[The Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) brings you the twelfth in a series of “Peer-Reviewed Article Reviews” in which we present a collection of journals and their articles concerned with the Middle East and Arab world. This series will be published seasonally. Each issue will comprise one-to-three parts, depending on the number of articles included.]
Arab Studies Journal (Volume 28, Issue 1)
By: Carmen Gitre
Abstract: Not available
Impure Time: Archaeology, Hafidh Druby (1914-1991), and the Persistence of Representational Painting in Mid-Twentieth-Century Iraq (1940-1980)
By: Sarah Johnson
Abstract: Not available
By: Leila O. Tayeb
Abstract: Not available
By: Lily Eilan
British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (Volume 47, Issue 2)
By: Judith Ann Cochran
Abstract: Syrian refugees are causing upheavals in Jordan’s economy and education. Unemployment of Jordan’s native youth is 29.9% without the addition of unemployed refugees further threatening the stability of the country. The cost of educating, sheltering, feeding and integrating them into the cities with resulting school congestion creates resentment in citizens paying 60% of their national budget for refugees. To alleviate educational pressures alone, Jordan solicited funding from the European Union, United Kingdom, Germany, United States and Norway. Together, they pledged 81.5 million in May 2016 to expand education for Jordan’s refugee children. From the refugees’ perspective, all face similar challenges in gaining access to classrooms, adapting to the culture taught in the schools and catching up academically as they try to prepare for and seek employment to survive. Jordan’s government has implemented two 5-year educational reorganization programmes Educational Reform for Knowledge Economy (ERfKE) I, II that are in many cases unknowingly shifting instruction from idealism to pragmatism. This philosophical movement towards pragmatism is less expensive and more effective for future employment of all students in contrast to the existing idealistic system. Jordan’s transitioning changes in educational philosophies and programmes provide visions for Jordan’s future. Their educational adaptations provide suggestions for other refugee host countries.
From military tutelage to civilian control: an analysis of the evolution of Turkish civil–military relations
By: Sertif Demir, Oktay Bingöl
Abstract: The Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) have been the main discussion topic in the political arena over the last decade in Turkey, with a focus on curtailing military supervision over political life. This article investigates the evolution of civil–military relations (CMR) in Turkey. Thus, the aim of this study is to explore the factors and dynamics that have led to the development and realignment of CMR in Turkey. The focus will be on how military tutelage in Turkey has been ended, what factors have caused this and finally whether Turkish CMR have been normalized.
By: Ronen A. Cohen
Abstract: Since America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the consequent partial collapse of the state Iraq has been undergoing a process of deterioration and disintegration mainly because America’s vision of establishing a new, more democratic political order there encountered a lack of readiness to understand what the structure of a democratic state should be. The political process that Iraq has been going through – that is the transition from autocratic dictatorship to adopting a kind of democratic system is called anocracy, which means a political system that is neither fully democratic nor fully autocratic.
Furthermore, the Iranian intervention into Iraqi politics that took place after 2003 has led to the creation of a virtually imperial model of regional power (Iran’s) that has turned Iraq into a kind of informal protectorate in ethnic and religious issues. This article wishes to offer a better understanding of the anocratic political shift that Iraq has been going through by adding the component of Iran’s influence and foreign policy upon it as an ambivalent factor that is both accelerating yet also preventing the process of democratization from properly establishing itself in Iraq.
By: Sarah Jacobs
Abstract: In 2017, following a fraught 22-year struggle, Israel appointed the first female judge (sing. qadiya, pl. qadiyat) to its Islamic (shari’a) courts. This contrasts with the earlier appointments of qadiyat around the world, most notably in the Palestinian Authority in 2009. The Israeli shari’a courts’ jurisdiction over family law, a field of law which engages in women’s issues, makes the introduction of qadiyat particularly salient. This article is among the first to focus academic research on the issue of qadiyat within Israel and is based on field interviews with practitioners and academic experts, as well as documentary primary and secondary sources. This article finds that the obstacles that delayed the appointment of Israel’s first qadiya were a manifestation of the political impact Muslim minority status had on the country’s Muslim and Jewish establishments.
Deliberating in difficult times: lessons from public forums in Turkey in the aftermath of the Gezi protests
By: Meral Ugur-Cinar, Cisem Gunduz-Arabaci
Abstract: This study examines the prospects of public deliberation in a semi-authoritarian political context and unfavourable political cultural setting through an in-depth analysis of three public forums taking place in the aftermath of the 2013 Gezi Protests. This analysis shows that while the gains of deliberation in terms of influencing policy decision-making are limited, significant gains can still be reached in terms of creating a more civic public and a more strongly connected civil society that keeps its linkages with social movements. The study also finds that such forums can help create dialogue among distant segments of the society even though such interactions are still rather modest. These findings have implications for public deliberation in other non-deliberative settings as they open new areas of research in terms of the prospects of such forums in increasing social capital, pluralism and civicness.
By: Bülent Küçük, Buket Türkmen
Abstract: This paper examines the formation of authoritarian populism in Turkey by analysing mass mobilization and its repercussions in the symbolic and imaginary realms as authoritarian right-wing populisms have gained global popularity. It scrutinises the AKP government’s mobilization of the masses in the so-called ‘democracy watches’ after the coup attempt on 15 July 2016. During the demonstrations that took place in various locations in Istanbul, authors carried out participant observation fieldwork and field interviews. The paper concludes that democracy watches constitute a significant means of constructing and consolidating a new authoritarian regime, thereby endowing this consolidation process with a popular legitimacy.
‘I came naïve from the village’: on Palestinian urbanism and ruralism in Haifa under the British Mandate
By: Na’ama Ben Ze’ev
Abstract: During the Mandate period (1920–1948), Haifa attracted thousands of Palestinian rural migrants, who constituted a significant portion of its Arab population. The article examines the experience of rural migrants in urban life and the influence of this social group on urban society. I argue that rural migrants contributed to Haifa’s economic development, participated in political and cultural activity and formed a connecting link between the city and their villages of origin. Rural migrants played a significant role as agents of change in Palestinian society, owing to the conjunction of rural and urban characteristics in their daily life. To demonstrate this, I focus on three arenas of their agency: the labour market, civil society and militias during the Arab Revolt. Their involvement in civil associations and in the Arab Revolt was central to their construction of modernity, and they disseminated it in widening circles in their villages of origin and among their acquaintances in the city.
By: Sara Farhan
Abstract: This article examines the formative years of the first television station in the Middle East and the Arab World: Baghdad Television. The Hashemite Monarchy recognized television’s potential as an effective tool of reconciliation with an increasingly disenchanted population and a means for homogenization and knowledge production. However, the professionals responsible for maintaining television came from social and economic backgrounds that suffered under or did not benefit directly from the Hashemites and their stakeholders. This specialized cadre opposed the undemocratic features of the government as evidenced in the content they created, produced, directed, or performed on Baghdad Television. Television specialists had their own vision of what the future of Iraq should look like. Their expectations manifested in a sociocultural attunement process facilitated through television wherein aired content, explicitly or tacitly, contradicted government messages and highlighted deeply rooted economic, political, and social problems in Iraq. This article relies on archival research, statistical reports, interviews, memoirs, televised performances, news segments, radio broadcasts, and newspapers to trace the history of Baghdad Television during Monarchic Iraq.
By: Hoda A. Yousef
Abstract: This paper examines the petitions of a poor woman, Jalila Saʿd, who sought educational opportunities and property from the Egyptian government between 1908 and 1913. Her interest in procuring a ‘place’ for her sons and her family in modernizing Egypt reflects the ways in which non-elites were able to participate in and move within the major physical and discursive public spaces of the era. This study argues that even those at the very edges of society were not categorically marginalized; rather, they were negotiating the dominant spatial hierarchies of their time in attempts to better their circumstances. This ability to navigate and participate in the prevailing discussions and institutions of the time demonstrates that even the most marginalized elements of Egyptian society were quite integrated into the project of ‘modern Egypt’, even if they did not always reap its benefits.
By: Jona Fras
Abstract: Questions of media form have not received sufficient attention in recent studies of Arabic-language media. In Jordanian radio today, however, media form is a highly relevant discursive resource for broadcasters, who strategically invoke the ways in which different types of media communication are conceived and framed, in a metapragmatic manner that goes beyond the impact of merely technical distinctions between media forms. This article examines two examples of this process: the ‘unification’ of radio station voices in a memorial programme for a martyred fighter pilot broadcast in February 2015, where radio’s limitation to sound was used ideologically to assert national unity; and references to digital media on morning talk show programmes, which allow hosts to define audiences and forms of participation in radio conversations. These metapragmatic framings of media form, further, produce specific publics for Jordanian radio: groupings that include, and legitimize, certain segments of listenership—such as ‘true’ Jordanians or ‘the Jordanian people’—while implicitly excluding others. Grounded firmly in discursive data, this article thus provides much-needed nuance to our understanding of mass media in the Arabic-speaking Middle East today—and, ultimately, the genuine significance of media form in its social and cultural context.
Contemporary Arab Affairs (Volume 13, Issue 1)
Egyptian National Security and the Perils of Egyptian–Libyan Border Management: Military Strength versus International Assistance
By: Mona Farag
Abstract: In this post-9/11 age, marked by international terrorism, militant non-state actors have created a world of insecurity, challenging international borders by constructing numerous national security issues. These international demarcation lines have been upheld by international conventions and treaties that have been established over the past decades. However, the fluid movement of people and goods, specifically jihadi militants and weapons, through borders in recent years has created both national and transnational security concerns. Nowhere is this problem more relevant than in the Middle East, and more so at the Libyan–Egyptian border. This research paper assesses the current security and policy problems of the Egyptian–Libyan border from Egypt’s national security perspective and the movement of ISIS militants across this border, which inevitably impacts Egypt’s Eastern border in the Sinai Peninsula. The present actions of international assistance of the United Nations and European Union member states are discussed regarding their negotiation initiatives in Libya. Egypt’s alternative approach is discussed, whereby it is taking charge, whether multi- or unilaterally, of the security predicament by effectively policing this porous border. In effect, this paper analyzes Egypt’s insistence on implementing its traditional notions of security, thereby ensuring it remains in a position of power.
By: Youssef Mohammad Sawani
Abstract: Since the fall of Gaddafi’s forty-two years of rule, Libya has been facing tremendous challenges of instability and insecurity reflecting and characterized by both a political impasse and a lack of legitimate state institutions. Ad-hoc and non-state formations grew outside the legitimate state boundary and became the real actors, polarizing politics and society while rendering any political dialogue ineffective, especially when confined to exclusionary power-sharing arrangements. Official bodies remain weak and divided, while peripheral actors reject/resist submitting to its authority. While acknowledging that the current Libyan crisis is the product of the interaction of several factors including the Islamists and non-Islamist contestation, regional and tribal dimensions, and foreign interventions, this paper concentrates on the effects of the state approach of the Gaddafi era as well as the failure to adopt and implement reconciliation post the 2011 conflict. Therefore, it is argued that the first step towards realizing peace, security, and development is a departure from the current approach and the necessity of bringing in the real players to agree on a roadmap to reclaim the state by launching state-building processes that have national reconciliation as an essential component at their core. State-building cannot be purely a technical exercise of defining, designing, building, or reforming public institutions, while ignoring reconciliation. No matter how successful such technical state-building processes may be, some parts of the population will remain excluded and major segments of the population are likely to remain highly mistrustful of the (new) state and its institutions. Therefore, addressing this gap is central to a transformative approach to state-building that includes reconciliation in which dealing with the Gaddafi legacy is central to preventing future conflict relapse.
China’s Impact on the Middle East and North Africa’s Regional Order: Unfolding Regional Effects of Challenging the Global Order
By: Jordi Quero
Abstract: This article explores the impact of China on the norms and institutions constituting the regional order in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). It does so by assessing the effect that China’s challenges to the global order will have on the MENA. It is argued that scholars tend to focus on Beijing’s foreign policy directly targeting the region, especially the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). But in doing so, they overlook another parallel channel through which China may have an important, even critical, impact: the consequences unfolding from China’s different challenges to the global order. The fact that China may prove successful in articulating parallel and/or alternative norms and institutions to those that currently define the global liberal order could trigger shifts in the MENA normative environment. Three cases are examined in order to assess this potential: its challenge to some elements of the Bretton Woods global economic order; China’s contestation of the Law of the Sea; and its challenge to particular liberal elements of the global order.
By: Djaouida Hamzaoui
Abstract: In 2004, the European Union proposed a project entitled the European Neighborhood Policy as a new strategic option. The project had been adopted by the European Council one year earlier in a proposal to the concerned states. The European Neighborhood Policy proposes the development of the scope of cooperation between the European Union and the southwestern Mediterranean countries through several political, economic, social, and cultural fields. Yet, the sphere of security is set at the top of its priorities. It is based on the principles of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, as well as on establishing security and stability between the countries on the two shores of the Mediterranean neighboring Europe. This would be based on a common framework and a larger volume of mutual cooperation that is embodied in a genuine partnership that would confront common challenges. The study explores and provides an answer to the following question: To what extent can the European Neighborhood Policy be considered a representation of regionalism and the embodiment of a genuine European desire through which it would be able to build a “security group” in the Mediterranean basin?
International Journal of Middle East Studies (Volume 52, Issue 2)
By: Frances S. Hasso
Abstract: This article provides a close reading of two popular Egyptian action films, al-Almani (The German, 2012), the first blockbuster since the 25 January 2011 revolution, and Qalb al-Asad (Lion heart, 2013), both starring Muhammad Ramadan as a socially produced proletarian “thug” figure. Made for Egyptian audiences, the films privilege entertainment over aesthetics or politics. However, they express distinct messages about violence, morality, and revolution that are shaped by their moments of postrevolutionary release. They present the police state in salutary yet ambivalent terms. They offer a rupture with prerevolutionary cinema by staging the failure of proletarian masculinities and femininities that rely on middle-class respectability in relation to sex, marriage, and work. Even as each film expresses traces of revolutionary upheaval and even nostalgia, cynicism rather than hopefulness dominates, especially in al-Almani, which conveys to the middle and upper classes the specter of an ever-present threat of masculine frustration. The form and content of Qalb al-Asad, by comparison, offer the option of reconciling opposing elements—an Egyptian story line with a less repressive conclusion if one chooses a path between revolutionary resistance and accepting defeat.
By: Lara Deeb
Abstract: Based on interviews with Lebanese in over 150 mixed-religion marriages and their extended family members, I argue that sect may conceal or stand in for other forms of difference, including ideas about status and hierarchy related to class and regional origin in Lebanon. Because it is the most readily available discourse for understanding social difference, parents often use sectarian rhetoric to describe their concerns about a variety of problems they see in their children’s chosen partners. By listening between the lines of parental objections, I suggest that expressions of bias against people of other sects may mask concerns with other forms of social difference, in effect reducing a complex and shifting social field of multiple axes of difference into sect. Rather than assume sectarianism’s a priori importance, this approach allows me to bring other discourses of difference and analytic lenses to the foreground.
Embedded Turkification: Nation Building and Violence within the Framework of the League of Nations 1919–1937
By: Carolin Libisch-Gümüş
Abstract: This article traces intersections between Turkey’s relations with the League of Nations and violent homogenization in Anatolia in the two decades following World War I. It advances the argument that the strife for creating a homogenous population—a core element of Turkish nation building—was embedded in the international order. This is explained on two levels. First, the article stresses the role of international asymmetries on the mental horizon of the Turkish nation builders. The League’s involvement in the allied plans to partition Turkey had the organization wrapped up in a mélange of humanitarian concerns, civilizing doctrine, and imperialist interests. Turkish nationalists wanted to avoid those imperialist pitfalls and overcome international minority protection by means of Turkification. They saw international humanitarianism as an obstacle to their nationalist line. Second, the article highlights the ways in which the League itself supported the Kemalists’ drive for Turkification, either directly, especially in the case of the “population transfer” between Greece and Turkey, or indirectly through prioritizing Turkey’s sovereignty over minority concerns.
A Prolonged Abrogation? The Capitulations, the 1917 Law of Family Rights, and the Ottoman Quest for Sovereignty during World War 1
By: Kate Dannies, Stefan Hock
Abstract: The 1917 promulgation of a new Ottoman family law is recognized as a landmark moment in the history of Islamic law by scholars of women and gender in the Middle East. Yet the significance of the 1917 law in the struggle over religious jurisdiction, political power, and Ottoman sovereignty has been overlooked in the scholarship on both Ottoman legal reform and World War 1. Drawing on Ottoman Turkish, German, French, and English sources linking internal interpretations of the law and external reactions to its passage, we reinterpret adoption of the family law as a key moment in the geopolitics of World War 1. We demonstrate that passage of the law was a critical turning point in the wartime process of abrogating the capitulations and eliminating the last vestiges of legal extraterritoriality in the Ottoman Empire. The law is situated in its wartime political context and the geopolitical milieu of larger Europe to demonstrate that, although short-lived, the 1917 family law was a centerpiece of the wartime struggle to define extraterritorial rights of the Ottoman Empire, the Great Powers, and their protégés within the empire.
By: Michael O’Sullivan
Abstract: This article examines the creation of the first privately-owned Muslim banks in the first half of the twentieth century and the legal debates they instigated among Muslim communities. Whether in Bosnia or India, these banks appeared suddenly in the years immediately before the First World War. They were envisioned as a way to free up Muslim capital for productive ends, and as the means to jumpstart a Muslim economic renaissance. Far from masking their interest transactions, the banks’ founders and customers pointed to a range of Islamic legal rulings that justified interest levied on deposits and loans. These rulings varied from one geographic locale to the next, and were expressive of diverse Muslim institutional and legal histories. Yet in an age when the formerly diffuse discursive terrain around interest, usury, and the Islamic foundational sources was shifting towards a consensus that rejected any interest/usury distinction, some of these banks faced acute challenges, particularly in India. There, novel notions of interest-free Islamic economics were articulated from the interwar period, which rejected any form of Muslim interest-banking. In time, the earlier iteration of Muslim interest banking became overshadowed by the new paradigm of “Islamic banks” which purportedly eschewed all financial interest.
By: Sreemati Mitter
Abstract: In the late 1930s, the first independent Arab banks in Palestine, the Arab Bank and the Arab Agricultural Bank, sued customers who had defaulted on loans in an attempt to maintain solvency. Their indebted customers, unable to pay, fought back to prevent their lands from being foreclosed and sold to Zionist buyers. Each party claimed that its position was consistent with, indeed essential to, the anti-Zionist nationalist cause. The story of these pioneering Arab banks and their legal battles with their customers in the wake of the 1936-1939 revolt provides insight into Arab financial life in Mandate Palestine. It reveals the banks’ struggles to survive; complicates notions of Arab-Palestinian landlessness and indebtedness; and argues that political and economic exigencies, not reductive notions of collaboration or patriotism, produced the banks’ antagonistic relationship with their customers, whereby the survival of one came at the expense of the other.
By: Ramazan Hakki Östan
Abstract: This article explores how the Great Depression in 1929 led to the expansion of illicit circuits globally, and examines the ways in which the introduction of anti-smuggling campaigns came to consolidate the border regimes in Turkey and French Syria. The global economic downturn in the late 1920s led states to embrace protectionist measures such as heightened tariffs and import quotas, all designed to protect local industries and maintain a favorable trade balance. The introduction of such measures, however, often resulted in the emergence of highly profitable illicit circuits, including in the borderland between Turkey and Syria. Here, a sturdy coalition of producers, shop owners, smugglers, trackers, and peddlers began to smuggle into Turkey a range of goods from silk textiles to cigarette papers, while funneling out narcotics into Syria. By seeking the global trajectories of such commodity flows, this article examines the impact of these borderland mobilities on the making of Turkey’s southern border by exploring the local and bureaucratic responses to a rapidly changing world economic order in the aftermath of the Great Depression.
Israel Studies (Volume 25, Issue 1)
The Arab League’s Propaganda Campaign in the US Against the Establishment of a Jewish State (1944–1947)
By: Daniel Rickenbacher
Abstract: In 1944, the Arab League started planning a propaganda offensive in Western countries to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. The League’s focus of attention was the United States, where, members believed, Palestine’s future would eventually be decided and where they deemed it imperative to counter the Zionist campaign. In 1945 and 1946, it opened offices in Washington, D.C. and New York. The efficiency of these offices in undermining support for Zionism in the US was, however, hampered by infighting between Musa Alami, head of the Arab Offices, and the leader of the Palestinian national movement Amin al-Husseini. When the British relegated the Palestine Question to the UN, the Arab League and the Arab Higher Committee (AHC) were therefore ill-prepared to meet the challenge. Omar Haliq, a member of the anti-Zionist Institute of Arab-American Affairs (IAAA), devised a strategy to mobilize Catholic anti-Semitism in Latin America and Europe for their cause. As a result of these recommendations, in April 1947, the AHC sent a team of senior members, many of them experienced in the field of propaganda, to the US. Moreover, a special committee staffed by the Arab representatives at the UN and functionaries of the AHC was set up to organize a propaganda campaign focusing on South America. The strategy, however, was not successful. Most of Latin America and Catholic Europe voted for UN resolution 181 on November 29, 1947, at the UN session in Lake Success. The article explores the strategy of the Arab League in its propaganda campaign in the US, its Arab Office activities and its actions in 1947, which aimed at preventing the establishment of a Jewish state by the UN. It further discusses why these efforts failed. It is based on records of the Arab League, the Jewish Agency, the British Foreign Office and the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League located in US, British and Israeli archives and on documents left by the actors themselves.
By: Neil Caplan
Abstract: The article examines the origins of the phrase “oom-shmoom” that has become emblematic of Israel’s negative attitudes to the United Nations. The discussion is situated in the context of the competing foreign-policy schools of thought associated with David Ben-Gurion (activist, militant) and Moshe Sharett (diplomatic, moderate). It looks at examples from the 1950s illustrating the rhetorical uses that politicians made of the slogan in order to denigrate rivals for their presumed lack of toughness and inadequate concern for Israel’s security needs. While much about Israel’s foreign policy during its early years can be explained in terms the Ben-Gurion/Sharett dichotomy, the differences between the Ben-Gurionists and the Sharettists regarding “oom-shmoom” were more often in the realm of rhetoric than in action and policy. In their day-to-day political decisions, both Ben-Gurion and Sharett showed a healthy respect for the UN and for the great powers which stood ready to back UN decisions.
When “Oom” Became “Shmoom”: How the Most Enduring Hatred, Anti-Semitism, Became Infused with the Most Hated Hatred, Racism, to Israel’s Dismay and to the UN’s Detriment
By: Gil Troy
Abstract: The UN General Assembly’s 1975 “Zionism is Racism” resolution culminated a decades-long shift in global power dynamics. The Israeli Foreign Ministry’s internal debates about how forcefully to oppose the resolution shows to what extent Soviet propagandists had stirred Holocaust-related fears by infusing anti-Zionism with allegations of racism. The diplomatic dustup, especially among African countries, reveals the multi-dimensionality of the Cold War and the Arab-Israeli conflict. In boosting the New Anti-Semitism, the UN fell in American esteem. This illuminating episode demonstrates the power of going public: how the General Assembly could cause disproportionate harm and two individuals could do much good.
By: Arie Geronik
Abstract: An in-depth historical examination of relations between Israel and the United Nations reveals three distinct periods. The first (1947–55) was characterized by reciprocal trust and fulfillment of mutual expectations. The second (1956–90) was marked by constant crises, mistrust, and hostility, which peaked with the 1975 General Assembly resolution equating Zionism with racism. The salient feature of the third period (1990 to the present) is a process of normalization with ups and downs. Israel is increasingly regarded by UN members as part of the family of nations, and the attitude towards it has become more balanced. Given the vacillations in UN-Israel relations during the organization’s first seventy years, the following three questions may lead to a better assessment of the import of these relations]: A. What provokes so many anti-Israel resolutions and do they stem from anti-Semitism?; B. Does the road to peace necessitate a “UN bypass”?; C. How might Israel be integrated in future UN projects?
By: Leah Mandler, Carmela Lutmar
Abstract: The linkage between foreign and humanitarian aid and voting at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has only recently received academic attention as scholars began to focus mainly on US aid and its impact on voting in favor of US resolutions promoted in both settings. To the best of our knowledge, ours is the first paper to explore the connection between aid provided by Israel and voting by recipient countries at the UNGA generally, and three specific countries—the Philippines, Chad, and Ukraine—in particular, on resolutions which are unfavorable to Israel. The article concludes with some thoughts about the use of foreign aid as a policy tool.
Not Just Tolerated—A Global Leader: Lessons Learned from Israel’s Experience in the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
By: Alon Tal
Abstract: Israel’s influential role in the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification since the agreement’s inception is explored. Several factors can explain the country’s successful diplomatic interaction. A combination of: low international interest and competition for expertise about the issue; Israel’s unique, achievements in combatting desertification as part of its agricultural and forestry activities; and Professor Uriel Safriel’s extraordinary stature in the field—contribute to its exceptional involvement. The case constitutes a “proof of concept” for Israel’s potential to be effectively engaged in other UN programs. This will require greater government commitment and contribution to international initiatives, along with a willingness to authorize experts and academics to represent the country in additional global frameworks.
1948’s Forgotten Soldiers?: The Shifting Reception of American Volunteers in Israel’s War of Independence
By: Amy Weiss
Abstract: The article examines the shifting discourse associated with the participation of American volunteers in the nascent Israel Defense Forces. Although the volunteers were officially commended by the IDF for their contributions during the 1948 War of Independence and attempts were made to encourage them to remain indefinitely in Israel, those who returned home were offered few opportunities to commemorate their wartime experiences by the American Jewish community. The concerns of American Jews with their own integration and social acceptance in America during the late 1940s and 1950s complicated the remembrance initiative of Machal (acronym of Mitnadvei Hutz LaAretz, “volunteers from abroad”), all the more so, given the illegality of serving in the armed forces of a foreign country at the time. However, by the late twentieth-century American Jews had attained a greater sense of inclusion which facilitated their public embrace (and criticism) of Israel, and motivated them to explore the Machal narrative. American volunteers wrote memoirs, published correspondence, established museums, and collected questionnaires to document their contributions, demonstrating a unique form of American interest in Israel.
Exporting Israel to the Diaspora: The Attempt to Make Israel’s Independence Day into a Worldwide Jewish Holiday
By: Adi Sherzer
Abstract: The article analyzes Israel’s early efforts to establish its Independence Day as a worldwide Jewish holiday and to “export” it to the Jewish Diaspora during Israel’s first decade. The first part will discuss the implementation of the holiday abroad and the blurring of boundaries between local Jewish institutions and the Israeli delegation; the second part will utilize the reports of the Israeli delegates to demonstrate the importance of Jewish celebrations abroad and the dilemmas encountered by diplomats there; and the third part will analyze the attempt to encourage Jewish tourism during the holiday as a form of pilgrimage. My main argument is that this case study demonstrates a multi-dimensional relationship between Israel and the Diaspora/Exile, rather than one based solely on negation. Moreover, by positioning the Diaspora Jews as part of the collective, the Israeli narrative has been charged with a new meaning that constituted Israel’s raison d’ětre.
Green Lines, Red Lines, and Company Lines: The United Israel Appeal and the Question of Permissible American Jewish Giving Over the Green Line
By: Eric Fleisch
Abstract: Since its founding, the United Israel Appeal (UIA)—the longtime chief conduit of American Jewish giving to Israel—has passed billions in charitable dollars to support Israeli societal development but withheld support for charitable projects in the areas occupied by Israel during the 1967 War. While the UIA asserted that its reasons for this policy were U.S. law and government pressure, evidence suggests that it was not so simple. The article details the history of the UIA’s Green Line policy and examines its likely motivations and implicit and explicit reasoning. Specifically, it focuses on the activity of one pro-settlement activist group that challenged the policy, claiming the UIA’s justifications were exaggerated, if not fabricated. The UIA refuted this critique and stood by its policy and stated reasoning. The article explores the motives behind the UIA Green Line policy and questions why its justifications which were often less than forthcoming. It concludes with some reflections on the long-term legacies of UIA policy, and communication strategies on philanthropy, American Jewish identity, and Israel-diaspora relations.
Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies (Volume 16, Issue 1)
By: Nadine Sinno
Abstract: Directed by Saudi Arabian filmmaker Faiza Ambah, Mariam (2015) portrays the struggles of Mariam, a Muslim French teenager who decides to wear the hijab but must contend with her school’s enforcement of a 2004 French law banning religious symbols from public institutions. Mariam must also deal with her liberal father, who opposes the hijab because of his own internalization of Islamophobic narratives that have become widespread in France. Engaging with feminist and cultural studies by such scholars as Saba Mahmood, Mohja Kahf, Lila Abu-Lughod, and Sara Ahmed, this article offers an analysis of Mariam, focusing on the protagonist’s embodied encounters with her teacher, school principal, father, and fellow students. The article argues that by recounting Mariam’s gendered and racialized struggles with forced unveiling, Ambah shifts the discourse on the head scarf from one that focuses on the perceived oppression of Islam to one that highlights the violence of the secular state.
Sonallah Ibrahim and Miriam Naoum’s Zaat: Deploying the Domestic in Representations of Egyptian Politics
By: Sara Salem
Abstract: This article explores the television adaptation of Sonallah Ibrahim’s novel Zaat, arguing that the series provides us with an interesting representation of the various ways in which national projects in Egypt are gendered. It adds to feminist debates around nationalism, capitalism, and gender. In particular, the focus on the intimate in Zaat reveals how political projects are depicted in the domestic sphere through the lens of women’s work. The article explores two themes: one, the increasing financial pressure and its effects on constructs of masculinity and femininity, and two, the steady decay of infrastructure and social services and how it renders middle-class life an impossibility. The article argues that by focusing on the intimate, Ibrahim’s novel and the TV adaptation both reveal the various forms of work women perform and make use of women’s work to critique or celebrate national projects.
“Not a Figure in the Past”: Zionist Imperial Whiteness, the Iraqi Communist Party, and Their Reverberating Histories of Race and Gender, 1941–1951
By: Chelsie May
Abstract: This article uses the racial divisions encouraged by European Zionism in early-state Israel among European and Middle Eastern Jews as a point of departure to explore racialization and gendering among Iraqi Jewish women during the years 1941–51 from a sociopolitical standpoint. Restricting itself to politics given this standpoint, a study of Jewish women’s participation in the illegal Zionist and Communist movements of Iraq reveals that racializations, rather than a single racialization, occurred—a racial reality no other scholarship provides for Iraq’s Jewish community. Because Jewish women participating in these movements contended with patriarchal organizing structures, it is necessary to set apart the racial logics palpable in their articulations. This argument rests on primary sources in the form of three memoirs from the Iraqi Jewish women Tikva Agassi, Shoshana Levy, and Shoshana Almoslino, as well as Zionist women’s letters, a biographical dictionary of Communist participation, and British Foreign Office documents.
Middle East Policy (Volume 27, Issue 1)
By: Marina Ottaway, David Ottaway
Abstract: Not available
By: Eric Bordenkircher
Abstract: Not available
By: Leonid Issaev, Andrey Zakharov
Abstract: Not available
By: Nur Köprülü
Abstract: Not available
By: Michael M. Gunter, M. Hakan Yavuz
Abstract: Not available
By: Sang Yoon Shin, Ceyhun Mahmudlu
Abstract: Not available
By: Kris Babicci, Winai Wongsurawat
Abstract: Not available
By: Samuel Ramani
Abstract: Not available
By: Mark N. Katz
Abstract: Not available