February 23, 2020

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Yes, real academic papers on Israel are just as crazy as hoax papers


I mentioned yesterday the hoax paper scandal where nonsense is accepted by what the hoaxers called “grievance study” academia and how anti-Israel “scholarship” uses the same illogic that the fake papers used.

Here’s an example, from Settler Colonial Studies, by Esther Alloun (a self-described “Arab Jew”) where the author is upset that Israeli animal rights activists don’t relate their activities to “occupation” the way that Palestinian Arab animal rights activists properly do. The abstract:

This article examines the contemporary animal rights movement in Palestine–Israel and compares Jewish Israeli activism to Palestinian activism to illuminate the ways in which the settler colonial context shapes animal politics. The article argues that human–animal relationships constitute a significant dimension through which settler colonialism is expressed, engaged with, and resisted. As such, drawing on ethnographic material, it explores how different approaches to animal activism can obscure or reveal the racial and colonial relations they are bound up with. It considers how Jewish Israelis frame animal rights in non-intersectional ways, as a simple, single-issue movement that can be abstracted from human politics and power relations, while the Palestinian Animal League in the occupied West Bank weaves animal activism with the decolonial struggle for Palestinian self-determination in an intersectional spirit. The article hence suggests that, to a great extent, animal politics follows the patterns set up by the settler colonial regime, with the type of advocacy on behalf of animals being shaped by the sides taken within the settler state. Instances that trouble and complicate this settler/native binary are explored as well as the possibilities of coalitional politics.

What exactly animal rights has to do with “settler colonialism” is not really spelled out, but intersectional theory says it is so therefore it is.

The author is clearly frustrated that liberal Israeli animal activists are acting out their settler colonialist instincts by not including the Palestinians in their lives:

 Activists embody a single-optic perspective by not acknowledging that their love and care for animals is made possible by the colonial politics (the ‘right and left issues’) they live in. The affective register of love and care is used to distance oneself from politics (a point I return to in the final section), and activists repeatedly argue that human and animal issues ‘are not the same’ and that ‘you need to separate the struggles!’ (interview with Maya, 14 February 2017). Jewish activists also justify their single optic through a universalising discourse pitted against the local human problems occurring in the region, which are trivialised as a result. Again, this does not make their feelings or concerns any less genuine, but any acknowledgment on their behalf of a multi-optic account of the problem would significantly complicate their picture of animal activism.
The single optic of Israeli animal activism, its depoliticised and selective focus, makes sense in light of the settler colonial logic at work in Palestine–Israel. Indeed, this non-intersectional approach echoes the particular modalities of Zionist settler colonialism through which animal politics operate in this context. Importantly and as Mark Rifkin posits, the settler colonial logic produces durable ‘tendencies’, ‘orientations’ and ‘momentum’ rather than ‘determining effects’. Lorenzo Veracini argues that settler colonialism works towards its self-supersession and covers its trace. Wolfe points out that it is especially the case in Israel because of the ‘ideology of return’, i.e. the idea that Jews are returning to Zion (Jerusalem), a land that they already owned. In such perspective, Jewish Israelis do not see ‘Zionism as colonialism’, and the notion of return is used to naturalise their claims to territory and the erasure and replacement of the Palestinian natives. This sets the scene for a very unreconstructed and unacknowledged form of settler colonialism….. 

 As such, settlers do not necessarily perceive everyday enactments and re-enactments of Zionist settler sovereignty as political or deliberate moves. Consequently, by excluding Palestinians or politics from animal rights advocacy, Jewish activists become one more point of ‘resonance’  (to use Marcelo Svirsky’s expression) of the Zionist logic, but they do not perceive this exclusion as political. Instead, it is an expression of ‘settler common sense’, and part of the ‘ordinary, non-reflexive conditions of possibility’of living in Palestine–Israel, which translates into the exclusion of Palestinians from a shared moral horizon and understanding of justice.

Notice what the author is doing. She defines Zionism as a colonialist project as a given, and therefore all Jewish Zionists are colonialists. Their not discussing their crimes of colonialsm in every context of their lives is proof of their evil.

The Palestine Animal League, on the other hand, looks at things in the correct intersectional manner:

Jewish Israeli animal advocates primarily adopt a single-optic vision that severs animal rights from its context, whereas PAL advocates a multi-optic intersectional approach that links animal and human rights.  

PAL’s director also drew on the idea of intersectionality to explain how animal advocacy cannot be viewed through a selective mono lens of animals only: 

Many of the projects that we are doing, we are intersectional, we work with the humans and we work with the animals in the same project, and we don’t distinguish between the rights […] rights is rights, for the humans, for kids, for women, for men, anti-occupation, against occupation, for animal rights, rights is rights, this is what it means, this is the first step. (5 February 2017)

The a priori insistence that intersectional theory applies to animal rights makes Jewish Zionists guilty of every possible crime against all rights, human and animal, if they believe that Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people. The paper falls just short of claiming that Israeli Jewish animal rights activists are “animalwashing” the “occupation.”

This is nothing less than academically approved antisemitism.

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