2007 Abstracts Stage 3

A Foucaultian Analysis of the Israeli-Arab Conflict: from early Zionism to Post-Colonialism

Objectives. It is my intention to demonstrate in my essay that colonialism still takes place across the world today, and that it finds its foundations entrenched firmly within the same prejudices which were used to justify the type of colonialism typical of 19th century Europe. For this purpose I will concentrate my investigation upon the most notorious and long-running of available examples; namely, the Israeli-Arab conflict and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and the Palestinian people. As well as showing Israel to be a Western colony of the oldest and most classical type, Israel can be seen as a colony not just for its own sake, but as part of a wider Western “project” and belief system. Concepts. All of the above investigations will be conducted after an introduction to Foucault’s conceptions of Discourse and Power, which will themselves be applied to the investigation, as I believe they aptly provide an explanation for everything that has taken place regarding Palestine since the 19th century. I will also be depicting this narrative as part of a larger, even global Discourse. Sources. I will use Edward Said’s book Orientalism to explain how, in Foucaultian terms, a contrasting image of the East as opposed to the enlightened West was created over centuries until it has reached its current form which allows the West to justify the colonization of the Arab world, several books by Foucault, including Madness and Civilization and Discipline and Punish. This will be accompanied by a scrapbook containing translated Israeli newspaper articles which will be referenced in the main body of work in order to support my claims regarding the workings of Israeli media discourse in perpetuating the above beliefs. Articles will refer not only to political events reflecting the reality of Israeli society’s perception of itself and its Arab population; they will also be used to illustrate the way in which the media in Israel contributes to Israeli colonialism through its irresponsible (and at time perhaps deliberate) use of everyday words and concepts.