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Defining Neighbors:
Religion, Race, and the Early Zionist-Arab Encounter
Jonathan Marc Gribetz

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]


"Drawing on prodigious research in a range of sources in Arabic, Hebrew, and other languages, Gribetz examines two groups--Jews and Arabs--whose national identities were developing simultaneously in Palestine around the turn of the twentieth century. He provides a broad and sympathetic portrait of the multiple ways both groups understood and fashioned these identities, which are rarely studied in tandem."--Rashid Khalidi, author of Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East

"In this meticulously researched book, Gribetz offers a fresh look at early relations between Zionists and Arabs in Palestine. Examining what he terms their 'textual conversation,' he highlights the role of religion and race in the development of mutual perceptions. The British used religion to separate the communities; race could have served to break down barriers of identity. Gribetz reminds us that the way people understand each other is not fixed or immutable."--Ambassador (Ret.) Daniel Kurtzer, Princeton University

"In this erudite and engaging work, Jonathan Gribetz shows how racial and religious categories could unite as well as divide Jews and Arabs in early-twentieth-century Palestine. Gribetz offers close, insightful readings of Jewish and Arab intellectuals who imagined themselves as neighbors as well as adversaries, and who, while producing apologetic depictions of their own cultures, communicated in a shared cultural language. This book is a fascinating recovery of neglected voices that are strikingly relevant for our own time."--Derek J. Penslar, author of Jews and the Military: A History

"Gribetz has written a compelling narrative that will undoubtedly become the authoritative account of Zionist-Arab interactions during the final decades of the Ottoman Empire. He offers not only original interpretations but also a deep engagement with an era essential for understanding the reasons why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long endured. What Gribetz accomplishes as a historian is quite remarkable."--Donna Robinson Divine, author of Exiled in the Homeland: Zionism and the Return to Mandate Palestine

"The encounter between Jewish and Arab thinkers in Ottoman Palestine was subtler than we know. Jonathan Gribetz cannot redo the past, but his brilliant study of their mutual understanding gives us new language to use in this conversation going forward. An indispensable work."--Ruth R. Wisse, Harvard University

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File created: 8/16/2017

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