New Article: Nathanson, A Malignant Israeli-Palestinian Conflict? A Cardiothoracic Surgeon’s Perspective

Nathanson, Michael. “A Malignant Israeli-Palestinian Conflict? A Cardiothoracic Surgeon’s Perspective and Remedial Implications.” Journal of Holy Land and Palestine Studies 14.1 (2015): 105-22.


A debate persists whether the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be resolved through substantive and ‘painful’ compromises or that the foundational parametres of the conflict apriori deny a resolution. The nationalist Zionist agenda of mass Jewish settlement in Palestine inevitably clashed with Palestinian nationalist sentiments. Both nationalist movements saw the conflict as mutually exclusive. European imperialist designs and US political considerations at home only cemented the intractability of the conflict. As such, the conflict is akin to a human malignant process that is allowed to progress unchecked and compromises its host because those who were and are responsible to eradicate it have committed malpractice.




New Article: Fantauzzo, British Soldiers, Liberal Imperialism, and the First World War in Palestine

Fantauzzo, Justin. “Ending Ottoman Misrule: British Soldiers, Liberal Imperialism, and the First World War in Palestine.” Journal of the Middle East and Africa 6.1 (2015): 17-32.





Historians have debated whether or not the First World War in Palestine and the battle between the British-led Egyptian Expeditionary Force and the Ottoman army was considered by contemporaries as a modern, twentieth-century crusade. But did British soldiers who fought in the First World War in Palestine actually view the war as a religious crusade against the Muslim Ottoman Empire? Or did they consider it a war of liberation, conducted to free Palestine’s oppressed population from the clutches of Ottoman misrule? This article argues that British soldiers, at least retrospectively, believed that they had fought in Palestine to liberate its population and to bring forth the righteous rule of the British Empire. Wartime propaganda that painted the Turk as an enemy of civilization had a far greater effect on shaping the memory of the campaign than did any language of religious conflict. With British rule, argued ex-servicemen, came all the benefits of liberal imperialism: democracy, religious freedom, and a free-market economy.




ToC: Israel Studies 20,1 (2015)



  1. Special Section: Landscapes
    1. Tal Alon-Mozes and Matanya Maya
  2. Articles
    1. Gideon Katz
  3. Notes on Contributors (pp. 195-197)

New Article: Mitelpunkt, US Visions of Israeli Soldiers and the Cold War Liberal Consensus

Mitelpunkt, Shaul. “The Tank Driver who Ran with Poodles: US Visions of Israeli Soldiers and the Cold War Liberal Consensus, 1958–79.” Gender & History 26.3 (2014): 620-641.





The liberal re-evaluations of Israeli society and of US responsibility towards Israel depended on the changing fortunes of Israel’s wars, as well as on the sharp shift in values and social order triggered by the increasingly wrenching Vietnam War. The depreciation in liberal understandings of warfare as a potentially constructive social endeavour fed a liberal wish to see the United States as the champion of negotiation and civility, and to purge still vexing memories of the Vietnam War. Perceptions and geostrategic developments fed one another in unpredictable ways. Supporting Israel, whether that support was expressed in enthusiasm for the Israeli citizen-soldier in the late 1960s, or in negotiating peace between Israel and Egypt in the late 1970s, was not purely a matter of geostrategic calculation, nor one of domestic politics. It was also a way for Cold War liberals and later post-Vietnam liberals to fashion themselves as forces for good in the world.

In many ways, the US commitment to mediating peaceful agreements between Israel and its neighbours was more performance than policy: the United States reinforced its military support to Israel in the 1980s and came to see it as an ally within the ‘War on Terror’. Yet even as neoconservative ascendency and explicit military alliance came to define the ideological basis of US-Israeli relations through the 1980s and beyond, the ambition to conceive of the US as a tireless and responsible mediator, as originally envisioned by post-Vietnam liberals, remained a key part of the way Americans saw their patronage of Israel in the decades that followed.

By making, watching and identifying with the story of Ari Ben Canaan in Exodus, Cold War liberals were invited to see themselves as the benevolent patrons to emerging young states in the postcolonial world; by describing Israeli soldiers such as Yossi Israeli as colourful figures who managed to combine the uniformity of national military service and the liberties of individual choice, writers such as Mauldin and Friendly eulogised the Second World War citizen-soldier model in the United States during the midst of the Vietnam War. Finally, in the mid-1970s, by identifying Israel as ‘Spartan’ and assuming the authority of ‘marriage councilors’ to Arabs and Israelis, post-Vietnam liberals branded the United States as a civilian superpower wielding the pen and not the napalm. Each construction was informed both by changing American experiences and by events in the Middle East.


New Article: Clarno, Policing Precariousness in South Africa and Palestine/Israel

Clarno, Andy. “Beyond the State: Policing Precariousness in South Africa and Palestine/Israel.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 37.10 (2014): 1725-1731.





This short comment on Loïc Wacquant’s ‘Marginality, Ethnicity, and Penality’ begins by highlighting three of Wacquant’s most important interventions. It then extends the analysis by drawing on research about urban marginality in South Africa and Palestine/Israel. Whereas Wacquant focuses on the state response to urban marginality, I suggest that it is important to look beyond the state to consider how other actors have responded to the growth of precarious populations. Specifically, I point out that private security companies and residents’ associations are at the forefront of efforts to police poor black South Africans, while an imperial network of security forces polices the Palestinian precariat.



Reviews: Green, Montefiore. Jewish Liberator, Imperial Hero

Green, Abigail. Moses Montefiore: Jewish Liberator, Imperial Hero. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010.



Johnson, Sam. “Review.”  East European Jewish Affairs 40,3 (2010): 307-310.

Alderman, Geoffrey. “This Moses Was Not So Heroic After All.”, March 4, 2010.

N/A. “Give It All You Got. First Global Celebrity.” The Economist, March 25, 2010.

Taylor, Priscilla S. “Review.” Washington Times , March 26, 2010.

Schroeter, Daniel. “Review.” English Historical Review 126 (2011): 1553-1556.

Stein, Sarah Abrevaya. “Review.” Journal of Modern History 83.3 (2011): 624-626.

Itzkowitz, Daniel C. “Review.” Victorian Studies 54.1 (2011): 119-120.

Renton, James. “Review.”  Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 11.2 (2012): 291-293.


Cite: Kark & Frantzman, Empire, State and the Bedouin of the Middle East

Kark, Ruth and Seth J. Frantzman. “Empire, State and the Bedouin of the Middle East, Past and Present: A Comparative Study of Land and Settlement Policies.” Middle Eastern Studies 48.4 (2012): 487-510.





The Bedouin of the Middle East have been one of the region’s most marginalized groups in modern times. This study assesses the interplay between state policies and the Bedouin in the last 150 years, from a comparative standpoint. We examine the development of land laws in the Middle East as they have affected the Bedouin, from the enactment of the Ottoman land laws of 1858 up to the present. Moreover we explore whether the land laws and the fate of the Bedouin are associated with the characteristics of the regime in each country. We find that the imposition of land laws and policies directed at nomadic and sedentarizing Bedouins has depended on disparate factors such as the origins of the leadership of countries (i.e. Bedouin or non-Bedouin) and the social and economic models embraced. Regimes with origins in the tribal-Bedouin fabric of the Middle East have pursued land policies that were favorable to the Bedouin, whereas regimes drawing their strength from urban elites and with socialist outlooks encouraged very different policies. We also consider whether the case of the Bedouin in Israel is unique or reflects a larger regional context.

Cite: Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Palestinian Women in Israel

Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Nadera. “The Grammar of Rights in Colonial Contexts: The Case of Palestinian Women in Israel .” Middle East Law and Governance 4.1 (2012): 106-151.



This article examines the limitations of human rights activism in a colonial context by invoking the voices, experiences, and insights of Bedouin women living in Israel. Through extensive interviews, Bedouin women living in unrecognized villages in the Naqab/Negev reveal their struggles as unrecognized and “invisible“ members of society. The article explores the ways in which the prevailing “grammar of rights“—the formal and informal mechanisms constructed and maintained by the colonial power to accord or withhold rights—delimits and confines the lives of the women, and also human rights activism. The women’s personal stories are juxtaposed against the legal justifications used to regulate and discriminate against them, as members of the indigenous Palestinian community, within the context of a “fear industry“. The article explores, from the perspective of the interviewed women, the internalization of that culture of fear, where they are constructed as the ones to be feared, and its personal, familial, and communal implications.

The interviewed women offer a critique of the existing human right framework, and question whether a human rights activism operating in a colonial context can be an emancipating force, so long as it is constrained by the regime’s rules. Furthermore, their voices assert that acknowledging historical injustice and its effect on women’s rights is central to re-thinking feminist human rights activism. The article ends by returning to the voices of women living in the unrecognized villages of the Naqab/Negev to investigate whether, and how, feminist politics and human rights activism could operationally function together within the context of Israeli state law. The article concludes that, in order to create a “grammar of rights“ that is based on equality, respect, and dignity, and which challenges the balance of power in colonial contexts, it is essential to fully include the lived experiences and insights of “invisible“ and unrecognized women.

New Publication: Bonine et al., eds. Is There a Middle East?

Bonine, Michael E., Abbas Amanat, and Michael Ezekiel Gasper, eds. Is There a Middle East? The Evolution of a Geopolitical Concept. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011.


cover for Is There a Middle East?


344 pp.
6 illustrations, 30 maps, 1 figure.

ISBN: 9780804775267
Cloth $80

ISBN: 9780804775274
Paper $24.95






Is the idea of the "Middle East" simply a geopolitical construct conceived by the West to serve particular strategic and economic interests—or can we identify geographical, historical, cultural, and political patterns to indicate some sort of internal coherence to this label? While the term has achieved common usage, no one studying the region has yet addressed whether this conceptualization has real meaning—and then articulated what and where the Middle East is, or is not.

This volume fills the void, offering a diverse set of voices—from political and cultural historians, to social scientists, geographers, and political economists—to debate the possible manifestations and meanings of the Middle East. At a time when geopolitical forces, social currents, and environmental concerns have brought attention to the region, this volume examines the very definition and geographic and cultural boundaries of the Middle East in an unprecedented way.

Reviews: Achcar, The Arabs and the Holocaust

Achcar, Gilbert. The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives. Translated by G.M. Goshgarian. New York : Metropolitan Books, 2010.




Stephen Howe. “Review.” The Independent, May 14, 2010.

Tariq Ali. “Review.” The Independent, June 25, 2010.

Jeffrey Herf. “Not in Moderation.” The New Republic, November 1, 2010.

Anaheed Al-Hardan. “Review.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 38.2 (2011): 284-6.

Cite: Lavie, Mizrahi Feminism and Palestine

Lavie, Smadar. “Mizrahi Feminism and the Question of Palestine.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 7.2 (2011): 56-88.





This paper analyzes the failure of Israel’s Ashkenazi (Jewish, of European, Yiddish-speaking origin) feminist peace movement to work within the context of Middle East demographics, cultures, and histories and, alternately, the inabilities of the Mizrahi (Oriental) feminist movement to weave itself into the feminist fabric of the Arab world. Although Ashkenazi elite feminists in Israel are known for their peace activism and human rights work, from the Mizrahi perspective their critique and activism are limited, if not counterproductive. The Ashkenazi feminists have strategically chosen to focus on what Edward Said called the Question of Palestine—a well funded agenda that enables them to avoid addressing the community-based concerns of the disenfranchised Mizrahim. Mizrahi communities, however, silence their own feminists as these activists attempt to challenge the regime or engage in discourse on the Question of Palestine. Despite historical changes, the Ashkenazi-Mizrahi distinction is a racialized formation so resilient it manages to sustain itself through challenges rather than remain a frozen dichotomy.

ToC: American Quarterly 62,4 (2010); Forum: Chicano-Palestinian Connections

American Quarterly: Volume 62, Number 4, December 2010

Editor’s Note

Sarah Banet-Weiser

pp. v-vii

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Forum: Chicano-Palestinian Connections

From La Frontera to Gaza: Chicano-Palestinian Connections

Laura Pulido
David Lloyd

pp. 791-794

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Subject Headings:

In the Long Shadow of the Settler: On Israeli and U.S. Colonialisms

David Lloyd
Laura Pulido

pp. 795-809

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Containing Bordered “Others” in La Frontera and Gaza: Comparative Lessons on Racializing Discourses and State Violence

José I. Fusté

pp. 811-819

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From Mexico to Palestine: An Occupation of Knowledge, a Mestizaje of Methods

Martha Vanessa Saldívar

pp. 821-833

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Photo Essay

Mizue Aizeki

pp. 835-846

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Palestinian and Chicano Peoples Share a History of Resistance to Colonization, Racism, and Imperialism

Manuel Criollo

pp. 847-854

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The Right to Education: From La Frontera to Gaza: A Brief Communication

Rana Sharif

pp. 855-860

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Photo Essay

Manzer Foroohar

pp. 861-872

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Cite: Chamberlin, Global Politics of Palestinian Liberation

Chamberlin, Paul. "The Struggle Against Oppression Everywhere: The Global Politics of Palestinian Liberation." Middle Eastern Studies 47,1 (2011): 25-41.





This article situates the Palestine Liberation Organization in an international network of liberation movements in the 1960s and 1970s. As such, it is a transnational history of the early days of the Palestinian liberation movement, whereas most scholars have treated that movement inside the confines of the long-running Arab-Israeli conflict. By analyzing the intellectual and political linkages between the PLO and other liberation movements in Algeria, Cuba, and Vietnam, the article seeks to reframe the Palestinian struggle in the context of other postcolonial struggles of that era.

Cite: Kark and Frantzman, Bedouin, Abdül Hamid II, British Land Settlement, and Zionism

Kark, Ruth and Seth J. Frantzman. "Bedouin, Abdül Hamid II, British Land Settlement, and Zionism: The Baysan Valley and Sub-district 1831-1948." Israel Studies 15,2 (2010): 49-79.




Colonial governments frequently employed policies that either developed colonies for the benefit of the colonial power or neglected areas not viewed as contributory. Land laws and settlement policies were instrumental tools for the extension of governmental control to marginal regions under the sequential regimes that ruled the Middle East in the 19th and 20th centuries. Our case study of the Baysan valley in Ottoman and Mandatory Palestine examines relations between the government and indigenous Bedouin nomads, and between the Zionist movement and the Bedouin, focusing on land access, ownership, and settlement patterns of the Bedouin tribes between 1831 and 1948 and their sedenterization. We show that the policies of the Ottoman Sultan Abdül Hamid II and the British Mandatory Ghor Mudawarra Land Agreement led to a unique process of settlement in the Baysan valley with extension of land ownership to local inhabitants by the colonial government. The study is part of a broader investigation of Colonial rule, nomads, land law, and land and settlement policy in the Middle East.

Cite: Cohen, Was the Balfour Declaration at Risk in 1923?

Cohen, Michael J. "Was the Balfour Declaration at Risk in 1923? Zionism and British Imperialism." Journal of Israeli History 29,1 (2010): 79-98.


This article examines the nature of the British government’s commitment to the Balfour Declaration after World War I. It refutes the hypothesis that in 1923 the Conservative government was on the brink of abrogating the Balfour Declaration. After the war, the Declaration became Britain’s international license for her exclusive rule over Palestine. Palestine was not written off as an imperial asset but remained a vital British strategic interest. In addition, considerations of financing the administration of the country, and concern for her international standing, should she renege on her wartime pledge to the Zionists, ensured that Britain would continue to adhere to the Balfour Declaration. An understanding of the issues at stake in 1923 is essential for any comprehension of Britain’s 30-year-long control of Palestine.


Keywords: Balfour Declaration; British imperialism; British Mandate; Lord Curzon; Palestine; Suez Canal; Winston Churchill; History, Colonialism / Imperialism, Zionism: and World Powers