“The Joys and Dangers of Palestine Solidarity: Prosthetic Engagement in an Age of Reparations,” The New Centennial Review 8(2): 2008.
Informed by the concept of “vicarious responsibility” (Alexander 2004) this essay seeks to theorize the growing trend whereby individuals from North America and Europe travel to the Occupied Palestinian Territories to stand alongside Palestinians nonviolently resisting the Israeli occupation. Looking ﬁrst at how the politics of “being there” and “witnessing” shape the political forms this solidarity has taken, I read the electronic archives of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM)—one of the most important organizations enabling this phenomenon, founded in 2001 –to examine the discursive regime to which this movement has given rise and the conceptual and political work that regime does. I investigate the way activists’ subject positions are discursively formulated vis-à-vis the Palestinians with whom they express a solidarity by looking at both the bodily practices of travel to and “direct action” in Palestine, and at the discourse that helps constitute and is constituted by them. I conclude by exploring what it means for dissident American Jews to participate in this form of prosthetic political engagement.