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 2013 or later; earlier books previously listed on this page can be found here.
Matthew Abraham: Out of bounds: Academic freedom and the question of Palestine (2014)
Ali Abunimah: The battle for justice in Palestine (2014)
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)
Max Blumenthal: The 51 day war: Ruin and resistance in Gaza (2015)
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)
Michael Buergermeister: Gaza: A philosophical dictionary (2015)
Noam Chomsky & Ilan Pappé: On Palestine (2015)
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)
Caroline Glick: The Israeli solution: A One-State plan for peace in the Middle East (2014)
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)
Keith Kahn-Harris: Uncivil wars: The Israel conflict in the Jewish community (2014)
Mark LeVine & Mathias Mossberg: One land: Israel and Palestine as two parallel states (2014)
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)
Padraig O’Malley: The Two-State delusion (2015)
Atalia Omer: When peace is not enough: How the Israeli peace camp thinks about religion, nationalism and justice (2013)
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)
Marcelo Svirsky: After Israel: Towards cultural transformation (2014)
M.Turner & O.Shweiki (eds.): Decolonising Palestinian political economy: De-development and beyond (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)
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.
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.
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
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
Publisher’s description: On July 8, 2014, Israel launched air strikes on Hamas-controlled Gaza, followed by a ground invasion. The ensuing fifty-one days of war left more than 2,200 people dead, the vast majority of whom were Palestinian civilians, including over 500 children. During the assault, at least 10,000 homes were destroyed and, according to the United Nations, nearly 300,000 Palestinians were displaced. Max Blumenthal was in Gaza and throughout Israel–Palestine during what he argues was an entirely avoidable catastrophe. In this explosive work of intimate reportage, Blumenthal reveals the harrowing conditions and cynical deceptions that led to the ruinous war—and tells the human stories.
Blumenthal brings the battles in Gaza to life, detailing the ferocious clashes that took place when Israel’s military invaded the besieged strip. He radically shifts the discussion around a number of highly contentious issues: the use of civilians as human shields by Israeli forces, the arbitrary targeting of Palestinian civilians, and the radicalization of Israeli public officials and top military personnel. Amid the rubble of Gaza’s border regions, Blumenthal recorded the testimonies from scores of residents, documenting potential war crimes committed by the Israeli armed forces while carefully examining the military doctrine that led to them.
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.
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
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.
Publisher’s description: This book is not about how evil either the Americans or Israelis are, which is how some might see it. This book is about both the causes and effects of Israeli and American policy. It is about the ideas, which underpin these policies and about the effects of these self-same policies on ordinary individuals. It is above all about how the narratives of Jews, Zionists and Palestinians are inextricably intertwined. It is a book about common humanity.
Reviews: William Hanna
Publisher’s description: What is the future of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement directed at Israel? Which is more viable, the binational or one state solution? Ilan Pappé and Noam Chomsky, two leading voices in the struggle to liberate Palestine, discuss these critical questions and more in this urgent and timely book, a sequel to their acclaimed Gaza in Crisis.
Reviews: Electronic Intifada
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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 (…).
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.
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
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)
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
Publisher’s description: Disputes over settlements, the right of return, the rise of Hamas, recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, and other intractable issues have repeatedly derailed peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine. Now, in a book that is sure to spark controversy, renowned peacemaker Padraig O’Malley argues that the moment for a two-state solution has passed. After examining each issue and speaking with Palestinians and Israelis as well as negotiators directly involved in past summits, O’Malley concludes that even if such an agreement could be reached, it would be nearly impossible to implement given the staggering costs, Palestine’s political disunity and the viability of its economy, rapidly changing demographics, Israel’s continuing political shift to the right, global warming’s effect on the water supply, and more. In this revelatory, hard-hitting book, O’Malley approaches the key issues pragmatically, without ideological bias, to show that we must find new frameworks for reconciliation if there is to be lasting peace between Palestine and Israel.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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: SCTIW Review
Publisher’s description: This volume provides cutting-edge political economy analyses of the Palestinian people as a whole – those living in the occupied territory of the West Bank and Gaza Strip (including annexed East Jerusalem), those living within Israel and refugees in neighbouring Arab states. It rejects the dominant, conventional approach that has fragmented the Palestinians into separate and distinct groups (some thereafter named as ‘Arab-Israeli’, ‘Bedouin’, etc.), and which has reduced those regarded as ‘the Palestinian people’ to only those who reside within the occupied territory. The book challenges this intellectual fragmentation by reuniting Palestinians in one historical political-economy narrative of a people experiencing a common process of dispossession, disenfranchisement and disarticulation.
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.
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