Decolonising Israeli Society_ Final.doc - Decolonising Israeli Society Resistance to Zionism as an Educative Practice Abstract According to Samia

Decolonising Israeli Society_ Final.doc - Decolonising...

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Decolonising Israeli Society? Resistance to Zionism as an Educative Practice Abstract According to Samia Mehrez (1991), a complete decolonisation process must include both the colonised and colonising societies. For the colonisers, decolonisation entails liberation from the hegemonic system of thought and from ‘imperialist, racist perceptions, representations, and institutions’. Rooted in the conceptualisation of Israel as a settler colonial project, this paper aims to shed light on decolonisation attempts from within the (colonising) Israeli society. Here, resistance practices of groups of Jewish-Israeli anti-Zionists, in active support of the Palestinian struggle, entail a confrontation with the state but at the same time include another, long-term dimension: the formation of discourse and practice that challenge the Zionist consensus which thus function as an educative practice. This article aims to shed light on these activities and to conceptualise them as acts of ‘critical pedagogy’. Indeed, their resistance teaches the Jewish-Israelis firstly about the reality of the oppression that Palestinians suffer. Secondly, and crucially, it reveals to the Jewish-Israelis the boundaries of permitted political activity and the possibility to overlook and disregard social conventions and legal norms. Most importantly, this type of activity, that is largely Palestinian-led and directed, symbolises the struggle against the boundaries and borders imposed by the state, aimed to separate Israelis from Palestinians and thus constitutes a counterhegemonic praxis. Keywords Decolonisation, Zionism, counterhegemony, critical pedagogy, Israel/Palestine. 1
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Introduction On 26 December 2003, the Israeli army shot unarmed demonstrators protesting against the construction of the wall Israel was building around the West Bank village of Masha, injuring two. While similar incidents in which Palestinian inhabitants of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are injured often go unnoticed in the media, this particular incident attracted media interest in Israel and internationally, since one of the injured demonstrators happened to be Gil Na’amati, a Jewish-Israeli activist. 1 All reports mentioned the involvement of a group named ‘Anarchists Against The Wall’ (AATW) in the demonstration, but did not expand much on its identity, ideology or patterns of activity. Writing in response to this same incident, Meron Benvenisti (2004), an Israeli essayist and historian, pointed to the uniqueness of this group. According to him, the demonstration was not aimed against the wall alone, but represents an ideological rebellion against the Israeli state and the sanctity of its laws: There is no need to overestimate the importance of this group, which represents a marginal left-wing stream, with almost no influence. But one should also not underestimate the ideological and intellectual challenge that anarchists set before a society that attributes to the ‘Jewish State’ an 2
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