Gribetz, Jonathan Marc. “When The Zionist Idea Came to Beirut: Judaism, Christianity, and the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Translation of Zionism.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 48.2 (2016): 243-66.
In 1970, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Research Center in Beirut published an Arabic translation of The Zionist Idea, an anthology of classic Zionist texts compiled originally by Arthur Hertzberg in 1959. This article compares how the two versions present the biographies and motivations of key Zionist ideologues. It suggests that, in contrast to Hertzberg, the PLO researchers tended to present Zionism, especially at its roots, as a Jewish religious movement. Attempting to discern what might lie behind this conception of Zionism, the article considers the significance of the religious backgrounds of the leadership of the PLO Research Center and of those involved in the translation project. It argues that the researchers’ concern about the status of Christians as a religious minority among Palestinians and other Arabs and certain deeply rooted Christian ideas about the nature of Judaism may help account for the particular view of Zionism that the Research Center developed in its—and in the PLO’s—foundational years.