This blog is about the ‘images of peace’ that are advocated by Israeli peace movements and additional peace imagery in Israel. By ‘images of peace’ the blog means political images of peace, rather than simply pictures of peace. Political images take their form in public culture and have social meanings by combining ideas and conceptions of peace with material signs. Peace images are part of the reality of the conflict and peace-making.
So, ‘images of peace’ are not only visual images such as posters, stickers and banners at demonstrations and in publicity material, but also speeches, songs, the use of public space, research reports, opinions disseminated through various media, legal actions taken, education programs developed, and so on. Films, plays, literature, visual art, music and journalism that advocate peace are also part of a ‘peace culture’ that builds political images of peace.
More often than not, Israeli ‘images of peace’ appear as opposition to war and occupation, giving a clear image only of situations that negate peace. Some of the conceptions of peace advocated by Israeli peace organisation that are covered in the blog as images are: ‘co-existence’, ‘territorial compromise’, ‘peace as security’, ‘human rights as the basis for peace’, ‘peace as separation’, as well as the broad formulations of peace arrangements between Israelis and Palestinians such as ‘two-state’ or ‘one-state’ solutions.
Some of the Israeli peace groups’ images of peace clash and compete with each other. For example, imagining peace as co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians doesn’t sit well with the notion that the two peoples can only be at peace if they separate from each other. In addition, the images of the peace movement compete with other, generally more influential, political images of peace in Israel that focus not on peace between Israelis and Palestinians (or other Arab or Islamic states) but only on Israel having peace for itself. Examples of such conceptions of peace are: ‘security as peace’ or ‘enduring peace’, as well as ‘peace on Israel’ – a religious conception.
The purpose of the blog is to spotlight and comment on Israeli peace imagery in the past and present. Which peace images have been persuasive for different Israeli publics? Which peace images resonate well with which aspects of Israeli public culture? How do images of peace reflect and reinforce different perceptions of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians? Would more persuasive peace images bring peace any closer, or different images of the conflict open hearts and minds to the possibility of peace?
Topics for postings include cultural artefacts that imagine or advocate peace, whether it be a slogan at a demonstration, a bumper sticker, a song, a novel, a detailed peace plan, an academic study, a public meeting, a demonstration, a campaign, a report or opinion piece in the media.