A Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter examines the true history of the discord between Israel and Palestine with surprising results
Though the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict have traditionally been traced to the British Mandate (1920-1948) that ended with the creation of the Israeli state, a new generation of scholars has taken the investigation further back, to the Ottoman period. The first popular account of this key era, Jerusalem 1913 shows us a cosmopolitan city whose religious tolerance crumbled before the onset of Z ionism and its corresponding nationalism on both sides--a conflict that could have been resolved were it not for the onset of World War I. With extraordinary skill, Amy Dockser Marcus rewrites the story of one of the world's most indelible divides.
In Ottoman Jerusalem, families of different religions picnicked together at popular shrines and vouched for each other at the bank; Muslims and Jews were business partners and neighbors; and Arab children dressed in costumes for the Jewish holiday of Purim. How then did this city of ethnic diversity become a crucible of sectarian conflict? Marcus (The View from Nebo), a Pulitzer-winning former Wall Street Journal correspondent, focuses on the year 1913 as a turning point, when leaders at the Zionist Congress argued for both cultural and demographic domination of Palestine, while at the same time Jews and Arabs were negotiating a possible peace. Marcus also highlights three men who helped shape the destiny of the future Israeli capital. Albert Antebi was a non-Zionist Syrian Jew who advocated for Jewish economic solvency and strong relationships with Muslims; ardent Zionist Arthur Ruppin directed the establishment of Jewish settlements; and Ruhi Khalidi, a prominent Muslim , although not an Arab nationalist, actively opposed Jewish immigration and land purchases. Marcus masterfully brings a Jerusalem of almost a century ago to pungent life, and her political dissection of the era is lucid and well-meaning although she never explains the gulf between moderate Muslims of 1913 and today's Islamist and radical movements. (Apr. 23)
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March 24, 2008
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