel the oppression of any minority and all minorities 3, while fomenting division between Jews and other minorities.

As the embodiment/realization of collective Jewish organization and action, Israel is a magnet for and a target of antisemitic behavior. Thus, it is important for Jews and their allies to understand what is and what is not antisemitic in relation to Israel.

Antisemitism, Israel, and Zionism

Israel and Zionism:

Historically, and especially since its establishment as a state in 1948, Israel has served as one expression of Jewish national identity. Zionism is a political ideology that says the Jewish people constitute a modern national collective. During the 20th century, Jews in many European and Middle Eastern countries were assaulted, oppressed, and economically deprived, culminating in the murder of 6,000,000 Jews in the Holocaust. This led most Jews worldwide to embrace Israel and Zionism.

As a sovereign state and a member of the United Nations, Israel has the rights and responsibilities of other sovereign states. It is subject to praise and condemnation, support and opposition, according to the expectations and provisions of its international and domestic relationships and obligations. Zionism asserts that the Jewish people should be able to exercise self-determination in their ancestral homeland. Beyond this core affirmation, the word Zionism often means different things to different people, and should therefore be used with precision. There are numerous varieties of Zionism and many attempts to appropriate the term in service of a particular political perspective.

Zionism makes no judgment regarding the justice or wisdom of particular Israeli governmental policies (e.g., Israel’s precise borders or the character of its democracy).

If a person identifies as a “Zionist,” such association does not entail carte blanche approval of all or even any policies or politics of a specific Israeli government. Similarly, “anti-Zionist” is not an appropriate label for a speaker merely because he or she opposes specific Israeli policies.

Criticism of Israel and Zionism:

Criticism of Zionism and Israel, opposition to Israel’s policies, or nonviolent political action directed at the State of Israel and/or its policies should not, as such, be deemed antisemitic.

Using accusations of antisemitism as a tool to suppress criticism of Israel is dangerous on many levels. It distracts attention from bona fide antisemitism, infringes on the principle of freedom of expression, and militates against constructive dialogue and debate among people with differing opinions.

Even contentious, strident, or harsh criticism of Israel for its policies and actions, including those that led to the creation of Israel, is not per se antisemitic. This includes critiques of specific forms of Zionism that are incompatible with the equal dignity or self-determination of others (e.g., forms of Zionism which are opposed in concept to the existence of a Palestinian state or to any other credible mechanism for upholding Palestinian democratic rights).

Generally speaking, judging Israel using the same standards applied to other countries is not antisemitism. Paying disproportionate attention to Israel and/or treating it differently than other countries is not prima facie evidence of antisemitism. There are numerous reasons for treating Israel differently or devoting special attention to Israel, among them that Israel receives more military aid than any other country or that someone has a special religious connection with Israel. Singling out Israel because it is a Jewish state, using standards different than those applied to other countries, is antisemitism.

Opposition to Zionism and/or Israel:

There are multiple reasons that people may have for opposing Zionism and/or Israel. Such opposition does not necessarily reflect specific anti-Jewish animus nor purposefully lead to antisemitic behaviors and conditions. For example, someone might oppose the principle of nationalism or ethnonationalist ideology, of which Zionism is an example.7 Someone’s personal or national experience may have been adversely affected by the creation of the State of Israel (e.g., Palestinians for whom Zionism/Israel has created inequality and/or led to exile). Indeed, there are Jewish anti-Zionists who hold ethical and religious convictions that oppose a Jewish state. None of these motivations or attitudes toward Israel and/or Zionism necessarily constitute antisemitic behavior.

When is criticism or opposition to Zionism and/or Israel antisemitic?

All claims of antisemitism, like all claims of discrimination and oppression in general, should be given serious attention. Arguments that claims of antisemitism are always or primarily tools to suppress criticism of Israel or opposition to its policies often justify the dismissal of Jewish concerns, allowing even serious cases of antisemitism to go unchallenged. In particular, antisemitic speech or conduct is not insulated simply because it styles itself as “criticism of Israel.”

Whether or not speech or conduct about Zionism and Israel is antisemitic should be based on the standards for speech or conduct that apply to antisemitic behavior in general. Thus, it is antisemitic to promote myths, stereotypes or attitudes about Zionism and/or Israel that derive from and/or reinforce antisemitic accusations and tropes. These include:

  • Characterizing Israel as being part of a sinister world conspiracy of Jewish control of the media, economy, government or other financial, cultural or societal institutions; 4
  • Indiscriminately blaming suffering and injustices around the world on a Jewish conspiracy or as the maligning hand of Israel or Zionism. 5
  • Holding individuals or institutions, because they are Jewish, a priori culpable of real or imagined wrongdoing committed by Israel. 6
  • Considering Jews to be a priori incapable of setting aside their affinity/loyalty to the Jewish people and/or Israel. 7
  • Denigrating or denying the Jewish identity of certain Jews because they are perceived as holding the “wrong” position (whether too critical or too favorable) on Israel. 8

Other cases in which criticism of Zionism and Israel or opposition to Israel’s policies might be deemed antisemitic include:

  • Including symbols and images that present Jews worldwide as collectively guilty for the actions of the State of Israel.
  • Attacking a Jew because of her/his relationship to Israel. Conveying intense hostility toward Jews who are connected to Israel in a way that intentionally or irresponsibly (acting with disregard to potential violent consequences) provokes antisemitic violence.
  • Treating Israel in a negative manner based on a claim that Jews in particular should be denied the right to define themselves as a people and to exercise self-determination.
  • Advocating a political solution that denies Jews the right to define themselves as a people, thereby denying them because they are Jews the right to self-determination, and/or denying Jews the right to physical safety and full human, civil, and religious rights.

Overall, the criterion for judging whether instances are antisemitic is the same criterion for judging antisemitic behavior in any of its forms. It is antisemitic if it includes harmful hostile, degrading, or discriminatory behaviors directed toward Jews — in word and/or in action, that harm Jews — and significantly impede their ability to participate as equals in political, religious, cultural, economic, or social life.

 1 This paper was drafted by the Nexus Task Force, a project of the Knight Program on Media and Religion at the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism at USC. The Task Force is examining the issues at the nexus of antisemitism and Israel in American politics.

2 For the purposes of this paper we are using the term “antisemitic” and “antisemitism” to refer to all forms of anti-Jewish behavior. We also use “antisemitism” (without a hyphen) to emphasize that there is no ideology of “Semitism” that antisemites oppose — antisemitism is not, for example, hostility towards speakers of Semitic language groups.For the purposes of this paper we are using the term “antisemitic” and “antisemitism” to refer to all forms of anti-Jewish behavior. We also use “antisemitism” (without a hyphen) to emphasize that there is no ideology of “Semitism” that antisemites oppose—antisemitism is not, for example, hostility towards speakers of Semitic language groups.

3 See “Skin in the Game” by Eric Ward for an articulation of the ways in which antisemitism animates white nationalism.

4 From the Iranian run Press TV broadcasting in North America and Europe: “Netanyahu still has his hands on the strings that control puppets around the world, the press, entertainment industry, key world leaders.”

5 An Algerian news site blamed the “Zionist Entity” (Israel) for the Coronavirus and a collaboration between a “Zionist Institute” and a French Jewish billionaire. https://almasdar-dz.com/?p=103657

6 A study by the UK based Institute for Jewish Policy Research showed “almost eighty percent of respondents, indicated that “they have felt blamed by non-Jews, at least occasionally, for the actions of the Israeli government, purely on the basis of their Jewishness.”

7 In August 2019, President Trump, while praising the loyalty of Israeli Jews to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused American Jewish Democrats of disloyalty. The New York Times wrote of the incident: “It was the second day in a row that Mr. Trump addressed Jews and loyalty, a theme evoking an anti-Semitic trope that Jews have a “dual loyalty” and are often more loyal to Israel than to their own countries.” “If you want to vote Democrat, you are being very disloyal to Jewish people and very disloyal to Israel,” Mr. Trump said Wednesday at the White House.”

8 David Friedman, prior to becoming U.S. Ambassador to Israel called, J St supporters “worse than Kapos.”  https://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/18828ADVISORY COMMITTEE Jeremy Ben-Ami Sarah Bunin Benor Michael Berenbaum Lila Corwin Berman Rabbi Sharon Brous Geoffrey Cowan Reuven Firestone Rabbi Laura Geller Father James Lewis Heft Rabbi Jill Jacobs Dove Kent Daniel Kurtzer Rabbi Joy Levitt Aaron David Miller David N. Myers Bruce Phillips Steve Rabinowitz Norman Rosenberg Rabbi Jennie Rosenn Hannah Rosenthal Rabbi John L. Rosove Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller Rabbi Joel Thal Simonds Rabbi Ruth Sohn Varun Soni Kenneth Stern Nomi M. Stolzenberg Rabbi Burt Visotzky Steven Windmueller

TASK FORCE MEMBERS Aaron Back Steven Beller Eric Greene Rabbi Jocee Hudson Jonathan Jacoby Ethan Katz Analucía Lopezrevoredo Matt Nosanchuk David Schraub Joshua Shanes Norman Rosenberg Tema Smith Dov Waxman Diane H. Winston SPECIAL THANKS . . . Sarah Brown Michelle Castillo Boaz Gerstl (USC Intern) Quan Le (USC Intern) Maria Lentz Mary MacVean Ginger Mayerson Graham Murray Yara Razzouk Gary Wexler

Oded Goldreich among Academics Supporting the Palestinian Ministry of Education’s Call Urging ‘Horizon Europe’ to Shun Ariel University

01.04.21

Editorial Note

On February 22, 2021, the European Research Council officially announced Horizon Europe, the new European Framework Program for Research and Innovation for 2021-2027. Countries such as Israel, UK, Switzerland, Norway, and others, associated with the previous Framework Program Horizon 2020, will become associated with Horizon Europe by the end of this year.

According to the EU publication, Israeli participation in Horizon 2020 in signed grants was 1255 recipients. In comparison, Palestine had eight recipients.

On March 23, 2021, the Palestinian Ministry of Education, along with other Palestinian bodies, published a call against Ariel University receiving grants, titled “Ariel University and Horizon 2020: The EU is legitimizing Israel’s illegal settlements.” The Palestinian Ministry of Education’s call garnered 522 signatories of international academics, among them Israelis. Professor Goldreich from Weizmann Institute, a candidate for the prestigious Israel Prize, as IAM reported last week, is among the signatories.

The Palestinian call states that “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…. 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… we urge the EU Commission, Parliament and Council to devise, fund and implement the effective monitoring of participating research projects and hold transgressors accountable.” 

Among the 522 signatories, some names stand out:   Gilbert Achcar, SOAS, University of London, UK. Mona Baker, University of Manchester, UK.  Joel Beinin, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Emeritus, Stanford University, US.    Richard Falk, Princeton University, US.    Nicola Perugini, University of Edinburgh, UK.    Jonathan Rosenhead, London School of Economics, UK.   Ofer Aharony, Weizmann Institute, Israel.    Aviad Albert, University of Cologne, Germany.   Yonathan (Jon) Anson, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.    Outi Bat-El Foux, Tel-Aviv University, Israel.   Jerome Bourdon, Tel Aviv University, Israel.   Haim Bresheeth, SOAS, London, UK.    Raz Chen-Morris, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.    Nomi Erteschik-Shir, Ben-Gurion University, Israel.   Snait Gissis, Tel Aviv University, Israel.    Amos Goldberg, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.   Amiram Goldblum, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.   Oded Goldreich, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel.   Neve Gordon, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London, UK. Nir Gov, Weizmann Institute, Israel.  Erella Grassiani, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.    Raphael Greenberg, Tel Aviv University, Israel.  Ilana Hairston, Tel Hai Academic College, Israel.    Shir Hever, Jewish Voice for Just Peace in the Middle East, Germany.    Itamar Kastner, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.     Hagar Kotef, SOAS, University of London, UK.    Ronit Lentin, Trinity College Dublin (ret), Ireland.   Yosefa Loshitzky, SOAS University of London, UK.   Ruchama Marton, PHR-ISRAEL, Israel.   Anat Matar, Tel Aviv University, Israel.   Adi Ophir, Tel Aviv University, Brown University, US.  Yoav Peled, Tel Aviv University, Israel.   Nurit Peled-Elhanan, Hebrew University, Israel.   Shakhar Rahav, University of Haifa, Israel.  Hannah Safran, The Haifa Feminist Research Center, Israel.  Itamar Shachar, Ghent University, Belgium.   Dmitry Shumsky, Professor of modern Jewish history, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.   Kobi Snitz, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel.   Roy Wagner, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.   Dror Warschawski, Sorbonne Université, France.   Haim Yacobi, University College London, UK.  

The Palestinian Ministry of Education inaugurated the campaign “No Academic Business as usual with Ariel University,” also known as No Ariel Ties (NoArielTies.org) in November 2018. It joined with the Council of Palestinian Universities’ Presidents; Palestinian Federation of University Unions of University Professors and Employees; and, Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council.  The campaign aims to prevent the recognition of Israeli academic institutions in “illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.” It calls for “Obligations for institutions: Respecting international law, as a peaceful and universal means of conflict resolution.” The campaign also requires “denying recognition to, and severing institutional relations with Ariel University as an illegal settlement institution.” The campaign demands “Complicity in international law violations,” as the Israeli settlement activity “constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.” According to them, “Ariel University is deeply and directly complicit in Israel’s system of oppression that denies Palestinians their basic rights guaranteed by international law.” They also state that “Ariel University is an illegal institution and is deeply and directly complicit in Israel’s system of oppression that has denied Palestinians their basic rights guaranteed by international law, including the right to education and academic freedom.”

In September 2020, IAM reported that No Ariel Ties waged a campaign against Dr. Mindy Levine from the department of Chemical Sciences at Ariel University, who was announced as a Special Issue Editor of the scientific journal Molecules. The campaigners wrote the Molecules editors and urged the journal to change Levine’s affiliation to “Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory.” 

Molecules pressed the editor to change her affiliation, but she refused, and, as a result, the journal withdrew the Special Issue and removed it from its website. But, for a short time, until it reinstated it back on the website, with Ariel University, Israel, as Levine’s home institute. The Special Issue is due to be published later this year. 

Worth noting that Goldreich and other Israeli academics who call for the boycott of Ariel University have breached the Israeli 2011 anti-Boycott Law.

The recurring phenomenon of Israeli academics breaking the law by advocating for BDS is troubling.  IAM has argued that the root of the problem is that Israel has a highly expansive view of academic freedom, which would not have been tolerated in a public university in any other Western country.   Academic authorities have been hesitant to challenge their own faculty because they fear the orchestrated outrage by the pro-Palestinian community on Western campuses.

Mobilizing Israeli scholars supported by the Israeli taxpayers is considered a shrewd move on the part of the pro-Palestinian activists who try to shield themselves from charges of anti-Semitism.   

Despite the blatant abuses of human rights in the Palestinian Territories and other countries, only Israel is censured by the academic community.  This selective view should delegitimize the BDS movement and its supporters. 

https://sciencebusiness.net/news/over-500-academics-call-eu-keep-israels-ariel-university-out-research-projects

25 Mar 2021   |   News

Over 500 academics call on EU to keep Israel’s Ariel University out of research projects

Ariel University, located in a settlement on the West Bank, should have no involvement in EU-funded projects researchers say, as the university denies one of its professors received EU fundingBy Éanna Kelly

Over 500 academics from more than 20 European countries and Israel on Wednesday published an open letter condemning any involvement of Israel’s Ariel University in EU-funded research projects.

The university is located in the West Bank, an area Palestinians seek for their future state. The EU and most of the international community views permanent settlements on this land as illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

The letter notes “with grave concern the ongoing failure of the European Union to ensure that its taxpayer-funded research programmes are not used to legitimise or otherwise sustain the establishment and the activities of Israeli academic institutions in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT).”

According to participation rules for Horizon 2020, the EU’s most recent science programme, Israeli entities may only receive grants from EU programmes if the projects concerned do not take place in settlements occupied by Israel since 1967. The Commission says “all its projects are closely monitored” and undergo a “rigorous ethical evaluation”.

The letter says that Ariel University hosted a dissemination event for the BOUNCE project in June 2020. In addition, a professor from Ariel University is listed as a co-researcher on the project, “raising serious questions as to whether research activities were carried out in the OPT,” the letter says.

Ariel University is also listed as involved in the Horizon 2020 earth observation project GEO-CRADLE, the letter notes.

The academics allege that, “multiple cases demonstrate failures of the Commission to properly instruct against, monitor for, and rectify project management transgressions against these EU positions.”

“The EU must and can do better,” the letter states. “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.”

In response to the letter, Nicole Greenspan, head of international research and public relations at Ariel University said, “The inconsequential issue raised is that of the participation of a single Ariel University professor in an online event. The researcher is not funded by the EU.”

Sampling soil in the Occupied Territories

In January 2020, Green MEP Gina Dowding asked the Commission to account for Ariel University’s participation in GEO-CRADLE.

EU research commissioner Mariya Gabriel responded by saying Horizon 2020 projects are being closely monitored by the Commission services and that this includes a rigorous ethical evaluation.

“In the GEO-CRADLE proposal there was no indication that the Tel Aviv University, one of the partners, intended to take soil samples in occupied territories or cooperate with stakeholders in these areas. Once the violation was detected, the Commission immediately took action, recalling the rules to the coordinator, who instructed Tel Aviv University to stop cooperation with Ariel University and Golan Heights Winery.”

Soil samples collected from the settlements were excluded from the research, Gabriel said, adding, “Costs claimed for these activities and the subsequent rectification were considered not eligible and therefore not covered by EU funding.”

The European Commission has been contacted for additional comment.

‘Political letter’

According to Greenspan, “Ariel University is an institution recognised by the Israeli Council for Higher Education. Its students and researchers hail from all segments of the population with no regard to nationality or religion. The university is actively involved in research to better the entire region including both Israeli and Palestinian communities around it.”

“Ariel University holds the mixing of research with politics to be abhorrent as do all serious researchers. The use of academic titles and affiliations should not be used to legitimise people’s personal political opinions. This letter, despite being undersigned by people from academia, is not an academic letter. It is a purely political one,” Greenspan said.

Since it was established in 2012, Ariel University’s presence in the West Bank has repeatedly stirred controversy, with some Israeli academics and the Palestinians coming out against the institution over the years.

Last year, the Trump administration lifted a decades-old ban that had prohibited US taxpayer funding of Israeli scientific research conducted in settlements in the West Bank territory, drawing Palestinian condemnation. Ariel was chosen as the venue for a ceremony marking a new scientific and technology cooperation accord with the US.

Signatories speak

Science|Business spoke to four Israeli scientists who signed the letter.

Amiram Goldblum, professor emeritus of molecular modeling and drug design at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, complained that Ariel University is not recognised by international law.

Outi Bat-El Foux, professor of linguistics at Tel Aviv University said, “As a person who was born and raised in Israel, and cares about its future, the existence of the city of Ariel and its academic institution undermine the foundation of Israel and its people.”

Ofer Aharony, a theoretical physicist at the Weizmann Institute of Science, said he is “strongly opposed to Israel’s policy of establishing settlements in the West Bank. I view such settlements as illegal under international law and I am not willing to do anything to assist them.”

Aharony added that his opinion was “a minority view in Israel; most Israelis support the settlement at least to some extent, though there is probably also a small majority that would support dismantling some settlements if and when a peace agreement with the Palestinians is signed.”

Raphael Greenberg, an archaeologist at Tel Aviv University, said, “Many of our colleagues in Israel and Europe appear to accept the normalisation of the Ariel institution as an Israeli research university. By insisting that the EU stand by its own principles, we wish to protect our institutions and remind our colleagues that legitimacy is hard to attain and easy to lose.”========================================================

https://noarielties.org/2021/03/23/ariel-university-and-horizon-2020-the-eu-is-legitimizing-israels-illegal-settlements/

Ariel University and Horizon 2020: The EU is legitimizing Israel’s illegal settlementsDate: March 23, 2021

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.

Signed: Paul Aarts, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Airnel Abarra, University of Physical Education, Hungary. Ahmed Abbes, Directeur de recherche au CNRS, France. Samer Abdelnour, University of Edinburgh, Scotland Majed Abusalama, Tampere Uni/Palestine Research Group, Germany. Giuseppe Acconcia, University of Padova, Italy. Gilbert Achcar, SOAS, University of London, United Kingdom. Jonas Adriaensens, Ghent University, Belgium. Ofer Aharony, Weizmann Institute, Israel. Sylvia Akar, University of Helsinki, Finland. Aviad Albert, University of Cologne, Germany. Alessandra Algostino, Università di Torino, Italy. Nour Ali, Brunel University London, United Kingdom. Kieran Allen, University College Dublin, Ireland. Lori Allen, SOAS University of London, United Kingdom. Carlos Almeida, Centre for History of the University of Lisbon, Portugal. Teresa Alpuim, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal. Àdel Alsalti, Technical University of Catalonia, Spain. Roberta Aluffi, Università di Torino, Italy. Lorenzo Alunni, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France. João Alves, Instituto Politécnico de Portalegre, Portugal. Marco Ammar, Università di Genova, Italy. Yonathan (Jon) Anson, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. Arjun Appadurai, Professor and Writer, Germany. Karin Arts, Professor of international law and development, International Institute of Social Studies (of Erasmus University Rotterdam), Netherlands. Dr. Valentina Azarova, Research Fellow, Manchester International Law Center, University of Manchester , Germany. Manlio Bacco, CNR, Italy. Abdallah Badra, Université Clermont Auvergne, France. Claude  Baesens, University of Warwick, United Kingdom. Mona Baker, University of Manchester, UK, United Kingdom. Viviane Baladi, CNRS, France. Cristiana Baldazzi, University of Trieste, Italy. Vania Baldi, Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal. Andrea Balduzzi, Università di Genova (retired), Italy. Angelo Baracca, University of Florence, Italy. Isaías Barreñada, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. Rémi Barrère, University Bourgogne – Franche Comté, France. Enrico Bartolomei, Independent researcher, Italy. Outi Bat-El Foux, Tel-Aviv University, Israel. Arnaud Beauville, Université Côte d’Azur, France. Johannes Maria Becker, PD Dr., Arbeitskreis Marburger WissenschaftlerInnen für Friedens- und Abrüstungsforschung, Germany. Adriaan Bedner, Leiden University, Netherlands. Joel Beinin, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Emeritus, Stanford University, United States. Desmond Bell, National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland. Alex Bellem, Durham University, United Kingdom. Tarak Ben Zineb, Université de Lorraine, France. Roberto Beneduce, University of Turin, Italy. Alexis Benos, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece Hourya Bentouhami, Université de Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France. Chiara Bertone, University of Eastern Piedmont, Italy. Niko Besnier, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Francesca Biancani, University of Bologna, Italy. Jess Bier, Erasmus University, Netherlands. Alain Bihr, Université de Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France. Julie Billaud, Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland. Susan Blackwell, Universiteit Utrecht, Netherlands., Netherlands. Camillo  Boano, University College London, United Kingdom. Hannah  Boast, University College Dublin, Ireland. Riccardo Bocco, The Graduate Institute, Switzerland. Arnaud Bondon, CNRS , France. Rick Bonnie, University of Helsinki, Finland. Simona Borioni, ENEA Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy, Environment, Italy. Fabrizio Boscaglia, Universidade Lusófona, Portugal. Michiel Bot, Tilburg University, Netherlands. Irena Botwinik, Open University, Israel. Jean-Pierre Bouché, CNRS-France. (retired), France. Jerome Bourdon, Tel Aviv University, Israel. Glenn Bowman, University of Kent at Canterbury (Emeritus Professor), United Kingdom. Robert Boyce, London School of Economics, United Kingdom. Patrick J Boyd, Surgical Tutor Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, United Kingdom. Manuel Branco, University of Évora, Portugal. Martin Breidert, Dr.  theology, Germany. Jan Breman, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Eva Brems, Ghent University, Belgium. Haim Bresheeth, SOAS, London, United Kingdom. Roger Bromley, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. Kristiina Brunila, University of Helsinki, Finland. Michelle Burgis-Kasthala, University of Edinburgh, Scotland Enrico Caiani, Politecnico di Milano, Italy. Bernard Caillaud, Paris School of Economics, France. Silvia  Calatroni, Università Statale Milano, Italy. Marina Calculli, Leiden University, Netherlands. José Caldas, CoLABOR, Portugal. Pinuccia Caracchi, University of Turin, Italy. Miguel Cardina, Centre for Social Studies – University of Coimbra, Portugal. António Cardoso, Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo (Portugal.), Portugal. André Carmo, ECT-UÉ, Portugal. Mário Carvalho, ISEP , Portugal. Chiara Anna Cascino, University of Naples “L’Orientale” , Italy. Elena Casetta, Department of Philosophy and Education – University of Turin, Italy. Liselot Casteleyn, Ghent University, Belgium. Daude Cécile, MaÎtre de conférences de Grec, Université de Franche-Comté, France. John Chalcraft, LSE, United Kingdom. Iain Chalmers, Palestinian History Tapestry, United Kingdom. Iain Chambers, Università degli studi di Napoli Orientale , Italy. Gérard Chaouat, Inserm u 976, France. Lucie Chateau, Tilburg University, Netherlands. Frédéric Chaubet, University Sorbonne Paris Nord, France. Raz Chen-Morris, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Marco Chiani, University of Bologna, Italy. Yves Chilliard, INRAE, France., France. France.sco Chiodelli, University of Turin, Italy. James Chiriyankandath, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, United Kingdom. Tanzil Chowdhury, QMUL, United Kingdom. Allan Christensen, John Cabot University, Rome, Italy. Anna Ciannameo, Università di Bologna, Italy. David Clinch, Royal College of Physicians, Ireland. Maurice Coakley, Griffith College Dublin, Ireland. David Cobham, Heriot-Watt University, Scotland, UK James Cohen, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris 3), France. Ester Cois, University of Cagliari, Italy. Alfredo Colosimo, Independent scientist, Italy. Eddie Conlon, Technological University Dublin, Ireland. Philippe Corcuff, Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Lyon, France. Giselle Corradi, Ghent University, Belgium. France.sco Correale, CNRS – UMR 7324 CITERES, France. Cristiana Corsi, University of Bologna, Italy. Ciaran Cosgrove, Professor Emeritus in Latin-American Studies, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. Amedeo Cottino, University of Turin, Italy. Dr Laurence Cox, Maynooth University, Ireland. Stef Craps, Ghent University, Belgium. José Cravino, Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal. Luca Cristofolini, Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna, Italy. Mariateresa Crosta, Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Italy. Catherine Ann Cullen, Independent researcher, Ireland. MIke Cushman, LSE (retired), United Kingdom. Maria  D’Erme, Sapienza University, Italy. Frans Daems, University of Antwerp, Belgium. Bucker Dangor, Imperial College London, United Kingdom. Giulia Daniele, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Portugal. Dr. Laurence Davis, Department of Government and Politics, University College Cork, Ireland. Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun, Université de Paris, France. Chiara De Cesari, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Anne de Jong, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Maja de Langen, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Herman De Ley, Emeritus Ghent University, Belgium. Treasa De Loughry, University College Dublin, Ireland. María de Paz, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain. Marina  de Regt, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands. Mandy de Wilde, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Pietro Deandrea, Università di Torino, Italy. Seamus Deane, Emeritus Professor, Ireland. Sharae Deckard, University College Dublin, Ireland. Tom Decorte, Ghent University, Belgium. Martijn Dekker, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Dominique Delande, CNRS, France. France.sco Della Puppa, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy. Federico Della Valle, Università di Siena, Italy. Olga Demetriou, Durham University, United Kingdom. Tine Destrooper, Ghent University, Belgium. Alessia Di Eugenio, Università di Bologna, Italy. Silvia Di Marco, Center for Philosophy of Science – University of Lisbon, Portugal. Rosita Di Peri, University of Turin, Italy. Emilio Distretti, University of Basel, Switzerland. Gerard Domènech, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain. Elisabetta Donini, Women in Black, Italy. Michiel Doorman, Utrecht University, Netherlands. Fiona Dove, TNI, Netherlands. Koshka Duff, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. Francoise Dufour, Independent researcher, France. John Dugard, University of Leiden, Netherlands. Dominique Durand, The Institute for Integrative Biology of the Cell, CNRS-CEA-Paris-Saclay, France. Sergio Durante, Università di Padova, Italy. Evelyne Duval, MCFretraitée Université de Paris, France. James Eastwood, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom. Ivar Ekeland, Université Paris-Dauphine, France. Adam Elliott-Cooper, University of Greenwich, United Kingdom. Ziad Elmarsafy, King’s College London, United Kingdom. Ingunn Elstad, UiT Norges arktiske universitet, Norway Philippe Enclos, Université de Lille, France. Sai Englert, Leiden University, Netherlands. Mario Enrietti, Università di Torino, Italy. Nomi Erteschik-Shir, Ben-Gurion University, Israel. Maria J. Esteban, CNRS, France., France. Chris Evans, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom. Ricardo Falcão, Cei-Iscte, Portugal. Richard Falk, Princeton University, United States. Fiorenzo Fantaccini, Università di Firenze , Italy. Gerard Farrell, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Kevin Farrell, Technological University Dublin, Ireland. Guillem Farrés, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Belgium. Cristina Fasolato, University of Padua, Italy. Matilde Fdez.-Caballero Díaz- Meco, 06265112G, Spain. Alain Fenet, Université de Nantes, Professeur émérite, France. Mikael Fernström, University of Limerick, Ireland. Cristiana Fiamingo, State University Milan, Italy. Pedro Figueiredo Neto, ICS-University of Lisbon, Portugal. Barry Finnegan, Griffith College, Media Faculty, Ireland. Annerienke Fioole, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Jacques Fontaine, Université de Franche-Comté, Besançon, France. Lia Forti, University of Insubria, Italy. Murray Fraser, University College London, United Kingdom. Frederico Gama-Carvalho, Senior Researcher (retired) Center of Nuclear Science and Technology (C2TN), Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal. Marco Andrea Garuti, Università di Padova, Italy. Catarina Gaspar, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal. Franck Gaudichaud, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France. Conor Gearty, London School of Economics, United Kingdom. Gennaro Gervasio, Università Roma Tre, Italy. Peter Geschiere, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. France.sca Giangrande, Università degli Studi del Molise, Italy. John Gilbert, Università di Firenze, Italy. Vinçon Gilles, UPS Toulouse and ENSIMAG Grenoble, France. Fârès Gillon, The Institute of Ismaili Studies, United Kingdom. Andre Gingrich, Founding Member, European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), Austria Snait Gissis, Tel Aviv University, Israel. Elisa Giunchi, Università degli studi di Milano, Italy. Amos Goldberg, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem , Israel. Amiram Goldblum, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Oded Goldreich, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. Catherine Goldstein, CNRS, France. Raymond Goldstein, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. Luz Gomez, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. Maria E Gonçalves, ISCTE-IUL , Portugal. Neve Gordon, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom. Rebecca Ruth Gould, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. Nir Gov, Weizmann Institute, Israel. Gustavo Gozzi, Università di Bologna, Italy. Hector Grad, Social Anthropology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. Erella Grassiani, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Giacomo Graziani, INFN, Italy. Raphael Greenberg, Tel Aviv University, Israel. António Grilo, Instituto Superior Técnico – Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal. Jan-Erik Gustafsson, Associate prof KTH Sweden, Sweden Luca Guzzetti, University of Genoa, Italy. Ilana Hairston, Tel Hai Academic College, Israel. Pierre Halen, Université de Lorraine, France. David Halpin, Retired surgeon FRCS, United Kingdom. Imogen Hamilton-Jones, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Jeff Handmaker, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands. Mark Hann, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Christopher Harker, University College London, United Kingdom. Laia Haurie Ibarra, Associate Professor, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain. Kamel Hawwash, Univeristy of Birmingham, UK, United Kingdom. Christian Henderson, Leiden University , Netherlands. Kirsti Henriksen, The Arctic University of Norway, Norway Shir Hever, Jewish Voice for Just Peace in the Middle East, Germany. Helen Hintjens, ISS, UK/Netherlands. Willemijn Hirzalla – Leenhouts, University of Applied Sciences Leiden, Netherlands. Marian  Hobson, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom. Manuel Hohmann, University of Tartu, Estonia David Hughes, University College Dublin, Ireland. Pere-Lluís Huguet Cabot, La Sapienza, Italy. Ahmad Ighbariah, Tel Aviv university, Israel. David Ingleby, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Ferran Izquierdo-Brichs, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain. Richard Jacquemond, Aix-Marseille Université, France. Tariq Jazeel, University College London, United Kingdom. Robert Jennings, University of Milano, National Academy of Italy., Italy. Boghos Joulakian, University of Lorraine , France. François Jourdan, theologian and islamologist, France. Luca Jourdan, Università di Bologna, Italy. Nisha Kapoor, University of Warwick, United Kingdom. Zeynep Kasli, International Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands. Itamar Kastner, University of Edinburgh, Scotland Gerry Kearns, Maynooth University, Ireland. Laleh Khalili, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom. Victoria Khraiche, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. Zeynep Kivilcim, Humboldt University, Germany. Alessio Kolioulis, The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, United Kingdom. Hagar Kotef, SOAS, University of London, United Kingdom. Aymon Kreil, Ghent University, Belgium. Antti Kupiainen, University of Helsinki, Finland. Seán  L’Estrange, University College Dublin, Ireland. Paolo La Spisa, University of Florence, Italy. Tuomas Lähdeoja, Helsinki University, Finland. Nicola Lampitelli, Université de Tours, France. Inger Pauline Landsem, UIT the Arctic University of Norway, Norway David Landy, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Danielle Laporte, UFC Besançon, France. André Larceneux, Université de Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France. Stéphanie  Latte, Ceri-SciencesPo, France. Christian Lavault, LIPN, Université Paris 13, Sorbonne Paris-Cité, France. Zoe Lawlor, University of Limerick, Ireland. Olivier Le Cour Grandmaison, Universitaire, France. Patrick Le Galès, CNRS, France. Michelle Lecolle, Université de Lorraine, France. Ronit Lentin, Trinity College Dublin (ret), Ireland. France.sco Saverio Leopardi, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy. Jean-Marc Leveratto, Université de Lorraine, France. André Levy, ISPA.IU, Portugal. Jean-Marc Lévy-Leblond, Université Côte d’Azur (Emeritus Professor), France. Vincent Lhuillier, Université de Lorraine, France. Maria Lichrou, University of Limerick, Ireland. Barbara Lipietz, University College London, United Kingdom. François Loeser, Sorbonne University, France. Manuel Loff, Universidade do Porto, Portugal. Roland Lombard, IJCLAB, France. Yosefa Loshitzky, SOAS University of London, United Kingdom. Laura Luciani, Ghent University, Belgium. Erica Luciano, Università degli Studi di Cagliari , Italy. Madeline Lutjeharms, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. Thomas MacManus, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom. Luis Mah, ISEG-Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal. Karim Maiche, Tampere University, Finland. Samir Makdisi, American Universiy of Beirut (Emeritus Professor), Lebanon Diala Makki, Researcher with RELIEF Centre at UCL, United Kingdom. Jorge Malheiros, IGOT – University of Lisbon, Portugal. Matteo Mandarini, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom. Paola Manduca, University of Genoa (retired), Italy. António Maneira, Universidade Europeia – IADE, Portugal. José Maneira, Laboratório de Instrumentação e Física Experimental de Partículas, Portugal. Samar  Maqusi, University College London, United Kingdom. Valentina Marcella, L’Orientale University of Naples, Italy. Fabio Marcelli, ISGI CNR, Italy. Luisa Martin Rojo, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. Ruchama Marton, PHR-ISRAEL., Israel. Dr. Eva Renate Marx-Mollière, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War , Germany. Davide Masoero, Lisbon University, Portugal. Mazen Masri, City, University of London, United Kingdom. Cyril Masselot, Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, France. Anat Matar, Tel Aviv University, Israel. Denise Margaret Matias, Institute for Social-Ecological Research, Germany. Francine Mazière, université, France. Cahal McLaughlin, Queen’s University Belfast, United Kingdom. Tijan Mede, IMT, Slovenia Nicola Melis, University of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. Chantal  Meloni, University of Milan , Italy. Giulia Mensitieri, IDHES, France. Monica  Mereu, University of Cagliari , Italy. Leander Meuris, Ghent University, Belgium. Michel Mietton, Professeur émérite Université Lyon 3 J. Moulin, France. Radmila Mileusnic, The Open University, retired Reader in Neurobiology, United Kingdom. Alain Mille, Université Lyon1, France. Peter Miller, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Anne-Marie Mollet, Université Clermont-Auvergne, France. Arturo Monaco, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. David Mond, University of Warwick, United Kingdom. Maria Grazia  Montella, Integrim LAB, Belgium. José-Luis Moragues, Université Paul Valéry France., France. Tiziana Morosetti, Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom. Giuseppe Mosconi, University of Padua, Italy. Clement Mouhot, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. Catherine Moury, FCSH-UNL, Portugal. Dr. Pertti Multanen, University of Tampere, Finland. Pamela Murgia, Università di Urbino, Italy. Thomas Murray, Independent Researcher, Ireland. Maurizio Mussoni, University of Bologna, Italy. Anna  Nasser, Scuola Superiore Meridionale – Università degli studi di Napoli Federico II, Italy. Yoga Nathan, Senior Lecturer in Medical Education; School of Medicine; University Limerick, Ireland. Carlotta Nonnis Marzano, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Italy. Daithí Ó Madáin, NUI Galway, Ireland. Maureen O’Connor, University College Cork, Ireland. Tom O’Connor, Technological University Dublin (retired), Ireland. Jacqui O’Riordan, University College Cork, Ireland. Brendan ÓCaoláin, Griffith College, Dublin, Ireland. Elana Ochse, University of Torino (retired), Italy. Joseph Oesterlé, Sorbonne University, France. Jukka Oksa, UEF, Karelian Institute, emeritus Senior Researcher, Finland. Josiane Olff-Nathan, Université de Strasbourg (retired), France. Françoise Olivier-Utard, University of Strasbourg, France. Michèle Olivieri, Université Côte d’Azur, France. Hussein Omar, University College Dublin, Ireland. Adi Ophir, Tel Aviv University, Brown University , United States. Leonardo Orazi, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy. Claudia Ortu, Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Italy. Kari Paasonen, Tampere University, Finland. Michelle Pace, Roskilde University, Denmark Antonio Pacifico, Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3, France. Norman Paech, Prof. Dr. emer. Universität Hamburg, Germany. Samuela Pagani, Università del Salento, Italy. Phillip Paiement, Tilburg Law School, Netherlands. Mauro  Pala, Università di Cagliari, Italy. France.sco Pallante, Università di Torino, Italy. Valentina Pazé, Università di Torino, Italy. Esther Peeren, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Yoav Peled, Tel Aviv University, Israel. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, Hebrew University, Israel. Sinead Pembroke, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Nuno Pereira, Instituto Politécnico de Beja, Portugal. Manuel Pereira dos Santos, Dept. Physics – ECT – University of Évora, Portugal. Guy Perrier, Université de Lorraine, France. Nicola Perugini, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Ruud Peters, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Jean-Baptiste Petit, Université Lyon 1, France. David Peyton, TU Dublin, Ireland. Vincenzo Pezzino, University of Catania Medical School, Italy. Roland Pfefferkorn, université de Strasbourg, France. Solomon Picciotto, Lancaster University, United Kingdom. Alessandro Piccolo, University of Napoli Federico II, Italy. Antonello Piombo, Università di Bologna, Italy. Daniela Pioppi, University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’, Italy. Ema Pires, University of Evora, Portugal. Raphaël Plante, Université d’Aix-Marseille2 France. , France. Sharri Plonski, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom. Panagiotis Politis, University of Thessaly, Greece Christopher Pollmann, Professor of public law, Université de Lorraine, France. Raphael Porteilla, Université of Burgondy, France. Dragan Potočnik, Univerza Maribor, Slovenia Professor Megan Povey, University of Leeds, United Kingdom. Lesley Powell, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa Pierre Prades, Lab Sophiapol Université Paris Nanterre, France. Thierry Prangé, Université Paris Descartes, France. Jonathan Preminger, Cardiff Business School, United Kingdom. Mark Price, UCD School of Architecture Dublin Ireland., Ireland. Wendy Pullan, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. Raija-Leena Punamäki-Gitai, Tampere University, Finland. Shakhar Rahav, University of Haifa, Israel. Dr Shadaab Rahemtulla, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Paolo Ramazzotti, Università di Macerata, Italy. Syksy Räsänen, University of Helsinki, Finland. Marwan Rashed, Sorbonne University, France. Roshdi Rashed, CNRS Paris Sorbonne, France. CarloAlberto Redi, Dip. Biologia e Biotecnologie – Università di Pavia, Italy. Diana Reis, FCUL, Portugal. Rogério Reis, Universidade do Porto, Portugal. Christian Renoux, University of Orléans, France. Valeria Ribeiro Corossacz, Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy. Eimear Rice, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland. Nick Riemer, University of Sydney and History of Linguistic Theories Laboratory, University of Paris, France. Piergiorgio Righetti, Politecnico di Milano, Italy. James Ritter, Sorbpnne Université, France. Paola Rivetti, Dublin City University, Ireland. Jim Roche, Academics for Palestine AfP, Ireland. James Rock, Teachers Union of Ireland., Ireland. Steven Rose, Open University, United Kingdom. Lorenzo  Roselli, Università di Roma, Italy. Jonathan Rosenhead, London School of Economics, United Kingdom. Werner Ruf, Université de Kassel, Germany. Giovanni Russo Spena, Università Federico II di Napoli, Italy. Ana Lúcia Sá, Centre for International Studies – Iscte , Portugal. Farian Sabahi, Insubria University (Como and Varese), Italy. Paola Sacchi, University of Turin, Italy. Hannah Safran, The Haifa Feminist Research Center, Israel. Patrick Sagory, Université de Bordeaux, France. Gabriela Saldanha, Birmingham, United Kingdom. Paloma Salvador, University of the Balearic Islands, Spain. Catherine Samary, University Paris Dauphine (retired), France. Johsua Samuel , Aix Marseille Université , France. Tomas Sanz-Perela, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Adham Saouli, University of St Andrews, United Kingdom. Tewfik Sari, INRAE, France. Alessandro Sarti, CNRS, France. Sandra Saúde, Polytechnic Institute of Beja, Portugal. Lorenzo Savioli, Retiree former WHO staff, Switzerland. Samer Sawalha, Royal Institute of Technology-KTH, Sweden Andrea Sbarbaro, University of Genova, Italy. Marta Scaglioni, Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca, Italy. Philippe Schepens, Université de Franche-Comté, France. Laura Sciacca, University of Catania, Medical School, Italy. Iain Scobbie, University of Manchester School of Law, United Kingdom. Richard Seaford, University of Exeter, United Kingdom. Nora Semmoud, Tours University, France. Stefano Severi, University of Bologna, Italy. Itamar Shachar, Ghent University, Belgium. Geniene Sharrock, Nelson Mandela University , South Africa Nahda Shehada, Erasmus University, Netherlands. Yonatan Shemmer, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom. Maha Shuayb, Centre for lebanese studies, United Kingdom. Dmitry Shumsky, Professor of modern Jewish history, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Simone Sibilio, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia , Italy. Aude Signoles, Sciences Po Aix, France. Nadia Silhi-Chahin, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Manuel Carlos  Silva, Centro Interdisciplinar de Ciências Sociais – Universidade do Minho, Portugal. Aysegul Sirakaya, Ghent Universitu, Belgium. Ailbhe Smyth, University College Dublin (retired), Ireland. Robbie Smyth, Griffith College, Ireland. Kobi Snitz, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. Barbara Sorgoni, University of Turin, Italy. Sylvain Sorin, Sorbonne Université, France. Federica Sossi, Università di Bergamo, Italy. Alessandra Spano, University of Catania, Italy. Rachel Spronk, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Pierre Stambul, Institut de formation des maîtres, France. Angelo Stefanini, University of Bologna (retired), Italy. Janneke Stegeman, Utrecht University College, Netherlands. Mikki Stelder, University of British Columbia/University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Mette Edith Stendevad, University of Leicester, Denmark Primoz Sterbenc, University  Assistant Professor, Slovenia Stephen Stewart, DCU, Ireland. Amber Steyaert, University of Ghent, Belgium. Alan Stoleroff, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Portugal. Antonio Stopani, Università di Torino, Italy. Derek Summerfield, King’s College, University of London, United Kingdom. Saana Svärd, University of Helsinki, Finland. Erik Swyngedouw, The University of Manchester, United Kingdom. Benoît Tadié, université Rennes 2, France. Nozomi Takahashi, VIB-Ghent University, Belgium. Simona Taliani, University of Turin, Italy. Adam Talib, Durham University, United Kingdom. Tamara Tamimi, Independent Consultant, Palestine Peter Tansey, UCD, Ireland. Richard Tapper, SOAS University of London, United Kingdom. Sibel Taylor, Oxford Brookes University, UK, United Kingdom. Laurence Thieux, Complutense University, Spain. Karen Till, Maynooth University, Ireland. Agathe Torti Alcayaga, Université Sorbonne Paris Nord, France. Alberto Toscano, Reader in Critical Theory, Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom. Patrizio Tressoldi, Padova University, Italy. Emanuela Trevisan, Ca Foscari University, Italy. Laurie  Tuller, Université de Tours, France. Mathias Urban, Dublin City University, Ireland. Raffaele Urselli, International Labour Organization, Italy. Gabriele Usberti, Università di Siena, Italy. France.sco Vacchiano, University Ca’ Foscari, Venice, Italy. Jean Vallade, professeur honoraire univ. Bourgogne, France. Willie Van Peer, Ludwig Maximilian University, Belgium. Michel Vanhoorne, Ghent University (Belgium.), Belgium. Patrick Vassallo, IUT Saint-Denis Paris Nord, France. Agustin Velloso, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia , Spain. Eric Verdeil, Sciences Po Paris, France. Jojada Verrips, Prof. Em. University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Pedro Vianna, Universitat de Valencia, France. Luca Vignoli, University of Bologna, Italy. Claude Viterbo, Ecole normale supérieure (Paris), France. Else Vogel, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Lior Volinz, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. Shahd  Wadi, University of Coimbra, Portugal. Roy Wagner, ETH Zurich, Switzerland. Michael Walls, DPU, UCL, United Kingdom. Dror Warschawski, Sorbonne Université, France. Janet Constance Watson, University of Leeds, United Kingdom. Annick Weiner, University Paris-Saclay, France. Elian Weizman, London South Bank University, United Kingdom. Siobhan Wills, Ulster University, Ireland. Eric Windgassen, MRCPsych, United Kingdom. Ruben Wissing, Ghent University, Department of European, Public and International Law, Belgium. Haim Yacobi, University College London, United Kingdom. Federico Zanettin, Università di Perugia, Italy. Marco Zannetti, Università di Salerno, Italy. Racha Zebib, University of Tours, France. Alberto Ziparo, Università di Firenze, Italy. Monica Zoppè, CNR, Italy.

 ===============================================================https://www.timeshighereducation.com/opinion/european-union-legitimising-israels-illegal-settlements

The European Union is legitimising Israel’s illegal settlements

An open letter from academics across more than 20 European countries and Israel

March 23, 2021Contributorster

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 legitimise 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 recognise Ariel University and to abstain from giving effect to its pretensions of institutional legitimacy.

At a time when the EU is finalising Horizon 2020’s successor, the €100 billion [£86 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 legitimise 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 recognised rights under international law.

Signed:

Karin Arts, professor of international law and development, International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands
John Dugard, Leiden University, Netherlands
Maria J. Esteban, French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), France
Richard Falk, Princeton University, US
Amiram Goldblum, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Robert Jennings, University of Milan, National Academy of Italy, Italy
François Loeser, Sorbonne University, France
Ruchama Marton, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Israel
Carlo Alberto Redi, department of biology and biotechnology, University of Pavia, Italy
Steven Rose, The Open University, UK
Dmitry Shumsky, professor of modern Jewish history, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Ailbhe Smyth (retired), University College Dublin, Ireland
Saana Svärd, University of Helsinki, Finland

And more than 500 others. For the full list of signatories, click here.

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http://www.mohe.pna.ps/news?p=articles&news=5822&title=No%20Academic%20Business%20as%20Usual%20with%20Ariel%20University%20and%20all%20other%20Israeli%20Academic%20Institutions%20Illegally%20Built%20on%20Occupied%20Palestinian%20Land

No Academic Business as Usual with Ariel University and all other Israeli Academic Institutions Illegally Built on Occupied Palestinian Land

Thursday, November 29, 2018 12:45 PM

No Academic Business as Usual with Ariel University and all other Israeli Academic Institutions Illegally Built on Occupied Palestinian Land

A Call from Palestine
 29 November 2018

On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we call on states, academic institutions and multilateral research bodies to withdraw any existing recognition of and end all institutional relations with Ariel University and other Israeli academic institutions illegally built on occupied Palestinian land. 

The obligation of non-recognition and non-assistance of unlawful situations ” is a fundamental precept of international law, particularly as they relate to Israeli settlements,  condemned by the United Nations Security Council as a “flagrant violation of international law.” Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israeli settlements and the transfer of Israeli settlers to occupied territory constitute a war crime.

Ariel University is located in the illegal Israeli settlement of the same name that was built on land stolen from surrounding Palestinian villages and on land Palestinian families have cultivated for generations. Israel’s wall, which was designed in such a way as to annex settlements, including Ariel, to Israel, was declared illegal in 2004 by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). It  severs Palestinian villages from each other and restricts freedom of movement. Palestinians have to live with the stench of wastewater dumped by Ariel on their agricultural land, destroying their crops, polluting their water sources and harming their health.

The settlements, which rob the Palestinian people of our land and natural resources and deny us our inalienable right to self-determination, are an integral part of Israel’s system of military occupation and colonial oppression dominating all aspects of Palestinian life, in particular education.

Israel’s military checkpoints and wall restrict travel to and from schools and colleges for Palestinian students, researchers and professors. The Israeli occupation authorities prevent Palestinian students in besieged Gaza, where nearly two million people live on four hours of electricity per day on average, from studying at Palestinian universities in the West Bank or from leaving Gaza for universities abroad.

Since the start of the current academic year, Israel has denied entry or refused to renew visas for scores of faculty members of Palestinian universities holding foreign passports.

Ariel University contributes significantly to Israel’s denial of the fundamental right of academic freedom for Palestinians.

The  European Union and the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation exclude Israeli academic institutions in the occupied Palestinian territory, such as Ariel University, from grants and joint research programs.

Israeli academic associations, including the Israeli Anthropological Association and the Israeli Sociological Society, as well as 1200 Israeli academics, have shunned Ariel University and refuse to cooperate with it.

In a  near-unanimous vote (830-21), the European Association of Social Anthropologists membership pledged non-cooperation with Israeli academic institutions in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Earlier this year, Kasetsart University in Bangkok ended its partnership with Ariel University for a Women’s Study Conference.

In 2012, the Technical University of Denmark  ended a joint research project with Ariel University. 

These measures were taken in recognition of the fact that collaborating with Ariel University necessarily means normalizing Israel’s illegal policies that deny Palestinian rights. We therefore call specifically on:

Governments and the European Union to condition agreements with the Israeli Council for Higher Education on non-recognition and non-accreditation of Ariel University.

Ministries of education worldwide not to accredit Ariel University’s diplomas.

International academic institutions and research centers to end all institutional links to Ariel University, including joint research, recognition of diplomas, invitations, visits and conferences.

International academics to refrain from participating in any activity/project fully or partially sponsored/organized by Ariel University or in which its representatives are participating.

Academic journals not to recognize Ariel University and to insist that submissions from academics affiliated to Ariel University must include the fact that it is located in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Background information:

Founded in 1982 as a branch of Bar-Ilan University, Ariel University Center of Samaria became an independent college in 2004. In 2012, it was granted accreditation by the so-called “Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria,” i.e. the occupied West Bank.

Ariel University is built on occupied Palestinian territory and is therefore built in violation of international law. In February 2018, the Israeli parliament passed a law placing Ariel University — along with two other colony-colleges, Herzog College, and Orot Israel College — under the auspices of Israel’s Council for Higher Education.

Ze’ev Elkin, Jerusalem Affairs Minister in Netanyahu’s far-right government, celebrated the Knesset vote on the matter tweeting that after “applying Israeli sovereignty on Ariel University, let’s begin to apply Israeli sovereignty on Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.”

According to B’Tselem, Israel’s leading human rights organization, Ariel, the illegal colony where the current university is based, was established in 1978 on Palestinian land that was seized “under the false pretext of imperative military needs and on land that was declared state land.” Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian or Syrian territory constitute war crimes.

Ariel University is expected to double in size over the next 5 years, thanks to a 20-million-dollar donation from US  billionaire and Israeli settlement supporter Sheldon Adelson and a solid commitment by the far-right Israeli education minister Naftali Bennett.
 Signatories:
 – the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education,  – the Council of Palestinian Universities’ Presidents,  – the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE), and  – the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC). 
|| التصنيف: التعليم العالي والبحث العلمي ||

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NO ACADEMIC BUSINESS AS USUAL WITH ARIEL UNIVERSITY

A campaign for non recognition of Israeli academic institutions in illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land  

Obligations for institutions
Respecting international law, as a peaceful and universal means of conflict resolution, requires denying recognition to, and severing institutional relations with Ariel University as an illegal settlement institution.

Complicity in international law violations
Ariel University is the most prominent of several Israeli institutions of higher education built in illegal Israeli colony settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank.
The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip were occupied by Israel in 1967 and are internationally considered as Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) in breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court considers such settlement of occupied territory a war crime.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 reconfirmed in 2016 that Israel’s settlement activity has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”  Moreover, Ariel University is deeply and directly complicit in Israel’s system of oppression that denies Palestinians their basic rights guaranteed by international law.

Authoritative Palestinian academic bodies are calling on states, academic institutions, multilateral research bodies and international academics not to recognize Ariel University and to refrain from any institutional relations with it.
Ariel University is an illegal institution and is deeply and directly complicit in Israel’s system of oppression that has denied Palestinians their basic rights guaranteed by
international law, including the right to education and academic freedom.

Who’s behind the call?
▪ Palestinian Ministry of Education 
▪ Council of Palestinian Universities’ Presidents
▪ Palestinian Federation of University Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE)
▪ Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) 

Support for non–recognition of Ariel University inside and outside Israel

The original decision to upgrade Ariel college to a university was opposed by the Council of Presidents of Israeli Universities and by over 1,000 Israeli academics on the grounds that “involving Israeli academia in the ideology of conquest … threatens the ability of the Israeli academia to function.” 

In August 2018, the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) voted overwhelmingly (164–0, with 17 abstentions) to support the Israeli Anthropological in its  refusal to cooperate with the illegal institutions of higher education (located in Israel’s illegal settlements in the OPT) and to “pledge its own non–cooperation with these institutions.” 

What you can do:
Urge international institutions and governments to avoid being complicit in illegality, by:
(1) Refraining from accrediting or recognising any diplomas or qualifications conferred by Ariel University; 
(2) Conditioning agreements with the Israeli Council for Higher Education on non–recognition and non–accreditation of Ariel University.

International academics are called upon to:
(3) Decline to write or referee for journals published by Ariel or based in it;
(4) Refuse to participate in projects or attend conferences fully or partially sponsored by Ariel University or which include its representatives (dean, head of department or spokesperson) as participants; 
(5) Urge universities, conferences and workshops not to host individual academics from Ariel University unleunless their affiliation is properly indicated as: “Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory” in conference material;
(6) Urge academic journals not to publish material identified with Ariel University unless it is properly indicated as: “Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory;”
(7) Advocate for academic societies to approve motions supporting the call from Palestinian academic bodies not to recognise/sever existing links with Ariel University; 
(8) Reject any collaboration with Ariel University as an institution or with any of its bodies.

Join us!
Join the campaign to support the Palestinian right to education and academic freedom.
Take action to hold Ariel University accountable for violations of international law.

Ariel University Non–recognition Campaign
NoArielTies.org
info@noarielties.org

BDS Activism Can Disqualify from Winning the Israel Prize: Oded Goldreich as a Case in Point

25.03.21

Editorial Note

Prof. Oded Goldreich from the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Weizmann Institute was a candidate for the prestigious 

Israel Prize. However, Yoav Galant, the Minister of Education, has requested the nomination committee to reconsider his nomination due to BDS support. Goldreich, an expert on cryptography and computational complexity theory, was awarded the prestigious Knuth Prize in 2017 for the outstanding contribution to the foundations of computer science.

Goldreich is a long-time member of Hadash and the Communist Party of Israel, and has been active for years against the “occupation of the Palestinian territories.” In June 2017, Goldreich was among 240 Israeli scholars who signed an appeal to the German Bundestag urging it not to adopt the working definition of anti-Semitism and not to equate BDS with anti-Semitism.

Goldreich told Channel 12, which broke out with this story, that he knew nothing of being a candidate for the Israel Prize. 

A few days later, Goldreich has said in an interview that, “Many of my friends and colleagues have expressed concerns about the grief involved in a handshake with Netanyahu and Galant.” When asked about the petition he signed in 2017, he said: “The document does not call for a boycott of Israel but explains that the harsh criticism of various organizations – including the BDS – on Israel’s policy in the Occupied Territories and the call for sanctions against it for this policy is not anti-Semitic, but legitimate criticism and legitimate political action. I stand behind my signature on this document.”  As for not receiving the Israel prize, he said: “Many of my friends and colleagues have expressed concerns about the grief involved in the handshake of two villains – the prime minister and his spokesman, the Minister of Education. This grief is negligible in relations to the grief I feel every day from the government policy, without mentioning the more severe suffering of many who are direct victims of that criminal and stupid policy,” he added.

Last week Goldreich was among a group of Israeli political activist-academics, who wrote a letter of support to two Italian mayors who withdrew from a conference on anti-Semitism, published by the Palestinian BDS movement. They wrote:  “We are writing to you as Israeli nationals affiliated with academia in the UK and elsewhere, to thank you for choosing not to participate in the ‘Mayors Summit Against Antisemitism’ conference, set to take place on March 16, 2021. Like you, we believe that fighting all forms of racism, including antisemitism, is of utmost importance. At the same time, we are very troubled by attempts, including, but not limited to this Mayors’ conference, to instrumentalize the fight against antisemitism to suppress freedom of expression on Israel and Zionism, to stifle advocacy for Palestinian rights, and to exclude legitimate criticism of Israel’s ongoing oppression of Palestinians.”

Goldreich has a long history of flirting with BDS. In 2008, specifically, he was among a group of Israelis who supported the Methodist Church’ BDS resolution. They wrote, “we Israeli seekers of peace and justice express our sincere gratitude to the Methodist Church for its stand on the occupation, and support the proposals before the General Conference this April on divestment. Boycott and divestment are non-violent means of pressuring governments to change their policies–means now sorely needed to compel the Israeli government to end its occupation of Palestinians and their lands and thereby to better the lives of Israelis as well as of Palestinians.”

Also in 2008, both the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and the Boycott Israeli Goods (BIG), endorsed a petition by a group of Israeli academics, including Goldreich, questioning “Academic Freedom to Whom?” presenting it as a call to boycott Israel by Israeli academics. None of the signatories corrected the wrong message. By so doing, they lent their names to the boycott movement.

In 2010, Goldreich helped Dr. Anat Matar to define her BDS advocacy. Matar and Goldreich wrote, “The call to boycott draws its inspiration from the apartheid struggle in South-Africa. Of course, the historical circumstances were different, and different forms of struggle, but there are similarities in the form of regime behavior, as well as in relations to the international community… I will note, only, that many people, known for their struggle against South-Africa’s apartheid, are finding such similarities as supportive of the moves for a boycott against Israel because of this.”  

Already in 2003, Goldreich wrote on his website at Weizmann Institute, “My political views,” stating that, “On top of this massive violation of human rights, Israel’s rule of the occupied territories is marked by an increasing number of war crimes ranging from murder (i.e., intentional killing of people without due process and/or sound justification), to causing death and severe injury of civilians in hundreds of cases (by criminal negligence), massive intentional destruction of private and public property (i.e., houses, plants, vehicles, equipment, etc), and the emprisonment and starvation of the entire population. Typically, the justification offered for these violations and crimes is self-defense.”

Evidently, Goldreich felt very strongly about these alleged abuses and, by extension, the State of Israel.  An honorable way to protest would be to resign his position from the Weizmann Institute, which pro-Palestinian activists consider, along with other institutions of higher learning, a tool of oppression.  His position is even more hypocritical since academics, intellectuals, journalists, and activists in the West Bank have been thrown to jail for as much as criticizing Mahmoud Abbas and his corrupt and lawless political system.  Needless to say, under the brutal dictatorship of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, freedom of expression is an alien concept as it is in North Korea.  

IAM has repeatedly emphasized that academics like Goldreich do the Palestinians no favor.  By constantly focusing on Israel, they conveniently omit the problems that Palestinians face at the hands of their leadership. 

The prestigious Israel Prize is given for contributions to society and cannot be divorced from the recipient’s moral character.  By any measure, Goldreich’s hypocritical behavior should disqualify him.

https://worldisraelnews.com/pro-bds-professor-rumored-frontrunner-for-israels-most-prestigious-prize/

Pro-BDS professor rumored frontrunner for Israel’s most prestigious prize

 March 11, 2021

Education Minister has no say but demands that the nominating committee rescind its decision, which has yet to be announced.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Education Minister Yoav Galant has demanded that the Israel Prize nominating committee rescind its alleged decision to award the country’s highest honor to a professor who has defended the boycott effort against Israel, Channel 12 reported Wednesday.

Unofficially hearing that the recipient of the award in the category of Mathematics and Computer Science would be Weizmann Institute Prof. Oded Goldreich, Galant blew a gasket upon discovering that the academic had signed an appeal to the German parliament calling to cancel the recognition of the BDS movement as being anti-Semitic.

“The state of affairs in which the professor will receive the most prestigious award from the state with one hand, and with the other hand promotes the affairs of a movement that undermines the existence of Israel – is absurd and unacceptable,” he said, according to the report.

In May 2019, the Bundestag passed an advisory resolution calling on Germany’s regional and local governments to deny public funding or space to any person or institution that supports or identifies with the BDS movement or questions Israel’s right to exist.

In June, some 240 mostly Jewish and Israeli scholars, including Goldreich, condemned the legally non-binding motion and called on the government not to adopt it. They denied that BDS was anti-Semitic and expressed the concern that the resolution curtailed the right of freedom of speech.

BDS was founded by Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti, who has stated, “We oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine.” The movement falsely compares Israel to apartheid-era South Africa and demands the “right of return” for all Palestinian refugees and their descendants to Israel, which would effectively destroy the Jewish state.

Making his opposition known may be the only thing Galant can do, as he has no authority to intervene in the granting of the Israel Prize.

According to website Political Campus, which seeks freedom of speech for conservative academics equal to that of liberals in Israeli institutions, Goldreich has signed other anti-Israel petitions as well. During 2014’s Operation Protective Edge to stop Hamas terrorism, he joined a call against an Israeli “slaughter of innocents” that also decried the “endless oppression of the Palestinian people.” He has supported lecturers and students who refuse to serve in the IDF, asked the Spanish parliament to recognize “Palestine,” and signed a petition backing the extreme left-wing Breaking the Silence organization.

The 64-year-old professor told Channel 12 that he knew nothing about the award.

“I have not been updated on the win,” Goldreich said. “I am not willing to comment on what I don’t know. I don’t know what it’s about and therefore I don’t know how to respond.”

Goldreich, who has done extensive research on cryptography and computational complexity theory, won the Knuth Prize in 2017 for outstanding contributions to the foundations of computer science.

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http://maki.org.il/en/?p=26819

Education Minister Seeks to Deny Prize to Hadash-CPI Activist Prof.

CPI /10 March 2021

The far-right Minister of Education in Benjamin Netanyahu’s caretaker government, MK Yoav Galant, has demanded that the Israel Prize nominating committee rescind its rumored decision to award the country’s highest honor to Professor Oded Goldreich, a leading computer scientist, AlIttihad and Zo Haderech have reported in recent days. Goldreich, who has been active for years against the occupation of the Palestinian territories, is a long-time member of Hadash and the Communist Party of Israel (CPI).Minister Galant, a former general in the Israeli army, was head of the Southern Command during Israel’s excessively brutal and devastatingly destructive, 3-week military campaign “Operation Cast Lead” against Hamas in the Gaza Strip (December 27, 2008-January 18, 2009) which resulted in some 1,400 Palestinian deaths, more than a thousand of which were minors, women or adult male non-combatants, according to B’Tselem. In 2010, Galant’s, nomination as the next Chief of Staff of Israel’s military was withdrawn following allegations of various improprieties on his part, including the seizure of public lands near his home at Moshav Amikam, near Zikhron Ya’akov along the Carmel region of Israel’s Coastal plain.

Galant, a member of the Likud since 2018, reportedly exploded when he unofficially learned last week that the recipient of this year’s Israel Prize for the fields of Mathematics and Computer Science would be Goldreich, a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. In June 2017, Goldreich was among some 240 Israeli scholars who signed an appeal to the German Bundestag calling on it not to adopt a legally non-binding motion then being debated by the lawmakers which categorized the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel as “anti-Semitic.” The Israeli signatories to the petition categorically refuted any such aspersions towards BDS, and expressed their concern that, if passed, the German resolution would curtail freedom of speech.

The 64-year-old professor of computer science told Channel 12 that he knew nothing about the talk of his being designated to receive the Israel Prize. “I have not been updated on the win,” he told the television station. Goldreich, who has done extensive research on cryptography and computational complexity theory, was awarded the prestigious Knuth Prize in 2017 for outstanding contributions to the foundations of computer science.March 13, 2021 i

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https://bdsmovement.net/news/israeli-academics-thank-italian-mayors-for-withdrawing-from-conference-aimed-shielding-israel

Israeli Academics Thank Italian Mayors for Withdrawing From Conference Aimed at Shielding Israel From AccountabilityMarch 16, 2021 /  By Israeli academics Israeli academics commend the mayors of Bologna and Palermo for helping to “move us along the path of struggle against all forms of racism, including antisemitism, and set an example for others to follow”.

Below is a letter signed by Israeli academics sent to Virginio Merola, Mayor of Bologna, and Leoluca Orlando, Mayor of Palermo. The academics thank the two mayors for having withdrawn from an international conference of mayors aimed at shieldng Israel from accountability over its violations of Palestinian human rights. 

Dear Mayors,

We are writing to you as Israeli nationals affiliated with academia in the UK and elsewhere, to thank you for choosing not to participate in the ‘Mayors Summit Against Antisemitism’ conference, set to take place on March 16, 2021.

Like you, we believe that fighting all forms of racism, including antisemitism, is of utmost importance. At the same time, we are very troubled by attempts, including, but not limited to this Mayors’ conference, to instrumentalize the fight against antisemitism to suppress freedom of expression on Israel and Zionism, to stifle advocacy for Palestinian rights, and to exclude legitimate criticism of Israel’s ongoing oppression of Palestinians.

The first panel of the conference is dedicated to the inherently flawed IHRA working definition of antisemitism, which has been widely criticised. We are among nearly 200 Israeli scholars worldwide who expressed publically a strong opposition to its adoption by UK universities, pointing out not only its inadequacies in combatting antisemitism on campuses, but also the ways in which it has been deployed to shield Israel from criticism.  Numerous others have warned against the dangers of adopting the IHRA definition, for precisely these reasons, including the director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at the University of London, the University College London Academic Board, the British Society of Middle Eastern Studies, a coalition of Jewish organizations in North America and Canada, and even the lead author of the definition.

We thank you for your willingness to consider the call from international Jewish organisations to withdraw from this conference, for taking the time to familiarize yourself with the accurate nature of the conference’s agenda, and for your decision not to be a part of it. You have shown great courage and integrity. Actions such as yours help move us along the path of struggle against all forms of racism, including antisemitism, and set an example for others to follow. 

Sincerely,

Prof. Hagit Borer FBA, Queen Mary University of London

Dr. Moshe Behar, University of Manchester

Prof. Neve Gordon, Queen Mary University of London

Prof. Emerita Nira Yuval-Davis, University of East London,

Dr. Judit Druks, University College London

Dr. Moriel Ram, Newcastle University

Dr. Yohai Hakak, Brunel University London

PhD Candidate Daphna Baram, Lancaster University

Dr. Yael Friedman, University of Portsmouth

Dr. Catherine Rottenberg, University of Nottingham

Dr. Noam Leshem, Durham University

Dr. Itamar Kastner, University of Edinburgh

Prof. (emeritus) Moshé Machover, Kings College, University of London

Dr. Ophira Gamliel, University of Glasgow

Dr. Merav Amir, Queen’s University Belfast

Dr. Anat Matar, Tel-Aviv University

Prof. Haim Bresheeth, SOAS University of London

Dr. Yonatan Shemmer, University of Sheffield

Prof. Gerardo Leibner, Tel-Aviv University

Prof. Oded Goldreich, Weitzman Institute

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https://www.maariv.co.il/news/politics/Article-827037

גלנט בפניה לוועדת פרס ישראל: אל תעניקו את הפרס למדען שתומך ב-BDS

בחדשות 12 דווח כי שר החינוך טוען כי פרופ’ עודד גולדרייך, שנבחר על ידי הוועדה לקבל את הפרס בתחום חקר המתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב, חתום על פנייה לבטל את ההכרה בתנועת החרם על ישראל כתנועה אנטישמית

מעריב אונליין 10/03/2021 20:53 1 דק’ קריאה

ההודעה שפרסם משרד החינוך, לפיה טרם התקבלה החלטה סופית לגבי הענקת פרס ישראל בתחום חקר המתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב, ניסתה להתעלם מהמתרחש בחדרים סגורים ומהחלטת הוועדה להעניק את הפרס לפרופ’ עודד גולדרייך – זאת בעקבות בקשתו של שר החינוך יואב גלנט לבחון מחדש את הבחירה, כך פורסם הערב (רביעי) ב”חדשות 12″. הוועדה החליטה להעניק את הפרס לפרופ’ ממכון ויצמן על פועלו בנושא סיבוכיות חישובית. השר גלנט גילה כי גולדרייך חתום על פנייה לפרלמנט הגרמני לבטל את ההכרה בתנועת החרם על ישראל, ה-BDS, כתנועה אנטישמית. בנוסף גילה גלנט, כי הפרופ’ גם הגדיר את חיילי צה”ל כפושעי מלחמה. יצוין כי בג”ץ קבע בעבר כי לשר החינוך אין כל סמכות להתערב בהענקת הפרס, או לקשור בין התבטאויות כגון אלו לבין מתן הפרס.

“מצב הדברים שבו הפרופ’ יקבל בידו האחת מהמדינה את הפרס היוקרתי ביותר, ובידו האחרת מקדם את ענייניה של תנועה החותרת תחת קיומה של ישראל – הוא אבסורדי ובלתי מתקבל על הדעת”, כתב גלנט בפנייתו לוועדה, בה דרש כי בחירתו של הפרופ’ תישקל מחדש.

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https://www.maariv.co.il/news/Education/Article-827967

“עוגמת הנפש בקבלת פרס ישראל – לחיצת ידיים לשני המנוולים הראשיים גלנט ונתניהו”

הפרופ’ ממכון וייצמן שהוועדה החליטה להעניק לו את הפרס הנחשב מייצר עוד סערות, זאת לאחר הפרסום בחדשות 12 על הכוונה לבטל את זכייתו: “לא מתחרט על התמיכה ב-BDS”

מעריב אונליין 15/03/2021 18:58 2 דק’ קריאה

הסערה סביב פרס ישראל נמשכת: לאחר פרסומים שונים בתקשורת אודות ניסיונתיו של שר החינוך יואב גלנט לשלול מוועדת פרס ישראל את הסמכות להעניק את המענק הנחשב בתחום חקר המתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב לפרופ’ עודד גולדרייך ממכון וייצמן, המדען ממשיך להסתבך בדבריו. בראיון שהתפרסם היום (שני) אמר כי: “רבים מידידיי וחבריי הביעו חששות מעוגמת הנפש הכרוכה בלחיצת ידם של נתניהו וגלנט”.בקשר למחלוקת סביב קבלת הפרס, ותמיכתו לכאורה במטרותיה של התנועה לחרם על ישראל, ה-BDS, אמר המדען: “שוב ושוב – המסמך אינו קורא להחרים את ישראל אלא מסביר שהביקורת החריפה של ארגונים  שונים –  ובכללם ה-BDS – על מדיניות ישראל בשטחים הכבושים והקריאה לסנקציות כלפיה בשל מדיניות זו אינה אנטישמיות, אלא ביקורת לגיטימית ופעולה פוליטית לגיטימית. אני עומד מאחורי חתימתי על מסמך זה”.

“רבים מידידיי וחברי הביעו חששות מעוגמת נפש הכרוכה בלחיצת ידם של שני מנוולים ראשיים – ראש הממשלה ועושה דברו, שר החינוך”, התייחס בזלזול המדען לבנימין נתניהו ויואב גלנט. “עוגמת נפש זאת הינה זניחה ביחס לעוגמת הנפש שיש לי כל יום ממדיניות הממשלה, וזאת מבלי לציין את הסבל הממשי החמור יותר של רבים שהם קורבנות ישירים של אותה מדיניות נפשעת ומטומטמת”, הוסיף. כזכור, ההודעה שפרסם משרד החינוך, לפיה טרם התקבלה החלטה סופית לגבי הענקת פרס ישראל בתחום חקר המתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב, ניסתה להתעלם משהתרחש בחדרים סגורים ומהחלטת הוועדה להעניק את הפרס לפרופ’ גולדרייך – זאת בעקבות בקשתו של גלנט לבחון מחדש את הבחירה, כך על פי פרסום של חדשות 12.טרם הסערה, החליטה הוועדה להעניק את הפרס לגולדריין על פועלו המחקרי בנושא סיבוכיות חישובית. השר גלנט גילה כי גולדרייך חתום על פנייה לפרלמנט הגרמני לבטל את ההכרה בתנועת החרם על ישראל, ה-BDS, כתנועה אנטישמית. בנוסף גילה גלנט, כי הפרופ’ גם הגדיר את חיילי צה”ל כפושעי מלחמה. יצוין כי בג”ץ קבע בעבר כי לשר החינוך אין כל סמכות להתערב בהענקת הפרס, או לקשור בין התבטאויות כגון אלו לבין מתן הפרס.

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

https://bdsmovement.net/news/240-jewish-and-israeli-scholars-german-government-boycotts-are-legitimate-and-non-violent-tool

240 Jewish and Israeli scholars to German government: boycotts are a legitimate and non-violent tool of resistanceJune 12, 2019 / By 240 Jewish and Israeli scholars / Germany, Palestine
“We reject this motion, which is based on the false allegation that BDS as such equals anti-Semitism. We call on the German government not to endorse this motion and to fight anti-Semitism, while respecting and protecting freedom of speech and of association, which are undeniably under attack.”

June 3, 2019 – Mid-May, Jewish and Israeli scholars, many of whom specialized in anti-Semitism, Jewish history and history of the Holocaust, sounded alarm about the growing tendency to label supporters of Palestinian human rights as anti-Semitic. They did so in a call addressed to the German Bundestag in relation to several motions that were being tabled against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). Many of us signed this call.

On May 17, one of these motions, sponsored by CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, was adopted. We reject this motion, which is based on the false allegation that BDS as such equals anti-Semitism. We call on the German government not to endorse this motion and to fight anti-Semitism, while respecting and protecting freedom of speech and of association, which are undeniably under attack.

As expressed in the earlier statement, we view anti-Semitism and all forms of racism and bigotry as a threat that must be fought, and we encourage the German government and parliament to do so. However, the adopted motion does not assist this fight. On the contrary, it undermines it.

The opinions about BDS among the signatories of this call differ significantly: some may support BDS, while others reject it for different reasons. Yet, we all reject the deceitful allegation that BDS as such is anti-Semitic and maintain that boycotts are a legitimate and non-violent tool of resistance. We, leading researchers of anti-Semitism included, assert that one should be considered an anti-Semite according to the content and the context of one’s words and deeds – whether they come from BDS supporters or not.

Regrettably, the adopted motion ignores the explicit opposition of the BDS movement to “all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism”. The BDS movement seeks to influence the policies of the government of a state that is responsible for the ongoing occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people. Such policies cannot be immune to criticism. In this context, it should also be noted that many Jewish and Israeli individuals and groups either support BDS explicitly, or defend the right to support it. We consider it inappropriate and offensive when German governmental and parliamentary institutions label them anti-Semitic.

Moreover, the three main goals of BDS – ending the occupation, full equality to the Arab citizens of Israel and the right of return of Palestinian refugees – adhere to international law, even if the third goal is undoubtedly debatable. We are shocked that demands for equality and compliance with international law are considered anti-Semitic.

We conclude that the rise in anti-Semitism is clearly not the concern which inspired the motion adopted by the Bundestag. On the contrary, this motion is driven by political interests and policies of Israel’s most right-wing government in history.

For years, the Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been labelling any opposition to its illegal and peace-undermining policies as anti-Semitic. No one can be surprised that Netanyahu warmly welcomed the motion by the Bundestag. This embrace illustrates how the fight against anti-Semitism is being instrumentalized to shield policies of the Israeli government that cause severe violations of human rights and that destroy the chances for peace. We find it unacceptable and utterly counterproductive when supporting “the right of the Jewish and democratic state of Israel to exist” and fighting anti-Semitism in fact encourages these policies.

To make things worse, the adopted motion does not distinguish between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. It categorically condemns all boycotts of Israeli businesses and goods – including of businesses in and goods from Israel’s illegal settlements. As a result, it would label a campaign to boycott of products of a settlement company complicit in human rights violations, as anti-Semitic. This constitutes a deplorable withdrawal from the unequivocal and consistent opposition of the German government and the EU to Israel’s settlement policy.

Furthermore, the motion ignores that statements in the context of BDS are protected by freedom of expression, as also confirmed by the EU, which “stands firm in protecting freedom of expression and freedom of association in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which is applicable on EU Member States’ territory, including with regard to BDS actions carried out on this territory”. Precisely because of its history, Germany should be very cautious about any retreat from these basic democratic norms.

Finally, the conflation of BDS with anti-Semitism does not advance the urgent fight against anti-Semitism. The threat of anti-Semitism does not originate from Palestinian rights activists, but mainly from the extreme right and from Jihadist groups. Denying that could alienate Muslims and Arabs from the vital struggle against anti-Semitism and hamper the possibility of building true solidarity between Jews, Israelis, Muslims and Arabs in fighting anti-Semitism and other forms of racism. It also sends a wrong message to those who choose to oppose the oppression of the Palestinian people by non-violent means.

For all those reasons, we, Jewish and Israeli scholars, reject the motion by CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen. Now that it has been adopted, we call on the German government not to endorse this motion and to refrain from equating BDS with anti-Semitism. Instead, the German government must act upon its positive responsibility to promote and protect the freedom of expression and of association.

In addition, we call on the German government to maintain its direct and indirect funding of Israeli and Palestinian non-governmental organisations that peacefully challenge the Israeli occupation, expose severe violations of international law and strengthen civil society. These organizations defend the principles and values at the heart of liberal democracy and rule of law in Germany and elsewhere. More than ever, they need financial support and political backing.

Signed by 240 Jewish and Israeli scholars (institutional affiliations mentioned for identification purposes only):

Prof. Aaron J. Hahn Tapper, Mae and Benjamin Swig Professor of Jewish Studies, Director of the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice, Department of Theology & Religious Studies University of San Francisco
Adam Hochschild, Author and journalist, Lecturer at the Graduate School of Journalism. University of California at Berkeley, winner of the Theodore Roosevelt-Woodrow Wilson Award (2008)
Dr. Adam Kossoff, Reader at the School of Art, University of Wolverhampton, specializes in the context of Israel-Palestine
Prof. Adam Sutcliffe, Department of History, King’s College London, specializes in Jewish History
Prof. (emerita) Alice Shalvi, English Departments, Hebrew University Jerusalem and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, former Rector Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, winner of the Israel Prize (2007), co-winner of the Leibowitz Prize (2009), winner of the Bonei Zion Prize (2017)
Prof. Alon Confino, Pen Tishkach Chair of Holocaust Studies, Director of The Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, Department of History, University of Massachusetts
Dr. Alon Liel, International MA in Security and Diplomacy, Tel Aviv University, former Ambassador to South Africa, Consul General in the south-east of the USA and Head of Diplomatic Mission in Turkey, former Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Planning and of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Dr. Amir Minsky, Assistant Teaching Professor of History, New York University, Abu Dhabi
Prof. (emeritus) Amiram Goldblum, School of Pharmacy- Institute for Drug Research, the Faculty of Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, one of the founders of the Israeli NGP “Peace Now” and its former spokesperson
Prof. Amos Goldberg, Former Chair of the Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializes in Holocaust History
Dr. Anat Matar, Philosophy Department, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Andre Levy, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, specializes in the concepts of diaspora and ethnicity
Prof. Andrew Stuart Bergerson, History Department, University of Missouri-Kansas City, specializes in history of modern Germany
Prof. Aner Preminger, Filmmaker and professor at the Department of Communication, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem and Sapir Academic College
Dr. Annie Pfingst, Independent Scholar, specializes in the context of Israel-Palestine
Dr. Anya Topolski, Associate Professor of Ethics and Political Philosophy, Radboud University Nijmegen, specializes in racism in Europe
Dr. Ariel Salzmann, Associate Professor, Islamic and World History, Department of History, Queen’s University
Assaf Gavron, Writer, winner of the Israeli Prime Minister Award for authors (2011) and the Bernstein Prize (2013)
Prof. Audrey Macklin, Director of the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies, Professor of Law and Chair in Human Rights, University of Toronto
Prof. (emeritus) Avi Shlaim, The Department of Politics and International Relations, St Antony’s College and The University of Oxford, Fellow of the British Academy, specializes in Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Prof. Avner Ben-Amos, Department of History, Tel Aviv University, specializes in nationalism and collective memory in Israel
Avraham Burg, Former Member of the Israeli Knesset, Speaker of the Knesset and Chairman of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization
Dr. Ayelet Ben-Yishai, Department of English Language, University of Haifa
Prof. b.h. Yael, Filmmaker, Professor and former chair of Integrated Media at the Ontario College of Art and Design, specializes in the context of Israel-Palestine
Dr. Barak Kalir, Assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of Amsterdam, specializes in migration in the Jewish-Israeli context
Prof. Barry Trachtenberg, Michael R. and Deborah K. Rubin Presidential Chair of Jewish History, Department of History, Wake Forest University
Dr. Ben Silverstein, School of History, Australian National University, specializes in indigenous histories and settler colonialism
Prof. (emerita) Benita Parry, English and Comparative Literary Studies, Warwick University
Prof. (emeritus) Ben-Tzion Munitz, Department of Theatre Arts, Tel Aviv University
Prof. (emerita) Bilha Mannheim, Professor of Sociology, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, winner of the Israel Prize (2003)
Dr. Brian Klug, Senior Research Fellow & Tutor in Philosophy, University of Oxford, honorary fellow of the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, University of Southampton
Alex Levac, Photographer, winner of the Israel Prize (2005)
Prof. Bruce Rosenstock, Department of Religion College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Prof. Catherine Rottenberg, Foreign Literature and Linguistics, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Prof. (emeritus) Chaim Gans, The Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University, specializes in political and legal theory of nationalism and Zionism
Prof. Noy Chaim, School of Communication, Bar-Ilan University, specializes in the context of Israel-Palestine
Prof. Chana Kronfeld, Hebrew, Yiddish and Comparative Literature, UC Berkeley
Prof. (emeritus) Christiane Schomblond, Department of Mathematics, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Prof. Colin Dayan, Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities, English Department and Professor at the Law School, Vanderbilt University
Dr. Cynthia Franklin, Department of English, University of Hawai’I, specializes in race and ethnicity
Prof. (emeritus) Dan Jacobson, the Department of Labor Studies, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Dana Kaplan, Department of Sociology, Political Science and Communication, The Open University of Israel
Dr. Dana Mills, Department of History, Philosophy and Religion, Oxford Brookes University
Prof. Dana Ron, Computer Science, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Daniel D. Blatman, Head of the Avraham Harman Research Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Max and Rita Haber Chair in Contemporary Jewry and Holocaust Studies at the Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, The Hebrew of University Jerusalem
Prof. Daniel Boyarin, Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture, Departments of Near Eastern Studies and Rhetoric, University of California at Berkeley
Prof. Daryl Glaser, Department of Political Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, specializes in the South African context
Prof. David Blanc, Department of Mathematics, University of Haifa
Prof. David Enoch, The Faculty of Law and The Department of Philosophy, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Prof. David Harel, Computer Science, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Vice President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, winner of the Israel Prize (2004) and of EMET prize (2010)
Dr. David Ranan, Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck University of London
Prof. David Comedi, Director of the Physics Institute of Northwestern Argentina, INFINOA, National University of Tucumán and CONICET
Prof. David Shulman, Department of Asian Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, winner of the EMET Prize (2010) and of the Israel Prize (2016)
Prof. Debórah Dwork, Inaugural Rose Professor of Holocaust History, Founding Director of the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Distinguished Research Scholar, Clark University
Dr. (emeritus) Dennis Kortheuer, Department of History at California State University, Long Beach
Prof. Diane L. Wolf, Department of Sociology and former Director of Jewish Studies Program, University of California, Davis
Dr. Dimitry Shevchenko, Post-doctoral fellow, Department of Asian Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Dr. Dmitry Shumsky, Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, Director of the Cherrick Center for the study of Zionism, the Yishuv and the State of Israel, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Prof. (emeritus) Donald Sassoon, Comparative European History, Queen Mary, University of London
Dr. Dorit Naaman, Alliance Atlantis Professor of Film and Media, Queen’s University, Canada, specializes in the context of Israel-Palestine
Dr. E. Natalie Rothman, Department of Historical and Cultural Studies, University of Toronto Scarborough
Dr. Elizabeth Freund (emerita), Department of English Literature, Hebrew University Jerusalem
Prof. Elizabeth Heineman, Department of History, The University of Iowa, specializes in gender, war, and memory in Germany and in the Holocaust
Dr. Erella Grassiani, Department of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam, specializes in the context of Israel-Palestine
Prof. (emerita) Elsa Auerbach, English Department, University of Massachusetts Boston, daughter of German Holocaust refugees
Prof. (emeritus) Emmanuel Farjoun, Einstein Institute of Mathematics, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Dr. Eric Kligerman, Associate Professor of German and Jewish Studies, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures University of Florida
Prof. (emerita) Esther Dischereit, Writer, poet and Professor of Language Arts, University for Applied Arts Vienna, winner of the Erich Fried Prize (2009)
Prof. Eva Illouz, The Department of Sociology and Anthropology, The Hebrew University Jerusalem, The European Centre for Sociology and Political Science , Paris, winner of the EMET Prize (2018)
Prof. Eva Jablonka, Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Eyal Clyne, Department of History, Politics & Philosophy, The University of Manchester, specializes in Israel-Palestine and in Jewish and Zionist thought
Dr. (emerita) Florence Lederer, Laboratory of Physical Chemistry, Université Paris-Sud
Prof. (emeritus) Francis Lowenthal, Cognitive Sciences, University of Mons
Prof. Gabriele Bergers, Department of Oncology, University of Leuven
Prof. Gadi Algazi, Professor of Medieval History, The Department of History, Tel Aviv University, and associate fellow at Re:Work: International Research Center Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History at Humboldt University in Berlin
Dr. Gal Levy, Department of Political Science, Sociology & Communication, The Open University of Israel, specializes in the context of Israel-Palestine
Prof. (emerita) Galia Golan, Darwin Professor, The Department of Political Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Dr. Gayle Levy, Associate Professor, Foreign Languages Department and director of UMKC Honors College, University of Missouri-Kansas City, specializes in Nazi-Germany and the Holocaust
Prof. (emeritus) Gideon Freudenthal, The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University
Prof. (emeritus) Graeme Segal, Mathematics, All Souls College
Dr. Hadas Leonov, Software Developer, Bruker BioSpin GmbH, Rheinstetten, Germany
Hadas Pe’ery, Composer, sound artist, educator and activist, teaching fellow at The Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Hagit Borer, FBA Chair in Linguistics, SLLF Queen Mary, University of London
Prof. Haim Bresheeth, Centre for Media and Film Studies, SOAS University of London and Director of Camera Obscura Films
Dr. Halleli Pinson, The Department Of Education, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Prof. (emerita) Hanan J. Kisch, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Dr. Hannah Safran, Feminist Research Center, Haifa, specializes in the context of Israel-Palestine
Dr. Heidi Grunebaum, Associate Professor at the Centre for Humanities Research University of the Western Cape, specializes in memory and reconciliation in Germany, South Africa and Israel-Palestine
Dr. Hila Amit, Independent scholar of Queer Theory and Migration and Diaspora Studies
Dr. Hilla Dayan, Sociology, Amsterdam University College, specializes in the context of Israel-Palestine
Dr. Idan Landau, Department of Foreign Literatures and Linguistics, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Dr. Ilan Saban, Faculty of Law, University of Haifa, specializes in minority rights, international law, and Nationalism
Dr. Ilana Hammerman, Writer, editor, translator and activist, winner of the Yeshayahu Leibowitz Prize (2015)
Dr. Inna Michaeli, Independent scholar and activist
Dr. Irit Dekel, Research Associate, Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies Friedrich Schiller University, specializes in memory politics in Germany and Israel
Prof. Ishay Rosen-Zvi, Head of the Talmud and Late Antiquity section in the department of Jewish Philosophy, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Isaac (Yanni) Nevo, The Department of Philosophy, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Dr. Itamar Kastner, Humboldt University, Berlin
Dr. Itamar Shachar, Marie Curie Post-doctoral fellow, Department of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam
Dr. Itay Snir, Political Philosophy, Tel Aviv University, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, The Open University of Israel
Prof. (emeritus) Jacob Katriel, Chemistry Department, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
Prof. James Cohen, Anglophone World Department, Université de Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle
Dr. Jared Margulies, Post-doctoral fellow, Department of Politics, University of Sheffield
Prof. Jason Stanley, Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy, Yale University
Dr. (emeritus) Jeanne Fagnani, Senior researcher at The French National Centre for Scientific Research, associate researcher at the Institute of Economic and Social Research, member of the scientific committee of the Nicolas Hulot Foundation for Nature and Mankind
Dr. Jeffrey Melnick, American Studies Department, University of Massachusetts
Prof. (emeritus) Joel Beinin, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History and Professor of Middle East History, Stanford University
Prof. Joel Gordon, The Department of History, University of Arkansas Fayetteville
Prof. Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor of Comparative Literature and Critical Theory, University of California, Berkeley
Prof. Judith Norman, Department of Philosophy, Trinity University San Antonio, Texas USA
Prof. (emeritus) Jules Chametzky, Department of English, University of Massachusetts
Dr. Karel Arnaut, Associate Professor and Research Coordinator of the Interculturalism, Migration and Minorities Research Centre (IMMRC), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Prof. (emerita) Karen Brodkin, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles, specializes in anti-Semitism and racism
Dr. Katharina Galor, Hirschfeld Visiting Associate Professor of Judaic Studies, Brown University
Kathy Wazana, Documentary filmmaker, Master’s student at the Department of Cinema and Media Arts, York University
Dr. Katy Fox-Hodess, Lecturer in Employment Relations, Accreditations Management School, University of Sheffield
Prof. Kobi Peterzil, Department of Mathematics, University of Haifa
Dr. Kobi Snitz, Mathematics Department, Weizmann Institute of Science
Prof. (emeritus) Laurence Dreyfus, Faculty of Music, University of Oxford
Prof. (emeritus) Lawrence Blum, Professor of Philosophy, and Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Education University of Massachusetts Boston, specializes in anti-Semitism and the Holocaust
Dr. Les Levidow, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Open University, UK
Dr. Lin Chalozin-Dovrat, The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas and Minerva Humanities Center, Tel Aviv University
Prof. (emerita) Linda Dittmar, The English Department, University of Massachusetts, specializes in the context of Israel-Palestine
Prof. Linda Gordon, Florence Kelley Professor of History, New York University, specializes in right-wing populism
Dr. Lior Volinz, Post-doctoral researcher at the Crime and Society (CRiS) research group, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Prof. Lisa Baraitser, Department of Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck Institute, University of London
Dr. Lisa Stampnitzky, Department of Politics, University of Sheffield, specializes in political violence
Prof. (emeritus) Louis Kampf, Literature and Women’s & Gender Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Prof. Louise Bethlehem, English and Cultural Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializes in South African apartheid
Prof. Lynne Segal, Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck Institute, University of London
Prof. (emeritus) Marc David, Department of Mathematics – Computer Science, Universiteit Antwerpen
Prof. (emeritus) Marc Steinling, School of Medicine, University of Lille Nord de France
Prof. Marianne Hirsch, William Peterfield Trent Professor of English, Department of English and Comparative Literature, co-director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, Columbia University, specializes in politics of memory, the Holocaust and Jewish memory
Prof. (emerita) Marianne Lederer, Former director of the School of Interpreters and Translators (ESIT), Université Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle
Dr. Marie-José Durand-Richard, Associated researcher at Laboratoire SPHERE, Université Paris Diderot and honorary lecturer of Mathematics and History of Science, Université Paris 8
Dr. Mark Levene, Parkes Centre for Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, University of Southampton
Prof. (emeritus) Mateo Alaluf, Institute of Sociology, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Prof. (emeritus), Maurice Pasternak, Artist and Professor at L’École nationale supérieure des arts visuels de La Cambre
Prof. Menachem Klein, Department of Political Studies, Bar-Ilan University, former advisor for Israeli officials regarding negotiations with Palestinian counterparts and participant in several Israeli-Palestinian peace talks
Prof. Michael Chanan, Department of Media, Culture and Language, University of Roehampton
Prof. Michael Keren, Department of Economics, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Prof. (cmeritus) Micah Leshem, The Department of Psychology, University of Haifa
Prof. Michael Rothberg, 1939 Society Samuel Goetz Chair in Holocaust Studies, Department of Comparative Literature, University of California, specializes in Holocaust studies
DipEd. Michel Staszewski, Visiting Researcher Department of Education Free University of Brussels
Dr. Mir Yarfitz, Associate Professor of History, Jewish Studies, Latin American and Latino Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Wake Forest University
Dr. Miriam Ticktin, Associate Professor of Anthropology, The New School for Social Research
Prof. (emeritus) Mordechai Shechter, The Department of Economics and The Department of Natural Resource & Environmental Management, University of Haifa, former Rector of the University of Haifa, former President of Tel-Hai Academic College, former head of Israel’s National Parks and Nature Reserves Authority Council
Prof. (emeritus) Moshe Zimmermann, Former director of the Richard Koebner Minerva Center for German History, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializes in the German Jewry during the Second World War and anti-Semitism
Prof. (emeritus) Moshe Zuckermann, The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University, son of Holocaust survivors, specializes in Zionism and anti-Semitism
Prof. (emeritus) Moshé Machover, Professor of Philosophy, University of London
Dr. Na’ama Rokem, Associate Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature & Comparative Literature, University of Chicago, specializes in Zionist and Israeli literature, and German-Jewish relations
Dr. Nadia Valman, Reader in English Literature Co-director, of the Raphael Samuel History Centre, Queen Mary, University of London, specializes in Jewish History
Dr. Naor Ben-Yehoyada, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Columbia University
Prof. Neve Gordon, Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, specializes in human rights and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Prof. Nicholas Stargardt, History Department, Magdalen College, specializes in the history of Nazi Germany
Dr. Nina Caputo, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Florida
Prof. Nir Gov, Department of Chemical and Biological Physics, Weizmann Institute of Science
Prof. (emeritus) Nira Yuval-Davis, Honorary Director Centre for Migration, Refugees & Belonging, The University of East London
Dr. Noa Roei, Literary and Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam, specializes in the context of Israel-Palestine
Prof. (emeritus) Noam Chomsky, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Laureate Professor, The Department of Linguistics, University of Arizona
Prof. (emerita), Nomi Erteschik-Shir, Department of Foreign Literatures and Linguistics, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Prof. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, The School of Education, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and The David Yellin Academic College of Education, co-winner of the Sakharov Prize (2001)
Prof. Oded Goldreich, Computer Science, Weizmann Institute of Science
Dr. Oded Na’aman, Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities and Social Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Prof. Ofer Aharony, Faculty of Physics, Weizmann Institute of Science
Dr. Ofri Ilany, Post-doctoral fellow, The Polonsky Academy The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, specializes in German history and in German-Jewish relations
D.Arch Olivier Tric, Honorary teacher at School of Architecture of Nantes
Prof. Oren Yiftachel, Department of Geography and Environmental Development, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Dr. Orian Zakai, The Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages, The George Washington University
Prof. Pascal Lederer, Honorary research director at The French National Centre for Scientific Research
Dr. Patricia Schor, Department of Social Sciences, Amsterdam University College, specializes in nationalism, race and racism
Prof. (emeritus) Paul Mendes-Flohr, Dorothy Grant Maclear Professor Emeritus of Modern Jewish History and Thought, Associate Faculty in the Department of History, The University of Chicago Divinity School
Dr. Peter Cosyns, Post-doctoral researcher, Art History and Archeology, Free University Brussels
Pierre Getzler, Artist, “Pupille de la Nation”, his father died in July 1940 fighting with the French Foreign Legion against Nazi Germany and received The Cross of War decoration, his mother was deported to Auschwitz where she died in 1943
Dr. R. Ruth Linden, UCSF School of Medicine, founder of the Holocaust Media Project
Prof. Rachel Giora, Department of Linguistics, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Ran Greenstein, Associate professor, Department of Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand, specializes in the context of Israel-Palestine
Dr. Ran HaCohen, Department of Literature, Tel Aviv University, specializes in German-Jewish literature
Dr. Raya Cohen, Department of History, Tel Aviv University and The University of Naples Federico II, specializes in the history of the Holocaust and in the context of Israel-Palestine
Rela Mazali, Independent scholar, writer and peace activist
Revital Madar, PhD candidate, The Cultural Studies Program, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializes in the context of Israel-Palestine
Prof. (emeritus) Richard Falk, Milbank Professor of International Law, Princeton University and former UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Occupied Palestine (2008-14)
Prof. Robert C. Rosen, Department of English, William Paterson University
Dr. Roi Livne, Department of Sociology, University of Michigan
Prof. (emeritus) Rolf Verleger, Psychologist, Member of the Central Council of Jews in Germany 2005-2009
M.D. Rony Brauman, Director of Studies at the Fondation Médecins Sans Frontières, associate professor at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris, and director of the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.
Prof. Roy Wagner, Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences, ETH Zürich
Dr. Sagi Schaefer, History Department, Tel Aviv University, specializes in the history of modern Germany
Dr. Sara Roy, Senior Research Scholar, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University, specializes in the context of Israel-Palestine
Prof. Sergio Tenenbaum, Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto
Dr. Seth Anziska, Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University College London, specializes Jewish-Muslim relations and in the context of Israel-Palestine
Prof. Seth L. Sanders, Professor of Religious Studies, Director of the Graduate Group for the Study of Religion Member, Jewish Studies Program University of California, Davis
Prof. Dr. Shani Tzoref, School of Jewish Theology, Hebrew Bible and Biblical Exegesis, University of Potsdam
Prof. (emerita) Sherna Gluck, Director of the Oral History Program, Department of History, California State University Long Beach, specializes in the context of Israel-Palestine
Dr. Sheryl Nestel, Independent Scholar, Toronto, specializes in race and racism
Dr. Shir Hever, Political Science, Free University of Berlin, specializes in the context of Israel-Palestine
Shira Havkin, PhD candidate in Political Sociology, Centre d’Études et de Recherches Internationales, Sciences-Po Paris
Prof. (emerita) Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan, English Department and the Department of General and Comparative Literature, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Prof. (emeritus) Shlomo Moran, Computer Science Department, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
Prof. (emeritus) Shlomo Sand, History Department, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Sidney Corbett, composer and teacher at the Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts
Prof. Simona Sharoni, Director of the Women’s & Gender Studies Department, Interdisciplinary Institute, Merrimack College
Smadar Ben Natan, PhD candidate, Zvi Meitar Center for Advanced Legal studies, Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Snait B. Gissis, Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas Tel Aviv University, specializes in racism
Prof. (emerita) Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun, Social Sciences, University Paris Diderot-Paris 7
Prof. Stephen Clingman, Department of English, University of Massachusetts
Prof. Stephen Deutsch, Professor of Post-Production, Department of Media Production, Bournemouth University
Prof. Stephen R. Shalom, Political Science Department, William Paterson University, member of the executive board of the Gandhian Forum for Peace & Justice
Prof. (emeritus) Steve Golin, History Department, Bloomfield College
Dr. Steven Levine, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts
Prof. (emeritus) Steven Rose, Neuroscience, The Open University, UK
Prof. Susan Slyomovics, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles, specializes in human rights, German Reparations and Israel-Palestine
Dr. Sven-Erik Rose, Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature, chair of the Department of German and Russian, University of California, Davis, specializes in German and German-Jewish literature and thought and Holocaust Studies
Dr. Tal Shuval, Department of History, Philosophy and Judaic studies, The Open University of Israel, specializes in the context of Israel-Palestine
Dr. Tamar Blickstein, Post-doctoral researcher, Affective Societies, The Free University of Berlin
Prof. Tamar Rapoport, The Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Prof. Tamir Sorek, Sociology and Jewish Studies, University of Florida, specializes in the context of Israel-Palestine
Dr. Terri Ginsberg, Assistant Professor, Department of the Arts, The American University in Cairo
Dr. Tom Pessah, Independent scholar and activist
Prof. (emeritus) Tommy Dreyfus, Mathematics Education, School of Education, Tel Aviv University
Udi Aloni, Writer and filmmaker, specializes in Jewish and Zionist thought and in the context of Israel-Palestine
Prof. Uri Hadar, Head of Gerontological Clinical Psychology department, Ruppin Academic Center
Prof. (emerita) Vered Kraus, Department of Sociology, University of Haifa
Prof. Victor Ginsburgh, The European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Prof. Willie van Peer, Intercultural Hermeneutics, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich
Yaara Benger Alaluf, Post-doctoral fellow at The Center for The History of Emotions, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin
Dr. Yael Politi, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam
Dr. Yair Wallach, Head of the Centre for Jewish Studies, Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East, SOAS, University of London, specializes in the context of Israel-Palestine
Prof. Yakov Rabkin, The Montreal Centre for International Studies and the Department of History, Université de Montréal, specializes in history of Jewish and Zionist thought
Dr. Yali Hashash, Haifa Feminist Research Center, Women and Gender Studies Program and The Oral History Laboratory: Life-stories under oppression at The Zvi Yavetz School of Historical Studies, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Yann Guillaud, Lecturer at The Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA), Sciences Po
Prof. (emeritus) Yehoshua Kolodny, Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, winner of the Israel Prize (2010)
Prof. Yinon Cohen, Yosef H. Yerushalmi Professor of Israel & Jewish Studies, Department of Sociology, Columbia University
Prof. (emeritus) Yonathan (Jon) Anson, Department of Social Work, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Prof. Yosef Grodzinsky, The Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Prof. Yosefa Loshitzky, Centre for Media Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London
Prof. Yuri Pines, Director, The Louis Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies Department of Asian Studies The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Dr. Yuval Eylon, The Department of History, Philosophy and Judaic Studies, The Open University of Israel
Dr. Yuval Yonay, Department of Sociology, University of Haifa
Dr. Zvi Bekerman, The Seymour Fox School of Education, The Melton Centre for Jewish Education and research fellow at The Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializes in intercultural encounters and minority education==================================================
Israeli academics sign a petition encouraging the United Methodist Church to divest from “companies that enable the occupation to continue” e-mail@israel-academia-monitor.comMon, Jan 28, 2008, 10:46 PM 
http://www.petitiononline.com/Israelis/petition.html

Israeli academics, listed below, signed a petition encouraging the United Methodist Church “to divest from companies that enable the occupation to continue, we the undersigned shall applaud your courageous initiative, and fervently hope that it will set an example for many others to follow…”: Ofer Neiman, Dalit Baum, Roman Vater, kobi snitz, Anat Matar, Yael Korin, Udi Adiv, Prof. Kobi Peterzil, Hannah Safran, Haim Bresheeth, Ur Shlonsky, Moshe Machover, Dana Ron, Yael Ronen and others.

http://www.petitiononline.com/Israelis/petition.html
Letter of Support from Israelis to the United Methodist Church

We endorse the Letter of Support from Israelis to the United Methodist
Church Petition to James E. Winkler, General Secretary of the United
Methodist Church.

To:  James E. Winkler, General Secretary of the United Methodist Church
Letter of support from Israelis to the
2008 General Conference of the United Methodist Church
January 22, 2008

We, as Israelis, express our support of the 2004 resolution adopted by the
General Conference of the Methodist Church that states “The United
Methodist Church opposes continued military occupation of the West Bank,
Gaza, and East Jerusalem, the confiscation of Palestinian land and water
resources, the destruction of Palestinian homes, the continued building of
illegal Jewish settlements and any vision of a ‘Greater Israel’ that
includes the occupied territories and the whole of Jerusalem and its
surroundings [Book of Resolutions, 2004, #12].” Should the Methodist
Church in the wake of the above resolution elect to divest from companies
that enable the occupation to continue, we the undersigned shall applaud
your courageous initiative, and fervently hope that it will set an example
for many others to follow.

We assure the Methodist Church that it is no more anti-Semitic to
criticize and oppose Israeli government policies than it was anti-American
to oppose the Vietnam war or is anti-American to oppose the present war in
Iraq. It is never anti-Semitic to oppose injustice, destruction, gross
inequity, and inequality. We also assure the Church that Israel, having
the fourth most powerful military in the world, is in no existential
danger.

As citizens devoted to the promotion of peace and democracy in the region,
we denounce the international community’s continued economic investments
in our country which directly and indirectly support Israel’s daily
violations of international law and colonization of the occupied
territories. We fear the potentially irreversible damage created by
Israeli occupation, by Israel’s unilateral plans, and by the international
community’s impotence in ending Israel’s occupation. We realize that
Israel’s occupation of Palestinians and their lands will probably not end
without international sanctions.

Moreover, Israelis, as well as Palestinians, will benefit from ending the
occupation Symmetry never exists between occupier and occupied, oppressor
and oppressed. Yet Israelis suffer from loss of life, increase in
militarism, and a steady devaluation of human life. This latter is
particularly evident in the socio-economic sphere and the affliction of
post-traumatic distress.

Successive Israeli governments have spent enormous amounts of money on
expansion, to the detriment of social benefits for the Israeli population.
While it is true that had there been no occupation, Israeli governments
might not have spent the money on social benefits, the fact that expansion
continues apace alongside continued endeavors of ethnic cleansing reveals
Israel’s intention to rid the West Bank of as many Palestinians as
possible and to prevent the emergence of a Palestinian state.

To this end, money is spent on maintaining a large military presence in
the occupied Palestinian Territories, on erecting the apartheid wall at 4
million dollars a mile, with 400 miles planned (twice as long as if it had
been built on the ‘green line’), and constructing more housing units in
highly subsidized settlements. In December 2007, for instance, the Israeli
Housing Ministry announced that it was building 300 more units on Har Homa
(Jabal Abu Ghnaim to Palestinians), with another 1000 intended, and more
recently has begun construction of 60 homes in the Ras Al-Amud section of
East Jerusalem. Israel claims Har Homa to be a part of Jerusalem, but the
international community regards Israel’s construction on it and in East
Jerusalem to be further illegal colonization of Palestinian land. Given
the subsidies and other perks with which Israel lures Israelis to colonize
the West Bank, it is small wonder that population increase in the occupied
Palestinian territory is five to six percent, by contrast to the two to
three percent maximum growth in Israeli communities within Israel proper.
Israel additionally spends much on constructing super-highways for
Israelis-only in the occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as for
lookout towers (that can double as sniper towers), and checkpoints galore.
Furthermore, the majority of the more than 500 checkpoints separate
Palestinian communities from one another.

While all this is taking place at considerable economic cost, poverty in
Israel has increased sharply. Israel in 2006 gained the dubious notoriety
of having the worst poverty level in the Western world, and has retained
this position through 2007. Over one quarter of Israelis now live under
the poverty line. One of every three children goes to bed hungry. And
every fourth elderly person is poor. No wonder, then, that many of
Israel’s elderly are “suicidal.” The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot
revealed in a report that over 50 percent of suicides in Israel every year
are committed by people aged 65 and over. And there are additional
worrying trends. Not only are the few rich getting richer and the numerous
poor getting poorer, but also many in the middle class who have jobs are
sliding into poverty due to low wages. The Adva Center report of December
2007 showed that a fifth of Israeli wage earners are now living under the
poverty line.

One result of the increased poverty is that 25% of Israelis forego medical
care because they cannot afford it. 75% of the poor cannot afford
medication. But of all the sad statistics, one of the more shocking is
that over 80,000 Holocaust survivors—now mostly aged individuals–live in
desperate straits. It is shameful that of all places in the world, in
Israel, Holocaust survivors live in dire poverty and misery.

The worsening economic conditions contribute, in turn, to escalation of
violence. Thus, for instance, one of every five elderly Israelis is
subject to abuse, mainly by spouses or children. And the Israeli police
recorded a 24% increase in violence among youth the first months of 2006.

A direct cost of occupation and a threat to Israel’s welfare is
post-traumatic stress, which can result in addiction to drugs and alcohol,
and can also contribute to violence. A counselor at a rehabilitation
center terms the malady “a ticking bomb,” Help, he relates, is unavailable
for many soldiers who have gone “into terrible distress of drugs,
beatings, violence, impatience, … soldiers who clashed with a civilian
population, and when they were discharged understood that they had been
wrong.” Hundreds, he reveals, “are roaming about with the feeling that
there is no point to living, and the path to suicide and drugs is very
easy. We are afraid that former soldiers will commit criminal acts as a
result of their distress.”

On the Palestinian end of the occupation, the situation is far worse both
economically and in terms of security. For Palestinians, occupation means
a loudspeaker in the middle of the night ordering residents out of their
homes, regardless of whether it’s winter or summer, hot or cold, wet or
dry. Occupation means long waits at checkpoints, even in emergencies.
Occupation means that one needs permits to go to one’s fields, permits
that are often not given. Even when permits are given, the Palestinian
farmer often finds that the military gates that control accessing his
fields are closed and fail to open, and, for that matter, fail to open
also for children on their way to school. Occupation means land theft and
uprooting of olive trees, some of which are 100s of years old, all of
which are means of sustenance for the Palestinian people, some now the
only means.

Occupation means curfews, during which sick people can and do die.
Occupation means that one’s home can turn into rubble in minutes, as
bulldozers or explosives demolish it, along with its furnishings, toys,
family photograph albums, computers, and all else. Occupation means
imprisonment. Approximately 11,000 Palestinians are now incarcerated in
Israeli facilities.

Israeli Occupation means apartheid. The separation wall is one instance;
four additional ones are water, roads, home construction, and checkpoints.
Of 960 million cubic meters of water that is generated in the West Bank,
Palestinians are allowed to use only one-tenth of it. The rest goes to
Israelis. On average, a Palestinian citizen in the West Bank is allowed to
use no more than 36 cubic meters of water per year, while Israeli settlers
in the West Bank can use up to 2,400 cubic meters. Palestinians are not
permitted to drive on ‘settler’ roads, which are highly superior to other
roads in the occupied Palestinian territories. Palestinians are not
allowed to build houses or even to add rooms, while Jewish settlement
building continues uninhibited. Checkpoints also discriminate. Israelis,
tourists, and Jews from abroad can go from the Territories to Israel via
many checkpoints, but Palestinians having permits are allowed to enter
Israel only through 11 of them, forcing Palestinians fortunate enough to
have a permit to travel far out of the way on their way to work or for
medical care in Israel.

For the above reasons, we Israeli seekers of peace and justice express our
sincere gratitude to the Methodist Church for its stand on the occupation,
and support the proposals before the General Conference this April on
divestment. Boycott and divestment are non-violent means of pressuring
governments to change their policies–means now sorely needed to compel
the Israeli government to end its occupation of Palestinians and their
lands and thereby to better the lives of Israelis as well as of
Palestinians.
——————

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

  Name address
97. Creighton Lacy WNC Annual Conference
96. William Greene
95. Emily Schaeffer Tel Aviv, Israel
94. Rosamine Hayeem London, UK
93. Udi Adiv Detrech Tzarfat 32, Haifa
92. Prof. Kobi Peterzil Haifa
91. ruth victor Jerusalem
90. Yali Amit
89. Hannah Safran Haifa
88. Haim Bresheeth
87. hava halevi 21 shimshom st. jerusalem 93501

86. Areej Sabbagh-Khoury
85. Lily Traubmann Kibutz Megiddo
84. Dr. Sara Fischman
83. galit hess
82. Ruth Tenne
81. ginzburg shaul
80. yifat doron
79. Janet Green
78. Ur Shlonsky
77. Alissa Ben-Ari
76. Noa Shaindlinger
75. Jaye N. White Fayetteville, NC
74. Eli Hamo
73. Yael Oren Kahn UK
72. racheli bar-or
71. Yisrael Puterman tel aviv
70. yasmin sivan
69. eytan lerner
68. Matan Cohen
67. Moshe Machover
66. Yotam Pappo
65. Itamar Shachar
64. Rela Mazali Herzlia
63. David Nir Tel Aviv, Israel
62. Amit Ron
61. yoav barak Tel Aviv
60. aharon Shabtai 27 gruzenberg st. Tel Aviv, 65811
59. Adi Dagan Tel Aviv, Israel
58. Yael Ronen Beer Sheva
57. Elchounon Esterovitz
56. Amit Perelson Haifa
55. Jonathan Pollak
54. Angela Godfrey-Goldstein Jerusalem
53. Oded Goldreich Tel Aviv
52. Yossi Bartal
51. Dana Ron Tel Aviv
50. Haggai Matar Tel Aviv – Jaffa
49. Benjamin Rosendahl
48. Ellen Naor 3403 NE 80th St, Seattle, WA 98112 USA
47. Jacob Naor, Ph.D. 3403 NE 80th St, Seattle, WA 98112 USA
46. Linda L Golden 13827 Sandy Oak Rd, Chester, VA 23831
45. Dorit Naaman
44. Teddy Katz Magal, Israel
43. Mary Alice Nesbitt
42. Kfir Cohen
41. Gideon Spiro גדעון ספירו Israel (Within the Green Line)
40. Amos Gvirtz Shefayim, Israel
39. Yael Lerer Tel Aviv
38. jake javanshir
37. Yvonne Deutsch  Jerusalem

36. annelien kisch-kroon ramat hasharon , Israel
35. Ofra Ben- Artzi Jerusalem
34. Sandra Ruch Israeli in Toronto
33. noa schwartz tel aviv, israel
32. michal schwartz tel aviv, israel
31. Judy Blanc
30. Beatrice Eichten
29. Bilha Golan
28. tsilli goldenberg israel
27. ofer neiman Israel
26. Galit Kadan Toronto, Canada
25. Dalit Baum Tel Aviv
24. Susanne Moses
23. Roman Vater
22. DINA GOOR
21. Hanna Braun London; UK
20. Merav Amir Tel Aviv
19. Alla Nikonov š
18. kobi snitz haifa
17. Hillel Barak Haifa, Israel
16. ruchama marton Tel Aviv
15. Reuven Kaminer Jerusalem
14. Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta
13. Avishai Chelouche Pardes-Hana, Israel
12. Anat Matar
11. Jeannette Herzberg Israel
10. PNINA Feiler KIBBUTZ YAD-HANNA
9. Tamar Yaron Kibbutz Hazorea
8. Yael Korin
7. eileen fleming http://www.wearewideawake.org/USA
6. Paul H. Verduin Silver Spring, Maryland
5. Eldad Benary A Israeli in NY
4. Smadar Carmon
3. Eldad Benary A Israeli in NY
2. Israel Naor Herzliah, Israel
1. Dorothy Naor Herzliah, Israel

The Letter of Support from Israelis to the United Methodist Church
Petition to James E. Winkler, General Secretary of the United Methodist
Church was created by and written by Dorothy Naor
(dor_naor@netvision.net.il).  

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

http://www.wisdom.weizmann.ac.il/~oded/PS/anat-bds.doc

על ההקשר של החרם האקדמי על ישראל

[מתוך תשובת ענת מטר לדיונים ברשת אוניברסיטאית על עניין החרם האקדמי על ישראל.]

[עריכה (ובפרט הדגשות) על ידי עודד גולדרייך]

בשנת 2005 יצאה קריאה מטעם החברה האזרחית הפלסטינית לחרם, משיכת השקעות וסנקציות על מדינת ישראל ומוסדותיה. על הקריאה הזו חתומים גופים רבים, איגודי עובדים, ארגונים חוץ-ממשלתיים ומפלגות, המבקשים לקדם מאבק לא מזוין בכיבוש המתמשך ובמדיניות האפרטהייד של ישראל. המהלך הזה הוא חלק ממכלול, אשר צד אחר שלו הוא, למשל, ההפגנות השבועיות נגד גדר ההפרדה וגזל האדמות. מי שהצטרפו למאבק הזה דוחים, מצד אחד, את שיתוף הפעולה המתמשך של הרשות הפלסטינית עם הפארסה המכונה “תהליך השלום”, ומצד שני את דרך ההתנגדות המזוינת.

הקריאה לחרם שואבת את השראתה מן המאבק באפרטהייד בדרום-אפריקה. מובן שהנסיבות ההיסטוריות אינן זהות, וגם צורות המאבק השונות אינן זהות, אבל ישנם קווי דמיון בצורת המשטר והתנהגותו, וכן ביחס הקהילה הבינלאומית (אני מתכוונת בראש וראשונה לתמיכה המסיבית של ארה”ב ואנגליה, בצד שאט-הנפש של קהילות בינלאומיות, איגודים מקצועיים וכו’). לא אעמיק כאן בניתוח ההשוואות; אציין רק כי אישים רבים, שנודעו במאבקם בדרום-אפריקה של האפרטהייד, מוצאים קווי דמיון כאלה ותומכים במהלכי ההחרמות נגד ישראל בשל כך.

החרם הוא המכשיר הפוליטי של הקהילה האזרחית – הפלסטינית, הבינלאומית, וגם הקהילה הישראלית הזעירה המבקשת להפגין סולידריות עם המאבק הזה, כמיטב יכולתה. הוא איננו תכלית לעצמה וגם לא צעד “מוסרי” גרידא; דהיינו, אין הוא צעד המצדיק את עצמו ומנותק מאפשרויות ההצלחה שלו. הוא כלי. ככזה, הוא כפוף לנסיבות, ואם יתברר, למשל, שהוא מזיק יותר משהוא מועיל – גם בטווח הארוך הנראה לעין – יהיה נכון לסלקו. כרגע, ניתוח המצב מצביע – בעיני תומכי החרם, כמובן – על היותו אחד הכלים הבודדים שעשויים להוליך את ישראל לשינוי מדיניותה הנפשעת (אולי ישירות, ואולי דרך שינוי מדיניותן של מדינות אירופה, ואפילו ארה”ב – מה שקשה להאמין – ביחס אליה). יתר על כן, נראה שדרכים אחרות חסומות לגמרי. התמיכה האמריקאית המסיבית, שטיפת-המוח הלאומנית, תמיכתה הכמעט-טוטלית של האוכלוסייה היהודית בישראל במהלכי ממשלותיה (93% תמכו במבצע “עופרת יצוקה”, למשל), וכן, גם שיתוף פעולה, שלא לומר התגייסות, של האליטה הכלכלית, התקשורתית והאקדמית – כל אלה מצביעים על כך שללא לחץ חיצוני לא יחול שיפור. אין פירושו של דבר שיש לוותר על דרכים אחרות של מאבק לא מזוין. נהפוך הוא. עבודה בתוך הקהילה הישראלית-יהודית נחוצה, ובמקביל, כמובן, נחוצה גם עבודה פנימית בתוך הקהילה הכבושה.

האינטרס הגדול של ממשלות ישראל הוא שמירת מראית-עין של נורמליות. ישראל מבקשת להציג את עצמה כלפי העולם המערבי כחלק אינטגרלי ממנו, כמדינה דמוקרטית, פתוחה, מתקדמת, ליברלית. ככל שמדיניותה הופכת לאלימה יותר, ככל שאופייה מתרחק יותר מן הדימוי הזה, כך מתגברים מאמציה לשמר את הדימוי. הקמפיין של “מיתוג מחודש של ישראל” – אותו ביקר עמיתנו קרלו שטרנגר ב”הארץ” לפני ימים אחדים – הוא חוד החנית של המאמץ הזה. לקהילה התרבותית והאקדמית מייחדים אנשי הקמפיין, במשרדי החוץ וההסברה, תפקיד חשוב. הן אמורות להציג את פניה היפות של ישראל ובכך לטשטש את שאין לראות.

ההתנגדות לנורמליזציה היא אחת מהסיבות העיקריות לתמיכה במדיניות ההחרמות בכלל, וכאלה המופנות כלפי הקהילה התרבותית והאקדמית של ישראל בפרט. כך, למשל, מתארגנות מחאות נגד אירועי תרבות ישראליים הממומנים על ידי משרד החוץ ומכוונים ל”מיתוג המחודש” – כפי שקרה בפסטיבל טורונטו לקולנוע בשנה שעברה; אמנים מתבקשים על-ידי תומכי החרם שלא להופיע בישראל, מרצים מתבקשים שלא להשתתף בכנסים בארץ, וכדומה.

אולם תפקידה של האקדמיה אינו מסתכם בהיותה ה”פנים הנאורות” שיש להציג בפני העולם כמסכה. העולם האקדמי מחובר בטבורו לממסד המדינתי ומשרת אותו, באינספור פרויקטים צבאיים, מדיניים והסברתיים. במקביל, ביקורת על מדיניות הכיבוש והאפרטהייד של ישראל כמעט ואיננה מושמעת בו – למרות ניסיונות גורמים שונים לצייר את התמונה אחרת. כל אלה הובילו את מנסחי הקמפיין הפלסטיני להכללה, באפיון החרם, גם של קריאה למשיכת השקעות במוסדות האקדמיים ולהימנעות ממימון פרויקטים אקדמיים – בפרט, כמובן, פרויקטים המשרתים ישירות את הממשלה. הרעיון הכולל הוא, שוב, הרצון להקשות על ישראל להתמיד בכיבוש, הן על-ידי הפיכת הכיבוש ל”לא משתלם” והן על-ידי חשיפת המקום אליו הידרדרה החברה הישראלית בפני חבריה עצמה, בדרך של הצבת מראה. לכן, אין לדבר על חרם על האקדמיה באופן מופשט ומנותק מן ההיבטים האחרים של המאבק הלא-מזוין לסיום הכיבוש.

עד כאן הצגה בסיסית של הרקע ההכרחי לדיון.  אני מבקשת להתייחס עתה, בקיצור ככל שאוכל, לכמה עניינים שעלו בהתכתבויות שונות.

שאלת החרם האינדיווידואלי מול זה המוסדי

כאמור, החל משנת 2005 נתנה החברה האזרחית הפלסטינית צורה ממוסדת לחרם. בצד הפנייה לקהילה הבינלאומית להחרמה, משיכת השקעות וסנקציות כלפי ישראל, ישנו גם פירוט של אופני ההחרמה הרצויים, וגם הסברים על אופני החרמה לא רצויים. על פי הפירוט הזה, החרם על האקדמיה הישראלית אינו כולל הימנעות מהזמנת אקדמאים ישראליים להרצאות וכנסים בחו”ל, שיתופם במחקרים, שיפוט ופרסום מאמרים וספרים שלהם, וכדומה. עד כמה שידוע לי, החל מאותה שנה, 2005, לא רבים המקרים בהם בחרו אקדמאים ברחבי העולם בדרכי החרמה כאלה.

שתי שאלות נוספות עלו בהקשר זה. ראשית, האם האקדמאים האירופיים מאמצים את הנוסח המוסדי-בלבד עליו דיברתי. לפי מיטב התרשמותי, הקריאה הפלסטינית יצרה מין “רגולציה” של החרם, ולכן פחתו המקרים שבהם קיבלו ההחרמות צורה אינדיווידואלית מן הסוגים האמורים. מקרים כאלה היו ועוד יהיו בוודאי, אבל לא התמיכה בקריאה הפלסטינית לחרם היא המקדמת אותם, אלא להיפך. בכל מקרה, הקריאה הפלסטינית מצביעה על קיומם של “אזורים אפורים”, ולי, כמו לאחרים – פלסטינים, ישראלים וזרים – יש לעתים הסתייגויות מפעולת חרם כזו או אחרת. אחרי הכל, פועל כל אדם לפי טעמו הפוליטי ומזגו האישי.

שנית, האם תמיכה בחרם מוסדי אינה, למעשה, גם תמיכה בחרם אינדיווידואלי. ובכן, כאן התשובה היא כן ולא. מובן שאקדמאים ייפגעו מכך שעמיתיהם יסרבו להגיע לכאן לכנסים שהם מבקשים לארגן. אבל (אם נסלק יוזמות אישיות מן הסוג האמור לעיל), לא תהיה פגיעה בהזמנת אקדמאים ישראליים לשבתונים והרצאות, בפרסומים וכו’. לעומת זאת ברור שקרנות מחקר תדולדלנה, השקעות באוניברסיטה תצטמצמנה, וכו’. כן, זה מחיר שלדעתי הקהילה האקדמית רבת-הפריבילגיות צריכה לשלם – מן הנימוקים שהבאתי לעיל.

תמיכה במהלך מסוים (כמו תמיכה בחרם) מאפשרת – תמיד – ניצול שלו או פרשנות מוטעית שלו

(למשל שימוש בחרם על-ידי גורמים אנטישמיים, או אחרים, שאינם מונעים מרצון לסיום הכיבוש ומדיניות האפרטהייד בלבד). אפשרות זו קיימת, ולדעתי, כל שאפשר לעשות נגדה הוא הבהרה חד-משמעית של הרציונל של החרם, מטרותיו, מסגרתו, וכו’. מצד שני, לא רק מעשים, אלא גם מחדלים, מפורשים ומנוצלים על ידי גורמים שונים ומשונים, ודי לחכימא ברמיזא.

מדוע דווקא ישראל?

אחת מן השאלות הקשות יותר בה נתקלים תומכי החרם היא השאלה, הסבירה לגמרי, בעניין ייחודה של ישראל. האם פשעיה של ארה”ב קטנים יותר? ואלו של אנגליה? כידוע, חומסקי נמנע מהחרמה משום שהוא טוען שהיא מפלה את ישראל לרעה ביחס לארצו. מן הצד השני, נהג הפיסיקאי, פרופ’ דניאל עמית המנוח, להחרים גם את האקדמיה האמריקאית. אבל אני לא שם. למה? משום שהחרם הוא כלי פוליטי ולא מטרה לעצמה ומשום שיש כמה הבדלים בין ישראל לארה”ב. ציינתי שהחרם איננו מצדיק את עצמו כשלעצמו, במנותק מאפשרויות ההצלחה שלו, מהנסיבות. כדי לקבל הנמקה כזו צריך לאמץ גישה מסוימת ליחסים בין מוסר ומחשבה פוליטית. זו סוגיה פילוסופית חשובה, שלא זה הפורום המתאים לבירורה, אך דנתי בה ובכוונתי לדון בה בהקשרים המתאימים. על כל פנים, כמו במקרה של דרום-אפריקה, מסתמן סיכוי שהחרם על ישראל יישא פירות (ואולי משום כך הוא מבהיל כל כך ישראלים רבים). אין צל של אפשרות אפילו לדמיין חרם על כלכלתה, תרבותה והאקדמיה של ארה”ב, ומובן שאין שום סיכויי הצלחה לחרם כזה.

זה המקום בו שואל אדם את עצמו: האם תמכתי, או הייתי תומך, בחרם על דרום-אפריקה? מי שמשיב בחיוב, צריך לדעתי לשאול את עצמו מדוע לא כאן ועכשיו. [עודד: יתכנו תשובות סבירות לשאלה מדוע לא “כאן ועכשיו”, אבל תשובות סבירות צריכות להיות מנוסחות במונחים יחסיים (ולא מוחלטים) ולהתייחס לנסיבות הפוליטיות של “כאן ועכשיו” – הן מבחינת הצורך להחריף את המאבק במדיניות הישראלית והן מבחינת האפקטיביות הצפויה של צעדים מסוימים.]

שאלה מקבילה, מן הצד השני, נוגעת לפשעיהן של ארצות כמו סין או איראן. מדוע לא להחרים גם אותן? ובכן, ישראל מתיימרת להיות מדינה דמוקרטית יותר מסין או איראן, ולדעתי ליומרה הזו יש מחיר. יתר על כן, ישראל זוכה להטבות מפליגות ממדינות המערב בשל ה”דמוקרטיה” בה היא מתפארת לשווא. קיצוץ בפריבילגיות הללו, לנוכח מדיניותה, נראה לי מעשה ראוי וחשוב.

מדוע אינני מתפטרת?

השאלה הזו מניחה תשובה לשאלה אחרת: האם אני, כלשון העצומה, מבקשת לפגוע בעמיתיי ובתלמידיי, באוניברסיטת תל-אביב וביתר האוניברסיטאות בארץ? תשובתי (הצפויה) היא לא ולא. המוסד האקדמי היחיד בסביבה שהייתי רוצה באמת לפגוע בו הוא מכללת אריאל, ולכך, נדמה לי, שותפים גם אחרים. (אגב: אלה צריכים לשאול את עצמם אם אינם מייחלים לחרם על המרכז האוניברסיטאי באריאל; אם יסרבו להרצות שם ולהשתתף בכנסיו; אם יתמכו בהסבת השקעות ממנו. אם ישיבו בהן על השאלות הללו, ברי שאף הם שמים סייגים לאותו “חופש אקדמי” בו מרבים לנפנף כאן לשווא לאחרונה – ובצדק יעשו כן. אינני מבקשת חלילה לגזור גזירה שווה בין מכללת אריאל לבין האוניברסיטאות הישראליות, אולם את הנקודה הזו חשוב להבהיר.)

איך זה שאני תומכת בחרם ובכל זאת רוצה בטובת האוניברסיטה? ממש כשם שאני רוצה בטובת ישראל ומצדדת בחרם עליה. תביעה להתפטרותי מן האוניברסיטה גוררת גם תביעה להסתלקותי מן הארץ. אין לי צל של ספק שסיום הכיבוש ומדיניות האפרטהייד נחוצים למען עתיד טוב יותר, לכולנו, במקום הזה; וכאמור, אני מאמינה שלחץ בינלאומי, כפי שתיארתי לעיל, הוא כלי חשוב לקידום המטרה הזו. כולנו חברים בקהילות שונות, והפגנת סולידריות עם קהילה אחת עשויה להתנגש עם הסולידריות שאנחנו מפגינים כלפי האחרת.  הסולידריות הראשונית שלי עתה היא עם חבריי למאבק הבלתי מזוין נגד הכיבוש. עם זאת, אני רואה את עצמי בשר מבשרה של הקהילה האקדמית בישראל. היא חשובה לי, היא מהווה חלק משמעותי מחיי, תלמידיי חשובים לי מאד וכך גם עבודתי האקדמית. בוודאי שהתנגשות כזו יוצרת מתיחות – אולי אפילו סתירה. מי שמאמין שאפשר לחיות ללא סתירות ומתחים פנימיים, יבושם לו. בלי שום קשר לנושא הנוכחי, אני לא מאמינה באפשרות כזו. רצוי, כמובן, למוסס את המתח, ואת זאת אני עושה יום יום, בתפקודי באוניברסיטה ובשמאל.

לעניין הפגיעה באוניברסיטה יש להוסיף עוד שני היבטים לפחות. הראשון הוא שגם אמצעי השביתה (אף הוא אמצעי פוליטי, לא מנותק מהקשר ולא בר-הכללה באופן פורמלי), שכולנו או לפחות רובינו תומכים בו, עשוי להזיק בטווח הקצר. השביתה הגדולה של הסגל אכן הזיקה לכיסי האוניברסיטה. סטודנטים עזבו לטובת המכללות, בטענה ש”שם לא שובתים”. (למרבה השמחה הם התבדו – ראו את מכללת ספיר.) דרישות שאנחנו מעלים, בצדק רב, לגבי העסקתם של עובדי הקבלן, או המורים-מן-החוץ, אף הן מרעות לכאורה את מצבה הכלכלי של האוניברסיטה – ובכל זאת אנחנו מאמינים שהן מוצדקות, ואף מצדיקות שביתות וסנקציות שונות.

ההיבט השני נוגע למה שאפשר לקרוא לו בהכללה “המיליטריזם של האוניברסיטה”. שיתוף הפעולה הסמוי והגלוי עם הצבא, תוכניות הלימוד המיוחדות, מינוי מרצים שמוצנחים היישר מן הפיקוד הבכיר – כל אלה, שהאוניברסיטה נוטה להתגאות בהם, מזיקים לה, לטעמי, לא פחות מן התמיכה בחרם. הרבה יותר. אינני מתכוונת רק ליחסי-החוץ, לעובדה שהמיליטריזם הזה מקל על תומכי החרם. אני מתכוונת קודם כל לפרצופה של האוניברסיטה עצמה, לסדר היום של מחקריה, למחויבותה האזרחית.

עד כאן. חשבתי לכתוב לכם מסמך קצר המכיל תשובות לשאלות, אך משהתיישבתי לכתוב אותו הבנתי עד כמה ניסיון כזה הוא מופרך. ברור לי לגמרי עד כמה קשה סוגיית החרם (הכולל, וזה על האקדמיה בפרט). אינני מצפה לשכנע איש, אלא לסלק אי הבנות ולהציע לכם לראות את הדברים מפרספקטיבה אחרת. ברור לי גם שלשם ראייה כזו דרושה הסכמה מינימלית בעניינים הפוליטיים. יתר על כן, אני סבורה, וכתבתי על כך בהרחבה בהקשר האקדמי, כי דרוש לה גם שינוי בהוויה, באורח החיים. אבל, כאמור, עד כאן.

[מאי 2010]

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http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=792

Academic freedom for whom?Comment by PACBI:

This important petition (below) issued by Israeli academics provides further support for PACBI’s consistent denunciation of the Israeli academy for its complicity in the system of oppression against Palestinians and its silence about the long-standing violation of the basic freedoms–including the academic freedom–of Palestinians. The petition also vindicates PACBI in its campaign for the institutional boycott of the Israeli academy.

As the background to the petition makes clear, the Israeli academy is not the bastion of dissent it is purported to be by those seeking to defend it and thus delegitimize the call for the academic boycott of Israel. The vast majority of the Israeli academic community are oblivious to the oppression of the Palestinian people–both inside Israel and in the occupied territory–and have never fought to oppose the practices and policies of their state. In fact, they duly serve in the reserve forces of the occupation army and as such are either perpetrators of or silent witnesses to the daily brutality of the occupation. They also do not hesitate to partner in their academic research with the security-military establishment that is the chief architect and executor of the occupation and other forms of oppression of the Palestinian people.


This initiative also shows that sadly, even those who wish to rouse their colleagues from their slumber seem to be the victims of amnesia or else are willfully ignoring the basic political context within which the academic freedom of Palestinian academics and students is being violated. That context is no other than the illegal, four-decades-old military occupation of Palestinian land, an occupation that has striven consistently to destroy Palestinian society and its institutions, including universities. That a petition issued by academics ignores this basic fact and is unwilling to condemn the occupation regime is very telling.

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Text of the Petition Issued by Israeli Academics:

Academic freedom for whom?

The meaning of “academic freedom” is fairly obvious. It is something that is associated with democratic societies, and it is universally held in high esteem, even though its boundaries and limits are often unclear. Basically, where there is freedom to teach, study and carry out research in academic institutions, and to publish research-related books and articles, then academic freedom exists.

It is clear that there can be no real academic freedom in higher education unless it is possible to reach the institutions where one studies, teaches, and carries out research. Academics within the State of Israel are able to do this, but those working in the higher education institutions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are not. There, checkpoints, blockades, walls and fences prevent thousands of students and teachers from leading a normal academic life, and lecturers with non-Palestinian passports, who wish to teach in those institutions, are prevented from staying for long enough to carry out meaningful continuous teaching.

The academic community of the State of Israel, which rightly demands academic freedom for its members both inside Israel and within the international academic community, has generally disregarded the demand for a similar freedom for Palestinian academics in the Occupied Territories for which the State of Israel is responsible. Because of this, and in view of the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Territories during the last couple of years, we approached all the senior faculty members in the major higher education and scientific research institutions in Israel: Bar Ilan University, Ben Gurion University, Haifa University, The Hebrew University, The Open University, the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology), Tel Aviv University, and the Weizmann Institute for Science. We sent them the following letter and petition:

Dear colleagues:

As academics and citizens of the State of Israel, whatever our political opinions may be, we see ourselves as having a duty to fight for the academic freedom of our Palestinian colleagues. We call upon the Government of Israel to honour and implement the right of freedom of movement, academic study and instruction in the State of Israel and the territories controlled by it. Academic freedom is not divisible and cannot be selective. The State of Israel and we its citizens are directly responsible for upholding that freedom.

We call upon you to actively accept that responsibility and to add your support to the attached petition, which is being distributed among all senior staff members in all institutions of higher education in Israel. After the signatures have been gathered, we intend to seek the support of the Committee of University Presidents and members of the Israeli Academy of Science, and to submit the petition to the following government ministries: Defence, Education, Science, Foreign Affairs, and the Interior.

Sincerely,

The initiators of the petition:

Prof. Menachem Fisch, Tel-Aviv University

Prof. Raphael Falk, The Hebrew University

Prof. Eva Jablonka, Tel-Aviv University

Dr. Snait Gissis, Tel-Aviv University


Text of the petition

We, past and present members of academic staff of Israeli universities, express great concern regarding the ongoing deterioration of the system of higher education in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. We protest against the policy of our government which is causing restrictions of freedom of movement, study and instruction, and we call upon the government to allow students and lecturers free access to all the campuses in the Territories, and to allow lecturers and students who hold foreign passports to teach and study without being threatened with withdrawal of residence visas. To leave the situation as it is will cause serious harm to freedom of movement, study and instruction – harm to the foundation of academic freedom, to which we are committed.

We sent about 9000 emails, of which around 5000 were to senior faculty and the rest to emeriti and junior faculty at some of the institutions. These numbers should be reduced by about 5% to allow for the emails that were returned. In order not to misuse the internal all-university lists, all email addresses were manually downloaded from the open-to-the-public sites of university departments. A total of 407 people, 403 of whom are mostly active senior faculty, (but also include emeriti and junior staff) from the above institutions, as well as 4 signatures from senior faculty of Colleges who became aware of our petition, responded to our call and signed the petition. It is our intention to publicize the list of signatories on the web.

The number of signatories from each university is as follows:

Bar Ilan University 10

Ben Gurion University 77

Haifa University 20

Hebrew University 110

Open University 7

Technion 14

Tel Aviv University 155

Weizmann Institute of Science 10

Sapir College 2

Oranim 1

Bezalel 1

We received a number of letters objecting to our call: some of the authors sent reasoned responses, arguing their case against our petition; others chose to send insulting hate mail.

At the Weitzman Institute of Science, one of the heads of the departments sent a letter via the Academic Affairs Office to all the senior faculty of that institute. In it, he warned the faculty of the danger lurking in our call, basing his argument on very inaccurate rumours about the political stance of the initiators of the petition.

In March 2008 we wrote to the Committee of University Presidents and to the Directorial Board of the Israeli Academy of Science asking them to support our petition. So far, the only answer received has been that our request would be considered.

We are well aware that only rarely do petitions cause a change in a political state of affairs. However, we do not doubt that when there are enough people in the Israeli academic community who are prepared to voice their objection to the conditions under which their colleagues in Palestinian higher education institutions have to work, and do all they can to ensure that their Palestinian counterparts have the same academic freedom that they enjoy, we shall all benefit – Israeli and Palestinian academics alike.

Prof. Menachem Fisch, Tel-Aviv University

Prof. Raphael Falk, The Hebrew University

Prof. Eva Jablonka, Tel-Aviv University

Dr. Snait Gissis, Tel-Aviv University



List of Signatories
Dr. Aref Abu-Rabia BGU
Dr. Tabat Abu Ras BGU
Prof. Zach Adam HUJI
Prof. Hanna Adoni HUJI
Dr. Riad Agrabia BGU
Prof. Ron Aharoni Technion
Dr. Iris Agmon BGU
Prof. Joseph Agassi TAU
Prof. Amotz Agnin HUJI
Prof. Ofer Aharoni Weizmann
Prof. Niv Ahituv TAU
Prof. Gadi Algazi TAU
Dr. Karen Alkalay Gut TAU
Dr. Yoav Alon TAU
Prof. Ehud Altman Weizmann
Dr. Tammy Amiel – Hauser TAU
Dr. Eleanor Amit TAU
Prof. Gannit Ankori HU
Prof. Yonathan Anson BGU
Dr. Ruth Arav OPU
Prof. Mira Ariel TAU
Dr. Amos Arieli Weizmann
Prof. Boaz Arpaly TAU
Dr. Ruth Ashery-Padan TAU
Dr. Nurit Ashkenasy BGU
Dr. Daniel Attas HUJ
Prof. Judy Auerbach BGU
Dr. Michal Aviad TAU
Dr. Yoram Ayal BGU
Dr. Prof. Amir Ayali TAU
Dr. Ariela Azoulay BIU
Prof. Roi Baer HUJI
Prof. Shalom Baer HUJI
Dr. Amir Banbaji BGU
Prof. Gad Baneth HUJI
Prof. Ilan Bank TAU
Prof. Maya Bar-Hillel HUJI
Prof. Eitan Bar Yosef BGU
Dr. Oren Barak HUJI
Prof. Isaac Barash, TAU
Prof. Ron Barkai TAU
Prof. Yacob Barnai Haifa U
Prof. Shosh Bar-Nun TAU
Prof. Arie Bass TAU
Prof. Outi Bat-El TAU
Prof. Hava Bat-Zeev Shyldkrot TAU
Prof. Yehuda Bauer HUJI
Dr. Dalia Beck BGU
Prof. Yhuda Beeton BGU
Dr. Guy Beiner BGU
Prof. Shimshon Belkin HUJI
Prof. Avner Ben-Amos TAU
Prof. Eyal Ben Ari HUJI
Dr Hagit Benbaji BGU
Prof. Yemima Ben-Menachem HUJI
Prof. Ziva Ben-Porat, TAU
Prof. Yinon Ben-Neriah, HUJI
Prof. Simon Benninga TAU
Prof. Zvi Bentwich BGU
Dr. Yael Benyamini TAU
Dr. Yael Ben-Zvi BGU
Prof. Benjamin Isaac TAU
Dr. Nitza Berkovitch BGU
Dr. Louise Bethlehem HUJI
Prof. Anat Biletzki TAU
Prof. Yoram Bilu HUJI
Prof. David Blanc Haifa U
Prof. Rony Blum HUJI
Prof. Shoshana Blum-Kulka HUJI
Prof. Irena Botwinik-Rotem BGU
Prof. Yohanan Brada HUJI
Prof. Michael Brandeis HUJI
Prof. Yigal Bronner TAU
Prof. Jose Brunner TAU
Prof. Judith Buber Agassi HUJI
Prof. Victoria Buch HUJI
Dr. Naama Carmi Haifa U
Dr. Julia Chaitin Sapir College
Prof. Reuven Chayoth BGU
Dr. Raz Chen- Morris BIU
Prof. Mottie Chevion HUJI
Dr. Tamar Cholcman TAU
Dr. Eyal Chowers TAU
Prof. Esther Cohen HUJI
Prof. Michael J. Cohen BIU
Prof. Yerachmiel Cohen HUJI
Dr. Yinon Cohen TAU
Mrs. Anat Danziger HUJI
Prof. Marcelo Dascal TAU
Prof. Nathan Dascal TAU
Prof. David Degani Technion
Prof. Sahul Dollberg TAU
Prof. Fanny Dolzhansky HUJI
Dr. Daniel Dor TAU
Prof. Yuval Dor HUJI
Dr. Iris Dotan TAU
Prof. Tommy Dreyfus TAU
Prof. Amos Dreyfus HUJI
Dr Eli Dresner TAU
Dr Otniel Dror HUJI
Dr Tammy Eilat Yagoury TAU
Prof. Gerda Elata-Alster BGU
Prof. Miri Eliav-Feldon TAU
Prof. David Enoch HUJ
Prof. Yehouda Enzel HUJI
Prof. Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan Haifa U
Prof. Ilan Eshel TAU
Prof. Aharon Eviatar TAU
Dr. Zohar Eytan TAU
Dr. Ovadia Ezra TAU
Prof. Raphael Falk HUJI
Prof. Ruma Falk HUJI
Prof. Emmanuel Farjoun HUJI
Prof. Celia Fassberg HUJI
Prof. Steve Fassberg HUJI
Dr. Jackie Feldman BG
Prof. Rivka Feldhay TAU
Dr. Tovi Fenster, TAU
Dr. Dani Filc BGU
Dr. Lizzie Fireman TAU
Prof. Menachem Fisch TAU
Dr. Susie Fisher Open U
Prof. Hanan Frenk TAU
Prof. Gideon Freudenthal TAU
Prof. Ariela Fridman TAU
Prof. Ehud Friedgut HUJI
Prof. Eli Friedlander TAU
Dr. Alon Friedman BGU
Dr. Paul Frosh HUJI
Dr. Iris Fry Technion
Prof. Michael Fry Technion
Dr. Michalle Gal TAU
Prof. Yolanda Gampel TAU
Prof. Uri Gat HUJI
Prof. Nima Geffen TAU
Dr. Ido Geiger HUJI
Prof. Deborah Gera HUJI
Prof. Israel Gershoni TAU
Dr. Mahmud Ghanayim TAU
Prof. Avner Giladi Haifa U
Dr. Asaf Gilboa Haifa U
Dr. Jack Gilrom BGU
Prof. Ruth Ginsburg HUJI
Prof. Simona Ginsburg OU
Prof. Rachel Giora TAU
Dr. Snait Gissis TAU
Prof.essor Eli Glasner TAU
Prof. Ruth Glasner HUJI
Prof. Marek Glezerman TAU
Mr. Shuka Glotman BGU
Prof. Michael Gluzman TAU
Dr. Tamar Golan BGU
Dr. Menachem Goldenberg TAU
Prof. Haim Goldfus BGU
Prof. Amiram Goldblum HUJI
Prof. Oded Goldreich Weizmann
Prof. Hari Golomb TAU
Dr. Neve Gordon BGU
Dr. Tresa Grauer BGU
Dr. Moki Greefeld TAU
Dr. Matine Grenak-Katrivs TAU
Prof. Nachum Gross HUJI
Prof. Yosef Gruenbaum HUJI
Prof. Guretzki-Bilu TAU
Prof. Zali Gurevitch HUJI
Prof. David Gurwitz TAU
Prof. Yossi Guttmann Haifa U
Dr. Ran Hacohen TAU
Prof. Uri Hadar TAU
Dr. Abdulla Haj Ichia HUJI
Prof. Aviva Halamish TAU
Dr. Masud Hamdan Haifa U
Dr. Talma Handler TAU
Dr. Oren Harman BI
Prof. Alon Harel HUJI
Prof. Ran Hassin HUJI
Prof. Galit Hazan-Rokem HUJI
Prof. Shlomo Hasson HUJI
Prof. Abraham Hefetz TAU
Prof. Moti Heiblum Weizmann
Dr. Sibyl Heilbron Haifa U
Dr. Eyal Heifetz TAU
Dr. Sara Helman BGU
Prof. Yitzhak Hen BGU
Dr. Omri Herzog HUJI
Dr. Tamar Hess HUJI
Prof. Hannan Hever TAU
Dr. Sylvie Honigman TAU
Prof. Ehud Hrushovski HUJI
Prof. Boaz Huss BGU
Prof. Eva Illuz HUJI
Dr. Anat Israeli, Oranim
Prof. Eva Jablonka TAU
Prof. Dan Jacobson TAU
Prof. Sulaiman Jubran TAU
Prof. Edouard Jurkevitch HUJI
Dr. Nirit Kadmon TAU
Dr. Devora Kalekin Haifa U
Dr. Itay Kama TAU
Dr. Avi Kaplan BGU
Dr. Nahum Karlinsky BGU
Prof. Steve Karlish Weizmann
Prof. Rimon Kasher BIU
Prof. Tamar Katriel Haifa U
Prof. Yaakov Katriel Technion
Dr. Roni Kaufman BGU
Prof. Gad Kaynar TAU
Dr. Chen Keasar BGU
Ms. Ruth Kener TAU
Prof. Michael Keren HUJI
Dr Nadera Shalhov-Kevorkian HUJI
Prof. Hanan J. Kisch BGU
Dr. Menachem Klein BI
Prof. Sara Klein Breslavy TAU
Dr. Yoel Klemes Open U
Prof. Ruth Klinov HUJI
Dr. Ariel Knafo HUJI
Prof. Yehoshua Kolodny, HUJI
Prof. Mordechai Kremnizer HUJI
Prof. David Kretzmer HUJI
Dr. Michal Krumer-Nevo BGU
Prof. Richard Kulka HUJI
Dr. Orna Kupferman HUJI
Dr. Raz Kupferman HUJI
Dr. Ron Kuzar Haifa U
Dr. Ori Lahav Technion
Prof. Lius Landa BGU
Prof. Idan Landau BGU
MS. Tali Latowicki BGU
Dr. Shai Lavi TAU
Prof. Boaz Lazar HUJI
Dr. Gerardo Leibner, TAU
Prof. Aaron Lerner Haifa U
Prof. Haim Levanon HUJI
Prof. Iris Levin TAU
Prof. Yakir Levin BGU
Prof. Shimon Levy TAU
Prof. David Lior HUJI
Dr Orly Lubin TAU
Prof. Yael Lubin BGU
Dr. Menachem Luz Haifa U
Prof. M. Machover HUJI
Dr. Daniel Maman BGU
Dr. Shmuel Marco TAU
Prof. Avishai Margalit HUJI
Prof. Moshe Margalith TAU
Prof. Shimon Marom Technion
Prof. Imauel Marx TAU
Dr. Anat Matar TAU
Prof. Tsevi Mazeh TAU
Prof. Raphael Mechoulam HUJI
Prof. Gidon Medini TAU
Prof. Avinoam Meir BGU
Prof. Ron Meir Technion
Prof. Yoram Meital BGU
Dr. Eran Meshorer HUJI
Mr. Avi Mograbi Bezalel
Prof. Raya Morag HUJI
Dr. Efrat Morin HUJI
Prof. Uzi Motro, HUJI
Prof. Guy Mundlak TAU
Prof. Ben Zion Munitz TAU
Dr Eti Nachliel TAU
Prof. Zvi Neeman TAU
Prof. Yosef Neuman TAU
Dr. Yitshak Nevo BGU
Dr. Gidi Nevo BGU
Prof. David Newman BGU
Prof.. Ariel Novoplanky BGU
Prof. Avi Ohry TAU
Prof. Dalia Ofer HUJI
Dr. Yanai Ofran BIU
Prof. Adi Ophir TAU
Prof. Aharon Oppenheimer TAU
Prof. Avi Oz Haifa U
Prof. Iris Parush BGU
Dr. Galia Patt Shamir TAU
Dr. Einat Peled TAU
Dr. Yoav Peled TAU
Prof. Bezalel Peleg HUJI
Prof. Hana Peres TAU
Prof. Mordechai Perl BGU
Prof. Kobi Peter( Peterzil) Haifa U
Dr. Amit Pichevski HUJI
Dr. Yona Pinson TAU
Prof. Nava Pliskin BGU
Prof.. Francis Dov Por HUJI
Prof.. Dan Rabinowitz TAU
Prof. Gad Rabinowitz BGU
Prof. Chaim Rachman Technion
Prof. Yoel Rak TAU
Dr. Hagai Ram BGU
Prof. Uri Ram BGU
Prof. Mauro Rathaous TAU
Prof. Shalom Ratzabi TAU
Dr. Tal Raviv TAU
Prof. Jacob Raz, TAU
Prof. Elchanan Reiner TAU
Prof. Omer Reingold Weizmann
Prof. Meir Rigby HUJI
Prof. Ruth Rigby HUJI
Dr. Roer-Strier HUJI
Prof. Freddie Rokem TAU
Prof. Dana Ron TAU
Prof. Moshe Ron HUJI
Dr. Ayala Ronal TAU
Prof. Steven Rosen BGU
Prof. Tova Rosen BGU
Dr. Zeev Rosenhek OPU
Dr. Issachar Rosen-Zvi TAU
Prof. Susan Rothstein BI
Prof. Elisheva Rosen TAU
Dr. Avi Rubin BGU
Dr. Prof. Bella Rubin TAU
Mr. Daniel Rubinstein BGU
Dr. Ilan Saban Haifa U
Prof. Yosef Sadan TAU
Dr. Hanna Safran Haifa U
Prof. Shlomo Sand TAU
Prof. Shifra Sagi BGU
Dr. Lilach Sagiv HUJI
Prof. Edwin Seroussi HUJI
Dr. Zvi Schuldiner Sapir College
Dr. Sara Schwartz Open U
Dr. Yossef Schwartz TAU
Dr. Shlomi Segall HUJ
Dr. Ella Segev Technion
Prof. Idan Segev HUJI
Prof. Ruben Seroussi TAU
Dr. Alla Shainskaya, Weizmann
Dr. Yeala Shaked HUJI
Dr. Milette Shamir TAU
Prof. Michal Shamir TAU
Dr. Ronen Shamir TAU
Dr. Yaakov Shamir HUJI
Prof. Benny Shanon HUJI
Prof. Itzhak Shapira TAU
MS. Noa Shashar HUJI
Dr. Relli Shechter BGU
Prof.. Gaby Shefler HUJI
Prof. Miriam Shlesinger BI
Prof. Yehuda Shenhav TAU
Prof. Yosef Shiloh TAU
Prof. Tal Siloni TAU
Dr. Eyal Shimoni Weizmann
Prof. Naomi Shir BGU
Prof. Moshe Shokeid TAU
Prof. Boaz Shushan BGU
Dr. Tal Shuval TAU
Prof. Moshe Silberbush, BGU
Dr. Ivy Sichel HUJI
Dr. Rosalie Sitman TAU
Dr. Vered Slonim Nevo BGU
Prof. Varda Soskolne BIU
Prof. Avishai Stark TAU
Prof. Wilfo Stein HUJI
Prof. Shamai Speiser Technion
Prof. W. D. Zeev Stein HUJI
Prof. Carlo Strenger TAU
Dr. Deborah Sweeney, TAU
Dr. Daniella Talmon-Heller BGU
Prof. David Talshir BGU
Dr. Daphne Tsimhoni Technion
Prof. Gideon Toury, TAU
Dr. Hamoutal Tsamir BGU
Prof. Yoav Tsori BGU
Dr. Rachel Tzelnik-Abramovitch TAU
Prof. Joseph Tzelgov BGU
Dr. Jehuda (Dudy) Tzfati HUJI
Prof. Edna Ullmann Margalit HUJI
Prof. Sabetai Unguru TAU
Dr. Vered Vitizky-Seroussi HUJI
Prof. Naphtali Wagner HUJI
Prof. Alon Warburg HUJI
Dr. Eynel Wardi HUJI
Prof. Henry Wassermann OPU
Dr. Nathan Wasserman HUJI
Prof.. Ruth Weintraub TAU
Dr. Barak Weiss BGU
Dr. Haim Weiss BGU
Prof. Sasha Weitman TAU
Prof. Haim Werner TAU
Prof. Yehuda Werner HUJI
Prof. Paul Wexler TAU
Prof.. Yoad Winter Technion
Dr. Nurit Yaari TAU
Prof. Yoel Yaari HUJI
Dr. Haim Yacobi BGU
Dr. Niza Yanay BGU
Prof. Eli Yassif TAU
Dr. Mahmoud Yazbak Haifa U
Dr. Edit Yerushalmi Weizmann
Prof. Oren Yiftachel BGU
Dr. Daphna Yoel TAU
Prof. Yuval Yonay Haifa U
Prof. Mira Zakai TAU
Dr. Michael Zakim TAU
Prof. Shmuel Zamir HUJI
Prof. Anat Zanger TAU
Prof. Joseph Zeira HUJI
Dr. Dina Zilberg BGU
Prof. Moshe Zimmermann HUJI
Dr. Michal Zion BIU
Dr. Amalia Ziv TAU
Dr. Ouriel Zohar Technion
Dr. Tsaffrir Zor TAU
Prof. Moshe Zuckermann TAU

http://academic-access.weebly.com/

Posted on 26-07-2008

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

———- Forwarded message ———
From: <e-mail@israel-academia-monitor.com>
Date: Wed, Aug 13, 2008 at 10:28 AM
Subject: Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which launched the Boycott Israeli Goods Campaign, adopts the Petition Issued by Israeli Academics
To:

http://bigcampaign.org/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=220&cntnt01origid=82&cntnt01dateformat=%25d%20%25b%20%25Y&cntnt01returnid=72 The BIG Campaign (Boycott Israeli Goods) 10 Aug 2008

Academic freedom for whom? Israeli academics


Academic boycott

This important petition (below) issued by Israeli academics provides further support for PACBI’s consistent denunciation of the Israeli academy for its complicity in the system of oppression against Palestinians and its silence about the long-standing violation of the basic freedoms — including the academic freedom — of Palestinians. Comment by PACBI:

The petition also vindicates PACBI in its campaign for the institutional boycott of the Israeli academy.

As the background to the petition makes clear, the Israeli academy is not the bastion of dissent it is purported to be by those seeking to defend it and thus delegitimize the call for the academic boycott of Israel. The vast majority of the Israeli academic community are oblivious to the oppression of the Palestinian people — both inside Israel and in the occupied territory — and have never fought to oppose the practices and policies of their state. In fact, they duly serve in the reserve forces of the occupation army and as such are either perpetrators of or silent witnesses to the daily brutality of the occupation. They also do not hesitate to partner in their academic research with the security-military establishment that is the chief architect and executor of the occupation and other forms of oppression of the Palestinian people.

This initiative also shows that sadly, even those who wish to rouse their colleagues from their slumber seem to be the victims of amnesia or else are willfully ignoring the basic political context within which the academic freedom of Palestinian academics and students is being violated. That context is no other than the illegal, four-decades-old military occupation of Palestinian land, an occupation that has striven consistently to destroy Palestinian society and its institutions, including universities. That a petition issued by academics ignores this basic fact and is unwilling to condemn the occupation regime is very telling.

http://www.pacbi.org/boycott_news_more.php?id=792_0_1_0_C

Text of the Petition Issued by Israeli Academics:

Academic freedom for whom?

The meaning of “academic freedom” is fairly obvious. It is something that is associated with democratic societies, and it is universally held in high esteem, even though its boundaries and limits are often unclear. Basically, where there is freedom to teach, study and carry out research in academic institutions, and to publish research-related books and articles, then academic freedom exists.

It is clear that there can be no real academic freedom in higher education unless it is possible to reach the institutions where one studies, teaches, and carries out research. Academics within the State of Israel are able to do this, but those working in the higher education institutions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are not. There, checkpoints, blockades, walls and fences prevent thousands of students and teachers from leading a normal academic life, and lecturers with non-Palestinian passports, who wish to teach in those institutions, are prevented from staying for long enough to carry out meaningful continuous teaching.

The academic community of the State of Israel, which rightly demands academic freedom for its members both inside Israel and within the international academic community, has generally disregarded the demand for a similar freedom for Palestinian academics in the Occupied Territories for which the State of Israel is responsible. Because of this, and in view of the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Territories during the last couple of years, we approached all the senior faculty members in the major higher education and scientific research institutions in Israel: Bar Ilan University, Ben Gurion University, Haifa University, The Hebrew University, The Open University, the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology), Tel Aviv University, and the Weizmann Institute for Science. We sent them the following letter and petition:

Dear colleagues:

As academics and citizens of the State of Israel, whatever our political opinions may be, we see ourselves as having a duty to fight for the academic freedom of our Palestinian colleagues. We call upon the Government of Israel to honour and implement the right of freedom of movement, academic study and instruction in the State of Israel and the territories controlled by it. Academic freedom is not divisible and cannot be selective. The State of Israel and we its citizens are directly responsible for upholding that freedom.

We call upon you to actively accept that responsibility and to add your support to the attached petition, which is being distributed among all senior staff members in all institutions of higher education in Israel. After the signatures have been gathered, we intend to seek the support of the Committee of University Presidents and members of the Israeli Academy of Science, and to submit the petition to the following government ministries: Defence, Education, Science, Foreign Affairs, and the Interior.

Sincerely,

The initiators of the petition:

Prof. Menachem Fisch, Tel-Aviv University

Prof. Raphael Falk, The Hebrew University

Prof. Eva Jablonka, Tel-Aviv University

Dr. Snait Gissis, Tel-Aviv University


Text of the petition

We, past and present members of academic staff of Israeli universities, express great concern regarding the ongoing deterioration of the system of higher education in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. We protest against the policy of our government which is causing restrictions of freedom of movement, study and instruction, and we call upon the government to allow students and lecturers free access to all the campuses in the Territories, and to allow lecturers and students who hold foreign passports to teach and study without being threatened with withdrawal of residence visas. To leave the situation as it is will cause serious harm to freedom of movement, study and instruction – harm to the foundation of academic freedom, to which we are committed.

We sent about 9000 emails, of which around 5000 were to senior faculty and the rest to emeriti and junior faculty at some of the institutions. These numbers should be reduced by about 5% to allow for the emails that were returned. In order not to misuse the internal all-university lists, all email addresses were manually downloaded from the open-to-the-public sites of university departments. A total of 407 people, 403 of whom are mostly active senior faculty, (but also include emeriti and junior staff) from the above institutions, as well as 4 signatures from senior faculty of Colleges who became aware of our petition, responded to our call and signed the petition. It is our intention to publicize the list of signatories on the web.

The number of signatories from each university is as follows:

Bar Ilan University 10

Ben Gurion University 77

Haifa University 20

Hebrew University 110

Open University 7

Technion 14

Tel Aviv University 155

Weizmann Institute of Science 10

Sapir College 2

Oranim 1

Bezalel 1

We received a number of letters objecting to our call: some of the authors sent reasoned responses, arguing their case against our petition; others chose to send insulting hate mail.

At the Weitzman Institute of Science, one of the heads of the departments sent a letter via the Academic Affairs Office to all the senior faculty of that institute. In it, he warned the faculty of the danger lurking in our call, basing his argument on very inaccurate rumours about the political stance of the initiators of the petition.

In March 2008 we wrote to the Committee of University Presidents and to the Directorial Board of the Israeli Academy of Science asking them to support our petition. So far, the only answer received has been that our request would be considered.

We are well aware that only rarely do petitions cause a change in a political state of affairs. However, we do not doubt that when there are enough people in the Israeli academic community who are prepared to voice their objection to the conditions under which their colleagues in Palestinian higher education institutions have to work, and do all they can to ensure that their Palestinian counterparts have the same academic freedom that they enjoy, we shall all benefit – Israeli and Palestinian academics alike.

Prof. Menachem Fisch, Tel-Aviv University

Prof. Raphael Falk, The Hebrew University

Prof. Eva Jablonka, Tel-Aviv University

Dr. Snait Gissis, Tel-Aviv University

List of Signatories

Dr. Aref Abu-Rabia BGU
Dr. Tabat Abu Ras BGU
Prof. Zach Adam HUJI
Prof. Hanna Adoni HUJI
Dr. Riad Agrabia BGU
Prof. Ron Aharoni Technion
Dr. Iris Agmon BGU
Prof. Joseph Agassi TAU
Prof. Amotz Agnin HUJI
Prof. Ofer Aharoni Weizmann
Prof. Niv Ahituv TAU
Prof. Gadi Algazi TAU
Dr. Karen Alkalay Gut TAU
Dr. Yoav Alon TAU
Prof. Ehud Altman Weizmann
Dr. Tammy Amiel – Hauser TAU
Dr. Eleanor Amit TAU
Prof. Gannit Ankori HU
Prof. Yonathan Anson BGU
Dr. Ruth Arav OPU
Prof. Mira Ariel TAU
Dr. Amos Arieli Weizmann
Prof. Boaz Arpaly TAU
Dr. Ruth Ashery-Padan TAU
Dr. Nurit Ashkenasy BGU
Dr. Daniel Attas HUJ
Prof. Judy Auerbach BGU
Dr. Michal Aviad TAU
Dr. Yoram Ayal BGU
Dr. Prof. Amir Ayali TAU
Dr. Ariela Azoulay BIU
Prof. Roi Baer HUJI
Prof. Shalom Baer HUJI
Dr. Amir Banbaji BGU
Prof. Gad Baneth HUJI
Prof. Ilan Bank TAU
Prof. Maya Bar-Hillel HUJI
Prof. Eitan Bar Yosef BGU
Dr. Oren Barak HUJI
Prof. Isaac Barash, TAU
Prof. Ron Barkai TAU
Prof. Yacob Barnai Haifa U
Prof. Shosh Bar-Nun TAU
Prof. Arie Bass TAU
Prof. Outi Bat-El TAU
Prof. Hava Bat-Zeev Shyldkrot TAU
Prof. Yehuda Bauer HUJI
Dr. Dalia Beck BGU
Prof. Yhuda Beeton BGU
Dr. Guy Beiner BGU
Prof. Shimshon Belkin HUJI
Prof. Avner Ben-Amos TAU
Prof. Eyal Ben Ari HUJI
Dr Hagit Benbaji BGU
Prof. Yemima Ben-Menachem HUJI
Prof. Ziva Ben-Porat, TAU
Prof. Yinon Ben-Neriah, HUJI
Prof. Simon Benninga TAU
Prof. Zvi Bentwich BGU
Dr. Yael Benyamini TAU
Dr. Yael Ben-Zvi BGU
Prof. Benjamin Isaac TAU
Dr. Nitza Berkovitch BGU
Dr. Louise Bethlehem HUJI
Prof. Anat Biletzki TAU
Prof. Yoram Bilu HUJI
Prof. David Blanc Haifa U
Prof. Rony Blum HUJI
Prof. Shoshana Blum-Kulka HUJI
Prof. Irena Botwinik-Rotem BGU
Prof. Yohanan Brada HUJI
Prof. Michael Brandeis HUJI
Prof. Yigal Bronner TAU
Prof. Jose Brunner TAU
Prof. Judith Buber Agassi HUJI
Prof. Victoria Buch HUJI
Dr. Naama Carmi Haifa U
Dr. Julia Chaitin Sapir College
Prof. Reuven Chayoth BGU
Dr. Raz Chen- Morris BIU
Prof. Mottie Chevion HUJI
Dr. Tamar Cholcman TAU
Dr. Eyal Chowers TAU
Prof. Esther Cohen HUJI
Prof. Michael J. Cohen BIU
Prof. Yerachmiel Cohen HUJI
Dr. Yinon Cohen TAU
Mrs. Anat Danziger HUJI
Prof. Marcelo Dascal TAU
Prof. Nathan Dascal TAU
Prof. David Degani Technion
Prof. Sahul Dollberg TAU
Prof. Fanny Dolzhansky HUJI
Dr. Daniel Dor TAU
Prof. Yuval Dor HUJI
Dr. Iris Dotan TAU
Prof. Tommy Dreyfus TAU
Prof. Amos Dreyfus HUJI
Dr Eli Dresner TAU
Dr Otniel Dror HUJI
Dr Tammy Eilat Yagoury TAU
Prof. Gerda Elata-Alster BGU
Prof. Miri Eliav-Feldon TAU
Prof. David Enoch HUJ
Prof. Yehouda Enzel HUJI
Prof. Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan Haifa U
Prof. Ilan Eshel TAU
Prof. Aharon Eviatar TAU
Dr. Zohar Eytan TAU
Dr. Ovadia Ezra TAU
Prof. Raphael Falk HUJI
Prof. Ruma Falk HUJI
Prof. Emmanuel Farjoun HUJI
Prof. Celia Fassberg HUJI
Prof. Steve Fassberg HUJI
Dr. Jackie Feldman BG
Prof. Rivka Feldhay TAU
Dr. Tovi Fenster, TAU
Dr. Dani Filc BGU
Dr. Lizzie Fireman TAU
Prof. Menachem Fisch TAU
Dr. Susie Fisher Open U
Prof. Hanan Frenk TAU
Prof. Gideon Freudenthal TAU
Prof. Ariela Fridman TAU
Prof. Ehud Friedgut HUJI
Prof. Eli Friedlander TAU
Dr. Alon Friedman BGU
Dr. Paul Frosh HUJI
Dr. Iris Fry Technion
Prof. Michael Fry Technion
Dr. Michalle Gal TAU
Prof. Yolanda Gampel TAU
Prof. Uri Gat HUJI
Prof. Nima Geffen TAU
Dr. Ido Geiger HUJI
Prof. Deborah Gera HUJI
Prof. Israel Gershoni TAU
Dr. Mahmud Ghanayim TAU
Prof. Avner Giladi Haifa U
Dr. Asaf Gilboa Haifa U
Dr. Jack Gilrom BGU
Prof. Ruth Ginsburg HUJI
Prof. Simona Ginsburg OU
Prof. Rachel Giora TAU
Dr. Snait Gissis TAU
Prof.essor Eli Glasner TAU
Prof. Ruth Glasner HUJI
Prof. Marek Glezerman TAU
Mr. Shuka Glotman BGU
Prof. Michael Gluzman TAU
Dr. Tamar Golan BGU
Dr. Menachem Goldenberg TAU
Prof. Haim Goldfus BGU
Prof. Amiram Goldblum HUJI
Prof. Oded Goldreich Weizmann
Prof. Hari Golomb TAU
Dr. Neve Gordon BGU
Dr. Tresa Grauer BGU
Dr. Moki Greefeld TAU
Dr. Matine Grenak-Katrivs TAU
Prof. Nachum Gross HUJI
Prof. Yosef Gruenbaum HUJI
Prof. Guretzki-Bilu TAU
Prof. Zali Gurevitch HUJI
Prof. David Gurwitz TAU
Prof. Yossi Guttmann Haifa U
Dr. Ran Hacohen TAU
Prof. Uri Hadar TAU
Dr. Abdulla Haj Ichia HUJI
Prof. Aviva Halamish TAU
Dr. Masud Hamdan Haifa U
Dr. Talma Handler TAU
Dr. Oren Harman BI
Prof. Alon Harel HUJI
Prof. Ran Hassin HUJI
Prof. Galit Hazan-Rokem HUJI
Prof. Shlomo Hasson HUJI
Prof. Abraham Hefetz TAU
Prof. Moti Heiblum Weizmann
Dr. Sibyl Heilbron Haifa U
Dr. Eyal Heifetz TAU
Dr. Sara Helman BGU
Prof. Yitzhak Hen BGU
Dr. Omri Herzog HUJI
Dr. Tamar Hess HUJI
Prof. Hannan Hever TAU
Dr. Sylvie Honigman TAU
Prof. Ehud Hrushovski HUJI
Prof. Boaz Huss BGU
Prof. Eva Illuz HUJI
Dr. Anat Israeli, Oranim
Prof. Eva Jablonka TAU
Prof. Dan Jacobson TAU
Prof. Sulaiman Jubran TAU
Prof. Edouard Jurkevitch HUJI
Dr. Nirit Kadmon TAU
Dr. Devora Kalekin Haifa U
Dr. Itay Kama TAU
Dr. Avi Kaplan BGU
Dr. Nahum Karlinsky BGU
Prof. Steve Karlish Weizmann
Prof. Rimon Kasher BIU
Prof. Tamar Katriel Haifa U
Prof. Yaakov Katriel Technion
Dr. Roni Kaufman BGU
Prof. Gad Kaynar TAU
Dr. Chen Keasar BGU
Ms. Ruth Kener TAU
Prof. Michael Keren HUJI
Dr Nadera Shalhov-Kevorkian HUJI
Prof. Hanan J. Kisch BGU
Dr. Menachem Klein BI
Prof. Sara Klein Breslavy TAU
Dr. Yoel Klemes Open U
Prof. Ruth Klinov HUJI
Dr. Ariel Knafo HUJI
Prof. Yehoshua Kolodny, HUJI
Prof. Mordechai Kremnizer HUJI
Prof. David Kretzmer HUJI
Dr. Michal Krumer-Nevo BGU
Prof. Richard Kulka HUJI
Dr. Orna Kupferman HUJI
Dr. Raz Kupferman HUJI
Dr. Ron Kuzar Haifa U
Dr. Ori Lahav Technion
Prof. Lius Landa BGU
Prof. Idan Landau BGU
MS. Tali Latowicki BGU
Dr. Shai Lavi TAU
Prof. Boaz Lazar HUJI
Dr. Gerardo Leibner, TAU
Prof. Aaron Lerner Haifa U
Prof. Haim Levanon HUJI
Prof. Iris Levin TAU
Prof. Yakir Levin BGU
Prof. Shimon Levy TAU
Prof. David Lior HUJI
Dr Orly Lubin TAU
Prof. Yael Lubin BGU
Dr. Menachem Luz Haifa U
Prof. M. Machover HUJI
Dr. Daniel Maman BGU
Dr. Shmuel Marco TAU
Prof. Avishai Margalit HUJI
Prof. Moshe Margalith TAU
Prof. Shimon Marom Technion
Prof. Imauel Marx TAU
Dr. Anat Matar TAU
Prof. Tsevi Mazeh TAU
Prof. Raphael Mechoulam HUJI
Prof. Gidon Medini TAU
Prof. Avinoam Meir BGU
Prof. Ron Meir Technion
Prof. Yoram Meital BGU
Dr. Eran Meshorer HUJI
Mr. Avi Mograbi Bezalel
Prof. Raya Morag HUJI
Dr. Efrat Morin HUJI
Prof. Uzi Motro, HUJI
Prof. Guy Mundlak TAU
Prof. Ben Zion Munitz TAU
Dr Eti Nachliel TAU
Prof. Zvi Neeman TAU
Prof. Yosef Neuman TAU
Dr. Yitshak Nevo BGU
Dr. Gidi Nevo BGU
Prof. David Newman BGU
Prof.. Ariel Novoplanky BGU
Prof. Avi Ohry TAU
Prof. Dalia Ofer HUJI
Dr. Yanai Ofran BIU
Prof. Adi Ophir TAU
Prof. Aharon Oppenheimer TAU
Prof. Avi Oz Haifa U
Prof. Iris Parush BGU
Dr. Galia Patt Shamir TAU
Dr. Einat Peled TAU
Dr. Yoav Peled TAU
Prof. Bezalel Peleg HUJI
Prof. Hana Peres TAU
Prof. Mordechai Perl BGU
Prof. Kobi Peter( Peterzil) Haifa U
Dr. Amit Pichevski HUJI
Dr. Yona Pinson TAU
Prof. Nava Pliskin BGU
Prof.. Francis Dov Por HUJI
Prof.. Dan Rabinowitz TAU
Prof. Gad Rabinowitz BGU
Prof. Chaim Rachman Technion
Prof. Yoel Rak TAU
Dr. Hagai Ram BGU
Prof. Uri Ram BGU
Prof. Mauro Rathaous TAU
Prof. Shalom Ratzabi TAU
Dr. Tal Raviv TAU
Prof. Jacob Raz, TAU
Prof. Elchanan Reiner TAU
Prof. Omer Reingold Weizmann
Prof. Meir Rigby HUJI
Prof. Ruth Rigby HUJI
Dr. Roer-Strier HUJI
Prof. Freddie Rokem TAU
Prof. Dana Ron TAU
Prof. Moshe Ron HUJI
Dr. Ayala Ronal TAU
Prof. Steven Rosen BGU
Prof. Tova Rosen BGU
Dr. Zeev Rosenhek OPU
Dr. Issachar Rosen-Zvi TAU
Prof. Susan Rothstein BI
Prof. Elisheva Rosen TAU
Dr. Avi Rubin BGU
Dr. Prof. Bella Rubin TAU
Mr. Daniel Rubinstein BGU
Dr. Ilan Saban Haifa U
Prof. Yosef Sadan TAU
Dr. Hanna Safran Haifa U
Prof. Shlomo Sand TAU
Prof. Shifra Sagi BGU
Dr. Lilach Sagiv HUJI
Prof. Edwin Seroussi HUJI
Dr. Zvi Schuldiner Sapir College
Dr. Sara Schwartz Open U
Dr. Yossef Schwartz TAU
Dr. Shlomi Segall HUJ
Dr. Ella Segev Technion
Prof. Idan Segev HUJI
Prof. Ruben Seroussi TAU
Dr. Alla Shainskaya, Weizmann
Dr. Yeala Shaked HUJI
Dr. Milette Shamir TAU
Prof. Michal Shamir TAU
Dr. Ronen Shamir TAU
Dr. Yaakov Shamir HUJI
Prof. Benny Shanon HUJI
Prof. Itzhak Shapira TAU
MS. Noa Shashar HUJI
Dr. Relli Shechter BGU
Prof.. Gaby Shefler HUJI
Prof. Miriam Shlesinger BI
Prof. Yehuda Shenhav TAU
Prof. Yosef Shiloh TAU
Prof. Tal Siloni TAU
Dr. Eyal Shimoni Weizmann
Prof. Naomi Shir BGU
Prof. Moshe Shokeid TAU
Prof. Boaz Shushan BGU
Dr. Tal Shuval TAU
Prof. Moshe Silberbush, BGU
Dr. Ivy Sichel HUJI
Dr. Rosalie Sitman TAU
Dr. Vered Slonim Nevo BGU
Prof. Varda Soskolne BIU
Prof. Avishai Stark TAU
Prof. Wilfo Stein HUJI
Prof. Shamai Speiser Technion
Prof. W. D. Zeev Stein HUJI
Prof. Carlo Strenger TAU
Dr. Deborah Sweeney, TAU
Dr. Daniella Talmon-Heller BGU
Prof. David Talshir BGU
Dr. Daphne Tsimhoni Technion
Prof. Gideon Toury, TAU
Dr. Hamoutal Tsamir BGU
Prof. Yoav Tsori BGU
Dr. Rachel Tzelnik-Abramovitch TAU
Prof. Joseph Tzelgov BGU
Dr. Jehuda (Dudy) Tzfati HUJI
Prof. Edna Ullmann Margalit HUJI
Prof. Sabetai Unguru TAU
Dr. Vered Vitizky-Seroussi HUJI
Prof. Naphtali Wagner HUJI
Prof. Alon Warburg HUJI
Dr. Eynel Wardi HUJI
Prof. Henry Wassermann OPU
Dr. Nathan Wasserman HUJI
Prof.. Ruth Weintraub TAU
Dr. Barak Weiss BGU
Dr. Haim Weiss BGU
Prof. Sasha Weitman TAU
Prof. Haim Werner TAU
Prof. Yehuda Werner HUJI
Prof. Paul Wexler TAU
Prof.. Yoad Winter Technion
Dr. Nurit Yaari TAU
Prof. Yoel Yaari HUJI
Dr. Haim Yacobi BGU
Dr. Niza Yanay BGU
Prof. Eli Yassif TAU
Dr. Mahmoud Yazbak Haifa U
Dr. Edit Yerushalmi Weizmann
Prof. Oren Yiftachel BGU
Dr. Daphna Yoel TAU
Prof. Yuval Yonay Haifa U
Prof. Mira Zakai TAU
Dr. Michael Zakim TAU
Prof. Shmuel Zamir HUJI
Prof. Anat Zanger TAU
Prof. Joseph Zeira HUJI
Dr. Dina Zilberg BGU
Prof. Moshe Zimmermann HUJI
Dr. Michal Zion BIU
Dr. Amalia Ziv TAU
Dr. Ouriel Zohar Technion
Dr. Tsaffrir Zor TAU
Prof. Moshe Zuckermann TAU
http://academic-access.weebly.com/
 The Big Campaign

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign launched the Boycott Israeli Goods Campaign in the House of Commons on the 4th July 2001. There had been calls for a boycott from within Israel itself as well as in the Occupied Territories.

Our decision to launch the BIG Campaign followed decades of Israel ‘s refusal to abide by UN Resolutions, International Humanitarian law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

On 9th June 2005, after the International Court of Justice’s ruling against Israel’s apartheid wall, a coalition of Palestinian Civil Society Organisations issued a ‘Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against apartheid Israel until it complies with International Law’.

Boycott Israeli goods intends to campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions in line with this call from Palestinian civil society.

We will organise supporters to

  • Boycott Israeli goods and services
  • Boycott Israeli cultural and sporting institutions who do not condemn Israel’s ilegal occupation
  • Boycott Israeli academic institutions and academics who do not condemn Israel’s ilegal occupation
  • Promote a campaign against tourism in apartheid Israel
  • Promote divestment from companies who invest in apartheid Israel or profit from Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies
  • To camapign against companies who invest in apartheid Israel or profit from Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies
  • To persuade businesses to stop trading with apartheid Israel
  • To campaign for an end to European Union and British government trade agreements with Israel
  • To campaign for UK and EU sanctions against apartheid Israel until it complies with international humanitarian law
  • To promote initiatives to decrease the isolation of the occupied Palestinian people and promote ethical, fairly traded Palestinian goods.

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http://www.wisdom.weizmann.ac.il/~oded/politicsJan03.html

My political views

Oded Goldreich, January 2003.

Summary

The Israeli society has been degenerating morally and intellectually for several decades and reached a disgusting low point. This degeneration is due in part to a global degeneration (lead by the USA), but is actually dominated by a local factor. The latter is the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Thus, the single most important change that should take place is the immediate ending of this occupation. Other recommended actions include

A concrete suggestion: support HADASH, the only political party in the parliament that is committed to all these views. Meretz, the Labor Party and the Arab parties (i.e., Balad and Ra’am) share some of these views (in some cases in very moderate versions) but are not fully committed to all of them.

The occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip

The most dominant source of evil in the Israeli society is the continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This source of evil also contributes to several of the other problems discussed below. For example, the occupation strengthens the militaristic character of the Israeli society, fosters its contempt to human rights, and cultivates reactionary, ethnocentric, racist, and provincial attitudes. In addition, it causes severe economical and social problems and prevents a critical discussion of any other key issue (e.g., Globalization, Privatization and Capitalism).

However, the most evil part of the occupation is the occupation itself; that is, the violation of the most basic human right (i.e., freedom) of three million people (i.e., the Palestinians living in the occupied territories). In addition, Israel’s rule of these occupied territories is in clear violation of the globally-recognized duty of the ruler to administer and develop the occupied territory to the benefit of its residents. Needless to say, the settling of the ruler’s citizens in the occupied territories is not only implicitly forbidden by the above principle but is also explicitly forbidden by international law (which the Israeli administration disregards whenever it pleases). On top of this massive violation of human rights, Israel’s rule of the occupied territories is marked by an increasing number of war crimes ranging from murder (i.e., intentional killing of people without due process and/or sound justification), to causing death and severe injury of civilians in hundreds of cases (by criminal negligence), massive intentional destruction of private and public property (i.e., houses, plants, vehicles, equipment, etc), and the emprisonment and starvation of the entire population.

Typically, the justification offered for these violations and crimes is self-defense (“security reasons”), lack of other choice (i.e., “nobody to talk to”) and “common practice” (of other nations). These claims are neither valid nor the true reason for the continued occupation. But even if these claims were valid, a question of balance between legitimate concerns should have been seriously investigated (e.g., balance between the right of self-defense and the harm caused by specific actions taken according to that right). For example, when referring to the intentional killing of certain suspects, the questions are whether it is clear that this particular suspect plans to cause the death of other people and whether killing him/her is the only way to prevent him/her from carrying out this plan. Most if not all the intentional killing by the Israeli army cannot be justified by this defense; they are typically acts of revenge, which are sometimes directed against people that are not even responsible for any “act of terrorism” (but are rather political activists that are considered harmful to the cause of the continued occupation).

The continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip does not promote the security of the state of Israel, but rather endangers it. Indeed, alternative and far more effective security measures (at Israel’s borders with the Palestinian territories) would require far less (human and financial) resources than those wasted towards maintaining the occupation. The continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is not performed in lack of other choice: Israel can just withdraw from there (as it did from the south of Lebanon) unilaterally and/or after negotiations with the Palestinians. If the topic of negotiation were withdrawal from the occupied territories as part of a lasting peace treaty then there would be no problem to find “somebody to talk to” on the Palestinian side. (The question is who is willing to conduct negotiations of such a realistic and justified agenda on the Israeli side.) Finally, the fact that other nations (mainly at other historical periods) have conducted worst crimes is not a justification for anything. Needless to say, the approval of the current USA administration (which conducts war crimes en route of its attempts to administer the entire world) is irrelevant.

The true reason for the continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is the invested interest of part of the Israeli society in this occupation, the miscalculation of the damage caused by the occupation to the Israeli society, and its disregard of universal considerations (by a large portion of the Israeli society). In particular, the “settlers” have a direct personal interest in the continued occupation and seem oblivious to its cost (in terms of damage to the Israeli society not to mention the Palestinian one). Some businesses also have such an interest. In addition, parts of the Israeli right-wing, which has nothing to offer but hatred of the other and confrontation with it, has an interest in the continued occupation and confrontation that comes with it, and certainly is emotionally incapable in “giving up” anything significant towards a resolution.

The forces in the Israeli society that are truly committed to ending the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are in clear minority. Given the state of affairs described above, it is a moral duty to refuse to take part in any action that serves the occupation. Such a moral choice also carries the political benefit of making a firm statement to the rest of the society regarding the evil (and cost) involved in the occupation, and puts pressure on the forces that favor the continuation of the occupation. Thus, the moral refusal to take part in the occupation is also an important political step. This makes organizations like Yesh Gvul and Ometz Le’Sarev worthy of special support and respect.Globalization, Privatization and CapitalismCapitalism at its current brutal stage is reflected by two slogans: Privatization and Globalization. Privatization, which aims to strip the state from any economical activity (supposedly because it cannot efficiently-perform such activities), is actually the main tool for destructing the structures of social security that were established decades ago by the social-democratic (a.k.a reform capitalist) movement. Globalization acts similarly on a global scale. In both cases, real social benefits (and, in particular, securities) of the entire population are replaced by vague promises (of “prosperity that benefits all”) and unrealistic dreams (of social mobility) that are being disseminated by the mass media. Specifically, general prosperity did not follow when pure (rather than reformed) capitalism was given a free hand (at the last 20 years of the 20th century), and the general population has not benefited but rather suffered. As for social mobility, it occurs very rarely unless promoted by non-economical means (e.g., affirmative action). That is, real-life concerns are being replaced by false ideology. This process is not being orchestrated by a small group of conspirators, but is rather developing through the actions of many members of the society (especially by the intellectual elite and the middle class). Thus, the victims of this process contribute to its development.

The arguments in favor of Globalization, Privatization and Capitalism come all from traditional economics, which is kind of circular at least in case of Capitalism that can be defined as the view that everything should be measured in terms of money or cost/merchandise. But there is no reason to agree to the reduction of everything to costs and merchandise. On the contrary, one should object to this view, and in fact almost all people object to this view when it is carried out to the “moral sphere”; for example, people are not allowed to sell themselves as slaves, to hire others to murder somebody, to offer money for a vote in the election, etc. That is, murdering somebody is not allowed even if it can bring about great economical advantages. The same reasoning should be applied to restrict the behavior of companies in the national and international sphere. Working people should not be treated as merchandise, and social rights and securities should not be treated as merchandise. [Human should not be treated as a mean (or an instrument); Kant, Critique of Practical Reason]

Thus we reject Capitalism at its current brutal stage. The alternatives are either to reform Capitalism (i.e., make it more “human” and “sensitive”) or to turn to socialism (which, roughly speaking, means giving priority to work and workers over capital). Both alternatives are aimed at improving the well-being of mankind and differ on the question of whether this should be done by influencing the evoloution of the “capitalist system” or trying to replace it. The distinction that sound sematical, may be reflected in different attitudes towards concrete questions (which again reduce to the difference between a moderate change and a radical one). There is a big unjustified antagonism between these two alternatives, which stems from the false belief that struggleing towards one alternative hurts the success of the other. In particular, both theoretical consideration and historical experience show that it is harder to move from harsh Capitalism to socialism than it is to move from reformed Capitalism to socialism.

Human and Civil Rights

The low standing of Human Rights in Israel is strongly related to the need to deny the evils involved in maintaining the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The conflict that arises from the occupation (as well as the induced “Israeli-Arab conflict”) is also used to justify the discrimination of the Arab citizens inside Israel, which is also fostered by an identity crisis of the Jewish society in Israel. The latter also prevents any action towards a true separation of religious and state affairs. Instead, secular Jews in Israel develop a hatred towards religious Jews while maintaining an inferiority complex towards the traditional religious Jewish culture.

All these problems are amplified by the lack of a lack of a truly democratic tradition and weakness of the civil society. Instead, the ethos of the state and its army play a major role. In such an atmosphere, equal treatment of women is but a phantom. The same and worst holds with respect to the treatment of other forms of “Others” such as gay/lesbians, Arab citizens and foreign workers.

*********

Back to Goldreich’s homepage or to Oded’s political web-page

The Israeli Apartheid Week 2021 Begins on Campus

18.03.21

Editorial Note

The BDS movement has launched the global Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) of 2021.

In the UK, IAW is running between March 15 to 22. The long list of activities appears below:

-Monday 15th March at 6pm: SOAS Palestine Society: Understanding Palestine Through Gaza
-Tuesday 16th March at 6pm: University of Leicester Palestine Society with PSC. Understanding Israeli Apartheid w/ Lubnah Shomali, Dr Nimer Sultany, Rania Muhareb, Hazam Jamjoum
-Tuesday 16th March at 6pm: Lancaster University Friends of Palestine: Budrus Film Screening
-Tuesday 16th March at 6pm: SOAS Palestine Society: Imprisoning a Generation Documentary Screening.
-Tuesday 16th March at 6.30: Sussex Friends of Palestine Society: Medical Apartheid in Palestine w/ Dr Ghada Karmi
-Tuesday 16th March at 6pm: UCL SJP and KCL SJP: Shira Robinson on ‘Citizens Stranger: Palestinians in Israel’
-Wednesday 17th March at 6pm: University of Bristol Friends of Palestine: United Against Israeli Apartheid
-Wednesday 17th March: at 6pm Lancaster University Friends of Palestine: The Ongoing Nakba with Lubnah Shomali.
-Wednesday 17th March at 7pm: University of Exeter Friends of Palestine Society: Solidarity with Palestine and the IHRA
-Wednesday 17th March at 6pm: SOAS Palestine Society: Discussion with activists from Youth Against Settlements
-Thursday 18th March at 6pm: KCL Students for Justice in Palestine w/ PSC: Resisting Israeli Apartheid, w/ Omar Barghouti, Ben Jamal, William Shoki and Larissa Kennedy
-Thursday 18th March at 6.30: Sussex Friends of Palestine Society: 5 Broken Cameras Film Screening
-Thursday 18th March at 6pm: SOAS Palestine Society: Hawiyya Dabke Workshop
-Friday 19th March at 6pm: Lancaster University Friends of Palestine: From Ferguson to Palestine
-Friday 19th March at 6pm: UCL SJP: Noura Erakat: ‘Resisting Apartheid: Breaking the Cycle of Injustice’
-Friday 19th March at 6.30pm: Sussex Friends of Palestine Society: “If only walls could talk” Open Mic Fundraiser
-Saturday 20th March at 3pm: Stop the JNF Campaign: Richard Falk on Israeli Apartheid
-Sunday 21st March at 3pm: Global Israeli Apartheid Week Rally: Feat Remi Kanazi, Shaeera Kalla and more!
-Monday 22nd March at 6.30pm: This is Apartheid: A conversation with B’Tselem’s executive director Hagai El-Ad and renowned Palestinian lawyer Diana Buttu

In January, the Palestine Solidarity Committee hosted a webinar on “Resisting Lawfare on Campus,” which is a reply to the legal actions taken by Jewish and Zionist students who felt threatened by the anti-Semitic episodes that surfaced during pro-Palestinian events. According to the organizers of the webinar, It is “evident that crude lawfare tactics mainly aim to discourage students from speaking up for Palestinian rights on campus as well as educating others about the constant infringements of international law occurring in Palestine.” Legal experts outlined what students must do if their event faces “unfair (and potentially illegal) restrictions in the run up to Israeli Apartheid Week 2021.” The webinar highlighted the support available for any student “subjected to threats of litigation or inaccurate legal arguments.” 

The group Palestine Solidarity Campaign Youth and Student Committee has published a newsletter, authored by a SOAS student who spent a year in Nablus as part of her Arabic degree. According to her, the IAW activities worldwide are “inspiring virtual events” intending to “protest against all forms of racism and discrimination, including Israeli apartheid.” 

She announces that the protests will focus on “the struggle against Israel’s regime of systematic racial discrimination against all parts of the Palestinian people, amounting to the crime apartheid.” The BDS activities will act as a “massive virtual protest to resist racial discrimination, colonialism, and apartheid and celebrate our struggles’ diversity and connectedness.” Because history showed that “when movements for justice unite to take on oppressive structures, we can and will win. Liberation struggles must work together against institutional racism and oppression, challenging unjust systems of power together. So, let’s educate our peers about Israeli apartheid, and grow the struggle against all complicity,” she says. 

Interestingly, the newsletter includes a section on the news from Palestine, stating that the upcoming Palestinian elections have been “met with a mixture of hope and apathy by Palestinians accustomed to living under seemingly perpetual occupation.”  In particular, “there is widespread skepticism amongst Palestinians that the election process will be accepted or will translate into meaningful positive change for Palestinians.”


As per the last elections held in 2006, “the results were not accepted by the international community and Hamas, the winners, were squeezed out of the West Bank before consolidating power in Gaza following a failed coup d’état by their political rivals Fatah. Whilst Fatah’s chance of victory in these elections appears stronger than in 2006, there are rumors that, in an attempt to mitigate possible international condemnation of election results, Fatah and Hamas may put forward a joint list of candidates, although this remains unclear at time of writing.”

As can be seen, the protest is not only against Israel but also the US and Europe. “Those in power use it to generate fear and separate us from each other and from our dreams. In 2020 alone, thousands of migrants have lost their lives because of the racist migration policies imposed by the US and fortress Europe. Police brutality has taken the lives of hundreds of black people in the US.”

However, the harshest attack is always against Israel: “Israel ́s regime of apartheid, colonialism, and military occupation has gone unpunished for decades, subjecting the entire Palestinian people to a system of institutionalized and systematic racial oppression that denies their most basic rights.”  

A preview of what can be expected was offered by the Nelson Mandela University in South Africa, which hosted Dr. Haidar Eid, an associate professor of English Literature at Al-Aqsa University, in a Zoom lecture on March 15, 2021. Eid made a case for “De-Osloization,” that is, “the redefinition of the Palestinian cause as an anti-colonial struggle against a system of settler-colonialism and apartheid, and reunification of the three components of the Palestinian people, namely, Gaza and the West Bank residents, refugees, and Palestinian citizens of Israel.” Eid observed that in the West Bank and Gaza, “What has been created is literally two different worlds, both of which have been led by undemocratic institutions, many security apparatuses, Third Worldish courts, corruption, mismanagement, inefficiency and nepotism—to mention but few (neo)colonial qualities.”   The obtuse jargon of academic-activists, a subspecies of the Neo-Marxist, critical scholarship, does not clarify who should be blamed for the long list of governance failures, but knowing how this group thinks, it is safe to assume that Israel is the culprit.  

By using the Israel cop-out, Dr. Eid and his colleagues don’t have to accuse the Palestinians, especially Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) for turning the Gaza Strip into the most fortified piece of real estate in the world.  They don’t have to mention that billions of dollars that the Palestinians receive from the international community were squandered through corruption and nepotism, not to mention used to build monstrous tunnels, and hideouts for weapons and ammunition under the public buildings, schools, and mosques.  They don’t have to note that the West Bank residents, under the “enlightened” rule of Mahmoud Abbas, enjoy precious few rights, that journalists and activists are jailed and occasionally murdered.  In the Gaza Strip, under the brutal dictatorship of Hamas, there are no human rights, and dissenters are executed through extra-judicial means. 

Of course, in this litany of alleged Israeli sins, there is no need to mention that the Oslo process was undermined by Iran and its proxies, Hamas and PIJ, which launched a campaign of suicide attacks that killed more than 1,500 Israelis and wounded thousands.   The same elements intimidated Yasser Arafat to the point that he refused to sign the Oslo agreement presented at the Second Camp David in 2000.  Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, openly acknowledged that the Oslo agreement was an existential threat to the regime and needed to be “destroyed.” 

Having ignored this reality, the Palestinian advocates on campus can perpetuate the myth of Israeli apartheid year after year. 

https://events.mandela.ac.za/Events/Lectures-and-Talks/WEBINAR-Israeli-Apartheid-Week

WEBINAR – Israeli Apartheid Week  

Event location: Online webinar

Event date and time: 15/03/2021 18:00:00

The Palestinian Struggle: De-osloization and the Fight Against Normalisation.

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https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_bg6Uc4tTT3uiWB4evtYXgg

Webinar RegistrationTopicDe-Osloization and the Fight Against NormalisationDescriptionIt has been almost 30 years since the first Oslo Accords were signed in 1993. The Accords promised that that one-third of the Palestinian people, those living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, would realize their “national dream” of statehood on no more than 22 percent of historic Palestine. 28 years later, the dream of Palestinian statehood has proved illusory as Israel has not only entrenched its occupation and relentlessly expanded its colonization in the West Bank, but also placed the Gaza strip under permanent siege.

So, as Dr Haidar Eid has observed, far from the possibility of self-determination, “Instead, what has been created in parts of the West Bank and Gaza is an apartheid-type Bantustan endorsed by the international community. What has been created is literally two different worlds, both of which have been led by undemocratic institutions, many security apparatuses, Third Worldish courts, corruption, mismanagement, inefficiency and nepotism—to mention but few (neo)colonial qualities.“

In this talk, Dr Eid, who is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature at Al-Aqsa University, makes the case for “De-Osloization”– which he describes as “the redefinition of the Palestinian cause as an anti-colonial struggle against a system of settler-colonialism and apartheid, and reunification of the three components of the Palestinian people, namely, Gaza and the West Bank residents, refugees, and Palestinian citizens of Israel.”Time

Mar 15, 2021 06:00 PM in Johannesburg
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https://www.palestinecampaign.org/list-of-iaw-2021-events/

List of Events Below:

Monday 15th March at 6pm: SOAS Palestine Society: Understanding Palestine Through Gaza

Tuesday 16th March at 6pm: University of Leicester Palestine Society with PSC. Understanding Israeli Apartheid w/ Lubnah Shomali, Dr Nimer Sultany, Rania Muhareb, Hazam Jamjoum

Tuesday 16th March at 6pm: Lancaster University Friends of Palestine: Budrus Film Screening

Tuesday 16th March at 6pm: SOAS Palestine Society: Imprisoning a Generation Documentary Screening.

Tuesday 16th March at 6.30: Sussex Friends of Palestine Society: Medical Apartheid in Palestine w/ Dr Ghada Karmi

Tuesday 16th March at 6pm: UCL SJP and KCL SJP: Shira Robinson on ‘Citizens Stranger: Palestinians in Israel’

Wednesday 17th March at 6pm: University of Bristol Friends of Palestine: United Against Israeli Apartheid

Wednesday 17th March: at 6pm Lancaster University Friends of Palestine: The Ongoing Nakba with Lubnah Shomali.

Wednesday 17th March at 7pm: University of Exeter Friends of Palestine Society: Solidarity with Palestine and the IHRA

Wednesday 17th March at 6pm: SOAS Palestine Society: Discussion with activists from Youth Against Settlements

Thursday 18th March at 6pm: KCL Students for Justice in Palestine w/ PSC: Resisting Israeli Apartheid, w/ Omar Barghouti, Ben Jamal, William Shoki and Larissa Kennedy

Thursday 18th March at 6.30: Sussex Friends of Palestine Society: 5 Broken Cameras Film Screening

Thursday 18th March at 6pm: SOAS Palestine Society: Hawiyya Dabke Workshop

Friday 19th March at 6pm: Lancaster University Friends of Palestine: From Ferguson to Palestine

Friday 19th March at 6pm: UCL SJP: Noura Erakat: ‘Resisting Apartheid: Breaking the Cycle of Injustice’

Friday 19th March at 6.30pm: Sussex Friends of Palestine Society: “If only walls could talk” Open Mic Fundraiser

Saturday 20th March at 3pm: Stop the JNF Campaign: Richard Falk on Israeli Apartheid

Sunday 21st March at 3pm: Global Israeli Apartheid Week RallyFeat Remi Kanazi, Shaeera Kalla and more! Join here

Monday 22nd March at 6.30pm: This is Apartheid: A conversation with B’Tselem’s executive director Hagai El-Ad and renowned Palestinian lawyer Diana Buttu

https://www.facebook.com/events/419335612627253

THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2021 AT 8 PM UTC+02

IAW 2021: United Against Racism – Resisting Israeli Apartheid

Free  · Online event

Details

549 people respondedEvent by Palestine Solidarity Campaign UKOnline: bit.lyThursday, March 18, 2021 at 8 PM UTC+02Price: FreePublic  · Anyone on or off FacebookREGISTER: http://bit.ly/IAWResistIsrael’s system of institutionalised racist discrimination amounts to the crime of apartheid under international law. This webinar, part of Israeli Apartheid Week 2021, will explore how Palestinians, and their allies around the globe, resist Israeli apartheid.This includes through the global Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, which works to target companies and institutions aiding Israel’s violations of international law.
History has shown us that when movements for justice unite to take on oppressive structures, we can and will win. Liberation struggles must work together against institutional racism and oppression, challenging unjust systems of power together.This webinar will also touch on how you can build the movement in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality on your university campus.SPEAKERS:
William Shoki, activist with South African BDS Coalition
Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the Palestinian-led BDS Movement
Ben Jamal, Director of PSC
Larissa Kennedy, National Union of Student PresidentREGISTER: http://bit.ly/IAWResist

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https://www.facebook.com/events/218178846665029

TUESDAY, 16 MARCH 2021 AT 20:00 UTC+02

IAW 2021: Understanding Israeli Apartheid

Free  · Online event  IAW 2021: Understanding Israeli Apartheid 526 people responded

DetailsEvent by Palestine Solidarity Campaign UK and University of Leicester Palestine SocietyOnline: bit.lyTuesday, 16 March 2021 at 20:00 UTC+02Price: freePublic  · Anyone on or off FacebookREGISTER: http://bit.ly/IAWApartheidSince its foundation Israel has developed a system of institutionalised racist discrimination against the Palestinian people. Whether living under occupation, as citizens of the Israeli state, or in exile, Palestinians face a system of rule which collectively oppresses and subjugates them.This year, Israel’s publicly stated aim of annexing at least 30% of the West Bank – following its illegal annexation of East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights – has further exposed its apartheid reality.
This webinar, co-hosted by Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Uni of Leicester Palestine Society, as part of the global Israel Apartheid Week, will explore how Israel’s treatment of all parts of the Palestinian population amounts to the crime of apartheid under international law.Expert speakers will explore the way in which Israel’s practices meet the legal definition of apartheid, while focusing on the effect on Palestinians in all areas of their lives.SPEAKERS:
Rania Muhareb, PhD researcher and scholar
Hazem Jamjoum, al-Shabaka policy member, scholar.
Lubnah Shomali, Unit Manager fo