In An Aesthetic Occupation Daniel Bertrand Monk unearths the history of the unquestioned political immediacy of “sacred” architecture in the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. Monk combines groundbreaking archival research with theoretical insights to examine in particular the Mandate era—the period in the first half of the twentieth century when Britain held sovereignty over Palestine. While examining the relation between monuments and mass violence in this context, he documents Palestinian, Zionist, and British attempts to advance competing arguments concerning architecture’s utility to politics. Succumbing neither to the view that monuments are autonomous figures onto which political meaning has been projected, nor to the obverse claim that in Jerusalem shrines are immediate manifestations of the political, Monk traces the reciprocal history of both these positions as well as describes how opponents in the conflict debated and theorized their own participation in its self-representation. Analyzing controversies over the authenticity of holy sites, the restorations of the Dome of the Rock, and the discourse of accusation following the Buraq, or Wailing Wall, riots of 1929, Monk discloses for the first time that, as combatants looked to architecture and invoked the transparency of their own historical situation, they simultaneously advanced—and normalized—the conflict’s inability to account for itself. This balanced and unique study will appeal to anyone interested in Israel or Zionism, the Palestinians, the Middle East conflict, Jerusalem, or its monuments. Scholars of architecture, political theory, and religion, as well as cultural and critical studies will also be informed by its arguments.
Explores the roots of evangelical Christian support for Israel through an examination of the Southern Baptist Convention
One week after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) repeatedly and overwhelmingly voted down resolutions congratulating fellow Southern Baptist Harry Truman on his role in Israel’s creation. From today’s perspective, this seems like a shocking result. After all, Christians—particularly the white evangelical Protestants who populate the SBC—are now the largest pro-Israel constituency in the United States. How could conservative evangelicals have been so hesitant in celebrating Israel’s birth in 1948? How did they then come to be so supportive?
Between Dixie and Zion: Southern Baptists and Palestine before Israel addresses these issues by exploring how Southern Baptists engaged what was called the “Palestine question”: whether Jews or Arabs would, or should, control the Holy Land after World War I. Walker Robins argues that, in the decades leading up to the creation of Israel, most Southern Baptists did not directly engage the Palestine question politically. Rather, they engaged it indirectly through a variety of encounters with the land, the peoples, and the politics of Palestine. Among the instrumental figures featured by Robins are tourists, foreign missionaries, Arab pastors, converts from Judaism, biblical interpreters, fundamentalist rebels, editorialists, and, of course, even a president. While all revered Palestine as the Holy Land, each approached and encountered the region according to their own priorities.
Nevertheless, Robins shows that Baptists consistently looked at the region through an Orientalist framework, broadly associating the Zionist movement with Western civilization, modernity, and progress over and against the Arabs, whom they viewed as uncivilized, premodern, and backward. He argues that such impressions were not idle—they suggested that the Zionists were bringing to fruition Baptists’ long-expressed hopes that Israel would regain the prosperity it had held in the biblical era, the Holy Land would one day be revived, and biblical prophecies preceding the return of Christ would be fulfilled.
The Arab-Israeli conflict has been one of the most defining features of recent world history, flaring up into open war fare yet again in Gaza at the end of 2008 and provoking large-scale demonstrations in the streets of cities across the world. The decision in 1919 by the Paris Peace Conference to award the Mandate for Palestine to Great Britain—which had announced its commitment to the creation of a national home for the Jewish people in the Balfour Declaration two years previously—sowed the seeds of this seemingly intractable problem, yet when the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann (1874-1952) spoke before the Conference on 27 February 1919, he would have appeared as only one of the many representatives of minor nationalities putting their case to the peacemakers, and, what is more, one whose people had no territory of their own. How a Jewish chemistry professor from an obscure part of Eastern Europe could find himself at the heart of international diplomacy, and later become the first president of the State of Israel, is one of the most fascinating stories of the Paris Peace Conference and its aftermath. Ninety years after the Conference, what Weizmann said and did there is an essential part of our understanding of how this small, but critical, part of the world evolved out of the deliberations.
Following the Balfour Declaration and the British conquest of Palestine (1917–1918), the small Jewish community that lived there wanted to establish an elected assembly as its representative body. The issue that hindered this aim was whether women would be part of it. A group of feminist Zionist women from all over the country created a political party that participated in the elections, even before women’s suffrage was enacted. This unique phenomenon in Mandatory Palestine resulted in the declaration of women’s equal rights in all aspects of life by the newly founded Assembly of Representatives. Margalit Shilo examines the story of these activists to elaborate on a wide range of issues, including the Zionist roots of feminism and nationalism; the ultra-Orthodox Jewish sector’s negation of women’s equality; how traditional Jewish concepts of women fashioned rabbinical attitudes on the question of women’s suffrage; and how the fight for women’s suffrage spread throughout the country. Using current gender theories, Shilo compares the Zionist suffrage struggle to contemporaneous struggles across the globe, and connects this nearly forgotten episode, absent from Israeli historiography, with the present situation of Israeli women. This rich analysis of women’s right to vote within this specific setting will appeal to scholars and students of Israel studies, and to feminist and social historians interested in how contexts change the ways in which activism is perceived and occurs.
Israel: A History
Anita Shapira Brandeis University Press, 2014 Library of Congress DS149.S4971584 2012 | Dewey Decimal 956.94
Written by one of Israel’s most notable scholars, this volume provides a breathtaking history of Israel from the origins of the Zionist movement in the late nineteenth century to the present day. Organized chronologically, the volume explores the emergence of Zionism in Europe against the backdrop of relations among Jews, Arabs, and Turks, and the earliest pioneer settlements in Palestine under Ottoman rule. Weaving together political, social, and cultural developments in Palestine under the British mandate, Shapira creates a tapestry through which to understand the challenges of Israeli nation building, including mass immigration, shifting cultural norms, the politics of war and world diplomacy, and the creation of democratic institutions and a civil society. References to contemporary diaries, memoirs, and literature bring a human dimension to this narrative history of Israel from its declaration of independence in 1948 through successive decades of waging war, negotiating peace, and building a modern state with a vibrant society and culture. Based on archival sources and the most up-to-date scholarly research, this authoritative history is a must-read for anyone with a passionate interest in Israel. Israel: A History will be the gold standard in the field for years to come.
This innovative study examines the responses of early-twentieth-century pioneers to “the Land” of Palestine. Early Zionist historiography portrayed these young settlers as heroic; later, more critical studies by the “new” historians and sociologists focused on their failures and shortcomings. Neumann argues for something else that historians have yet to identify—desire. Desire for the Land and a visceral identification with it begin to explain the pioneer experience and its impact on Israeli history and collective memory, as well as on Israelis’ abiding connection to the Land of Israel. His close readings of archival documents, memoirs, diaries, poetry, and prose of the period develop new understandings—many of them utterly surprising—of the Zionist enterprise. For Neumann, the Zionist revolution was an existential revolution: for the pioneers, to be in the Land of Israel was to be!
Mapping the End of Empire
Aiyaz Husain Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress DS63.18.H86 2014 | Dewey Decimal 956.04
By 1945 Washington and London envisioned a new era in which the U.S. shouldered global responsibilities while Britain focused its regional interests narrowly. Mapping the End of Empire reveals how Anglo-American perceptions of geography and perspectives on the Muslim world shaped postcolonial futures from the Middle East to South Asia.
Focusing on Oriental Jews and their relations with their Arab neighbors in Mandatory Palestine, this book analyzes the meaning of the hybrid Arab-Jewish identity that existed among Oriental Jews, and discusses their unique role as political, social, and cultural mediators between Jews and Arabs. Integrating Mandatory Palestine and its inhabitants into the contemporary Semitic-Levantine surroundings, Oriental Neighbors illuminates broad areas of cooperation and coexistence, which coincided with conflict and friction, between Oriental and Sephardi Jews and their Arab neighbors. The book brings the Oriental Jewish community to the fore, examines its role in the Zionist nation-building process, and studies its diverse and complex links with the Arab community in Palestine.
In 1880 the Jewish community in Palestine encompassed some 20,000 Orthodox Jews; within sixty-five years it was transformed into a secular proto-state with well-developed political, military, and economic institutions, a vigorous Hebrew-language culture, and some 600,000 inhabitants. The Origins of Israel, 1882–1948: A Documentary History chronicles the making of modern Israel before statehood, providing in English the texts of original sources (many translated from Hebrew and other languages) accompanied by extensive introductions and commentaries from the volume editors.
This sourcebook assembles a diverse array of 62 documents, many of them unabridged, to convey the ferment, dissent, energy, and anxiety that permeated the Zionist project from its inception to the creation of the modern nation of Israel. Focusing primarily on social, economic, and cultural history rather than Zionist thought and diplomacy, the texts are organized in themed chapters. They present the views of Zionists from many political and religious camps, factory workers, farm women, militants, intellectuals promoting the Hebrew language and arts—as well as views of ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionists. The volume includes important unabridged documents from the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict that are often cited but are rarely read in full. The editors, Eran Kaplan and Derek J. Penslar, provide both primary texts and informative notes and commentary, giving readers the opportunity to encounter voices from history and make judgments for themselves about matters of world-historical significance.
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British General Sir Allan Cunningham was appointed in 1945 as high commissioner of Palestine, and served in this capacity until the end of the British mandate on May 15, 1948. The three years of Cunningham’s tenure were tremendously complex politically: players included the British government in London, the British army, the British administration in Jerusalem, and diverse military forces within the Zionist establishment, both Jew and Arab. Golani revisits this period from the perspective of the high commissioner, examining understudied official documents as well as Cunningham’s letters, notes, and cables. He emphasizes especially the challenges of navigating Jewish and Arab terrorists, on the one hand, and the multiple layers of British institutional bureaucracies, on the other, and does an excellent job of establishing Sir Allan’s daily trials within the broad frame of the collapse of the British Empire following World War II.
Partitioning Palestine is the first history of the ideological and political forces that led to the idea of partition—that is, a division of territory and sovereignty—in British mandate Palestine in the first half of the twentieth century. Inverting the spate of narratives that focus on how the idea contributed to, or hindered, the development of future Israeli and Palestinian states, Penny Sinanoglou asks instead what drove and constrained British policymaking around partition, and why partition was simultaneously so appealing to British policymakers yet ultimately proved so difficult for them to enact. Taking a broad view not only of local and regional factors, but also of Palestine’s place in the British empire and its status as a League of Nations mandate, Sinanoglou deftly recasts the story of partition in Palestine as a struggle to maintain imperial control. After all, British partition plans imagined space both for a Zionist state indebted to Britain and for continued British control over key geostrategic assets, depending in large part on the forced movement of Arab populations. With her detailed look at the development of the idea of partition from its origins in the 1920s, Sinanoglou makes a bold contribution to our understanding of the complex interplay between internationalism and imperialism at the end of the British empire and reveals the legacies of British partitionist thinking in the broader history of decolonization in the modern Middle East.