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Locating Tolerance: The Conflict over the Mamilla Cemetery in Jerusalem


A branch of the Los Angeles based Museum of Tolerance is being built in the heart of Jerusalem on part of the site of the city's oldest Muslim cemetery. Legal suits, protests, claims and counter claims have ensued. What does it mean to build a museum borne of the memory of the Holocaust and designed to teach lessons about the importance of "tolerance" over a graveyard in the face of the protests of the descendants of the interred and, moreover, in a country in which it is prohibited to disturb Jewish graves?


What insights might we gain from thinking through this particular instance of the limits and blind-spots of an ideology of “tolerance?”

On the one hand, the conference will consider questions particular to the case at hand: the nature of the ongoing contest over land and historical rights in Palestine and Israel. More specifically, the lawsuits and the political organizing against locating the Museum of Tolerance over the site of the Mamilla Cemetery puts in stark relief the hurdles Palestinians face in gaining recognition for claims to injury in the face of opponents whose own claim to moral authority derives in significant part from the history of the Holocaust. On the other hand, "tolerance" increasingly has emerged as a way of framing and legitimizing anti-Muslim sentiment and forms of politics. 

Conference Speakers Include 

Wendy Brown, Heller Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

David T Goldberg, Director, University of California Humanities Research Institute & Professor of Comparative Literature, UCI

Rashid Khalidi, Co-Director Center for Palestine Studies & Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies, Columbia U.

Saree Makdisi, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, UCLA

Eyal Weizman, Director of Centre of Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London



The Institute for Research on Women and Gender

Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity

Department of Anthropology

The Middle East Institute

Monday, 11 April 2011, 11:00 AM ~ 6:00 PM
Room 1501, International Affairs Building, Columbia University
420 West 118th Street, NY, NY 10027