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JfJfP comments


2015:

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo

2014:

15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014

2013:

29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011

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Posts

Older books – History

This page contains details of books previously listed on the Most Recently Published Books page. Books are listed in alphabetical order of the author. All the books were published in 2012 or later; earlier books previously listed on this page can be found here.

HISTORY
Elliot Abrams: Tested by Zion: The Bush Administration and the Israeli- Palestinian conflict (2013)
Sami Adwan, Dan Bar-On, Eyal Naveh & PRIME: Side by side: Parallel histories of the Israel- Palestine (2012)
Lori Allen: The rise and fall of human rights: Cynicism and politics in Occupied Palestine (2013)
Abdel Monem Said Aly, Shai Feldman & Khali Shiklaki: Arabs and Israelis: Conflict and peacemaking in the Middle East (2013)
Daniel Bar-Tel & Izhak Schnell: Impacts of lasting occupation: Lessons from Israeli society (2012)
Hassan Barari: Israeli politics and the Middle East peace process, 1988-2002 (2012)
Gershon Baskin: Negotiator (2013)
Uri Ben-Eliezer: Old conflict, new war: Israel’s politics toward the Palestinians (2012)
Ifrat Ben-Ze’ev: Remembering Palestine in 1948: Beyond national narratives (2014)
Irus Braverman: Planted flags: Trees, land & the law in Israel (2014)
Michael Broning: Political parties in Palestine: Leadership and thought (2013)
Eric Budd: Conflicted are the peacemakers: Israeli and Palestinian moderates and the death of the Oslo (2012)
Martin Bunton: The Palestinian-Israeli conflict: A very short introduction (2013)
Daniel Byman: A high price: The triumphs and failures of Israeli counterterrorism (2013)
Paola Caridi: Hamas: From resistance to government (2012)
Avner Cohen: The worst-kept secret: Israel’s bargain with the bomb (2012)
Daniel Deeb: Israel, Palestine and the quest for Middle East peace (2013)
Alan Dowty: Israel/Palestine (2012)
Jean-Pierre Filiu: Gaza: A history (2014)
Norman Finkelstein: Old wine, broken bottle: Avi Shavit’s Promised Land (2014)
Norman Finkelstein: Method and madness: The hidden story of Israel’s assaults on Gaza (2015)
Charles Freilich: Zion’s dilemmas: how Israel makes national security policy (2012)
James Gelvin: The Israel-Palestine conflict: One hundred years of war (2013)
Ran Greenstein: Zionism & its discontents: A century of radical dissent in Israel/Palestine (2014)
Liora Gvion: Beyond Hummus and Falafel: Social and political aspects of Palestinian food in Israel (2012)
Maia Carter Hallward (Ed.): Nonviolent resistance in the second Intifada: Activism and advocacy (2012)
John Judis: Genesis: Truman, American Jews and the origins of Israel (2014)
Paul Kelemen: The British Left and Zionism: History of a divorce (2012)
Rashid Khalidi: Brokers of deceit: How the U.S. undermined peasce in the Middle East (2013)
Menachem Klein: Lives in common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa & Hebron (2014)
Gudrun Kramer: A history of Palestine: From the Ottoman conquest to the founding of the State of Israel (2012)
Daniel Kurtzer et al.: The peace puzzle: America’s quest for Arab-Israeli peace (2012)
Samuel Kuruvilla: Radical Christianity in Palestine and Israel (2012)
Wm Roger Louis & Avi Shlaim (Eds.):The 1967 Arab-Israeli war: Origins & consequences (2012)
Nur Masalha: The Palestine Nakba (2012)
Dina Matar & Zahera Harb (Eds.): Narrating conflict in the Middle East (2013)
Ilan Pappe: The idea of Israel: A history of power and knowledge (2014)
Nigel Parsons: The politics of the Palestinian Authority: From Oslo to Al-Aqasa (2012)
Wendy Pearlman: Violence, non-violence and the Palestinian national movement (2012)
Ami Pedahzur: The triumph of Israel’s radical right (2012)
Joel Peters & David Newman (eds.):Routledge Handbook of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (2012)
Itamar Rabinovich: The lingering conflict: Israel and the Arabs, 1948 – 2011 (2013)
Avi Raz: The bride and the dowry: Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians in the afternmath of the June 1967 war (2012)
Shira Robinson: Citizen Strangers: Palestinians and the birth of Israel’s liberal settler state (2013)
Shlomo Sand: The invention of the land of Israel: From Holy Land to homeland (2013)
Jonathan Schanzer: State of failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abba and the unmaking of the Palestinian state (2013)
Ron Schleifer: Psychological warfare in the Arab-Israeli conflict (2014)
Colin Shindler: Israel and the European left: Between solidarity and delegitimization (2012)
Asher Susser: Israel, Jordan, and Palestine: The two-state imperative (2012)
Patrick Tyler: Fortress Israel: The inside story of the military elite who run the country – and why they can’t make peace (2012)
Yfaat Weiss: Wadi Salib and Haifa’s lost heritage (2012)
Robert Wistrich: From ambivalence to betrayal: The Left, Jews and Israel (2012)
Lawrence Wright: Thirteen days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David (2014)
Husam Said Zomlot: Building a state under occupation: Peacemaking and reconstruction in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (2013)

 

Elliot Abrams: Tested by Zion: The Bush Administration and the Israeli- Palestinian conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2013, £18.99)
Publisher’s description: This book tells the full inside story of the Bush Administration and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Written by a top National Security Council officer who worked at the White House with Bush, Cheney, and Rice and attended dozens of meetings with figures like Sharon, Mubarak, the kings of Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and Palestinian leaders, it brings the reader inside the White House and the palaces of Middle Eastern officials. How did 9/11 change American policy toward Arafat and Sharon’s tough efforts against the Second Intifada? What influence did the Saudis have on President Bush? Did the American approach change when Arafat died? How did Sharon decide to get out of Gaza, and why did the peace negotiations fail? In the first book by an administration official to focus on Bush and the Middle East, Elliott Abrams brings the story of Bush, the Israelis, and the Palestinians to life.

Reviews: Middle East Peace Council
Washington Post

 

Sami Adwan, Dan Bar-On, Eyal Naveh & PRIME: Side by side: Parallel histories of the Israel- Palestine (New Press, 2012, paperback, £17.99)

Publisher’s description: In 2000, a group of Israeli and Palestinian teachers gathered to address what to many people seemed an unbridgeable gulf between the two societies. Struck by how different the standard Israeli and Palestinian textbook histories of the same events were from one another, they began to explore how to “disarm” the teaching of the history of the Middle East in Israeli and Palestinian classrooms. The result is a riveting “dual narrative” of Israeli and Palestinian history. Side by Side comprises the history of two peoples in separate narratives set literally side by side, so that readers can track each against the other, noting both where they differ as well as where they correspond. This unique and fascinating presentation has been translated into English and is now available to American audiences for the first time. An eye-opening—and inspiring—new approach to thinking about one of the world’s most deeply entrenched conflicts, Side by Side is a breakthrough book that will spark a new public discussion about the bridge to peace in the Middle East.

Reviews: Kirkus Reviews
Middle East Online

 

Lori Allen: The rise and fall of human rights: Cynicism and politics in Occupied Palestine (Stanford University Press, 2013, paperback, £21.50)

Publisher’s description: The Rise and Fall of Human Rights provides a groundbreaking ethnographic investigation of the Palestinian human rights world—its NGOs, activists, and “victims,” as well as their politics, training, and discourse—since 1979. Though human rights activity began as a means of struggle against the Israeli occupation, in failing to end the Israeli occupation, protect basic human rights, or establish an accountable Palestinian government, the human rights industry has become the object of cynicism for many Palestinians. But far from indicating apathy, such cynicism generates a productive critique of domestic politics and Western interventionism. This book illuminates the successes and failures of Palestinians’ varied engagements with human rights in their quest for independence.

Reviews: H-Net
Allegra

 

Abdel Monem Said Aly, Shai Feldman & Khalil Shikaki: Arabs and Israelis: Conflict and peacemaking in the Middle East (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, paperback, £24.99)

Publisher’s description: The Arab-Israeli conflict has proven to be one of the most protracted and bitter struggles of modern times, and has been extraordinarily resilient in the face of all efforts to resolve it. Written by a distinguished team of authors comprising an Israeli, a Palestinian, and an Egyptian presenting a broader Arab perspective, this textbook offers a balanced and nuanced introduction to this highly contentious subject. This innovative approach provides:
an essential overview of the key developments in the history of the conflict;a sense of the competing narratives that the principle protagonists have developed regarding these developments; a unique analytical framework through which the major developments can be understood; suggested further reading and links to key historical documents to support in-depth exploration of the subject.

Reviews: none yet available

 

Daniel Bar-Tal & Izhak Schnell: Impacts of lasting occupation: Lessons from Israeli society (OUP USA, 2012, £65)

Publisher’s description: Protracted occupation has become a rare phenomenon in the 21st century. One notable exception is Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which began over four decades ago after the Six-Day War in 1967. While many studies have examined the effects of occupation on the occupied society, which bears most of the burdens of occupation, this book directs its attention to the occupiers. The effects of occupation on the occupying society are not always easily observed, and are therefore difficult to study. Yet through their analysis, the authors of this volume show how occupation has detrimental effects on the occupiers. The effects of occupation do not stop in the occupied territories, but penetrate deeply into the fabric of the occupying society.
The Impacts of Lasting Occupation examines the effects that Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories have had on Israeli society. The consequences of occupation are evident in all aspects of Israeli life, including its political, social, legal, economic, cultural, and psychological spheres. Occupation has shaped Israel’s national identity as a whole, in addition to the day-to-day lives of Israeli citizens. Daniel Bar-Tal and Izhak Schnell have brought together a wide range of academic experts to show how occupation has led to the deterioration of democracy and moral codes, threatened personal security, and limited economic growth in Israel.

Reviews: Jewish Journal.com
Politics, Culture & Socialisation

 

Hassan Barari: Israeli politics and the Middle East peace process, 1988-2002 (Routledge, 2012, £26)

Publisher’s description: The book is a fresh interpretation of Israeli foreign policy vis-à-vis the peace process, one that deems domestic political factors as the key to explain the shift within Israel from war to peace. The main assumption is that peacemaking that entails territorial compromise is an issue that can only be completely comprehended by understanding the interaction of domestic factors such as inter-party politics, ideology, personality and the politics of coalition. Although the bulk of the book focuses on how internal inputs informed the peace process, the book takes into account the external factors and how they impacted on the internal constellation of political forces in Israel.

Reviews: None yet available

 

Gershon Baskin: Negotiator (Toby Press, 2013, £18.99)

Publisher’s description: On June 25, 2006, Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit was kidnapped by a group of Gaza militants. The abduction, which drew international headlines and shook the Israeli public, sent Israel and Hamas into five years of hardline bargaining and stalemated discussion. Decades of animosity and distrust thwarted any attempt at a prisoner exchange. The Negotiator is the firsthand account of Gershon Baskin, an American-Israeli peace activist who made it his mission to liberate Gilad Schalit. Acting on his own initiative and in no formal capacity, Baskin drew on his ties to Hamas to create a secret back channel between the two sides. Through behind-the-scenes negotiations and clandestine meetings, nightly e-mails and frantic text messages, a great deal of persistence and no small amount of chutzpa, he succeeded where official mediators had failed, paving the way for the deal that – ultimately – brought Gilad home.

Reviews: History News Network

 

Uri Ben-Eliezer: Old conflict, new war: Israel’s politics toward the Palestinians (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, £60)

Publisher’s description: What caused the drastic, rapid reversal from the Oslo Accords, the historic handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn, the euphoria of peace that gripped many, and the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to the architects of the peace, into long years of violence and war? This book presents a comprehensive sociological and political explanation of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians, from the attempts at peace and the Oslo Accords in the early 1990s to the Second Intifada of 2000 to 2005 and the violent conflicts that followed. It defines the conflicts as a “new war,” which differs in its basic characteristics and premises from conventional wars. It also explains the causes, trajectory, and results of this war, maintaining that the character of the war itself reflected internal conflicts that evolved inside Israel and led to diversionary politics on the part of the Israeli leadership.

Reviews:  none yet available

 

Efrat Ben-Ze’ev: Remembering Palestine in 1948: Beyond national narratives (Cambridge University Press, 2014, paperback, £19.99)

Publisher’s description: The war of 1948 in Palestine is a conflict whose history has been written primarily from the national point of view. This book asks what happens when narratives of war arise out of personal stories of those who were involved, stories that are still unfolding. Efrat Ben-Ze’ev examines the memories of those who participated and were affected by the events of 1948, and how these events have been mythologized over time. This is a three-way conversation between Palestinian villagers, Jewish-Israeli veterans, and British policemen who were stationed in Palestine on the eve of the war. Each has his or her story to tell. These small-scale truths shed new light on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as it was then and as it has become.

Reviews: none yet available

 

Irus Braverman: Planted flags: Trees, land & the law in Israel (Cambridge University Press, 2014, paperback, £20.99)

Publisher’s description:Planted Flags tells an extraordinary story about the mundane uses of law and landscape in the war between Israelis and Palestinians. The book is structured around the two dominant tree landscapes in Israel/Palestine: pine forests and olive groves. The pine tree, which is usually associated with the Zionist project of afforesting the Promised Land, is contrasted with the olive tree, which Palestinians identify as a symbol of their longtime connection to the land. What is it that makes these seemingly innocuous, even natural, acts of planting, cultivating, and uprooting trees into acts of war? How is this war reflected, mediated, and, above all, reinforced through the polarization of the ‘natural’ landscape into two juxtaposed landscapes? And what is the role of law in this story? Planted Flags explores these questions through an ethnographic study. By telling the story of trees through the narratives of military and government officials, architects, lawyers, Palestinian and Israeli farmers, and Jewish settlers, the seemingly static and mute landscape assumes life, expressing the cultural, economic, and legal dynamics that constantly shape and reshape it.

Reviews: none yet available

 

Michael Bröning: Political parties in Palestine: Leadership and thought (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, £57.50)

Publisher’s description: Political Parties in Palestine is an up-to-date elucidation of the Palestinian political landscape. The book offers vital background information on movements such as Hamas and Fatah, as well as smaller political factions that have defined the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades but, due to lack of available information, have not been subject to academic scrutiny. The book provides a comprehensive discussion of the ideological outlook, historical development, and political objectives of all major political actors in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). A well-informed but accessible overview, it combines analytical introductions with engaging profiles of party founders, interviews with current party leaders, organizational charts, and excerpts from party programs previously unavailable in English.

Reviews: Change in Palestine
LSE Books

 

Eric Budd: Conflicted are the peacemakers: Israeli and Palestinian moderates and the death of the Oslo (Bloomsbury Academic, 2012, £65)

Publisher’s description: The 1993 Oslo Accords were a key attempt to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict whose failure was largely attributed to extremists on both sides. The book challenges this conventional wisdom by examining the role of Israeli and Palestinian peacemakers themselves in derailing the peace process.
Looking at the role of moderates before and after Oslo, the different agreements and peace proposals they negotiated, and their rhetoric, the book shows that these peacemakers retained an inherent ambivalence toward the peace process and one another. This prevented them and their constituents from committing to the process and achieving a lasting peace. This unique survey shows how the people who drive the peace process can not only undermine it, but also prevent its successful conclusion.

Reviews: LSE Books

 

Martin Bunton: The Palestinian-Israeli conflict: A very short introduction (OUP, 2013, paperback, £7.99)
Publisher’s description: The conflict between Palestine and Israel is one of the most highly publicized and bitter struggles in history. In this accessible and stimulating Very Short Introduction, Martin Bunton clearly explains the history of the problem, reducing it to its very essence – a modern territorial contest between two nations and one geographical territory. Adopting a fresh and original approach, each section covers a twenty-year span, to highlight the historical complexity of the conflict throughout successive decades. Each chapter starts with an examination of the relationships among people and events that marked particular years as historical moments in the evolution of the conflict, including the 1897 Basle Congress; the 1917 Balfour Declaration and British occupation of Palestine; and the 1947 UN Partition Plan and the war for Palestine. Providing a clear and fair exploration of the main issues, Bunton explores not only the historical basis of the conflict, but also looks at how and why partition has been so difficult and how efforts to restore peace continue today.

Reviews: Middle East in Europe
Palestine Book Awards

 

Daniel Byman: A high price: The triumphs and failures of Israeli counterterrorism (OUP, 2013, paperback, £14.99)
Publisher’s description: The product of painstaking research and countless interviews, A High Price offers a nuanced, definitive historical account of Israel’s bold but often failed efforts to fight terrorist groups. Beginning with the violent border disputes that emerged after Israel’s founding in 1948, Daniel Byman charts the rise of Yasir Arafat’s Fatah and leftist groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (…). Byman reveals how Israel fought these groups and others, such as Hamas, in the decades that follow, with particular attention to the grinding and painful struggle during the second intifada. Israel’s debacles in Lebanon against groups like the Lebanese Hizballah are examined in-depth, as is the country’s problematic response to Jewish terrorist groups that have struck at Arabs and Israelis seeking peace. In surveying Israel’s response to terror, the author points to the coups of shadowy Israeli intelligence services, the much-emulated use of defensive measures such as sky marshals on airplanes, and the role of controversial techniques such as targeted killings and the security barrier that separates Israel from Palestinian areas. Equally instructive are the shortcomings that have undermined Israel’s counterterrorism goals, including a disregard for long-term planning and a failure to recognize the long-term political repercussions of counterterrorism tactics.

Reviews: Wall Street Journal
Washington Times

 

Paola Caridi: Hamas: From resistance to government ( Seven Stories Press,2012, paperback, £13.99)

Publisher’s description: The Palestinian elections of 2006 changed modern Middle East history—as well as changing the perception of the Israel/Palestine conflict around the world. How, Westerners asked, could a secular people elect a radical Islamist group, one that openly advocated violence against the Israeli government and its people, to lead them? How could ordinary Palestinians support the violent resistance their newly-elected government had dedicated itself to? How could a “failure of democracy” on this level be explained? Italian journalist Paola Caridi’s Hamas: From Resistance to Government addresses the question, breaking with the tradition of sensationalist journalism about the elections to instead tell the story of a movement, caught between the desire to resist its oppressor and the need to provide support for a refugee people, suddenly thrust into the role of the sole effective government of a war-torn region. Caridi, informed by years of on-the-ground research and interviews from the residents of Gaza themselves, covers the history of Gaza from its “golden age” as a port city in the fifth century A.D. through the formal birth and slow militarization of Hamas, continuing through Operation Cast Lead, the shocking Wikileaks disclosures, and the Cairo Revolution into the present day.

Reviews: Electronic Intifada
Kirkus Reviews

 

Avner Cohen: The worst-kept secret: israel’s bargain with the bomb (Columbia University Press, 2012, paperback, £17.50)

Publisher’s description: Israel has made a unique contribution to the nuclear age. It has created a special “bargain” with the bomb. Israel is the only nuclear-armed state that does not acknowledge its possession of the bomb, even though its existence is a common knowledge throughout the world. It only says that it will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East. The bomb is Israel’s collective ineffable—the nation’s last great taboo. This bargain has a name: in Hebrew, it is called amimut, or opacity. By adhering to the bargain, which was born in a secret deal between Richard Nixon and Golda Meir, Israel has created a code of nuclear conduct that encompasses both governmental policy and societal behavior. The bargain has deemphasized the salience of nuclear weapons, yet it is incompatible with the norms and values of a liberal democracy. It relies on secrecy, violates the public right to know, and undermines the norm of public accountability and oversight, among other offenses. It is also incompatible with emerging international nuclear norms. (…) Arguing that the bargain has become increasingly anachronistic, he calls for a reform in line with domestic democratic values as well as current international nuclear norms. Most ironic, he believes Iran is imitating Israeli amimut. Cohen concludes with fresh perspectives on Iran, Israel, and the effort toward global disarmament.

Reviews: New York Times
Haaretz

 

Daniel Deeb: Israel, Palestine and the quest for Middle East peace (University Press of America, 2013, paperback, £15.95)
Publisher’s description: After the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, Pakistan’s then President Pervez Musharraf declared: “The Palestinian front is affecting the entire Muslim world. All terrorists and militant activity in the world today has been initiated because of the Palestinian problem. This is because of the sense of hopelessness, alienation, and powerlessness.” The decade following the aftermath of September 11th has only proven that a comprehensive peace settlement in the Middle East and a resolve to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are a crucial necessity to global stability. In this well-researched and thoroughly-documented work, Deeb objectively aims to provide both a historical narrative of the events surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a historiography exploring the failures to achieve the end result of a final settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. What went wrong with peace? This book explores the issues of contention that must be resolved between the parties to reach a lasting settlement.

Reviews: none yet available

 

Alan Dowty: Israel/Palestine ( John Wiley, 2012, 3rd edition, paperback, £15.99)

Publisher’s description: What explains the peculiar intensity and evident intractability of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Of all the “hot spots” in the world today, the apparently endless clash between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East seems unique in its longevity and resistance to resolution. Is this conflict really different from other ethnic and nationalist confrontations, and if so, in what way?
In this fully revised and updated third edition of his highly respected introductory text, Alan Dowty demystifies the conflict by putting it in broad historical perspective, identifying its roots, and tracing its evolution up to the current impasse. His account offers a clear analytic framework for understanding transformations over time, and in doing so, punctures the myths of an “age-old” conflict with an unbridgeable gap between the two sides. Rather than simply reciting historical detail, this book presents a clear overview that serves as a road map through the thicket of conflicting claims. This newly expanded edition updates the analysis to include the latest developments, and also integrates into the analysis a fuller account of the regional and international context of the conflict. In this account the opposed perspectives of the two sides are presented in full, leaving readers to make their own evaluations of the issues.

Reviews: none yet available

 

Jean-Pierre Filiu: Gaza: A history (Hurst & Co, 2014, £25)

Publisher’s description: Through its millennium–long existence, Gaza has often been bitterly disputed while simultaneously and paradoxically enduring prolonged neglect. Jean-Pierre Filiu’s book is the first comprehensive history of Gaza in any language. Squeezed between the Negev and Sinai deserts on the one hand and the Mediterranean Sea on the other, Gaza was contested by the Pharaohs, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Fatimids, the Mamluks, the Crusaders and the Ottomans. Napoleon had to secure it in 1799 to launch his failed campaign on Palestine. In 1917, the British Empire fought for months to conquer Gaza, before establishing its mandate on Palestine.

In 1948, 200,000 Palestinians sought refuge in Gaza, a marginal area neither Israel nor Egypt wanted. Palestinian nationalism grew there, and Gaza has since found itself at the heart of Palestinian history. It is in Gaza that the fedayeen movement arose from the ruins of Arab nationalism. It is in Gaza that the 1967 Israeli occupation was repeatedly challenged, until the outbreak of the 1987 intifada. And it is in Gaza, in 2007, that the dream of Palestinian statehood appeared to have been shattered by the split between Fatah and Hamas.

Reviews: Independent
New York Review of Books

 

Norman Finkelstein: Old wine, broken bottle: Avi Shavit’s Promised Land (OR Books, 2014, paperback, £6)

Publisher’s description: My Promised Land by Haaretz journalist Ari Shavit has been one of the most widely discussed and lavishly praised books about Israel in recent years. (…) Were he not already inured to the logrolling that passes for informed opinion on this topic, Norman Finkelstein might have been surprised, astonished even. That’s because, as he reveals with typical precision, My Promised Land is riddled with omission, distortion, falsehood, and sheer nonsense. In brief chapters that analyze Shavit’s defense of Zionism and Israel’s Jewish identity, its nuclear arsenal and its refusal to negotiate peace, Finkelstein shows how highly selective criticism and sanctimonious handwringing are deployed to create a paean to modern Israel more sophisticated than the traditional our-country-right-or-wrong. In this way, Shavit hopes to win back an American Jewish community increasingly alienated from a place it once regarded as home. However, because the myths he recycles have been so comprehensively shattered, this project is unlikely to succeed.

Reviews: Amazon (review by JfJfP signatory)
New Politics
New York Review of Books

 

Norman Finkelstein: Method and madness: The hidden story of Israel’s assaults on Gaza (OR Books, 2015, paperback, £11)

Publisher’s description: In the past five years Israel has mounted three major assaults on the 1.8 million Palestinians trapped behind its blockade of the Gaza Strip. Taken together, Operation Cast Lead (2008-9), Operation Pillar of Defense (2012), and Operation Protective Edge (2014), have resulted in the deaths of some 3,700 Palestinians. Meanwhile, a total of 90 Israelis were killed in the invasions. On the face of it, this succession of vastly disproportionate attacks has often seemed frenzied and pathological. Senior Israeli politicians have not discouraged such perceptions, indeed they have actively encouraged them. After the 2008-9 assault Israel’s then-foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, boasted, “Israel demonstrated real hooliganism during the course of the recent operation, which I demanded.” However, as Norman G. Finkelstein sets out in this concise, paradigm-shifting new book, a closer examination of Israel’s motives reveals a state whose repeated recourse to savage war is far from irrational. Rather, Israel’s attacks have been designed to sabotage the possibility of a compromise peace with the Palestinians, even on terms that are favorable to it. Looking also at machinations around the 2009 UN sponsored Goldstone report and Turkey’s forlorn attempt to seek redress in the UN for the killing of its citizens in the 2010 attack on the Gaza freedom flotilla, Finkelstein documents how Israel has repeatedly eluded accountability for what are now widely recognized as war crimes.

Reviews: Independent
New Left Project (review by JfJfP signatory)

 

Charles Freilich: Zion’s dilemmas: how Israel makes national security policy (Cornell University Press, 2012, £30.95)

Publisher’s description: In Zion’s Dilemmas, a former deputy national security adviser to the State of Israel details the history and, in many cases, the chronic inadequacies in the making of Israeli national security policy. Chuck Freilich identifies profound, ongoing problems that he ascribes to a series of factors: a hostile and highly volatile regional environment, Israel’s proportional representation electoral system, and structural peculiarities of the Israeli government and bureaucracy. Freilich uses his insider understanding and substantial archival and interview research to describe how Israel has made strategic decisions and to present a first of its kind model of national security decision-making in Israel. He analyzes the major events of the last thirty years, from Camp David I to the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, through Camp David II, the Gaza Disengagement Plan of 2000, and the second Lebanon war of 2006.
In these and other cases he identifies opportunities forgone, failures that resulted from a flawed decision-making process, and the entanglement of Israeli leaders in an inconsistent, highly politicized, and sometimes improvisational planning process. The cabinet is dysfunctional and Israel does not have an effective statutory forum for its decision-making—most of which is thus conducted in informal settings.

Reviews: H-Net

 

James Gelvin: The Israel-Palestine conflict: One hundred years of war (Cambridge University Press, 2013 [3rd edition], paperback, £19.99)

Publisher’s description: Now entering its third edition, James L. Gelvin’s award-winning account of the conflict between Israelis and their forebears, on the one hand, and Palestinians and theirs, on the other, offers a compelling, accessible and current introduction for students and general readers. Newly updated to take into account the effects of the 2010–11 Arab uprisings on the conflict and the recognition of Palestinian statehood by the United Nations, the book traces the struggle from the emergence of nationalism among the Jews of Europe and the Arab inhabitants of Ottoman Palestine through the present, exploring the external pressures and internal logic that have propelled it. Placing events in Palestine within the framework of global history, The Israel-Palestine Conflict: One Hundred Years of War skilfully interweaves biographical sketches, eyewitness accounts, poetry, fiction, and official documentation into its narrative.

Reviews [of previous edition]: Monthly Review
Foreign Affairs
 

Ran Greenstein: Zionism & its discontents: A century of radical dissent in Israel/Palestine (Pluto Press, 2014, paperback, £17.99)

Publisher’s description: Mainstream nationalist narratives and political movements have dominated the Israeli-Palestinian situation for too long. In this much-needed book, Ran Greenstein challenges this hegemony by focusing on four different, but at the same time connected, attempts which stood up to Zionist dominance and the settlement project before and after 1948. Greenstein begins by addressing the role of the Palestinian Communist Party, and then the bi-nationalist movement, before moving on to the period after 1948 when Palestinian attempts to challenge their unjust conditions of marginalisation became more frequent. Finally, he confronts the radical anti-Zionist Matzpen group, which operated from the early 1960s–80s. In addition to analyses of the shifting positions of these movements, Greenstein examines perspectives regarding a set of conceptual issues: colonialism and settlement, race/ethnicity and class, and questions of identity, rights and power, and how, such as in the case of South Africa, these relations should be seen as global.

Reviews: Middle East Monitor
Electronic Intifada

 

Liora Gvion: Beyond Hummus and Falafel: Social and political aspects of Palestinian food in Israel (University of California Press, 2012, paperback, £18.95)

Publisher’s description: Beyond Hummus and Falafel is the story of how food has come to play a central role in how Palestinian citizens of Israel negotiate life and a shared cultural identity within a tense political context. At the household level, Palestinian women govern food culture in the home, replicating tradition and acting as agents of change and modernization, carefully adopting and adapting mainstream Jewish culinary practices and technologies in the kitchen. Food is at the center of how Arab culture minorities define and shape the boundaries and substance of their identity within Israel.

Reviews: Menupause

 

Maia Carter Hallward (Ed.): Nonviolent resistance in the second Intifada: Activism and advocacy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, £55)

Publisher’s description: This edited volume explores a range of approaches to nonviolent or popular resistance in the Second Intifada. Written by scholar-activists with diverse experiences in Israel-Palestine, the chapters in the volume provide the reader with an overview of how nonviolent resistance is conceived and practiced in a variety of settings within the occupied Palestinian territories, Israel, and internationally. The selections explore the themes of power, tactics, and the interactions between local and international activists

Reviews:  none yet available

 

John Judis: Genesis: Truman, American Jews and the origins of Israel (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2014, £18)

Publisher’s description:There has been more than half a century of raging conflict between Jews and Arabs—a violent, costly struggle that has had catastrophic repercussions in a critical region of the world. In Genesis, John B. Judis argues that, while Israelis and Palestinians must shoulder much of the blame, the United States has been the principal power outside the region since the end of World War II and as such must account for its repeated failed efforts to resolve this enduring strife. The fatal flaw in American policy, Judis shows, can be traced back to the Truman years. What happened between 1945 and 1949 sealed the fate of the Middle East for the remainder of the century. As a result, understanding that period holds the key to explaining almost everything that follows—right down to George W. Bush’s unsuccessful and ill-conceived effort to win peace through holding elections among the Palestinians, and Barack Obama’s failed attempt to bring both parties to the negotiating table. A provocative narrative history animated by a strong analytical and moral perspective, and peopled by colorful and outsized personalities, Genesis offers a fresh look at these critical postwar years, arguing that if we can understand how this stalemate originated, we will be better positioned to help end it.

Reviews: Boston Globe
Tikkun
Electronic Intifada

 

Paul Kelemen: The British Left and Zionism: History of a divorce (Manchester University Press, 2012, paperback, £15.99)

Publisher’s description: The changes and divisions on the left over the Israel-Palestine conflict forms the central theme of this archive based study. While the Labour Party supported establishing a Jewish state in Palestine, as a modernising force, the communist movement opposed it, on the grounds that it facilitated imperial influence in the Middle East. In 1947, however, the British Communist Party rallied to the Zionist cause, leaving the Palestinian cause with no effective protagonists in Britain. The left’s sympathy, at the time, was overwhelmingly with the Israeli state, considering its establishment a recompense to the Jewish people for the Holocaust. It was only after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, that the new left in Britain began to articulate a critical attitude to Israel and support for Palestinian nationalism.

Reviews: Morning Star
Middle East Monitor
Red Pepper

 

Rashid Khalidi: Brokers of deceit: How the U.S. undermined peasce in the Middle East (Beacon Press, 2013, £17.01)

Publisher’s description: For more than seven decades the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people has raged on with no end in sight, and for much of that time, the United States has been involved as a mediator in the conflict. In this book, acclaimed historian Rashid Khalidi zeroes in on the United States’s role as the purported impartial broker in this failed peace process. Khalidi closely analyzes three historical moments that illuminate how the United States’ involvement has, in fact, thwarted progress toward peace between Israel and Palestine. The first moment he investigates is the “Reagan Plan” of 1982, when Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin refused to accept the Reagan administration’s proposal to reframe the Camp David Accords more impartially. The second moment covers the period after the Madrid Peace Conference, from 1991 to 1993, during which negotiations between Israel and Palestine were brokered by the United States until the signing of the secretly negotiated Oslo accords. Finally, Khalidi takes on President Barack Obama’s retreat from plans to insist on halting the settlements in the West Bank. Through in-depth research into and keen analysis of these three moments, as well as his own firsthand experience as an advisor to the Palestinian delegation at the 1991 pre-Oslo negotiations in Washington, DC, Khalidi reveals how the United States and Israel have actively colluded to prevent a Palestinian state and resolve the situation in Israel’s favor.

Reviews: Kirkus Reviews
Foreign Affairs

 

Menachem Klein: Lives in common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa & Hebron (Hurst & Co., 2014, £16.25)

Publisher’s description: Most books dealing with the Israeli–Palestinian conflict see events through the eyes of policy-makers, generals or diplomats. Menachem Klein offers an illuminating alternative by telling the intertwined histories, from street level upwards, of three cities — Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron — and their intermingled Jewish, Muslim and Christian inhabitants, from the nineteenth century to the present. Each of them was and still is a mixed city. Jerusalem and Hebron are holy places, while Jaffa till 1948 was Palestine’s principal city and main port of entry. Klein portrays a society in the late Ottoman period in which Jewish-Arab interactions were intense, frequent, and meaningful, before the onset of segregation and separation gradually occurred in the Mandate era. The unequal power relations and increasing violence between Jews and Arabs from 1948 onwards are also scrutinised. Throughout, Klein bases his writing not on the official record but rather on a hitherto hidden private world of Jewish-Arab encounters, including marriages and squabbles, kindnesses and cruelties, as set out in dozens of memoirs, diaries, biographies and testimonies.

Reviews: Guardian
Electronic Intifada

 

Gudrun Kramer: A history of Palestine: From the Ottoman conquest to the founding of the State of Israel (Princeton University Press, 2012, paperback, £16.95)

Publisher’s description: It is impossible to understand Palestine today without a careful reading of its distant and recent past. But until now there has been no single volume in English that tells the history of the events–from the Ottoman Empire to the mid-twentieth century–that shaped modern Palestine. The first book of its kind, A History of Palestine offers a richly detailed interpretation of this critical region’s evolution. Starting with the pre-biblical and biblical roots of Palestine, noted historian Gudrun Krämer examines the meanings ascribed to the land in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions. Paying special attention to social and economic factors, she examines the gradual transformation of Palestine, following the history of the region through the Egyptian occupation of the mid-nineteenth century, the Ottoman reform era, and the British Mandate up to the founding of Israel in 1948. Focusing on the interactions of Arabs and Jews, A History of Palestine tells how these connections affected the cultural and political evolution of each community and Palestine as a whole.

Reviews: Academia.edu
Publishers Weekly

 

Daniel Kurtzer et al.: The peace puzzle: America’s quest for Arab-Israeli peace (Cornell University Press, 2012, £18.50)

Publisher’s description: Each phase of Arab-Israeli peacemaking has been inordinately difficult in its own right, and every critical juncture and decision point in the long process has been shaped by U.S. politics and the U.S. leaders of the moment. The Peace Puzzle tracks the American determination to articulate policy, develop strategy and tactics, and see through negotiations to agreements on an issue that has been of singular importance to U.S. interests for more than forty years. In 2006, the authors of The Peace Puzzle formed the Study Group on Arab-Israeli Peacemaking, a project supported by the United States Institute of Peace, to develop a set of “best practices” for American diplomacy. The Study Group conducted in-depth interviews with more than 120 policymakers, diplomats, academics, and civil society figures and developed performance assessments of the various U.S. administrations of the post–Cold War period. This book, an objective account of the role of the United States in attempting to achieve a lasting Arab–Israeli peace, is informed by the authors’ access to key individuals and official archives.

Reviews: none yet available

 

Samuel Kuruvilla: Radical Christianity in Palestine and Israel (I.B. Taurus, 2012, £59.50)
Publisher’s description: Christianity arose from the lands of biblical Palestine and, regardless of its twentieth century association with the Arab-Israeli conflict, to Christians around the world it remains first and foremost the birthplace of Christianity. Nevertheless the size of the Christian population among Palestinians today living in Israel and the Palestinian territories is now relatively insignificant. Here Samuel J. Kuruvilla argues that Christian Palestinians often employ politically astute as well as theologically radical means in their efforts to appear relevant as a minority community within Israeli and Palestinian societies. He charts the development of a theology of Christian liberation, particularly in the work of Palestinian Anglican cleric Naim Stifan Ateek and Palestinian Lutheran Pastor Mitri Raheb, among others, as part of the Palestinian people’s struggle for independence. In doing so, Kuruvilla provides a new perspective of the Israel-Palestine conflict and the role of Christians within it.

Reviews: Electronic Intifada
LSE Review of Books

 

Wm Roger Louis & Avi Shlaim (Eds.): The 1967 Arab-Israeli war: Origins & consequences (Cambridge University Press, 2012, paperback, £18.99)

Publisher’s description: The June 1967 war was a watershed in the history of the modern Middle East. In six days, the Israelis defeated the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian armies, seizing large portions of their territories. Two veteran scholars of the Middle East bring together some of the most knowledgeable experts in their fields to reassess the origins and the legacies of the war. Each chapter takes a different perspective from the vantage point of a different participant, those that actually took part in the war and also the world powers that played important roles behind the scenes. Their conclusions make for sober reading. At the heart of the story was the incompetence of the Egyptian leadership and the rivalry between various Arab players who were deeply suspicious of each other’s motives. Israel, on the other side, gained a resounding victory for which, despite previous assessments to the contrary, there was no master plan.

Reviews: none yet available

 

Nur Masalha: The Palestine Nakba (Zed Books, 2012, paperback, £19.99)

Publisher’s description: 2012 marks the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba – the most traumatic catastrophe that ever befell Palestinians. This book explores new ways of remembering and commemorating the Nakba. In the context of Palestinian oral history, it explores ‘social history from below’, subaltern narratives of memory and the formation of collective identity. Masalha argues that to write more truthfully about the Nakba is not just to practise a professional historiography but an ethical imperative. The struggles of ordinary refugees to recover and publicly assert the truth about the Nakba is a vital way of protecting their rights and keeping the hope for peace with justice alive.

Reviews: Red Pepper
Middle East Monitor

 

Dina Matar & Zahera Harb (Eds.): Narrating conflict in the Middle East (I.B.Taurus, 2013, paperback, £16.99)

Publisher’s description: The term conflict has often been used broadly and uncritically to talk about diverse situations ranging from street protests to war, though the many factors that give rise to any conflict and its continuation over a period of time vary greatly. The starting point of this innovative book is that it is unsatisfactory either to consider conflict within a singular concept or alternatively to consider each conflict as entirely distinct and unique; Narrating Conflict in the Middle East explores another path to addressing long-term conflict. The contributors set out to examine the ways in which such conflicts in Palestine and Lebanon have been and are narrated, imagined and remembered in diverse spaces, including that of the media. They examine discourses and representations of the conflicts as well as practices of memory and performance in narratives of suffering and conflict, all of which suggest an embodied investment in narrating or communicating conflict. In so doing, they engage with local, global, and regional realities in Lebanon and in Palestine and they respond dynamically to these realities.

Reviews: LSE Review of Books

 

Ilan Pappe: The idea of Israel: A history of power and knowledge (Verso, 2014, £16.99)

Publisher’s description:Since its foundation in 1948, Israel has drawn on Zionism, the movement behind its creation, to provide a sense of self and political direction. In this groundbreaking new work, Ilan Pappe looks at the continued role of Zionist ideology. The Idea of Israel considers the way Zionism operates outside of the government and military in areas such as the country’s education system, media, and cinema, and the uses that are made of the Holocaust in supporting the state’s ideological structure. In particular, Pappe examines the way successive generations of historians have framed the 1948 conflict as a liberation campaign, creating a foundation myth that went unquestioned in Israeli society until the 1990s. (…) The Idea of Israel is a powerful and urgent intervention in the war of ideas concerning the past, and the future, of the Palestinian–Israeli conflict.

Reviews: Guardian
Palestine Chronicle

 

Wendy Pearlman: Violence, non-violence and the Palestinian national movement (Cambridge University Press, 2012, £60)

Publisher’s description: Why do some national movements use violent protest and others nonviolent protest? Wendy Pearlman shows that much of the answer lies inside movements themselves. Nonviolent protest requires coordination and restraint, which only a cohesive movement can provide. When, by contrast, a movement is fragmented, factional competition generates new incentives for violence and authority structures are too weak to constrain escalation. Pearlman reveals these patterns across one hundred years in the Palestinian national movement, with comparisons to South Africa and Northern Ireland. To those who ask why there is no Palestinian Gandhi, Pearlman demonstrates that nonviolence is not simply a matter of leadership. Nor is violence attributable only to religion, emotions or stark instrumentality. Instead, a movement’s organizational structure mediates the strategies that it employs. By taking readers on a journey from civil disobedience to suicide bombings, this book offers fresh insight into the dynamics of conflict and mobilization.

Reviews: Electronic Intifada
Group 194

 

Nigel Parsons: The politics of the Palestinian Authority: From Oslo to Al-Aqasa (Routledge, 2012, paperback, £26)
Publisher’s description: This book explores the development of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) from a liberation movement to a national authority, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). Based on intensive fieldwork in the West Bank, Gaza and Cairo, Nigel Parsons analyzes Palestinian internal politics and their institutional-building by looking at the development of the PLO. Drawing on interviews with leading figures in the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, delegates to the negotiations with Israel, and the Palestinian political opposition, it is a timely account of the Israel/Palestine conflict from a Palestinian political perspective.

Reviews: Palestine-Israel Journal
Middle East Journal

 

Ami Pedahzur: The triumph of Israel’s radical right (OUP USA, 2012, £18.99)

Publisher’s description: Two decades ago, the idea that a “radical right” could capture and drive Israeli politics seemed improbable. While it was a boisterous faction and received heavy media coverage, it constituted a fringe element. Yet by 2009, Israel’s radical right had not only entrenched itself in mainstream Israeli politics, it was dictating policy in a wide range of areas. (…) In The Triumph of Israel’s Radical Right, acclaimed scholar Ami Pedahzur provides an invaluable and authoritative analysis of its ascendance to the heights of Israeli politics. After analyzing what, exactly they believe in, he explains how mainstream Israeli policies like “the law of return” have nurtued their nativism and authoritarian tendencies. He then traces the right’s steady expansion and mutation, from the early days of the state to these days. Throughout, he focuses on the radical right’s institutional networks and how the movement has been able to expand its influence over policy making process. His closing chapter is grim yet realistic: he contends that a two state solution is no longer viable and that the vision of the radical rabbi Meir Kahane, who was a fringe figure while alive, has triumphed.

Reviews: Academia.edu
Partners for Progressive Israel

 

Joel Peters & David Newman (eds.):Routledge Handbook of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Routledge, 2012, £120)

Publisher’s description: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most prominent issues in world politics today. (…) The Routledge Handbook on the Israeli- Palestinian Conflict offers a comprehensive and accessible overview of the most contentious and protracted political issue in the Middle East. Bringing together a range of top experts from Israel, Palestine, Europe and North America the Handbook tackles a range of topics including: The historical background to the conflict; peace efforts; domestic politics; critical issues such as displacement, Jerusalem and settler movement; the role of outside players such as the Arab states, the US and the EU. (…) In-depth analysis of the conflict is supplemented by a chronology of the conflict, key documents and a range of maps. The contributors are all leading authorities in their field and have published extensively on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict/peace process.

Reviews: None yet available

 

Itamar Rabinovich:The lingering conflict: Israel and the Arabs, 1948 – 2011 (Brookings Institution, 2013 [revised edition], paperback, £16.99)

Publisher’s description: In The Lingering Conflict, Itamar Rabinovich, a former chief negotiator for Israel, provides unique and authoritative insight into the prospects for genuine peace in the Middle East. His presentation includes a detailed insider account of the peace processes of 1992–96 and a frank dissection of the more dispiriting record since then. Rabinovich’s firsthand experiences as a negotiator and as Israel’s ambassador to the United States provide a valuable perspective from which to view the major players involved. Fresh analysis of ongoing situations in the region and the author’s authoritative take on key figures such as Ehud Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu shed new light on the long and tumultuous history of Arab-Israeli relations.  (…) While Rabinovich explains the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians—a classic dispute between two national movements claiming the same land—The Lingering Conflict also considers the broader political, cultural, and increasingly religious conflict between the Jewish state and Arab nationalism. He approaches the troubled region in an international context, offering provocative analysis of America’s evolving role and evaluation of its diplomatic performance.

Reviews: Foreign Affairs
Jerusalem Post

 

Avi Raz: The bride and the dowry: Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians in the afternmath of the June 1967 war (Yale, 2012, £25)

Publisher’s description: Israel’s victory in the June 1967 Six Day War provided a unique opportunity for resolving the decades-old Arab-Zionist conflict. Having seized the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Golan Heights, Israel for the first time in its history had something concrete to offer its Arab neighbors: it could trade land for peace. Yet the political deadlock persisted after the guns fell silent. This book asks why. Avi Raz places Israel’s conduct under an uncompromising lens. His penetrating book examines the critical two years following the June war and substantially revises our understanding of how and why Israeli-Arab secret contacts came to naught. Mining newly declassified records in Israeli, American, British, and United Nations archives, as well as private papers of individual participants, Raz dispels the myth of overall Arab intransigence and arrives at new and unexpected conclusions. In short, he concludes that Israel’s postwar diplomacy was deliberately ineffective because its leaders preferred land over peace with its neighbors.

Reviews: Jewish Chronicle
The Daily Beast

 

Shira Robinson: Citizen Strangers: Palestinians and the birth of Israel’s liberal settler state (Stanford University Press, 2013, paperback, £15.72)

Publisher’s description: Following the 1948 war and the creation of the state of Israel, Palestinian Arabs comprised just 15% of the population but held a much larger portion of its territory. Offered immediate suffrage rights and, in time, citizenship status, they nonetheless found their movement, employment, and civil rights restricted by a draconian military government put in place to facilitate the colonization of their lands. Citizen Strangers traces how Jewish leaders struggled to advance their historic settler project while forced by new international human rights norms to share political power with the very people they sought to uproot. For the next two decades Palestinians held a paradoxical status in Israel, as citizens of a formally liberal state and subjects of a colonial regime. Neither the state campaign to reduce the size of the Palestinian population nor the formulation of citizenship as a tool of collective exclusion could resolve the government’s fundamental dilemma: how to bind indigenous Arab voters to the state while denying them access to its resources. More confounding was the tension between the opposing aspirations of Palestinian political activists. Was it the end of Jewish privilege they were after, or national independence along with the rest of their compatriots in exile? As Shira Robinson shows, these tensions in the state’s foundation—between privilege and equality, separatism and inclusion—continue to haunt Israeli society today.

Reviews: Middle East Media & Book Reviews
Electronic Intifada

 

Shlomo Sand: The invention of the land of Israel: From Holy Land to homeland (Verso, 2013, £16.99)

Publisher’s description: What is a homeland and when does it become a national territory? Why have so many people been willing to die for such places throughout the twentieth century? What is the essence of the Promised Land? Following the acclaimed and controversial The Invention of the Jewish People, Shlomo Sand examines the mysterious sacred land that has become the site of the longest-running national struggle of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The Invention of the Land of Israel deconstructs the age-old legends surrounding the Holy Land and the prejudices that continue to suffocate it. Sand’s account dissects the concept of “historical right” and tracks the creation of the modern concept of the “Land of Israel” by nineteenth-century Evangelical Protestants and Jewish Zionists. This invention, he argues, not only facilitated the colonization of the Middle East and the establishment of the State of Israel; it is also threatening the existence of the Jewish state today.

Reviews: Kirkus Reviews
Guardian

 

Jonathan Schanzer: State of failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abba and the unmaking of the Palestinian state (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, £17.99)

Publisher’s description: With Iran’s nuclear program heating up, and rockets once again firing between Tel Aviv and Gaza, the whole world’s eyes are once again on Israel’s difficult relationship with their neighbors in the Middle East. At the heart of this conflict is Palestine, which many believe Israel keeps downtrodden as a barrier against its own enemies. In State of Failure,Palestinian-Israeli expert Jonathan Schanzer argues that the reasons behind Palestine’s inertia are far more complex than its supporters believe, and that, despite recent rumblings, the dream of statehood may again be scuttled by internal corruption and incompetence. Drawing on exclusive sources within the Palestinian Authority, he shows how Mahmoud Abbas used President George W. Bush’s support to catapult himself into the presidency. Schanzer reveals how Abbas, now four years past the end of his legitimate term, may cost the Palestinians everything.

Reviews: Man of la Book
academia.edu

 

Ron Schleifer: Psychological warfare in the Arab-Israeli conflict (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, £62.50)

Publisher’s description: Psychological warfare, or psywar, has been a fixture of warfare and political hostilities ranging from total war and low-intensity conflicts (LICs), to ideological and organizational struggles since biblical times. However, its impact on political life has been more strongly felt since the latter half of the twentieth century, partly due to the ever expanding influence of Media. The first study to examine psywar in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict, this book presents an analysis of the Arab and Israeli struggles to gain the world’s sympathy and support. Opening chapters provide an overview of the main ideas in psychological warfare and the principles of psywar engagement. The book then traces the history of the psywar struggle in the Arab-Israeli conflict from the British Mandate to the more recent HAMAS abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

Reviews: none yet available

 

Colin Shindler: Israel and the European left: Between solidarity and delegitimization (Continuum Publishing, 2012, paperback, £17.99)

Publisher’s description: Why has the European Left become so antagonistic towards Israel? To answer this question, Colin Shindler looks at the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and Zionism from the October Revolution to today.

Is such antagonism in opposition to the policies of successive Israeli governments? Or, is it due to a resurgence of anti-Semitism? The answer is far more complex. Shindler argues that the new generation of the European Left was more influenced by the decolonization movement than by wartime experiences, which led it to favor the Palestinian cause in the post 1967 period. Thus the Israeli drive to settle the West Bank after the Six Day war enhanced an already existing attitude, but did not cause it.

Reviews:  Jewish Chronicle Online
Tribune

 

Asher Susser: Israel, Jordan, and Palestine: The two-state imperative (University Press of New England, 2012, paperback, £26.50)

Publisher’s description: An astute assessment of the relationship between Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinians, with scenarios for the future of Palestinian statehood. Since 1921, the Zionist movement, the Hashemites, and Palestinian nationalists have been vying for regional control. In this book, Asher Susser analyzes the evolution of the one- and two-state options and explores why a two-state solution has failed to materialize. He provides an in-depth analysis of Jordan’s positions and presents an updated discussion of the two-state imperative through the initiatives of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Susser argues that Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians have cohesive collective identities that violently collide with each other. Because of these entrenched differences, a single-state solution cannot be achieved.

Reviews: The Cutting Edge
Foreign Affairs

 

Patrick Tyler: Fortress Israel: The inside story of the military elite who run the country – and why they can’t make peace (Portobello Books, 2012, paperback, £15)

Publisher’s description: Born of idealism, under David Ben Gurion and his proteges, Dayan, Sharon and Peres, Israel came to prioritize security at all costs, and to seize land and water whenever opportunity arose. The security state erected around the nation is the most efficient, relentless, intelligent and skilful in the region. And it is very little understood. Patrick Tyler believes that the way to understand it is to understand the men and women who have created, sustained and directed it. Less an anatomy of institutions and administrations than a searching biographical study of the outsize personalities who headed its operations and in consequence steered Israel’s course since its foundation, this book is a landmark in the revelation of the inner workings of the Israeli nation-state.

Reviews: Economist
Jewish Chronicle

 

Yfaat Weiss: Wadi Salib and Haifa’s lost heritage (Columbia University Press, 2012, £41.50)

Publisher’s description: Yfaat Weiss tells the story of an Arab neighborhood in Haifa that later acquired iconic status in Israeli memory. In the summer of 1959, Jewish immigrants from Morocco rioted against local and national Israeli authorities of European origin. The protests of Wadi Salib generated for the first time a kind of political awareness of an existing ethnic discrimination among Israeli Jews. However, before that, Wadi Salib existed as an impoverished Arab neighborhood. The war of 1948 displaced its residents, even though the presence of the absentees and the Arab name still linger. Weiss investigates the erasure of Wadi Salib’s Arab heritage and its emergence as an Israeli site of memory. At the core of her quest lies the concept of property, as she merges the constraints of former Arab ownership with requirements and restrictions pertaining to urban development and the emergence of its entangled memory. Establishing an association between Wadi Salib’s Arab refugees and subsequent Moroccan evacuees, Weiss allegorizes the Israeli amnesia about both eventual stories—that of the former Arab inhabitants and that of the riots of 1959, occurring at different times but in one place. Describing each in detail, Weiss uncovers a complex, multilayered, and hidden history. Through her sensitive reading of events, she offers uncommon perspective on the personal and political making of Israeli belonging.

Reviews: none yet available

 

Robert Wistrich: From ambivalence to betrayal: The Left, Jews and Israel (University of Nebraska Press, 2012, £38)

Publisher’s description: From Ambivalence to Betrayal is the first study to explore the transformation in attitudes on the Left toward the Jews, Zionism, and Israel since the origins of European socialism in the 1840s until the present. This pathbreaking synthesis reveals a striking continuity in negative stereotypes of Jews, contempt for Judaism, and negation of Jewish national self-determination from the days of Karl Marx to the current left-wing intellectual assault on Israel. World-renowned expert on the history of anti-semitism Robert S. Wistrich provides not only a powerful analysis of how and why the Left emerged as a spearhead of anti-Israel sentiment but also new insights into the wider involvement of Jews in radical movements. There are fascinating portraits of Marx, Moses Hess, Bernard Lazare, Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky, and other Jewish intellectuals, alongside analyses of the darker face of socialist and Communist anti-semitism. The closing section eloquently exposes the degeneration of leftist anti-Zionist critiques into a novel form of “anti-racist” racism.

Reviews: Middle East Research & Information Project
The Cutting Edge

 

Lawrence Wright: Thirteen days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David (Knopf, 2014, £20 – paperback April 2015)

Publisher’s description: A gripping day-by-day account of the 1978 Camp David conference (…). With his hallmark insight into the forces at play in the Middle East and his acclaimed journalistic skill, Lawrence Wright takes us through each of the thirteen days of the Camp David conference, illuminating the issues that have made the problems of the region so intractable, as well as exploring the scriptural narratives that continue to frame the conflict. In addition to his in-depth accounts of the lives of the three leaders, Wright draws vivid portraits of other fiery personalities who were present at Camp David (…) as they work furiously behind the scenes. Wright also explores the significant role played by Rosalynn Carter. What emerges is a riveting view of the making of this unexpected and so far unprecedented peace. Wright exhibits the full extent of Carter’s persistence in pushing an agreement forward, the extraordinary way in which the participants at the conference—many of them lifelong enemies—attained it, and the profound difficulties inherent in the process and its outcome, not the least of which has been the still unsettled struggle between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Reviews: New York Review of Books
The Telegraph

 

Husam Said Zomlot: Building a state under occupation: Peacemaking and reconstruction in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (I.B.Tauris, 2013, £54.50)

Publisher’s description: In the wake of the settlement of the Oslo Accords in 1993, billions were pledged and disbursed by international donors in support of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. As a result, the international community had a large stake in the maintenance of the fragile attempts at peace in the Middle East. In “Building a State under Occupation”, Husam Zomlot assesses the reasons why, despite this outpouring of international aid into the situation, the Oslo Accords ultimately failed. By focusing on donors and the political economy of peacebuilding and reconstruction, Zomlot highlights the assumptions which inform policy-making when attempting to mediate conflict. He therefore suggests that, in addition to a lack of appropriate political will, the international community gravely misread the political realities in both sides, particularly Israel’s intentions with regards to the final outcome.

Reviews: none yet available

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