Ariella Azoulay, (Ph.D. 1996 at the Cohn Institute, Tel Aviv University, supervised by Moshe Zuckermann, "On the Possibility of Critical Art in Israel in the1970s & 1980s"), had a hard time making an academic career in Israel. A self-described lexicographer, her work has been devoted to demonstrating the alleged Nazi-like treatment of Palestinians by Israelis. Her critical approach to picture taking included commentary on “hidden reality” behind images. For example, in one shot of a group of Palestinians detained by the IDF, she imagined their torture. In another case, the caption behind a picture depicting a number of Palestinians behind a chain link fence made a direct comparisons to Auschwitz. Azoulay is a frequent collaborator of Adi Ophir, a radical philosopher from Tel Aviv University who “found” Israel to be ontologically on the same spectrum as Nazi Germany. On one occasion Ophir urged NATO strikes on Tel Aviv to force Israel out of the territories.
Even the normally tolerant Israeli universities could not accommodate the brand of blatant activism masquerading as academic research. In the recent years she was an adjunct at Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv University and listed as a fellow in Adi Ophir’s Political Lexicon at the Minerva Humanities Center of Tel Aviv University.
But her luck changed dramatically when Beshara Doumani, the Director of Middle East Studies, Brown University offered her a position. Doumani, a leading pro-Palestinian activist in the United States, was apparently instrumental in getting Azoulay a full professorship in Modern Media/ Literature in Brown. In an announcement on the Middle East Studies website, directed to “colleagues and friends of Middle East studies,” he calls her promotion “great news.”
As a signatory of the 2014 petition "Over 100 Middle East Studies Scholars and Librarians Call for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions" along with Doumani, Azoulay is the latest in a well-known trend whereby radical Israeli academics are rewarded with positions in “friendly” departments abroad. Under normal circumstances her rather modest academic achievements would not qualify Azoulay for the position. But in the highly politicized Middle East scholarship, bashing Israel has its rewards.
Ariella Azoulay Promoted to Full Professor
When the Body Politic Ceases To Be an Idea
Bil’in, July 12, 2012
In this act, too, Palestinians are the ones who will be arrested. This time, however, they force the Israeli soldiers to chase them as if they were chasing (Jewish) prisoners under the Nazi regime. The soldiers can insist that these are only Palestinians, but the photographic act preserves the meaning with which Palestinians wanted to imbue the situation.
© Photograph Haitham Khatib / Haitham Khatib Photography