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Nachgefragt... Prof. Dr. Joanna Dyduch

Joanna Dyduch

Joanna Dyduch

Prof. Dr. Joanna Dyduch ist seit März 2020 Gastprofessorin für Israel Studies des Selma Stern Zentrums für Jüdische Studien Berlin-Brandenburg am Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum für europäisch-jüdische Studien. Prof. Dyduch lehrt und forscht am Institute of the Middle and Far East der Jagiellonen Universität Krakow. Seit 2018 ist sie Präsidentin der European Association of Israel Studies (EAIS).

News vom 31.03.2020

Discipline: Political Science / International Relations 

Research Focus: Israel studies, European studies 


First, what are you doing during this current situation of the corona pandemic?

As many of us, I am working at home. Preparing intensively for online-teaching. My course “Origins and meaning of specific relations between Central Eastern Europe and Israel” for students of the University of Potsdam now needs to be adjusted to e-learning standards, at least for some parts. 

1. What are you working on now?

Now I am working on the research theme “Multidimensional dynamics of the relations between Israel and Central Eastern European states.” However, this larger project serves as an overall project of some more specific and detailed analysis and research tasks. To give an example: Together with Dr. Marcela Menachem Zoufalá from Charles University, Prague, and Dr. Olaf Glöckner, Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum, University of Potsdam, I am editing a special issue of the Israel Studies Review(ISR) which will explore the European perspective on Israel studies. For the purpose of the special issue I am working on my article titled: “Dependent Market Economies meet Israel’s hawkish neoliberalism: Socio-Economic dimensions of the Visegrad Group V4’s political cooperation with Israel.”

2. What is your most daring thesis?

Let me mention two books: In the first one, Polish-Israeli relations. From normalization to strategic partnership?Was published in 2010. Here I am analyzing the evolution of the relations between Poland and Israel, starting from the 1940s till the end of first decade of the 2000’s. I was especially interested in identifying driving forces of bilateral relations between different states. Obviously, one of the most important factors shaping Polish-Israeli relations has been – and still is – their common history. Paradoxically, national narratives on history on one the hand can facilitate or even faster and deepen a social and political dialogue and cooperation on the other hand. Under specific circumstances however, when the national narratives on shared history clash or compete, the relations between states may not only suffer but even regress. This may have a serious influence on other realms of bilateral relations, such as cultural exchange or economic cooperation.

In my second book, Europeanisation of Polish foreign policy from the perspective of structural realism, published in 2016, I attempt to explain the impact of European integration on foreign policy. I look at the influence of memberships in the EU on bilateral relations between Poland and non-EU states including Israel or the United States. The analysis presented in the book shall proof that Polish-Israeli relations depend very much on the quality, intensity and the content of the relations between Poland and the US. The more pro-Atlantic Polish foreign and security policy is, the greater is Poland’s inclination to support American policy in the Middle East. This is generally consistent with Israelis positions on the Palestinian issue, usually heavily criticized by the European Union. 

At the end let me mention that in 2018 I was honoured to be a co-editor of the special issue of the Polish Political Science Yearbook(47/2) on Israeli Studies (http://www.czasopisma.marszalek.com.pl/10-15804/ppsy/358-vol-47/issue-2/2053-contents-47-2).  We manage to compile over 20 papers by scholars representing different academic centres from Europe, the United States, Canada, and of course Israel. In this issue we publish research papers and in-depth analyses on topics related to internal dynamics of Israeli politics and society, as well as on the Israeli engagement in international relations. The authors look at crucial research problems from historical, political, legal, and cultural perspectives.

3. Where do you see the relevance for the Jewish Studies?

Although I wouldn't identify myself as a Jewish studies scholar, but rather as an Israel studies scholar, I am happy to acknowledge and appreciate the fact that the disciplines are overlapping. In order to understand contemporary Israel, one needs to have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of Jewish history, culture and heritage. This applies especially to scholars who are investigating and researching Israeli-European relations. The current dynamic of bilateral and multilateral Israeli -European cooperation very much depends on the mutual perception of common European heritage, in which Jewish culture plays a crucial role. In this respect, solid knowledge based on high-quality scholarship, promotion of shared values and mutual respect can facilitate a fruitful dialogue, not only in the academic sphere. 

4. What do you think is the most import/your favour text?

One of the most inspiring books I've read recently is A. Krampf’s The Israeli Path to Neoliberalism: The State, Continuity and Change(Routledge 2018). The author illustrates Israel’s economic strategy, where market-oriented public policies are introduced in order to promote or pursue national interests. He then explains the evolving nature of that state’s economic strategy which is being increasingly politicised. Krampf’s observations address the links between the neoliberal approach to governance in the area of the state’s public policies (e.g. foreign, economic and energy policies) with the hawkish national security position. Furthermore, it explains a purposeful use of market-oriented practices as a tool to advance one’s own position during international rivalry, both economic and political. The test case of Israels emphasized in Krampf's book helps to better understand more general phenomena of interplay between national security concerns and an efficient and competitive market-oriented economy. In my own research I have found a lot of shared characteristic between Israel and central European states policy orientations.   

5. What do you wish for Jewish Studies?

I hope Jewish studies in Europe will continue to progressively develop. To my mind, this development contributes a lot in understanding our own European identity. It continuously helps us to understand where we are coming from while reflecting on our aims. Europe as a geographical and a cultural and civilization phenomenon was gaining so much strength from its openness and inclusiveness of course always when it was ready to be open and inclusive. I see Jewish studies as an inherent element of civilization studies, especially of Europe. 

6. What do you think should be included in your field of research in school teaching/education/society?

I usually tell my students that Israel can serve as an extremely interesting case study. Studying contemporary Israel helps us to answer many important questions related to our contemporary world. Recently, we became increasingly interested in the Israeli model of innovation policy, which made the country one of the most successful innovators in the world, and therefore an attractive business partner. Yet, the Israeli example can teach us about conditions of the country international success but also about challenges and disadvantages of making the innovativeness the pillar of the state economic develop especially domestically. 

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