Women and the new frontier: Struggling for Bedouin rights and recognition in the Israeli state

Thursday 15 March, 7-9 pm, SOAS, RM 4421

In celebration of International Women’s Day, the SOAS Israel Society presents:

Women and the new frontier: Struggling for Bedouin rights and recognition in the Israeli state

In the last few months, an international spotlight has focused on the denial of Bedouin rights by the Israeli state. The Knesset’s approval of a programme to evict 30,000 indigenous Bedouin from their lands, after more than 60 years of forced migration and urbanization, has reached UN circles and EU policy desks. What has often been missing from this story is the likewise 60 year struggle by the Bedouin to maintain their lands, and articulate their rights within the Jewish state. As Israel intensifies its siege on Bedouin village life, the women and men in these communities continue to fight for recognition, equality, and the right to live with dignity and in peace.

This panel discussion will highlight Bedouin resistance in the face of threats of dispossession, expulsion and criminalization, with a particular focus on women and their newly forged positions on the front line.

Our speakers, all of whom are experienced advocates of Bedouin rights, will present an evolution of Bedouin resistance under the Israeli state, focussing on the changing roles of women within the struggle, and current collective challenges against the deteriorating situation in the ground. The speakers will discuss their own role in empowering Bedouin struggles, and what we can do in the UK to strengthen their campaigns and affect positive change in state policy and practice towards the Bedouin citizens of Israel.

Our speakers:

Dr. Mansour Nsasra (Exeter)

Mansour Nasasra teaches Middle East Politics and International Relations in the Department of Politics, University of Exeter. His broad research interest is about the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel, and in particular the indigenous Arab Bedouin of the Negev and Beersheba.  Mansour completed his PhD research on the indigenous Bedouin of the Naqab under the British Mandate (1917-1948) and Israel’s military rule (1948-1967).

Farah Mihlar Minority (Rights Group International)

Farah Mihlar is the Programme Coordinator at Minority Rights Group International and author of the briefing ‘Israel’s Denial of the Bedouin.’ Before joining MRG she worked at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, She is a Sri Lankan Muslim journalist and academic. She has reported on the country’s ethnic conflict for over a decade and is currently doing a PhD on the role of Islamic movements in Muslim minority contexts.

Miri Weingarten (European Union)

Miri Weingarteni is an Israeli human rights activist and the EU Advocacy Coordinator for Israel/OPT – Israeli Human Rights Consortium. She is also the Advocacy Officer for Physicians for Human Rights- Israeli Division.

Chair: Shimrit Lee (SOAS Israel Society)