Susan Slyomovics deposited Who and what is native to Israel? On Marcel Janco’s settler art and Jacqueline Shohet Kahanoff’s “Levantinism” in the group LLC Hebrew on MLA Commons 7 years, 4 months ago
The poetics and esthetics of “natural occupancy” are relevant to the ways in which settlers’ colonists artistically and discursively produce their subsequent cultural formations. I focus on the decade of the 1950s to chart specific settler ideologies of ownership that emerged in
Israel after the establishment of the state in 1948. What are the varied strands of colonizing ideology that define spaces currently inhabited by Jewish Israeli settlers seeking to forget the original colonial domination? One approach to questions about space, land, ownership,
and indigeneity in Israel/Palestine is to investigate the literature and arts that serve to designate Jewish Israelis as natural occupants. Two seminal theories, the “Mediterranean option” (in Hebrew yam tikhoniyut) and “Levantinism” (levantiniyut), were imaginatively
de-historicized in the art projects of Marcel Janco and the writings of Jacqueline Shohet Kahanoff, respectively. Both fostered the myth of natural occupancy by appropriating for themselves a sense of nativeness, just as each eliminated the indigenous Palestinian Arab
presence through their own selective cultural assimilations.