critical Israelis in the Netherlands

Academic symposiums


Beyond the frame of Zionism

6 February – 13 March 2010, HOVO Utrecht

In the year 1948 the state of Israel was founded. After the holocaust, Palestine (the historical Israel) seemed like the perfect solution. “A land without a people for a people without a land” was the phrase that ‘magically’ described it all and that removed any critical consciousness. Israel would be a home, a safe haven for Jews from all around the world. Never again would they be threatened without the opportunity to defend themselves.

At the foundation of the Israeli state, a new Jew was born, the Sabra. This wasn’t anymore the weak, feminine Diaspora Jew, but a strong, masculine warrior and a hard worker of the land of Israel. By working on and fighting for the land, the new immigrants felt they ‘proved’ that they deserved it.

Since then, Israel has found itself trapped in a violent, bloody conflict with the indigenous non-Jewish population of Palestine as well as with the other Arab countries surrounding her. Thousands of people have lost their lives. Today, living in peace with their neighbours seems further away

than ever for Israelis. A significant part of these neighbours in the West Bank and the Gaza strip has been living under Israel’s occupation since 1967.

In this series of six screenings with discussion, “Beyond the frame of Zionism” will challenge the narrative of the state of Israel. Each meeting will start with an introduction, followed by the screening of a movie. Finally there will be a discussion with an expert. Topics will be: the story of the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948 and the difference between the Israeli Zionist narrative to the Palestinian national narrative. The idea of Israel as a Jewish state will be challenged by stories of the different non-Jewish minorities living in Israel. The effect of the occupation on the lives of the Israelis and Palestinians will also be discussed, as well as one of its main effects, the militarization of Israeli society.



The militarization of Israeli society with Erella Grassiani, university lecturer at the Vrije Universiteit.

Unrecognised villages of the Bedouin living in the Negev dessert in Israel with Sihfra Kish, university lecturer at the University of Amsterdam.

Labour migration in Israel with Barak Kalir, assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam.

Palestinian National Narrative and Zionist Discourses of Identity with Ihab Saloul, assistant professor in Comparative Literature and Media Studies at Maastricht University.

The politics of memory and national identity – Israel and the Holocaust with Benny Brunner, film director.

Policies of occupation with Ghada Zeidan, program leader at United Civilians for Peace.