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Shabnam J.Holliday and Philip Leech, Political Identities and Popular Uprisings in the Middle East, Rowman & Littlefield International, London, United Kingdom, 2016 (216 pages)

Identity plays an important part in terms of how we imagine our relationship with the state and governing bodies. If we know who we are, then we can know and articulate what we want as political actors. This book, written by Shabnam J. Holliday Lecturer in International Relations in the School of Government at Plymouth University, and Philip Leech Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government at Ottawa University and was a Visiting Fellow at the Kenyon Institute in Jerusalem, examines the relationship between identity and political dissent in the context of the Arab and non-Arab Middle East by focusing on recent uprisings and protests in the region. The case studies here - Iran, Palestine, Israel, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan – highlight a number of dynamics and different forms of resistance. These examples show how political identities are multiple, not static and that they are too complex to be reduced to superficial dichotomies of Islamism vs. secularism or Sunnism vs. Shi’ism. Through examining the relationship between everyday grassroots politics and the question of identity, as well as elite identity discourses, this volume presents a textured analysis of the region’s dynamic political communities. This book explores how different identities should be navigated and negotiated, and how they intersect at a time of dramatic change in the Middle East.

Alvin H. Rosenfeld, Deciphering The New Antisemitism, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, U.S., 2016 (568 pages)

Alvin H. Rosenfeld, Professor of English and Jewish Studies, M. Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies, Director at the Center for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, addresses the increasing prevalence of antisemitism on a global scale. Antisemitism takes on various forms in all parts of the world, the essays in this wide-ranging volume deal with many of them: European antisemitism, antisemitism and Islamophobia, antisemitism and anti-Zionism, in the efforts to demonize and delegitimize Israel. Contributors are an international group of scholars who clarify the cultural, intellectual, political, and religious conditions that give rise to antisemitic words and deeds. These landmark essays are noteworthy for their timeliness and ability to grapple effectively with the serious issues at hand.

As’ad Ghanem and Dan Bavly, Towards a Bi-National Homeland for Israelis and Palestinians: In Search of a Doable Solution – A United Democracy, Lap Lambert Academic Publishing, Saarbrücken, Germany, 2015 (179 pages)

The thrust of this book, is a proposal that calls for the establishment of an equitable Democratic State, in which all the inhabitants, Jews and Palestinians alike, living on the West of the River Jordan have equal human and civil rights as citizens of this country. In emphasizing the thoughts on how to proceed in establishing such a Democracy are Professor Asad Gh'anem a Palestinian citizen of Israel, and Dan Bavly an Israeli Jew. In the impetus of the book, they separately describe how from their very different backgrounds, they concluded that the One State Democracy was the preferred structure for both people to live in peace and prosperity and advise how this might be done. In doing so, they share with their readers the highlights of the century old history of the Zionist movement, and those of the Palestinian Nationalism, and how from early in the 20th Century, there were among the leaders those who realized how essential it was that both people adjust to living together in an equitable society. As the two states for two peoples becomes less practical the authors of this book insist that the only doable plan for the future is the 'One State for Two Peoples' formula.

The Middle East Policy Council, Middle East Policy, Wiley Blackwell, Washington D.C., U.S., Fall 2015 (171 pages) and Winter 2015 (166 pages)

The Middle East Policy Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to contribute to American understanding of the political, economic and cultural issues that affect U.S. interests in the Middle East. With a special focus on the U.S. coalition intervention in the ISIS controlled areas, the situation in Turkey with the Kurds and the influence of the Golf countries on the international scale.

The Institute for Palestinian Studies, Journal of Palestine Studies: A Quarterly on Palestinian affairs and The Arab-Israeli Conflict, Volume XLV, Number 1, University of California Press, Berkeley, U.S., Autumn 2015 (224 pages)

The Institute for Palestine Studies (IPS) is a private nonprofit research institution unaffiliated with any political organization or government, highly regarded throughout the Arab world as a model of institutional organization and independence. It was established in Beirut in 1963 and was incorporated there as a private, independent, non-profit Arab institute unaffiliated with any political organizations or governments. The Journal of Palestine Studies (JPS) launched in 1971 is exclusively devoted to documentation, research, analysis, and publication on Palestinian affairs and the Arab-Israeli conflict. This recent volume includes an article by Joshua Sperber named BDS, Israel and the World system, and by Tilde Rosmer on Raising the Green Banner: Islamist Student Politics in Israel; followed by a Report presenting Israel’s Construction of Iran as an Existential Threat and a Special Document on the Herzegovinian Muslim Colony in Caesarea, Palestine with a Translator’s Preface introducing the situation within Settler Colonialism.

Simon Faulkner and David Reeb, Between States, Black Dog Publishing, London, United Kingdom, 2015 (175 pages)

This book focuses on the complex geography of Israel/ Palestine, where borders and the nature of political statehood remain unresolved. The title Between States refers to the unfinished political nature of this area, while also describing the condition of in-between-ness defined by the book itself as it shifts from artistic concerns to more explicitly political subjects. This in-between-ness also relates to the complex spatial relationships between the UK, Israel, and the West Bank that were involved in the development of the dialogue between the two authors. The uncertainty that defines the political conditions explored through the set of textual and visual fragments is echoed in the sense of uncertainty created by the overall format of the book. As well as paintings by Reeb and photographs and articles by both authors, the book also includes works by other visual producers, such as Hans Haacke, Peter Kennard, Miki Kratsman, and ActiveStills.

Jonathan Rynhold, The Arab-Israeli Conflict in American Political Culture, Cambridge University Press, New York, U.S., 2015 (303 pages)

This book surveys discourse and opinion in the United States toward the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1991. Contrary to popular myth, it demonstrates that U.S. support for Israel is not based on the pro-Israel lobby, but rather is deeply rooted in American political culture. That support has increased since 9/11. However, the bulk of this increase has been among Republicans, conservatives, evangelicals, and Orthodox Jews. Meanwhile, among Democrats, liberals, the Mainline Protestant Church, and non-Orthodox Jews, criticism of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians has become more vociferous. According to the writer, a senior researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) at Bar-Ilan University and director of the Argov Center for the Study of Israel and the Jewish People, this book works to explain this paradox.

Ahron Bregman, Cursed Victory: Israel and the Occupied Territories: A History, Pegasus Books LLC, New York, U.S., 2015 (367 pages)

In a move that would forever alter the map of the Middle East, Israel captured the West Bank, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula in 1967's brief but pivotal Six Day War. Cursed Victory is the first complete history of the war's troubled aftermath―a military occupation of the Palestinian territories that is now well into its fifth decade. Drawing on unprecedented access to high-level sources, top-secret memos and never-before-published letters, the book provides a gripping and unvarnished chronicle of how what Israel promised would be an 'enlightened occupation' quickly turned sour, and the anguished diplomatic attempts to bring it to an end. Bregman, a UK-based political science of Israeli origin, as well as a writer and journalist, specializing on the Arab-Israeli Conflict, sheds fresh light on critical moments in the peace process, taking us behind the scenes as decisions about the fate of the territories were made, and more often, as crucial opportunities to resolve the conflict were missed. As Bregman concludes, the occupation has become a dark stain on Israel's history. Cursed Victory is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the origins of the ongoing conflict in the region.

Lital Levy, Poetic Trespass: Writing between Hebrew and Arabic in Israel/Palestine, Princeton University Press, Princeton, U.S., 2014 (337 pages)

A Palestinian-Israeli poet declares a new state whose language, "Homelandic," is a combination of Arabic and Hebrew. A Jewish-Israeli author imagines a "language plague" that infects young Hebrew speakers with old world accents, and sends the narrator in search of his Arabic heritage. In Poetic Trespass, Lital Levy associate professor of comparative literature at Princeton University, where she teaches Modern Hebrew and Arabic literatures and literary theory, brings together such startling visions to offer the first in-depth study of the relationship between Hebrew and Arabic in the literature and culture of Israel/Palestine. More than that, she presents a captivating portrait of the literary imagination's power to transgress political boundaries and transform ideas about language and belonging. Exploring such acts of poetic trespass, Levy introduces new readings of canonical and lesser-known authors. By revealing uncommon visions of what it means to write in Arabic and Hebrew, Poetic Trespass will change the way we understand literature and culture in the shadow of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Alternative Press Center, Alternative Press Index: access to movements news policy and theory, Volume 46, Number 2, Baltimore, U.S., 2014 (699 pages)

The Alternative Press Centre (APC) publishes the Alternative Press Index (API), a unique and comprehensive guide to the alternative press in English, French and Spanish. The API provides access to articles from 300 magazines, newspapers and academic journals. Since 1969, the API has indexed 948 periodical titles. The monopoly over information by the mainstream media has been challenged in recent years by the proliferation of alternative publications, both online and in print. With increased corporate conglomeration in the media industry, readers are now turning to the alternative press for news and analysis. The staying power of these publications and web sites reflects the dedication of journalists who still value freedom of speech, transparency and critical thought in a democracy. The Alternative Press Centre believes that the independent, critical press provides an important reflection of society today, and that these publications should be readily available to everyone.

Renato Barahona, The Odyssey of the Ship with Three Names: Smuggling Arms into Israel and the Rescue of Jewish Refugees in the Balkans in 1948, Center for Basque Studies University of Nevada, Reno, U.S., 2013 (250 pages)

Renato Barahona is Professor Emeritus of Spanish and Early Modern European history at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "Singular history of the S.S. Kefalos, a tramp steamer crewed mainly by exiled Spanish Republicans that, among its many lives, transported arms and refugees from Mexico and the Balkans to the fledging state of Israel after World War II"-- Provided by publisher.

WMD and Security Forum 2013, WMDFZ in the Middle East: Impact on Global Non-Proliferation Efforts, Meeting Organizing Committee, Amman, Jordan, 2013 (106 pages)

As the diplomatic atmosphere surrounding the issue deteriorated, Paolo Foradori, Senior Lecturer in International Politics, University of Trento, Trento, Italy and former Associate, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom, September 2011–2014; Former Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom, April–August 2011, asked a group of distinguished experts and diplomats from across the Middle East for their respective views on the proposal to launch a process aimed at creating a WMD-free zone in the region. How significant is this proposal given violence and turmoil rocking the Middle East? What problems would it solve? What are the consequences of a continuing failure to initiate arms control discussions in the Middle East? How can the process be salvaged? The short essays he received in response provide a remarkably vivid snap shot of the diversity of views on the issue. The contributors discuss the prevalent aspirations for non-proliferation and disarmament in the Middle East, as well as frustrations over the failure to make progress toward those goals. Taken together, the essays also demonstrate the scale and complexity of the challenges associated with establishing a WMD-free zone in the region. The gaps between the positions of key parties are clearly evident here; but the reader will also find unexpected commonalities.

Ian Bickerton, The Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Guide for the Perplexed, Continuum International Publishing Group, New York, U.S., 2012 (294 pages)

Written by an expert in the field, Ian J. Bickerton, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and United States History at the University of New South Wales, The Arab-Israeli Conflict explains what the term "Arab-Israeli Conflict" refers to, providing an accurate and dispassionate description of the current situation, its origins, as well as the people involved and their motivations. It outlines in an accessible manner the past and present events that have led to the current divisions and hostilities.

Using a thematic approach, the work examines key questions such as the importance of Jerusalem, borders and the West Bank, settlements, terrorism, Palestinian and Israeli political structures and internal divisions, the role of the United States (and other countries), the significance of ethnic identity and religion, and more.

Neil Caplan, Contesting the Past, The Israel- Palestine Conflict: Contested Histories, Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, U.S., 2010 (317 pages)

The Israel-Palestine Conflict: Contested Histories provides non-specialist readers with an introduction and historical overview of the issues that have characterized and defined 130 years of the still unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Provides a fresh attempt to break away from polemical approaches that have undermined academic discussion and political debates Focuses on a series of core arguments that the author considers essentially unwinnable Introduces readers to the major historiographical debates sparked by the dispute Encourages readers to consider more useful ways of explaining and understanding the conflict, and to go beyond trying to prove who is 'right' and 'wrong'.

Compiled by Josephine Clervaux


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