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Israeli and Palestinian Postcards

Presentations of National Self

By Tim Jon Semmerling

Publication Year: 2004

Searing images of suicide bombings and retaliatory strikes now define the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for many Westerners, but television and print media are not the only visual realms in which the conflict is playing out. Even tourist postcards and greeting cards have been pressed into service as vehicles through which Israelis and Palestinians present competing visions of national selfhood and conflicting claims to their common homeland. In this book, Tim Jon Semmerling explores how Israelis and Palestinians have recently used postcards and greeting cards to present images of the national self, to build national awareness and reinforce nationalist ideologies, and to gain international acceptance. He discusses and displays the works of numerous postcard/greeting card manufacturers, artists, and photographers and identifies the symbolic choices in their postcards, how the choices are arranged into messages, what the messages convey and to whom, and who benefits and loses in these presentations of national self. Semmerling convincingly demonstrates that, far from being ephemeral, Israeli and Palestinian postcards constitute an important arena of struggle over visual signs and the power to produce reality.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Contents

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pp. v-

Figures

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pp. vii-ix

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

I am proud to set aside these pages so that I may acknowledge the many people and organizations that have made this book’s completion and publication possible. My appreciation goes to:...

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Introduction: The Presentation of National Self

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pp. 1-12

Picture postcards are ubiquitous, relatively inexpensive, and easily discarded. They are often looked upon, or even dismissed, as trite and cheap objects associated with the bric-a-brac of tourism. However, as this book shows, picture postcards are much more than that...

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One: Palphot’s Israeli Self

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pp. 13-60

Israel’s leading postcard maker, based inHerzlia, is known by the company name ‘‘Palphot,’’ a shortened title of the fully named ‘‘Palestine Photo Rotation Company.’’ Palphot was founded in 1934 by Yehuda and Tova Dorfzaun and remains family-owned and -managed today.

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Two: The Palestinian Self in Artwork Postcards

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pp. 61-97

Some Palestinian-owned souvenir and book stores in Jerusalem still carry the remaining pre-Intifada (prior to 1987) and first Intifada period (1987–1993) postcard stocks. Such postcards feature the painted and sculptured works of Palestinian artists...

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Three: The Janus-Faced Palestinian Self

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pp. 99-117

The presentation of the Palestinian national self as political victim can be found in the form of photographic greeting cards. Six such photographic greeting cards are for sale, alongwith the artists’ artworks postcards, in a Palestinian-owned Jerusalem store on the Via Dolorosa.

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Four: The Ecological Palestinian Self

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pp. 119-133

The presentation of the Palestinian national self is not restricted to the images of the victimized and heritage-enriched. Ziad Izzat, a photographer and maker of greeting cards, expands the possibilities of the presentation of the Palestinian national self...

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Five: The Orientalized Area Self

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pp. 135-156

Mardo Nalbandian has been photographing Israel and the Palestinian Territories since 1952. His well-known photography shop, GARO Photo Studios, is located on Ṣalāḥ al-dīn Street in East Jerusalem.

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Six: The Heritage-Enriched Palestinian Self

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pp. 157-197

Earlier, two ways of categorizing the presentation of the Palestinian national self were identified in the older, but still available for purchase, artists’ artwork postcards. The first of the two categories included postcards depicting Palestinians as political victims.

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Conclusion: Tom Sawyer, Visual Methodologist, and the Presentation of National Self

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pp. 199-203

When Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Jim happened upon the coast of Africa in their runaway balloon, Tom was able to assess their geographical position. Without a chronometer as a navigating tool and with no control over their...

Notes

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pp. 205-212

Bibliography

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pp. 213-220

Index

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pp. 221-233


E-ISBN-13: 9780292797499
E-ISBN-10: 0292797494
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292702141
Print-ISBN-10: 0292702140

Page Count: 255
Illustrations: 15 color and 68 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2004

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Postcards -- Palestine.
  • Self-presentation -- Israel.
  • Self-presentation -- Palestine.
  • Postcards -- Israel.
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