Thursday, September 07, 2023

Here is the abstract of a paper by Walaa Alqaisiya,  published in Political Geography, a peer-reviewed academic journal published by Elsevier: 

Beyond the contours of Zionist sovereignty: Decolonisation in Palestine's Unity Intifada
This article takes the May 2021 uprising in Palestine, known as the Unity Intifada, as a prism to map old and new political geographies between coloniser and freedom-fighter, whose significance extends beyond the temporal limits of the May event. The first part of the paper investigates the role of identity and cultural geographies in re-enforcing Jewish claims to sovereignty. It shows how the Zionist production of pink (sexed/gendered), red (racializing/indigenising) and green (environmental) markers, is used to draw the contours of settler legitimacy and intensifies when faced by growing indigenous rebellion. The second part addresses the decolonising possibilities engulfing the Unity Intifada. It examines the role of youth, including women and queer collectives, and how their actions invoke new political and material taxonomies beyond the liberal peace structure to which Palestine has succumbed since the Oslo agreements. Overall, the article advances the political geographies of decolonisation by challenging the maintenance of settler colonial violence within the popular, political, and intellectual imaginary of ‘Israel/Palestine.’ It does so by tracing the spatial and epistemic value of decolonisation theories that extend from interactions across indigenous, queer feminist, critical race, and eco-materialist debates.  
That is a lot of obfuscation to give a message that Palestinian violence is wonderful and must be encouraged.

As with most such academic papers, the author "talks past the sale:" she takes lies like Israel's "colonialism" or terrorists as "freedom fighters" as being so obvious that they need no proof or citations and uses them as building blocks to selectively chose whatever evidence they claim supports their propaganda. She has no need to explain how, exactly, shooting rockets into civilian population areas or ambushing and shooting drivers on the road is "freedom fighting."

In the first paragraph, Alqaisiya asserts "Nakba is a structure not an event (Wolfe, 2006)." But the Wolfe paper says "Invasion is a structure not an event." The author redefines "nakba" for her own purposes from the standard Palestinian line that it means the (fictional) expulsion of 700,000 Arabs in 1948 - now it means the arrival of Jews to the region decades earlier, framing it as an "invasion."

Her assumption is that Jews had no right to migrate to Palestine to escape persecution in Europe or the Middle East throughout the centuries. The right for persecuted minorities to seek refuge is unchallenged - unless they are Jews returning to their ancestral homeland, the exact opposite of colonialism. 

She knows what she is doing. The peer reviewers of Political Geography are not experts in the history of the region, and they are also probably reluctant to challenge a Palestinian's narrative of her "truth." She, and many other academics, take advantage of these factors, plus the general anti-Israel atmosphere in academic circles,  to spread lies and agitprop without fear of being exposed.

And just in case a reviewer might notice Alqaisiya is not exactly objective, she says in her "Methodology" section that her hatred of Israel is a strength, not a weakness: 
[G]iven the role played by social media in circulating activist online campaigns and commentary about the Uprising, a digital ethnographic component shaped the methodological approach of the article. Not only did this method help direct the selection of primary sources that ‘capture how self-identity is formed, structured and expressed on digitally based platforms,’ (Kaur-Gill and Dutta, 2017: 3) but it also aligns with the epistemic base of decolonising research (Tuhiwai Smith, 2012), recognising the author's own positionality as Palestinian. Indeed, the majority of the discussion across the two sections emerges from the author's political and scholarly engagement within decolonial feminist and activist online spaces, in Palestine and beyond, which responded to the Unity Intifada's plight. The aim of advancing the sovereignty of indigenous knowledge, therefore, is at the heart of this article's methodological approach (Tuhiwai Smith, 2012).
In English: "I am a Palestinian, therefore my anti-Israel activism and opinions are worth more than any objective source. My obvious bias is the core of this research, and I then choose my secondary sources to fit my bias. And if you object to that methodology, you are oppressing me."

Here is a key paragraph:
It was as the bombs were dropping on besieged Gaza, devastating entire families and amounting to war crimes, that Israel took part in the annual international song competition, Eurovision. Israeli participation in such events unveils a cultural site for Zionist pinkwashing, delineating a sexed/gendered self that reifies the logic of settler colonial domination. The country's 2021 representation through the figure of a Jewish Ethiopian woman, Eden Alene, reveals how race plays a defining role in settlers' (subjects and state) efforts at indigenising colonial settlement. I read Alene's 2021 Eurovision contest participation as an attempt to neutralise Zionism's mounting crisis during times of growing confrontation with the indigene's resistance via the crafting of ‘an alternate (hi)story.’ This Zionist self-indigenising narrative, which also activates forms of cultural exchange with Indigenous nations and their plight elsewhere, further intertwines redwashing and greenwashing efforts.
It hardly needs to be mentioned that Israel didn't choose the dates of Eurovision, and that the contestants were chosen way before the May mini-war in Gaza. But Alqaisiya "reads" the two events coinciding as a Zionist response to the bad publicity of defending itself from rockets. The author then doubles down and spends several paragraphs railing against previous Israeli entries in Eurovision as symbolizing "pinkwashing."

To anti-Zionist fanatics, Israel is by definition an illiberal state. Therefore, any counter-evidence - like  transsexual, gay-friendly and Black contestants for Eurovision being fully embraced by most of Israeli society - must be interpreted as a cynical attempt by Israel to hide its hate for LGBTQ and people of color. The contestants' own Zionism is further proof of Israeli illiberalism and attempts to obscure its "apartheid." In short, any facts that decisively disprove the assertion of Israeli evil are themselves further proof of Israeli evil. 

Occam's Razor is shredded in favor of conspiracy theories. 

Again, the peer reviewers might not be expected to understand the history of the scurrilous "pinkwashing" and "redwashing" and "greenwashing" accusations throughout this paper. But they should at least click on the references to see if they say what Alqaisiya claims. In this same paragraph, the link to her saying that the Gaza war in 2021 amounts to war crimes goes to an Al Jazeera article which says "The United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has said Israel’s recent attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip that killed more than 200 Palestinians may constitute “war crimes” if they are shown to be disproportionate." This is a deliberate misquote, one of dozens, and that minor example should have been enough to raise flags for any reviewer at Political Geography. 

So many of her other footnotes link to articles that do not say what she claims. Another example: 
Predating Alene's participation was Netta Barzilai's win of the 2018 Eurovision contest with the song ‘Toy,’ whose feminist LGBTQ vibes (Cook, 2019) invoked the celebration of Israel as a place that shares the progressive liberal values of Europe. Israel has been at the core of embodying attributes of ‘European identity’ (Ayoub and Paternotte, 2014) as they link to feminist and LGBTQ issues. 
The link says that LGBT rights are emblematic of European identity, but that has nothing to do with Israel actively claiming to be European. This is Alqaisiya's way to tell readers that Israel is a foreign European outpost in the Middle East that doesn't belong, and that Jews are really European converts and not descended from the Children of Israel. 

Yet another example: A footnote about the organization StandWithUs says "The Israeli government heavily funds this US-based organisation to disseminate hasbara (public diplomacy for the Israeli government) through ‘citizen activism,’ whose goal is to mobilise young people in Israel, the US and Britain to stand up for Israel and Jewish people. (See Bazz, 2015; StandWithUs, 2022). " "Bazz" in 2015 reported that Israel planned to pay StandWithUs about $250,000 for a specific one year project, but it fell through and as far as I can tell, SWU does not get any funding from the Israeli government.

It would take a month to show the many such inaccuracies in this paper - and this is all what Political Geography should have done, and failed to do.

The entire paper is online, so you can see for yourself how Alqaisiya has little regard for truth.  Every paragraph includes lies (including the Depo-Provera slander I mentioned that are spread in multiple academic papers). 

I don't know what kind of peer review Political Geography engages in, but it is apparent that not only do they not do basic fact checking, they don't even flag a paper like this that all but brags that it is intended to be Palestinian propaganda.

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