Many people throughout the world are presumably catching up on their reading during this time of social distancing and self-isolation. Last week The Guardian reported that online sales at United Kingdom book chain Waterstones have risen by 400% since it closed the doors of its physical stores. Below is a list of books Israel/Palestine that we recommend. In no way is this meant to be a comprehensive reading list on the topic, but we hope it might help if you’re looking for what to tackle next. If possible, we encourage you to purchase books directly from the publisher, or from the website of your local independent bookstore if they’re still open. Feel free to post your own recommendations in the comment.
Khalidi’s new book is comprehensive and unique. The Columbia professor tracks a century of Palestine’s history through the story of his own family. You can read an excerpt of the book at The Intercept.
Mondoweiss and Arab American Institute republished Zogby’s 1981 examination of political Zionism two years ago, on the 70th anniversary of the Nakba. The new version features an updated preface by Jim Zogby and a forward from Mondoweiss founder Phil Weiss. Reviewing the book in 2018, Mitchell Plitnick wrote, “It is a short book and makes no pretense to an exhaustive history or a complete review of then-contemporary conditions. It offers one idea, that the exclusivist vision of Political Zionism is incompatible with a lasting peace.”
This book does a fantastic job assessing the crisis, but goes so far beyond that. It does a masterful job of highlighting the growing resistance and provides the reader with a solid does of hope.
The Palestinian struggle is often framed in the context of international law, but those rules have historically done very little to bring the region relief. In this brilliant book, human rights attorney Noura Erakat offers a compelling legal history and shows how the law can work for and against Palestine.
If you’re using your social distancing time to catch up on classics you never got around to, this book by the late, great Edward Said is a good place to start. The Question of Palestine is nearly 30 years old now, but it’s as relevant as ever before.
Garson worked for Mercy Corps and The United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza for four years and wrote a short, powerful memoir about her experience.
It’s easy to forget that many people had high expectations regarding Obama and Palestine when he became President. Ruebner provides a frustrating (but necessary) postmortem examination of the era. Centrists paved the way for the horrors Trump in so many ways and Palestine is no different.
There’s a lot of talk about academic freedom and campus free speech these days, but these discussions very rarely touch on the subject of Palestine. You probably know Salaita’s story: he was a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his tenure was revoked by its board of trustees after he criticized Israel on Twitter. This book is so much more than just a retelling of that story. Salaita situates his saga in the context of deeper struggles and provides valuable commentary on the current state of higher education.
There’s a lot of great books about how the media distorts the reality of the situation in Palestine, but I’d stick this one near the top of any list. Falk and Friel analyze how the New York Times covered the conflict from 2000 to 2006. Their blistering indictment shows how “The Paper of Record” consistently carries water for The Occupation.
Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights by Omar Barghouti (Haymarket, 2011)
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement made national headlines last year after two U.S. congresswomen were barred from entering the country and an anti-BDS resolution passed in the House. This is BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti’s renewed call to action over the issue. “No one has done more to build the intellectual, legal and moral case for BDS than Omar Barghouti,” wrote Naomi Klein at the time, “The global Palestinian solidarity movement has been transformed and is on the cusp of major new breakthroughs.”