Peace Dividends

  The U.S./Israel special relationship is at once affective, geopolitically strategic, and rooted in economics.  In this essay I suggest that the neo-liberalization of the U.S. economy during the Reagan administration was tied to the formation of international free trade … Continue reading “Peace Dividends”

Locke Down on BDS?

  Ilya Schapiro of the right-wing Cato Institute recently appeared on Chris Hayes’ show on MSNBC to defend Arizona bill SB 1062 that would have allowed merchants to refuse service to LGBTQ customers under the guise of “religious freedom.” Schapiro … Continue reading “Locke Down on BDS?”

Circuits of Influence

American Studies Association President-Elect and NYU Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, Lisa Duggan offers background on the “virtual vitriol” that surrounded a recent NYU graduate student conference, “Circuits of Influence: U.S., Israel, Palestine.” Her post appears here in anticipation … Continue reading “Circuits of Influence”

Normalized Supremacy, Dignifying Resistance

I arrived in Ramallah well prepared . . . or so I thought. I’d read Saree Makdisi’s chilling portrait of Palestinian life under occupation, historical accounts by Rashid Khalidi, Walid Khalidi, Ilan Pappe, Nur Mashala, and Gabriel Piterberg, powerful critiques of Israeli apartheid leveled by Ali Abunimah, Omar Baghouti, and Uri Davis, exposés penned by Israeli journalists Amira Hass and Gideon Levy, as well as pro-Zionist voices such as Amos Oz and A.B. Yehoshua. I had Edward Said by my side, and the Electronic Intifada and the Palestine Monitor in my web browser. Our small delegation, formed at the behest of the U.S. Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, consisted of some of the smartest people I know, their collective knowledge of the situation surpassed only by our hosts at Birzeit University in Ramallah. We were there on a fact-finding mission.

One Occupation

When reflecting on the week-long visit to Occupied Palestine and Israel – the delegation organized by the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) – in some ways, the meeting that was the most provocative was with the Palestinian academics who hosted us at a public policy research center in Haifa called Mada al-Carmel: Arab Center for Applied Social Research. There we encountered critical and incisive perspectives on the academic boycott by Palestinian citizens of Israel that showed how the politics look different from their social location. Their penetrating critiques and our productive dialogue ultimately strengthened my understanding of the situation of fragmentation on the ground in Palestine, and of the need to grapple with this complexity to address what is, after all, one occupation.

Building the Palestinian International

The eight meter high Apartheid Wall bordering the Aida Refugee Camp near Bethlehem features a tattered and faded replica of Pablo Picasso’s 1937 painting “Guernica.” The painting famously commemorates the bombing and massacre of nearly 1,600 civilians by Nazi German and Italian warplanes during the fight against fascism in the Spanish Civil War. Hand-painted barbed wire and a Palestinian flag frame the Wall’s reproduction. The caption above reads:

529-2

  On July 1, 2011, the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), sent a letter to several scholars at US universities, inviting them to join a historic delegation to Palestine. The letter began:   We … Continue reading “529-2”

Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor: An Interview with Rob Nixon

Rob Nixon’s Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor was published this spring by Harvard University Press. Nixon’s work has been crucial to articulating the conjunction — as well as the fault lines — between postcolonial studies and ecocriticism. … Continue reading “Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor: An Interview with Rob Nixon”