Catalogue


Perceptions of Palestine : their influence on U.S. Middle East policy /
Kathleen Christison.
imprint
Berkeley, CA : University of California Press, c1999.
description
ix, 370 p.
ISBN
0520217179 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Berkeley, CA : University of California Press, c1999.
isbn
0520217179 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
3054755
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Christison weaves together the complex strands of American thinking regarding Palestine. Her superb book will undoubtedly result in heated debates among policy- makers and journalists."--Ann M. Lesch, author ofArab Politics in Palestine, 1917-1939
Flap Copy
"Christison weaves together the complex strands of American thinking regarding Palestine. Her superb book will undoubtedly result in heated debates among policy- makers and journalists."--Ann M. Lesch, author of Arab Politics in Palestine, 1917-1939
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2000-01-01:
Despite recent recognition of the PLO as a legitimate participant in Middle East peace negotiations, Christison, a former CIA Middle East analyst, maintains that American perceptions of the Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims are still influenced by the traditional mind-set or frame of reference that regards them negatively but that views Israel and its aspirations in glowing terms. Her account traces these influences from the 19th century to the present, focusing on how they have affected US Middle East policy generally and the conflict in Palestine in particular. Christison reviews their impact on presidents from Woodrow Wilson through Bill Clinton with chapters on Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush. The book reiterates what several other authors including George and Douglas Ball, Donald Neff, and Michael Suleiman have indicated about how these perceptions have distorted American policies. The situation, Christison asserts, is more than a matter of manipulation by a powerful pro-Israel lobby, manipulation of Congress and government, or the dictates of a controlling press. American biases, she charges, result from "the pictures in our heads" derived from cultural and historical images that long preceded the current Middle East troubles. Upper-division undergraduates and above. D. Peretz; SUNY at Binghamton
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, January 2000
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Summaries
Main Description
A controversial book arguing that popular perceptions about Israel and the Palestinians--which favor the inherent right of Jews to live in the Holy Land and ignore the Palestinian point of view--have impeded a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Long Description
For most of the twentieth century, considered opinion in the United States regarding Palestine has favored the inherent right of Jews to exist in the Holy Land. That Palestinians, as a native population, could claim the same right has been largely ignored. Kathleen Christison's controversial new book shows how the endurance of such assumptions, along with America's singular focus on Israel and general ignorance of the Palestinian point of view, has impeded a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Christison begins with the derogatory images of Arabs purveyed by Western travelers to the Middle East in the nineteenth century, including Mark Twain, who wrote that Palestine's inhabitants were "abject beggars by nature, instinct, and education." She demonstrates other elements that have influenced U.S. policymakers: American religious attitudes toward the Holy Land that legitimize the Jewish presence; sympathy for Jews derived from the Holocaust; a sense of cultural identity wherein Israelis are "like us" and Arabs distant aliens. She makes a forceful case that decades of negative portrayals of Palestinians have distorted U.S. policy, making it virtually impossible to promote resolutions based on equality and reciprocity between Palestinians and Israelis. Christison also challenges prevalent media images and emphasizes the importance of terminology: Two examples are the designation of who is a "terrorist" and the imposition of place names (which can pass judgment on ownership). Christison's thoughtful book raises a final disturbing question: If a broader frame of reference on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict had been employed, allowing a less warped public discourse, might not years of warfare have been avoided and steps toward peace achieved much earlier?
Bowker Data Service Summary
For most of the 20th century, considered opinion in the US regarding Palestine has favoured the right of Jews to exist in the Holy Land. This text shows how the endurance of assumptions has impeded a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
Introductionp. 1
Palestinians in the Nineteenth-Century Mindp. 16
Woodrow Wilson: "Rising Above" Self-Determinationp. 26
Franklin Roosevelt: Locked Inp. 45
Harry Truman: History Belongs to the Victorsp. 61
Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson: Possession Is Nine-Tenths of the Lawp. 95
Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford: An Unrecognizable Episodep. 124
Jimmy Carter: Making a Differencep. 157
Ronald Reagan: Missed Opportunitiesp. 195
George Bush: No Illusionsp. 242
The Pictures in Our Headsp. 274
Notesp. 295
Selected Bibliographyp. 339
Indexp. 351
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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