Conscripted Realities: Military and Society in Israel

Conscripted Realities – Program

October 11 – 13, 2011, Amsterdam

During three days of discussions, exhibitions and film screenings, gate48 would like to introduce innovative perspectives on the militarization of Israeli society and culture. Militarism is part of everyday life in Israel, closely linked to the ongoing reality of armed conflict and occupation. As a result, militaristic approaches to the conflict have become dominant, while feminist critiques and other alternative voices have been ignored or dismissed. Conscripted Realities aims to bring forth these voices in order to examine how the military and civil society interact in the formation of the national subject.

Academics and activists from Israel will discuss the topic from various angles, including the economic aspects of militarization, the militarization of education and media, and the effects of militarization on gendered and ethnic minorities in their struggles for equality. The symposium is accompanied by a digital exhibition “Making Militarism Visible”, curated by the Israeli feminist organization “New Profile”. The exhibition reveals the subtle but strong influence of militarism on Israeli popular culture.

The symposium also marks the opening of the exhibition “Breaking the Silence: Video Testimonies of Israeli Soldiers”, created by Breaking the Silence* and presented at the Melkweg gallery. Conscripted Realities: Military and Society in Israel endeavors to contextualize this powerful exhibition within a broader socio-cultural perspective.

*Breaking the Silence is an organization of Israeli ex-military combatants who seek to reveal the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The exhibition at the Melkweg gallery is co-organized by gate48.

Tuesday, October 11

Opening event: CREA – Theaterzaal, Turfdraagsterpad 17

20:00-20.15  Opening Remarks

Dr. Erella Grassiani, VU University Amsterdam, gate48

20.15-22.00  Noam Hayut, co-founder of Breaking the Silence

Breaking the Silence: Testimonies of Soldiers from the Israeli Occupation

Discussant: Dr. Orna Sasson-Levy, Chair of the department of Sociology and Anthropology, Bar-Ilan University

Wednesday, October 12

Symposium: University of Amsterdam – VOC-zaal (Bushuis/OIH), Kloveniersburgwal 48

 9:00 – 9:30 Gathering and coffee

Screening of the New profile exhibition “Making Militarism Visible””; ongoing throughout the day.

 9:30 – 9:45  Opening Remarks

Noa Roei, University of Amsterdam, gate48

 9:45 – 11:15 Session I: The Making of Military Minds: Militarism in Education and Media

Abir Kopty, activist, media analyst and consultant

Militarism, Patriarchy and elitism in Israeli media

 Rela Mazali, author and independent scholar, co-founder of the New Profile movement to demilitarize Israel, co-founder of the arms control project “Gun Free Kitchen Tables”

Disappearing Choice or How I Was Educated to Believe There Wasn’t Any

 Chair and discussant: Robin Celikates, Associate Professor of Political and Social Philosophy, University of Amsterdam

 11:15 – 11:30  Coffee break

 11:30 – 13:00  Session II: Equal Duties, Equal Rights? Gender Politics in a Militarized Society

 Dr. Orna Sasson-Levy, Chair of the department of Sociology and Anthropology, Bar-Ilan University

Militarism from a Gendered Perspective: The Meaning of Military Service in Israeli Women’s Life Course

 Inna Michaeli, Coalition of Women for Peace

From “No Pride in the Occupation” to the Current “Pinkwashing” Debate: LGBT Politics and Militarism in Israel

 Chair and discussant: Aylin Kuryel, PhD candidate at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam

 13:00 – 14:00  Lunch

 14:00 – 15:30  Session III: The Security Business: Soldiers without Uniforms

 Galit Gelbort, PhD researcher and writer, Israel

Evolutions of Israeli Control of the Palestinian Population: From Checkpoint to the New Privatized Crossing

 Dr. Erella Grassiani, VU University Amsterdam, gate48

How to use Occupation Skills for a Profit: Israeli Combatant Experience as a Brand

 Chair and discussant: Rela Mazali, author and independent scholar

 15:30 – 16:00  Roundtable and Concluding remarks

Melkweg – Mediaroom, Lijnbaansgracht 234a

17:00  Drinks and the opening of the exhibition:

Breaking the Silence: Video Testimonies of Israeli Soldiers

The exhibition will be on display between October 13th and November 13th.

Thursday, October 13

Humanity House, Prinsegracht 8, Den Haag

17:00  Breaking the Silence: Testimonies of Soldiers from the Israeli Occupation

Discussion with Noam Hayut, co-founder of Breaking the Silence

Final Event: Mezrab, Domselaerstraat 120, Amsterdam

The Political Consequences of Militarization

 19:30  Doors open, food and drinks available

 20:30 Introduction: Itamar Shachar, gate48

 20:40 Film screening: “A Million Bullets in October”

(Israel 2007, 47 min., Hebrew with English subtitles)

Director: Moish Goldberg

This documentary film describes how the Israeli public was convinced with the outbreak of the second Intifada in October 2000 that ‘there is no partner for negotiation on the Palestinian side’, and therefore a military assault on the Palestinians is unavoidable. Testimonies of Israeli politicians, journalists and ex-military officers reveal how Israeli consciousness was shaped through disinformation spread by the military and by uncritical journalists, while cabinet members allowed the army to lead the way and dictate policy.

21:30 Discussion with Abir Kopty, activist, media analyst and consultant

Moderator: Pejman Jafari, PhD candidate at the department of political science, University of Amsterdam, board member of Mezrab