From lesbian activism to archive and memory activism: reflections on a generation gap
“As the lesbian – feminist community in Israel grew and became an organized community in the late 80’s and early 90’s (of the last century) questions of keeping our history and memory activism were not on the agenda. We were involved at what we had perceived as the most daring activism available. Combining the struggle for lesbian rights with the struggle against the occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel became the core activism of many lesbian feminists at that time. We were busy organizing and demanding the attention of the public to the cause of liberation. Now, almost 30 years later, we are creating a feminist research center out of the boxes of material of that period. How do we make sense of this shift? What is our duty as keepers of the history to the continuous struggles of communities under oppression?”
Hannah Safran, a lesbian, peace and feminist activist. Turned to research after years of working at the Haifa Feminist Center – Isha L’Isha. Her research work on the Jewish suffrage movement in 1920 and the feminist movement in Israel in the 70’s was published in 2006. She is involved in research and teaching Gender and Women’s studies. Active in the anti-occupation movement, she has been demonstrating every Friday as part of Women in Black since 1988 and was founding member of the Women’s coalition for peace. Her article, with co-authors, on lesbian activism since the 80’s in Israel was published recently.
Haifa Feminist Institute
The Haifa Feminist Institute (HFI) is part of Isha L’Isha the Haifa Feminist Center. It is based on a growing network of local feminist scholars and activists from diverse ethnic, national, class and sexual backgrounds who work in various fields, inside and at the margins of academic institutions. We are Palestinians and Jewish citizens of Israel, who are working together to collect/preserve and maintain our her-stories. Based on the archives of feminist and lesbian activities in the last 40 years, we are currently building a foundation for a feminist research institute that will encourage research about and with our communities.
Hannah will be speaking on day 3 of the conference