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Remembering a Lost Homeland
Once upon a time, Baghdad was home to a flourishing Jewish community. More than a third of the city’s people were Jews, and Jewish customs and holidays helped set the pattern of Baghdad’s cultural and commercial life. On the city’s streets and in the bazaars, Jews, Muslims, and Christians—all native-born Iraqis—intermingled, speaking virtually the same colloquial Arabic and sharing a common sense of national identity. And then, almost overnight it seemed, the state of Israel was born, and lines were drawn between Jews and Arabs. Over the next couple of years, nearly the entire Jewish population of Baghdad fled their Iraqi homeland, never to return. In this beautifully written memoir, Nissim Rejwan recalls the lost Jewish community of Baghdad, in which he was a child and young man from the 1920s through 1951. He paints a minutely detailed picture of growing up in a barely middle-class family, dealing with a motley assortment of neighbors and landlords, struggling through the local schools, and finally discovering the pleasures of self-education and sexual awakening. Rejwan intertwines his personal story with the story of the cultural renaissance that was flowering in Baghdad during the years of his young manhood, describing how his work as a bookshop manager and a staff writer for the Iraq Times brought him friendships with many of the country’s leading intellectual and literary figures. He rounds off his story by remembering how the political and cultural upheavals that accompanied the founding of Israel, as well as broad hints sent back by the first arrivals in the new state, left him with a deep ambivalence as he bid a last farewell to a homeland that had become hostile to its native Jews.
An American Memoir of Teaching and Travel in Iraq, 1942-1947
A firsthand account of the socio-political atmosphere of the pre-Saddam Hussein era of Iraq, when the country first struggled with the establishment of a nation-state.
Conflict of Values and Interests
This book represents the first systematic effort to analyze the role of local communities and regions in Israel’s national politics. Traditionally portrayed as either elitist and highly centralized, or as pluralistic with very active interest groups, Israeli politics have seldom accounted for local and regional forces. The authors demonstrate the growing importance of these communities in the politics of the country. Their analyses are based on the concept of “spatial sector,” and eight sectors are covered: The West Bank and Gaza Strip Arabs, Israeli Arabs, development towns, renewal neighborhoods, religious neighborhoods, Gush Emunim settlements, kibbutzim and moshavim, and Jerusalem.
Benny Morris is the founding father of the New Historians, a group of Israeli scholars who have challenged long-established perceptions about the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Their research rigorously documented crimes and atrocities committed by the Israeli armed forces, including rape, torture, and ethnic cleansing. With Making Israel, Morris brings together the first collection of translated articles on the New History by leading Zionist and revisionist Israeli historians, providing Americans with a firsthand view of this important debate and enabling a better understanding of how the New Historians have influenced Israelis' awareness of their own past. "The study of Israeli history, society, politics, and economics over the past two decades has been marked by a fierce and sometimes highly personal debate between 'traditionalists'---scholars who generally interpreted Israeli history and society within the Zionist ethos---and 'revisionists'---scholars who challenged conventional Zionist narratives of Israeli history and society. Making Israel brings together traditionalists and revisionists who openly and directly lay out their key insights about Israel's origins. It also introduces multidisciplinary perspectives on Israel by historians and sociologists, each bringing into the debate its own jargon, its own epistemology and methodology, and its own array of substantive issues. This is essential reading for anybody who wants to understand the different interpretations of Israeli society and perhaps the central debate among students of modern Israel." ---Zeev Maoz, Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Davis, and Distinguished Fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya "Israel's 'new historians' have done a great service to their country, and to all who care about the Arab-Israeli conflict. By challenging myths, reexamining evidence, and asking truly important questions about the past they help to confront the present with honesty and realism. This book provides a sampling of the best of what these courageous voices have to offer." ---William B. Quandt, University of Virginia Benny Morris is Professor of Middle East history at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba, Israel, and is the author of Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999.
The Control of Meaning in an Institutional Setting
This book is an ethnographic study of an old age home in Israel that sheds light on the existential experience of elderly retirees. Hazan looks carefully at the universal concerns of old age, specifically examining the nature of everyday life in the institutional setting. He shows the workings of the micropolitics of control in an old age home and the tension between controlling dwindling resources and sustaining life-long meaning for residents. He also effectively brings out distinctive features of the Israeli situation, its cultural and bureaucratic codes. Hazan’s study of the life cycle, based in the anthropology of process, is a senstive portrayal of the dynamics of institutionalized elderly in a complex society.
Israel's Civil War
A comprehensive look at how rabbinical courts control Israeli marriage and divorce
Lebanese history is often associated with sectarianism and hostility between religious communities, but by examining public memorials and historical accounts Lucia Volk finds evidence for a sustained politics of Muslim and Christian co-existence. Lebanese Muslim and Christian civilians were jointly commemorated as martyrs for the nation after various episodes of violence in Lebanese history. Sites of memory sponsored by Maronite, Sunni, Shiite, and Druze elites have shared the goal of creating cross-community solidarity by honoring the joint sacrifice of civilians of different religious communities. This compelling and lucid study enhances our understanding of culture and politics in the Middle East and the politics of memory in situations of ongoing conflict.
Trade and Architecture in an Indian Ocean Port
Gaining prominence as a seaport under the Ottomans in the mid-1500s, the city of Mocha on the Red Sea coast of Yemen pulsed with maritime commerce. Its very name became synonymous with Yemen's most important revenue-producing crop -- coffee. After the imams of the Qasimi dynasty ousted the Ottomans in 1635, Mocha's trade turned eastward toward the Indian Ocean and coastal India. Merchants and shipowners from Asian, African, and European shores flocked to the city to trade in Arabian coffee and aromatics, Indian textiles, Asian spices, and silver from the New World.
Narrating the Twentieth Century
Internationally renowned scholars consider how individual historians, historical schools, and historical paradigms have shaped the study of the history of the Middle East over the twentieth century, chiefly after World War I.
A comprehensive, interdisciplinary look at the history of and complex issues surrounding the peace process in the Middle East. This volume offers a series of focused analyses of various aspects of the peace process. This interdisciplinary book includes insights developed by scholars in such diverse disciplines as anthropology, economics, history, law, political science, social psychology, and international relations. Although the book is strongest in dealing with Israel’s political behavior, it also focuses specifically on the Palestinians and on Jordan. The contributors combine the perspective of the last few years; the insights of a variety of social science disciplines, making the complexity of the Middle East situation more manageable and penetrable; and offer a commitment to an analysis which is relatively detached from everyday politics and non-normative in tone and in essence.