What if the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict would be resolved tomorrow? Essays about ourselves rather than a future in the Middle East

What if the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict would be resolved tomorrow? Essays about ourselves rather than a future in the Middle East

Europäisches Zentrum für Jüdische Musik; Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover
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Vom - Bis
28.06.2024 - 02.08.2024
Sarah Ross

The proposed volume will be published at De Gruyter Press in the new book series on „Contemporary Jewish Life - Contributions toward Jewish Life Worlds in Germany and Europe,“ edited by Dani Kranz and Sarah Ross.

What if the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict would be resolved tomorrow? Essays about ourselves rather than a future in the Middle East

The proposed volume:
Since the Hamas attack on Israeli and other civilians as well as military bases on October 7, 2023, a disproportionate number of actors from politics, academia, culture, media outlets, religious institutions, etc. have been eager to participate in interpreting, evaluating, commenting on, condemning, defending, and even proposing solutions to the decades-long conflict between the state of Israel and Palestinians. In doing so, they reflect a broad spectrum of opinions and positions on the question of how this continuous conflict should be assessed. While other areas of conflicts around the world also claim numerous victims but receive little attention in public discourse, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has taken on a significance of its own. It is time to ask ourselves why this is the case and whether the Jewishness of the state of Israel is a central issue.

The numerous wars between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the recent expulsion of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh, the so-called "second Ethiopian war", the war in Sudan, the occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco, China’s occupation and extreme human rights violations in Tibet and Uyghuristan, India's growing political Hindu nationalism, and the oppression of the population in Eritrea are just a few examples of conflicts worldwide that are unfortunately still ongoing. Regrettably, none of these political developments and none of these other wars and conflicts give rise to in-depth preoccupation with the origins of these conflicts, nor do they inspire political debates on how to resolve the conflicts. In feuilletons, talk shows, academic networks, and social media, the Middle East conflict is the subject of heated and highly emotional debate, just as it is in the private sphere, while those other trouble spots in the world that are no less problematic, persist in the background as if unnoticed.

The planned volume poses the question of what would happen to people and governments in the Western world if the Middle East conflict were to be resolved tomorrow, and for good. The aim is to reflect on the excessive interest of Western societies in the conflict between the state of Israel and the Palestinians. The discourse is not limited to political and academic elites. To what extent does the Israeli-Palestinian conflict serve as a recurring stage for foreign powers vying for global control? Just as in Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a conflict involving both state and non-state actors. The German Red Army Faction (RAF) was involved in military training in the Palestinian territories. Iran, meanwhile, is arming Hezbollah, a Shiite militia, in Lebanon, as well as Hamas in the Gaza Strip, while the USA and other Western countries are supplying the state of Israel with weapons. However, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a global issue that tends to be perceived in black-and-white categories, with the roles of good and evil often clearly defined. The West is often portrayed as the antithesis of the rest of the world. In the perception of the conflict, a reduction to the narrative of a post-colonial conflict is also observed, with Israel's role being described as settler colonialism, and the complex reality of the Jewish presence in the Middle East, including what is now the State of Israel, is being ignored. Zionism is being sidelined.

Call for Contributions:
The editors would like to invite you to submit contributions that deal with the hypothetical question of how the resolution of the Middle East conflict would primarily affect the Western world, depending on what kind of resolution is imagined and proposed. Starting from the fact that “war is a force that gives us meaning” (Chris Hedges, 2002), your contribution could look at how the ongoing conflict affects discourses, policies in the West, and, in particular, the Jewish and Palestinian diaspora. What would happen if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was resolved and the Middle East was pacified? If Israel and Palestine would no longer be the object of projections for actors outside the Levant, and thus for issues not directly related to the actual conflict, would this change the perception of Jews and Muslims and their ideological function within Western societies? And vice versa: who, and for what reason, could have an interest in preserving Israel and the Palestinians’ position as an object of projection even in an event of conflict resolution? One might also ask whether a general, global pacification would set in and whether e.g., contemporary German society would finally come to terms with the long-term consequences of Nazi rule in its own country. Hopefully, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia would decrease and right-wing and populist forces would lose influence worldwide. These are all possible "what ifs". In short: the editors would like to turn the gaze from the observed to the observer, from an analysis of the past to envisioning a hypothetical future, and invite contributions that reflect on what the resolution of this conflict would mean for "us", that is the people beyond the Middle East, rather than what it would mean for the future of the people in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

We welcome contributions from all disciplines, from authors and writers inside and outside the academia, to engage with this thought experiment and to contribute to shifting the focus of the dominant narratives on the Middle East conflict.

Please submit your abstract (250-300 words, excluding references) by Aug. 1st, 2024 to sarah.ross@hmtm-hannover.de.

Selection process and time frame:
The editors will choose abstracts based on their suitability and consistency regarding the full proposal of the edited book. Notifications will be sent by mid-September 2024. Full chapter submissions are roughly planned for by January 2025 and publication is expected in late summer/fall 2025.



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