Jews and Muslims in the Arab World: Haunted by Pasts Real and Imagined / Edition 1

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Jews and Muslims in the Arab World highlights the effects of historical memory on the Arab-Israel conflict, demonstrating that both Jews and Arabs use stories of distant pasts to create their identities and shape their politics. Whether real or imagined, the past filtered through their collective memories has had and will continue to have enormous influence on how Jews and Arabs perceive themselves and each other. Jews and Muslims in the Arab World describes the ways in which the past is absorbed, internalized, and then processed among Jews and Arabs. The book stresses the importance of historical imagination on the current evolving political cultures, but does not claim that explanations from an ancient past shed light on every aspect of contemporary events.

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Editorial Reviews

Jewish Book World
This is a remarkable work of scholarship and a valuable contribution to our understanding of the conflict. 2007
Israel Journal Of Foreign Affairs
Scholars Jacob Lassner and S. Ilan Troen step forward with a masterly, majestic, original and thought-provoking volume....the authors deserve praise....Never before has the chasm which separates the Muslim world from its rivals been described more eloquently than it is in this book. It can only be hoped that this splendid volume, written by authors with an extraordinary knowledge of Islam and the Arab world, will do much to expose the naivete of those who constantly beat their breat in contrition before those who seek the destruction of the Jewish state.
Gabriel (Gabi) Sheffer
This impressive book deals with a significant topic that has not been studied before in a methodical and comprehensive manner. This comprehensive and comparative study extensively adds to our understanding of the two communities and their enduring conflict. This book should be read and digested by all those who are interested in these communities and their complex historical clash.
Khaleel Mohammed
This truly wonderful work should be essential reading for any serious scholar in Middle Eastern studies.
Alan Dowty
Lassner and Troen have produced nothing less than a definitive prolegomenon to the Arab-Israel conflict and other current conflicts involving Muslims and Jews. They show that historical memory matters a great deal; it is neither irrelevant nor determinative, and not all historical communities are "imagined." Written in an exceptionally reader-friendly style, Jews and Muslims in the Arab World is a unique and riveting narrative, fair to both traditions, that anyone with even a mild interest will have trouble putting down.
Shlomo Avineri
A fascinating study of the interface between memory and politics as reflected in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By providing a refreshing look at the pious myths bedeviling Middle Eastern politics, Lassner and Troen show with meticulous scholarship how both Arab nationalism as well as Zionism re-fashioned ancient traditions to legitimize modern political claims. With critical empathy to both sides, the authors warn against simplistic diplomatic attempts to solve the conflict without taking into account these deeply-held beliefs and traditions. At the same time, they call on both sides to listen to the voice of the Other and realize that history is not a seamless coat, but a multi-faceted mosaic, in which accepting the legitimacy of the other side does not by and in itself undermine one's own narrative.
Donna Robinson Divine
Jews and Muslims in the Arab World shows why the Jewish and Palestinian struggles for self-determination have played such a central role in the history of these two peoples and how that history has provided the resources for both continuing the conflict and changing its configuration. Anyone interested in understanding the antipathy between Israelis and Palestinians and between Jews and Muslims will find no clearer introduction or explanation.
Norman A. Stillman
This is an eloquent, clear-eyed examination of the way in which the principal parties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and their partisans have understood, used, and misused history, religion, and collective memory in their perceptions of themselves, their adversaries, and the very essence of their relation. The authors' calm and reasoned voices leave the reader neither naively optimistic nor hopelessly pessimistic. This book ought to be required reading for anyone interested in the contemporary Middle East, and not least among those who should read this wise and informative book are the people of that troubled region themselves.
Journal Of Israeli History - Asher Susser
An excellent and unorthodox volume on Israel and the Arabs. This is not just another book on the Arab-Israeli conflict. The authors, whose objective is to reinterpret developments in the Arab-Israeli conflict, go about their corrective task with impressive erudition and forthrightness. The authors have written two books grafted into one, providing a unique culturally informed overview of the Arab-Israeli conflict. They have produced an essential and long overdue complement to existing scholarship on the subject. This is truly an important book.
Journal of Israeli History
An excellent and unorthodox volume on Israel and the Arabs. This is not just another book on the Arab-Israeli conflict. The authors, whose objective is to reinterpret developments in the Arab-Israeli conflict, go about their corrective task with impressive erudition and forthrightness. The authors have written two books grafted into one, providing a unique culturally informed overview of the Arab-Israeli conflict. They have produced an essential and long overdue complement to existing scholarship on the subject. This is truly an important book.
— Asher Susser, Tel Aviv University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742558427
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/30/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 410
  • Product dimensions: 6.07 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacob Lassner is professor of Jewish civilization in the departments of history and religion at Northwestern University. He is the author of seven books, most recently, The Middle East Remembered: Forged Identities, Competing Narratives, Contested Spaces and numerous articles on Jewish-Muslim relations and Near Eastern History. S. Ilan Troen is the Karl, Harry, and Helen Stoll Chair in Israel Studies at Brandeis University and the Sam and Anna Lopin Professor in Modern History, emeritus, at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is the founding editor of Israel Studies (Indiana University Press), the leading journal in the field, and the author or editor of ten books on American, Jewish and Israeli History. His most recent book is Imagining Zion: Dreams, Designs and Realities in a Century of Jewish Settlement.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: The Uses and Misuses of the Past Part 2 The Arab World: Imagining the Past, Defining the Present, Anticipating the Future Chapter 3 The Arab Nation-State: Marking Modern Identities by Embracing Pasts Real and Imagined Chapter 4 Defining Arab Palestine: Historical Geography, Imagined Polities, and Sacred Space Chapter 5 "My Land [Biladi]": The Formation of Palestinian National Consciousness and the Quest for a Modern Nation-State Chapter 6 The Call to Arms: A Mark of Palestinian Nationhood Chapter 7 The Islamic Movement: Traditional Islam and Palestinian Nationalism after 1987 Chapter 8 Haunted by the Past: The Islamists and the Peace Process Part 9 The Modern State of Israel: Integrating Pasts Real and Imagined Chapter 10 A Lexicon of Near Eastern Identities: The Jewish People by Various Names and Foundational Narratives Chapter 11 Jews, Arabs and Modern Biblical Scholarship: Academic Politics and the Politics of National Consciousness Chapter 12 The Emergence of Zionism: A Secular and Humanist Narrative Chapter 13 Return, Reclaim and Reconstitute Chapter 14 Accommodation with the Arabs of Palestine Chapter 15 Epilogue

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