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Pretending democracy: Israel, an ethnocratic state


Conference Programme: Locating ethnic states in a cosmopolitan world - the case of Israel


12 – 14 April 2010, Colosseum Hotel, Pretoria, South Africa

Monday, 12th April:

09:00 Opening Session: Nationalisms and Ethnicisms

Chair: Garth Le Pere

Welcome, Opening Comments – Garth Le Pere, Na’eem Jeenah

Opening Address – Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim

Nationalism, Colonialism and the Ethnic State – Achille Mbembe


10:30 Tea

Zionism and the dilemmas of settler democracy – Daryl Glaser

Jewish and Arab nationalisms – the Zionist reality and counterfactual historical perspectives – Ilan Pappe

Discussant: Aziz Pahad


12:30 Lunch


14:00 Israel and its mythologies

Chair: Shannon Field

When and how was the ‘Jewish people’ invented? – Shlomo Sand

‘No such thing as a Palestinian people’ – Fouad Moughrabi

Zionism, the Founding Fathers and the Palestine Arabs – Avi Shlaim

Israel: ‘Jewish Democracy’ or a unique colonial state? – Ronnie Kasrils

Discussant: Heidi Grunebaum


17:00 Tea


Tuesday, 13th April:

09:00 Rapporteur’s summation of previous day


09:15 Is Israel an “unworkable fallacy”?


A Jewish State – An Anachronistic Idea? – Ali Abunimah

Israel’s Palestinians: unravelling the fallacy – Jamal Zahalka

Possibilities for a Jewish minority in a reconfigured state – Steven Friedman

Discussant: Hanif Vally


11:15 Tea


11:30 Comparative ethnic nationalisms – Israel and South Africa


The unresolved national question in South Africa: Lessons for Palestine-Israel – Neville Alexander

Nation and ethnicity in South Africa and Palestine-Israel – Ran Greenstein

Comparing Afrikaner and Jewish nationalisms – Andre Zaaiman

Comparative ethnic nationalisms: apartheid and Zionism – Amneh Badran

Zionism from the Standpoint of its Jewish Victims – Heidi Grunebaum

Discussant: Na’eem Jeenah


14:00 Lunch


14:45 The Jewish state, Africa, and the World

Chair: Hanif Vally

Israeli ethnic nationalism and its impact on Africa and the world – Achille Mbembe

Israel through the prism of International Law – Max du Plessis

Discussant: Shannon Field


16:45 Tea


Wednesday, 14th April:

09:00 Rapporteur’s summation of previous day


09:15 Beyond ethnic nationalism: what possibilities for Israel?

Chair: Aziz Pahad

From ethnocracy to confederation? Colonial and postcolonial options for

Israel/Palestine – Oren Yiftachel

Alternatives to ethnic nationalism and an ethnic state in Israel: Lessons from South Africa – Salim Vally

The future between ideals and realities: A Palestinian perspective – Azzam Tamimi

Discussant: Fouad Moughrabi


11:30 Tea


11:45 Group Discussions: Envisioning the future


13:30 Lunch


14:30 Reports from group discussions

Discussant: Adam Habib


15:30 Tea


16:00 Roundtable: Ethnic nationalism and the cosmopolitan challenge

Moderator: Na’eem Jeenah

Azzam Tamimi

Fouad Moughrabi

Oren Yiftachel

Ran Greenstein

Closing comments – Na’eem Jeenah


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