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Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
Orli Fridman in the Balkans: Spreading anti-Israel Message while Whitewashing Genocidal Serbian Leaders

15.10.15

Editorial Note


A young Serbian who participated in a gay Pride Parade in Belgrade carrying a Star of David flag complained about harassment. Much to his surprise the person who verbally hectored him was  Dr. Orli Fridman, an Israeli academic working in Belgrade.   Fridman is a lecturer in the Center for Comparative Conflict Studies (CFCCS) which is part of Media and Communications (FMK) at Singidunum University in Belgrade.  She received her BA degree at the Hebrew University in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies and her MA at Tel Aviv University department of History of the Middle East.  She got her PhD at the School of Conflict and Resolution (SCAR) George Mason University.

 

Fridman uses a typical critical spin in her work which, as well known, provides one sided account of conflicts seen from the perspective of the “victims” de jour.  For example, in an article published in the journal Balkan Transitional Justice on 30 March, 2015 "How Belgraders Remember the NATO Bombings" Fridman writes about “how did ordinary Belgraders” have experienced the days and nights under fire "as the Serbian state tries to construct a narrative of national victimhood around the 1999 NATO air strikes." Needless to say, in her critical account, there is no place for an explanation as to why did NATO bomb Belgrade.  As well known, NATO undertook the attacks because the Serbians were massacring Muslims in the savage civil war.  So much so that the massacre of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the town of Srebrenica in July 1995, which was determined to be an act of genocide.   

 

Like many radical Israeli academics, Fridman does not miss an opportunity to add Israeli Jews to the category of blood lusty perpetrators: She added to her article that "In my years of working as a facilitator of encounters of groups in conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, as a Jewish Israeli, I have experienced the lack of empathy of my own people towards the suffering of Palestinians as the most challenging aspect of my work. It remains difficult to accept the lack of acknowledgement of the suffering of the other, even more so in recent years during Israeli attacks on Gaza, as I witness expressions of indifference and even joy towards the suffering of the Palestinian people."

 

Not surprisingly, Fridman is a frequent collaborator of BGU Oren Yiftachel and a supporter of a binational state. In June 2004 Fridman presented a paper at a Haifa University conference on Comparative Aspects to the Bi-National State Option. Previously, in 2003–2004 she served as Yiftachel's research assistant while he held a visiting position at the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) in Washington DC.  Yiftachel also worked together with Fridman at the Center for Comparative Conflict Studies (CFCCS) in 2013.

 

According to the CFCCS website, the center would be leading a one-week intensive Study seminar on Comparative Memory Activism in Israel/Palestine and Serbia/Kosovo from November 22-29, 2015 under the sponsorship of the German Robert Bosch Stiftung: "Members of civil society organizations, activists, journalists and scholars engaged in Memory Work from Serbia and Kosovo are invited to apply to participate in this unique week-long program on the topics of Politics of Memory, Conflict Transformation and Memory Activism as related to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The seminar will focus on memory work among Israelis and Palestinians as related to themes such as: hegemonic memories vs. alternative ones: the memory of 1948, the memory of 1967, the memory of the Jewish holocaust and others." 

 

Fridman has shown a remarkable understanding of the different academic rules in Israel as opposed to Serbia. In the former, her peers can portray Israel as an apartheid state and accuse the IDF of Nazi-type behavior without jeopardizing their academic career.  In the latter, mentioning that the former Serbian leaders, Slobodan Milosevic, General Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic were charged with war crimes and genocide in the International Criminal Court of Justice in the Hague is much more perilous. Indeed, whitewashing Serbian crimes by writing about Serbian “victimhood narrative” is a right step toward safeguarding one’s job and getting promoted.

 

By keeping her position at Singidunum University, Fridman can also legitimize the Balkan beachhead of anti-Israeli rhetoric which she had helped to establish.

 

https://www.facebook.com/stefan.sparavalo/posts/10207625084167281

Stefan Šparavalo‎‏ שיתף את ה‏תמונה‏ של ‏‎Ben-Gurion centar za izučavanje modernog Izraela‎‏

During Pride parade in Belgrade I was verbally attacked because wearing a flag with David star. It is said to me that it is a bad symbol, that I am pathetic and it should be better for me to take it off. I find out that the woman who insulted me is an Israeli professor in Belgrade, professor Orli Friedman, known for her anti-Israeli advocacy

מצעד גאווה נוסף התקיים בבלגראד בירת סרביה ללא אירועים חריגים למעט מקרה אחד בו משתתף במצעד שאחז בדגל הקהילה הלהט"בית שבמרכזו מגן דוד הותקף מילולית על ידי קבוצה שצעקה לעברו "הסר את הדגל עם מגן הדוד" והציגה לעברו אצבע משולשת. מרכז בן-גוריון ללימודים ישראלים מודרנים מגנה את התקרית האנטישמית וימשיך בפעילותו לחינוך הציבור אודות ישראל והמאבק באנטישמיות.

ANTISEMITISTIČKI ISPAD NA PARADI PONOSA U BEOGRADU

U Beogradu je 20. septembra 2015. godine održana još jedna Parada ponosa, koja je protekla uspešno i bez incidenata.
Međutim, tokom šetnje se dogodila neprijatna situacija kada je grupa od nekoliko učesnica počela da vređa učesnika šetnje koji je bio ogrnut LGBT zastavom sa Davidovom zvezdom.
U toku šetnje, povorka je zastala kako bi se govornica obratila prisutnima, kada su krenula dobacivanja da se ukloni zastava sa Davidovom zvezdom. Učesniku je potom pokazan srednji prst.
Ovom prilikom podsećamo da je antisemitizam u Srbiji na niskom nivou, ali da se pojedini ispadi dešavaju i na njih je potrebno reagovati.
Ben-Gurion centar za izučavanje modernog Izraela najoštrije osuđuje ovakav antisemitistički ispad i nastaviće svoje aktivnosti kako bi se on još više suzbio.

(Fotografija preuzeta sa FB stranice Parade ponosa)


=================================================================

Orli Fridman, PhD
Education 
School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution (SCAR), George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, 2006
Tel Aviv University, School of HistoryTel Aviv, Israel
MA in History of the Middle East, magna cum lauda, 2000
University of Chicago, Chicago Illinois, USA
Spring and summer quarters in the masters program in Middle Eastern Studies, 1997
The Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalem, Israel
BA in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies, 1996
Other Programs
- Summer 2003: Russian and East European Studies (REES), Summer Language Institute, University of Pittsburgh;
Intensive Serbian Language.
- Summer 2002: Summer Peace Building Institute, Conflict Transformation Program, Eastern Mennonite University.
- Summer 1996: Ulpan Akiva, Israel; Intensive course in Colloquial Palestinian Arabic.
Academic and Teaching Experience
Academic Director and Lecturer: SIT: Study Abroad, Balkans
2007-present
• Serbia, Bosnia and Kosovo: Peace and Conflict Studies in the Balkans
Lecturer: Faculty of Media and Communications (FMK), Singidunum University
2008-present
Additional Teaching experience:
• Post-Yugoslav Peace Academy, Sarajevo
(2009, 2010)
• Summer School in Comparative Conflict Studies, Belgrade
(2010-present)
Adjunct Faculty: George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
2004
• Course: "Laboratory and Simulation I: Interpersonal and Small Groups Conflict."
Research Assistant: United States Institute for Peace (USIP), Washington, DC 2003–2004
• Prof. Oren Yiftachel: Ethnocratic States and Spaces: the cases of Sri Lanka, Estonia, and Israel
Course instructor: Open University in Israel 1999-2001
• Department of Middle East Studies
Research Projects 
• Researcher at the project “International Intervention: On the Receiving End,” CFCCS/University of Surrey 2011-2014, funded by the British Academy (Memories of the 1999 NATO Bombing in Serbia)
• Researcher at the project “The Conflict in South Serbia and its Aftermath,” CFCCS 2010, funded by UNDP
• Researcher at the project “Structured and Unstructured Encounters,” CFCCS, funded by the Berghof Institute
Practical Work Experience 
Director: The Center for Comparative Conflict Studies (CFCCS), Belgrade, Serbia 2008-present
The CFCCS is an educational center dedicated to the comparative analysis of societies in conflict. Working primarily within the context of the conflicts in the former republics of Yugoslavia and Palestine/Israel, the Center provides opportunities for university students, scholars, and adults to critically engage in the study and research of conflict, its transformations, and various roles taken up within conflicts.
Co-Director: the Vision Program, Belgrade, Serbia 2006- 2007
Co-directed, designed and developed a Comparative Conflict Analysis experiential learning curriculum and program with
Jewish and Palestinian American undergraduate and graduate students and Israeli and Palestinian students, focused on an in- depth analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the light of the Balkan Wars of the 1990s.
Group Facilitator: The School for Peace, Neve Shalom/Wahat al Salam, Israel 1994-2001
Selected PublicationsPeer Review Journals
• Unstructured Daily Encounters: Serbs in Kosovo after the 2008 Declaration of Independence,” Contemporary Southeastern Europe, 2(1), 2015.
• “Alternative calendars and memory work in Serbia: anti-war activism after Miloşević,” Memory Studies Vol. 8 No. 2 April 2015.
• “It Was Like Fighting a War with Our Own People: Anti-War Activism in Serbia during the 1990s,” Nationalities Papers Vol. 39 No. 4, 2011.
• “Breaking States of Denial: Anti-Occupation Activism in Israel after 2000,” Genero Vol. 10, 2008.
• "Alternative Voices in Public Urban Spaces: Serbia's Women in Black," Ethnologia Balkanica Vol. 10, 2006.
Articles in Edited Volumes
• “Structured Encounters in post-Conflict/Post-Yugoslav Days: Visiting Belgrade and Prishtina,” In Olivera Simić and
Zala Volčič (Eds). Transitional Justice and Civil Society in the Balkans. Springer 2013.
Book reviews• Memorials in Times of Transition by Susanne Buckly-Zistel and Stefanie Schäfer (eds), Griffith Law Review, Vol. 23, No. 2, 2014.• With Their Backs to the World: Portraits from Serbia by Asne Seierstad, Public Sphere No. 5, fall 2011 (in Hebrew).Research Reports
• The Conflict and its Aftermath in South Serbia: Social and Ethnic Relations, Agency and Belonging in Preshevo and
Bujanovac [with Jana Bačević, Ian Bancroft and Jelena Tošić] (2011)
Selected Conference Papers and Presentations• “Memories of the 1999 NATO bombing in Belgrade” paper presented at international multidisciplinary symposium On the Receiving End of Intervention: New Methods in Human Security at the School of Politics, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK. June 16-17, 2014.
• “Labors of Memory: Mnemonic Battles and alternative Calendars in Serbia” paper presented at the Association of the
Study of Nationalities (ASN) Conference at Columbia University: New York, USA. April 24-26, 2014.
• “Remembering Srebrenica as Genocide in Belgrade: Memory Work and Memory Activism after Conflict” paper presented at the 10th Biennial Conference of International Association of Genocide Scholars. University of Siena: Siena, Italy. June 19-22, 2013.
• “Labors of Memory: Mnemonic Battles in Israel and Serbia” paper presented at the conference: Perspectives in (post)
conflict academia and society: Opening spaces for critically assessing and rethinking history and memory. Center for
Interdisciplinary postgraduate studies, University of Sarajevo: Sarajevo Bosnia-Herzegovina. March 14-16, 2013.
• “Structured and Unstructured encounters in Kosovo,” paper presented at the Adam Institute Conference Living inMixed Cities [panel: Conflict Resolution in Divided Cities], Jerusalem Israel. November 13-16, 2012• "Visiting Belgrade and Prishtina: Structured Encounters in Post-Conflict /Post-Yugoslav Days" paper presented at theAssociation of the Study of Nationalities (ASN) Conference at Columbia University: New York, USA. April 19-21, 2012.
• “Teaching Memory and Conflict: Regarding the Pain of Others? Or Rethinking Citizenship and Responsibility?”
paper presented at the SIT Symposium ‘Conflict, Memory and Reconciliation: Bridging Past, Present and Future’,
Kigali Rwanda. January 10-13, 2012.
• “Serbia after Milosevic,” paper presented in Tel Aviv University conference: Mapping Boundaries, Identities and
Contention: Twenty Years after the Fall of Yugoslavia, Tel Aviv, Israel. November 10-11, 2010.
• The Memory of Srebrenica: a view from Serbia,” paper presented at the SIT Symposium ‘Fostering MulticulturalCompetence and Global Justice.’ Brattleboro, VT, USA. August 2010.
• “Structured and Unstructured Daily Encounters in Kosovo,” paper presented at the ASN Conference at Columbia
University. New York, USA. April 23-25, 2009.
• -“Can we talk about Peace-Building or ‘Dealing with the Past’ in the Context of the Israeli Palestinian Conflict
Today?” paper presented at the Center for Peace Studies Conference, ‘The Role of Youth in Peacebuildling
Processes’, Donja Stubica, Croatia. March 24-28, 2009
• -“(Re)Centering Europe: Competing Israeli and Palestinian Narratives in the Shadow of Europe” co-presented with
Ziad Abu-Rish at the Conference ‘Inclusion and Exclusion in and on the Borders of Europe’, Portoroz, Slovenia, June 5-8, 2008.
• -"Anti-War Activism at Times of 'Peace'; Alternative Voices and Street Activism in Serbia" paper presented at the ASN
Conference at Columbia University. New York, USA. April 12-14, 2007.
• Beyond Ethnic and National Identities: Tracing Conscientious Objection as a Form of Alternative Politics in Serbia
paper presented at the ASN Conference on Globalization, Nationalism and Ethnic Conflicts in the Balkans and its
Regional Context. Belgrade, Serbia. September 28-30, 2006.
• Breaking the Silence: Shaping Israel's Collective Memory paper presented at the conference 'Children, Young People
and Political Violence in the Middle East, Northern Ireland and South Africa. Belfast/Derry, Northern Ireland, June 18-22, 2005.
• Public Urban Space and Alternative Voices: the Case of Women in Black paper presented at the 3rd InASEA
Conference: Urban Life and Culture in South East Europe. Belgrade, Serbia. May 26-29, 2005.
• In search for Alternative Voices: Anti-War Activists in Serbia. A presentation at ICAR's Brown Bag Lecture Series,
George Mason University, USA. February 3, 2005.
• Macedonia and Kosovo: a comparative perspective with the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Paper presented at a Haifa
University conference: Comparative Aspects to the Bi-National State Option. Haifa, Israel. June 28, 2004.
Op-Eds 
• “How Belgraders Remember the NATO Bombings,” Balkan Insight, March 30, 2015.
• “Memory and Denial in Serbia,” YNET, June 4, 2011.
• “2008 Presidential Elections in Serbia,” Hagada Hasmalit, January 31, 2008.
• “An Independent Kosovo? A Look from Serbia,” Hagada Hasmalit, February 14, 2007.
• "After Milosevic," Haaretz, March 16, 2006.
• "Commemorating the 10 Anniversary of Srebrenica: A View from Belgrade," Hagada Hasmalit, June 28, 2005.
• “From Belgrade to Srebrenica,” Hagada Hasmalit, August 03, 2004.
• “About guilt and Shame,” Hagada Hasmalit, May 28, 2004.
• "Serbia and Us," Hagada Hasmalit, March 2003.
Memberships 
• Association of Studies of Nationalities (ASN)
• International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS)
Languages 
Hebrew (native)
English (fluent)
Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian (good)
Colloquial Palestinian Arabic (average)




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