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PAST IS PRESENT: SETTLER COLONIALISM MATTERS!

UPDATE 18th FEBRUARY 2011

SOAS Palestine Society Conference Organizing Collective

On 5-6 March 2011, the Palestine Society at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London will hold its seventh annual conference, “Past is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine. ” This year’s conference aims to understand Zionism as a settler colonial project which has, for more than a century, subjected Palestine and Palestinians to a structural and violent form of destruction, dispossession, land appropriation and erasure in the pursuit of a new Jewish Israeli society. By organizing this conference, we hope to reclaim and revive the settler colonial paradigm and to outline its potential to inform and guide political strategy and mobilization.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is often described as unique and exceptional with little resemblance to other historical or ongoing colonial conflicts. Yet, for Zionism, like other settler colonial projects such as the British colonization of Ireland or European settlement of North America, South Africa or Australia, the imperative is to control the land and its resources — and to displace the original inhabitants. Indeed, as conference keynote speaker Patrick Wolfe, one of the foremost scholars on settler colonialism and professor at La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia, argues, “the logic of this project, a sustained institutional tendency to eliminate the Indigenous population, informs a range of historical practices that might otherwise appear distinct — invasion is a structure not an event.”

Therefore, the classification of the Zionist movement as a settler colonial project, and the Israeli state as its manifestation, is not merely intended as a statement on the historical origins of Israel, nor as a rhetorical or polemical device. Rather, the aim is to highlight Zionism’s structural continuities and the ideology which informs Israeli policies and practices in Palestine and toward Palestinians everywhere. Thus, the Nakba — whether viewed as a spontaneous, violent episode in war, or the implementation of a preconceived master plan — should be understood as both the precondition for the creation of Israel and the logical outcome of Zionist settlement in Palestine.

Moreover, it is this same logic that sustains the continuation of the Nakba today. As remarked by Benny Morris, “had he [David Ben Gurion] carried out full expulsion–rather than partial–he would have stabilised the State of Israel for generations.”[ii] Yet, plagued by an “instability”–defined by the very existence of the Palestinian nation–Israel continues its daily state practices in its quest to fulfil Zionism’s logic to maximize the amount of land under its control with the minimum number of Palestinians on it. These practices take a painful array of manifestations: aerial and maritime bombardment, massacre and invasion, house demolitions, land theft, identity card confiscation, racist laws and loyalty tests, the wall, the siege on Gaza, cultural appropriation, and the dependence on willing (or unwilling) native collaboration and security arrangements, all with the continued support and backing of imperial power.

Despite these enduring practices however, the settler colonial paradigm has largely fallen into disuse. As a paradigm, it once served as a primary ideological and political framework for all Palestinian political factions and trends, and informed the intellectual work of committed academics and revolutionary scholars, both Palestinians and Jews.

The conference thus asks where and why the settler colonial paradigm was lost, both in scholarship on Palestine and in politics; how do current analyses and theoretical trends that have arisen in its place address present and historical realities? While acknowledging the creativity of these new interpretations, we must nonetheless ask: when exactly did Palestinian natives find themselves in a “post-colonial” condition? When did the ongoing struggle over land become a “post-conflict” situation? When did Israel become a “post-Zionist” society? And when did the fortification of Palestinian ghettos and reservations become “state-building”?

Such an alignment would expand the tools available to Palestinians and their solidarity movement, and reconnect the struggle to its own history of anti-colonial internationalism. At its core, this internationalism asserts that the Palestinian struggle against Zionist settler colonialism can only be won when it is embedded within, and empowered by, the broader Arab movement for emancipation and the indigenous, anti-racist and anti-colonial movement-from Arizona to Auckland.

SOAS Palestine Society invites everyone to join us at what promises to be a significant intervention in Palestine activism and scholarship.

For over 30 years, SOAS Palestine Society has heightened awareness and understanding of the Palestinian people, their rights, culture, and struggle for self-determination, amongst students, faculty, staff, and the broader public. SOAS Palestine Society aims to continuously push the frontiers of discourse in an effort to make provocative arguments and to stimulate debate and organizing for justice in Palestine through relevant conferences, and events ranging from the intellectual and political impact of Edward Said’s life and work (2004), international law and the Palestine question (2005), the economy of Palestine and its occupation (2006), the one state (2007), 60 Years of Nakba, 60 Years of Resistance (2009), and most recently, the Left in Palestine (2010).

For more information on the SOAS Palestine Society 7th Annual Conference, Past is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine: http://www.soaspalsoc.org

SOAS Palestine Society Organizing Collective is a group of committed students that has undertaken to organize annual academic conferences on Palestine since 2003.

First published on: http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/661/past-is-present_settler-colonialism-matters
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[i] Patrick Wolfe, Settler Colonialism and the Transformation of Anthropology: The Politics and Poetics of an Ethnographic Event, Cassell, London, p. 163

[ii] Interview with Benny Morris, Survival of the Fittest, Haaretz, 9 – January 2004: http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/php/art.php?aid=5412

 Original Post, Past is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine (including a detailed programme of the event), 25th January 2011, is at: https://rikowski.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/past-is-present-settler-colonialism-in-palestine/

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Gaza

PAST IS PRESENT: SETTLER COLONIALISM IN PALESTINE

7th Annual Conference
5- 6 March | Brunei Gallery | School of Oriental and African Studies – London

Organised by SOAS Palestine Society and hosted by the London Middle East Institute

For over a century, Zionism has subjected Palestine and Palestinians to a structural and violent form of destruction, dispossession, land appropriation, and erasure in the pursuit of a new colonial Israeli society. Too often, this Palestine ‘Question’ has been framed as unique; a national, religious, and/or liberation struggle with little semblance to colonial conflicts elsewhere. The two-day conference, Past is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine, seeks to reclaim settler colonialism as the central paradigm from which to understand Palestine. It asks: what are the socio-political, economic and spatial processes and mechanisms of settler colonialism in Palestine, and what are the logics underpinning it? By unearthing the histories and geographies of the Palestinian experience of settler colonialism, this conference does not only chart possibilities for understanding Palestine within comparative settler colonial analyses. Rather, it also seeks to break open frameworks binding Palestine, re-align the Palestinian movement within a universal history of decolonisation, and imagine new possibilities for Palestinian resistance, solidarity and common struggle.

Day One: Saturday, 5th March 2011

Registration and Refreshments: 9.00-9.30

Opening and Keynote: 9.30-10.15
Hassan Hakimian – London Middle East Institute

Not Another Racism: Zionism, a Logic of Elimination
Patrick Wolfe – La Trobe University

Session One – Empire, Settler Colonialism and Zionism: 10.45-12.15

Chair: Nelida Fuccaro – School of Oriental and African Studies

Playing the Zionist Card: The British Empire and the Middle East
John Newsinger – Bath Spa University

Literature of Settler Societies: Albert Camus, S. Yizhar, and Amos Oz
Gabriel Piterberg – University of California, Los Angeles

The Settler Colonialism Paradigm and its History in Revolutionary Palestinian Resistance Literature: Poetry and Politics
Naseer Aruri – University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Refreshments: 12.15-12.30

Session Two – Zionism Destroys to Replace: 12.30-14.00

Chair: Laleh Khalili – School of Oriental and African Studies

The Palestinian Labour Market and the Politics of Zionist Settler Colonialism
Gershon Shafir – University of California, San Diego

The Erasure of the Native
Ilan Pappe – University of Exeter

The Second Phase of the Settler Colonial Conquest of Palestine: The 1967 Allon Plan and the Search for a Zionist ‘Settlement’
Gilbert Achcar – School of Oriental and African Studies

Lunch: 14.00-14.45

Session Three – Zionism Controls the Native: 14.45-16.15

Chair: Ruba Salih – School of Oriental and African Studies

Chronicles of a Cultural Destruction: The Appropriation of Palestinian Knowledge during the 1948 War
Gish Amit – Ben-Gurion University

Indigenous Citizens and the Contradictions of Status amongst Palestinians in Israel
As’ad Ghanem – Ibn Khaldun, The Arab Association for Research and Development

Frontier Wars and Robotic Colonisation
Eyal Weizman – Goldsmiths College

Refreshments: 16.15-16.30

Session Four – A Political Economy of Settler Colonialism: 16.30-18.00

Chair: Elisa van Waeyenberge – School of Oriental and African Studies

A ‘Bad Lot’? Palestinian Businessmen and the British Colonial State
Sherene Seikaly – American University of Cairo

The Exploitation of the Palestinian Economy by Israel
Shir Hever – Alternative Information Center

Palestinian Capitalism, Regional Accumulation Processes and Implications for Liberation Strategy
Adam Hanieh – School of Oriental and African Studies

Day Two: Sunday 6th March 2011

Registration and Refreshments: 10.30-11.00

Keynote: 11.00-12.00

Letter from Gaza: On Colonialism, Capitalism and Resistance
Rabah Mohanna – Palestinian Legislative Council, Gaza

Session Five – Indigenous Life and the Reverberations of Settler Colonialism: 12.00-13.30

Chair: Lori Allen – University of Cambridge

Counterfeit Citizenship: On the Politics of Property in Nahr El-Bared
Monika Halkort – Queen’s University, Belfast

Ethnic Cleansing in the Naqab: The Razings of the Bedouin Village of Al-‘Araqib
Mansour Nsasra – University of Exeter

Policing, Self-Policing and Indigenous Collaboration
Mouin Rabbani – Institute of Palestine Studies

Lunch: 13.30-14.30

Session Six – Overcoming Zionism, Dismantling Settler Colonialism:  14.30-16.00

Chair: Jan Jananayagam – Tamils Against Genocide

Decolonising Settler Colonialisms
Lorenzo Veracini – Swinburne University of Technology

The Power and Pitfalls of a Support Movement: Campaigning Against the Jewish National Fund
Selma James – International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Towards Common Liberation
Mezna Qato – University of Oxford

Refreshments: 16.00-16.15

Roundtable – Unsettling (Settler) Colonialism: 16.15-18.15

Tickets

Please note SEATS ARE LIMITED – book in advance

Price: £30 (£20 concessions, and £40 organisations) – all tickets include lunch and refreshments

To buy your tickets Online at: – http://www.soaspalsoc.org

By cheque: Send cheques payable to SOAS Palestine Society with attached note of email address to: SOAS Palestine Society, Thornhaugh Street, London, WC1H 0XG

Location:
SOAS Brunei Gallery
Thornhaugh Street
Russell Square
London, WC1H 0XG

Contact:
palestineconference@gmail.com
http://www.soaspalsoc.org

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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