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Galia Golan

30 September 2005
To characterize myself: I am a feminist and peace activist, an Israeli Jewish woman, an academic, mother of two girls and two boys and grandmother of three boys.  Professionally I was a specialist in Soviet and East European studies, dealing mainly with Soviet policies in the Middle East, on which I wrote a number of books, including one on the Yom Kippur War, and one on the Soviet Union and the PLO, as well as a few on Soviet policy in the Middle East.  I also wrote a book on the Soviet Union and national liberation movements in the Third World, and before all the Soviet stuff, I wrote two books on Czechoslovakia.  This was all done as a professor of political science (and head of that department for a while) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where I also founded the program on women's studies and the Lafer Center for Women’s Studies, and headed the Center for Soviet and East European Research.  After 34 years at the Hebrew University, I retired and moved to a new private university outside of Tel Aviv called the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya (IDC), in order to help create a School of Government.  There I teach Government, mainly courses dealing with international conflicts, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and also a seminar on women and politics.  I am also trying to create a program at the IDC in Conflict Resolution, and I am the academic director of an international program there that offers a full BA in Government taught in English.  My recent writing has been on the Arab-Israeli conflict and also on matters of women and politics -- reflecting my post-Soviet merging of my feminist and peace activism with my academic profession.

I have been a feminist activist since the early 1970s-one of the founding members of the Israel Women's Network and later of Bat Shalom which is the Israeli part of the Jerusalem Link: an Israeli-Palestinian Women's Joint Venture for Peace.  While I have been active in a number of other feminist organizations, Bat Shalom has remained my primary area, joined now by participation in the creation of a new International Women’s Commission for Peace in the Middle East (more on that later).  I have also been in the leadership of Peace Now, the Israeli peace movement, virtually since its creation in 1978, and this is the main vehicle of my political activity.  Together with this, I am an elected member of the executive of Meretz, a social democratic party, and a past chair of the party’s national council.  Internationally I am on the editorial boards of a number of journals, a member of the Pugwash Council and a participant in a number of international track-two diplomacy efforts.  In connection with all of these, and my academic work, I do a good deal of public speaking, giving lectures, radio and tv interviews and commentaries, and writing (as well as fund-raising).

Can there be a green populist project on the Left?

Many on the Left want to return to a politics based on class, not populism. They point to Left populist parties not reaching their goals. But Chantal Mouffe argues that as the COVID-19 pandemic has put the need for protection from harm at the top of the agenda, a Left populist strategy is now more relevant than ever.

Is this an opportunity for a realignment around a green democratic transformation?

Join us for a free live discussion on Thursday 22 October, 5pm UK time/12pm EDT.

Hear from:

Paolo Gerbaudo Sociologist and political theorist, director of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London and author of ‘The Mask and the Flag: Populism and Global Protest’ and ‘The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy’, and of the forthcoming ‘The Great Recoil: Politics After Populism and Pandemic’.

Chantal Mouffe Emeritus Professor of Political Theory at the University of Westminster in London. Her most recent books are ‘Agonistics. Thinking the World Politically’, ‘Podemos. In the Name of the People’ and ‘For a Left Populism’.

Spyros A. Sofos Researcher and research coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University and author of ‘Nation and Identity in Contemporary Europe’, ‘Tormented by History’ and ‘Islam in Europe: Public Spaces and Civic Networks'.

Chair: Walid el Houri Researcher, journalist and filmmaker based between Berlin and Beirut. He is partnerships editor at openDemocracy and lead editor of its North Africa, West Asia project.

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