In this episode of the Occupied Thoughts podcast, Dr. Maha Nassar speaks with FMEP’s Sarah Anne Minkin about how to talk about Zionism and anti-Zionism in ways that acknowledge different definitions of Zionism and, at the same time, take seriously the power asymmetries between anti-Zionists and Zionists/supporters of the state of Israel in Israel/Palestine and the U.S. public spheres. Speaking from experience as an educator, advocate, and scholar, Maha discusses how she navigates different audiences and invitations as well as her thoughts on anti-normalization, engaging with campus Hillels, and why and how it is imperative to keep returning to Palestinian lives and experiences.
Dr. Maha Nassar is an associate professor in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona, where she specializes in the cultural and intellectual history of the modern Arab world. Her award-winning book, Brothers Apart: Palestinian Citizens of Israel and the Arab World (Stanford University Press, 2017), examines how Palestinian intellectuals connected to global decolonization movements during the mid-twentieth century. A 2018 Public Voices Fellow with the OpEd Project, Dr. Nassar’s analysis and opinion pieces have appeared in numerous publications, including The Washington Post, +972 Magazine, The Conversation, and The Hill. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her husband, son, and daughter, and she is working on her next book, a global history of Palestine’s people. Follow Dr. Nassar on Twitter @mtnassar
Sarah Anne Minkin, PhD is the Director of Programs & Partnerships at FMEP. She is an expert on the intersection between Israeli civil society and Palestinian civil rights and human rights advocacy as well as the ways that American Jews approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She leads FMEP’s programming, works to deepen FMEP’s relationships with existing and potential grantees, and builds relationships with new partners in the philanthropic community. She earned her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley for research focusing on the sociology of emotion, nationalism, and Jewish Americans’ relationships with Israel/Palestine and is an affiliated faculty member at University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Right-Wing Studies. She tweets @saminkin.
Resources from this conversation:
- Definitions of Zionism: from the Anti-Defamation League; from the American Jewish Committee; from the UC Berkeley Antisemitism Education Initiative film;
- On opposition to Zionism from Professor George Bisharat and the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU);
- Hillel International’s Standards of Partnership within their Israel Guidelines, which include this: “Hillel will not partner with, house, or host organizations, groups, or speakers that as a matter of policy or practice…Delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel; Support boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the State of Israel;”
- Palestine BDS (Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions) Committee’s Anti-Normalization Guidelines;
- Dr. Nassar’s op-ed, “‘From the River to the Sea’ doesn’t mean what you think it means“