TA rally against attack on Iran musters 24 protesters
By BEN HARTMAN, Jerusalem Post
Protesters outside Defense Ministry worry attack will have "consequences that Israeli leaders cannot foresee.” By Reuters A small crowd of around two dozen gathered outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on Thursday evening to voice their protest of an Israeli military strike on Iran’s nuclear program.
Organizers of the protest, which was held under the banner “No to military attacks, yes to talks,” included members of Combatants for Peace and the Israeli Disarmament Movements.
Protesters held signs with slogans such as “No to an attack on Iran,” and two demonstrators held red paper hearts on the end of sticks.
In a statement released ahead of the protest, Israeli Disarmament Movement director Sharon Dolev said, “When the heads of Israel’s defense establishment are convinced that it is not possible to eliminate the Iranian nuclear program through military means, the only way is through dialogue.”
She also called for the two countries to hold talks to establish a weapons-of-mass-destruction- free zone in the Middle East.
One demonstrator, Haggai Ram, a professor of Middle East studies at Ben-Gurion University, said he was there as “a concerned citizen” and that he had become more concerned after seeing the very small crowd of protesters.
Worrying that “the rhetoric [against Iran] will turn into action,” he said he believed such an attack “would have consequences that Israeli leaders cannot foresee.”
Department of Middle East Studies
Professor HAGGAI RAM
Ph.D. 1992, New York University
I teach and write about secularism, religion, colonialism and popular culture in the modern Middle East, with particular emphasis on Iran and Israel. In recent years I've become increasingly intrigued with the exaggerated anxieties about Iran among Israelis, as well as with the overall failure of much of the literature to make sense of these anxieties outside the domain of geopolitics. As a result, I turned my "gaze" to Israeli society and set out to study the cultural logics at work behind Israel's anti-Iran phobias. Two books were born in the process. The first, Likro iran be-yisra'el (Reading Iran in Israel), was published in 2006. The book was well received (see, e.g.Book Review Reading Iran); and an Arabic edition it, which soon followed, won praise in the Arab printed and electronic media (see e.g. http://www.daralhayat.com/special/issues/09-2007/Item-20070916-0f8b34e9-c0a8-10ed-00c3-e8c44e3434e3/story.html). The second book, Iranophobia: the Cultural Logics of an Israeli obsession, is a radically revised and expanded version of the Hebrew edition and is due for publication with Stanford University Press.
The two books differed from each other in their scope of empirical research, in their methodologies, in their narrative strategies, and in the subject matters they covered. Nonetheless, they provided a crucially innovative approach to the study of the relationship between domestic and foreign policies in the manufacturing of the Israeli polity. Inspired by works that read metropolitan and colonial cultures as zones of encounter, the two books demonstrated that Israeli anxieties about Iran were fashioned and comprehended on the basis of what Israelis believed to be the (dis)ordering of their society at home. Israelis went about setting Iran apart as fanatically religious and outrageously dangerous precisely because they have come to see in it the "Oriental," ethnic and religious "outsiders within" that threatened their own identity. Although the Israeli sense of danger emanating from Iran derives from legitimate strategic concerns, it is also linked to defensive mechanisms of the home in view of the peril of the Jewish state becoming foreign and unrecognizable to itself.
Currently, I am considering writing a book-length manuscript on a topic that would radically depart from all of my previous research preoccupations: the history and culture of hashish\marijuana use in Israel\Palestine since the early 20th century. It has now become patently clear to me that this intriguing subject begs for a serious scholarly engagement, especially in light of recent path breaking interventions made by social scientists and historians who have unraveled the social and cultural underpinnings of drug use in other parts of the world. By contrast, the history and culture of drug use in Israel has not yet been written. I intend to rise to the challenge.
Selected Courses Taught
Introduction to the Modern History of the Middle East - broad survey course, NYU, BGU
Iran: Genealogy of a Revolution - undergraduate seminar, NYU, Skidmore College, BGU
The Evolution of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies: Reading Seminar - graduate seminar, BGU
Entangled Histories: Modernity in the Middle East and Beyond - graduate seminar, NYU, BGU
Historiography and Historical Consciousness in Modern Iran - graduate seminar, BGU
Colonialism and Nationalism in the Middle East - undergraduate seminar, BGU
Popular Islam: Histories and Doctrines - undergraduate seminar, NYU, BGU