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Israeli Leisure, 'Palestinian Terror,' and The Question of Palestine (Again)

    6:3 | © 2003  Rebecca Stein
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    1.      Long after the arguments in Edward Said's Orientalism (1978) have acquired both academic and popular currency, what's remarkable is the degree to which Said's The Question of Palestine (1979) remains a bold intervention into dominant U.S. discourse on the Middle East. At the most rudimentary level, Said's text aimed to establish the very existence of Palestine and the Palestinian people, and to trace the genealogy of their displacement -- both materially from their land, and figuratively from the landscape of both Israeli and U.S. history and collective memory. No less pressing, at the time of the text's publication, was the relatively uncharted work of systematically inserting Zionism into the history of European imperialism. In 1979, at a time when the signifier "Palestine" still resounded with insurgence for many U.S. audiences, The Question of Palestine was both a courageous project and, as Said noted in the text's introduction, a rather lonely one -- the loneliness of one who articulates the heretofore unsaid.[1] While the existence of the Palestinian people is no longer in question in the present, an aura of insurgence still haunts Said's colonial claim. Indeed, it is only very recently that academics, journalists, and activists in the U.S. have been authorized to speak openly about the coloniality of the Zionist project without the threat of sanction, without the need to defend against the charge of anti-Semitism -- and, for Jewish critics, that highly problematic label of "self-hater," which has long done the work of disciplining Jewish dissent and delimiting the terms of intelligible Jewish identity.

    2.      Yet the parameters of permissible discourse about Zionism and the Jewish State have indeed shifted in the last few decades -- and quite markedly in the last year alone. The genesis of this shift is multiple. Certainly, it has been enabled by the success with which the Palestinian national movement and resistance struggle of the 1980s and early 1990s was able to export its historical claims, demands, and images of defiance into the US arena. The Oslo Accords of 1993, for all its flaws, bestowed international legitimacy on the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, in relatively unprecedented ways. So, too, must one credit the World Conference Against Racism of 2001, with its popularization of an anti-colonial critique of the Zionist project. But it is certainly the magnitude of Israeli violence and repression over the course of the last few years that has enabled -- indeed, required -- this vocabulary to emerge in new ways and with new force. In the spring of 2002, amidst the largest and most brutal Israeli incursion into the Occupied Palestinian Territories since the 1967 war, U.S. audiences bore witness to a significant change in the texture of popular discourse. What exploded onto the screens of televisions, and in the pages of newspapers, was not merely the language of "military occupation" and (to a lesser degree) "colonialism," but also of "war crimes," "ethnic cleansing," and even "genocide" -- language that was deployed, particularly in the aftermath of the Israeli incursion into Jenin, as a way to name and make sense of Israel's military presence in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.[2] Certainly, some of these terms were much more accurate than others. Nonetheless, what merits attention is the fact of their collective emergence within a discursive landscape that had long been fiercely policed for anything that smacked of anti-Israeli sentiment.

    3.      All of this is not to suggest the wholesale radicalization of US discourse and politics on Palestine. In the spring of 2002, as Israeli fatalities mounted from a campaign of Palestinian militarism, U.S. audiences also witnessed a frightening return to classic Zionist rhetorics, and racist defenses of the Jewish State, particularly from within the mainstream Jewish American community. Of course, Israel's official discourse on the need for self-defense in the face of Arab terror was a newly persuasive one for a U.S. public still stinging from the pain and affront of September 11. What we witnessed and generated in the spring of last year, was a complicated and polyphonic discursive sphere in which the language of Zionist coloniality and Palestinian terror competed for space and audibility within the mainstream media in relatively unprecedented ways. These complications -- and, at times, contradictions -- were exemplified in the language of our president, who lent his support to the Israeli administration in their battle against "terror," even as he experimentally deployed the term "Palestine," thereby implicitly bearing homage to the Palestinian struggle for self-determination -- both its history and its claims in the present.

    4.      Taking my cue from this moment of discursive ambivalence and possibility in the U.S. media, and building on the tradition of (post)colonial criticism we've inherited from Said and others, this paper investigates the ways in which popular Israeli discourse represented and managed this same historic moment -- the period of Palestinian militarism and Israeli repression, in the spring of 2002, that we witnessed so graphically and pervasively on our televisions. Popular Israeli discourse was also in flux during this period, although in radically different ways. As Israel's occupation grew in intensity, violence, and scope, and as Israelis were faced with a virtually unprecedented wave of Palestinian (so-called) 'suicide bombings' [3] against civilian targets inside the state's 1967 borders, dominant Jewish Israeli discourse began to tell a story about leisure. In order to dramatize and render intelligible the Israeli experience of Palestinian militarism, and the radical ways in which it had transformed daily life, the Israeli Hebrew and English-language media collaborated in an account of Jewish leisure practices, and consumptive patterns more generally, under attack. At the center of this discourse, was the café or the coffeehouse -- a central institution of Israeli bourgeois public life, now being targeted by Palestinian militants. Yet the Israeli investment in the café as an index of Palestinian violence far exceeded its material status as terror's target. The story of cafés under attack did the work of managing and containing popular anxiety about this moment in the Israeli nation-state. Cafés were asked to carry a metonymic charge -- to stand-in for the Jewish nation-state, and its fragility, in a time of crisis. To investigate the Israeli café discourse, as this paper does, is not to refuse the very real and lasting trauma with which cafés have been associated in the lives of Israelis over the course of the last year. Rather, it is to consider how cafés -- both as institutions and as signs -- have been asked to carry the burden of this trauma, and, in tandem, of the Israeli violence and vitriol of the current political moment.

    5.      In focusing the analysis that follows on the Israeli media -- that is, on a set of popular Hebrew discourses that circulated within the 1967 borders of Israel -- this paper parts ways with a particular branch of Middle East Studies in the U.S. academy that has historically delimited its engagement with Jewish-Israeli histories, politics, and cultural processes. What's been at issue, for those within this tradition, is the desire to produce an intellectual geography that accords with terms of anti-Zionist critique. Yet what often resulted was a map of the region -- or, more pointedly, a map of permissible analysis -- that virtually excluded the state of Israel. The very coloniality of Zionism has, for some, been thought to necessitate a highly curtailed intellectual engagement with the Jewish state and its histories -- an engagement that has typically proceeded along the lines of Jewish-Israeli dominance and/or Palestinian subalternity conceptualized in very limited ways. This paper, and the broader project of which it is a part, wants to rethink this logic, by considering the ways in which the critique of Zionism, and its histories, might take the form of a serious engagement with Israeli cultural politics -- particularly its quotidian forms and practices. At issue is both a reconceptualization of the parameters of academic inquiry on Israel and/in the Middle East, and an insistent remapping of the very terms of Israeli power.[4]

      Of Cafés, Consumption, and Coloniality

    6.      The café discourse emerged most powerfully in the wake of March 9, 2002, after a young Palestinian bomber, armed with explosives, detonated his charge in a crowded café in a wealthy suburb of West Jerusalem. The blast was strong and deadly -- killing eleven men and women, and injuring some fifty others. In the days that followed the bombing, the café became a shrine of sorts, a place of secular homage. Neighborhood mourners decked the sidewalk, and the demolished storefront, with flowers and memorial candles, and young girls gathered to recite psalms for the dead, their bodies draped in the Israeli flag -- scenes which harkened back to the popular acts of public memorialization (therein, performative acts of citizenship) that followed the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. This was by no means the first café targeted by Palestinians during the second Intifada, the uprising which began in September of 2000. The month of March 2002 alone witnessed a bomb attempt at another West Jerusalem locale, narrowly prevented by a vigilant waiter, and an explosion at a popular Tel Aviv coffee shop. Indeed, over the course of the Intifada, institutions of leisure and consumption (such as discos, restaurants, and outdoor malls) were being increasingly targeted by bombers -- this despite the continued focus by Palestinian militants on their more traditional targets -- such as settler and army establishments in the Occupied Territories, and inside Israel, open-air markets and public buses -- sites of dense, and largely working class, assembly. Yet in the popular Israeli media, the perception was otherwise. As the death toll from bombings mounted in March and early April, the Israeli press turned its attention on the café as the locus of Palestinian terror. The image of the Jewish state under what fire was illustrated through a story of both of leisure and loss -- the loss of the café as a space of daily, ritualized consumption. The popularity of this narrative reached its peek in the weeks prior to the most brutal phase of the Israeli incursion, which began on 29 March, 2002. Nonetheless, the narrative circulated at a time of disproportionate violence, when Israeli aggression in the West Bank was exacting a much greater toll on the daily lives of Palestinians. The grossly myopic focus on Israeli loss, in the face of such violence and devastation in the West Bank, was certainly the narrative's greatest offense.

    7.      Consider, by way of introduction, an article from Ha'aretz newspaper -- the Hebrew daily of the Israeli intelligentsia. On March 10, a day after the Jerusalem bombing, the newspaper broke from its standard idiom of reportage, to decry in highly personalized terms not merely the cost in human life, but the violence afflicted on "the café" as national institution: "This is our café [Ze hacafe shelanu]," began the article, which was featured prominently on page one of the newspaper, just below its masthead: "We came here in the morning for an espresso and a croissant . . . [t]o grasp what is left of normalcy, of our secular sanity . . . our way of life." The paragraphs that followed surveyed, from the vantage of an intimate eyewitness, the scene of death and destruction in the immediate aftermath of the blast. In bald staccato prose, the article narrated the landscape of carnage -- "the smell of burning," the "charred human flesh," fragments of human bodies amidst the shattered glass, the screams of the evacuated survivors, the stillness of the dead. In conclusion, after surveying the contemporary political landscape, the author returned to the figure of the café:

      [W]e can no longer keep fooling ourselves. This is a war about the morning's coffee and croissant. About the beer in the evening. About our very lives.[5]
    8.      While this article was unusual in the prominence it received (featured, as it was, on page one), the tenor and tropes of its narrative were ubiquitous in Israeli media of this moment. Newspapers and talk shows alike decried the sacrifice of cafés to Palestinian terror. They hailed the victims of café bombings as exemplary citizens. They obsessively chronicled the "chilling quiet" that had befallen leisure districts in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and celebrated the ad-hoc efforts of residents to "take back the cafés" in their neighborhoods.[6] In turn, victims of café bombings were offered up as exemplary Israeli citizens -- as the "Everyman, mainstream Israel. . . ." So ubiquitous was the café discourse, that it found its way into Ariel Sharon's national address from the Knesset floor,[7] and was exported into the US media, where it circulated in similar -- although less pervasive -- ways.[8] In Israel, the café narrative acquired a complicated performative status. Its very citation seemed to seem to produce the effects of a pledge of allegiance -- marking the speaker as in and of the Israeli nation-state.

    9.      Many of these accounts -- particularly those appearing in the English-language media -- borrowed from the post-September 11 narrative of defiance through consumerism, whereby the abnegation of normal consumptive patterns was deemed a victory for "terrorists" (as in, if we don't go out for drinks, "then they win").[9] Thus it was that the act of café patronage was configured, in the press, as a valorized Israeli practice. Die-hard customers were portrayed as heroes, persevering in the face of Palestinian terror. Their very presence in cafés was marshaled as evidence of the lasting power of the Israeli people in the face of this assault on their existence. "If you want to understand [the state of Israel], come to Caffit [café] for breakfast," read an Israeli editorial from early April. "This is a people that aren't going away. They are not even going to stop drinking coffee. . . ."[10] Several daily papers interviewed the dedicated patrons that returned to their favorite coffee bars in the face of the current crisis: "Just about the most patriotic thing you can do now is go out and have a drink."[11] Burdened with new symbolic import, those cafés that remained open for table service became privileged sites for the performance of national allegiance. Ones very presence in a café was rendered a superlative act of loyalty to the state in its battle against terror. Consumption, itself, became an act of defiance, and the consumer the defiant citizen-solider.

    10.      Yet, more than consumption was at issue. Also under fire, from Palestinian terrorists, was the possibility of public assemblage in café spaces. It was thus with considerable shock that West Jerusalemites learned of local plans to convert coffee houses into take-out only facilities. Consider the following testimony of a Jewish Jerusalem resident, published as a personal essay on the crisis in a weekly Israeli magazine:


    12. While [picking up] my son [after school] . . . I [ran] into [a] neighbor, who told me that the Aroma café . . . had moved all its tables and chairs so customers could no longer sit there. At first I didn't really understand what she was saying, and she had to repeat herself before I let the reality of that statement sink in: Aroma had become a take-out place.[12]
    13.      As before, this story was a rather pervasive one. The emergence of take-out became a matter of national importance, and was covered by all major Israeli daily newspapers, as it reflected a radical change in the landscape of civil society.[13] True to Habermas' telling, the emergence of "take-out" threatened the space and possibility of social intercourse itself. In the loss of their cafés, the Israeli public feared an erosion of the public sphere -- the loss of those spaces in which, through consumption, disparate patrons were rendered social equals; in which, through consumption, consumer-subjects became citizens.

    14.      Indeed, the discourse of the café inaugurated a whole set of new national subject-positions. Not only consumers, but also workers in the café sector were being called to duty for the nation-state in new ways. The Israeli press was particularly attentive, in this regard, to the case of a young West Jerusalem waiter, who detected a Palestinian man armed with explosives at the entrance of a crowded coffeehouse ("Hero of the day," he was named by one popular Hebrew daily).[14] As cafés became front-lines in the battle with Palestinian militants, the micro-practices of serving and policing such establishments were the increasing subject of national attention. The testimonials of security-men (now manning the entrances of restaurants, supermarkets, and cafés alike) began to appear in the press ("I know whether someone is suspicious in the blink of an eye"), alongside accounts of vigilant proprietors ("the owner, who asked that his name not be printed because of his current activity in the IDF, claims to have been at the café 'armed and ready' every day since the start of the current violence").[15] Labor in the café sector was now being overwritten with the signs of patriotism. As the café acquired the status of a battle ground, the difference between waiters and armed guards began to blur; all were being conscripted into this war. All were being hailed as citizen-soldiers in new ways.

    15.      Even as it borrowed from the contemporaneous U.S. story of "terror" and the patriotics of consumption, the Israeli account of the café was freighted with the standard tropes of normative Zionist discourse, and its privileging of the Ashkenazi (e.g. Euro-Jewish) cosmopolitan subject.[16] The coffee-house at issue in this narrative was an explicitly European space and institution, a purveyor not merely of coffee, but of espresso and croissant (as per the account that appeared on the front page of Ha'aretz newspaper); this was a site not merely of popular Israeli congress, but of bourgeoisie Western taste. That this rendering did the work of forgetting the iconic and historic status of the coffee house in Arab society, is clear. Indeed, it was precisely thus that attacks on cafés could be configured as assaults on the primary tenets of Zionism -- in its secularism, its Europeanness, its cosmopolitanism. The loss of this category of bourgeois society thus seemed to threaten the very tenets of Israeli modernity.

    16.      Yet perhaps most ubiquitous, in this new discursive regime, was the trope of "emptiness" -- a trope that appeared with almost comic frequency in the Israeli press of this period. At a time of random and frequent violence against civilians, and pervasive public fear, this trope told the truth of Israeli public space. In the aftermath of the March 9 bombing, cafés were empty, as, indeed, were most places of leisure. Numerous articles began their accounts of the current political crisis with a visual sweep of the depopulated urban landscape.[17] They spoke of half-empty cinemas, and dwindling numbers of consumers in shopping malls; of restaurants, pubs, and clubs -- all suffering from lack of customers. They chronicled the new of ease bar hopping on a Saturday night -- the way that a popular route that once took several hours could now be covered in fifteen minutes -- due to deserted venues and plentiful parking.[18] Articles noted the "chilling quiet [that had] taken control of [Israeli cities]," and the large number of armed guards outside cafés and restaurants, "watching empty places." They spoke of popular, bohemian neighborhoods, where parking was usually at premium. Now, "only a few hardy souls are out wandering the streets."[19]

    17.      The "truth" of these accounts is not in question. At issue, again, is their very ubiquity -- the fact that the Israeli media invested so heavily in these desolate scapes as a way to enunciate this moment of national crisis. To begin with, the story of emptiness did the work of substitution; it functioned to obscure other landscapes of desolation and other kinds of empty scapes, particularly urban ones, that were coming into being at this political moment. Perhaps most striking in this regard, and largely ignored by the press, was the sudden absence of Palestinian-Arabs from Israeli urban centers, who stayed away in fear of racial profiling by police and armed security guards, and the mounting anti-Arab rage of the Jewish population. Equally apparent, particularly in West Jerusalem, were the declining numbers of Arab residents using public transportation and entering Jewish neighborhoods and shopping districts, deterred by the racist slogans posted outside downtown businesses: "We do not employ Arabs." Or "Enemies should not be offered livelihood." [20] These other modalities of emptiness, and these fantasies of a city stripped clean of Arabs, went largely unrecorded in the mainstream media, trumped by images of Jewish suffering and absence.

    18.      Yet the trope of emptiness also drew on a long discursive history. It borrowed from and resonated with that most freighted and classic of early Zionist narratives, and indeed of colonial narratives writ large: that of Palestine as "empty land" (as rehearsed in the work of Herzl, Bialik, Mandelstamm, and others). "Emptiness," in this narrative, was the mark of the premodern -- the sign of a place outside time and history, waiting, indeed beckoning, for Western intervention and development. The founding of Tel Aviv was enunciated through his story -- that of a European city born out of sand, "an outpost of civilization against barbarism," in Herzl's infamous words. Of course, Jaffa was a thriving seaport at the time of Zionist settlement, as Jewish settlers were quick to discover. And much of the rural landscape of Palestine -- imagined as uncultivated and sparsely populated -- was densely settled by Palestinian Arabs, throughout most of the fertile and cultivable regions.[21] As many critical historians have noted, much of the violence that both preceded and followed Israeli state formation has turned on efforts to repair the gap between fantasy and reality -- the effort to produce emptiness where there was none, both through the material dispossession of Palestinians, and the more symbolic efforts to remove their traces from the landscape.

    19.      In the spring of 2002, this trope of "the empty" also resonated with contemporaneous Israeli state policy, with the state's reinvigorated tactics and strategies of Palestinian dispossession. Perhaps most pointedly, it echoed the reemergence, in Israeli political discourse, of the strategy of Palestinian population "transfer" or mass expulsion from the Occupied Territories as a means of political solution.[22] While such a solution had few explicit backers in the Israeli parliament at this moment, polls published in the spring of 2002 suggested a sharp rise in popular Israeli support for such policies -- nearing a majority of the Israeli populace.[23] As some Israeli analysts argued, the violence and inhumanity of the Israeli incursion into the Palestinian territories seemed motivated by a proximate goal. On this issue, far-right members of the Israeli parliament were clear; should Palestinian violence escalate into a regional war, they warned, Palestinians should anticipate another 1948, another massive expulsion from their homes and lands.

    20.      It is important to take seriously the ways in which the story of the empty leisure landscape, as told and retold in the Israeli media, resonated with these histories and contemporary fantasies of Palestinian dispossession. There's an uncanniness here, a way in which the ubiquitous narrative of the empty city both recalled and rehearsed, almost feverishly, the aftermath of such a dispossession -- the strange scene of a once inhabited landscape, rendered desolate. Of course, there was a reversal at work: Jews, not Palestinian-Arabs, were the ones missing from cafés, the once crowded pubs, and restaurants. Such a reversal was, perhaps, in recognition of the ways in which another war of dispossession would necessarily rebound into the Jewish state with untold violence.

      Academic Landscapes

    21.      In the early 1980s, in the wake of the Lebanon war and the Israeli cultures of protest it spawned, a new discourse emerged in Israeli universities. Jewish-Israeli historians and sociologists began to commit themselves, in rather unprecedented ways, to rethinking foundational Zionist myths and accounts of state history -- notably, the 1948 war and the legacy of Palestinian displacement, and, in tandem, the colonial roots the Zionist movement. The charge of colonialism was nothing new, as it had been leveled by anti-Zionist activists since the 1960s. But in the 1980s, this critique was enunciated by scholars located within recognizable state institutions, rather than on the state's activist peripheries. In the 1990s, under the umbrella of "post-Zionism," the writings of these scholars began to circulate popularly in the Israeli academy, and their new versions of Israeli history began to find their way into more popular media -- editorials in the Hebrew press, popular fiction and film, documentaries aired on Israeli television, and, perhaps most notably, into the state-sponsored educational curriculum.[24]

    22.      It's striking to note just how quickly these trends have been eclipsed by changes in the Israeli political landscape of the last several years, of which the political tenure and enduring popularity of Ariel Sharon has been both catalyst and symptom. In the current Israeli political climate, the vocabulary of colonialism is no longer welcome in the Israeli academy, or in the pages of the Hebrew press -- either as a way to name Israel's past or its present as an occupying power. Indeed, many of those intellectuals who had participated in the "post-Zionist" project of the 1990s, have since endorsed the popular post-Camp David narrative of disappointment with, and distrust in, the Palestinian people; the loss of Arafat as a "partner for peace"; and the fiction of perpetual Israeli compromise and Palestinian intransigence at successive negotiating tables. Today, in the winter of 2003, many of the same academics and intellectuals speak of the existential threat to the Jewish state, and insist that the besieged state must now defend itself, at all cost. This political landscape bespeaks another sort of desolation -- one of a very dangerous kind.

    23. Acknowledgements

      A version of this paper was first presented at the "Postcolonial Studies and Beyond" Conference at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2002. Thanks to Tom Dumm, Judith Frank, Andrew Janiak, Andrew Parker, Shira Robinson and conference participants for their critical insights on earlier drafts.


      [1]In the introduction to his text, Said writes: "To the West, which is where I live, to be a Palestinian is in political terms to be an outlaw of sorts, or at any rate very much an outsider. But that is a reality, and I mention it today only as a way of indicating the peculiar loneliness of my undertaking in this book." Edward Said, The Question of Palestine (New York: Vintage Books, 1979): xviii.

      [2]This vocabulary peppered MSNBC's coverage of Israel/Palestine in the weeks following the Jenin incursion. Such rhetorics were also rife within the more literate news sources of this period. For articles that employ the language of colonialism, see Thomas Friedman, "What Day Is It?," The New York Times, 24 April 2002 and Anthony Lewis, "Is there a Solution?," The New York Review of Books, 25 April 2002, 4-5.

      [3]I place this formulation in quotes not to disavow the violence of this act in the history of the Israeli nation-state, but to draw attention to its ideological nature of this phrase, replete with a story of Islamic and/or Arab fanaticism and its disavowal of the value of human life.

      [4]This analysis is part of a broader project about Israeli cultural politics of the last two decades, and the interplay between militarism, nationalism, and leisure practices. See also Rebecca L. Stein, "First Contact and Other Israeli Fictions: Tourism, Globalization and the Middle East Peace Process," Public Culture 14 (2002); 515-543 and Stein, "National Itineraries, Itinerant Nations: Israeli Tourism and Palestinian Cultural Production," Social Text 56 (1998); 91-124.

      [5]Adi Shveet, "War for the Peace of Moment,"Ha'aretz, 10 March 2002, 1 [Hebrew].

      [6]The Jerusalem Post, "Taking Back the Cafés," 29 March, 2002; 4.

      [7]Sharon (in a speech on April 8, 2002 before a special session of the Israeli Parliament): "The murderous gangs have a leader, a purpose, and a directing hand. They have one mission: to chase us out of here, from everywhere, from our home in Elon Moreh, and from the supermarket in Jerusalem , from the café in Tel Aviv and the restaurant in Haifa. . . ." [Emphasis mine]. New York Times, 9 April 2002; 10A.

      [8]See, for example: Joel Greenberg, "6 Israelis mix confusion, fear, and determination," New York Times, 8 April 2002; this article featured a photograph of an interviewee in an empty café.

      [9] This imported 9/11 logic was particularly apparent in the Israeli English-language media of this moment. An article from the Jerusalem Post, for example, described the conversation between an anxious Jewish-Israeli mother and her son, who sought to persuade her of the merits of eating out: "We can't stop living our normal lives. That's what they [the Palestinian bombers] [sic] want us to do. If we change what we do, then they win." [Emphasis mine] The Jerusalem Post, 20 March, 2002; 10.

      [10]Hirsh Goodman, "Blood, Sweat and Cappuccino," The Jerusalem Post, 8 April 2002, 9.

      [11]Etgar Lefkovits, "Hundreds Turn Café into Shrine," The Jerusalem Post, 11 March 2002; 1.

      [12]Ruth Mason, "Personal lessons in coping," The Jerusalem Post, 20 March 2002; 10.

      [13]Shirli Golan-Meiri, "Café Aroma Branches in Jerusalem Forbid Sitting in Their Spaces," Yediot Aharonot, 11 March 2002 [Hebrew]; and Lili Galili, "Jerusalem Becomes a City of Take-Away," Ha'aretz, 11 March 2002; 7A [Hebrew].

      [14]Efrat Weiss and Sharon Ropa, "Suicide bomber detained on emek rafayim street in Jerusalem," Yediot Aharonot, 7 March 2002 [Hebrew]; and Etgar Lefkovits, "Waiter foils Jerusalem café bombing," The Jerusalem Post, 8 March 2002; 3A.

      [15]Matthew Guttman, "Hired guns, delivered to your door," The Jerusalem Post, 15 March 2002; 3B. Also see Noa Yosef and Neta Pitkovsky, "How can we return to normal?, Ma'ariv, 4 April 2002 [Hebrew]

      [16]Ashkenazi Jews of Russian Polish, German and central European descent have historically comprised Israel's elite class, and have dominated Israel's cultural, economic, and political institutions since the early years of state formation. Nonetheless, the Mizrahi Jewish population (including Jews from North Africa, the Middle East, and the Levant) comprised the majority of Israel's Jewish in the decades following their migration to Israel in the 1950s. With the massive arrival of Jews from the former Soviet Union during the 1990s, this majority status was lost. For discussion of the cultural politics of Ashkenazi dominance, see Ella Shohat, "Sephardim in Israel: Zionism from the Standpoint of its Jewish Victims," Social Text 19/20 (1988); 1-35.

      [17] Avirama Golan, "The city turns its back," Ha'aretz, 10 March 2001 [Hebrew]; 1B; Lili Galili, "Jerusalem becomes a city of take-away," Ha'aretz, 11 March 2002; 7A [Hebrew]

      [18]Shira Ben-Simon, "Night life is dying," Ma'ariv, 4 April 2002 [Hebrew]; Noam Vind, "Nowhere to run," Ma'ariv, 4 April 2002 [Hebrew].

      [19]Kelly Hartog, "Taking back the cafés," The Jerusalem Post, 29 March 2002; 4.

      [20]Neve Gordon, "Where are the Peaceniks?" The Nation, 29 April 2002; 4-5.

      [21]This history has been extensively chronicled. See, for example, Rashid Khaldi, Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997): 101.

      [22] See Robert Blecher, "Living on the Edge: The Threat of Transfer in Israel and Palestine," Middle East Report, forthcoming 2002. Benny Morris' new book, The Road to Jerusalem, both traces the history of population transfer in Israeli state policy and discourse, and argues for the political utility of "transfer" in the Israeli present. For a concise summary of arguments in this text, see Morris, "A new exodus for the Middle East?" The Gaurdian, 3 October 2002.

      [23] A poll taken in the fall of 2001, by the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, reported that some 46 percent of Israel's Jewish citizens favor transferring Palestinians out of the territories, while 31 percent favor transferring Israeli Arabs out of the country. Amnon Barzilai, "More Israelis favor transfer of Palestinians, Israeli Arab poll finds," Ha'artez, 17 September 2001.

      [24] For an intellectual history of "post-Zionism," see Lawrence Silberstein, The Postzionism Debates: Knowledge and Power in Israeli Culture (New York: Routledge, 1999).

      Rebecca L. Stein is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Minnesota. In the fall of 2003, Stein will join the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. Her work on Israeli political culture has appeared recently in Public Culture, Social Text, and Middle East Report. She is the author of two forthcoming volumes: National Itineraries: Tourism, Nation-Making, and Geographies of "Peace" in Contemporary Israel and (with co-editor Ted Swedenburg) Palestine/Israel and the Politics of Popular Culture. She can be reached at >rlstein@umn.edu.

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