Symposium: The Two State-Solution: The U.N. Partition of Mandatory Palestine

December 3, 2012

December 4, 2012  1947-UN-Partition-Plan-1949-Armistice-Comparison.svg

5:30pm – 7:30pm

The Two State-Solution: The U.N. Partition of Mandatory Palestine – Analysis and Sources
A Book Event in honor of Prof. Ruth Gavison


Professor Joseph H.H. Weiler

Director, Tikvah Center for Law and Jewish Civilization Joseph Straus Professor of Law, New York University Law School


Dr. Ariel Zellman
Schusterman Postdoctoral Fellow, Taub Center for Israel Studies

Prof. Ronald Zweig
Director, Taub Center for Israel Studies


Professor Ruth Gavison
Haim H. Cohn Professor of Human Rights, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Emerita)
Founder / President of Metzilah Center for Zionist, Jewish, Liberal and Humanist Thought
Joint Straus / Tikvah Fellow 2011-12, New York University School of Law

A kosher reception will follow the program.


53 Washington Square South, Screening Room

RSVP by Tel. (212) 998-8981 / E-mail / seating limited, registration required.


Dissertation Abstract

September 27, 2012

Security or Identity? Narratives of State & Nation in International Territorial Conflict Protraction

My dissertation explores how popular domestic beliefs regarding the meaning and value of disputed lands contribute to the protraction and resolution of international territorial conflict. Using comparative historical analysis and artefactual field experiments, I find in Israel and Serbia that persistent popular unwillingness to relinquish claims to a “United Jerusalem” and “Kosovo and Metohija” have resulted from the extraordinary position of these territories in their respective national homeland narratives. These outcomes stand in stark contrast to Israel’s largely popular withdrawals from the Sinai Peninsula, Southern Lebanon, and Gaza Strip, dominantly valued as strategic rather than cultural assets. They also contrast with Serbia’s acquiescence to the political independence of both Bosnia and Montenegro, spaces of high concern for Serb political self-determination but relatively low territorial-cultural priority. The Golan Heights and the West Bank are also analyzed as disputed spaces wherein strategic and cultural narratives continue to contribute to conflict protraction. In doing so, I demonstrate how particular strategic and cultural narratives come to dominate public discourse over disputed spaces and, in turn, how these narratives constrain the policies states can legitimately pursue in these spaces. Ultimately, I find that popular perceptions of national identity can be as powerful a force in determining government policy as state security prerogatives.

Dissertation Committee:
Will Reno (Chair), Hendrik Spruyt, Jason Seawright

Presentations at ISA and MPSA

April 19, 2012


Over the last month, I have been traveling in the United States visiting friends and family and attending academic conferences. In particular, I spoke at this year’s annual International Studies Association conference in San Diego and gave a poster session at the Midwest Political Science Association meeting in Chicago.

For both conferences, I presented what will hopefully become a chapter of my dissertation. It examines the results of an experiment I conducted last year in Israel on political narratives and popular attitudes toward territorial compromise in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Those with access to the MyISA database can read the paper here. If you do not have access but would like to read it, please contact me by email. If you would like to see the post, contact me by email for a copy in compressed form. The abstract can be viewed after the jump.

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Panel and Paper Accepted for ISA 2012 in San Diego

September 25, 2011

I am thrilled to report that I will be attending next year’s annual International Studies Association Conference in San Diego as a panel chair and presenter. This conference brings me full circle from my first ISA conference in San Diego in 2006, when I was doing my Master’s degree at the University of British Columbia, to what I hope will be my final year as a Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University in Chicago.

The panel, entitled “Nationalism, International Recognition, and Domestic Legitimacy,” will will take place on the first day of the conference, Sunday, April 1, at 1:45 p.m. Participants include senior and junior scholars as well as advanced graduate students who have an interest in the place of nationalism in global and domestic politics. My paper, “Security or Identity? State and Homeland in Israeli Politics and Public Opinion” will draw on the research I have been conducting over the last year in Israel. I have included abstracts for the panel and my own paper after the jump. My colleagues’ abstracts can be viewed through the ISA conference website panel link here.

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What Happened?

July 17, 2011

question markA few people have been asking me of late what in the world I have been up to. Given that no new posts have gone up on the blog in over a month, this is a fair question. Allow me to put speculation to rest.

Since returning from Serbia in mid May, I have been working hard on developing and publicizing surveys which examine domestic attitudes toward political language in both Israel and Serbia respectively.

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Polls: Israeli Public Opinion on the Golan and Syria

January 6, 2011

With the breakdown of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the decision of the Israeli government not to renew a West Bank building freeze, and the PA to seek unilateral recognition of statehood in Latin America, things are not looking good (as usual) for the Middle East peace process. Yet, for better or for worse, there is an attitude among Israeli political elites and the international community at large that even if the prospects for peace are abysmal, negotiations must continue.

Now that the Israeli-Palestinian peace track is again deadlocked, some in Israel and, more prominently, the American administration have begun looking again across the northern border to Syria. Both Israel and the United States have an interest in delinking the Assad regime from its alliance with Iran and their continued open support of Hamas and Hezbollah. In apparently secret contacts between the US government and Damascus, Syria has expressed a willingness to do just this. The price tag, they have consistently argued, is a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

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Interviews at Golan Regional Council

October 25, 2010

golan-regional-councilMy next two interviews in Katzrin on Wednesday were with two members of the Golan Regional Council (מועצה אזורית גולן), David Spellman, the head of the Absorption Department, and Michal Raikin, the head of the council’s Social and Education division. In these interviews, I focused on the administrative and organizational duties of the statutory body as compared with the explicitly political and activist role of the Golan Residents’ Committee. I, of course, also spoke to them about their personal thoughts on the place of the Golan as a “contentious” territory in the Israel-Arab conflict.

As with other regional governing bodies in Israel, the Jordan Valley Regional Council no less than the Shomron Regional Council, the Golan Regional Council is first and foremost the governing body of the region from which its thirty-three smaller communities receive municipal services, educational support and programming, social and community development, and business and resident services and regulation. As with other regional councils, it excludes larger municipal bodies such as Katzrin as well as the Druze villages which are large enough (and culturally self-isolated enough) to have their own governing councils.

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