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Selected Readings on the Israel-Palestine Conflict

October 26, 2015

Some of you who attended Professor Joel Beinin’s talk at Havurah on Friday, Oct. 23, asked for recommended readings about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Below is a list of selected readings from Professor Beinin, who will be teaching a class on the topic at Stanford University this winter:

  • Rashid Khalidi, Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness. The canonical account of the origins of Palestinian nationalism.
  • Amos Elon, The Israelis: Founders and Sons. A classical version of Zionist and Israeli history from a labor Zionist perspective. A similar, but more recent, account (highly celebrated in the US as Elon was) is Ari Shavit, My Promised Land. One significant difference is that Shavit acknowledges Israeli atrocities in 1948 but justifies them. Elon doesn’t mention them.
  • Jonathan Schneer, The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Readable and appropriately critical of the British.
  • Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem. There are two editions: 1987 and the longer and more detailed 2004. The argument is summarized in Benny Morris, “The Origins of the Palestinian Refugee Problem,” in Laurence Silberstein (ed.), New Perspectives on Israeli History: The Early Years of the State, 42-56. For critiques of Morris see: Norman Finkelstein, “Born of War, Not By Design,” in Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, 51-87 and Joel Beinin, “Forgetfulness for Memory: The Limits of the New Israeli History,” Journal of Palestine Studies 35 (no. 2, winter 2005):6-23
  • Abba Eban, “The Six Days War,” (speech to the UN) in Walter Laqueur and Barry Rubin (eds.), The Israeli-Arab Reader, pp. 207-29. The classical standard Israeli version of 1967. For a point by point refutation see Norman Finkelstein, “To Live or Perish: Abba Eban Reconstructs the June 1967 War,” in Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, 123-49
  • Tom Segev, 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year that Transformed the Middle East. A very different story than the one we are used to hearing. Can be read with the review by Yitzhak Laor, “Orchestrated Panic,” London Review of Books, Nov. 1, 2007
  • Gershom Gorenberg, Occupied Territories: The Untold Story of Israel’s Settlements. Can be read with my review: Joel Beinin, “When Doves Cry,” The Nation, April 17, 2006
  • Neve Gordon, Israel’s Occupation. A more fundamental critique than Gorenberg.
  • Rashid Khalidi, Brokers of Deceit: How the US Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East. The title says it all.
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