New Book: Spangler,Understanding Israel/Palestine. Race, Nation, and Human Rights in the Conflict

Spangler, Eve. Understanding Israel/Palestine. Race, Nation, and Human Rights in the Conflict. Rotterdam: Sense, 2015.




The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the longest, ongoing hot-and-cold war of the 20th and 21st centuries. It has produced more refugees than any current conflict, generating fully one quarter of all refugees worldwide. Everyone knows that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is important itself, and is also fueling tensions throughout the Middle East. Yet most people shy away from this conflict, claiming it is “just too complicated” to understand.

This book is written for people who want a point of entry into the conversation. It offers both a historic and analytic framework. Readers, whether acting as students, parishioners, neighbors, voters, or dinner guests will find in these pages an analysis of the most commonly heard Israeli positions, and a succinct account of the Palestinian voices we seldom hear. The author argues that human rights standards have never been used as the basis on which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be resolved and that only these standards can produce a just and sustainable resolution.

This book will be useful for classes in Middle East studies, peace and conflict studies, Middle East history, sociology of race, and political science. It can be helpful for church groups, labor groups, or other grass roots organizations committed to social justice, and for all readers who wish to be informed about this important topic.


Table of Contents


Section 1: Introduction
Chapter 1: Introduction: Tell Our Story
Chapter 2: In Israel and Palestine: What You See Is What We Bought
Chapter 3: Basic Concepts: Human Rights, Race, and Nation
Chapter 4: Zionism: The Idea That Changed Everything

Section 2: The History of the Conflict: Another Look
Chapter 5: State Builders, Settlers, and Colonial Subjects: The Past Is Prologue
Chapter 6: Establishing the State, Preparing Occupation
Chapter 7: Occupation and Resistance: The Zionist Dream Comes True, or Be Careful What You Ask for 129
Chapter 8: The Endless, Deceptive Peace Process

Section 3: Moving Forward
Chapter 9: Four Frames: Israeli Self-Defense, Genocide, Apartheid, Ethnic Cleansing/Sociocide
Chapter 10: Zionism Revisited: From 1967 back to 1948
Chapter 11: Conclusion: Hope and History

Section 4: Supplementary Materials
Appendix: Study Questions

Eve Spangler is a sociologist and a human and civil rights activist. For the last decade, her work has focused on the Israel/Palestine conflict; she argues that human rights are the neglected standards that could lead to a just and sustainable solution. See more at

Dissertation: Bardi, Cleansing, Constructing, and Curating the State: India/Pakistan ’47 and Israel/Palestine ’48

Bardi, Ariel Sophia. Cleansing, Constructing, and Curating the State: India/Pakistan ’47 and Israel/Palestine ’48 , PhD Dissertation, Yale University, 2015.



This dissertation looks at the ways in which the landscape and the built environment have been called upon and transformed into conduits of national belonging, focusing on the near-simultaneous emergences of Israel, India, and Pakistan. It considers the role of space in consolidating new national bodies, drawing on a variety of texts from both regions: memoirs, films, archival and field photos, housing plans, and the architectural landscape itself.

The first chapter explores the Jewish and Indian Muslim bids for sovereign lands along with the rise of Hindu nationalism. Looking at the founding of Pakistan and Israel, it considers the self-replicative logic of partition and the emergence of the homeland state. Arguing for the importance of image and space in conjuring new nationhoods, the second chapter compares systems of spatial control, visual regimes that mounted and imposed new national imaginaries. In India, Pakistan, and Israel/Palestine, selective acts of destruction transformed formerly shared spaces, inflecting the landscape with three distinct new states.

The third chapter looks at post-state refugee rehabilitation projects, focusing specifically on Mizrahi, or Arab Jewish, immigration to the Israeli hinterlands, and Mizrahi, or Indian refugee, resettlement within the Pakistani province of Sindh. In both regions, housing projects re-circumscribed place of origin, challenging the purported unity of each religiously pooled state and relegating refugees to the margins of each new nation. Tracing the relationship between architecture and partition, it considers the different modalities bound up in the process of national absorption. The fourth chapter compares historical preservation projects in India, Pakistan, Israel, and Palestine, and examines the role of heritage sites in visualizing statehood and homogenizing mixed spaces. Considering the furor over India’s Babri Masjid, it posits preservation as a corollary to demolition, and examines a selection of heritage locations in Israel and Pakistan while arguing for the uses of the past in upholding majority collectivities. Finally, the conclusion considers the afterlives of partition in places such as Kashmir, the West Bank, and India’s far northeast, in ongoing occupations that are as visual and spatial as they are material, economic, and political.



New Article: Golan, Resettlement of Former Arab Areas in West Jerusalem

Golan, Arnon. “The 1948 Wartime Resettlement of Former Arab Areas in West Jerusalem.” Middle Eastern Studies 51.5 (2015): 804-20.





The 1948 war resulted in a sweeping spatial transformation of areas included in the bounds of the newly formed Jewish state, including that of the western Jerusalem. Arab neighbourhoods were almost totally depopulated during fighting and shortly after resettled by Jews, most of which has been war refugees from Jerusalem’s Jewish neighbourhoods or newly arrived immigrants. The effect of war on human spatial structures is in many cases abrupt and sweeping. Yet, due to the limited use of heavy weaponry by both belligerent sides, the damage to built-up structures and infrastructure systems was not inclusive. Repopulation of former Arab areas by Jews was of large scale and carried out by different local and national institutions. Yet it seems as in many cases it was personal initiatives, especially of war refugees that sought for alternative housing that had a crucial effect over the newly formed settlement pattern. One way or another, the spatial structure of Jerusalem that was formed in decades of urban dynamic development was drastically transformed after a short period of fighting between December 1947 and early 1949, that affects the spatial structure of Israel’s capital city until now.

ToC: Israel Studies 17,2 (2012)



SPECIAL SECTION: The 1948 War as Witnessed by Photographers and a Poet


    Portrait of Haifa in 1948: The Poet, the Bay and the Mountain(pp. 1-24)

    Nili Scharf Gold

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.17.2.1

    Stable URL:


    Miracles and Snow in Palestine and Israel: Tantura, a History of 1948(pp. 25-61)

    Alon Confino

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.17.2.25

    Stable URL:


    Photography, Memory and Ethnic Cleansing: The Fate of the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, 1948—John Phillips’ Pictorial Record(pp. 62-76)

    Maoz Azaryahu, Arnon Golan

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.17.2.62

    Stable URL:

  1. SPECIAL SECTION: Roundtable on Loyalty and Criticism in the Relations between World Jewry and Israel

      Loyalty and Criticism in the Relations between World Jewry and Israel(pp. 77-85)

      Gabriel Sheffer

      DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.17.2.77

      Stable URL:


      Diaspora-Israel Relations: A Long-Term Perspective(pp. 86-91)

      Yehezkel Dror

      DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.17.2.86

      Stable URL:


       Loyalty and Love of Israel by Diasporan Jews(pp. 92-101)

      Leonard Saxe, Matthew Boxer

      DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.17.2.92

      Stable URL:


      From a Jewish People to a Jewish Religion: A Shifting American Jewish Weltanschauung and its Implications for Israel(pp. 102-110)

      Daniel Gordis

      DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.17.2.102

      Stable URL:


      On Gabriel Sheffer’s “Loyalty and Criticism in the Relations between World Jewry and Israel”(pp. 111-119)

      Steven Bayme

      DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.17.2.111

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      Orthodox and Other American Jews and their Attitude to the State of Israel(pp. 120-128)

      Eliezer Don-Yehiya

      DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.17.2.120

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      From “Crime of Passion” to “Love Does Not Kill”: The Murder of Einav Rogel and the Role of Na’amat Women’s Organization in the Construction of Violence against Women in Israel(pp. 129-155)

      Anat Herbst, Yonatan Gez

      DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.17.2.129

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      Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People and the End of the New History(pp. 156-168)

      Derek J. Penslar

      DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.17.2.156

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    Notes on Contributors(pp. 169-171)

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.17.2.169

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    Guidelines for Contributors(pp. 172-174)

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.17.2.172

    Stable URL: