Dr. Honaida Ghanim (Director of the Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies “MADAR”, Visiting Professor at Birzeit University)

Post-justice, exceptionalism, and the normalization of Apartheid

On 13th April 2022, we held our second session of the Bisan Lecture Series. It was given by Dr. Hohaida Ghanem, director of the Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies “MADAR” and Visiting Professor at Birzeit University. The talk’s title was “Post-justice, exceptionalism, and the normalization of Apartheid”. Dr. Ghanem focused on the importance of the symbolic and ideological facets of the oppression, as those which make the normalization of Apartheid in Palestine possible. She distinguished the conception, according to which Palestine was truly, physically “empty” of Arab inhabitants before the Zionist colonization, from that which has treated Palestine as “politically empty”. The latter approach, according to Ghanem, has tolerated the Palestinian physical presence as long as it was not accorded full-blown humanity, agency and political self-definition. Such an approach has been easier to digest, by the colonialists themselves, as well as by the international community. Hence the Israeli “exceptionalism”. Ghanem offered a fascinating reading of the history of Palestine in the last 100 years according to this interpretation. The talk was followed by a lively discussion, which revolved mainly on linkages between this interpretation and the current political situation in Palestine and Israel.