Elie Friedman

Dr. Elie Friedman

Associate Fellow
Elie  Friedman

Elie Friedman (PhD, 2016) is currently a visiting scholar at the Department of Linguistics & English Language, Lancaster University and is an associate researcher at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is also an adjunct lecturer at Hadassah Academic College and Bar-Ilan University. His research interests include political discourse in national and international contexts with an emphasis on public diplomacy and media studies. He has recently published in Discourse & Society (Friedman and Kampf), Journal of Language & Politics, International Journal of Communications, and Critical Discourse Studies.

Dr. Friedman is currently working on two significant research projects. The first is a co-authored monograph (with Prof. Dalia Gavriely-Nuri(, to be published by Routledge Academic Press, entitles The Dialectics of Occupation Normalization and Estrangement: The Current Israeli West Bank Political Discourse. This study asks how irregular political situations, which impact the daily lives of millions, can become normalized? More specifically, within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, how can 50 years of Israeli control over the territories become accepted within Israeli society as a normal, possibly even banal phenomenon? Conversely, how can such a political situation be estranged from daily reality, in an attempt to hide it from daily life, in denial of any relation to who "we" are? Following Feige's (2002) conceptualization of right wing discourses appropriating the territories and left wing discourses estranging them, this study explores these questions through the lens of two central discourses that dominate the Israeli debate regarding the future of the Occupied Territories: 1) Occupation Normalization Discourse, which attempts to portray Israeli control of the territories as a “normal” part of life; 2) Occupation Estrangement Discourse, which attempts to portray this situation as a phenomenon distant from Israeli reality. The authors develop a new methodological tool for the analysis of conflict-based discourse, Dialectic Discourse Analysis, which examines discourse as a process of perpetual positing and synthesis of oppositions through the discursive construction, differentiation and mediation of self and other. The study utilizes as a case study the Israeli political discourse about the West Bank in 2014-15, during the period of the general elections.

The second project is a Truman-supported research group with Dr. Alexandra Herfroy-Mischler, which studies the discourse and framing of blame upon negotiation failure in international frameworks. The act of blaming a political actor has been defined in ethical terms, as a moral judgment, both cognitive and social, which regulates social behavior (Malle et. al, 2014). However, there is a lack of research regarding the ethical system discursively utilized within the context of failed peace or ceasefire negotiations in protracted conflict. Furthermore, as the casting of blame upon negotiation failure is mediated through various media, there is a need to understand how the ethical formulation of blame is framed in media reporting.

This study attempts to alleviate this research lacuna. It aims to categorize central discursive blame strategies according to various approaches towards ethics. Second, it evaluates the kind of media framing that corresponds to various ethical approaches, specifically examining thematic versus episodic framing. This study utilizes two cases in which conflict resolution attempts have failed: 1) the of 2013-2014 Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations mediated by US Secretary of State, John Kerry; 2) the September 2016 failed American-Russian mediation of a ceasefire in the Syrian Civil War.

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