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We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters, informing them of issues, events, debates and the wider context of the conflict. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.
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BSST

BSST is the leading charity focusing on small-scale grass roots cross community, anti poverty and humanitarian projects in Israel/Palestine
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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 – Current Affairs/Politics

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.

CURRENT AFFAIRS/POLITICS
Matthew Abraham: Out of bounds: Academic freedom and the question of Palestine (2014)
Nadia Abu-Zahra and Adah Kay: Unfree in Palestine: Registration, documentation and movement restriction (2012)
David Abdullah & Ibrahim Hewitt (eds.): The battle for public opinion in Europe (2012)
Ali Abunimah: The battle for justice in Palestine (2014)
Emanuel Adler (Ed.): Israel in the World: legitimacy and exceptionalism (2012)
Ariella Azoulay & Adi Ophir: The One-State condition: Occupation and democracy in Israel/Palestine (2012)
Yaacov Bar Siman Tov: Justice & peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (2014)
Dan Bavly & As’ad Ghanem: One state two peoples: Restoring hope for Palestinian-Israeli peace (2013)
Peter Beinart: The crisis of Zionism (2012)
Greta Berlin & William Dienst (Eds.): Freedom sailors: The maiden voyage of the Free Gaza movement and how we succeeded in spite of ourselves (2012)
Amahl Bishara: Back stories: U.S. news production and Palestinian politics (2012)
Mark Braverman: A wall in Jerusalem: Hope, healing, and the struggles for justice in Israel & Palestine (2013)
Rex Brynen & Roula El-Riafi (Eds.): Compensation to Palestinian refugees and the search for Palestinian-Israeli peace (2013)
Rex Brynen & Roula El-Rifai (Eds.): The Palestinian Refugee problem: The seaerch for a resolution (2013)
Judith Butler: Parting ways: Jewishness and the critique of Zionism (2012)
Dan Cohen-Sherbok: The Palestinian state (2012)
Suraya Dadoo & Firoz Osman: Why Israel: The anatomy of Zionist Apartheid – A South African perspective (2013)
Rochelle Davis & Mimi Kirk (Eds.): Palestine and the Palestinians (2013)
Khaled Diab: Intimate enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land (2014)
Yuval Elizur & Lawrence Malkin: The war within: Israel’s ulta-orthodox threat to democracy and the nation (2013)
M.F.Elman, O.Haklai & H.Spruyt (Eds.): Democracy & conflict resolution: The dilemmas of Israel’s peacemaking (2013)
Hani Faris: The failure of the two-state solution; The prospects of one state in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (2013)
Norman Finkelstein: Knowing too much (2012)
Michelle Gawerc: Prefiguring peace: Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding partnerships (2012)
Caroline Glick: The Israeli solution: A One-State plan for peace in the Middle East (2014)
David Goldberg: This is not the way: Jews, Judaism and Israel (2012)
Erella Grassiani: Soldiering under occupation: Processes of numbing among Israeli soldiers in the Al-Aqsa intifada (2013)
Toby Greene: Blair, Labour and Palestine: Conflicting views on Middle East peace (2013)
Maia Carter Hallward: Transnational activism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (2013)
Rumy Hasan: Dangerous liaisons: The clash between Islamism and Zionism (New Generation Publishing, 2013, paperback, £9.99)
Ibrahim Hewitt (Ed.): Israel and Gaza: Behind the media veil (2014)
Reece Jones: Border walls: security and the war on terror in the United States, India and Israel (2012)
Keith Kahn-Harris: Uncivil wars: The Israel conflict in the Jewish community (2014)
Daniel Kurtzer: Pathways to peace: America and the Arab-Israeli conflict (2012)
Mark LeVine & Mathias Mossberg: One land: Israel and Palestine as two parallel states (2014)
Audrea Lim (Ed.): The Case for Sanctions Against Israel (2012)
Antony Loewenstein & Ahmed Moor (Eds.): After Zionism: One state for Israel and Palestine (2012)
Moshe Machover: Israelis and Palestinians: Conflict and resolution (2012)
M.Marder & G.Vattimo (Eds.): Deconstructing Zionism: A critique of political metaphysics (2013)
Shourideh Molavi: Stateless citizenship: The Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel (2014)
Cary Nelson & Gabriel Noah Brahm (Eds.); The case against academic boycotts of Israel (2014)
Atalia Omer: When peace is not enough: How the Israeli peace camp thinks about religion, nationalism and justice (2013)
Amos Oz: How to cure a fanatic (2012)
Diana Pinto: Israel has moved (2013)
Josh Ruebner: Shattered hopes: Obama’s failure to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace (2013)
Paul Scham, Benjamin Pogrund & As’ad Ghanem (eds.): Shared Narratives—A Palestinian-Israeli Dialogue (2013)
Raja Shehadeh: Language of war, language of peace: Palestine, Israel & the search for justice (2015)
Yehouda Shenhav: Beyond the Two–State solution (2012)
Marcelo Svirsky: After Israel: Towards cultural transformation (2014)
Rich Wiles (Ed.): Generation Palestine: Voices from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (2013)
Elia Zureik et al. (Eds.): Surveillance and control in Israel/Palestine: Population, territory and power (2013)

Matthew Abraham: Out of bounds: Academic freedom and the question of Palestine (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014, paperback, £19.95)

Publisher’s description: Academic freedom is a key element of the academic enterprise in the U.S. However, it does not seem to exist when scholars seek to advocate on behalf of Palestinian self-determination. This unique work examines how the knowledge-power nexus is shaping the discourse around the Israel-Palestine conflict and restricting academic freedom. Beginning with a discussion of American Zionism, the work proceeds to explain why scholars working on the question of Palestine are often denied standard academic freedom. This is supported by prominent cases, such as Norman G. Finkelstein’s denial of tenure, the Middle East Studies Department at Columbia University, and Mearsheimer and Walt’s book, The Israel Lobby. The work of Edward Said and Noam Chomsky are also discussed and the book concludes with recommendations for protecting intellectual freedom to those seeking to critically pursue the question of Palestine.

Reviews: American Association of University Professors
Electronic Intifada

 

Nadia Abu-Zahra and Adah Kay: Unfree in Palestine: Registration, documentation and movement restriction (Pluto Press, 2012, paperback, £12)

Publisher’s description: Based on first-hand accounts and extensive fieldwork, Unfree in Palestine reveals the role played by identity documents in Israel’s apartheid policies towards the Palestinians, from the red passes of the 1950s to the orange, green and blue passes of today. The authors chronicle how millions of Palestinians have been denationalised through the bureaucratic tools of census, population registration, blacklisting and a discriminatory legal framework. They show how identity documents are used by Israel as a means of coercion, extortion, humiliation and informant recruitment. Movement restrictions tied to IDs and population registers threaten Palestinian livelihoods, freedom of movement and access to basic services such as health and education. Unfree in Palestine is a masterful expose of the web of bureaucracy used by Israel to deprive the Palestinians of basic rights and freedoms, and calls for international justice and inclusive security in place of discrimination and division.

Reviews: Middle East Monitor
Al-Zaytouna Centre

 

David Abdullah & Ibrahim Hewitt (eds.): The battle for public opinion in Europe (MEMO publishers, 2012, paperback, £9.99)

Publisher’s description: Mainstream media in European countries commonly espouse Israeli government propaganda when reporting on the Israel-Palestine conflict often reflecting the attitudes of their respective governments, and betraying an imbalance of support for Israeli interests over those of Palestinians. This in turn conveys a rather unbalanced and obscured version of events and issues to the European media consumer. Nevertheless, recent events like the Gaza War (2008/9) have enabled increasing numbers of Europeans to see through the smoke screen. In 2011 the Middle East Monitor (MEMO) in collaboration with Al Jazeera Centre for Studies (AJCS) and the European Muslim Research Centre (EMRC) at Exeter University commissioned a pioneering study to gauge European public perceptions on the conflict. The study, carried out by one of Europe’s most reputable polling and research institutions, surveyed over 7,000 adults from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain. This collection of essays is the compelling and timely analyses of that study. (…) Chapters cover such topics as the broadcasters’ false portrayal of the conflict; the rise of the Israel lobby in Europe; questions of the inclusion and exclusion of Hamas; extremist nationalism in Europe and support for Israel; and changing perceptions relating to the conflict. The book further addresses the consequences that these changes in public perception might be expected to have on European policy-making.

Reviews: Middle East Monitor

 

Ali Abunimah: The battle for justice in Palestine (Haymarket, 2014, paperback, £12.99)

Publisher’s description: Efforts to achieve a “two-state solution” have finally collapsed, and the struggle for justice in Palestine is at a crossroads. As Israeli society lurches toward greater extremism, many ask where the struggle is headed. This book offers a clear analysis of this crossroads moment and looks forward with urgency down the path to a more hopeful future.

Reviews: Counterpunch
Palestine Chronicle

 


Emanuel Adler (Ed.): Israel in the World: legitimacy and exceptionalism (Routledge, 2012, paperback, £24.99)

Publisher’s description: Since independence, Israel has lived with a paradox, needing and seeking legitimacy, understanding, and empathy from the world community while simultaneously also discounting the world. This volume reflects upon Israel’s troubled attempts to balance its desire to be different from a world that it simultaneously genuinely needs and that it also wants to be a legitimate member of. Gathering distinguished scholars and public figures, this timely book discusses the causes and consequences of Israel’s unsettled relations with the world. With essays ranging from an account of Israel’s exile mentality and the cosmopolitanism of suffering to a fragmenting international legal order and whether an authentic religious process can transform religion into a powerful lever for peace, the book’s innovative analysis will spark both academic and public debate.

Reviews: none yet available

 

Ariella Azoulay & Adi Ophir: The One-State condition: Occupation and democracy in Israel/Palestine (Stanford University Press, 2012, paperback, £22.50)

Publisher’s description: Since the start of the occupation of Palestinian territories in 1967, Israel’s domination of the Palestinians has deprived an entire population of any political status or protection. But even decades on, most people speak of this rule (…) as temporary, as a state of affairs incidental and external to the Israeli regime. In The One-State Condition, Ariella Azoulay and Adi Ophir directly challenge this belief. Looking closely at the history and contemporary formation of the ruling apparatus—the technologies and operations of the Israeli army, the General Security Services, and the legal system imposed in the Occupied Territories—Azoulay and Ophir outline the one-state condition of Israel/Palestine: the grounding principle of Israeli governance is the perpetuation of differential rule over populations of differing status. Israeli citizenship is shaped through the active denial of Palestinian citizenship and civil rights. Though many Israelis, on both political right and left, agree that the occupation constitutes a problem for Israeli democracy, few ultimately admit that Israel is no democracy or question the very structure of the Israeli regime itself. Too frequently ignored are the lasting effects of the deceptive denial of the events of 1948 and 1967, and the ways in which the resulting occupation has reinforced the sweeping militarization and recent racialization of Israeli society. Azoulay and Ophir show that acknowledgment of the one-state condition is not only a prerequisite for considering a one- or two-state solution; it is a prerequisite for advancing new ideas to move beyond the trap of this false dilemma.

Reviews: The National
Academia.edu (review of original Hebrew edition)

 

Yaacov Bar Siman Tov: Justice & peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Routledge, 2014, paperback, £27.99)

Publisher’s description: In this book, the late Prof. Yaacov Bar-Siman-Tov argues that the failure of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process so far has been mainly the result of the inability of both sides to reach an agreed formula for linking justice to peace. The issues of justice and injustice are focused mainly on the outcomes of the 1947-1949 first Arab-Israeli War and specifically in the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. The conflicting historical narratives of the two sides regarding the question of responsibility for the injustice done to the Palestinians turn the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a classic case of linking the issues of justice and peace.Yaacov Bar-Siman-Tov maintains that the narratives of justice and injustice in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have proved to be formidable barriers to peace. Hence, he recommends that justice should be compromised for the sake of peace. The link between justice and peace is an important issue requiring both sides’ attention, but, given the wide and currently unbridgeable gap separating the two sides, it should be postponed to the phase of reconciliation rather than being included in the process of conflict resolution. The two-state solution is endorsed as the best and practical solution and as a first step for a “just peace” in this conflict, to be followed by reconciliation.

Reviews: none yet available

 

Dan Bavly & As’ad Ghanem: One state two peoples: Restoring hope for Palestinian-Israeli peace (Potomac Books, 2013, £17.58)

Publisher’s description: The last decade has witnessed the most hostile confrontations between Palestinians and Israelis in their century-long conflict. Most of the recently proposed peace plans have assumed that partitioning the territory of Mandatory Palestine into two separate states would be the ideal solution. Given the demographic changes and the established settlements that have taken hold during the past generation, that flawed presumption has led to a stalemate and to despair for both parties. One State, Two Peoples argues that any border drawn to divide the country would be artificial and leave dissatisfied militant elements on both sides. Partition would leave more than a million Palestinians under Israeli sovereignty and citizenship, and hundreds of thousands Israeli citizens living in the Palestinian territory. On a practical level, commonsense asserts that managing water, economic, transportation, communications, and many other issues needs a centralized and highly coordinated approach. Two separate states and administrations would not be able to address these essential matters effectively. Dan Bavly and As’ad Ghanem demonstrate that the only way to break the impasse is to work toward integration with full equality and parity.

Reviews: none yet available

 

Peter Beinart: The crisis of Zionism (Times Books, 2012, £18.99)

Publisher’s description: Israel’s next great crisis may come not with the Palestinians or Iran but with young American Jews. A dramatic shift is taking place in Israel and America. In Israel, the deepening occupation of the West Bank is putting Israeli democracy at risk. In the United States, the refusal of major Jewish organizations to defend democracy in the Jewish state is alienating many young liberal Jews from Zionism itself. In the next generation, the liberal Zionist dream—the dream of a state that safeguards the Jewish people and cherishes democratic ideals—may die. In The Crisis of Zionism, Peter Beinart lays out in chilling detail the looming danger to Israeli democracy and the American Jewish establishment’s refusal to confront it. And he offers a fascinating, groundbreaking portrait of the two leaders at the center of the crisis: Barack Obama, America’s first “Jewish president,” a man steeped in the liberalism he learned from his many Jewish friends and mentors in Chicago; and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister who considers liberalism the Jewish people’s special curse. These two men embody fundamentally different visions not just of American and Israeli national interests but of the mission of the Jewish people itself. Beinart concludes with provocative proposals for how the relationship between American Jews and Israel must change, and with an eloquent and moving appeal for American Jews to defend the dream of a democratic Jewish state before it is too late.

Reviews: New York Review of Books
Washington Post

 

 Greta Berlin & William Dienst (Eds.): Freedom sailors: The maiden voyage of the Free Gaza movement and how we succeeded in spite of ourselves (Free Gaza, 2012, paperback, £10)

Publisher’s description: Freedom Sailors is an account of how a small group of ordinary people conceived and executed what seemed like a grandiose plan to break Israel’s illegal military blockade of the Gaza Strip, a blockade that keeps more than 1.5 million people in an open-air prison. In August 2008, our two ramshackle boats, Free Gaza and Liberty, were hiding out somewhere in the Mediterranean, battling mechanical problems and bad weather as they slowly and furtively made their way to Cyprus.  This book is an account from those of us on the boats and those Palestinians waiting for us in Gaza, a story of determination in the face of overwhelming odds.

Reviews: The Electronic Intifada
Foreign Policy Journal

 

Amahl Bishara: Back stories: U.S. news production and Palestinian politics (Stanford University Press, 2012, paperback, £22.50)

Publisher’s description: Studying how journalists work in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, and Nablus, and on the tense roads that connect these cities, Amahl Bishara demonstrates how the production of U.S. news about Palestinians depends on multifaceted collaborations, typically invisible to Western readers. She focuses on the work that Palestinian journalists do behind the scenes and below the bylines—as fixers, photojournalists, camerapeople, reporters, and producers—to provide the news that Americans read, see, and hear every day. Ultimately, this book demonstrates how Palestinians play integral roles in producing U.S. news and how U.S. journalism in turn shapes Palestinian politics. U.S. objectivity is in Palestinian journalists’ hands, and Palestinian self-determination cannot be fully understood without attention to the journalist standing off to the side, quietly taking notes. Back Stories examines news stories big and small—Yassir Arafat’s funeral, female suicide bombers, protests against the separation barrier, an all-but-unnoticed killing of a mentally disabled man—to investigate urgent questions about objectivity, violence, the state, and the production of knowledge in today’s news.

Reviews: H-Net

 

Mark Braverman: A wall in Jerusalem: Hope, healing, and the struggles for justice in Israel & Palestine (Jericho Books, 2013, paperback, £10.50)

Publisher’s description: Violence in Israel and Palestine has become the norm.
Do we even understand this conflict? Do we know where it comes from? (…) An American Jew, Mark Braverman thought he understood the reasons for Israel’s existence. But when he visited the region and began to understand the forces that are fueling and perpetuating the conflict, he realized just how far we are from achieving peace. From the bustling communities on either side of the Jerusalem barrier, to the historical lessons of the Nazi Holocaust and South African apartheid, to the foremost voices in theology and conflict resolution today, Braverman answers the questions above and offers a course of action both at home and abroad to realize peace.

Reviews: Electronic Intifada
Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations

 

Rex Brynen & Roula El-Rifai (Eds.): Compensation to Palestinian refugees and the search for Palestinian-Israeli peace (Pluto Press, 2013, paperback, £22.50)

Publisher’s description: One of the core aspects of the Palestinian refugee question is that of compensation or reparations for Palestinian refugees forcibly displaced by the establishment of Israel. Despite the importance of the issue, many of the complex technical issues compensation would entail have not received adequate attention. In this volume, a rich variety of contributors (…) examine the topic from an array of legal, economic, and political perspectives. In doing so, they cast new and important light on the way the issue has been approached in past negotiations, the structure of possible compensation regimes and potential challenges and obstacles to implementation.

Reviews: Middle East Monitor

 

Rex Brynen & Roula El-Rifai (Eds.): The Palestinian Refugee problem: The search for a resolution (Pluto Press, 2013 £25.00, paperback)

Publisher’s description: In this unique volume, leading analysts – many of whom have been actively involved in past negotiations on this issue – provide an overview of the key dimensions of the Palestinian refugee problem. Mindful of the sensitive and contested nature of the subject, none offers a single solution. Instead, each contribution summarises and synthesises the existing scholarly and governmental work on the topic. Each paper develops an array of policy options for resolving various aspects of the refugee issue, written in such a way as to provide a broad menu of choices rather than a single narrow set of recommendations.

Reviews: Palestine-Israel Journal
Middle East Monitor

 

Judith Butler: Parting ways: Jewishness and the critique of Zionism (Columbia University Press, 2012, £19.50)

Publisher’s description: Judith Butler follows Edward Said’s late suggestion that through a consideration of Palestinian dispossession in relation to Jewish diasporic traditions a new ethos can be forged for a one-state solution. Butler engages Jewish philosophical positions to articulate a critique of political Zionism and its practices of illegitimate state violence, nationalism, and state-sponsored racism. At the same time, she moves beyond communitarian frameworks, including Jewish ones, that fail to arrive at a radical democratic notion of political cohabitation. (…) In her view, it is as important to dispute Israel’s claim to represent the Jewish people as it is to show that a narrowly Jewish framework cannot suffice as a basis for an ultimate critique of Zionism. She promotes an ethical position in which the obligations of cohabitation do not derive from cultural sameness but from the unchosen character of social plurality. Recovering the arguments of Jewish thinkers who offered criticisms of Zionism or whose work could be used for such a purpose, Butler disputes the specific charge of anti-Semitic self-hatred often leveled against Jewish critiques of Israel. Her political ethic relies on a vision of cohabitation that thinks anew about binationalism and exposes the limits of a communitarian framework to overcome the colonial legacy of Zionism. (…) Butler considers the rights of the dispossessed, the necessity of plural cohabitation, and the dangers of arbitrary state violence, showing how they can be extended to a critique of Zionism, even when that is not their explicit aim. She revisits and affirms Edward Said’s late proposals for a one-state solution within the ethos of binationalism. Butler’s startling suggestion: Jewish ethics not only demand a critique of Zionism, but must transcend its exclusive Jewishness in order to realize the ethical and political ideals of living together in radical democracy.

Reviews: Los Angeles Review of Books
Ha’aretz

 

Dan Cohen-Sherbok: The Palestinian state (Impress Books, 2012, paperback, £9.99)

Publisher’s description: The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is a constant theme on television and in newspapers. The images of heavily armed soldiers facing young Palestinians–like Goliath confronting David–have evoked dismay and consternation. At present the Palestinian people are calling upon the United Nations for recognition of Palestinian statehood. This volume, written by a Reform rabbi and Professor of Judaism, draws on the moral treasures of the Jewish faith in making a case for the creation of a Palestinian state. After nearly a century of bloodshed it is time, he writes, for the empowered to empower those who seek national identity.

Reviews: About.com

 

Suraya Dadoo & Firoz Osman: Why Israel: The anatomy of Zionist Apartheid – A South African perspective (Porcupine Press, 2013, Kindle edition, £8)

Publisher’s description: Israel’s military occupation of Palestine is horrifically reminiscent of South Africa’s Apartheid past. Yet, pro-Israel apologists are shocked that the Zionist entity is being compared to Apartheid South Africa. In response, Zionists ask “Why Israel?” South African activists, Suraya Dadoo and Firoz Osman answer that question. They examine how and why Apartheid applies to the situation in Palestine by using expert academic analysis, commentaries, articles, and blogs of well-known and highly-respected activists and human rights organisations, as well as reports from NGOs with extensive on-the-ground experience in the region. The result is a comprehensive and easy-to-understand investigation into Israel’s colonisation of Palestine, and its corrupting influence on the world. In a pioneering contribution, they also reveal how the South African Zionist lobby has been trying extend its sphere of influence within government and the media in South Africa.

Reviews: Middle East Monitor
Electronic Intifada

 

Rochelle Davis & Mimi Kirk (eds.): Palestine and the Palestinians (Indiana University Press, 2013, paperback, £18.99)

Publisher’s description:Recent developments in Palestinian political, economic, and social life have resulted in greater insecurity and diminishing confidence in Israel’s willingness to abide by political agreements or the Palestinian leadership’s ability to forge consensus. This volume examines the legacies of the past century, conditions of life in the present, and the possibilities and constraints on prospects for peace and self-determination in the future. These historically grounded essays by leading scholars engage the issues that continue to shape Palestinian society, such as economic development, access to resources, religious transformation, and political movements.

Reviews: Electronic Intifada

 

Khaled Diab: Intimate enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land (Guardian Books, 2014, paperback £1.99)

Publisher’s description: The Holy Land is often presented as a story of two sides locked in a cycle of recurrent conflict: Jew vs Arab; Israeli vs Palestinian. For the outsider looking in, it is a question of military might and nationhood. Any view of the peoples themselves, of the lives being lived in Jerusalem, Gaza, Tel Aviv or the West Bank, is clouded by the divisive politics of the region. In ‘Intimate Enemies’, Khaled Diab explores the human lives at stake in the conflict. From Palestinians evading checkpoints to attend parties, to the different approaches Israelis take in defining personal Jewish identities, to the experiences of women from across the region, ‘Intimate Enemies’ looks at what makes people tick. It also becomes clear in this closer understanding of the people how misleading a simple notion of two opposing sides really is. Amongst both Israelis and Palestinians, Diab finds internal cultural, ideological and historical fractures, as well as unlikely patches of common ground between the political enemies.

Reviews: none yet available

 
Yuval Elizur & Lawrence Malkin: The war within: Israel’s ulta-orthodox threat to democracy and the nation (Overlook Press, 2013, £16.98)

Publisher’s description: In recent years there has been a war raging in Israel, not only the intractable conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. For many Israelis, it is the internecine conflict with the ultra-orthodox Haredim that impacts their lives the most. Because of the current administration’s policies, a sizable and influential swath of the Israeli population is wholly dependent on government largesse, even while their leaders continually under-mine and renounce the state that makes their way of life possible. The first book on a long-neglected issue that is quickly crystallizing into a national debate and featuring a new afterword exploring the changes in Israel in 2013, The War Within is a lively and trenchant exploration of the battle between church and state.

Reviews: Foreword
America Magazine

 

M.F.Elman, O.Haklai & H.Spruyt (Eds.): Democracy & conflict resolution: The dilemmas of Israel’s peacemaking (Syracuse Univ. Press, 2013, paperback, £24.74)

Publisher’s description: Studies of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict typically focus on how international conditions drive the likelihood of conflict resolution. By contrast, Democracy and Conflict Resolution considers the understudied impact of domestic factors. Using the contested theory of “democratic peace” as a foundational framework, the contributors explore the effects of a variety of internal influences on Israeli government practices related to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking: electoral systems; political parties; identity; leadership; and social movements. Most strikingly, Democracy and Conflict Resolution explores the possibility that features of democracy inhibit resolution to the conflict, a possibility that resonates far outside the contested region.

Reviews: none yet available
 

Hani Faris: The failure of the two-state solution: The prospects of one state in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (I.B.Tauris, 2013 £65)
Publisher’s description: Diplomats, politicians and activists alike have long laboured under the assumption that a two-state solution is the only path to peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. But as this goal has not come to fruition, and the ever-elusive scepter of peace slips further from reach, violence and instability deepen.

Reviews: Institute of Palestine Studies
FOA

 

Norman Finkelstein: Knowing too much (OR Books, 2012, paperback, £12)

Publisher’s description: Traditionally, American Jews have been broadly liberal in their political outlook; indeed African-Americans are the only ethnic group more likely to vote Democratic in US elections. Over the past half century, however, attitudes on one topic have stood in sharp contrast to this group’s generally progressive stance: support for Israel. Despite Israel’s record of militarism, illegal settlements and human rights violations, American Jews have, stretching back to the 1960s, remained largely steadfast supporters of the Jewish “homeland.” But, as Norman Finkelstein explains in an elegantly-argued and richly-textured new book, this is now beginning to change.  Reports by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the United Nations, and books by commentators as prominent as President Jimmy Carter and as well-respected in the scholarly community as Stephen Walt, John Mearsheimer and Peter Beinart, have increasingly pinpointed the fundamental illiberalism of the Israeli state. In the light of these exposes, the support of America Jews for Israel has begun to fray. (…) In successive chapters that combine Finkelstein’s customary meticulous research with polemical brio, Knowing Too Much sets the work of defenders of Israel such as Jeffrey Goldberg, Michael Oren, Dennis Ross and Benny Morris against the historical record, showing their claims to be increasingly tendentious..

Reviews: The Economist
New Left Project
Red Pepper

 

Michelle Gawerc: Prefiguring peace: Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding partnerships (Lexington Books, 2012, £49.95)

Publisher’s description:Prefiguring Peace: Israeli-Palestinian Peacebuilding Partnerships, a longitudinal study of more than ten years (1993–2008), focuses on the major peacebuilding initiatives with an educational encounter-based approach in Israel and Palestine. It examines how non-governmental peacebuilding initiatives adapt to radically changing environments, the challenges they face, and why some are able to adapt and survive while others do not. Gawerc explores two aspects of adaptation—the ability to maintain resources and legitimacy with critical constituencies outside the organization, and the ability to continue to function effectively as an organization. Her study shows that when the environment became more tumultuous and hostile, the effectiveness and even survival of these organizations depended to a significant degree on their ability to manage the power asymmetry between the two sides and work as equally as possible. Indeed, it became critical for building and maintaining trust and respect in the partnership; for preserving legitimacy with one’s partner; for maintaining staff and active participant commitment; for managing internal conflict; and even for managing resources. Organizations that failed to deal effectively with matters of equality, and the needs and desires of both sides, ended up struggling to maintain commitment or were doused in conflict that could have been tempered if they strived for more equality.

Reviews:  none yet available

 

Caroline Glick: The Israeli solution: A One-State plan for peace in the Middle East (Crown Forum, 2014, £15.10)

Publisher’s description: A manifesto that exposes the flaws in the two-state policy of the United States toward Israel and the Palestinians and offers a direct and powerful call for Israeli sovereignty in the region. The reigning consensus in elite and academic circles is that the United States must seek to resolve the Palestinians’ conflict with Israel by implementing the so-called two-state solution. Establishing a Palestinian state, so the thinking goes, would be a panacea for all the region’s ills. (…) In a time when American politics are marked by partisan gridlock, the two-state solution stands out for its ability to attract supporters from both sides of the ideological divide. But the great irony is that it is one of the most irrational and failed policies the United States has ever adopted. Between 1970 and 2013, the United States presented nine different peace plans for Israel and the Palestinians, and for the past twenty years, the two state solution has been the centerpiece of U.S. Middle East policy. But despite this laser focus, American efforts to implement a two-state peace deal have failed—and with each new attempt, the Middle East has become less stable, more violent, more radicalized, and more inimical to democratic values and interests. In The Israeli Solution, Caroline Glick, senior contributing editor to the Jerusalem Post, examines the history and misconceptions behind the two-state policy (…).

Reviews: Kirkus Reviews
The National

 

David Goldberg: This is not the way: Jews, Judaism and Israel (Faber & Faber, 2012, £14.99)

Publisher’s description: Few subjects invoke more controversy than the past history and current influence of Diaspora Jews in Western societies and the nature of their relationship with the state of Israel. David Goldberg discusses these issues with authority, wisdom and humour: the role of Israel in Jewish life, the question of Jewish identity in an increasingly multicultural world and the minimal hold of religious belief on what nowadays is an overwhelmingly secular people. Goldberg argues that many of the shibboleths of the Jewish establishment, especially in the USA, are exaggerated or false. It is wrong automatically to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism: one can be a trenchant critic of Israeli policies without being hostile to all Jews: ‘Zionism as an ideology should no more be protected from critical analysis than capitalism, socialism, colonialism or Islamism.’ Israel is often treated too indulgently, he argues, by the Diaspora. It is becoming an alien place for secular or religiously liberal Jews who find its aggressive nationalism and assertive fundamentalism increasingly difficult to take. And the axiomatic identification of Israel with the Holocaust – always using the enormity of the latter to justify the actions of the former – has had baneful results for both. His discussion of the perennial ‘Who is a Jew?’ question is equally trenchant. He rejects all previous rabbinic criteria for defining Jewish status, proposing that a Jew is simply anyone who insists that he or she is one, because ultimately what can be truer than self-definition?

Reviews: The Telegraph
Liberal Judaism

 

Erella Grassiani: Soldiering under occupation: Processes of numbing among Israeli soldiers in the Al-Aqsa intifada (Berghahn Books, 2013, paperback, £19.50)
Publisher’s description: Often, violent behavior or harassment from a soldier is dismissed by the military as unacceptable acts by individuals termed, “rotten apples.” In this study, the author argues that this dismissal is unsatisfactory and that there is an urgent need to look at the (mis)behavior of soldiers from a structural point of view. When soldiers serve as an occupational force, they find themselves in a particular situation influenced by structural circumstances that heavily influence their behavior and moral decision-making. This study focuses on young Israeli men and their experiences as combat soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), particularly those who served in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” (OPT) during the “Al Aqsa Intifada,” which broke out in 2000. In describing the soldiers’ circumstances, especially focusing on space, the study shows how processes of numbing on different levels influence the (moral) behavior of these soldiers.

Reviews: Electronic Intifada

 

Toby Greene: Blair, Labour and Palestine: Conflicting views on Middle East peace (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013, £70)
Publisher’s description: Many of Tony Blair’s policy decisions in the Israeli-Palestinian arena were controversial and politically costly. Blair, Labour and Palestine argues that gaps between him and much of his party were rooted in different world views. A positive attitude towards Israel came to be seen as a defining mark of New Labour loyalists. However, contrasting views among left-leaning strands in the party reflected a broader set of ideological rifts. Such differences became increasingly significant in the wake of 9/11 as British policymakers sought to understand and respond to Islamic anger against the West. Based on interviews conducted by the author and on previously unseen documents, this unique case study shows how the distinctive world view of a political leader defined foreign policy, by shaping Britain’s response to Islamist violence and its interconnected approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Author Toby Greene also examines the extent to which ministers and officials considered shifting foreign policy in response to fears of Islamist radicalisation in the UK, and Blair’s role in stopping this trend, especially after the 7/7 bombings.

Reviews: LSE Review of Books
Independent

 

Maia Carter Hallward: Transnational activism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, £62.50)

Publisher’s description: This book examines the polarization of positions surrounding the transnational boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement aimed at ending the Israeli occupation. The vast discrepancy in portrayals of the movement – framed alternately as a nonviolent movement for freedom and human rights and as a form of war by other means – is intriguing, and the passion on both sides of the issue suggests the tactic is powerful and resonates deeply. Drawing on first-hand interviews with activists and opponents, press coverage, and organizational materials, this book systematically compares four cases of BDS activism in the United States, using an analytical framework that draws from the literature of social movements, nonviolent resistance, discourse analysis, and contentious politics.

Reviews: none yet available

 

Rumy Hasan: Dangerous liaisons: The clash between Islamism and Zionism (New Generation Publishing, 2013, paperback, £9.99)

Publisher’s description: In this follow up to the acclaimed Multiculturalism: Some Inconvenient Truths Rumy Hasan examines a little explored but extremely important issue that has profound global implications A fresh look at the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, as it is shaped to become the iconic clash between a colonizing, aggressive Zionism and the Islamic states and cultures which surround it – a timely, broad-based and rich analysis of the civilizational conflict affecting people the world over, from the ‘War on Terror’ to the complications of a multicultural Europe.

Reviews: Amazon (review by JfJfP signatory)

 
Ibrahim Hewitt (Ed.): Israel and Gaza: Behind the media veil (MEMO publishers, 2014, paperback, £7.50)

Publisher’s description: The essays in this book examine media coverage of Israel’s war on Gaza during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014. Looking through a wide lens, they cover mainstream and social media, and draw attention not only to the lack of objectivity in coverage of the war but also the way that traditional media sources are being overtaken by new media as audiences search for the truth behind the headlines.

Reviews: none yet available
 

Reece Jones: Border walls: security and the war on terror in the United States, India and Israel (Zed Books, 2012, paperback, £16.99)

Publisher’s description: Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, why are leading democracies like the United States, India, and Israel building massive walls and fences on their borders? Despite predictions of a borderless world through globalization, these three countries alone have built an astonishing total of 5,700 kilometers of security barriers. In this groundbreaking work, Reece Jones analyzes how these controversial border security projects were justified in their respective countries, what consequences these physical barriers have on the lives of those living in these newly securitized spaces, and what long-term effects the hardening of political borders will have in these societies and globally. Border Walls is a bold, important intervention that demonstrates that the exclusion and violence necessary to secure the borders of the modern state often undermine the very ideals of freedom and democracy the barriers are meant to protect.
Reviews: e-International Relations
Solidarity

 

Keith Kahn-Harris: Uncivil wars: The Israel conflict in the Jewish community (David Paul, 2014, Paperback, £10)

Publisher’s description: The author explores the causes of the conflicts and describes his own innovative efforts at conflict resolution. Analysing the various groupings – left, right, secular and religious, pro and anti-Zionist – in Britain and the USA, Keith Kahn-Harris looks at the history of civility in society and examines the different methods used by international organisations and groups involved in developing dialogue within Jewish communities. He describes, how using these techniques and with expert help, he brought together more than seventy prominent diverse British Jews for a series of encounters. He concludes that dialogue and civility is possible. But with no change in behaviour there will be serious consequences for the Jewish communities of the world.

Reviews: Times of Israel
JfJfP

 

Daniel Kurtzer: Pathways to peace: America and the Arab-Israeli conflict (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, £20)

Publisher’s description: The recent upheavals in the Middle East are challenging long-held assumptions about the dynamics between the United States, the Arab world, and Israel. In Pathways to Peace, today’s leading experts explain these changes in the region and their positive implications for the prospect of a sustained peace between Israel and the Arab World. These distinguished politicians, diplomats, and specialists – including former Secretary of State James A. Baker III; President Clinton’s National Security Adviser, Samuel Berger; and American, Israeli, Palestinian, and Jordanian peace negotiators – offer uniquely informed views on how to advance the peace process. They cover topics as diverse as governance, security, internal public relations, and strategy and tactics.

Reviews: Haaretz
Americans for Peace Now

 

Mark LeVine & Mathias Mossberg: One land: Israel and Palestine as two parallel states (University of California Press,2014, paperback, £19.95)

Publisher’s description: One Land, Two States imagines a new vision for Israel and Palestine in a situation where the peace process has failed to deliver an end of conflict. “If the land cannot be shared by geographical division, and if a one-state solution remains unacceptable,” the book asks, “can the land be shared in some other way?” Leading Palestinian and Israeli experts along with international diplomats and scholars answer this timely question by examining a scenario with two parallel state structures, both covering the whole territory between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, allowing for shared rather than competing claims of sovereignty. Such a political architecture would radically transform the nature and stakes of the Israel-Palestine conflict, open up for Israelis to remain in the West Bank and maintain their security position, enable Palestinians to settle in all of historic Palestine, and transform Jerusalem into a capital for both of full equality and independence—all without disturbing the demographic balance of each state. Exploring themes of security, resistance, diaspora, globalism, and religion, as well as forms of political and economic power that are not dependent on claims of exclusive territorial sovereignty, this pioneering book offers new ideas for the resolution of conflicts worldwide.

Reviews: Kirkus Reviews
Middle East Media & Book Reviews Online
 

Audrea Lim (Ed.): The Case for Sanctions Against Israel (Verso Books, 2012, paperback £9.99)

Publisher’s description: In July 2011, Israel passed legislation outlawing the public support of boycott activities against the state, corporations, and settlements, adding a crackdown on free speech to its continuing blockade of Gaza and the expansion of illegal settlements. Nonetheless, the campaign for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) continues to grow in strength within Israel and Palestine, as well as in Europe and the US. This essential intervention considers all sides of the movement—including detailed comparisons with the South African experience—and contains contributions from both sides of the separation wall, along with a stellar list of international commentators. With contributions by Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, Merav Amir, Hind Awwad, Mustafa Barghouthi, Omar Barghouti, Dalit Baum, Joel Beinin, John Berger, Angela Davis, Nada Elia, Marc Ellis, Noura Erakat, Neve Gordon, Ran Greenstein, Ronald Kasrils, Jamal Khader, Naomi Klein, Paul Laverty, Mark LeVine, David Lloyd, Ken Loach, Haneen Maikey, Rebecca O’Brien, Ilan Pappe, Jonathan Pollak, Laura Pulido, Lisa Taraki, Rebecca Vilkomerson, Michael Warschawski, and Slavoj Žižek

Reviews: none yet available.

 

 Antony Loewenstein & Ahmed Moor (Eds.): After Zionism: One state for Israel and Palestine (Saqi Books, 2012, paperback, £10.99)

Publisher’s description: After Zionism brings together some of the world s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians, and to explore possible forms of a one-state solution. Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. Although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined, enmeshed, irrevocably. This daring and timely collection includes essays by Omar Barghouti, Diana Buttu, Jonathan Cook, Joseph Dana, Jeremiah Haber, Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Antony Loewenstein, Saree Makdisi, John Mearsheimer, Ahmed Moor, Ilan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss.

Reviews: The Electronic Intifada
Al Akhbar English

 

Moshe Machover: Israelis and Palestinians: Conflict and resolution (Haymarket Books, 2012, paperback, £17.99)

Publisher’s description: These essays, written between 1966 and 2010 by an Israeli activist, cover diverse aspects of Israeli society and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Comprising analysis and polemics, they address both Zionist ideology and its results. Two inter-related themes run throughout: the Israeli–Palestinian conflict in a regional context, and the connection between Palestinian liberation and the struggle for socialism throughout the region.

Reviews: Solidarity
Palestine Chronicle
Monthly Review

 

M.Marder & G.Vattimo (Eds.): Deconstructing Zionism: A critique of political metaphysics (Bloomsbury, 2013, paperback, £17.99)

Publisher’s description: While other nationalisms seem to have adapted to twenty-first century realities and shifting notions of state and nation, Zionism has largely remained tethered to a nineteenth century mentality, including the glorification of the state as the only means of expressing the spirit of the people. These essays, contributed by eminent international thinkers including Slavoj Zizek, Luce Irigaray, Judith Butler, Gianni Vattimo, Walter Mignolo, Marc Ellis, and others, deconstruct the political-metaphysical myths that are the framework for the existence of Israel. Collectively, they offer a multifaceted critique of the metaphysical, theological, and onto-political grounds of the Zionist project and the economic, geopolitical, and cultural outcomes of these foundations. A significant contribution to the debates surrounding the state of Israel today, this groundbreaking work will appeal to anyone interested in political theory, philosophy, Jewish thought, and the Middle East conflict.

Reviews: none yet available

 

Shourideh Molavi: Stateless citizenship: The Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel (Haymarket Books, 2014, paperback, £16.15)

Publisher’s description: In this provocative and compelling work Shourideh Molavi documents the legal plight of Palestinians living inside of Israel.

Palestinians living inside of Israel are placed in a paradoxical situation where, as Arab citizens of a Jewish state, they are both inside and outside, host and guest, citizen and stateless. Through the paradigm of stateless citizenship Molavi centers our analytical gaze on the paradox that it is through their status as Israeli citizens that Palestinians are deemed stateless.

Reviews: none yet available
 

Cary Nelson & Gabriel Noah Brahm (Eds.); The case against academic boycotts of Israel (Wayne State University Press, 2014, paperback, £22.32)

Publisher’s description: How should we understand the international debate about the future of Israel and the Palestinians? Can justice be achieved in the Middle East? Until now, there was no single place for people to go to find detailed scholarly essays analyzing proposals to boycott Israel and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement of which they are a part. This book for the first time provides the historical background necessary for informed evaluation of one of the most controversial issues of our day— the struggle between two peoples living side-by-side but with conflicting views of history and conflicting national ambitions. This book encourages empathy for all parties, but it also takes a cold look at what solutions are realistic and possible. In doing so, it tackles issues, like the role of anti-Semitism in calls for the abolition of the Jewish state, that many have found impossible to confront until now.

Reviews: Jewish Pluralist
Tablet

 

Atalia Omer: When peace is not enough: How the Israeli peace camp thinks about religion, nationalism and justice (University of Chicago Press, 2013, paperback, £17.50)

Publisher’s description: The state of Israel is often spoken of as a haven for the Jewish people, a place rooted in the story of a nation dispersed, wandering the earth in search of their homeland. Born in adversity but purportedly nurtured by liberal ideals, Israel has never known peace, experiencing instead a state of constant war that has divided its population along the stark and seemingly unbreachable lines of dissent around the relationship between unrestricted citizenship and Jewish identity. By focusing on the perceptions and histories of Israel’s most marginalized stakeholders—Palestinian Israelis, Arab Jews, and non-Israeli Jews—Atalia Omer cuts to the heart of the Israeli-Arab conflict, demonstrating how these voices provide urgently needed resources for conflict analysis and peacebuilding. Navigating a complex set of arguments about ethnicity, boundaries, and peace, and offering a different approach to the renegotiation and reimagination of national identity and citizenship, Omer pushes the conversation beyond the bounds of the single narrative and toward a new and dynamic concept of justice—one that offers the prospect of building a lasting peace.

Reviews: Kroc Institute

 

Amos Oz: How to cure a fanatic (Vintage, 2012, paperback, £3.99)

Publisher’s description: In ‘How To Cure a Fanatic’ Amos Oz analyses the historical roots of violence and confronts truths about the extremism nurtured throughout society. By bringing us face to face with fanaticism he suggests ways in which we can all respond. In ‘Help Us to Divorce’ he convinces irrefutably that the Israel-Palestinian conflict is primarily a dispute over ‘whose house this is’. In his characteristically lucid, intelligent and inspiring prose Amos Os is unafraid to advocate solutions to the dispute and to espouse his belief that there will, one day, be a resolution to the conflict.’I’m no longer a European in any sense, except through the pain of my parents and my ancestors, who left forever in my genes a sense of unrequited love for Europe… But if I were a European, I’d be careful not to point the finger at anyone. Instead of calling the Israelis this name or the Palestinians that name, I would do anything I could to help both sides, because both of them are on the verge of making the most painful decision of their history… You no longer have to choose between being pro-Israel or pro-Palestine, you have to be pro-peace.’

Reviews: Academia.edu
The Independent

 

Diana Pinto: Israel has moved (Harvard University Press, 2013, £18.95)
Publisher’s description: Israel has changed. The country was born in Europe’s shadow, haunted by the Holocaust and inspired by the Enlightenment. But for Israelis today, Europe is hardly relevant, and the country’s ties to the broader West, even to America, are fraying. Where is Israel heading? How do citizens of an increasingly diverse nation see themselves globally and historically? In this revealing portrait of the new Israel, Diana Pinto presents a country simultaneously moving forward and backward, looking outward and turning in on itself. In business, Israel is forging new links with the giants of Asia, and its booming science and technology sectors are helping define the future for the entire world. But in politics and religion, Israelis are increasingly self-absorbed, building literal and metaphorical walls against hostile neighbors and turning to ancient religious precepts for guidance here and now. Pinto captures the new moods and mindsets, the anxieties and hopes of Israelis today in sharply drawn sketches of symbolically charged settings. She takes us on the roads to Jerusalem, to border control at Ben Gurion Airport, to a major Israeli conference in Jerusalem, to a hill overlooking the Dome of the Rock and Temple Mount, to the heart of Israel’s high-tech economy, and to sparkling new malls and restaurants where people of different identities share nothing more than a desire to ignore one another.

Reviews: The Independent
Financial Times

 

Josh Ruebner: Shattered hopes: Obama’s failure to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace (Verso, 2013, £20)

Publisher’s description: President Barack Obama’s first trip abroad in his second term took him to Israel and the Palestinian West Bank, where he despondently admitted to those waiting for words of encouragement, “It is a hard slog to work through all of these issues.” Contrast this gloomy assessment with Obama’s optimism on the second day of his first term, when he appointed former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell as his special envoy for Middle East peace, boldly asserting that his administration would “actively and aggressively seek a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” How is it that Obama’s active and aggressive search for progress has become mired in the status quo? Writer and political analyst Josh Ruebner charts Obama’s journey from optimism to frustration in the first hard-hitting investigation into why the president failed to make any progress on this critical issue, and how his unwillingness to challenge the Israel lobby has shattered hopes for peace.

Reviews: Counterpunch
Muftah

 

Paul Scham, Benjamin Pogrund & As’ad Ghanem (eds.): Shared Narratives—A Palestinian-Israeli Dialogue (Israel Studies, 2013, vol. 18, Summer. Journal issue available for $20 from here )

Publisher’s description: Opposing historical narratives believed by Palestinians and Israelis have over time fueled the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinian narratives focus on a people unjustly deprived of its land by invaders. Israeli narratives argue for a justified “return” of those dispossessed many generations before. Can these seemingly incompatible narratives play a constructive role in advancing the goal of peace? This special issue of Israel Studies, entitled “Shared Narratives,” provides readers with the opportunity to better understand and acknowledge the clash of ideas between the two societies. The volume proceeds from the belief that acknowledging the power and durability of both narratives is a necessary part of the route to the future. The contributors, Palestinian and Israeli scholars, examine some of the most basic issues, such as land, religion, nationalism, and Jerusalem, as they developed over time. Avoiding partisan arguments and polemical debates, they present and discuss differing views on these subjects.

Reviews: none yet available

 

Raja Shehadeh: Language of war, language of peace: Palestine, Israel & the search for justice (Profile Books, 2015, paperback, £8.99)

Publisher’s description: A passionate and elegant reflection on the language of the Middle East conflict expanded from Raja Shehadeh’s Edward Said memorial lectures. Award-winning author Raja Shehadeh explores the politics of language and the language of politics in the Israeli Palestine conflict, reflecting on the walls that they create – legal and cultural – that confine today’s Palestinians just like the physical borders, checkpoints and the so called ‘Separation Barrier’. The peace process has been ground to a halt by twists of language and linguistic chicanery that has degraded the word ‘peace’ itself. No one even knows what the word might mean now for the Middle East. So to give one example of many, Israel argued that the omission of the word ‘the’ in one of the UN Security Council’s resolutions meant that it was not mandated to withdraw from all of the territories occupied in 1967.

Reviews: Independent
 

Yehouda Shenhav: Beyond the Two–State solution (Polity Books, 2012, paperback , £14..99)

Publisher’s description: For over two decades, many liberals in Israel have attempted, with wide international support, to implement the two-state solution: Israel and Palestine, partitioned on the basis of the Green Line – that is, the line drawn by the 1949 Armistice Agreements that defined Israel’s borders until 1967, before Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza following the Six-Day War. By going back to Israel’s pre-1967 borders, many people hope to restore Israel to what they imagine was its pristine, pre-occupation character and to provide a solid basis for a long-term solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this original and controversial essay, Yehouda Shenhav argues that this vision is an illusion that ignores historical realities and offers no long-term solution. It fails to see that the real problem is that a state was created in most of Palestine in 1948 in which Jews are the privileged ethnic group, at the expense of the Palestinians – who also must live under a constant state of emergency. The issue will not be resolved by the two-state solution, which will do little for the millions of Palestinian refugees and will also require the uprooting of hundreds of thousands of Jews living across the Green Line. All these obstacles require a bolder rethinking of the issues: the Green Line should be abandoned and a new type of polity created on the complete territory of mandatory Palestine, with a new set of constitutional arrangements that address the rights of both Palestinians and Jews, including the settlers.

Reviews: Morning Star
Academia.edu (review of original Hebrew edition)

 
Marcelo Svirsky: After Israel: Towards cultural transformation (Zed Books, 2014, Paperback, £19.99)

Publisher’s description: In this unique new contribution, Marcelo Svirsky asserts that no political solution currently on offer can provide the cultural marrow necessary to effect a transformation of modes of being and ways of life in the State of Israel. Controversially, Svirsky argues that the Zionist political project cannot be fixed – it is one that negatively affects the lives of its beneficiaries as well as of its victims. Instead, the book aims to generate a reflective attitude, allowing Jewish-Israelis to explore how they may divest themselves of Zionist identities by engaging with dissident rationalities, practices and institutions.

Reviews: none yet available

 

Rich Wiles (Ed.): Generation Palestine: Voices from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (Pluto Press, 2013, paperback, £14.99)

Publisher’s description: The unique model of apartheid, colonisation and military occupation that Israel imposes on the Palestinians, along with myriad violations of international law, have made Palestine the moral cause of a generation. Yet many people continue to ask, ‘what can we do?’ Generation Palestine helps to answer this question by bringing together Palestinian and international activists in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The movement aims to pressure Israel until it complies with International Law, mirroring the model that was successfully utilised against South African apartheid. With essays written by a wide selection of contributors, Generation Palestine follows the BDS movement’s model of inclusivity and collaboration. Contributors include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ken Loach, Iain Banks, Ronnie Kasrils, Professor Richard Falk, Ilan Pappe, Omar Barghouti, Ramzy Baroud and Archbishop Attallah Hannah, alongside other internationally acclaimed artists, writers, academics and grassroots activists.

Reviews: Palestine Chronicle
Jordan Times

 

Elia Zureik et al. (Eds.): Surveillance and control in Israel/Palestine: Population, territory and power (Routledge, 2013, paperback, £24.95)

Publisher’s description: Surveillance is always a means to an end, whether that end is influence, management or entitlement. This book examines the several layers of surveillance that control the Palestinian population in Israel and the Occupied Territories, showing how they operate, how well they work, how they are augmented, and how in the end their chief purpose is population control.

Showing how what might be regarded as exceptional elsewhere is here regarded as the norm, the book looks not only at the political economy of surveillance and its technological and military dimensions, but also at the ordinary ways that Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories are affected in their everyday lives. Written in a clear and accessible style by experts in the field, this book will have large appeal for academic faculty as well as graduate and senior undergraduate students in sociology, political science, international relations, surveillance studies and Middle East studies.

Reviews: none yet available

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