Social movement scholarship convincingly highlights the importance of sharing the same risks for building solidarity, but it often unintentionally conceals the reality that certain risks cannot be fully shared. Using interviews with activists involved in Combatants for Peace (CFP), a joint Palestinian–Israeli anti-occupation organization, this article illustrates how radically risks can differ for activists in relation to their nationality, as well as make clear the tremendous impact asymmetrical risks can have for movement organizations and their efforts to build solidarity. I argue that for movement organizations and joint partnerships working across fields of asymmetrical risk, solidarity is not about sharing the same risks; rather, it is about trust and mutual recognition of the risk asymmetries. Moreover, that solidarity building across risk asymmetries involves three general measures: a clear commitment to shared goals, a willingness to defend and support one another, and a respect of each other’s boundaries. In the discussion, this argument, which was developed through an in-depth analysis of CFP, is applied to the joint struggle in the Palestinian village of Bil’in to indicate generalizability.
I would like to thank Patrick G. Coy and the anonymous reviewers for their careful reading of an earlier draft of this manuscript and their very helpful and insightful comments. I would also like to thank Chen Alon who first brought to my awareness the challenges posed to CFP by the risk asymmetries, and inspired me to investigate this topic. This research was supported by a Hanway Global Studies Faculty Development Grant from Loyola University Maryland.
Gawerc, M.I. (2018), "Building Solidarity across Asymmetrical Risks: Israeli and Palestinian Peace Activists", Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 42), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 87-112. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0163-786X20180000042004
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