This will be an informal workshop with short presentations from Rebecca Stein, Hilla Dayan and Erella Grassiani that focus on different power-holders behind both the mechanisms of normalization and denial of the Israeli occupation of Palestine within Israeli society. They will discuss strategies for and useful analytical tool for studying these ‘perpetrators’ or power-holders in order to deeply understand the effects of the occupation on both societies.
This paper studies the impact of new photographic technologies and image-sharing platforms on the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories. Taking its cue from Trumpian political discourse, I focus on the right-wing Jewish Israeli reckoning with the growing visual archive of Palestinian injury at Israeli state or settler hands – a reckoning that occurs through the discourse of “fake news,” or the charge that such images are fraudulent or manipulated in some regard to produce the damning portrait of Israel. The story of the “fake” image of Palestinian injury endeavors strip the visual field of its Israeli perpetrators and Palestinian victims, thereby exonerating the state. Or such is the fantasy.
In this talk I highlight tensions within Zionist society at large and their mediation by an alliance of settler and global elites, driving the project of complete annexation of the occupied territories forward. The alliance of academic elites with ruling settler elites, for example, shows Israeli academia is far from “liberal” as it claims to be. Through this alliance academic elites defend their privileges and the advantages they maintain in global academic circuits. Although the system of the occupation defines and shapes Zionist society in Israel through and through, I challenge through this example of academia the notion of “the people” as barbarians, and the idea that particularly the lower classes are responsible for state crimes. In elite Zionist discourse the worst crimes of the occupation are attributed to lower-class Mizrahim or to Mizrahi support for ruling parties. What makes a society a “perpetrator society,” however, is the barbarization of its ruling elites, among them academic and intellectual elites.
In this paper I will focus on the political workings of the Israeli security/military market, which go so far as involvement in human rights violations by foreign entities. I hope to contribute to understandings of the ways a semi-privatized military and security market that does not shy away from political grey areas politically influences warfare (at home and afar). I will show how the market itself actively tries to de-politicize its discourse, as it sanitizes itself from its origins as part of the oppressive apparatus of the Israeli state against the Palestinian people, and how it is re-politicized through heroic, success stories connected to the development of security materialities, technologies and knowledge. The case of Israeli relations in Cameroon that I will briefly explore will highlight yet another level of politicization that takes Israeli politics into the international realm.