Description: The Palestinians have been at the center of Middle Eastern and world history for nearly a century. The core issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are still the ones that emerged in 1948, after what Palestinians term al-Nakba, the destruction of historical Palestine and the dispossession and expulsion of its people. At the center of this vortex of politics, diplomacy, oppression, resistance, and struggle are the Palestinians. The Palestinians are an ancient Arab people, with both Islamic and Christian adherents, and their traditional culture and present way of life under difficult conditions are greatly illuminated for students and general readers.
A clear historical overview of Palestine, the diaspora, and the conflict is provided, and the history colors the rest of the narrative, addressing crucial aspects of Palestinian society. Palestinians struggle to retain their traditions. Their modern social structure, values, social customs, and life, including education, in villages, refugee camps, and cities are covered. The importance of extended family and women’s roles in a continuing patriarchy are also addressed. The famed Palestinian embroidery and typical food dishes are celebrated. Chapters on modern literature and the arts and cinema stress the artistic focus on the conflict with Israel. A helpful timeline, copious bibliography, and glossary round out the coverage.
Description: For thousands of years, Palestine and the East Mediterranean have been subject to constant colonial interference which has denied the indigenous population an independent, authentic historical narrative. Basem L. Ra’ad uncovers this history and begins the process of reconnecting it to contemporary peoples. Perceptions of the region have been influenced by the operation of “Western civilization” and by many other inherited cultural-religious preconceptions. The region itself has been disenfranchised and prevented from developing its own comprehensive cultural history. Ra’ad’s findings are an important step towards reconstructing an alternative history, one which dispels many of the myths and traps relating to religions, languages, peoples and sites. This highly original work is an essential text for students of Middle Eastern history, politics and culture.
Description: Prior to the twentieth century, Arab society in Palestine was predominantly illiterate, with most social and political activities conducted through oral communication. There were no printing presses, no book or periodical production, and no written signs in public places. But a groundswell of change rapidly raised the region’s literacy rates, a fascinating transformation explored for the first time in “Reading Palestine”. Addressing an exciting aspect of Middle Eastern history as well as the power of the printed word itself, “Reading Palestine” describes how this hurried process intensified the role of literacy in every sphere of community life. Ami Ayalon examines Palestine’s development of a modern educational system in conjunction with the emergence of a print industry, libraries and reading clubs, and the impact of print media on urban and rural populations. Drawn from extensive archival sources, official reports, autobiographies, and a rich trove of early Palestinian journalism, “Reading Palestine” provides crucial insight into the dynamic rise of literacy that revolutionized the way Palestinians navigated turbulent political waters.
Description: Israel Shahak was a remarkable man. Born in the Warsaw ghetto and a survivor of Belsen, Shahak arrived in Israel in 1945. Brought up under Jewish Orthodoxy and Hebrew culture, he consistently opposed the expansion of the borders of Israel from 1967. In this extraordinary and highly acclaimed book, Shahak embarks on a provocative study of the extent to which the secular state of Israel has been shaped by religious orthodoxies of an invidious and potentially lethal nature. Drawing on the Talmud and rabbinical laws, Shahak argues that the roots of Jewish chauvinism and religious fanaticism must be understood before it is too late. Written from a humanitarian viewpoint by a Jewish scholar, this is a rare and highly controversial criticism of Israel that will both excite and disturb readers worldwide.