Ilise Benshushan Cohen


Ilise Benshushan Cohen is a Sephardic Jewish Atlantan, with family roots from the Ottoman Empire and from Cuba and identifies as Sephardi/Mizrahi. Ilise is a scholar-activist on Israel/Palestine and has her Ph.D. in Social/Cultural [Postcolonial] Anthropology focused on Israeli Mizrahi Jewish experiences of state violence and resilience in 2006/2007 their intersections with Palestinian experiences. Ilise is a member and co-coordinator for the Jews of Color, Sephardi and Mizrahi Caucus (JOCSM) in solidarity with Palestine. She is co-founder and chapter leader for JVP-Atlanta, steering committee member of Sedq: a Global Jewish Network for justice working for a free Palestine and for global racial justice. She is a board member and delegation leader for Interfaith Peace Builders, former co-vice chair of the FOR National Council, and was the director of AFSC’s Middle East Peace Education Program in the Southeast between 1995-2002. Locally she is part of Create Community 4 Decatur: Black Lives Matter and Georgia Not 1 More. She teaches Jewish studies classes at Agnes Scott College, and has taught postgraduate courses on international policy and human rights, identity and diversity at Smith College, the School for Social Work. She is also a mom!

Location: Atlanta, GA

Areas of Expertise: Sephardi/Mizrahi Jews; joint struggles; addressing anti-racism within Palestine solidarity movement; Orientalism, antisemitism and Islamophobia

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