Meron Benvenisti
ifk Gast des Direktors

Zeitraum des Fellowships:
01. März 2011 bis 30. Juni 2011

Supplanting Settler Societies: A Comparative Study


The common perception of the Israeli and Palestinian societies is of two separate societies who found themselves in a situation of forced proximity as a result of "military occupation", which assumes limited duration. Only few observers view them within a unified framework of one, polarized society with powerful and permanent contacts.

One can conceptualize the mutual relationships either as an external clash between two national groups over a contested territory, or as an internal settler-indigenous encounter intensified by the process of coercive supplanting of the native society. A comparative study of similar societies in historical perspective will explore the similarities and differences. The areas of comparison are (among others): geographical name changing; land confiscation; transfer of populations; reaction to native violence; ideology of cultural supremacy; literature; appropriation of local culture; creating a myth of ancestral roots in the land.


Meron Benvenisti served as a deputy mayor of Jerusalem under Teddy Kollek from 1971 to 1978, during which he administered East Jerusalem and served as Jerusalem’s Chief Planning Officer. He is a medieval scholar and published books and maps on the Crusader period in the Holy Land. In 1984 he founded the West Bank Database Project, documenting social, economic, and political developments in the West Bank. Since 1992 he has devoted his time to teaching – as visiting scholar (Ben Gurion U. 1994–1998, Johns Hopkins SAIS 1982–2009). Benvenisti did research and writing on Jerusalem, Northern Ireland conflict, Israeli-Palestinian relations, Palestinian vanished landscape, bi-nationalism and restaurant reviews. He was a fellow at The Wilson Center in Washington, DC and a Visiting Fellow at Harvard’s CFIA and a recipient of research grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the US Institute of Peace. He holds a doctorate from Harvard’s Kennedy School.


Son of the Cypresses, Berkley 2007; Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land 1948–1998, Berkeley 2000; Jerusalem, City of Stone, Berkeley 1996; Intimate Enemies, Berkeley 1995; Conflicts and Contradictions, New York 1986; The West Bank Data Project: A Survey of Israel’s policies, Washington, DC 1984; The Crusaders in the Holy Land, New York 1973.