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Lessons from the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Talks

An Interview with Aharon Barak

Raphael Cohen-Almagor

This article is based on an interview conducted in July 2018 with Aharon Barak. In it, Barak reflects on the peace negotiations with Egypt at Camp David during 13 days in September 1978. While expressing great appreciation for the American negotiating team, first and foremost for President Jimmy Carter, for bringing the talks to a successful close, Barak considers negotiating with Carter as the toughest experience of his life. According to Barak, who had just completed his role as legal advisor to the government (1975–1978) and was appointed to the Supreme Court, the key people in the Israeli delegation were Menachem Begin, Moshe Dayan, and Ezer Weizman, while the key players in the Egyptian delegation were Anwar Sadat and Osama El-Baz. The negotiations went through ups and downs and had reached the brink of collapse until the Americans proposed that Carter negotiate directly with El-Baz and Barak. In the article’s conclusion, some important insights are deduced from this interview for future, successful negotiations.

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Linguistic Identities in Post-Conflict Societies

Current Issues and Developments in Northern Ireland

Freya Stancombe-Taylor

This article assesses the identity politics of language in post-conflict Northern Ireland, where language debates at a political level have been encased in questions of identity. However, despite the continued existence of ethnocentric narratives around language, opportunities have emerged for individuals to cross linguistic barriers and challenge the perspective that certain languages ‘belong’ to certain communities.

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Jeffrey B. Griswold

This article complicates scholarship on Macbeth that understands political attachment in terms of an autonomous subject and attributes Macbeth’s demise to an over-susceptibility to natural or supernatural forces. By putting early modern accounts of the humoral constitution of the night air in conversation with modern theories of apostrophe, I argue that the Macbeths’ experiences of night theorise political action as inseparable from the nonhuman forces in the play. Shakespeare reworks his source material to explore the borders of the human, imagining a more complex relationship between treasonous violence and the darkness that enshrouds Scotland.

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Mega-Plantations in Southeast Asia

Landscapes of Displacement

Miles Kenney-Lazar and Noboru Ishikawa

This article reviews a wide body of literature on the emergence and expansion of agro-industrial, monoculture plantations across Southeast Asia through the lens of megaprojects. Following the characterization of megaprojects as displacement, we define mega-plantations as plantation development that rapidly and radically transforms landscapes in ways that displace and replace preexisting human and nonhuman communities. Mega-plantations require the application of large amounts of capital and political power and the transnational organization of labor, capital, and material. They emerged in Southeast Asia under European colonialism in the nineteenth century and have expanded again since the 1980s at an unprecedented scale and scope to feed global appetites for agro-industrial commodities such as palm oil and rubber. While they have been contested by customary land users, smallholders, civil society organizations, and even government regulators, their displacement and transformation of Southeast Asia’s rural landscapes will likely endure for quite some time.

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The Montreal Moroccan Diaspora

History, Memories and Identities

Henry Green

Canada’s Moroccan Jewish community is the third largest diaspora in the world after Israel and France. This article introduces Sephardi Voices, a project to collect, preserve and archive audio-visually the life stories of Jews displaced from Arab/Islamic lands and in the process sketches an overview of the resettlement of one Sephardi migration community, the Moroccan to Montreal. Featuring scholars like Joseph Levy, Yolande Cohen and Jean-Claude Lasry, the integration experience of Moroccan Jews into the anglophone Ashkenazi community and the francophone Québécois society is presented, along with their efforts to build a French-Sephardi institutional structure to preserve their heritage. The article highlights the role of oral history and the aesthetics of remembrance as important vehicles to depict how memories are imparted and identities formed. Today, the Moroccan Jews of Montreal are transnationals and proud to add Canadian to their identity chain of Jewish, Sephardi, Moroccan and French.

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Moral Topology and the Making of Cosmological Boundaries

The Case of Neo-Pentecostal Exorcism in Brazil

Matan Shapiro

Seeking to uproot evil from people’s life, neo-Pentecostal exorcists in Brazil separate between internal and external bodily surfaces and then ‘close’ the victim’s entire body to protect against further malignant intrusion. Based on fieldwork in Brazil and the analysis of expulsion videos online, I demonstrate that exorcists self-consciously use topological imaginaries of connectedness and disjunction to generate a reality in which demons and humans occupy mutually exclusive ontological domains. I argue that the moral transformation that these rituals encourage is thus contingent on the successful disentanglement of bodily surfaces, which distinguishes inside from outside and humans from demons. I use the term ‘moral topology’ to analyze this process and call for further cross-cultural attention to the ethnographic vitality of topological imaginaries in the making of cosmological boundaries.

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The Morally Fraught Harga

Migration Blame Games in a Tunisian Border Town

Valentina Zagaria

The Tunisian coastal town of Zarzis is known for its generations of male emigrants to France and for initiating post-revolutionary harga – the ‘burning’ of the border via undocumented sea crossings to ‘Europe’. Despite migration being central to life in Zarzis, the harga is fraught with anxieties and moral accusations. While older generations accuse younger ones of chasing after easy money and causing jealousies, thereby fuelling the harga, young men reckon that risking the crossing is a matter of escaping social death. Men of all ages also agree that the harga is often women’s fault. This article explores how the desire of making a living in Europe is evaluated in a departure town, and what the accusations and negative emotions it conjures up might reveal about people’s understandings of their economic and moral lives in times of political and social change.

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Moroccan Jews in Modern Times

Orientations and Reorientations

Norman A. Stillman

Until the mid twentieth century, Moroccan Jewry constituted the largest non-Ashkenazi Jewish community and had more than double the population of any other Jewish community in the Islamic world. Under the influence of the Alliance Israélite Universelle school network, French colonialism, the experience of World War II and the innate tensions between Zionism and Arab nationalism, the Jews of Morocco underwent a variety of transformations and ultimately the dissolution of the community as a result of the mass exodus to Israel, France and North America.

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A Nexus of Sensationalism and Politics

Doar Ha-Yom and the 1929 Western Wall Crisis

Ouzi Elyada

This article looks at how a group of radical Revisionist journalists who assumed effective control of the newspaper Doar Ha-Yom in July 1929 attempted to fuse politics and sensationalism against the background of the Western Wall affair that, in late August of that year, evolved into the violent incidents collectively known as the 1929 riots (or massacres). Examination of the paper during the month preceding the riots shows clearly that its editors made a systematic attempt to inflame the Jewish population of Mandate Palestine. These sensationalist editing techniques, reminiscent of the pamphleteer style, were employed not only to sell more copies of the paper, as had been the case before the Revisionists took control, but also to advance Revisionist political goals. The article examines the model that the Revisionists used to shape their incendiary strategy, the provocative process itself, and the question of the editors’ responsibility for the 1929 riots.

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Cristina Clopot, Ullrich Kockel and Vytis Čiubrinskas

At the end of last year, the AJEC team received the sad news that Christian Giordano had suddenly died during his Christmas holidays in Vilnius. Christian was one of the founders of AJEC, shaped the journal significantly during its early years as co-editor (1990–2001) and, for a time (1992–1998), publisher. He remained connected with it over the years, regularly acting as peer reviewer and informal advisor during Ullrich’s tenure as editor. His final contribution to AJEC (Giordano 2018) was an essay for last year’s special issue in memory of Ina-Maria Greverus, reflecting on their encounter through a shared interest in Sicily, their long personal friendship, and their often-theatrical academic relationship.