Invitations from the Education Workgroup

  1. Een Andere Joodse Stem Book Club

In order to get to know each other better, the education workgroup proposes a monthly book club on topics such as Israel, Palestine, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. The workgroup members are very interested in reading suggestions from the group. For now the group will be limited to members of EAJS but in the future this might change.

For December 2014: The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited by Benny Morris, published by Cambridge University Press, 2004. We will be focusing on chapters 1, 3 and 4 and you the short introduction is highly recommended too for it provide the intellectual context and reception of the first publication.

Book available online in pdf format through a simple Google search for the title.

Meeting date: Sunday December 7th at a member’s house. Time: 2:30-5 pm. Please confirm by email so we’ll know how many people to expect.

For years, the traditional Israeli position concerning the birth of the Palestinian refugees problem has been the same. According to this commonly held view, between 1947-1949 the Palestinian fled of their own accord, following promises of Arab leaders that the Jewish state will be soon vanquished and they could all settle back in their homes. In 1988 Benny Morris, an Israeli historian, published a book titled “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugees Problem” putting into question both Israeli traditional views and the Palestinian narrative of planned deportation. History, claimed Morris, is not white or black. Nonetheless, the book he has written has made of him for the next 12 years a very controversial academic and he was labeled as a “New Historian”, one who uses history as a political weapon in order to criticize Israel. In 2000 Morris re-stated his political opinions claiming that Israeli-Palestinian may be a threat to Israel in a future regional war, claiming that his history is a-political and that his political positions maybe different from what history may tell us.  Though the personal history of the book and its author is highly interesting, making explicit the ties between academia, history and politics the content of the book has been of even greater importance. Clearly stating both the existence of ‘tochnit dalet’ for a planned expulsion of Palestinians through intimidation and the active encouragement of Arab leaders to civilian population to leave their homes. The book has shown that reality, in the context of this conflict is much more complicated than any one narrative. It seems thus a very good starting point for our book club, by encouraging different and challenging views of one of the most critical problems that stands in the way of a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Israel/Palestine.