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History > Middle Eastern History

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Ethnographic Encounters in Israel Cover

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Ethnographic Encounters in Israel

Poetics and Ethics of Fieldwork

Edited by Fran Markowitz

Israel is a place of paradoxes, a small country with a diverse population and complicated social terrain. Studying its culture and social life means confronting a multitude of ethical dilemmas and methodological challenges. The first-person accounts by anthropologists engage contradictions of religion, politics, identity, kinship, racialization, and globalization to reveal fascinating and often vexing dimensions of the Israeli experience. Caught up in pressing existential questions of war and peace, social justice, and national boundaries, the contributors explore the contours of Israeli society as insiders and outsiders, natives and strangers, as well as critics and friends.

Everyday Life and Consumer Culture in Eighteenth-Century Damascus Cover

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Everyday Life and Consumer Culture in Eighteenth-Century Damascus

By James Grehan

Draws on court records and the city's dazzling literary tradition to explore the material culture of premodern Damascus and provides an unusual and intimate account of the choices, constraints, and compromises that defined consumer behavior.

Exile from Exile Cover

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Exile from Exile

Israeli Writers from Iraq

The standard histories of Israeli literature limit the canon, virtually ignoring those who came to Israel from Jewish communities in the Middle East. By focusing on the work of Iraqi-born authors, this book offers a fundamental rethinking of the canon and of Israeli literary history. The story of these writers challenges common conceptions of exile and Zionist redemption. At the heart of this book lies the paradox that the dream of ingathering the exiles has made exiles of the ingathered. Upon arriving in Israel, these writers had to decide whether to continue writing in their native language, Arabic, or begin in a new language, Hebrew. The author reveals how Israeli works written in Arabic depict different memories of Iraq from those written in Hebrew. In addition, her analysis of the early novels of Hebrew writers set against the experience of “transit camps” (ma’abarot) argues for a re-evaluation of the significance of this neglected literary subgenre.

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Exiled in the Homeland

Zionism and the Return to Mandate Palestine

By Donna Robinson Divine

Offering a new perspective on Zionism, Exiled in the Homeland draws on memoirs, newspaper accounts, and archival material to examine closely the lives of the men and women who immigrated to Palestine in the early twentieth century. Rather than reducing these historic settlements to a single, unified theme, Donna Robinson Divine’s research reveals an extraordinary spectrum of motivations and experiences among these populations. Though British rule and the yearning for a Jewish national home contributed to a foundation of solidarity, Exiled in the Homeland presents the many ways in which the message of emigration settled into the consciousness of the settlers. Considering the benefits and costs of their Zionist commitments, Divine explores a variety of motivations and outcomes, ranging from those newly arrived immigrants who harnessed their ambition for the goal of radical transformation to those who simply dreamed of living a better life. Also capturing the day-to-day experiences in families that faced scarce resources, as well as the British policies that shaped a variety of personal decisions on the part of the newcomers, Exiled in the Homeland provides new keys to understanding this pivotal chapter in Jewish history.

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The Expeditions

An Early Biography of Muhammad

Mamar Ibn Rashid

The Expeditions is one of the oldest biographies of the Prophet Muhammad to survive into the modern era. Its primary author, Ma?mar ibn Rashid (714-770 AD/96-153 AH), was a prominent scholar from Basra in southern Iraq who was revered for his learning in prophetic traditions, Islamic law, and the interpretation of the Qur?an. This fascinating foundational seminal work contains stories handed down by Ma?mar to his most prominent pupil, ?Abd al-Razzaq of Sanaa, relating Muhammad’s early life and prophetic career as well as the adventures and tribulations of his earliest followers during their conquest of the Near East.

Edited from a sole surviving manuscript, the Arabic text offers numerous improved readings over those of previous editions, including detailed notes on the text’s transmission and variants as found in later works. This new translation, which renders the original into readable, modern English for the first time, is accompanied by numerous annotations elucidating the cultural, religious and historical contexts of the events and individuals described within its pages.

The Expeditions represents an important testimony to the earliest Muslims’ memory of the lives of Muhammad and his companions, and is an indispensable text for gaining insight into the historical biography of both the Prophet and the rise of the Islamic empire.

Fading Corporatism Cover

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Fading Corporatism

Israel's Labor Law and Industrial Relations in Transition

Since the 1980s, industrial relations and labor law in Israel have rapidly changed from a European style of corporatism to a model of pluralism familiar to North America. The country's legal and industrial relations systems have become more decentralized, yet more intensively regulated; they are no longer centrally managed, but they do not fit the neoliberal model of a free market. In recent years, a dynamic system for voicing interests has evolved, granting more leeway to individuals, identity-based representation, and a flourishing civil society, but restraining effective collective representation.

In Fading Corporatism, Guy Mundlak explains the changing nature of labor law and industrial relations in Israel and the seemingly paradoxical outcomes of transformation as played out in numerous spheres, including the law governing the recognition of trade unions and strikes; the emergence of a human rights regime; and the regulation of temporary work agencies, Palestinian workers from the occupied territories, and migrant workers. Placing the example of Israel in a conceptual framework that draws on the literature of corporatism, Mundlak offers a theoretical coupling of legal studies and industrial relations that will interest scholars and practitioners in both fields.

Surveying legal developments from 1920 to the present, Fading Corporatism will also appeal to readers interested in the political, economic, and legal history of Israel. At the same time, Mundlak emphasizes the comparative implications of the Israeli case study. His account is particularly instructive for countries in which traditionally corporatist industrial and legal systems are experiencing similar pressures, such as the Netherlands, Austria, and Germany.

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Fighting for Rights

Military Service and the Politcs of Citizenship

Leaders around the globe have long turned to the armed forces as a "school for the nation." Debates over who serves continue to arouse passion today because the military's participation policies are seen as shaping politics beyond the military, specifically the politics of identity and citizenship. Yet how and when do these policies transform patterns of citizenship? Military service, Ronald R. Krebs argues, can play a critical role in bolstering minorities' efforts to grasp full and unfettered rights. Minority groups have at times effectively contrasted their people's battlefield sacrifices to the reality of inequity, compelling state leaders to concede to their claims. At the same time, military service can shape when, for what, and how minorities have engaged in political activism in the quest for meaningful citizenship.

Employing a range of rich primary materials, Krebs shows how the military's participation policies shaped Arab citizens' struggles for first-class citizenship in Israel from independence to the mid-1980s and African Americans' quest for civil rights, from World War I to the Korean War. Fighting for Rights helps us make sense of contemporary debates over gays in the military and over the virtues and dangers of liberal and communitarian visions for society. It suggests that rhetoric is more than just a weapon of the weak, that it is essential to political exchange, and that politics rests on a dual foundation of rationality and culture.

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Foreign Workers in Israel

Global Perspectives

Explores how the entry of migrant workers into Israel raises questions beyond just those of the labor market. Explores how the entry of migrant workers into Israel raises questions beyond just those of the labor market. In this account of a social experiment gone awry, Israel Drori exposes a little-known and recent phenomenon: the importation of foreign workers from Third World economies to Israel. Focusing on Romanian, Thai, and Filipina migrants brought to Israel for specified periods of employment, Drori examines the effect of migrants on Israeli society, particularly the issue of national identity. What began as a political corrective—avoiding the danger of hiring Palestinians to do work that Jewish Israelis would not—has developed into a social and economic problem the state does not know how to handle. In addition to examining the work experiences and social lives of these workers, Drori also situates the Israeli case within a global context, where many affluent nations have significant populations of marginalized, undocumented workers. Israel Drori is Professor at the School of Business Administration, College of Management, Israel, and also teaches at the Department of Public Policy at Tel Aviv University. He is the author of The Seam Line: Arab Workers and Jewish Managers in the Israeli Textile Industry and coauthor (with Izhak Schnell and Michael Sofer) of Arab Industrialization in Israel: Ethnic Entrepreneurship in the Periphery.

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Fratricide in the Holy Land

A Psychoanalytic View of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Avner Falk

    This is the first English-language book ever to apply psychoanalytic knowledge to the understanding of the most intractable international struggle in our world today—the Arab-Israeli conflict. Two ethnic groups fight over a single territory that both consider to be theirs by historical right—essentially a rational matter. But close historical examination shows that the two parties to this tragic conflict have missed innumerable opportunities for a rational partition of the territory between them and for a permanent state of peace and prosperity rather than perennial bloodshed and misery.
    Falk suggests that a way to understand and explain such irrational matters is to examine the unconscious aspects of the conflict. He examines large-group psychology, nationalism, group narcissism, psychogeography, the Arab and Israeli minds, and suicidal terrorism, and he offers psychobiographical studies of Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat, two key players in this tragic conflict today.

From Ambivalence to Betrayal Cover

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From Ambivalence to Betrayal

The Left, the Jews, and Israel

Robert S. Wistrich

From Ambivalence to Betrayal is the first study to explore the transformation in attitudes on the Left toward the Jews, Zionism, and Israel since the origins of European socialism in the 1840s until the present. This pathbreaking synthesis reveals a striking continuity in negative stereotypes of Jews, contempt for Judaism, and negation of Jewish national self-determination from the days of Karl Marx to the current left-wing intellectual assault on Israel. World-renowned expert on the history of antisemitism Robert S. Wistrich provides not only a powerful analysis of how and why the Left emerged as a spearhead of anti-Israel sentiment but also new insights into the wider involvement of Jews in radical movements.

There are fascinating portraits of Marx, Moses Hess, Bernard Lazare, Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky, and other Jewish intellectuals, alongside analyses of the darker face of socialist and Communist antisemitism. The closing section eloquently exposes the degeneration of leftist anti-Zionist critiques into a novel form of “anti-racist” racism.

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