Settler Colonialism and Militarism? The Nakba, Israeli Society and the War on Gaza

Online Public Lecture and Discussion

with Tom Pessah, Independent scholar, Tel Aviv

28.05.2024, 18:30-20:00

This public lecture takes places as part of the seminar "Palestine: Occupation, War, and Development Policy" (summer term 2024)

: Helmut Krieger (University of Vienna)

Participation via zoom:
Meeting ID: 628 7779 5110
Code: 213042


This talk with Dr. Tom Pessah will discuss his historical analysis of Israeli society from a sociological perspective. Pessah argues that Zionism can fruitfully be conceptualized as a form of settler colonialism, a product of late nineteenth-century Europe. As such, he further argues, it has had from the beginning a structural tendency to displace indigenous Palestinians from their land, resulting in increasingly violent conflict with them.

In this lecture, he will reconstruct how – in his own words – “internal fissures within the Zionist society in historic Palestine were bridged during 1948 leading to a working consensus behind the massive displacement of Palestinians, the resulting militarization of the nascent Israeli society, the erosion of differences between ‘right’ and ‘left’ in the past two decades, and the current genocidal moment.” He will conclude with some suggestions of what decolonization would look like in the Israeli context.

Dr. Tom Pessah is an Israeli sociologist. He received his B.A. and M.A. at Tel Aviv University, where he also completed a degree in General History. His Ph.D., which he completed in 2014 at the University of California, Berkeley, focuses on internal debates regarding ethnic cleansing within settler colonial societies. Pessah had taught on the sociology of ethnicity and violence at the Hebrew University and Ben-Gurion University. Furthermore, he is the former chair of the board of Zochrot, an Israeli organization promoting awareness of the Nakba and the right of return.