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Israeli and Palestinian Literature

Past Sessions
Tuesday, June 23, 2020 1 Tammuz 5780 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Tuesday, June 9, 2020 17 Sivan 5780 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Tuesday, May 26, 2020 3 Sivan 5780 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Tuesday, May 19, 2020 25 Iyyar 5780 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Literature offers a perspective on Israel/Palestine that centers the human dimension and reminds us of the vibrancy a of both modern Hebrew and Palestinian Arab culture. We will read four works of fiction whose themes and plots revolve around the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. This class was designed with those who have already taken “Thinking About Israel/Palestine” in mind. But this background is not required, as the literature speaks in its own terms.

Questions will be provided to guide the reading, although no one should feel constrained by them. Before proceeding to discuss the texts there will be a brief introductory lecture to present the authors and relevant contexts.

Schedule and Readings

May 19 - Ghassan Kanafani, “Men in the Sun” - the emblematic Palestinian fictional work about the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In Ghassan Kanafani, Men in the Sun and Other Palestinian Stories (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1999) [56 pages]; PDF at

May 26 - S. Yizhar, Khirbet Khizeh (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014) [140 pages] – two hard copies are available in the Multnomah County Library (if it reopens).

To allow more time to read the full-length novels, the last two sessions meet every other week.

June 9 - Sahar Khalifeh, Wild Thorns (Interlink Books, 2000) [207 pages].

June 23 - Dorit Rabinyan, All the Rivers (Random House, 2017) [288 pages] – an ebook is available from the Multnomah County Library. The novel gained notoriety after Israel’s Ministry of Education banned it from the high school curriculum in 2015. It then became a best-seller and, after protests, was permitted to be taught only to advanced literature classes.

The class will be limited to twenty people. Every participant is responsible for acquiring their own books.

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Sun, June 20 2021 10 Tammuz 5781