The meaning of hope for Israeli peace activists: consolidation of collective identity, antidote to despair and spiritual resource

Liv Halperin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Twenty years after the outbreak of the Second Intifada and with the collapse of the Oslo Peace Process, many Israelis perceive the conflict with Palestinians as inevitable and unsolvable, yet some still mobilise for peace. This article investigates the meaning of hope for Jewish and Arab-Palestinian peace activists who joined the two newest peace movements in Israel, Women Wage Peace (2014) and Standing Together (2015). The article draws on qualitative methodologies – in-depth interviews with activists and ethnographic work conducted from 2018 to 2021. It finds that within the context of a protracted conflict, in addition to the distant and more abstract objective of peace, activists view hope as an objective in and of itself. As an attachment to a political vision, a capacity to imagine positive change or a visceral substance, activists embrace hope to consolidate their collective identity, protect themselves from crippling emotions such as despair, resignation and cynicism and/or regain spirituality. Far from being a fraudulent form of hope, the article suggests that this is a radical, authentic and active form of hope to save what can be a political vision, the shattered dream of peace, that remains central to the activists’ sense of identity and belonging. This hope is valuable: it mobilises Israeli peace activists and allows them to avoid despair as they refuse to accept the protracted conflict reality as an unchangeable given.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-235
Number of pages16
JournalEmotions and Society
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023

Keywords

  • hope
  • Israel–Palestine
  • peace activists
  • protracted conflict
  • radical hope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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