David Landy seems to have been curious about the construction of Jewish identity for a long time… when I first met him in 2004 he wanted to do a PhD on Ireland’s Jews… I deterred him, as this small and curious minority (‘who has ever heard of an Irish Jew?’) has been researched and written about disproportionately to its number and significance. I invited him to apply to the MPhil in Ethnic and Racial Studies, for which he wrote a dissertation on Zionism and Irish Jews.
Linking his interest in Jewish identities to his passion about Palestinian rights, it was no surprise that when he did research his PhD he focused on diaspora Jews opposed to Israel. I loved working with him as his supervisor on both dissertations; he also worked for me on a research project on Israeli memory networks – I learnt a lot from him and admire his wry sense of humour… I particularly enjoyed his thinking about the complexities of researching something he is part of – being both ethnically Jewish and a central member of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, a tightrope act which he performs admirably, evincing his commitment to both sociology and the social movement he studied.
His research field is English groups of Jewish people engaged in opposing Israeli policies. In the course of writing this book he expanded his theoretical understanding – as one does – particularly to examining diaspora opposition to Israel in terms of being a social movement – the focus of this well researched book. Read more
On September 9 the European parliament passed a resolution calling on Paris to ‘immediately suspend all expulsions of Roma’, saying the policy ‘amounted to discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity’. French Gendarmes were accused of compiling secret illegal lists of Roma and other travelling minorities in violation of French laws on ethnic profiling. In 2010 France deported 5,000 Romanians and Bulgarians (10,000 in 2009), and vows to continue deporting Roma, all EU citizens, even though the expulsions are against the constitution and break international human rights laws on discrimination and despite the European Commission’s announcement on 1 October that it would initiate legal action against France. Indeed France began fingerprinting departing Roma to prevent their return, proving the futility of invoking human rights law (Crumley, 2010). Read more
The war in Gaza is entering its seventh day with the Israeli ground surge in force as I write. I feel entirely helpless and nearly immobilised by rage.
But reading Ilan Pappe’s ‘Israel’s righteous fury and its victims in Gaza’ in Electronic Intifada helps to make sense of the murderous attack. My work on the commemoration of the Nakba by Israelis links me to the need, as Pappe, argues, to historicise this conflict from its inception, and the Zionist ideology which has engendered ethnic cleansing and the dehumanisation of Palestinians ever since 1948 and before.
Pappe writes: ‘Israel is engulfed once more with righteous fury that translates into destructive policies in the Gaza Strip. This appalling self-justification for the inhumanity and impunity is not just annoying, it is a subject worth dwelling on, if one wants to understand the international immunity for the massacre that rages on in Gaza’.