The Gendered Politics of Palestinian National Identity in Chile, 1960-2018

Justin Ostrowksi, University of Arizona

In the fall of 2018, Omar Sabat, the mayor of Valdivia, introduced legislation that codified BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) within local commercial and governance structures. He sought to make the Chilean city an “apartheid free zone.”[1] Sabat, who is of Palestinian descent, secured the unanimous passage of this legislation by the city council, thereby making Valdivia the first locality in Latin America to officially endorse BDS. Yet Sabat also ignited a chain of domestic and transnational reactions, including Chilean courts who challenges the legislation and transnational Palestinian solidarity networks that lauded the controversial approach. In this study, I use these developments as a starting point to explore the ways in which transnational networks have informed the political positioning of Chileans of Palestine decent. I ask questions about the historical development of belonging, shaped by connections between Chile and Palestine. How did men and women of Palestine descent become politically involved, made decisions, and acted as political leaders? How did gendered expectations inform and shape political militancies? And how did political participation relate to the formation of Palestinians national identity in Chile?

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 85. Histories of Gender, Resistance, and Women's Empowerment in the Americas