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Article

Julia Chaitin, Shoshana Steinberg and Sharon Steinberg

The study aimed to investigate how Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and others from around the world present their views on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and the…

Abstract

Purpose

The study aimed to investigate how Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and others from around the world present their views on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and the Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). The quality of discourse was examined along with the implications of the rhetoric for social-justice and conflict resolution frameworks.

Design/methodology/approach

This qualitative study analyzed 257 texts (newspaper articles, opinion pieces, YouTube videos, emails. Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, campaigns and websites) for content and quality of discourse and for their implications for social-justice and conflict resolution work.

Findings

Most texts divided into those in favor of the boycott and those opposed. The content was also polarized − most pro-BDS texts saw Israel as a settler-colonial enterprise, and emphasized issues of social-justice, whereas opponents perceived Israel as a legitimate nation and were skeptical of the human rights angle. The main types of discourse discerned included: ethnocentric talk, attack and intellectual discussion, regardless of national/ethnic origin of the writer or stance toward the boycott.

Research limitations/implications

Different types of texts were analyzed, which did not always fit easily into the discourse categories. Because this was the first study of its kind and looked at limited years, results should be approached with this in mind.

Practical implications

The rhetoric leaves little place for dialogue between those in favor and those opposed. Specific suggestions for combining social-justice work and conflict resolution work are offered.

Social implications

BDS discourse in its present form hampers finding a solution to the conflict and abuse of Palestinian rights. A new approach is needed to try to resolve these issues.

Originality/value

Because there are few systematic studies on BDS, this article provides insight into how people discuss the strategy and how it connects to frameworks for resolving conflicts.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

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Book part

Maia Carter Hallward and Crystal Armstrong

Social media platforms are increasingly receiving attention as legitimate locations for civil society discourse and social movement mobilization. Initial work by Lovejoy…

Abstract

Social media platforms are increasingly receiving attention as legitimate locations for civil society discourse and social movement mobilization. Initial work by Lovejoy and Saxton suggests NGOs use digital platforms such as Twitter to engage their constituencies through information dissemination, community building, and mobilization to action. Here, we explore the applicability of Lovejoy and Saxton’s communicative functions framework to resistance movement behavior by exploring two examples of digital engagement in political conflict. Through content analysis of tweets using hashtag indicators #BDS and #ICC4Israel collected during the spring of 2015, we affirm Lovejoy and Saxton’s findings that information dissemination is the most prevalent communication function for grassroots and institutionally grounded movements. Further, we find that informational tweets in our sample often provide information about grievances, and therefore propose an expansion of the framework to accommodate tweets that may be more common in resistance movements than in NGO communication. In addition to general findings about the communicative functions framework, the content analysis yielded several findings specific to the resistance movements studied. Notably, we find that #BDS and #ICC4Israel tweets are overwhelmingly nonviolent, and that sentiment is generally favorable across both hashtags, with the exception of tweets focusing on academic boycott, which were more ambiguous.

Details

Narratives of Identity in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-078-7

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Book part

Michelle I. Gawerc

Social movement scholarship convincingly highlights the importance of sharing the same risks for building solidarity, but it often unintentionally conceals the reality…

Abstract

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.

Details

Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-895-2

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Book part

Michelle I. Gawerc

Social movement scholarship convincingly highlights the importance of threats, political opportunities, prior social ties, ideological compatibility, and resources for…

Abstract

Social movement scholarship convincingly highlights the importance of threats, political opportunities, prior social ties, ideological compatibility, and resources for coalition formation. Based on interviews with Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists involved in two transnational coalitions in Israel/Palestine, this chapter illustrates the emergence of transnational coalitions, particularly those that cross polarized ethno-national divides, depends not only on such facilitators, but also, and critically, on the belief that such diverse cooperation is strategic. I argue these unique coalitions intentionally formed with individuals and organizations situated in different national communities out of a strategic decision by the Palestinian initiators, given the closed political opportunity structure they faced domestically, to enlarge the scope of conflict by drawing in new people and communities who may have some leverage on the Israeli government. Consequently, this chapter also makes clear that partners in the Global South make intentional choices about who to partner with, and that the agency is not solely linked with their more privileged partners in the Global North (cf., Bob, 2001; Widener, 2007). Finally, it illustrates that coalition partners are recruited not only because of social ties, prior histories of interaction, ideological similarity, and shared organizational framing, but also due to key considerations including perceptions of what the ethno-national diversity, varying networks, and differing privileges make available.

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Article

Emily Maureen Schneider

Scholarship on the contact hypothesis and peacebuilding suggests that contact with marginalized ethnic and racial groups may reduce prejudice and improve opportunities for…

Abstract

Purpose

Scholarship on the contact hypothesis and peacebuilding suggests that contact with marginalized ethnic and racial groups may reduce prejudice and improve opportunities for conflict resolution. Through a study of dual-narrative tours to Israel/Palestine, the purpose of this paper is to address two areas of the debate surrounding this approach to social change. First, past research on the effectiveness of contact-based tourism as a method to change attitudes is inconclusive. Travel to a foreign country has been shown to both improve and worsen tourists’ perceptions of a host population. Second, few scholars have attempted to link contact-based changes in attitudes to activism.

Design/methodology/approach

Through an analysis of 218 post-tour surveys, this study examines the role of dual-narrative tours in sparking attitude change that may facilitate involvement in peace and justice activism. Surveys were collected from the leading “dual-narrative” tour company in the region, MEJDI. Dual-narrative tours uniquely expose mainstream tourists in Israel/Palestine to Palestinian perspectives that are typically absent from the majority of tours to the region. This case study of dual-narrative tours therefore provides a unique opportunity to address the self-selecting bias, as identified by contact hypothesis and tourism scholars, in order to understand the potential impacts of exposure to marginalized narratives.

Findings

The findings of this study suggest that while these tours tend to engender increased support for Palestinians over Israelis, their most salient function appears to be the cultivation of empathy for “both sides” of the conflict. Similarly, dual-narrative tours often prompt visitors to understand the conflict to be more complex than they previously thought. In terms of activism, tourists tend to prioritize education-based initiatives in their plans for post-tour political engagement. In addition, a large number of participants articulated commitments to support joint Israeli–Palestinian non-governmental organizations and to try to influence US foreign policy to be more equitable.

Originality/value

These findings complicate debates within the scholarship on peacebuilding as well as within movements for social justice in Israel/Palestine. While programs that equate Israeli and Palestinian perspectives are often criticized for reinforcing the status quo, dual-narrative tours appear to facilitate nuance and universalism while also shifting tourists toward greater identification with an oppressed population. Together, these findings shed light on the ability of tourism to facilitate positive attitude change about a previously stigmatized racial/ethnic group, as well as the power of contact and exposure to marginalized narratives to inspire peace and justice activism.

Details

International Journal of Tourism Cities, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-5607

Keywords

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