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  • Author: Matthew Abraham
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: The Politics of Teaching Palestine to Americans: Addressing Pedagogical Strategies, by Marcy Jane Knopf-Newman. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. xxvi + 196 pages. Notes to p. 235. Bibliography to p. 247. Index to p. 265. $85.00 cloth. JSTOR
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: New York, America, Palestine
  • Author: Steven Salaita
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: In Ethnic Identity of Palestinian Immigrants in the United States, Faida N. Abu-Ghazaleh does much to fill crucial gaps in the scholarship of Arab American communities, in particular the study of Palestinians in the United States. This sort of title, one focused on the cultural politics of Palestinian Americans, remains rare despite an increased emphasis among scholars on various practices of the Palestinian diaspora. This book is a welcome addition to the small corpus of scholarship that exists at present.
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Palestine, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: In November 2011, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) alerted us to an erroneous citation in an article by Ilan Pappé published in the autumn 2006 issue of the Journal of Palestine Studies under the title "The 1948 Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine." In that article, Dr. Pappé combined sections from several chapters of the manuscript that was soon to become his The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine , published in 2006 by One World Press of Oxford, England.
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, England
  • Author: Mouin Rabbani
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: What is perhaps most striking about Noam Chomsky is his consistency. Over the course of more than half a century of political activism, accompanied by a ceaseless output of books and articles as well as innumerable talks and interviews, he has-to the best of my knowledge-never changed his mind on a significant issue. This is all the more impressive when considering the astounding range of his political interests, which span the globe geographically as well as thematically.
  • Political Geography: America, Palestine
  • Author: Rashid I. Khalidi
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: As this issue went to press, prospective Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivered himself of a glaring series of gaffes and insults about the Palestinians in a speech in Jerusalem whose level of pandering led even some of the mainstream media to wince, and the Daily Show (31 July 2012) to gleefully exploit his blunders. Romney grossly misstated the per capita GDP of both Palestinians and Israelis (a strange misstep for a candidate whose claim to fame is his business acumen), and ascribed the yawning economic gap between them to “culture” and the hand of Providence. But his failure to mention forty-five years of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories as a factor holding the Palestinians back economically is lamentably not anomalous for an American politician. Romney is only one among many engaged in a dizzying race to the bottom when it comes to pandering to the most extreme Israeli positions and denigrating the Palestinians. Ignoring the elephant in the room, whether it is the occupation, or the failure of a so-called “peace process” to deliver peace for more than two decades, is par for the course in American political campaigns where Palestine is concerned.
  • Topic: Culture
  • Political Geography: America, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem
  • Author: Lawrence Davidson
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This essay looks at the 2012 Republican primaries through the lens of "localism" and how candidates and lobbies manipulate for their own purposes the ignorance of their voting constituencies on issues not relevant to their everyday lives. After a discussion of the wider process, the piece focuses on the eight leading candidates in the presidential primary race with regard to Israel and Palestine, with an overview of their positions and advisers. It ends with some reflections on the consequences of the peculiarly American mix of localism, national politics, and special interest groups.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: America, Israel, Palestine
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Below are excerpts from former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's address to the annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington on 6 March 2012 (the same day as the Super Tuesday primary voting). Romney did not attend the conference but spoke via video link from the campaign trail. The full transcript can be obtained from the AIPAC website at www.aipac.org. This year, we are gathering at a dangerous time for Israel and for America. Not since the dark days of 1967 and 1973 has the Middle East faced peril as it does today. This is a critical moment. America must not-and, if I am President, it will not-fail this defining test of history.
  • Political Geography: America, Washington
  • Author: Yosefa Loshitzky
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: As a film about “terror” spilling over from its local context (the struggle over Palestine) into the global arena, Munich transcends the specificity of the so-called “Palestinian question” to become a contemporary allegory of the Western construct of “the war on terror.” The essay explores the boundaries and contradictions of the “moral universe” constructed and mediated by the film, interpreted by some as a dovish critique of Israeli (and post-9/11 U.S.) policy. Along the way, the author probes whether this “Hollywood Eastern” continues the long Zionist tradition seen in popular films from Exodus onwards, or signals a rupture (or even latent subversion) of it. In his globally acclaimed Schindler's List (1994), Steven Spielberg, an American Jew “perceived by many as the formative representative of American popular culture,” allegorized his own journey “from a 'nondidactic' popular entertainer to his much publicized 'rebirth' as a Jewish artist.” More than a decade later, he continued this journey with Munich (2006). But whereas Schindler's List ended on a note of triumphant Zionism, Munich appears to cast doubts if not on the moral core of Zionism itself, then at least on some of its tactics and modes of operation as carried out by its embodied political incarnation, the State of Israel. This essay explores the boundaries, limitations, and contradictions of the moral universe constructed and mediated by Spielberg's Munich, probing whether this “Hollywood Eastern” continues the long Zionist tradition prevalent in so many of Hollywood's popular films, from Otto Preminger's Exodus (1960) onward, or signals a rupture (or even a latent subversion) of it. Drawing on and fusing an eclectic array of genres (the war film, the 1970s spy thriller, the travelogue) and wrapped in the contemporary veneer of self-doubt, Munich is a soul-searching journey in pursuit of morality and justice. Described by Spielberg himself as “a prayer for peace,” it was made at the peak of the al-Aqsa intifada as part of his plan to produce what he called “peace projects.” Guardian journalist Jonathan Freedland hailed the film as representing “a new departure for the director, his most political movie yet,” and wrote that while Spielberg “still loves Israel” and still “longs for its survival and wellbeing,” he is now “paying attention to the moral costs—the impact not so much on the Palestinians, but on the Jewish soul.” Munich merits exploration for a number of reasons. Claiming to be inspired by real events and based on George Jonas's thriller, Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team, the film follows a cell of Mossad assassins as they set out across Europe to kill the eleven Palestinians allegedly responsible for murdering eleven Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972. As a film about terror spilling over from its local context (the struggle over Palestine) into the global arena, Munich transcends the specificity of the so-called “Palestinian question” to become a contemporary allegory of the Western construct of “the war on terror” that is embedded in the film's underlying ideological project. Moreover, in an ironic twist on “the Jewish question,” the film connects the emerging discourse on and of the war on terror to the reincarnation of the “Jew” (traditionally perceived as the classical “other” of old Europe) as the “Israeli,” by confronting him with the “Palestinian.” CHALLENGING (?) THE MORAL PARADIGM OF THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT Even before its Tel Aviv premier in January 2006, Munich was criticized for its perceived sympathy for the Palestinian cause in Israel by commentators who had not seen the film and by Israeli officials in the United States invited to advance screenings. Concerning its critical reception in the United States, Ha'Aretz chief U.S. correspondent Shmuel Rosner reported that all the American Jewish critics (most notably Leon Wieseltier in the New Republic and David Brooks in the New York Times) argued against the film. The underlying (yet open) assumption uniting the American reviewers, regardless of whether they praised or criticized the film, was the unquestioning acceptance of Israel's moral superiority; the anger leveled at Spielberg was based on what Zionist critics saw as his “chutzpah” even to attempt to equalize the two sides in the so-called Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What still remained a taboo within the framework of the American debate, even among its more liberal participants, was any acknowledgment of the moral superiority of the Palestinian cause (or not to mention any attempt to explore the possibility of it being so). Furthermore, the debate did not even present the dialectical option offered by what Rashid Khalidi calls “the contrasting narratives regarding Palestine,” but unequivocally presupposed the moral superiority of the “Israeli narrative.” Thus, Spielberg's Munich was perceived by many American Jews as betraying both American values and the Schindler's List legacy, which not only globalized the memory of the Holocaust but also promoted and celebrated the establishment of the State of Israel as the redemption of this historical tragedy. Yet the debate built into the film's marketing strategy (for which Spielberg had hired Israeli public relations consultant Eyal Arad, whose political clients included Binyamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon) was aimed both at enhancing its publicity and at providing it with ammunition against any serious accusations of being anti-Israeli. The controversy attached to this film, then, played out within the safe boundaries of the “Jewish world.” Palestinian and pro-Palestinian perspectives were strikingly absent from these debates, which were dominated by critics and commentators frantically defining the dangerous “other,” the Palestinian terrorist. In his introduction to the 2005 edition of Jonas's Vengeance, first published in 1984, Jewish American journalist and writer Richard Ben Cramer provides the moral imperative for the book (as well as the film) when he describes it as “a cautionary moral tale—perhaps more apt today than it was when it was first published.” According to him, the moral core of this “cautionary tale” is founded on the following questions: “Can a free society descend to murder to punish murder? Does fighting terrorism require terror? Does it inevitably put a nation's defenders into the world of the terrorists—and onto their level?” In Cramer's view, Israelis “have been forced to confront these questions for decades—more often in the last ten years. And now, post 9/11, Americans are in the same soup: Our own CIA has politically gone into the business of 'targeted killing.'” Cramer's moral imperative, much like Spielberg's, is disturbed not so much by the morality of the “just revenge” as by its utilitarian ends (“does it work?” he asks in his introduction). Cramer reminds us that at the end of the story Avner, the leader of the commando team and the main protagonist of the book (and film), is “still convinced of the...
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Manzar Foroohar
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This survey of the understudied topic of the Palestinian diaspora in Central America, based on existing documentation and interviews, focuses mainly on Honduras and El Salvador, the areas of greatest Palestinian concentration. Two waves of immigration are studied: the first and largest, in the early decades of the 20th century, was mainly Christian from the Bethlehem area in search of economic opportunities and intending to return; the second, especially after 1967, came as a permanent diaspora. The article describes the arrival from Palestine, the factors behind their considerable success, the backlash of discrimination, and finally assimilation. Palestinian involvement in Central American politics ( Right and the Left) is also addressed. The article ends with a discussion of identity issues and renewal of ties with Palestine. SINCE THE EARLY YEARS of the twentieth century, Palestinian immigrants to Central America have played a major role in the social, cultural, and economic development of their host countries. In some places, such as Honduras, they have been at the very forefront of commercial and industrial development. But while the history of Palestinian immigration to the United States, Mexico, and South America has been the subject of major scholarly investigations, Palestinians remain almost invisible in Central American historiography. Indeed, this is a research field that is just opening. This article is an attempt to compile existing documentation on the Palestinian international diaspora in Central America. The material is supplemented by nearly two dozen interviews, in Central America and in Palestine, with immigrants or their descendants, or with persons “back home” familiar with the emigration. It focuses on the history of the formation of Palestinian communities in Central America and their social, economic, and political contributions to their adopted countries. While Palestinian communities throughout Central America will be discussed, particular attention will be paid to Honduras and El Salvador, the countries with the largest concentrations of Palestinians in the region. The research and the interviews together shed light on the degree to which Palestinian diaspora communities have been assimilated into their host countries, and the degree to which they have simultaneously retained their identity and ties to their Palestinian origins. THE EARLY IMMIGRANTS Palestinian immigration to Central America began at the end of the nineteenth century. Because Palestine, like most of the Arab Middle East, was under Ottoman rule until 1918, it is difficult before that date to document their numbers accurately, since the immigrants carried Ottoman (Turkish) passports and therefore were categorized in the Central American registries as Turks (turcos). Though some documentation of the Palestinian component of Arab immigration exists for Honduras, where Palestinians are shown to constitute the overwhelming majority, no such information is available for the other states of the region. Palestinian immigration in the early period swelled as of the second decade of the twentieth century and peaked in the 1920s. It is not difficult to understand why. Most historians of the Middle East point to the general economic decline of the Ottoman Empire and the ongoing wars as the main reasons for emigration during the early period. The new Ottoman conscription law of 1908 intensified emigration among young male citizens of the Empire, and indeed the early immigrants to Central America were generally young males, 15 to 30 years old. Moreover, the Ottoman lands, including Palestine, suffered excruciating hardship and even starvation during World War I. Thus, in interviews with descendants of early immigrants, the two factors repeatedly highlighted as the causes of emigration from Palestine were miserable economic conditions in wartime and the military draft obligations. Most of the emigrants initially intended to return home after accumulating savings and for that reason did not invest in real estate in their host countries. After the end of the war and the restoration of stability following Palestine's occupation by Britain (and the establishment of the Mandate), economic and educational opportunities in the homeland increased. According to some scholars, between a third and a half of the early emigrants did return home and invested their savings in land and homes. Meanwhile, the returning emigrants served as sources of information about economic opportunities in the Americas, and their wealth and prosperity spurred others, especially young men, to try their luck in foreign adventures.
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Palestine
  • Author: Graham Usher
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Obama's first veto in defense of Israel at the UN was of a Security Council draft resolution that condemned Israeli settlements in language reflecting the administration's own stated policy. The draft, supported by all other UNSC members, forced the U.S. to choose between undermining its credibility internationally and alienating constituencies at home. For the Palestinians, insistence on tabling the draft in defiance of Washington was seen by some as a first step in an “alternative peace strategy” involving a turn away from the Oslo framework in favor of the UN. After reviewing the context of the resolution, the author analyzes the stakes for the various players, the repercussions of the veto, and the diplomatic prospects in its wake. On 18 February 2011, the Obama administration vetoed a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution that would have condemned as illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied territories. Palestinian insistence on submitting the resolution incurred America's wrath. But the Council's fourteen other member states (including permanent members Britain, France, China, and Russia and nonpermanent powers Germany, Brazil, India, and South Africa) all voted for the resolution. And a colossal 123 countries cosponsored it, including every Arab and African state except Libya (which rejects a twostate solution to the conflict). Israel “deeply appreciated” the American veto—understandably so. Rarely had it been left so alone internationally, with even close allies like Germany ignoring appeals to abstain. For the Americans, Obama's first veto in defense of Israel at the United Nations came at a time when he wanted to appear at least rhetorically on the side of young Arab protestors who from Morocco to Yemen had been demanding change, rather than with the ancien régimes defending inertia. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice's contortions were palpable as she tried to explain a veto that violated elemental justice, international law, and until recently her administration's own stated policy on settlements—all in the name of a peace process that no longer exists. The veto “cost the Americans blood,” admitted Israel's Maariv newspaper, paraphrasing a “sharp” exchange between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the aftermath. It also cost Obama in the occupied territories. In Ramallah, some 3,000 mainly Fatah members staged a “day of rage” against the veto, with the West Bank Palestinian Authority's (PA) usually pro-American Prime Minister Salam Fayyad incandescent: “The Americans have chosen to be alone in disrupting the internationally backed Palestinian efforts,” he said. Smaller Fatah anti-America demonstrations occurred in Qalqilya, Hebron, Jenin, and East Jerusalem. The Palestinian and Arab decision to take the resolution to the UN was born of the beaching of the U.S.-steered “peace process” after the Israeli government's refusal last September to renew a partial moratorium on West Bank settlement starts. It was the first run of what has been called the PA's new “alternative” diplomatic strategy. Combined with the promise of new elections in the West Bank and Gaza, moves toward reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, and the approaching climax of Fayyad's state-building agenda in September, the alternative strategy involves freeing the Palestinian case from the grip of American tutelage in order to anchor it again on UNSC resolutions and international law. How serious is the alternative?
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, America, India, South Africa, Brazil, Palestine, Germany