New and Notable


Updated every month. When replaced, existing entries will be transferred to the appropriate ‘Older Books’ section.


Raja Shehadeh. We Could Have Been Friends, My Father and I: A Palestinian Memoir

(Other Press, 2023)

Publisher’s description: Aziz Shehadeh was many things: lawyer, activist, and political detainee, he was also the father of bestselling author and activist Raja. In this new and searingly personal memoir, Raja Shehadeh unpicks the snags and complexities of their relationship.

A vocal and fearless opponent, Aziz resists under the British mandatory period, then under Jordan, and, finally, under Israel. As a young man, Raja fails to recognize his father’s courage and, in turn, his father does not appreciate Raja’s own efforts in campaigning for Palestinian human rights. When Aziz is murdered in 1985, it changes Raja irrevocably. This is not only the story of the battle against the various oppressors of the Palestinians, but a moving portrait of a particular father and son relationship.


‘A slim volume, it manages to weave together several threads: a biography of the writer’s late father, Aziz Shehadeh, who was one of the most impressive Palestinian lawyers of his generation; a tender inquiry into why the two men were not closer, despite sharing a vocation and cause; and a moving lament for what might have been, had they been afforded more time together (…) With profound humanity, his work maps out the vicissitudes of a life lived in the shadows of Israeli occupation. The result is a quiet and deeply felt book that illustrates how being dispossessed and being occupied are not merely legal or political conditions, but, perhaps more profoundly, psychological and emotional ones too’ – New York Times

Avi Shlaim. Three Worlds: Memoirs of an Arab-Jew

(Oneworld, 2023)

Publisher’s description: In July 1950, Avi Shlaim, only five, and his family were forced into exile, fleeing from their beloved Iraq into the new state of Israel. Now the rump of a once flourishing community of over 150,000, dating back 2,600 years, has dwindled to single figures. For many, this tells the story of the timeless clash of the Arab and Jewish civilisations, the heroic mission of Zionism to rescue Eastern Jews from their backwards nations, and unceasing persecution as the fate and history of Jewish people. Avi Shlaim tears up this script. His mother had many Muslim friends in Baghdad, but no Zionist ones. The Iraqi Jewish community, once celebrated for its ancient heritage and rich culture, was sprayed with DDT upon arrival in Israel. As anti-Semitism gathered pace in Iraq, the Zionist underground may have inflamed it – deliberately. This memoir celebrates the disappearing heritage of Arab-Jews – caught in the crossfire of secular ideologies.


Three Worlds, by the Oxford historian of the modern Middle East Avi Shlaim, is an often enchanting memoir of his childhood in Baghdad; in part it is a lament for this vanished world where a Jewish elite led a gilded existence, thinking of themselves as Arabs of the Jewish religion rather than outsiders (…) The founding of a Jewish state seven years later enabled the Iraqi government to strip Jews of their citizenship and assets, paradoxically packing them off to Israel, despite Iraq’s rejection of Israel’s existence. Shlaim provides a gripping account of these events and of what they meant for his family’ – Financial Times

‘This is a beautifully written book which artfully blends the personal with the political. The recollections of family life in both its glory and its anguished tribulations are vividly recreated. Shlaim’s is a powerful and humane voice which reminds us that the Palestinians were not the only victims of the creation of Israel in 1948. He argues that the Zionist project dealt a mortal blow to the position of Jews in Arab lands, turning them from accepted compatriots into a suspected fifth column allied to the new Jewish state’ –Spectator

Hussein Barghouti. Among the Almond Trees: A Palestinian Memoir

(Seagull Books, 2022)

Publisher’s description: Palestinian writer Hussein Barghouthi was in his late forties when he was diagnosed with lymphoma. He had feared it was HIV, so when the cancer diagnosis was confirmed, he left the hospital feeling a bitter joy because his wife and son would be spared. The bittersweetness of this reaction characterizes the alternating moods of narration and reflection that distinguish this meditative memoir, Among the Almond Trees. Barghouthi’s way of dealing with finality is to return to memories of childhood in the village of his birth in central Palestine, where the house in which he grew up is surrounded by almond and fig orchards. He takes many healing walks in the moonlit shadows of the trees, where he observes curious foxes, dancing gazelles, a badger with an unearthly cry, a weasel, and a wild boar with its young – a return not only to the house but to nature itself. The author decides to build a house where he would live with his wife and son, in whom he sees a renewal of life. The realization of his impending death also urges him to vocalize this experience, and he relates the progress of the disease at infrequent intervals. And, ultimately, he details the imaginative possibility of a return to life – to the earth, where he would be buried among the almond trees.


‘A spiritual memoir that’s concerned with the mutability and impenetrability of language and life, Among the Almond Trees creates a taxonomy of presence and absence that makes continuity from seeming opposites, one that’s filled with nuance and largesse for both the Palestinian people and the nearer pain of Barghouthi’s own illness and looming death’ – Foreword


Mona Mansour. The Vagrant Trilogy: Three Plays

(Methuen Drama, 2022)

Publisher’s description: The Vagrant Trilogy is a set of three plays by award-winning Arab American playwright Mona Mansour which explores the Palestinian condition prior to, during, and after the infamous Six-Day War. It sketches the devastating effect this conflict had on members of the Palestinian diaspora scattered in Europe and in Lebanese refugee camps. With productions in Washington DC, New York, and Abu Dhabi, this trilogy has moved audiences across both America and the Arabic-speaking world. The Hour of Feeling, The Vagrant, and Urge for Going offer a deep exploration of the Palestinian struggle for home and identity, a powerful glimpse into a reality that many face and few understand.


‘Taken together, the plays in Mansour’s trilogy are a master class in the play of ideas, and not only because the ideas – exile, the price of knowing, political violence, and the suffocation of dreams – are so rich and provocative. The Vagrant Trilogy is so good because those ideas inhabit characters who can articulate them with such power, tenderness, anger, and even resignation’ – Richard Byrne

Ramy Al-Asheq. Ever Since I Did Not Die

(Seagull Books, 2021)

Publisher’s description: The texts gathered in Ever Since I Did Not Die by Syrian-Palestinian poet Ramy Al-Asheq are a poignant record of a fateful journey. Having grown up in a refugee camp in Damascus, Al-Asheq was imprisoned and persecuted by the regime in 2011 during the Syrian Revolution. He was released from jail, only to be recaptured and imprisoned in Jordan. After escaping from prison, he spent two years in Jordan under a fake name and passport, during which he won a literary fellowship that allowed him to travel to Germany in 2014, where he now lives and writes in exile. Through seventeen powerful testimonies, Ever Since I Did Not Die vividly depicts what it means to live through war. Exquisitely weaving the past with the present and fond memories with brutal realities, this volume celebrates resistance through words that refuse to surrender and continue to create beauty amidst destruction – one of the most potent ways to survive in the darkest of hours.


‘Al-Asheq’s new collection of prose pieces translated by Isis Nusair defies boundaries and genres at the threshold of prose and poetry. They could be classified as prose poems, flash fiction, or even a new genre of poetic prose. Poetic lines intermingle with vivid, sometimes brutal, descriptions of war during the Syrian conflict (…) In his journey from the wasteland of the dead to a resurrection of sorts, he explores his ordeal through poetic language. Al-Asheq gives voice to the lost and broken, to the “without” or stateless who are looking for a better place to live, ever since they did not die’ – Litro Magazine

Maya Abu Al-Hayat (ed.). The Book of Ramallah: A City in Short Fiction

(Comma Press, 2021)

Publisher’s description: Unlike most other Palestinian cities, Ramallah is a relatively new town, a de facto capital of the West Bank allowed to thrive after the Oslo Peace Accords, but just as quickly hemmed in and suffocated by the Occupation as the Accords have failed. Perched along the top of a mountainous ridge, it plays host to many contradictions: traditional Palestinian architecture jostling against aspirational developments and cultural initiatives, a thriving nightlife in one district, with much more conservative, religious attitudes in the next. Most striking however – as these stories show – is the quiet dignity, resilience and humour of its people; citizens who take their lives into their hands every time they travel from one place to the next, who continue to live through countless sieges, and yet still find the time, and resourcefulness, to create.


‘In ten short stories by contemporary Palestinian authors, The Book of Ramallah offers a window on to the various dispositions of a once unremarkable hilly town that has grown into the centre of Palestinian life in the occupied West Bank. The collection, edited by Maya Abu Al-Hayat, interweaves absurdism and realism, the past and present, to create an outline of a city marked by contradictions (…) The Israeli occupation is never far away in some stories, but instead of looming like an unrepentant shadow, it tends to function as a backdrop to the resilience of the characters, and to the endeavours of normality that inevitably end up being anything but’ – Times Literary Supplement

‘Ramallah is a small city, but as home to many of Palestine’s cultural and educational resources, it attracts people from all over Palestine and beyond. The Ramallah of this collection feels something like a big bus terminal, with people coming and going, confused about whose seat is whose, and where often travel is shut down entirely. And yet there are also moments of wicked humour, tender love, and elevating grace’ – Middle East Eye


Ilan Pappé, Lobbying for Zionism: On Both Sides of the Atlantic

(Oneworld, 2024)


Peter Shambrook. Policy of Deceit: Britain and Palestine, 1914-1939

(Oneworld, 2023)

Publisher’s description: Presenting compelling evidence, Shambrook debunks the myth perpetuated by Britain and pro-Zionist historians that Palestine was never part of the lands guaranteed to the Sharif [of Mecca]. He lays bare the truth and its devastating consequences, which have reverberated throughout the decades-long conflict in the Middle East. Shockingly, no British government has launched an impartial investigation into this matter or officially acknowledged its betrayal of the Palestinian people. This definitive work is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict, revealing a hidden chapter of British deceit and shedding light on the ongoing tensions in the region.

Reviews: none yet available

Sorcha Thomson and Pelle Valentin Olson (eds.). Palestine in the World: International Solidarity with the Palestinian Liberation Movement

(I.B. Tauris, 2023)

Publisher’s description: The Palestinian national liberation movement – or the Palestinian revolution as it is known in Arabic – emerged during the 1960s as an iconic cause of the global Left. This volume highlights the different practices of international solidarity that characterised this period, and how they shaped and were shaped by the global trajectory of the Palestinian movement.  Bringing together scholars with versatile linguistic and interdisciplinary skills, Palestine in the World puts the Palestinian movement into conversation with the models of transnational politics that emerged through the revolutionary period. From participation in a vibrant sphere of intellectual and cultural production, the work of travelling revolutionaries as delegates, volunteers, and militants, and the connected mobilisations that took place in different corners of the world, international solidarity with and from the Palestinian movement was integral to its ascendance on the global stage. By treating the Palestinian revolution as a world phenomenon – with cases from Cuba, France, the US, the GDR, Japan and more – this volume reveals the forms of solidarity that shaped the rise of the movement and their afterlives today. It illuminates the rich connected histories of international solidarity that positioned the Palestinian movement as an iconic anticolonial struggle.


Reviews: none yet available

Nadim Bawalsa, Transnational Palestine: Migration and the Right of Return Before 1948

(Stanford University Press, 2022)

Publisher’s description: Tens of thousands of Palestinians migrated to the Americas in the final decades of the nineteenth century and early decades of the twentieth. By 1936, an estimated 40,000 Palestinians lived outside geographic Palestine. Transnational Palestine is the first book to explore the history of Palestinian immigration to Latin America, the struggles Palestinian migrants faced to secure Palestinian citizenship in the interwar period, and the ways in which these challenges contributed to the formation of a Palestinian diaspora and to the emergence of Palestinian national consciousness. Nadim Bawalsa considers the migrants’ strategies for economic success in the diaspora, for preserving their heritage, and for resisting British mandate legislation, including citizenship rejections meted out to thousands of Palestinian migrants. They did this in newspapers, social and cultural clubs and associations, political organisations and committees, and in hundreds of petitions and pleas delivered to local and international governing bodies demanding justice for Palestinian migrants barred from Palestinian citizenship. As this book shows, Palestinian political consciousness developed as a thoroughly transnational process in the first half of the twentieth century – and the first articulation of a Palestinian right of return emerged well before 1948.


‘Nadim Bawalsa’s Transnational Palestine is a significant contribution to the history of Mandate Palestine, and illuminates the role of British citizenship laws in the dispossession of Palestinians. By exposing the ways Palestinians living abroad (referred to as the mahjar) were denied citizenship by the British Empire during their mandate over Palestine, Bawalsa effectively reframes the fight for right of return of Palestinians both historically and geographically, and reveals its emergence as a response to British imperial governance. Transnational Palestine underscores citizenship as a tool in settler colonial projects where relationship to land does not guarantee rights within it or to it’ – International Journal of Middle East Studies



Jamie Stern-Weiner (ed.). Deluge: Gaza and Israel from Crisis to Cataclysm

(OR Books, 2024)

Publisher’s description: The Hamas massacre and the genocidal Israeli campaign which followed together mark a historic turning point in the Israel-Palestine conflict. The reverberations have also shaken politics far beyond, not least in Europe and the United States, where gigantic, round-the-clock protests for Palestinian rights pitted politicians against the public and exposed a growing statist authoritarianism.

In this groundbreaking book—the first published about the 2023 Gaza war—leading Palestinian, Israeli, and international authorities put these momentous developments in context and provide an initial taking-stock.

Why did Hamas attack? What is Israel trying to achieve? Did this catastrophe have to happen? And is there a way forward? The book’s expert contributors address these and other questions, which have never been more urgent.


Deluge: Gaza and Israel from Crisis to Cataclysm, edited by Jamie Stern-Weiner, is an invaluable book, for experts and novices alike. That it should be so is in part testimony to the abject quality of western media coverage of this subject.

The 13 authors featured here – ranging from celebrated academics such as Avi Shlaim, professor emeritus at Oxford University, to independent contributors such as “RJ”,  a “researcher and humanist living in the United States” – are all firm supporters of the Palestinian cause.

But none of the chapters is a polemic. Rather, for the most part, the book constitutes a simple statement of bald facts of which many western readers will be shamefully ignorant.

Chapters by Shlaim and fellow academics Colter Louwerse and Khaled al-Hroub map the history of Gaza and Hamas. That of Hamas is inextricably bound up with the failure of its secular predecessor at the forefront of the Palestinian struggle, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah, which dominated the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

A powerful chapter on the “econicide” of Gaza by Harvard academic Sara Roy lays out in detail the Israeli policy of what she calls “de-development”.

Louwerse argues convincingly that, rather than being the product of Palestinian intransigence, Israeli violence has frequently been aimed at thwarting any possibility of negotiation and compromise.

None of the contributors to Deluge seeks to justify the slaughter of civilians that followed. But Ahmad Alnaouq’s chapter on the death of 21 members of his extended family in a single bombing – the most personal in the book – is a powerful indictment of the savagery of the Israeli response.

Chapters by Mitchell Plitnick, a former co-director of Jewish Voice for Peace, and Hangari paint a dispiriting picture of how allegations of antisemitism continue to be wielded to demonise and delegitimise the Palestinian solidarity movement in the US and the UK.

“The contest of Palestinian rights in the United States [has] been largely relegated to a battle over the very legitimacy of support for those rights,” writes Plitnick. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre described the small handful of members of Congress calling for a ceasefire as “repugnant” and “disgraceful”. Middle East Eye

Hil Aked. Friends of Israel: The Backlash Against Palestine Solidarity

(Verso, 2023)

Publisher’s description: Friends of Israel provides a forensically researched account of the activities of Israel’s advocates in Britain, showing how they contribute to maintaining Israeli apartheid. The book traces the history and changing fortunes of key actors within the British Zionist movement in the context of the Israeli government’s contemporary efforts to repress a rising tide of solidarity with Palestinians expressed through the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Offering a nuanced and politically relevant account of pro-Israel actors’ strategies, tactics, and varying levels of success in key arenas of society, it draws parallels with the similar anti-boycott campaign waged by supporters of the erstwhile apartheid regime in South Africa. By demystifying the actors involved in the Zionist movement, the book provides an anti-racist analysis of the pro-Israel lobby which robustly rebuffs anti-Semitic conspiracies. Sensitively and accessibly written, it emphasises the complicity of British actors – both those in government and in civil society. Drawing on a range of sources including interviews with leading pro-Israel activists and Palestinian rights activists, documents obtained through Freedom of Information requests and archival material, Friends of Israel is a much-needed contribution to Israel/Palestine-related scholarship and a useful resource for the Palestine solidarity movement.


‘[T]he best parts of Friends of Israel are the later chapters, in which Aked gets away from abstract theories and down to the nitty-gritty of evidence. A notable instance – and one that gives the book its title — is the clear and incontrovertible evidence Aked lays out to show that the Israeli Embassy helped to set up the many “Friends of Israel” groups that in recent years have sprung up, like mushrooms, all over the UK (…) Much of the interest of the book is in Aked’s charting of these new right-wing groups that have arisen in recent years in the UK, as Israel, knowing it has lost the moral argument, desperately struggles to shore up support. This careful marshalling of evidence, plus the nuanced care to avoid conspiracy theories, constitute the main strength of the book (…) In the Introduction, the author asks: “Is it possible to write an anti-racist book about the pro-Israel lobby? I hope to show that it is”. Aked succeeds in avoiding any possible trace of antisemitism; and I have found this book in many ways informative, illuminating, and meticulous. But the flip side of the “anti-racist” coin is that Aked’s extreme “wokeness” can at times lead the book into contortions, contradictions and confusions that to some extent undermine its conclusions’ – JJP signatory Deborah H. Maccoby

Michael Barnett et al. (eds.). The One State Reality: What Is Israel/Palestine?

(Cornell University Press, 2023)

Publisher’s description: The One State Reality argues that a one state reality already predominates in the territories controlled by the state of Israel. The editors show that starting with the one state reality rather than hoping for a two state solution reshapes how we regard the conflict, what we consider acceptable and unacceptable solutions, and how we discuss difficult normative questions. The One State Reality forces a reconsideration of foundational concepts such as state, sovereignty, and nation; encourages different readings of history; shifts conversation about solutions from two states to alternatives that borrow from other political contexts; and provides context for confronting uncomfortable questions such as whether Israel/Palestine is an ‘apartheid state’.

Reviews: none yet available

Azad Essa. Hostile Homelands: The New Alliance Between India and Israel

(Pluto Press, 2023)

Publisher’s description: India once called Zionism racism, but, as Azad Essa argues, the state of Israel has increasingly become a cornerstone of India’s foreign policy. Looking to replicate the ‘ethnic state’ in the image of Israel in policy and practice, the annexation of Kashmir increasingly resembles Israel’s settler-colonial project of the occupied West Bank. The ideological and political linkages between the two states are alarming; their brands of ethnonationalism deeply intertwined. Hostile Homelands puts India’s relationship with Israel in its historical context, looking at the origins of Zionism and Hindutva; India’s changing position on Palestine; and the countries’ growing military-industrial relationship from the 1990s. Lucid and persuasive, Essa demonstrates that the India-Israel alliance spells significant consequences for democracy, the rule of law and justice worldwide.


‘Essa argues that even when India remained a strong supporter of the Palestine cause, it was involved in behind-the-scenes deals with Israel, right from Nehru’s time onwards. Defence ties between the two countries go back to the 1960s. When India was under attack from China in 1962, Nehru reached out to world leaders for help. When much of the world turned away, Israel offered to send weapons to New Delhi. Israel did the same in the 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan as well as during the Kargil crisis (…) Essa argues that there are similarities between the BJP’s Hindu-majoritarian world view and the Zionist’s views on Israel being a religious state. A broad ideological cohesion between Hindutva and Zionism turbocharged the partnership (…) It is true that relations between India and Israel improved rapidly after the BJP came to power. Essa’s characterisation of Hindutva and Zionism as two majoritarian ideological projects is also valid. But is this ideological convergence the main driver of the transformation of the India-Israel relationship? One of the main drawbacks of Hostile Homelands is its over-reliance on its own ideological conclusions and the omission of the other possible factors that shape the behaviour of nation states. The book overlooks India’s self-interest and the role of realism in its foreign policy choices’ – Frontline (The Hindu)

‘In tracing the more recent history of this affinity through burgeoning trade relations, a strong military alliance, and ethnonationalist ideology, Essa puts his finger on the contradictory nature of Hindutva’s kinship with Zionism. Hindutva emerged from its admiration for European fascism, which targeted Jewish peoples. Hindutva leaders saw “the Jewish question” in Europe as akin to “the Muslim problem” in India. Yet Hindutva’s admiration for Zionist ethnonationalism is based on its “religious backbone”, a statecraft fronted by a mythical, hyperopic past that conjures up visions of an ancient civilization. This statecraft dovetails with the clout exerted through lobbying abroad. Hostile Homelands is particularly useful in shedding light on diasporic Hindutva organizations and their connections with US-based Zionist groups’ – Jacobin

Rebecca Ruth Gould. Erasing Palestine: Free Speech and Palestinian Freedom

(Verso, 2023)

Publisher’s description: The widespread adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism and the internalisation of its norms has set in motion a simplistic definitional logic for dealing with social problems that has impoverished discussions of racism and prejudice more generally, across Britain and beyond. It has encouraged a focus on words over substance. Erasing Palestine tells the story of how this has happened, with a focus on internal politics within Britain over the course of the past several years. In order to do so, it tells a much longer story, about the history of antisemitism since the beginning of the twentieth century. This is also a story about Palestine, a chronicle of the erasure of the violence against the Palestinian people, and a story about free speech, and why it matters to Palestinian freedom.

Reviews: none yet available

Antony Loewenstein. The Palestine Laboratory: How Israel Exports the Technology of Occupation Around the World

(Verso, 2023)

Publisher’s description: Israel’s military industrial complex uses the occupied, Palestinian territories as a testing ground for weaponry and surveillance technology that they then export around the world to despots and democracies. For more than 50 years, occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has given the Israeli state invaluable experience in controlling an ‘enemy’ population, the Palestinians. It’s here that they have perfected the architecture of control. Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein (…) uncovers this largely hidden world in a global investigation with secret documents, revealing interviews and on-the-ground reporting. This book shows in-depth, for the first time, how Palestine has become the perfect laboratory for the Israeli military-techno complex: surveillance, home demolitions, indefinite incarceration and brutality to the hi-tech tools that drive the ‘Start-up Nation’.


‘Loewenstein wants to expose Israel as a hostile regime on a par with Russia and China. He conveys a palpable frustration with the fact that Israel has managed to excel at developing tools to maintain ethnonationalist rule and export them dozens of countries, and at both a financial and diplomatic gain (…) Loewenstein provides an impressive and succinct – though at times simplistic – summary of Israel’s shady track record in foreign policy since its establishment (…) He also writes at length about private Israeli companies, staffed by former Israeli intelligence officers and often operating with a government license, that have, for instance, provided surveillance drones to Russia which were used in the Syrian civil war. These private companies, Loewenstein shows, often do the bidding of the Israeli government, blurring the line between public and private sector, between defence and commerce (…) [H]e seems more interested in debunking an Israeli myth than in tackling surveillance as the increasingly dominant weapon of choice in our era – a pressing issue I would like to have seen further discussed in the book’ – The World Today

Antony Loewenstein has brought a book to a gunfight, taking on Israel’s enormous and expanding military-industrial complex and invasive cyber spy operations with the low-tech tool of words on paper (…) His research shows that from apartheid South Africa to antisemitic regimes in South America, Israeli governments have been willing to deal with ethnonationalists, autocrats and demagogues for various diplomatic and profit motives. A turning point was the Six-Day War, but Loewenstein argues the trend continues to this day (…) The Palestine Laboratory is an important and powerful book, yet not a perfect one. Opposing viewpoints get little oxygen and the argument sometimes feels too blunt. Now and then the fog of facts obscures the point being made: details or nuggets will occasionally be spliced together from different decades, begging for a dollop of context or analysis (…) The most effective parts are the most human, where Loewenstein’s on-the-ground reporting and descriptions of people come to the fore. The work required to unearth and piece together so much material is also impressive. Loewenstein appears determined to fire every shot he has. Not all hit their mark precisely, but readers will be left with no doubt about what he is aiming at and why’ – Sydney Morning Herald

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