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Robin Yassin-Kassab

Posts Tagged ‘Susan Abulhawa

Wrong Target for a Pretend Philosopher

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French Zionist and celebrity Islamophobe Bernard-Henri Levy recently accused Susan Abulhawa’s novel Mornings in Jenin of contributing to anti-Semitism. Levy picked the wrong target. Abulhawa has already proved herself more than a match for the ranting Alan Dershowitz. In the Huffington Post she responds to Levy’s anti-Semitism charge: “This word — with its profound gravity of marginalization, humiliation, dispossession, oppression, and ultimately, genocide of human beings for no other reason but their religion — is so irresponsibly used by the likes of Levy that it truly besmirches the memory of those who were murdered in death camps solely for being Jewish.” Then she reminds us that “the people who today are being marginalized, humiliated, dispossessed, and oppressed for the sole reason of their religion are Palestinian Christians and Muslims.

The entire, excellent rejoinder to Levy’s attempt at intimidation is over the fold. Meanwhile, if you haven’t yet bought a copy of Abulhawa’s wonderful novel, do so. Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

December 26, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Posted in Zionism

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Palestine Reading – FiveBooks Interview

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Five Books asks writers, academics and othersuch to list recommended books on a given topic. The Five Books Israel-Palestine week features interviews with interesting figures like Steve Walt. And me. Here’s a video interview of me making several of my favourite points:

Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

July 29, 2010 at 1:00 am

Mornings in Jenin

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This review was published in today’s Times.

According to the Zionist story, Palestine before the state of Israel was ‘a land without a people awaiting a people without a land.’ Writers from Mark Twain to Leon Uris, as well as Hollywood studios and certain church pulpits, retell the tale. But Palestinians, in the West at least, lack a popular counter-narrative. Palestinians are reported on, met only on the news.

Perhaps this is changing. As the land disappears from under their feet Palestinians have been investing in culture, and an explosion of Palestinian talent is becoming visible in the West, in films, hip-hop, poetry and novels. And now Susan Abulhawa’s “Mornings in Jenin” is the first English language novel to fully express the human dimension of the Palestinian tragedy.

The story begins with the Abulheja family at home in the village of Ein Hod near Haifa, marrying, squabbling, trading, and harvesting the olives. It’s a touching and sometimes funny portrait of rural life with hints of the city (notably the Jerusalem-based Perlsteins, refugees from German anti-Semitism) and the Beduin tribes.

Then comes the Nakba, or Catastrophe, of 1948. Driven from their shelled village, the family suffers loss, separation, and humiliation, ending up in a camp in Jenin where “the refugees rose from their agitation to the realisation that they were slowly being erased from the world.” By now we care very much about the key characters, and through them we experience “that year without end”, the interminably drawn out Nakba which stretches through some of the bloodier signposts of Palestinian history – the Naksa or Disaster of 1967, the Lebanese refugee camp massacres, until the 2002 Jenin massacre.

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Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

February 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Posted in book review, Palestine

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Five Books on Israel-Palestine

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The interview below was published in the Five Books section of The Browser. I chose five books on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
..
Tell me about the Ilan Pappe book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

Pappe has written a great historical work on the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1947/8 and he shows that it was organised and planned, called Plan D, or plan Dalit, and he has exploded the myths that were current until his work.

What myths?

Well, for example, that the Arab leaders told the Palestinians to leave, or that the Palestinians were Bedouin people who didn’t really live there anyway, and he showed that they were ordinary people in brick and mortar homes who were intentionally forced out. This is very important because the ethnic cleansing of Palestine is the original sin of Zionism and the root of the current problem.

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Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

December 9, 2009 at 4:12 pm