Israel/Palestine Teaching Materials

Compiled in summer 2014 by Ellen Lindeen for PJSA.

The most referenced and best source of information is the organization, End the Occupation. The former organizationSUSTAIN as well as many other organizations are now part of End the Occupation.

Some see the wording of “end the occupation” as problematic, so I recommend beginning a discussion with the short video introduction to Israel and Palestine on Jewish Voice for Peace, just over 6 min.

Books Recommended: some with annotations

Abulhawa, Susan. Mornings in Jenin (book and all her articles come highly recommended).

Adwan, Sami, Bar-On, Dan, Naveh, Eyal, and PRIME. 2012. Side by Side: Parallel Histories of Israel-Palestine. New York: The New Press. Great for Historical background, it was created jointly by Palestinian and Israeli history school teachers during the 2nd Intifada. They (Adwan and Bar-On) had originally planned to create a book with a joint narrative, but they realized that it was impossible given just how far apart the two narratives are, and thus they created a textbook, with the Israeli narrative on one side, and the Palestinian narrative on the other. Students find it informative and fascinating. Highly recommended.

Abunimah, Ali. The Battle for Justice in Palestine. Haymarket Books, 2014. Essential.

Balzer, Anna. Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories, 2007. Balzer, a young Jewish American, went to the West Bank to discover the realities of daily life for Palestinians under the occupation. What she found would change her outlook on the conflict forever.

Bennis, Phyllis. Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer, 2012. A short, highly-accessible book in a Q & A format. She is clear, objective and Jewish.

Golan, Galia. Israeli Peacemaking since 1967: Factors Behind the Breakthroughs and Failures, Routledge: UCLACenter for Middle East Development, 2015. E-Inspection copy available. For an advanced course: enlightening and depressing.

Grossman, David. The Yellow Wind: with a new afterward by the author, 2002. Israeli journalist and longtime peace activist David Grossman does an  amazing job of listening to people on both sides and showing their humanity as well as the obstacles to peace in some of their attitudes. Despite the death of his son while serving in the Israeli army, Grossman has continued to speak out for mutual respect and understanding even when criticized for doing so.

Lerner, Rabbi Michael. Embracing Israel/Palestine: A Strategy to Heal and Transform the Middle East, North Atlantic Books, 2011.

Lim, Audrea, ed. The Case for Sanctions Against Israel, Verso, 2012. The ebook is available for free download. Contributors include Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, Merav Amir, Hind Awwad, Mustafa Barghouthi, Omar Barghouti, Dalit Baum, Joel Beinin, John Berger, Angela Davis, Nada Elia, Marc H. Ellis, Noura Erakat, Neve Gordon, Ran Greenstein, Ronald Kasrils, Jamal Khader, Naomi Klein, Paul Laverty, Mark LeVine, David Lloyd, Ken Loach, Haneen Maikey, Rebecca O’Brien, Ilan Pappe, Jonathan Pollak, Laura Pulido, Lisa Taraki, Rebecca Vilkomerson, Michael Warschawski, and Slavoj Žižek.

Reich, Deb. No More Enemies, 2011. She’s a Jewish Israeli citizen.

Roberts, Jo. Contested Land, Contested Memory: Israel’s Jews and Arabs and the Ghosts of Catastrophe, Dundurn, 2013. 5/5 stars: moving, lyrical, and very important.

Roy, Sara. Failing Peace: Gaza and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. Pluto Press, 2006. Roy is Dr. Roy’s selected work over two decades, and aims to give context, over time, for understanding why peace has failed and why Palestinians are now so compromised. All her other books come recommended as well.

Tolan, Sandy. The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East. Bloomsbury, 2007. Outstanding, well-crafted book. Tolan has produced hundreds of programs for NPR and PRI. National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist. He was the 1993 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and an I. F. Stone Fellow at the UC-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where he directs the school’s Project on International Reporting.

Articles and documents

Daily two-page “Gaza Situation Reports” and one-page fact sheets from The UN Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). They are in 5 colors with policy recommendations on-line.

Amira Hass’ articles are also a good place to go for shorter content.

Simona Sharoni published “The Missing Piece A Feminist Perspective on Israeli Aggression” in Counterpunch on July 24, 2014 and has written about gender and the Gaza catastrophe on her blog.

Guardian article with Q&A about roots of conflict, July 27, 2014.

The Lead on CNN: What’s next for Israel and Hamas?

Michael Nagler, Israel and Palestine can never be secure until both are secure.

Canadians for Gazans document

Zionism Unsettled(link is external), by IPMN (Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church USA)

Comprehensive list of companies (worldwide) that support and/or benefit from the Israeli occupation (an initiative of the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace, now a separate body)

An occasionally updated list of websites relevant to the situation in Palestine and Israel, with a focus on nonviolent resistance actions and participation/witness by folks living outside the region.

Two articles on Israel, Palestine and oil

IDF’s Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis

Armed robbery in Gaza – Israel, US, UK carve up the spoils of Palestine’s stolen gas

Film, video, audio

Human Rights Hummus: Voices of the Holy Land” is an introductory podcast for those just beginning to think about Israel-Palestine and the Occupation. The podcast brings you across the table with Israelis and Palestinians who share their life stories and political perspectives. Travel with us through Israel-Palestine as we meet inspiring human rights activists fighting for peace and justice in the region. The first episode serves as an introduction to the contemporary situation in Israel-Palestine. Following episodes include such topics as the wall, water politics, settlements, the Gaza Strip, contemporary politics and peace.

Two of the most outstanding lectures are available on YouTube. One is the talk by Miko Peled, author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine, 1 hr, 8 min. The lecture is called “An honest Israeli Jew tells the Real Truth about Israel.” Miko Peled is a former IDF soldier, son of a Zionist officer, who since the ’70s and pled the case for peace for Palestine. He now lives in the United States and continues to write and speak on behalf of Gaza and the Israelis who are trying desperately to resist the genocide that is happening in Gaza. The second is by Jewish Israeli Professor Nurit Peled about Gaza as a concentration camp. Both are brilliant, articulate and deeply honest about their personal observations and the dire conditions growing both in Gaza and in Israel.

Presentation of the Central NY Coalition for Justice in Palestine from Aug. 5, 2014. This includes some “Democracy Now” clips. This is excellent and just under 9 min.

On “Democracy Now” is an interview with Rabbi Henry Siegman, now 84 years old and one of the Jewish historical icons of the whole period of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Siegman has deep Zionist roots that predate his birth in Germany in 1930. He is also an ordained rabbi and former head of the Synagogue Council of America as well as the former Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress. Rabbi Siegman’s insights into the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including a very insightful comparison between Hamas and the Jewish “terrorist groups” i.e. the Irgun and the Stern Gang.

On “Democracy Now” is an interview with Amira Hass, the only Jewish-Israeli journalist to have spent almost 20 years living in and reporting from Gaza and the West Bank. She recently suffered a torrent of hate mail and calls for her prosecution after she wrote an article defending the right of Palestinians to resist violent occupation. In the article, Hass defended the throwing of stones by Palestinian youth at Israeli soldiers, calling it “the birthright and duty of anyone subject to foreign rule.”

Documentary movie, The Gatekeepers, in which six former heads of Shin Bet, Israel’s security service, speak about the necessity for peace talks and the end of the occupation.

PBS Newshour on Israel and Palestine: Debating the tactics and ethics of warfare on both sides of Mideast conflict. July 24, 2014.

Video to help students identify the various empires, but a few empires are left out. For instance, in the First Century BC, the entire region was part of the Armenian Empire ruled by Tigranes the Great. Depicted in animation, but not here.

Satirical, animated video by Nina Paley (3 minutes) critiquing Zionist claims and depicting the many empires staking Palestine as their own from the dawn of man. Fabulous.

Film At the Gate about nonviolence efforts in the West Bank, by Kathy Kamphoefner and Virginia Keller (2010). Nonviolence leaders discuss why and how they operate, with footage of various actions. Available on YouTube in five parts. They will send a DVD for showing in class.

Radio: WBZ — Boston’s major news station — has been running daily spot “commentaries” from the American Jewish Committee — pretty appalling … wonder the best way to counter.

Plenary talks from the Friends of Sabeel NA conference in Portland 2014 available on YouTube. Excellent approximate 30 minute talks.

Organizations, NGOs and networks

Most have excellent web resources on background/history of the conflict.