Israel/Palestine: New Perspectives

The University of East London’s CMRB (Centre for research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging) and CCSR (Centre for Cultural Studies Research) are pleased to announce ISRAEL/PALESTINE: NEW PERSPECTIVES a seminar which will take place in EB.G.18, Docklands Campus, University of East London, E16 2RD, nearest tube: Cyprus DLR on Monday 28th October 2013, 4–6pm

Dr. Ruth Sanz Sabido, Canterbury Christ Church University ‘A Land of Promises: Tracing the representations of terrorism in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’

Tom Tlalim, Goldsmiths, University of London, ‘Resounding Conflict: Sonic Strategies for Political Critique in Israel/Palestine’.

Dr. Jamie Hakim, University of East London, ‘Affect and Popular Zionism in the British Jewish Community after 1967’

Nora Parr, SOAS, University of London, ‘Novel Imaginings of the National Community: Inter-textuality in the works of Ibrahim Nasrallah’

The event is free but space is limited so please reserve a place at

A Land of Promises: Tracing the representations of terrorism in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Dr. Ruth Sanz Sabido

This paper explores how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been represented in the British press by paying attention to the historical uses of the terms ‘terrorism’ and ‘terrorist’ in the reporting of the conflict. I propose a theoretical and methodological framework (Postcolonial Critical Discourse Analysis) which highlights the importance of moving beyond the study of representations of ‘the new and the now’ and considering (post)colonial relations in the analysis of media and political discourse (Cere, 2011). The study examines four different phases since the end of the British Mandate in 1948, including the war in 1948, the Six Day War in 1967, the beginning of the first Intifada in 1987, and the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip in 2008. Although the analysis is driven by the use of the terms ‘terrorism’ and ‘terrorist’, it also explores the structures and contexts in which these terms appeared. Analysing a sample of 931 articles published by four British national newspapers (Guardian, The Times, Daily Mirror and the Sun) between 1948 and 2009, this study traces the discursive agents of ‘terrorism’ and shows that this term has been used to describe different social actors in the conflict depending on the historical moment when particular actions were reported. The study also reveals that representations were always orientalist, but they also evolved from depicting Zionists negatively in the 1948 sample, to representing Arabs, Palestinians and Muslims in adverse ways in later historical samples. Other conclusions shed light into the historical de-contextualization of the conflict in each period, the visible and invisible entities in the representations of the conflict, and the use of sources in news reporting.


Resounding Conflict: Sonic Strategies for Political Critique in Israel/Palestine, Tom Tlalim

Resounding Conflict examines the political environment of Israel/Palestine by listening to its aurality. This practice-theory project examines the sonic materiality of political processes in and around the borders of Israel/Palestine, using sound as an object of study as well as a method of investigation. Israel/Palestine makes an unstable political territory, where maps, fences, barriers, and frontiers are often unilaterally produced along temporary and disputed ceasefire lines. These on-going challenges lead to over-determination and over-enforcement of security infrastructures and separation practices. Understanding territorial dynamics in the region would require dynamic means of investigation with which to probe into the continuous “soft” modulation of social flows and their collision with “hard” institutions. The sonic is proposed here as a particularly appropriate phenomenological device with which to think through the dynamics of this region. While visual and discursive cultures dominate contemporary digital life, we live in boundless acoustical spaces. Sound has no borders and is invisible, yet it is clearly felt. The sonic is a direct registration of the vibration of the environment beyond the visual frame. It does not only offer information about events but directly inscribes their affect. Listening is a participatory act where one listens to flows, while listening for events. As an ethical stance, the sonic does not face or efface, but rather resonates with the other, which highlights the fact that territorial borders are also shared spaces. A central question is how the sonic domain is employed in critique of power. What strategies, techniques, tools, and approaches are used, and how do they operate? In answering this question a case-study approach is taken where sonic works, media artefacts, aural discourses, and pieces of legislation are analysed, leading to the construction of a lexicon of strategies for sonic negotiations in the region, and an emergent language with which to understand politics as a dynamically modulating sonic sphere.


Affect and Popular Zionism in the British Jewish Community after 1967, Dr. Jamie Hakim

It is widely accepted within Jewish historiography that the 1967 Arab-Israeli war had a profound effect on the British Jewish community’s relationship with Israel and Zionism. Whilst this scholarship touches on the affective nature of this relationship, it rarely gives this aspect sustained consideration. In this paper I will explore the relationship between affect and Zionism in British Jewry after the 1967 war. I will argue against the usual definitions of Zionism as an “ideology”, a “political movement” or a “broad identification with Israel” and propose instead that the hegemonic way that Zionism has existed within this community since 1967 is as an affective disposition primarily lived out on the planes of popular culture and everyday life. As such, it can be more accurately labelled Popular Zionism. In order to make this argument, I will use a theoretical framework developed by Lawrence Grossberg that brings the thought of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari to bear on perspectives developed within British cultural studies and support it by drawing on interviews with British Jews alongside original archival research.


Novel Imaginings of the National Community: Inter-textuality in the works of Ibrahim Nasrallah, Nora Parr

Territory: the site of the nation-state, the wellspring of historical time, the referent of nationalism. It is this same bounded location which according to Mikhail Bakhtin fuses with time to become narratible as “one carefully thought-out, concrete whole,” thus rendered “artistically visible.” Territory is the implicit presence in Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities, the space upon which his “solid community moving steadily down (or up) history” rests. It is also precisely what today’s Palestinian nation does not have. If territory undergirds the chronotope and the very “law of narrative,” (Kristeva) how is a Palestinian nation thought, imagined, narrated? How do Palestinian authors tell the story of a state-less nation when the very act of novel writing seems to be underpinned by the bounded territory? Looking at the works of Ibrahim Nasrallah, inter-textuality bubbles up as both a tool and a method for exposing the invisible structure of narrative that links it so directly with territory. Using citation, translation, allusion, re-narration and all manor or other inter-textual devices, Nasrallah imagines multiple, transverse, and overlapping moments of the Palestinian past and present into a modern constellation that unflinchingly tells the best and worst of the Palestinian nation. This portrayal reveals and bypasses the structures and limitations of the novel, forging an alternative path for an imagination that more inclusively captures a Palestinian national community.