JEFF HALPER BIOGRAPHY
Dr. Jeff Halper lives in Jerusalem where he is Coordinating Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).
Halper has been a peace and human rights activist for more than three decades. A second edition of his most recent book is "An Israeli in Palestine; Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel" (2008), has just been released. The book traces Halper’s work against the Israeli Occupation.
Born in Minnesota, he participated in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movement of the 1960s. After attending rabbinical school and resisting military service in the Vietnam War, Halper immigrated to Israel in 1973.
In Israel, Halper taught anthropology at Haifa and Ben-Gurion Universities. His academic research has focused on the history of Jerusalem in the modern era, contemporary Israeli culture, and the Middle East conflict. He is the author of “Between Redemption and Revival: The Jewish Yishuv in Jerusalem in the Nineteenth Century” (1991). During his mandatory Israeli military service, he refused to bear arms or serve in the occupied Palestinian territories. In 1997, Halper co-founded ICAHD to challenge and resist the Israeli policy of demolishing Palestinian homes.
Halper's book, "Obstacles to Peace" (2005), is a resource manual of articles and maps on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The book shows how Israel has pursued a policy of expanding its civilian population into the Occupied Palestinian Territories (which includes the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and East Jerusalem) through settlement construction and land confiscation. At the same time, Palestinian housing growth has been severely limited and confined to shrinking enclaves. Under the guise of urban planning and civil law, the natural development of Palestinian towns and villages has been frozen by land expropriation, discrimination in planning and zoning policies, restrictions of building permits, and the demolition of Palestinian homes. According to ICAHD research, the Israeli military or civil authority has destroyed more than 24,000 Palestinian homes since 1967. This constitutes a massive violation of international law both by inflicting collective punishment on a civilian population, and by pursuing a goal of territorial acquisition through force.
Jeff Halper describes ICAHD,
"We think, as Israelis, that Jews and Arabs should live together. Palestinians have rights of self-determination just like we have. We have to fight also for their rights. One of our slogans is ‘we refuse to be their enemies.’"
As the Coordinating Director of ICAHD, Halper has organized and led nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience against Israel’s occupation policies and authorities. He has put his own personal safety on the line, facing bulldozers in front of Palestinian homes and confronting Israeli soldiers. He organizes Israelis, Palestinians, and internationals to help rebuild demolished Palestinian homes. His book, and An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Decolonizing Zionism (London: Pluto Press, 2008), describes his motivation in resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
A tireless writer and speaker, Halper travels extensively to build international support for ICAHD and its international sister organizations, ICAHD-USA and ICAHD UK. He realized early on that the Israeli government did not intend for the Oslo peace process of the 1990’s to lead to the recognition of Palestinian rights. He developed the "Matrix of Control" framework that accurately predicted the course the Israeli Occupation would take as the Oslo process collapsed and Israel continued to build settlements, settler-only highways, and the Separation Wall. Halper was an early voice warning about the development of Israeli apartheid policies in the Occupied Territories, a subject on which he frequently speaks.
The American Friends Service Committee nominated Halper, along with Palestinian activist Ghassan Andoni, for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Halper served on the steering committee of the United Nations Conference on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
As Jeff Halper explains,
"We are against the Israeli policy of occupation and displacement. If you create an apartheid situation, if you lock another people into prison, in the end, you cannot develop a healthy, normal, and prosperous society. The Occupation, conflict, terrorism, and settlements all affects the Israeli society and economy. As long as the Occupation continues, Israel itself cannot be free."
JEFF HALPER INTRODUCTION
Jeff Halper is an Israeli Professor of Anthropology and the Coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), a non-violent, direct-action Israeli peace and human rights organization that resists the Israeli Occupation on the ground, and especially its policy of demolishing Palestinian homes, and advocates for a just and sustainable peace in the region.
Halper received his Ph.D. in Cultural and Applied Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee before moving to Israel in 1973. His academic research has focused on the history of Jerusalem in the modern era (he is the author of Between Redemption and Revival: The Jewish Yishuv in Jerusalem in the Nineteenth Century, Westview, 1991), contemporary Israeli culture, the Middle East conflict and methods of capitalist pacification of the global periphery. A community worker for the Jerusalem municipality for more than a decade, he worked in the poor Mizrahi Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem. Having done research among the Jews of Ethiopia in the 1960s, he became an advocate for their struggle to find a place in Israeli society, serving as the Chairman of the Israeli Committee for Ethiopian Jews.
For more than a decade Halper served as the Director of the Middle East Center of Friends World College, an international college which he eventually headed. He has taught at universities in Israel, the US, Latin America and Africa.
Halper combines grassroots activism within Israel with international advocacy for a just Israeli/Palestinian peace. He is the author of Obstacles to Peace, a resource manual of articles and maps on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Decolonizing Zionism (London: Pluto Press, 2008) and numerous articles.
Jeff Halper was nominated by the American Friends Service Committee for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, together with the Palestinian intellectual and activist Ghassan Andoni. He can be reached at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.