By Jonathan Marc Gribetz

As the Israeli-Palestinian clash persists, aspiring peacemakers proceed to go looking for the suitable territorial dividing line that might fulfill either Israeli and Palestinian nationalist calls for. the present view assumes that this fight is not anything greater than a dispute over actual property. Defining Neighbors boldly demanding situations this view, laying off new gentle on how Zionists and Arabs understood one another within the earliest years of Zionist cost in Palestine and suggesting that the present singular specialise in obstacles misses key parts of the conflict.

Drawing on archival records in addition to newspapers and different print media from the ultimate a long time of Ottoman rule, Jonathan Gribetz argues that Zionists and Arabs in pre-World warfare I Palestine and the wider heart East didn't consider each other or interpret every one other's activities basically when it comes to territory or nationalism. relatively, they tended to view their pals in spiritual terms--as Jews, Christians, or Muslims--or as participants of "scientifically" outlined races--Jewish, Arab, Semitic, or in a different way. Gribetz indicates how those groups perceived each other, no longer as strangers vying for ownership of a land that every considered as solely their very own, yet relatively as deeply conventional, if every now and then mythologized or distorted, others. Overturning traditional knowledge concerning the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian clash, Gribetz demonstrates how the doubtless intractable nationalist contest in Israel and Palestine was once, at its commence, conceived of in very varied terms.

Courageous and deeply compelling, Defining Neighbors is a landmark e-book that essentially recasts our figuring out of the trendy Jewish-Arab stumble upon and of the center East clash today.

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Extra resources for Defining Neighbors: Religion, Race, and the Early Zionist-Arab Encounter: Religion, Race, and the Early Zionist-Arab Encounter

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Third, given the problems associated with the sources and thus the necessity for estimation, the numbers scholars offer often indicate as much about the scholar’s political inclinations vis-­à-­vis the Israeli-­Palestinian conflict as they do about the number of residents of Palestine at any given 59 Efron, Defenders of the Race; Hart, Jews and Race; Falk, “Zionism and the Biology of the Jews,” 587–­607. 60 For a discussion of the problems associated with demographic analysis in Ottoman Palestine, as well as an impressive attempt at engaging in such an analysis, see McCarthy, The Population of Palestine, especially 2–­5.

Attempting to answer this seemingly simple question is in fact a complicated task, and the challenge highlights the numerous geographical, social, cultural, political, and intellectual levels of encounter that are studied in this book. The following pages place Jerusalem in its local setting in Palestine, and Palestine more broadly in its Ottoman, Middle Eastern, and European contexts. As we shall see, the categories of religion and race employed by the communities of Palestine in their mutual perceptions are best understood within these multiple contexts.

This, too, suggests that for all communities in Palestine, far beyond the missionaries themselves, religion was a central concern. We must also keep in mind that these foreigners, whether diplomats or missionaries, brought with them contemporary European ideas about how to define and categorize people, including the developing notions of race. 58 The European presence in Palestine, then, only accentuated concerns with both religion and race that were already prominent there from other more “indigenous” sources.

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