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Amaney Jamal, the Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Politics and director of the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice, has been named dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA). Her appointment is effective Sept. 1.

Jamal is a longtime Princeton faculty member, whose research and teaching focuses on the Middle East and North Africa, political development and democratization, inequality and economic segregation, Muslim immigration in the United States and Europe, and issues related to gender, race, religion and class.

She has served in numerous leadership roles on campus, including as chair of the Department of Politics Ad-Hoc Committee on Race and Diversity and as a member of the Dean of the Faculty Committee on Diversity. Jamal also directs the Workshop on Arab Political Development and the Bobst-American University of Beirut Collaborative Initiative.

Among her many awards and fellowships, Jamal was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2020, received the distinguished Kuwait Prize for the field of economics and social science in 2019, and was named a Carnegie Scholar in 2005.

“Amaney Jamal is a brilliant political scientist, a superb University citizen and a leader respected by her peers,” President Christopher L. Eisgruber said. “As the Director of the Bobst Center for Peace and Justice and throughout her distinguished career, she has produced and supported high quality scholarship that tackles pressing issues in public and international affairs from a variety of perspectives. I am delighted that she has agreed to be our next dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.”

Jamal said it is an “immense honor and privilege” to be selected as SPIA’s next dean.

“As dean, I will dedicate my efforts to preserve SPIA’s solid and impressive record in attracting and retaining the world’s finest faculty. Academic excellence is a core pillar of the school and I will ensure its reinforcement and strengthening during my tenure,” she said. “I will also focus my efforts on three primary goals: diversification, internationalization and the augmentation of the school’s policy‐making training.

SPIA is a world-class center of advanced training and research in public and international affairs for undergraduate and graduate students. Its graduates include leaders in domestic and international government positions as well as leaders of private, nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations.

“Training the next generation of policy experts is the foundational goal of the school,” Jamal said. “This goal requires both a commitment to academic excellence and applied state-of-the-art policy training. To further the mission of SPIA as an institution dedicated to solving the world’s problems, I am committed to supporting evidence‐based research, the development of professional and practitioner skills and strategies, the augmentation of domestic and international policy networks, and ensuring that each and every student has the chance to participate in experience‐based policy learning and training opportunities.”

Jamal noted that interdisciplinary centers like SPIA “are uniquely positioned to serve as conduits and pathways into the rest of the world. Through our institutions, we project our commitment to norms of equality, inclusion and fairness.”

Jamal said she hopes to build on SPIA’s reputation as a leading institution committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and aims to expand the school’s international collaborations and provide more opportunities abroad for undergraduate and graduate students.

“Working with faculty, I hope to implement more collaborative initiatives that will enhance SPIA’s footprint globally,” she said, noting that she has led similar efforts as director of the Bobst Center.

In addition to her work at the Bobst Center and Department of Politics, Jamal has collaborated with departments across campus and served on many University committees. She is a member of the Institutional Review Board and has served on executive committees for the Center for the Study of Religion, Center for the Study of Democratic Politics, Center for Migration and Development, James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Near Eastern Studies undergraduate certificate program, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS) and Program in Latino Studies. She also was a faculty adviser in Forbes College and is currently a faculty fellow for the women’s golf team.

Outside of Princeton, she is the principal investigator of the Arab Barometer, a nonpartisan research network that measures public opinion through polling in North Africa and Middle East. She also serves as member of the Academic Advisory Board of Arab Center Washington DC.

Jamal is an award-winning author and has published numerous journal articles and scholarly papers. Her books include “Of Empires and Citizens: Pro-American Democracy or No Democracy at All” and “Barriers to Democracy: The Other Side of Social Capital in Palestine and the Arab World.”

Before coming to Princeton in 2003, Jamal was an assistant professor of political science at Columbia University.

Jamal’s parents were Palestinian immigrants to the United States, and she spent her childhood in northern California and Ramallah. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan.

Jamal succeeds Cecilia Rouse as dean of SPIA. Rouse is now chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Arab Center Washington DC (ACW) regrets to announce the passing of our beloved colleague, friend and Academic Advisory Board Member Michael C. Hudson. Following a period of illness, Professor Hudson died on May 25, 2021 at his daughter’s home in Tucson, Arizona, a few days short of his 83rd birthday. The ACW Board of Directors, Academic Advisory Board, research fellows, and staff express their heartfelt condolences to Michael’s family and his many friends and colleagues worldwide.

Executive Director Khalil E. Jahshan stated that “Michael Hudson was a close friend and a firm supporter of our Center since its very inception. We valued his sound academic advice and his frequent contributions to our activities and publications. He will be sadly missed by all those who knew him. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this very difficult time.”

Michael Hudson was born on June 2, 1938 in New Haven, CT. He graduated from Swarthmore College and received his PhD in political science from Yale University, studying with legendary political scientist Karl Deutsch and influenced by anthropologist Marshall Sahlins, with whom he took a course as a high school student.

Michael’s lifelong engagement with the Arab world was sparked when, as an exchange student in Beirut, he witnessed first-hand the US military intervention in the 1958 Lebanese crisis. He went on to focus his study of politics and international relations on the Arab world and Middle East. His first book, The Precarious Republic: Political Modernization in Lebanon (1968), was widely considered the pioneering English language monograph on that country’s political fragility. Similarly, his second book, Arab Politics: The Search for Legitimacy (1977), was a major contribution to the exploration of identity, history, and power as contributors to regional instability. In addition to these two major works which grounded the field of Middle East political science in qualitative research and comparative frameworks, he edited and authored dozens of volumes, scholarly articles, and commentaries. He served as president of the Middle East Studies Association in 1986-87 and was a frequent and sought-after media commentator on Middle Eastern affairs and US foreign policy for decades.

Professor Hudson began his academic career as a lecturer at the City University of New York, later moving to Washington, DC to teach at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. In 1975, he joined the School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University as director of the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and accepted an endowed position as professor of international relations in the Government Department in 1979. He worked closely with his lifelong friends Hisham Sharabi, Halim Barakat, Clovis Maksoud, Ibrahim Oweiss, John Ruedy, and Judith Tucker, among many others, to shape the field of interdisciplinary Arab studies. After serving several terms as CCAS director, he was recruited as the founding director of the Middle East Institute of the National University of Singapore from 2010 to 2014. Throughout his career he advocated for human rights and democratization across the Middle East and was a passionate supporter of Palestinian liberation.

Michael lost his wife and beloved companion of forty-four years, Palestinian-Lebanese biologist and toxicologist Vera Wahbe Hudson, in 2007. He is survived by his brother Robert B. Hudson III and sister-in-law Perry Hewitt of Chapel Hill, North Carolina; his daughter Leila Hudson, son-in-law Riad Altoubal, grandchildren Zayna and Zayd Altoubal of Tucson, Arizona; and his daughter Aida Hudson, son-in-law Andreas Laursen and grandchildren Annika and Benedict Hudson-Laursen of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Family, friends, and colleagues will gather in Washington, DC in July 2021 to remember and celebrate Michael Hudson’s life.

The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) will devote its Tenth Annual Conference on Issues of Democracy and Democratic Transition to the study of these two countries (Sudan and Algeria) that are undergoing the political transition process in critical local, regional and external contexts.

Barely a decade since the revolutions of 2011 that marked a significant transformation in the region’s social and political history, a new upsurge erupted in several Arab countries, proclaiming the persistence of popular aspiration for change despite the challenges and setbacks that beset the first wave. Two popular revolutions in Sudan and Algeria gave rise to unexpected changes in dominant ruling regimes clinging fast to their positions: faced with sweeping mass demonstrations President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown on April 11, 2019, while only days earlier massive waves of protest in Algeria had prompted President Abd al-Aziz Bouteflika to end his term as President of the Republic, on April 2, 2019. Since these developments, Sudan and Algeria each embarked on a difficult process of political transition towards a democratic system based on concepts of pluralism, rule of law, citizenship and protection of civil and political freedoms. The path of transition in the two countries faces many obstacles and challenges.

To learn more about the event click here.

Read the background paper in English for more details of specific themes here.

Prominent Palestinian and other Arab intellectuals have responded in a public statement to the growing adoption of the definition of anti-Semitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). They object to the way this definition is being deployed to suppress support for Palestinian rights in North America and several European countries, arguing that the Israeli government and its supporters are instrumentalizing the fight against anti-Semitism to delegitimize and silence defenders of Palestinian rights.

The authors of the open letter recognize anti-Semitism as a real and growing problem in North America and Europe, in conjunction with a general increase of all types of racism and far-right movements that they are fully committed to refuting and combating. Further, the authors believe that the fight against anti-Semitism, properly understood, is perfectly compatible with the struggle for justice for Palestinians as an anti-colonial struggle.

The deployment of anti-Semitism in efforts to delegitimize the Palestinian cause perverts and misdirects the fight against persistent and resurgent anti-Semitism. The statement’s signatories understand the struggle against anti-Semitism to be one for political and human emancipation as much as Palestinian resistance is one against occupation and statelessness.

Statement on Antisemitism and the Question of Palestine

We, the undersigned, Palestinian and Arab academics, journalists, and intellectuals, are hereby stating our views regarding the definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), and the way this definition has been applied, interpreted and deployed in several countries of Europe and North America.

In recent years, the fight against antisemitism has been increasingly instrumentalized by the Israeli government and its supporters in an effort to delegitimize the Palestinian cause and silence defenders of Palestinian rights. Diverting the necessary struggle against antisemitism to serve such an agenda threatens to debase this struggle and hence to discredit and weaken it.

Antisemitism must be debunked and combated. Regardless of pretext, no expression of hatred for Jews as Jews should be tolerated anywhere in the world. Antisemitism manifests itself in sweeping generalizations and stereotypes about the Jews, regarding power and money in particular, along with conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial. We regard as legitimate and necessary the fight against such attitudes. We also believe that the lessons of the Holocaust as well as those of other genocides of modern times must be part of the education of new generations against all forms of racial prejudice and hatred.

The fight against antisemitism must, however, be approached in a principled manner, lest it defeat its purpose. Through “examples” that it provides, the IHRA definition conflates Judaism with Zionism in assuming that all Jews are Zionists, and that the State of Israel in its current reality embodies the self-determination of all Jews. We profoundly disagree with this. The fight against antisemitism should not be turned into a stratagem to delegitimize the fight against the oppression of the Palestinians, the denial of their rights, and the continued occupation of their land. We regard the following principles as crucial in that regard.

  1. The fight against antisemitism must be deployed within the frame of international law and human rights. It should be part and parcel of the fight against all forms of racism and xenophobia, including Islamophobia, anti-Arab, and anti-Palestinian racism. The aim of this struggle is to guarantee freedom and emancipation for all oppressed groups. It is deeply distorted when geared towards the defense of an oppressive and predatory state.
  2. There is a huge difference between a condition where Jews are singled out, oppressed and suppressed as a minority by antisemitic regimes or groups, and a condition where the self-determination of a Jewish population in Palestine/Israel has been implemented in the form of an ethnic exclusivist and territorially expansionist state. As it currently exists, the State of Israel is based on uprooting the vast majority of the natives – what Palestinians and Arabs refer to as the Nakba – and on subjugating those natives who still live on the territory of historical Palestine as either second-class citizens or people under occupation, denying them their right to self-determination.
  3. The IHRA definition of antisemitism and the related legal measures adopted in several countries have been deployed mostly against leftwing and human rights groups supporting Palestinian rights and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, sidelining the very real threat to Jews coming from rightwing white nationalist movements in Europe and the U.S. The portrayal of the BDS campaign as antisemitic is a gross distortion of what is fundamentally a legitimate non-violent means of struggle for Palestinian rights.
  4. The IHRA definition’s statement that an example of antisemitism is “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor” is quite odd. It does not bother to recognize that under international law the current State of Israel has been an occupying power for over half a century, as recognized by the governments of countries where the IHRA definition is being upheld. It does not bother to consider whether this right includes the right to create a Jewish majority by way of ethnic cleansing and whether it should be balanced against the rights of the Palestinian people. Furthermore, the IHRA definition potentially discards as antisemitic all non-Zionist visions of the future of the Israeli state, such as the advocacy of a binational state or a secular democratic one that represents all its citizens equally. Genuine support for the principle of a people’s right to self-determination cannot exclude the Palestinian nation, nor any other.
  5. We believe that no right to self-determination should include the right to uproot another people and prevent it from returning to its land, or any other means of securing a demographic majority within the state. The demand by Palestinians for their right of return to the land from which they themselves, their parents and grandparents were expelled cannot be construed as antisemitic. The fact that such a demand creates anxieties among Israelis does not prove that it is unjust, nor that it is antisemitic. It is a right recognized by international law as represented in UNGA resolution 194 of 1948.
  6. To level the charge of antisemitism against anyone who regards the existing State of Israel as racist, notwithstanding the actual institutional and constitutional discrimination upon which it is based, amounts to granting Israel absolute impunity. Israel can thus deport its Palestinian citizens, or revoke their citizenship or deny them the right to vote, and still be immune from the accusation of racism. The IHRA definition and the way it has been deployed prohibit any discussion of the Israeli state as based on ethno-religious discrimination. It thus contravenes elementary justice, and basic norms of human rights and international law.
  7. We believe that justice requires full support of the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, including the demand to end the internationally acknowledged occupation of their territories and the statelessness and deprivation of Palestinian refugees. The suppression of Palestinian rights in the IHRA definition betrays an attitude upholding Jewish privilege in Palestine instead of Jewish rights, and Jewish supremacy over Palestinians instead of Jewish safety. We believe that human values and rights are indivisible and that the fight against antisemitism should go hand in hand with the struggle on behalf of all oppressed peoples and groups for dignity, equality, and emancipation.

List of Signatories (in alphabetical order)

Samir Abdallah
Filmmaker, Paris, France

Soleman Abu-Bader
Professor and Director of Doctoral Program, Howard University, Washington, DC, USA

Nadia Abu El-Haj
Ann Olin Whitney Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University, USA

Lila Abu-Lughod
Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science, Columbia University, USA

Bashir Abu-Manneh
Reader in Postcolonial Literature, University of Kent, UK

Gilbert Achcar
Professor of Development Studies, SOAS, University of London, UK

Nadia Leila Aissaoui
Sociologist and Writer on Feminist Issues, Paris, France

Mamdouh Aker
Board of Trustees, Birzeit University, Palestine

Khalil al-Anani
Associate Professor at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies and Senior Fellow at Arab Center Washington DC, USA

Mohammad Almasri
Executive Director, Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, Doha, Qatar

Mohamed Alyahyai
Writer and Novelist, Oman

Suad Amiry
Writer and Architect, Ramallah, Palestine

Sinan Antoon
Associate Professor, New York University, Iraq-US

Talal Asad
Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, Graduate Center, CUNY, USA

Hanan Ashrawi
Former Professor of Comparative Literature at Birzeit University, Palestine

Aziz Al-Azmeh
University Professor Emeritus, Central European University, Vienna, Austria

Zeina Azzam
Poet, Writer and Publications Editor at Arab Center Washington DC, USA

Abdullah Baabood
Academic and Researcher in Gulf Studies, Oman

Nadia Al-Bagdadi
Professor of History, Central European University, Vienna, Austria

Sam Bahour
Writer, Al-Bireh/Ramallah, Palestine

Zainab Bahrani
Edith Porada Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, USA

Rana Barakat
Assistant Professor of History, Birzeit University, Palestine

Bashir Bashir
Associate Professor of Political Theory, Open University of Israel, Raanana, State of Israel

Taysir Batniji
Artist-Painter, Gaza, Palestine and Paris, France

Tahar Benjelloun
Writer, Paris, France

Mohammed Bennis
Poet, Mohammedia, Morocco

Mohammed Berrada
Writer and Literary Critic, Rabat, Morocco

Omar Berrada
Writer and Curator, New York, USA

Amahl Bishara
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology, Tufts University, USA

Anouar Brahem
Musician and Composer, Tunisia

Salem Brahimi
Filmmaker, Algeria-France

Aboubakr Chraïbi
Professor, Arabic Studies Department, INALCO, Paris, France

Selma Dabbagh
Writer, London, UK

Izzat Darwazeh
Professor of Communications Engineering, University College London, UK

Marwan Darweish
Associate Professor, Coventry University, UK

Beshara Doumani
Mahmoud Darwish Professor of Palestinian Studies and of History, Brown University, USA

Haidar Eid
Associate Professor of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza, Palestine

Ziad Elmarsafy
Professor of Comparative Literature, King’s College London, UK

Noura Erakat
Assistant Professor, Africana Studies and Criminal Justice, Rutgers University, USA

Samera Esmeir
Associate Professor of Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Khaled Fahmy
FBA, Professor of Modern Arabic Studies, University of Cambridge, UK

Ali Fakhrou
Academic and Writer, Bahrain

Randa Farah
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Western University, Canada

Khaled Farraj
Palestinian researcher

Leila Farsakh
Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Boston, USA

Khaled Furani
Associate Professor of Sociology & Anthropology, Tel-Aviv University, State of Israel

Burhan Ghalioun
Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Sorbonne 3, Paris, France

Asad Ghanem
Professor of Political Science, Haifa University, State of Israel

Honaida Ghanim
General Director of the Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies Madar, Ramallah, Palestine

George Giacaman
Professor of Philosophy and Cultural Studies, Birzeit University, Palestine

Rita Giacaman
Professor, Institute of Community and Public Health, Birzeit University, Palestine

Amel Grami
Professor of Gender Studies, Tunisian University, Tunis

Subhi Hadidi
Literary Critic, Syria-France

Ghassan Hage
Professor of Anthropology and Social Theory, University of Melbourne, Australia

Samira Haj
Emeritus Professor of History, CSI/Graduate Center, CUNY, USA

Yassin Al-Haj Saleh
Writer, Syria

Rema Hammami
Associate Professor of Anthropology, Birzeit University, Palestine

Dyala Hamzah
Associate Professor of Arab History, Université de Montréal, Canada

Sari Hanafi
Professor of Sociology, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Adam Hanieh
Reader in Development Studies, SOAS, University of London, UK

Kadhim Jihad Hassan,
Writer and translator, Professor at INALCO-Sorbonne, Paris, France

Nadia Hijab
Author and Human Rights Activist, London, UK

Jamil Hilal
Writer, Ramallah, Palestine

Bensalim Himmich
Academic, Novelist and Writer, Morocco

Serene Hleihleh
Cultural Activist, Jordan-Palestine

Imad K. Harb
Director of Research and Analysis at Arab Center Washington DC, USA

Khaled Hroub
Professor in Residence of Middle Eastern Studies, Northwestern University, Qatar

Mahmoud Hussein
Writer, Paris, France

Lakhdar Ibrahimi
Paris School of International Affairs, Institut d’Etudes Politiques, France

Annemarie Jacir
Filmmaker, Palestine

Islah Jad
Associate Professor of Political Science, Birzeit University, Palestine

Khalil E. Jahshan
Executive Director, Arab Center Washington DC, USA

Lamia Joreige
Visual Artist and Filmmaker, Beirut, Lebanon

Amal Al-Jubouri
Writer, Iraq

Mudar Kassis
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Birzeit University, Palestine

Nabeel Kassis
Former Professor of Physics and Former President, Birzeit University, Palestine

Salam Kawakibi
Director of Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, Paris, France

Muhammad Ali Khalidi
Presidential Professor of Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center, USA

Rashid Khalidi
Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies, Columbia University, USA

Michel Khleifi
Filmmaker, Palestine-Belgium

Elias Khoury
Writer, Beirut, Lebanon

Nadim Khoury
Associate Professor of International Studies, Lillehammer University College, Norway

Rachid Koreichi
Artist-Painter, Paris, France

Jonathan Kuttab
Human Rights Attorney, author and Nonresident Fellow at Arab Center Washington DC, USA

Adila Laïdi-Hanieh
Director General, The Palestinian Museum, Palestine

Rabah Loucini
Professor of History, Oran University, Algeria

Mehdi Mabrouk
Professor of Sociology, Ex-Minister of Culture, Director of Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, Tunis, Tunisia

Rabab El-Mahdi
Associate Professor of Political Science, The American University in Cairo, Egypt

Ziad Majed
Associate Professor of Middle East Studies and IR, American University of Paris, France

Jumana Manna
Artist, Berlin, Germany

Camille Mansour
Researcher and author

Farouk Mardam Bey
Publisher, Paris, France

Mai Masri
Palestinian Filmmaker, Lebanon

Mazen Masri
Senior Lecturer in Law, City University of London, UK

Dina Matar
Reader in Political Communication and Arab Media, SOAS, University of London, UK

Hisham Matar
Writer, Professor at Barnard College, Columbia University, USA

Khaled Mattawa
Poet, William Wilhartz Professor of English Literature, University of Michigan, USA

Yousef Munayyer
Nonresident Senior Fellow at Arab Center Washington DC, USA

Karma Nabulsi
Professor of Politics and IR, University of Oxford, UK

Hassan Nafaa
Emeritus Professor of Political Science, Cairo University, Egypt

Nadine Naber
Professor, Dept of Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA

Issam Nassar
Professor, Illinois State University, USA

Maha Nassar
Associate Professor, School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Arizona, USA

Sari Nusseibeh
Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Al-Quds University, Palestine

Najwa Al-Qattan
Emeritus Professor of History, Loyola Marymount University, USA

Omar Al-Qattan
Filmmaker, Chair of The Palestinian Museum and the A.M. Qattan Foundation, UK

Nadim N. Rouhana
Professor of International Affairs, The Fletcher School, Tufts University, USA

Ahmad Sa’adi
Professor, Haifa, State of Israel

Haider Saeed
Research and Head of Research Department, Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, Doha, Qatar

Rasha Salti
Independent Curator, Writer, Researcher of Art and Film, Germany-Lebanon

Elias Sanbar
Writer, Paris, France

Farès Sassine
Professor of Philosophy and Literary Critic, Beirut, Lebanon

Sherene Seikaly
Associate Professor of History, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Samah Selim
Associate Professor, A, ME & SA Languages & Literatures, Rutgers University, USA

Leila Shahid
Writer, Beirut, Lebanon

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian
Lawrence D Biele Chair in Law, Hebrew University, State of Israel

Anton Shammas
Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

Yara Sharif
Senior Lecturer, Architecture and Cities, University of Westminster, UK

Hanan Al-Shaykh
Writer, London, UK

Raja Shehadeh
Lawyer and Writer, Ramallah, Palestine

Gilbert Sinoué
Writer, Paris, France

Ahdaf Soueif
Writer, Egypt-UK

Mayssoun Sukarieh
Senior Lecturer in Development Studies, King’s College London, UK

Elia Suleiman
Filmmaker, Palestine-France

Nimer Sultany
Reader in Public Law, SOAS, University of London, UK

Jad Tabet
Architect and writer, Beirut, Lebanon

Jihan El-Tahri
Filmmaker, Egypt

Salim Tamari
Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Birzeit University, Palestine

Wassyla Tamzali
Writer, Contemporary Art Producer, Algeria

Fawwaz Traboulsi
Writer, Beirut Lebanon

Dominique Vidal
Historian and Journalist, Palestine-France

Haytham El-Wardany
Writer, Egypt-Germany

Said Zeedani
Emeritus Associate Professor of Philosophy, Al-Quds University, Palestine

Rafeef Ziadah
Lecturer in Comparative Politics of the Middle East, SOAS, University of London, UK

Khaled Ziade
Author, historian, former diplomat and Director of Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, Beirut, Lebanon

Radwan Ziadeh
Syrian Activist and Senior Fellow at Arab Center Washington DC, USA

Raef Zreik
Minerva Humanities Centre, Tel-Aviv University, State of Israel

Elia Zureik
Professor Emeritus, Queen’s University, Canada

A preliminary version of this list was published by The Guardian here.

*Photo credit: Flickr/Stephen Melkisethian





 

Introduction to the Winter School

Goals

The objective of the winter school/program is to provide an in-depth and critical look at specifically selected topics in the broader study of the Middle East. For participating scholars, it provides an opportunity to network with regional scholars, gain substantive content unavailable in their home institutions and countries, and receive feedback from respected scholars.

Target Audience

The winter school/program is a 10 day program from Jan 3 to 13, 2021, open to advanced graduate students and early career researchers in the social sciences and humanities.
 

General Theme of the Winter School

We are proposing the theme of “The State in Flux.” This theme was chosen to reflect emerging research trends in a variety of social science disciplines, and will generate a wide range of applicants. It also reflects the current challenge facing states with the Covid-19 pandemic, and its impact on their legitimacy and sovereignty as well as serving as a test of their capacity. Finally, this theme will be approached from an interdisciplinary perspective, which will enrich the winter school and participant perspectives.

Although the current configuration of Arab states and their legitimacy has been a topic of discussion in academia and in the public sphere for decades, questions related to state sovereignty and citizenship in the Arab world have become ever more pressing after the Arab Spring uprisings. The protests revealed deep seated issues of legitimacy within many states across the region, and civil conflicts which emerged following the uprisings has led to questions of state capacity, and prospects for failure/collapse. Theoretical debates concerning states’ lack of legitimacy due to their modern origin in colonial partition after the fall of the Ottoman Empire could not explain the reality of contemporary Arab states. On the other hand, it became imperative upon researchers who deal with the issues of transitions to democracy to understand state stability and legitimacy, without which such a transitions are impossible. It thus became crucial to answer questions pertaining to this subject, such as: what role the international system and changing conceptions of sovereignty have had to play in state collapse, the challenges faced by the Arab state from ethnic/linguistic/religious heterogeneity , and whether Arab regimes even had nation-building on their agenda. These answers are crucial not only from a theoretical perspective, but because they foreshadow the future of democracy in the region. These questions are also related to another debate in the research, in particular from a structural approach, as to whether these problems stem from a reality of strong societies and weak states, or rather from strong states and weak societies.

Moreover, the nature of citizenship across the region – whether in states with secessionist movements or in states with large migrant populations – is still up for question. Recent insights made by Arab academia on the question of Arab identity, statehood, and what it means to be a citizen of our region have not been adequately discussed or incorporated in Western literature. For these reasons, a graduate winter school bringing together Western and Arab scholars will bear fruitful insights.
 

The State and Sovereignty

The main subtheme of the 2021 Winter School relates to the state and sovereignty. The traditional conception of sovereignty has repeatedly been contested, with increased globalization, periodic involvement of international actors in the domestic politics of various states, the rise of violent non-state actors in certain cases, and shared challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic, which has sparked debate about where a state’s right to sovereignty may end.

In the Arab world recently, international involvement has taken on more direct forms, such as in the case of Syria with Iranian and Russian involvement, and in the cases of a number of countries in the region beholden to external powers, militarily and/or economically. The repressive apparatus of many countries would indeed not function without external support (in the form of weapon sales, spread of surveillance technology, etc). Another example is the Palestinian Authority, which continues to pursue state recognition in international venues, all while continuing to lose land and resources to the Israeli occupation. Thus, we arrive at questions such as: What does it mean to be a sovereign state in an era of increased direct international involvement? Does the definition revolve around territorial borders, or should it mean something more? Can states with weak capacity truly be sovereign? What variables are most important in explaining state formation trajectories, in the Arab world and beyond? How does that explain political development of these states and their sovereignty today, or lack thereof?

Therefore, for the 2021 Graduate Winter School, we invite early career academics working on these (but not limited to) possible topics: threats to sovereignty using contemporary examples; nationalism; state theory and state formation; historical development of the nation state in comparative perspective; changing conceptions of sovereignty; divided societies; the role of international organizations and entities (such as multinational corporations) and their impact on sovereignty; and more.
 

Application Process

  • Fill out the application form. This should be accompanied by a current CV and an abstract/research outline of the proposed paper you would bring to the winter school. The abstract should be no more than 500 words in length.
  • It should also be accompanied by a letter of recommendation, for which you will find the form on this website. Please send the letter of recommendation form to your referee, and have them send it to us directly.
  • The Academic Committee will accept research proposals 30 September 2020. Please send all relevant materials to: school@dohainstitute.org.
  • The Academic Committee will notify all applicants about the status of their applications by email by October 30, 2020.
  • Successful applicants should submit complete drafts of papers, between 5,000 and 8,500 words in length, 45 days before the conference begins. Submitted drafts must follow the guidelines determined by the ACRPS.

Funding is available for travel and expenses on a competitive basis, and accommodation is provided for all participants. Given current circumstances this workshop may be moved online. We will keep applicants posted regarding developments.





 

The Doha-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) held a talk on February 3 where Center General Director Azmi Bishara discussed “The Trump-Netanyahu Deal: A Historical Perspective of the US-Israeli plan to Liquidate the Palestinian Question.” Bishara began by going over the history of US peace initiatives after the June 1967 war, until the end of President Barack Obama’s term; starting with the Rogers Plan of 1970 and moving on to the Zbigniew Brzezinski project in 1977 and the Camp David Accords signed by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin on September 17, 1978. He also went over the initiatives following the 1982 war in Lebanon such as the Reagan Initiative and those which followed the invasion of Kuwait in 1990 such as George H.W. Bush’s vision for peace based on Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and the principle of land for peace, which offered no proposals for a solution. Then he detailed George W. Bush’s 2002-03 Road Map for Peace and former Secretary of State John Kerry’s attempts to re-start the peace process under the Obama administration. He explained that the initiatives were generally accepted by Arabs and rejected by Israel, and that is contrary to the statements of some Arab regimes.

Bishara’s critique of the latest peace plan offered by Trump can be summarized as undermining the foundations of international law and upholding the discourse of power around the world, a major feature that has dominated Trump’s policies since his arrival in the White House. The vision is characterized by a colonial and patronizing tone, which Bishara demonstrated with quotes from the document.

The plan adopts the literal Israeli narrative of history, which means it uses the biblical version of events with the same effect as international law. The document also codifies Israeli claims of dispossession and concessions, with no mention of the Palestinian narrative, not even a reference to the Nakba or the suffering endured by the Palestinians due to the ongoing occupation. The suffering of the Palestinians is only mentioned as a consequence of the behavior and corruption of the Palestinian leadership, or Palestinian “terrorism.” In this sense, the document exonerates Israel from bearing any responsibility for Palestinian suffering and the text does not even use the term “occupation” to describe the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Bishara also noted that the plan appropriates the language of real estate developers, talking about supporting investments to build hotels, restaurants, swimming pools, and tourist sites; additional funding to improve training in the field of hospitality; and financing advertising campaigns to stimulate tourism, as if Palestine were a piece of land to be granted to companies. He pointed out that this is similar to the American rhetoric about Native Americans in North America and the development of fenced “reservations” to which the word “independent” is affixed.

Bishara made the point that the initial steps in the Trump-Netanyahu deal have been those that have been already implemented on the ground, starting with Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and subsequently the transfer of the US embassy there, the decision to legitimize the settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories with the direct permission of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the de-funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) on August 31, 2018, and the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington two weeks later. He also pointed out that the so-called “deal of the century” constitutes a clear break from the traditional US perspective that is already allied with Israel and fully adopts the position of the Israeli right.

Bishara mapped out the masterminds behind Trump’s peace plan: his son-in-law Jared Kushner, David Friedman, US ambassador to Israel since 2017 and Trump’s former bankruptcy lawyer, and Jason Greenblatt, former chief legal officer to Trump and his companies who was appointed as his assistant and Special Representative for International Negotiations. Greenblatt was later replaced by lawyer Avi Berkowitz, a personal friend to Jared Kushner and his former “coffee boy.”

Bishara also argued that the document carried a set of fallacies, the most important of which is the claim that Israel withdrew from at least 88 percent of the land it seized in 1967, which shows selectivity in how Arabs and Palestinians are discussed. When talking about 1967, suddenly the conversation talks about Arabs as if they were one unified party and leads the reader to believe that Israel has returned 88 percent of the land of Palestine. But it is actually talking about the Sinai, and the remaining 12 percent of the land includes the Golan, Gaza, and the West Bank. In addition, the document refers to Jews from Arab countries as refugees, but the truth, according to Bishara, is that Israel considered them “new arrivals” and the basis of building its state. The deal talks about how Israel lost money by absorbing Jewish refugees from Arab countries, and that Israel should be compensated for those losses.

Bishara describes more fallacies borne out by Trump’s plan, such as the claim that the Palestinian state will be able to use the ports of Haifa and Ashdod and portraying that as a concession, despite this being today’s status quo. Bishara argues that the Israeli interpretation of Security Council Resolution 242––which called for “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict”––as meaning that Israel does not need to withdraw from all the lands occupied in previous conflicts.

Bishara believes that another goal of the plan is to get rid of the Palestinians inside the Green Line. Israel would withdraw from the uninhabited Negev regions on the Sinai border and cede control of the Triangle communities of Kafr Qara, Ar’ara, Baqa al-Gharbiyye, Umm al Fahm, Qalansawe, Tayibe, Kafr Qasim, Tira, Kafr Bara, and Jaljulia to the Palestinian entity. However, a truce in 1949 stipulated that they be given to Jordan, but Israel did not abide by that and kept them within the territories it occupied. This would constitute a transfer and ethnic cleansing in the name of “peace.” As for the refugees’ right of return, the document stresses that “Upon the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement, Palestinian refugee status will cease to exist, and UNRWA will be terminated and its responsibilities transitioned to the relevant governments,” with no right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Bishara argued that the concept of the state espoused by the deal coincides with the vision of Benjamin Netanyahu expressed in his speech at Bar-Ilan University on June 14, 2009. Bishara also stated that the document deals with the concept of sovereignty in theory as a flexible, not an absolute concept, and that sovereignty is a stumbling block to peace in its justification of the idea of a state without sovereignty. This is a contradictory idea, considering that state means sovereignty. Bishara wondered why Palestinian sovereignty alone needs to be theorized and flexible. He also noted that the emerging state will be physically within the state of Israel and under its control, to the extent that Israel will interfere in the Palestinian internal security administration and will oversee international crossings and borders. Israel will even have sovereignty over space, drilling wells and water.

One of the effects of the Trump-Netanyahu deal, Bishara argued, is that it perpetuates the idea that Arabs only answer to coercion and only do what they are directly ordered to do. That is why, he believes, the Arab behavior after announcing the deal is a dangerous precedent, encouraging the Israelis to follow the same logic in the future if they so choose. He points out, however, that this logic does not mean that the Palestinian or Arab masses will remain silent. This is a form of colonialism and apartheid, and efforts to confront Zionism should focus on two pillars: the land (occupation, settlement, the Judaization of Jerusalem, etc.) and racism which makes the struggle one against the apartheid regime.

Bishara concluded his presentation by noting the urgent need to build up and rehabilitate the role of the PLO, provided that it adopts both a democratic national strategy that seeks to attract Arab and international solidarity movements and the option of resistance. On the other hand, this requires that the Palestinian Authority play its role in running the daily lives of the people in the occupied Palestinian territories and that leading the Palestinians and the strategy of struggle must be left to institutions and bodies not linked to agreements with Israel. This means that the PLO must withdraw from all the previous agreements it signed with Israel because they have become null and void and that the PA avoid making the mistake of conflating the Palestinian national project with a meaningless state and concentrate on liberation from the colonial and apartheid system.

A version of this report was first published on February 3, 2020 by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Doha, Qatar.





Call for Conference Papers

The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies announces a call for papers for the second ACRPS Conference for Arab Graduate Students in Western Universities, to be held from March 28-30, 2020 in Doha, Qatar. Prospective participants have until 30 July 2019 to submit proposals. This second round will build on the success of the first Arab Graduate Conference held in spring 2018, which established an unprecedented academic tradition in the Arab region. Out of 250 applicants, 83 students were invited to participate in the first round, presenting research based on their PhD dissertation projects, and benefitting from evaluative comments and suggestions from a pool of 40 specialists in various social science and humanities disciplines.

The conference will provide Arab doctoral students in the social sciences and humanities based at Western universities an open space to present papers rooted in their graduate studies. This novel conference will give the participants the chance to benefit from discussions with their peers and with established Arab academics. By holding the meeting in an Arab country, the conference will give the participants an opportunity to better acquaint themselves with an Arab research agenda as well as to create collegial, professional networks within the Arab region. Participants will also gain the opportunity to have their work published in Arabic, through one of the ACRPS’ publication channels.

Eligible scholars interested in applying should undertake the following:

  • Fill out the application form. This should be accompanied by a current CV and an abstract/research outline of the proposed paper (no more than 500 words in length).
  • At least one reference. The referee should fill out this form and send it directly to arabdoctorate.conf@dohainstitute.org.
  • The Academic Committee will accept research proposals in either Arabic or English up until 30 July 2019. Please send all relevant materials to:  arabdoctorate.conf@dohainstitute.org.
  • The Academic Committee will notify all applicants about the status of their applications by email by September 10, 2019.
  • Successful applicants should submit complete drafts of papers, between 5,000 and 8,500 words in length, 45 days before the conference begins. Submitted drafts must follow the guidelines determined by the ACRPS.

Please see the following documents for further information:

Background PaperApplication FormReference Form (to be sent to referee).