SOAS University of London

Centre for Jewish Studies

Raw Sovereignty: how military rule and occupation re-shape Israeli democracy


Date: 20 February 2019Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 20 February 2019Time: 6:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 4426

Type of Event: Talk

Speaker: Eyal Chowers (Tel Aviv University)

In the last decade, the quality of democracy deteriorated in many countries around the world. In most cases, democratic sovereignty is officially upheld yet becomes intertwined with authoritarian political rationale and with a monolithic conception of power. Israel is illuminating in this context: while democracy is undoubtedly still alive and meaningful in this state despite many security challenges, Israel also maintains belligerent occupation over Palestinians in the West Bank, and it is subtly reshaped by this occupation and its philosophy of government. This is evident, in particular, in the growing demands to concentrate power in the executive branch and the pressures to instrumentalise the law and the courts. The deepening impoverishment of language-based politics and public conversation; and the expanding perception of politics as only marginally related to a moral vision and as centred instead on the danger Others pose to the nation, as exemplified by the new Nationality Law. 

The event is the second in a series marking the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords that will bring together scholars and activists to discuss the cultural, social and political ramifications of “Oslo” as an event, structure and effect.

Eyal Chowers is a senior lecturer at the Political Science department of Tel Aviv University and the author of The Political Philosophy of Zionism: Trading Jewish Words for a Hebraic Land (Cambridge UP, 2012).

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