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Book Reviews

Nohad ‘Ali, Raphael Cohen-Almagor, Barak Mendelsohn, and Liat Berdugo

Michael Karayanni, A Multicultural Entrapment: Religion and State among the Palestinian-Arabs in Israel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020), 200 pp. $110.00 (hardcover).

Daniel Bar-Tal and Amiram Raviv, Comfort Zone of a Society in Conflict [In Hebrew.] (Tel Aviv: Steimatzky, 2021), 424 pp. NIS 98 (paperback).

Sivan Hirsch-Hoefler and Cas Mudde, The Israeli Settler Movement: Assessing and Explaining Social Movement Success (Cambridge: Cambridge University press, 2021), 280 pp. $99.99 (hardcover).

Rebecca L. Stein, Screen Shots: State Violence on Camera in Israel and Palestine (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2021), 248 pp. $26.00 (paperback).

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Diasporas as Audiences of Securitization

Jewish American Diaspora and BDS

Ronnie Olesker


This study conceptually develops and analytically examines the role and function of diasporas as audiences in the securitization process by examining the American Jewish Diaspora in Israel's securitization of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). It argues that Israel's use of antisemitism as a metanarrative for the securitization of the BDS movement incorporates diasporic Jews as internal audiences in the securitization process. Audiences, however, are not monolithic. While homeland Jews, including both elites and the public, tend to support Israel's securitization process, American Jews are split; the elite support the process but public opinion is far less sympathetic to Israeli constructions of BDS as a threat. The disparity between audiences’ reactions weakens the support for Israel's counter-BDS policies and undermines its securitization process.

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Editors’ Note

Oded Haklai and Adia Mendelsohn-Maoz

The current issue features a special section dedicated to the study of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. One would be hard-pressed to identify issues that currently stir more passionate contestation and stronger emotions in academic circles than the BDS campaign in the groves of academe. Views on this issue vary considerably and have been keenly articulated in multiple and diverse outlets. Some view BDS as a legitimate, nonviolent campaign in support of the Palestinians; some find it threatening to academic freedom; and some identify the singling out of Israel as an expression of antisemitism.

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Explaining Non-Diasporic Mobilizations for Distant Causes

A Comparative Study of the Palestinian and Kurdish Struggles

David Zarnett


While the Palestinian struggle has received widespread support from non-Palestinian activists across North America and Europe, the Kurdish struggle in Turkey, which is similar to the Palestinian cause in important ways, has not received such extensive support from non-Kurdish activists. Existing explanations do not fully account for this difference. I argue that this variation in non-diasporic support is in part a product of the impact that differences between the Palestinian and Kurdish diasporas in the West have had on how each group has sought to mobilize grassroots support for their cause. The small size and internal divisions of the Palestinian diaspora incentivized Palestinian activists to focus on recruiting non-Palestinians, creating the conditions for their mobilization. The larger size and greater degree of organization of the Kurdish diaspora incentivized Kurdish activists to focus primarily on mobilizing their ethnic kin and less on recruiting non-Kurds, resulting in relatively little non-Kurdish support.

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Film Review

Dana Masad

Avi Nesher, director, Image of Victory (Bleiberg Entertainment and United King Films, 2021), 128 minutes.

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A Game of Whac-A-Mole

The BDS Movement and Its Fluidity across International Political Opportunity Structures

Naama Lutz


This article focuses on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement's utilization of ‘fluidity,’ conceptualized as the ability to adapt campaign tactics to multiple arenas and political opportunity structures simultaneously. Framing BDS as both a social movement and a transnational advocacy network, it demonstrates the movement's fluidity in the context of three campaigns: the campaign at the 65th FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) congress in 2015, which illustrates an ‘outsider’ strategy aimed at intergovernmental institutions; the 2014 Olive Declaration of municipalities endorsing BDS, which illustrates how local ‘insider’ campaigns can combine to create a translocal campaign; and the ‘Ferguson-Gaza moment’ in 2014, which illustrates how movements can engage at the level of civil society and embed themselves in the broader global justice movement.

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Gendered National Memory on Israeli Postage Stamps

From Gender Blindness to Feminist Commemoration

Einat Lachover and Inbal Ben-Asher Gitler


In this article we focus on the gendered national construction on Israeli stamps commemorating renowned women over the course of Israel's history. We analyze gender construction on both the selection of the stamps and in their design. Based on analyses of the social role of women in Israeli historiography, archival documents, interviews with fourteen key figures involved in conceiving and designing the stamps, and the way stamp design constructs gendered memory, we outline major aspects of commemorating women in stamps: gender blindness, women's accomplishments, identity politics, and the emergence of gender as a theme. These are discussed in the context of gendering in official commemoration, the development of feminist historiography and discourse in Israel, and the conjunction of these issues and stamp design.

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Identity, Ethnicity, and Nationalism

The Rabban Yochanan Ben-Zakai Synagogue and the Sephardi Community of Jerusalem, 1900–1948

Reuven Gafni


This article focuses on the changing cultural, social, and ideological characteristics of the central Sephardi Rabban Yochanan Ben-Zakai synagogue in Jerusalem, as a lens reflecting social and ideological processes of the local Sephardi community during the first half of the twentieth century. These included the community's attempts to consolidate its cultural uniqueness and civic identity vis-à-vis the surrounding and evolving spirits—within the Jewish community and outside it; its struggles with the local Ashkenazi community over historical and legal hegemony; its changing and evolving attitude toward the Ottoman and British Empires; and its gradual yet distinct adoption of the Jewish national framework. The article is based on an in-depth study of the archives of the Sephardi Commission (Va'ad Ha'eda HaSepharadit) in Jerusalem, as well as literary and scholarly sources and the local Jewish press of the time.

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The Palestinians, Israel, and BDS

Strategies and Struggles in Wars of Position

Ian S. Lustick and Nathaniel Shils


Israel and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) have been in conflict within one another for nearly two decades. In this article we compare trajectories of Palestinian-led BDS mobilization and Israeli-led counter-mobilization by deploying two theoretical perspectives, a rationalist, strategic learning model and a political competition model. We find that the difference in balance of power on each side between state and civil society led to strategic convergence by Israel in its counter-BDS efforts but not (yet at any rate) on the Palestinian side. We locate BDS as an example of a transnational boycott movement and identify patterns in its conflict with Israel observed in association with other such movements. Our analysis leads to an explanation of why both sides see the battles between them taking place in the United States and Europe as particularly crucial.

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Book Reviews

Gregory Mahler, Ami Pedahzur, Ilan Peleg, Morrie Fred, and Louis A. Fishman

Alan Dowty, Israel (Medford, MD: Polity Histories Series, 2021), 224 pp., $14.95 (paperback).

Devorah S. Manekin, Regular Soldiers, Irregular War: Violence and Restraint in the Second Intifada (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2020), 264 pp., $39.95 (hardback).

Raphael Cohen-Almagor, Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism: Liberalism, Culture and Coercion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021), 250 pp., $29.99 (paperback).

Ian Mcgonigle, Genomic Citizenship: The Molecularization of Identity in the Contemporary Middle East (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2021), 220 pp., $75.00 (paperback).

Liora Halperin, The Oldest Guard: Forging the Zionist Settler Past (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2021), 368 pp., $28.00 (paperback).