Decolonising settlers? Elian Weizman, ‘Decolonising Israeli society? Resistance to Zionism as an educative practice’, Ethnic Studies, 2016


Abstract: According to Samia Mehrez (1991: 255), 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 article 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 first about the reality of the oppression that Palestinians suffer. Second, and crucially, it reveals to the Jewish-Israelis the boundaries of permitted political activity and the possibility of overlooking and disregarding 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 at separating Israelis from Palestinians and thus it constitutes a counter-hegemonic praxis.

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