From 2014 to 2017 I guided half a dozen public walks in Jerusalem’s southern neighborhoods. The walks were conducted during the research and production of the interactive documentary Jerusalem, We Are Here, which digitally reinscribes Palestinians into the neighborhoods from which they were expelled by the 1948 war, or the nakba. The walks were performative and participatory and joined a long tradition of walking as art. They offered an alternative to mainstream Israeli guided tours that manufacture linear and simplistic narratives about the politically contested space of Jerusalem. This article examines the guided walks within critical discourse about the place of art, and specifically the art of walking, as a political practice that unsettles colonial frameworks, or as decolonial gestures. I examine the ways in which the physical walks—primarily for Israeli participants—intervened in a nationalist paradigm and offered Israelis a (rare) emotional and ideological space from which to consider the communities whose dispossession enables Israel to exist. I review the strategies I used to disrupt Israeli denial and encourage accountability within relevant theoretical paradigms, using anecdotes and my own records for analysis. No qualitative data were collected during or after the walking tours. My conclusion is that walking tours can effectively “unsettle” nationalist narratives, encourage settler reckoning, and enable a different kind of seeing or restorying, one of the preconditions for decolonization.

On a warm Saturday evening in December 2017, I had a uniquely Jerusalemite experience. I was walking from Katamon to Talbiyeh, and across the neighborhood I could hear the singsong of the Jewish Havdala prayer—a prayer separating the holy day (Shabbat) from weekdays. Suddenly, a muezzin nearby started loudly calling Muslims to prayer. I was startled, because one never hears the muezzin in this area of West Jerusalem, an area that has been populated entirely by Jews since 1948.1 A minute later I stopped, as did another passerby, and we both listened more closely until we realized that the call was not in Arabic, but in Hebrew: It was the Havdala prayer being sung to an Arab–Jewish tune (“Makam”), but broadcast from a speaker similar to the ones used by muezzins the region over. It dawned on me that this was an artwork, part of the art show I was heading over to see at the Mamuta centre in the Hansen complex. I soon found out the piece was called “Hamavdil” and was a sound intervention by artist Amir Bolzman that aims to “challenge notions of identity and orientation regarding the local soundscape, and propose us to imagine another possible present or future.”2 Aurally inserting Palestinian Muslim presence into a space that is considered Israeli and Jewish made the space strange, or defamiliar.3 “Hamavdil” makes interventions into the current political Jewish/Israeli sovereignty of the neighborhoods, but also into Ashkenazi cultural and political hegemony, which denies the continuity between Arab Jewish culture and Palestinian culture or, more broadly, Middle Eastern cultures.4 As I encountered “Hamavdil” unprepared, I experienced defamiliarization on a visceral level. I now shifted my attention to other passersby’s responses, which were similar to mine—confusion at first, and then intense attention, sometimes even a smile at the realization it was Hebrew.

The timing of this experience could not have been better for me. A year earlier I had released Jerusalem, We Are Here, an interactive documentary that digitally reinscribes Palestinians into the same neighborhoods, layering the Palestinian past into the Israeli present. As a documentary filmmaker and cultural studies scholar, I have spent almost ten years conducting research in the archives into the history of Jerusalem, urban studies, memory, conflict, and trauma. Throughout the research, production, and dissemination of Jerusalem, We Are Here, I also guided and co-guided (with Anwar Ben Badis) walks that were designed to defamiliarize and unsettle the present tense of the neighborhood. The goals of the walking tours were not only educational, but also political, at least in the sense that the past was harnessed to rethink the present, and to imagine a different sociopolitical future.

This article examines the design and performance of the physical guided walks within critical discourse about the place of art, and specifically the art of walking, as a political evocation to unsettle colonial frameworks, or as a decolonial gesture. My aim was not to do ethnographic research, and while I kept a journal, I did not collect field notes, did not conduct interviews, and did not intend to create a “thick description” of a culture.5 To some extent this article falls under autoethnographic research, since I “retrospectively and selectively write about epiphanies that stem from, or are made possible by, being part of a culture and/or by possessing a particular cultural identity.”6 Furthermore, as Holman Jones argues, “Autoethnographers view research and writing as socially just acts; rather than a preoccupation with accuracy, the goal is to produce analytical, accessible texts, that change us and the world we live in for better.”7 My use of art and research in education and activism aligns with Holman Jones’s understanding of autoethnography even if I did not set out to conduct autoethnographic research per se when designing and guiding the tours.

I examine the ways in which the physical guided walks—designed primarily for Israeli participants—intervened in a nationalist paradigm and offered Israelis a (rare) emotional and ideological space from which to consider those whose dispossession enables Israel to exist. The Canadian artist–researcher Leah Decter argues that there is a potential to “walk with” or alongside Indigenous led walking initiatives (such as “water walks”) and thus show forms of solidarity and critical engagement.8 As most Palestinians do not have physical access to southern Jerusalem, my “walking with” was complicated by the absence of Palestinian walkers, and I devised ways to create a Palestinian presence, while emphasizing this absence.

The article reviews the strategies I used to disrupt Israeli denial and encourage “entangled pathways” and “walking with,” as first steps toward accountability. Accountability here does not mean direct culpability for the Nakba, but rather acknowledging and remedying the injustices associated with the dispossession of the Palestinians, from which Israelis have unfairly benefited. My strategies included using multiple voices (letters, memoirs, minutia, archival material, maps, photographs, and more), “stitching” past and present, and contrasting known (Israeli) narratives with the obfuscated Palestinian past. I also used myself—an Israeli—as a guide, an interlocutor in a dialogue with Palestinians, and a facilitator of a performance that I will discuss below. These strategies aimed to offer somatic knowledge, and then to harness this knowledge in order to ask participants to reconsider their relationship to the space, and what responsibility might look like.

The physical guided walks were designed within the broader context of the interactive documentary project Jerusalem, We Are Here, which was designed with Palestinian and international audiences in mind (see Figure 1). It offers virtual walks of southern Jerusalem, where the user navigates the streets as they were captured by Google Street View in 2012, while listening to guides in Arabic and Hebrew and music that was heard in these neighborhoods in the 1940s, and seeing short poetic films produced collaboratively with Palestinian participants.

Figure 1. The landing page of Jerusalem, We Are Here.

Figure 1. The landing page of Jerusalem, We Are Here.

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The virtual tours and a connected online map offer a form of countermapping and counternarrative, as is seen in Figure 2, the house of the famous educator and intellectual Khalil Sakakini, which is currently a daycare centre. But the online project does not simply map the past; it layers it into the present, encouraging (visually, textually, experientially, and epistemically) a process of reimagining the political configuration in terms that are neither binary (Israeli/Palestinian) nor linear (before/after), but allow the rebuilding of a decolonial landscape defined by robust interculturality.9

Figure 2. The Sakakini family map entry

Figure 2. The Sakakini family map entry

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Unlike the online project, the engagement in situ—mostly with Israelis and in Hebrew—had various manifestations, with guided public walks being an evolving staple. As an immigrant to Canada, I was working alongside Canadians who are responding to collective amnesia with regards to the treatment of Indigenous peoples in general, and to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) calls to action about the Indian Residential Schools.10 As an artist–researcher working with research–creation methods (also described as artistic research, or research-led practice) I work alongside other settler artists who use walking to “listen with our feet”11 or “walking [to] unsettle[e] depremacy.”12

These artist–researchers harness art to probe the “sunny disquiet of colonial life”13 and design walks as aesthetic experiences that enable sensorially informed embodied knowledge, which Reynolds and Reason call kinaesthetic empathy.14 I was also working within an Indigenous-inspired ethics of care in research that foregrounds relationship building, reciprocity, relevance to the community, and respect.

Theoretical and Historical Framework

Zionism was conceived as a national revival project, but it was also imagined and structured with inspiration from European colonial ventures.15 Despite the use of terms such as Halutzim (settlers) to describe Zionists, recognition of the colonial framework is largely absent from public Israeli discourse. Before Israelis can start imagining a different political relationship with Palestinians, we have to confront our collective amnesia about our colonial/settler logics and their consequences, especially our position as privileged settlers. The guided walking tours I designed tried to create a space for an “unsettled” walk, one that uses knowledge to enable and encourage empathy and responsibility. In that spirit, my guided walks operate in the context of decolonial walks,16 critical walks,17 and walking as public pedagogy.18 The walks also joined a long tradition of walking as art.19 I worked at the same time as other settler artist–researchers such as Leah Decter and Kate McMillan who purposefully use artistic walking to “fill the gaps created by systemic silencing ... disrupt systems of auditory amnesia ... and mediate the quiet voices of the people and the planet.”20

The first guided walk was part of Jane’s Walks in 2014, a grassroots volunteer project commemorating the radical geographer and urban planner Jane Jacobs. In 2014 Anwar ben Badis and I also co-guided a walk for the Hand in Hand school community, a bilingual Arabic–Hebrew school. That walk occurred on Nakba Day (15 May) and was the only walk where over half of the attendees were Palestinians. The third walk we co-guided was in 2015 and was independently organized. That year I guided a couple of invited walks in English and Hebrew by myself. In 2017, as part of the Here in the No Here event, Anwar guided a walk about Palestinian poets who lived in the neighborhood and I guided a walk titled “Who Has Heard of Semiramis?” which I will describe in detail below. More than 600 people attended the six walks, and I estimate that 25–30% were Palestinians, primarily citizens of Israel or residents of East Jerusalem.

The design of the walking tours was organic and intuitive but in hindsight it is clear that I wanted to do more than educate. To use the framework of Brazilian philosopher and educator Paulo Freire, I was interested in radical and transformative pedagogy.21 Freire showed how education is serving states’ goals (whether colonial, neoliberal, or perpetuating class differences) and offered an alternative, in the notion of a dialogic (but not merely multicultural) form of pedagogy that both analyzes and resists state power structures of erasure and of complicity in class suffering. In his seminal work Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire states that with the right educational tools people will see reality not as static but as a process of transformation.22 In the context of the Israeli Zionist ideological educational system, the guided walks I designed aimed to place the tour participants within this history not as private individuals, but as individuals implicated in an oppressive system, and I hoped that this critical positioning would start a process of transformation, not only vis-à-vis the history of the neighborhood, but also toward the future responsibilities of Israelis.

I was inspired by Michel de Certeau’s emphasis on walking as an emancipatory action that can enable the recuperation of history from “below.”23 Following de Certeau, a body of work evolved that Aoki and Yoshimizu describe as facilitating “entangled pathways” and theorizes the walking tour as a “place making” practice.24 De Certeau’s optimistic outlook about the capacity to see the entanglements—which Aoki and Yoshimizu criticize—is challenging to achieve by simply walking in a fraught political space such as Jerusalem, where active and continuous forms of erasure persist.

Walking needs to be complemented with an array of methods that enable deep listening or listening otherwise.25 De Certeau (1998) argues that legend, memory, and dream “organize a topoi of a discourse on/of the city in a way that also eludes unurbanistic systematicity ... they recall or suggest phantoms (the dead who are supposed to have disappeared) that still move about, concealed in gestures and in bodies in motion.”26 Hearing stories and memories of the phantoms of the city is a way to activate those buried “bodies in motion” and resist prevailing political amnesia or a sense that the space is agnostic to its histories.

Furthermore, in the Israeli context, walking, and especially hiking, is a form of land reclamation, if not occupation, and has been a core Zionist practice since the early days of Jewish settlement in Palestine.27 In fact, for my military service as a young adult, I was a nature guide by the Dead Sea, participating in this Zionist practice of education in places such as Masada.28 My role as facilitator of connection to land and history could be read within de Certeau’s framework, but instead of promoting entanglements and visions from the Other’s perspective, I was offering a powerfully embodied, singular, and unproblematically Jewish/Zionist-centred, or indoctrinatory narrative about Masada. In the Judean desert hikes I offered more nuanced narratives (for instance, emphasizing the renaissance of the Christian era of 300–614 CE, and demarcating the 1967 border on a map), but it took many more years—and distance from Israel—to fully comprehend my role in Zionist nation-building, which was in part based on the erasure of the Palestinians. It is also important to note in this context that tourism has been often used by Israel to promote a Zionist narrative about Jews as Indigenous to Palestine, and of Zionism as a return to a biblical promised land. As Rami K. Isaac puts it: “In this context tourism is a part of a hegemonic colonial project but, in addition to that, tourism can be a potential site of anticolonial struggle and unsettling hegemonic knowledge, representations, practices and realities as advocated elsewhere.”29 Tourism is not a neutral activity of “innocents abroad” as Mark Twain famously labeled it.

Whether for internal Israeli Zionist indoctrination or for international influence, mainstream Israeli walking tours and tourism thus weave a story that asserts Jewish/Israeli ownership of the land30 and erases the political and physical presence of Palestinians in Palestine.31 In this context, my guided walks were designed to subvert the familiar genre, to defamiliarize it. During a walk in 2015 a participant came up to me and said, almost in a whisper, “Hearing Arabic in these streets and hearing about the people who lived here gives me a double vision. I grew up here, and the Palestinian past of this neighborhood was never part of my landscape.” She paused, looked around as if searching for something and then continued, “I will never walk these streets in the same way.” It was evidence to me that Anwar and I managed to “make strange” the familiar, producing an “alienation” effect that inspired “looking differently” and thinking differently.32

I started learning the Palestinian history of the Katamon neighborhood in the 2000s from two memoirs,33 but while physically walking through the neighborhood I had no anchors to any of the landmarks that were mentioned in the books. Even former public institutions such as schools do not have plaques identifying them, although around two dozen houses have plaques describing and glorifying one small faction of the 1948 Israeli conquerors, Irgun.34 So while I was engaged in critical listening, and ready to remedy my own “blind spots,” or what Simon Schama calls “white patches,”35 there was only so much learning I could obtain by walking in this space. Most Israelis know they are walking in a former middle-class Palestinian neighborhood,36 but the large Israeli flags, the Stars of David or Menorahs welded onto gates and fences, and the street names, all work to suppress Palestinian history. In the years I spent working on Jerusalem, We Are Here I experienced both curiosity and anxiety from current Israeli residents in the neighborhood. The majority were curious about the history of the neighborhood but wanted to place it squarely in the past. One Israeli who allowed a Palestinian (former) owner and her son to enter the house where the elderly woman was born said, “Well, what can we do? There was a war, and now it’s the past. Now we need to move on.” While the Nakba is very much ongoing for Palestinians in the form of dispossession and expulsion, most Israelis consider it to be a long-over historical event. Quite a few Israelis asked one of the hosts in the Here in No-Here event,37 “What would you do if the Palestinian owners of the house would show up here? Will you give them your house?” And she replied, “I think about it all the time. I don’t know what I would do, but I hope they come, and we can figure it out together.” The host’s response is rare, as most Israelis I encountered see it as a binary of either “us” or “them” and rarely imagine the possibility of the neighborhood returning to the multinational, multiethnic, multireligious community it once was. As a tour guide, if I wanted to activate not only the remembered past but also a direct present and an imagined future, I would have to first undo the Zionist binaristic logic before I could make a space to offer Israeli–Palestinian “entangled pathways.”

I use the term “unsettle” following Paulette Regan’s call, in Unsettling the Settler Within, for non-Indigenous Canadians to decolonize ourselves, to question our myths (as peacemakers not responsible for the genocide carried out on Indigenous peoples).38 Regan argues that non-Indigenous people have to make room for Indigenous counter-history before solid and mutual Indigenous/non-Indigenous relations can be formed. Comparing the settler colonial project in Canada with Israel needs to be conducted carefully, as Israel is not an Imperialist project, and the histories and contexts are not entirely comparable. But the Zionist and Canadian projects share some deep values (Western, capitalist, chauvinist) that had (and still have) horrific effects on the Indigenous populations in both countries. Regardless of the differences, I find Regan’s use of the term unsettling to offer not only a metaphor, but also an analytic and pedagogic tool to move settlers toward accountability. I want to caution against conflating this form of unsettling with actual decolonial practice. As Eve Tuck and K Wayne Yang remind us in a seminal essay, “decolonization is not a metaphor”;39 they argue that the word “decolonization” should be reserved for land repatriation, reparations, and Indigenous sovereignty. Other scholars are more lenient, and argue for decolonization efforts in education, the arts, and state institutions. In particular, decolonial thinkers argue that we need to dismantle the concept of “universality,” which since the Renaissance has denoted masculine and white European agency, history, and supremacy.40 The walks I have guided, the interactive documentary itself, and perhaps unsettling artistic practices more broadly, while not decolonial acts, are certainly decolonial gestures, inasmuch as they disrupt official denial, unsettle individual positionalities, and pave the way toward public demand for systemic change.41 My position as a dual citizen of Canada and Israel, as a “double settler,” was harnessed to bring a unique perspective to the design of the tours, as well as to the analytical reflection component of this article.

I review three tactics of unsettling: Counter Narratives; Embodying the Other; and From Observer to Witness.

Counter Narratives

On a beautiful Saturday morning in May 2017, ninety people gathered in a municipal park near the St Simeon monastery, which sits atop a high hill in southern Jerusalem. The location was strategic in 1948, and whoever controlled it would control south and west Jerusalem. A three-day battle raged from 30 April to 2 May between the PALMACH (elite paramilitary Israeli fighting forces) and irregular Palestinian forces, and eventually the Israeli forces, despite a high casualty rate, won. The myth of the “steadfast few against the cowardly many” is a common narrative trope adopted from the Hanukah story and characterizing important battles during 1948, including the St Simeon battle. But as myths go it is not entirely accurate.42 In actuality, the Israeli soldiers managed to enter the walled monastery yard and were surrounded by Palestinian fighters, led by the charismatic Ibrahim Abu Dayyeh. Both sides suffered heavy casualties and the PALMACH soldiers sent a radio message to the Jerusalem commander, David Shalti’el, informing him that they must surrender. Shalti’el recounts how he lied to the soldiers, telling them the headquarters intercepted a radio communication in Arabic indicating the Palestinian soldiers were about to surrender (129), so they should hang on.43 In the meantime, Abu Dayyeh went to ask the Arab Legion for more manpower and supplies. But the Arab Legion was under the leadership of the British officer Glub Pasha, who had little to no interest in southern Jerusalem, so they arrested the Palestinian commander. Without a commander and with dozens of dead and wounded soldiers, the Palestinian fighters chained themselves to each other and fought till death.44 As it happened, it was circumstances and not superiority (moral or military) that led the Israeli forces to conquer the hill. Within days of the St Simeon conquest, five Palestinian neighborhoods were conquered (Katamon, German Colony, Ba’qa, Talbiyeh, and the Greek Colony), and by 15 May, when Israel declared independence, southern Jerusalem was entirely under Israeli control.

How does one expand the prism of a story that is so well entrenched? The first strategy is making room for counter-narratives. This particular tour was part of a three-day art intervention, Here, in This No-Here (the title itself is a quotation from a Mahmoud Darwish poem), based on the research and creative production of Jerusalem, We Are Here.45 Using the “Open Doors/Open Houses” architectural tours model, three families opened their homes to host artistic installations of different aspects of Jerusalem, We Are Here (see Figure 3). Anwar Ben Badis guided a walk about poets in the neighborhood, and I guided the walking tour that started in St Simeon. We also hosted a half-day symposium, with one academic session and one with young Mizrachi and Palestinian poets who translate each other’s poetry from Arabic to Hebrew and vice versa. More than 600 people attended events over the three days. The event was co-organized with Zochrot, a nonprofit Israeli organization that openly calls for the return of Palestinian refugees. Zochrot has a long history of educational, artistic, and physical interventions that foreground Palestinian history. In this case, curators Debby Farber, Hagit Keysar, and I designed very local and evocative counter-narrative interventions.

Figure 3. Interactive light table map as part of the Here, in This No-Here event.

Figure 3. Interactive light table map as part of the Here, in This No-Here event.

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Undoing the erasure, and making present that which is absent, worked organically in the intimate space of the homes of Israelis who agreed to help shine the spotlight on the Palestinian past, and to be part of a conversation about the present and the future.

I called my walking tour “Who Has Heard of the Semiramis?” knowing full well that most Israelis have no idea what the Semiramis is. I used the story of the St Simeon battle at the beginning of the walk to highlight that the way we experience history is always partial to the teller’s position and agenda. I was not trying to replace one narrative with another, but rather to provide a narrative that contained multiplicity, fissures, and contradictions. This introduction was effective in carving an intellectual space for hearing a broader narrative.

The counter-narrative came in more directly two stops later, when we stood by the Hotel Semiramis (see Figure 4). This small family-owned hotel looms large in Palestinian consciousness, because it marks the beginning of the Nakba (Palestinian catastrophe) in Jerusalem. On 29 November 1947, the UN voted to partition Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. The British mandate would end on 14 May 1948, but from 30 November 1947, warfare openly raged between Arabs and Jews. On a stormy winter night between 5 and 6 January 1948, the eve of the Greek Orthodox Christmas, the Haganah planted a bomb in the hotel. The bomb exploded, killing twenty-seven civilians attending a Christmas party and destroying half of the hotel. Following the bombing, an exodus of scared residents ensued, an exodus that ended with the conquest of the neighborhood by Israeli forces on 2 May 1948 and the expulsion of the last remaining residents to an internment camp in the nearby neighborhood of Baq’a. The Semiramis bombing still marks “the beginning of the end” for the multi-cultural, middle-class, Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem, and has long-lasting implications.46

Figure 4. The Semiramis stop on the Jerusalem, We Are Here tour stop. A collage of the building in 2013with the ruins in January 1948.

Figure 4. The Semiramis stop on the Jerusalem, We Are Here tour stop. A collage of the building in 2013with the ruins in January 1948.

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Standing in front of the Semiramis, I showed a poster for a concert at the hotel advertising Arlette El Khourri singing in “Brazilian, English, French, Italian and Spanish.” I recounted the details of the bombing and showed pictures of search and rescue in the rabble. I read from an email sent to me by Emile Jouzy, who was a child and fast asleep a couple blocks down the hill from the hotel. Emile wrote,

I remember the thunder–lightning–hail–rain–wind—and then circa 1AM, waking up finding myself circa 50 cm in midair above my mattress. From the pressure of the blast which when taken in a straight line in the air our apartment was no more than 300 meters from the SEMIRAMIS HOTEL.

The effect of hearing the record of personal trauma experienced by Palestinian residents of the neighborhood not only produced empathy, but allowed a political/ historical narrative to emerge that is very rarely heard in Israel or by Israelis. Kate McMillan states, “Sometimes, when something cannot be seen, it can be heard.”47 These uneasy stories and memories reintroduce to the space what de Certeau called the phantoms that were supposed to disappear.48

Using personal trauma to educate/awaken those with power (and privilege, or supremacy) has a cost for the Other, the people who have shared their stories. In the broader context of Jerusalem, We Are Here, the Palestinian participants were primarily interested in asserting their right to the place and representing the richness of life they had, before focusing on their loss. In the context of the “Who Has Heard of the Semiramis?” walk, I deliberately asked the Palestinian participants if they wanted to write something to the Israeli tour participants, or if I could share a specific text they had shared with me. All seven letters/postcards were reproduced with the blessing of the Palestinian participants.49

In tours I co-guided with Anwar Ben Badis, we used a dialogic approach to introduce counter narratives: Anwar delivered primarily Palestinian stories, and I delivered primarily Israeli ones. We used quotations, memoirs, books, and poems and documents, not only as evidence, but as a polyphonic approach to multiple historical narrative telling. Polyphony in this case allowed us to break away naturally from the binaries of Israeli/Palestinian or Jewish/Arab as we included the voices of the many multifaith, multinational families that led a rich communal life in the neighborhood. Following Freire, the dialogic approach was not limited to foregrounding all voices or only “quiet voices,” of those rarely heard, but we selected and structured the readings/stories to place them in larger power structures.50 The first tour we co-guided (Figure 5) was for the 2014 rendition of Jane’s Walks, and our approach aligned well with the philosophy of Jane Jacobs and Jane’s Walks, namely, to discover unseen aspects of the communities we live in by walking with nonprofessional guides.51

Figure 5. Jane’s walks, 2014. Above: Anwar Ben Badis and myself. Below: tour participants examining a hand-drawn map by Spyro Spyridon from 1936.

Figure 5. Jane’s walks, 2014. Above: Anwar Ben Badis and myself. Below: tour participants examining a hand-drawn map by Spyro Spyridon from 1936.

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In 2015, in a tour designed for a joint Palestinian and Israeli audience (a rare occurrence in itself), we decided that Anwar would speak only in Arabic, and that I would not translate, but rather deliver different information. We suggested that Israelis who did not speak Arabic (the majority) ask a Palestinian attendee to translate. As a result, people were encouraged to walk with people they did not know, and natural conversations arose. At one corner, between the streets the “Conquerors of Katamon” and “The 29th of November,” we pointed out that most street names in the neighborhood commemorate the 1948 conquest/victory.52 Standing at another street corner, Anwar pointed to the street name, Rahel Imenu (our mother Rachel), and called it “Your mother, Rachel.” These tactics destabilized the relationship of Israelis to the space and troubled their implicit assumption of unproblematic, or natural, sovereignty over the neighborhood. We assumed that some tour participants would feel uncomfortable, but we deliberately wanted to nudge knowing that which has been conveniently obfuscated. No participant has ever stormed off, and in fact, sometimes people joined on the street out of curiosity. Following the Stó:lō ethnomusicologist Dylan Robinson, critical listening can resist and unsettle “listening essentialism.”53 The walks did not challenge the identity of the attendees, but showed that their positionality can and should be “shifty.”54 Replacing “Our” with “Your” Mother Rachel, defamiliarized a familiar trope, invited critical listening, and reflection on positionality. In the Elastic City project in New York City (and later a book, 2019), artist Todd Shalom states that “the participatory walk engages audiences in poetic exchange with the places we live in and visit.”55 Since in our case the Palestinian community is no longer present, our “place making” relied on “redemptive history,” to use a Benjaminian term,56 or the phantoms, the dead that were supposed to disappear.57

In all the walking tours my impression was that the most poignant moments were when we included the narratives of individuals, namely, Palestinians who lost their homes, the Israelis who reported or witnessed the looting, or the poor Jewish refugees who settled in the middle-class neighborhoods and were exposed to pianos and bathtubs for the first time. The main voice, though, was always a Palestinian voice, the one most conspicuously missing from Israeli discourse. Figure 6 shows me holding a picture of the Farraj house, which I received from Johnny Farraj, born in Beirut and living in the United States, but holding the memory of his father’s home close to his heart.

Figure 6. Dorit Naaman at the Farraj house, holding a picture of the house in the 1940s.

Figure 6. Dorit Naaman at the Farraj house, holding a picture of the house in the 1940s.

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Bringing in the first-person experiences of Palestinian residents served a double purpose: On one hand, it gave credibility and detail to the general story. But on the other hand, it also personalized it with names attached to feelings of fear, shock, and sorrow. Such personal accounts were included to allow tour participants to experience empathy toward individuals. In Strange Encounters, Sara Ahmed shows us how the “stranger” is constructed culturally and politically as different than us, and here I wanted to flip the script and make us—for an hour or two—the stranger.58 I felt strongly that empathy could be harnessed toward deep affective engagement, to deep listening, if embodied. To that end I devised a polyvocal, participatory, and performative strategy.

Embodying the “Other”

At the beginning of the 2017 guided walk, I asked for seven volunteers and handed them sealed envelopes with names handwritten on them. When we reached the Kassotis house (the first stop of the tour at a private home), I asked who had the Kassotis envelope and invited the Jewish orthodox man who raised his hand to open the envelope. In it was a letter written by Marina Parisinou, the granddaughter of Manolis Kassotis, the owner of the house. Marina wrote,

This house belonged to my grandfather who purchased it and a few years later, around 1933, moved his family in, when my mother was about three years old. Her younger sister was born in this house.

The road you’re probably standing on they called the “katifóra.” In Greek the word means downhill slope. They would go down the “katifóra” and turn left at the Semiramis Hotel to go meet up with their cousins who lived several blocks away.

In early January 1948 the Semiramis was reduced to rubble following a Zionist bombing attack. Many people met their end under the pile of stones. And so did my mother’s life in her home.

Soon after the bombing, the family went down the “katifóra” for what was probably the last time. They stayed at their cousins’ home which was in a somewhat safer area before leaving Jerusalem altogether hoping to return soon, in more peaceful times, not realizing that instead they were becoming refugees.

The one-story house is now gone. The stones that have been placed on top of it to turn it into a three-story apartment building have buried what my mother knew as her only childhood home.

Destruction and construction: two sides of the same story of annihilation.

Marina Parisinou

May 2017


I wait, and then from a colorful pouch I pull out a postcard and hand it to the man (see Figure 7). On one side there is a picture of Marina’s mother, Anna. On the other side, I wrote the following text:

Figure 7. Left: Anna Kassotis in Al Boureij, 1946. Right: text by Dorit Naaman.

Figure 7. Left: Anna Kassotis in Al Boureij, 1946. Right: text by Dorit Naaman.

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In the picture: Anna Kassotis, Al Bureij, 1946

A girl wearing shorts, a sailor’s cap holding a cigarette.

I see an independent girl, flirting with the camera.

In conservative Cyprus of the 1950s there were no bicycles, short pants, or the capacity for a young woman to walk alone.

Anna built herself a life and a home, but the sparkle in her eyes was gone.

The mother and aunts Marina knew were always melancholy. They were animated and lively only when they spoke of their lives in Jerusalem.

Dorit Naaman, director, Jerusalem, We Are Here

The orthodox man showed the postcard, read the text on the back, and then we continued walking. The same pattern repeated itself at each of the seven homes we stopped by. In this repeated structure, seven Israelis performed the first-person voice of either the Palestinians who lost their homes in 1948 or their descendants. By having people read out loud words written by Palestinians, I was trying to circumvent the current near impossibility of face-to-face dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis. This impossibility has various causes. The first has to do with the self, and how it is structured in racially (and here nationally) charged contexts. Ahmed argues, “The ‘moment of contact’ is shaped by past histories of contact, which allows the proximity of a racial other to be perceived as threatening, at the same time as it re-shapes the bodies in the contact zone of the encounter.”59 This inevitable threat leads Israelis to be automatically defensive about their right to the space, or to exist in Israel altogether, and thus shuts down the possibility of empathy, of listening to counter-narratives, and ultimately of taking on responsibility. At the same time, the cost for the Palestinian person standing in front of their home and justifying their right to the place (or to exist altogether) to Israeli audiences is profound. Indeed, even writing the letter to the tour participants was emotionally difficult for Marina, as she wrote to me in an email: “I was ready to give up and drop you a line that I wasn’t up to it. But I saw your post on our page this afternoon and followed the Zochrot link. Seeing the way you have framed your tour—Who heard about Semiramis—inspired me to write the following” (May 11, 2017). Marina started as a participant in Jerusalem, We Are Here, but ultimately became a co-producer of the project. Our relationship of trust enabled me to ask her directly if she was really willing for her letter to be included, and she was. In fact, she was very moved and felt empowered when she saw documentation of the Israeli man holding the postcard with the image of her mother. But this experience illustrates how fragile the ethics of a project such as Jerusalem, We Are Here is. The project resists instrumentalizing Palestinians as educators of Israelis, or those burdened with initiating the process of reclamation and reconciliation. I examined these power dynamics in the collaborative process elsewhere.60 In the design of the “Who heard of the Semiramis?” walk the Palestinian participants and I agreed on the strategy of including painful Palestinian stories/voices in a direct address to/by Israelis but without the physical presence of the Palestinian person.

Another challenge to bringing Palestinians and Israelis together is that post the Oslo Accords (1993) a lot of money was devoted to dialogue projects between Israelis and Palestinians. Listening to the “other’s” narrative was supposed to humanize the other and change the course of history. But in those same years, Israel expanded its occupation of the West Bank and subjugated the Palestinian economy to the Israeli one. The “dialogue” projects functioned exactly in the way Freire criticized, as identity-centered, multicultural/-national experiences that focus on individuals and do not address power differentials.61

Not surprisingly, Palestinians distrust “dialogue” projects, and in 2005, hundreds of Palestinian civil society organizations issued a call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions, which halted most collaborations. It would therefore be unethical and politically misguided to facilitate a physical encounter, so instead I devised a proxy strategy with the letters (as seen in Figure 8). But the proxy did more than facilitate a stand-in for the absent Palestinian person. Because it was an Israeli who read a Palestinian’s words, the binary of either/or was transformed into an embodied narrative of “both” at the same time, despite, or because of, their contradictions and unresolved gaps and fissures.

Figure 8. Israeli women presenting postcards to tour participants.

Figure 8. Israeli women presenting postcards to tour participants.

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Furthermore, the Israelis listening to an Israeli orthodox man reading a direct address by a Palestinian woman were transformed from observers or bystanders into interlocutors in a dialogue. Marina starts with a direct address, “the road you are standing on,” making the “here” and “now,” and the audience, visible and palpable. As the Orthodox man was reading Marina’s text near the Semiramis, Orthodox families were filing out of the adjacent synagogue after the Saturday morning prayers. They would have likely not stopped if the person reading were secular, and coded as a leftist, but because they saw an orthodox man wearing a kippah instead, they stopped and listened. At the Farraj house, an ultra-orthodox family came out to the second-floor balcony and listened as a letter from Johnny Farraj to the owners of the house was read out loud in Hebrew.

From Observer to Witness

Embodying/enunciating Palestinian voices was nestled into another performative interaction, this one emphasizing the Israeli present tense. On the back of the postcards, I wrote about how I had met these participants, what I saw in the pictures, and how I felt. The seven Israelis also performed my perspective, this time not as an expert imparting knowledge (tour guide), but as an Israeli individual who for the previous ten years had been engaging with the Palestinian history of this urban neighborhood, and more importantly, with the Palestinians who lost their homes and way of life in Katamon. For the duration of the project, I was burdened by the responsibility to carry these stories around with me, and to document and impart them with care. I became not only a witness, but a human archive, a resource for other researchers in the area, architects working on preservation assessments, artists, and activists. Especially with Israelis, I did not want to be a service provider, enabling passivity with these sensitive and fraught “data.” I wanted those who received information to become actively responsible for this information and its uses. In a sense, I tried to base my work process on an ethics of care that meant that if I was sharing traumatic personal stories I was doing it to facilitate change. In the tours I felt strongly that my role was more expansive than education alone; I was activating a personal engagement, what Freire calls in Pedagogies of the Heart radical pedagogy.62 I was inspired in part by an essay about Alain Resnais’ Night and Fog (1955), a graphic and poetic documentary that tackles trauma and memory during and after the Holocaust, and specifically the extermination machinery the Nazis devised. Sandy Flitterman-Lewis argues that Resnais mobilized the camera to move the viewer from being an observer to a witness.63 She explains “With the observer, the camera documents; with the witness, the camera testifies, renders an account.”64 The witness sees themself in the scene, becomes part of its communication system.

In the context of the “Who Heard of the Semiramis?” walk, I wanted participants to be witnesses, to be part of the physical “scene,” with all the ethical weight of that position. By handing out the postcards with my first-person perspective, I invited the Israeli participants to consider not only the effects on the life lived by Palestinians, and their loss, but also the burden of sharing these stories. At the last stop of the tour, standing in front of the Louisidis house at Abdin square, I announced,

I have more postcards to give away, but not enough for everyone, and if you choose to take one, I ask you to take it with a commitment to ask yourself honestly: “What is my responsibility?” I am handing out postcards as invitations to be witnesses alongside me, to share my burden, to study this history, and to commit to actions that will bring forth conciliation.

Tour participants ended up fighting over the postcards. Later I heard independently about tour participants who reported that the tour was excellent because it invited them to take responsibility without making them feel guilty. Redirecting responsibility away from solipsistic “white” (or in this case, privileged) guilt is no small feat, and these comments were a meaningful reward. Paulette Regan writes,

How can we, as non-Indigenous people, unsettle ourselves to name and then transform the settler—the colonizer who lurks within—not just in words but by our actions, as we confront the history of colonization, violence, racism, and injustice that remains part of the Indian Residential Schools legacy today? To me, this is the crux of the matter.65

One possible way to unsettle ourselves, according to Regan, is restorying. Restorying means repositioning the settler subject, their perspective, and historical facts from a settler to an Indigenous perspective. Within the active Palestinian/Israeli context, restorying is a necessary condition for Israeli education, accountability, and any possibility of conciliation, an agreement based on equal partnership in designing a shared existence.66 Normally, restorying implies listening to the “other” tell their own story, but since mediation is required in this political moment, an alternative form of restorying and repositioning had to be devised. The interactive documentary and the guided walking tours did just that by mediating the stories/histories that needed to be aired.


In Walking Methods: Research on the Move, Maggie O’Neil and Brian Roberts argue that ethnographic and anthropological research has caught up to the long tradition of walking as an art practice.67 They promote the walking interview as a biographical method because of its involvement of embodied and situated knowledge for both the interviewer and the interviewee.68 Indeed, art has often produced knowledge that is embodied, somatic, affective, and situated. And this knowledge can be instrumental in unsettling, restorying, and setting the grounds for transitional justice. Artist-researcher Kate McMillan discusses the artistic project How Are You Today? which brings the voices of men detained on Manus Island, off the coast of Australia, to Melbourne. McMillan asks, “What do we do with this new knowledge, this acquired empathy? The work is transformed from an intellectual act, into a question of participation. Yet it resists the spectacle so often associated with the artistic retelling of trauma.”69

The “neighborhood poets” walk that Anwar Ben Badis guided took place on a Friday afternoon, when Jerusalem quiets down in preparation for Shabbat. The last stop of the tour was in front of the house of Abd Karim Al Karmi, a poet and educator (and the father of Ghada Karmi). When Anwar identified the house, a Palestinian tour participant started singing one of Al Karmi’s songs, and ninety people stood mesmerized as her voice filled the street with the music that was part of its essence until 1948. By the time the singer finished, many Palestinian participants joined the singing, and there were very few dry eyes in the crowd. But the atmosphere was not solemn or even nostalgic. The singing opened up a sense of possibility, a waft of a future in which Palestinian music is again part of the sonic landscape of this street, this neighborhood. Similarly, and in line with the ethical philosophy of Jerusalem, We Are Here, while inviting Israeli tour participants to become witnesses, I did not dwell entirely on trauma and loss, but emphasized the rich life of the neighborhood until the Nakba. Using walking, talking, performing, and art in nondidactic ways allowed people to dwell on and within questions of responsibility.

Métis artist and thinker David Garneau quotes the Cree artist, poet, and oral historian Neal McLeod, who said that there is no equivalent in Cree to the Western notion of an apology:

McLeod explains that the word used in reference to the Indian residential school experience is ê-kiskakwêyebk, which means “we wear it.” This is a profound difference. It is visceral rather than abstract. It describes a recognition and acceptance worn on the body. The experience is not given the intangibility of a truth, but the concrete reality of a fact.70

When designing the tour, I considered turning it more toward a performative act, asking people to pin the postcards and letters to my own shirt, making my body visible as a growing archive of Palestinian loss. But I decided to “wear” my responsibility more implicitly, and to nudge tour participants toward wearing theirs too. In the end, the process must start with individual accountability, but until “we” (Israelis) “wear” our responsibility as a society, we are likely to stay caught in the (neo)liberal discourse in which apology equals reconciliation.

The walks discussed in this article were designed by a settler–ally and employed deep listening, listening with our feet, performative depremacy, and an invitation to accountability. Accountability for some participants, as I learned later, meant exploring the idea of signage outside their homes that acknowledges the complex history of their current homes. For others it meant focusing on the 1948 war. Still others asked me for recommendations for books by Palestinians. More than a few people have reported that their relationship to the neighborhood has changed, but that they do not yet know how to turn their awakening into action. The embodied knowledge they have gained is not likely to yield immediate action, but it plants the seeds for future action. Walter Mingolo emphatically argues, “This is the task that colonial subjects are undertaking all over the world, to delink and decolonize ourselves (our subjectivities), and from there, to engage in world-making not regulated by the colonial matrix.”71 Decolonial gestures such as the tours I discussed here address the first task, the need to decolonize ourselves, to unsettle our nationalist/historical narrative, to see beyond binaries, and to learn from an expansive (and sometimes fraught and contradictory) past, so that we can start the enormous task of a new, inclusive, and decolonial worldbuilding.



The Muslim call to prayer has been controversial, described as a “sound conflict” asserting aural territorial dominance, which led the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, to pass the muezzin law in 2017, describing the call to prayer as “unreasonable noise.”


Mamuta Art Centre, Jerusalem (website), accessed 9 August 2023, https://mamuta.org/portfolio/hamavdil-soundscapeintervention-amir-bolzlman-and-sala-manca/.


Literary theorist Victror Shklovski called this sense “defamiliarization,” and Bertolt Brecht “alienation” a sense of “making strange” what is familiar and taken for granted. For a fuller discussion of these ideas see Fredric Jameson, Brecht and Method (London and New York: Verso, 1998).


Yehouda A. Shenhav, The Arab Jews (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006) [first published in Hebrew in 2003 by Am Oved].


As discussed by Clifford Geertz and Robert Darnton, The Interpretation of Cultures (New York: Basic Books, 1973), 3–30.


Carolyn Ellis, Tony E. Adamas, and Arthur P. Bochner, “Autoethnography: An Overview,” Historical Social Research 36, no. 4 (2011): 273–290, 276.


Stacy Holman Jones, “Autoethnography: Making the Personal Political,” Handbook of Qualitative Research, 3rd ed., ed. Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna S. Lincoln (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2005), 763–791, 764.


Leah Decter, “Walking Unsettling Depremacy: A Preliminary Proposition for Questioning the Right to Go Anywhere,” Qualitative Inquiry 28, no. 2 (2022): 187–197, 192.


Catherine Walsh, “Decolonial Pedagogies Walking and Asking: Notes to Paulo Freire from Abyayaa,” International Journal of Lifelong Education 34, no. 1 (2015) 9–21, 12.


Kate McMillan, “Listening with Our Feet: Decolonial and Feminist Arts-Based Methodologies in Addressing Australian Incarceration Policies on Nauru and Manus Islands,” in Framing the Penal Colony: Representing, Interpreting and Imagining Convict Transportation, ed. Sophie Fuggle, Charles Forsdick, and Latharina Massing (Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2023), 275–300.


Decter, “Walking Unsettling Depremacy,” 187–197.


McMillan, “Listening with Our Feet,” 276.


Dee Reynolds and Mathew Reason, Kinesthetic Empathy in Creative and Cultural Practices (Bristol, UK: Intellect, 2012), 195.


Hillel Cohen, Year Zero of the Arab–Israeli Conflict 1929, transl. Haim Watzman (Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press, 2015); Tovi Fenster, An Archeology of an Address: Home, History and Possesison in the Planning of the Israeli–Palestinian City [Hebrew] (Haifa: Pardes, 2021); Areej Sabbagh Khouri, “Tracing Settler Colonialism: A Genealogy of a Paradigm in the Sociology of Knowledge Production in Israel,” Politics and Society 51, no. 1 (2022): 44–83.


Stephanie Springgay and Sarah Truman, Walking Methodologies in a More than Human World: WalkingLab (London: Routledge, 2018).


David Macauley, “Walking the City: Peripatetic Practices and Politics,” Capitalism, Nature, Socialism: A Journal of Ecology 11, no. 4 (2000): 3–43; Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking (New York: Verso, 2001).


Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Heart, transl. Donaldo Macedo and Alexandre Oliveira (New York: Continuum, 2007); Maggie O’Neill and Ismail Enashe, “Walking Borders: Risks and Belonging,” Journal of Public Pedagogies, no. 4, https://doi.org/10.15209/jpp.1173; Walsh, “Decolonial Pedagogies Walking and Asking.”


Karen O’Rourke, Walking and Mapping: Artists as Cartographers (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013); Todd Shalom, Elastic City: Prompts for Participatory Walks (New York: Elastic City, 2019).


McMillan, “Listening with Our Feet,” 299.


Freire, Pedagogies of the Heart.


Paulo Freire, Pedagogies of the Oppressed, transl. Myra Bergman Ramos (New York: Continuum, 2005), 12.


Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, transl. Steven Rendall (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 91–110.


Julia Aoki and Ayaka Yoshimizu, “Walking Histories, Un/Making Places: Walking Tours as Ethnography of Place,” Space and Culture 18, no. 3 (2015): 273–284, 276.


Karen E. Will, “Wounded Cities: Memory-Work and a Place-Based Ethics of Care,” Political Geography 3 (2012): 3–14. Importantly, deep listening and critical listening emerged out of Indigenous practices and theories, and include listening to the more-than-human. The more-than-human is crucial for Indigenous decolonial theory and politics, but is beyond the scope of this article. To learn more about deep listening in an Indigenous context see Dylan Robinson, Hungry Listening: Resonant Theory for Indigenous Sound Studies (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2020).


De Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, 105.


Yosef Dror, “Hikes as Part of the National Education,” The Hike as Educational and Value Oriented Means of Education, ed. G. Cohen and E. Sasson (Jerusalem: Ministry of Education, 2011), 22–33 [in Hebrew]; Noga Collins-Kreiner and Nurit Kliot, “Why Do People Hike? Hiking the Israel National Trail,” Journal of Economic and Human Geography 108, no. 5 (2017): 669687.


Yael Zrubavel, Recovered Roots: Collective Memory and the Making of Israeli National Tradition (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1995); Avi Mograbi, Avenge but One of My Eyes [documentary] (DA Films, 2005].


Rami K. Isaac, “Tourism, Hope and Peace: A Counter-discourse in Palestina,” Tourism as a Pathway of Hope and Happiness, ed. Tejvir Singh, Richard Butler, and David A. Fennell (Bristol, UK: Channel View Publications, 2023), 185–201, 189.


Fenster, An Archeology of an Address.


The walking tours discussed here were not for tourists, and thus I will not expand on this topic. For further research about decolonizing tourism in Palestine see Rami K. Isaac, “Occupation, Colonisation, and Apartheid Tourism in Israeli Settlements in Occupied Palestine,” Tourism Recreation Research, https://doi.org/10.1080/02508281.2022.2124024, and “Tourism, Hope and Peace,” and for decolonizing tourism theory see Donna Chambers and Christine Buzinde, “Tourism and Decolonisation: Locating Research and Self,” Annals of Tourism Research 51 (2015): 1–16.


In the Canadian context these strategies align with what Decter, “Walking Unsettling Depremacy,” calls depremacy—the inversion of supremacy that “suggests a deliberate decentering of whiteness—an attitude that challenges existing power relations and assumptions of white settler authority” (189). But to facilitate depremacy, one has to first be able to recognize their own supremacy, something barely available to Israeli Jerusalemites.


Ghada Karmi, In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story (London: Verso, 2002); Khalil Sakakini, Such Am I, Oh World: From the Diaries of Khalil Sakakini, transl. from Arabic Gidon Shilo (Mevaseret Zion: Zivonim Press, 2007) [Hebrew].


Irgun refers to a fringe paramilitary group, Irgun Zv’ai Leumi (literally nationalist military organization), led in the 1940s by Menhem Begin, who would later become an Israeli prime minister. The organization criticized the leadership of the Jewish organization for cooperation with the British and executed guerilla attacks on British targets, including the attack in 1946 of the King David Hotel. The Irgun was eventually incorporated into the IDF in 1948.


Simon Schama, Landscape and Memory (New York: Vintage, 1995).


Fenster, An Archeology of an Address.


“Here, in This No-Here,” Zochrot, accessed 5 February 2019, https://zochrot.org/en/gallery/55867.


Paulette Regan, Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2010).


Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor,” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society 1, no. 1 (2012): 1–40.


Walter Mingolo, The Darker Side of the Renaissance: Literacy, Territoriality, Colonization (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995); Rosi Braidotti, “Nomadism: Against Methodological Naturalism,” Policy Futures in Education 8, nos. 3 and 4 (2010): 408–418.


Walter D. Mingolo, “Looking for the Meaning of ‘Decolonial Gesture,’” Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, accessed 27 July 2023, https://hemisphericinstitute.org/en/emisferica-11-1-decolonial-gesture/11-1-essays/looking-for-the-meaning-of-decolonial-gesture.html.


Yizhar Be’er, “70 Years Later, Is the Myth of the ‘Steadfast Few against the Many’ in the War of Independence Accurate?” Ha’aretz (4 November 2018) [in Hebrew].


David Shaltiel, Jerusalem—1948 (Tel Aviv: Ministry of Defence Press, 1981), 129


Abdullah al Tel, The Memoir of Abdulla al Tel, transl. from Arabic by Yehoshua Halamish (Tel Aviv: IDF Press, 1960) [Hebrew], 29–30.


Zochrot, “Here, in This No-Here.”


In 2002, Abd Baset al Odeh entered the Park hotel in Netanya during the Passover seder, killing himself and thirty civilians. When his superior, Abbas el Sayyed, was arrested and interrogated, he allegedly said, “This is vengeance for the Semiramis bombing.” His interrogators had no idea what he was talking about, according to information delivered in guided tours by Anwar Bed Badis (2013). Indeed, the Semiramis is not part of the Israeli narrative of 1948. The building itself was converted to an apartment building, and no reference to its past exists in the space.


McMillan, “Listening with Our Feet,” 276.


De Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, 105.


Interestingly, while the tour was designed with Israelis in mind, out of the almost 100 tour participants about a quarter were Palestinians. I was surprised and wondered whether the structure of the tour/performance would be effective for them. The feedback I received was very positive, and one tour participant showed me later that she framed the postcard and program and hung it on her wall.


Freire, Pedagogies of the Oppressed; McMillan, “Listening with Our Feet.”


“About Us,” Jane’s Walks, accessed 15 January 2024, https://janeswalk.org/about-us/.


Interestingly, in the first few years after 1948 the streets were all named after flowers, but in 1958, the Jerusalem municipality naming committee decided to change the names of the neighborhoods from Katamon to Gonen (defense), Talbiyeh to Komemiyut (resurgence) and Baq’a to Geulim (resurrection). The Hebrew names for the neighborhoods never caught on.


Robinson, Hungry Listening, 248.


Robinson, Hungry Listening, 248.


Shalom, Elastic City, 17.


Aoki and Yoshimizu, “Walking Histories,” 277.


De Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, 105.


Sara Ahmed, Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Post-coloniality (London and New York: Routledge, 2000).


Sarah Ahmed, “Collective Feelings: Or, the Impressions Left by Others,” Theory, Culture and Society 21, no. 2 (2004): 25–42, 25.


Dorit Naaman, “When Is Co-creation Possible?” Afterimage 47, no. 1 (2020): 42–47.


Freire, Pedagogies of the Oppressed, 43–69.


Freire, Pedagogies of the Heart.


Sandy Flitterman-Lewis, “Documenting the Ineffable: Terror and Memory in Alain Resnais’s Night and Fog,” Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video, ed. Barry Keith Grant and Jeannette Sloniowski (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1998), 204–222.


Flitterman-Lewis, “Documenting the Ineffable,” 209.


Regan, Unsettling the Settler Within, 11.


David Garneau, “Imaginary Spaces of Conciliation and Reconciliation,” Arts of Engagement: Taking Aesthetic Action in and beyond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, ed. Dylan Robinson and Keavy Martin (Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier Press, 2016), 21–41, 32.


Maggie O’Neil and Brian Roberts, Walking Methods: Research on the Move (London: Routledge, 2020).


O’Neil and Roberts, Walking Methods, 5.


McMillan, “Listening with Our Feet,” 287.


Garneau, “Imaginary Spaces,” 33–34.


Mingolo, “Looking for the Meaning.”

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