Jon Simons was born in the UK, and was deeply involved in a Zionist youth movement, Habonim-Dror, before moving to Israel in 1985. He lived in Jerusalem until 1995, earning an MA and PhD in Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and teaching at a few higher education institutions, as well as writing some op-ed pieces for Israel’s English-language newspaper, The Jerusalem Post. During the first intifada he was active in several peace and anti-occupation groups, especially the Rapprochement dialogue group between Israelis from West Jerusalem and Palestinians from Beit Sahour. In 1995 he returned to the UK to take up a position as Lecturer in Critical Theory at the University of Nottingham. He moved to the USA in 2006, where he is currently Associate Professor of Communication and Culture at Indiana University, Bloomington.
His main academic research project at present is about Israeli peace images. Israeli peace activism matters as material acts of political imagination that prefigure rather than achieve peace. Israeli peace organizations imagine peace by activating different “images “of peace, which are not only pictures, but also abstract political concepts, and which are performed in grass roots activism and communicative practices (such as solidarity action to protect Palestinian farmers recorded on video and posted to Facebook, which fashions an image of peace as partnership). He spent a research sabbatical in Israel/Palestine, September-December 2012, on which he reflects in this video presentation. You can read some of his academic research here.