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Side by Side: Parallel Histories of Israel-Palestine
by Sami Adwan , Dan Bar-On , Eyal Naveh , Peace Research Institute in the Middle East , Peace Research Institute in the Middle E
In 2000, a group of Israeli and Palestinian teachers gathered to address what to many people seemed an unbridgeable gulf between the two societies. Struck by how different the standard Israeli and Palestinian textbook histories of the same events were from one another, they began to explore how to “disarm” the teaching of the history of the Middle East in Israeli and Pales ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by The New Press
(first published September 6th 2011)
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This was an excellent idea: teams of historians/instructors write parallel histories from an Israeli side and a Palestinian side. It makes for fascinating reading. This might be a fine textbook to base a course on the conflict. However, there are some deep disparities in quality that need to be corrected in future editions. The Israeli side is mostly fine; it’s not the old Zionist propaganda, shows evidence of historical nuance, is critical of some government activities, and notes cleavages with ...more
Nov 22, 2014 Noah rated it really liked it
This book is a very interesting concept. It is an attempt at a dual narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On the left side is the Israeli history, and on the right is that of the Palestinians. So instead of their being a single writing style, there are two. The Israeli tone feels a lot more detached, like they are looking objectively at the conflict; however, just because it seems more objective, it doesn't mean it is any more factual. The Palestinian narrative feels a lot more emotiona ...more
I found this book very informative and rather liked the side-by-side format. My biggest complaint is that the Palestinian side did not appear to be edited as well as the Israeli side. This was quite profound in some instances and while it didn't detract from the validity of the information the disparity could influence the reader negatively. My other complaint is that the maps should have been translated into English. Most of them were useless unless you already knew a lot about the geography of ...more
The idea behind this book is a very important one- that the narratives surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are as important as the objective facts, whatever those even are, in discussing and potentially trying to solve it. I wouldn't recommend this for someone as a first read to get familiar with the conflict, but it's definitely a must-read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the conflict.
Apr 16, 2014 Barbara rated it really liked it
I read this for one of my book clubs. The premise of this book is interesting. On facing pages, you have the history of Israel and Palestine from each perspective. All of us found the Israeli story familiar, and the Palestinian story, virtually unknown. This book would make appropriate reading for advanced high school classes and college classes.
Good to read this following The Faith Club. The Israel side was mostly what I had already heard or read, although the parts about Jews leaving Europe after WWII were news to me. (What did I think? Everything was fine once the Nazis were defeated?) Also, my Christian upbringing taught me that God promised the Jews a "promised land," which was, presumably, Israel. Thus, it was easy for me to understand the feelings expressed in the Israel side of the book. The Palestine side was informative, eye-o ...more
It's a book to be used by teachers, researchers of the topic and activists. It presents, side by side, the most common narratives of the conflict among each society. Both narratives include, supposedly on purpose, generalizations, myths and half-truths, for the reader to understand not what the conflict IS, but rather how it is SEEN in each society. It is successful in this goal. It's also remarkable how each narrative develops in a different manner, much according to how each average israeli an ...more