Cite: Afsai, Historical Fabrication and an Anti-Zionist Myth

Afsai, Shai. “‘The bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man’: Historical Fabrication and an Anti-Zionist Myth.” Shofar 30.3 (2012): 35-61.





According to a frequently repeated story, during the early years of the Zionist movement a number of European Jews were sent to Palestine to investigate its suitability as a location for a Jewish state. They reported back, the story concludes, that "the bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man"—Palestine is an excellent land, but it belongs to others. While its details vary with the telling, the story’s central point is often the same: already in the early years of the Zionist movement, Jews recognized that it would be unjust and immoral for them to try to claim Palestine; despite this awareness, the Zionists proceeded with their plans for Jewish statehood there; from the outset, therefore, the establishment of the state of Israel was an act of severe and willful injustice.

Cite: Freas, Hajj Amin al-Husayni and the Haram al-Sharif

Freas, Erik. “Hajj Amin al-Husayni and the Haram al-Sharif: A Pan-Islamic or Palestinian Nationalist Cause?” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 39.1 (2012): 19-51.





The World Islamic Conference, held in Jerusalem in 1931 under the auspices of Hajj Amin al-Husayni and the Supreme Muslim Council, marked a turning point in the Palestinian nationalist struggle as well as in the struggle between the two main factions—the more extremist one led by Hajj Amin and the more moderate Opposition—for control of the Palestinian leadership. The Conference, though co-sponsored by Shawkat `Ali and the Muslim Indian Congress, and ostensibly representative of the worldwide community of Muslims, was effectively dominated by Hajj Amin and his Palestinian supporters. Through his control of its proceedings, Hajj Amin was able to redefine the Palestinian nationalist cause as essentially a pan-Islamic one, in connection with the perceived need to defend the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem against Zionist encroachment. Contrasted here with the World Islamic Conference (and held concurrently with it) is the Second Arab Orthodox Congress. Whereas the World Islamic Conference sought to redefine an issue arguably specific to Palestine as pan-Islamic, the local Christian Orthodox community, in keeping with its desire to Arabise Palestine’s Greek Orthodox Church (hence their self-designation as the Arab Orthodox Church in Palestine), sought to redefine what was essentially a religious matter—concerning the succession of the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem—in nationalist terms. It was not simply a matter of differing ideological perspectives; defining the cause of the Haram al-Sharif as a pan-Islamic one also served a political objective, namely the enhancement of Hajj Amin’s position vis-à-vis his political rivals. Nonetheless, whatever the motivations involved, this development was a factor in the marginalisation of the Christian Arab component of the Palestinian nationalist movement. Whereas at the start of the British Mandate they had played a role disproportionately large relative to their actual numbers, by its end, their role in the nationalist movement had diminished almost to the point of near inconsequence, as evidenced, for instance, by their marginal involvement in the Arab Revolt (1936-1939).

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.

Cite: Golinkin and Eisen, Remarks at the 2008 Rabbinical Assembly Convention

David Golinkin, “Israel at Sixty: Remarks at the 2008 Rabbinical Assembly Convention,” Conservative Judaism 61,3 (2010): 26-34


Arnold Eisen, “Israel at Sixty: Remarks at the 2008 Rabbinical Assembly Convention,” Conservative Judaism 61,3 (2010): 35-39


Cite: Aviv, Alternative Jewish Tourism

Aviv, Caryn. "The Emergence of Alternative Jewish Tourism." European Review of History 18,1 (2011): 33-43.




This article explores the emergence of ‘alternative Jewish travel’ to the West Bank and within Israel. One programme, aimed at diaspora Jews, reframes religious, cultural, and ethnic Jewish identity to include non-violence and solidarity with Palestinians as part of what it means to be Jewish. Another programme, aimed at Israeli citizens (both Jews and non-Jews), reframes Israeli national identity to include post-Zionist solidarity with Palestinians, but is not necessarily Jewish in any religious or ethnic sense. Alternative Jewish travel programme tours explore complicated questions of justice and nationalism in different ways that reflect their simultaneously local and global positions, who organises them, and how they define Jewishness differently.