Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Israel/Palestine: Reflections of South Africans - Introduction

Call for Submissions

The ongoing conflict in Israel/Palestine is one of the most heated subjects in global political discourse today. It is not merely a contest over land or scarce resources (although these things are important) but a clash of competing nationalisms, both rooted in a history of profound loss and bloodshed.

Quid Pro Quo is a blog based in South Africa, a country seemingly far-removed from the troubles of the Middle East. Although there is vast geographical distance between here and Israel/Palestine, the level of interest among South Africans is intense. There are sizable Jewish and Muslim communities in this country, both of whom attach a strong symbolic significance to the conflict - a significance that is deeply interwoven with ethnic and religious ideology.

By-and-large most people in SA wish to see a peaceful end to the decades of war and insecurity in the area; the difficulty is in how to achieve that resolution in a way that is equitable and fair. QPQ shares this commitment to peace and is thus providing a platform for local writers to explore issues around Israel/Palestine that they feel have a particular bearing on their lives as South Africans.

A voluminous literature exists on this subject, some of which is well reasoned, others polemical. It is my desire to play host to the former. QPQ invites submissions that focus on any or all of the three themes listed below:

  1. The relationship between the Jewish and Muslim communities in South Africa and their historical interaction. This can also include discussion on the meaning of Jewish or Muslim identity in SA.
  2. Possible conflict-resolution lessons that South Africa could provide for Israelis and Palestinians e.g. the negotiated transition, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), etc.
  3. Concrete measures (both past and present) undertaken by South African politicians, activists or members of civil society to enhance peace-making efforts in the region.

Given that QPQ is primarily concerned with politics and the media in SA it is important that contributing authors stick within the above constraints for the benefit of conceptual parsimony. Although writers will be given some latitude in their articles, it is necessary that the material reflects a local perspective.

Please keep submissions to less than 500 words to ensure that the material is readable and concise. Email your contribution as a Word document attachment to this address:

I am a believer in Howard Zinn's maxim that "you can't be neutral on a moving train". However, I will be trying to take as impartial a stance as possible in the presentation of my own views. That said, I will not be participating as frequently in these debates given my limitations of knowledge, time and energy. I want to hear what you have to say; the stage is yours...

Click on the label 'Israel/Palestine' to see all submissions and related material.

[Please note: QPQ will not provide a platform for views that propagate violence, use hate speech or are abusive towards its contributing authors.]

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