The Contemporary Arab Reader on Political Islam

 

Contemporary Islamism is a complex notion, encompassing a constellation of social, political, religious and ideological ideas that have evolved over the past two hundred years. These ideas have dramatically shaped modern and contemporary Arab societies, but they are little understood in the West.  Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi‘’sThe Contemporary Arab Reader on Political Islam (Pluto Press, 2010), corrects this at a stroke. The edited collection brings together the writings of highly influential figures in the field of Islamism in the contemporary Arab world, many of whose writings have never been available before in English. Addressing the key issues such as Shari’ah, human rights, civil society, secularism, globalization and ummah, and the impact of the West on the modern Arab world, this is the perfect starting point for students and academics looking to understand “Political Islam” in contemporary Arab and Muslim societies.  The contributors include such important Islamist thinkers and activists as Abdullah Azzam, central to the spread of Islamism in Afghanistan, Sayyid Muhammad Hussain Fadlallah, a major Shi‘i figure in contemporary Lebanon, and Ahmad Bin Yousuf, a political advisor to Akram Haniyya in Gaza. [read more]

Read More

Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel

 

This is a new edition of a classic and highly controversial book by Israeli scholar and peace activist Israel Shahak and American scholar Norton Mezvinsky that examines the history and consequences of Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel. Fully updated, with new chapters and a new introduction by Norton Mezvinsky, it is essential reading for anyone who wants a full understanding of the way religious extremism has affected the political development of the modern Israeli state. [read more]

Read More

Islam in the Eyes of the West: Images and Realities in an Age of Terror

 

From the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York to the Madrid and London bombings of 2004 and 2005, the presence of Muslim communities in the West has generated security issues and major political concern. The government, the media, and the general public have raised questions regarding potential links between Western Muslims, radical Islam and terrorism. This speculation has given rise to popular myths concerning the Islamic world and led to a host of illiberal measures such as illegal warranting, denial of Habeas Corpus, “black prisons” and extreme torture throughout the democratic world. This book, containing articles by ICMES Board members Raymond Baker, Norton Mezvinsky, and Fuad Sha’ban, challenges the authenticity of these myths and examines the ways in which they have been used to provide an ideological cover for the “war on terror” and the subsequent Iraq war. It argues that they are not only unfounded and hollow, but have also served a dangerous purpose, namely war-mongering and the empowering of the national-security state. It further considers the origin and transmission of these myths, focusing on media, government policy and popular discourse. [read more]

Read More

Historical Dictionary of Middle Eastern Cinema

 

The Historical Dictionary of Middle Eastern Cinema (Scarecrow Press, 2010), co-authored and edited by Terri Ginsberg and Chris Lippard,with contributions from scholars from the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S., covers the production and exhibition of the cinema of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, as well as the non-Arab states of Turkey and Iran, and the Jewish State of Israel.  The book’s entries introduce and emphasize both the national and transnational character of Middle Eastern cinema, which includes not only its indigenous but also its (neo)colonial aspects, both external and internal to the geography.  This book contains a chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, and more than 500 cross-referenced dictionary entries on individual films, filmmakers, actors, significant historical figures, events, and concepts, and the countries the4mselves.  It also covers the range of cinematic modes from documentary to fiction, representational to animation, generic to experimental, mainstream to avant-garde, and entertainment to propaganda. [read more]

Read More

For Zion’s Sake: The Judeo-Christian Tradition in American Culture

 

This book by Fuad Sha’ban explores the role of religion, especially religious extremism, in American culture. In particular, it examines the development of the Judeo-Christian tradition, its impact on America’s self-image, and the way it has influenced America’s attitude to the Arab World.The Christian Right has become a very powerful force in American politics. Its basic belief in Christian Zionism has resulted in a steadfast commitment to the establishment of the state of Israel and to its aggressive expansion, and has made Zionism a central part of government policy, for both Republicans and Democrats. [read more]

Read More

To Be an Arab in Israel

 

One of the few Palestinian-Israeli takes on the first ten years of the Israeli occupation. In this highly personalized account Fouzi El-Asmar tells the story of his life in Palestine from the time of the establishment of Israel until shortly after his release from an Israeli prison in 1970. This is not just Fouzi’s story, it is the story of the hundreds and thousands of Palestinian Arabs like him, many of whom suddenly found themselves a minority under colonial-settler rule while countless others lost both home and country. [read more]

Read More

Original Sins: Reflections on the History of Zionism and Israel

 

Many books in the West on Zionism and Israel published in the West are limited to slogans and counter slogans.  Original Sins goes beyond the accepted parameters by re-examining the terms of the debate.  It provides a comprehensive overview of the origins, accomplishments, contradictions and betrayals of Zionism.  While author Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi does not fault the idea of a Jewish state in the abstract, he shows how Zionism in practice and in power becomes a kind of settler-colonialism trying to ignore its victims—the Palestinians. [read more]

Read More

Theodicy and Justice in Modern Islamic Thought: The Case of Said Nursi

 

This collection, edited by Ibrahim Abu-Rabi‘ (Ashgate, 2010), explores the theology and philosophy of the distinguished modern Muslim scholar and theologian Bediuzzaman Said Nursi [d. 1960]. Nursi wrote in both Ottoman Turkish and Arabic and his life and thought reflected the transition of modern Turkey from an empire to a secular republic. The contributors to this volume shed new light on two major dimensions of Nursi’s thought: theodicy and justice. Classical Muslim theologians debated these two important issues; however, we must consider the modern debate of these issues in the context of the radical political and social transformations of modern Turkey. Nursi explored these matters as they related to the development of state and society and the crisis of Islam in the modern secular nation-state. [read more]

Read More

Holocaust Film: The Political Aesthetics of Ideology

 

This timely monograph by Terri Ginsberg (Cambridge Scholars, 2007) takes as its starting point the provocative contention that Holocaust film scholarship has been marginalized academically despite the crucial role Holocaust film has played in fostering international awareness of the Nazi genocide and scholarly understandings of cinematic power. The book suggests political and economic motivations for this seeming paradox, the ideological parameters of which are evident in debates and controversies over Holocaust films themselves, and around Holocaust culture in general. The book breaks disciplinary ground by drawing critical connections between public and scholarly debates over Holocaust representation, and the often sophisticated cinematic structures lending aesthetic shape to them in today’s global arena.
—“What Norman Finkelstein has done in exposing the political foregrounding of the Holocaust Industry, what Giorgio Agamben has done in extrapolating the contemporary implications of homo sacer from the horrors of the concentration camps, Terri Ginsberg is doing with astonishing command and competence about Holocaust cinema. Ginsberg’s voice is clear, concise, liberating, and the harbinger of an entire new generation of scholarship in cinema studies.”—Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University; Editor, Dreams of a Nation: On Palestinian Cinema. [read more]

Read More

The Israeli Connection: Who Israel Arms and Why

 

This powerful story of intrigue and covert action reveals how Israel became the arms dealer and military trainer of last resort for everyone from Guatemala’s murderous military to Mobutu in Africa and the Shah of Iran.  The Israeli Connection illustrates the tragic situation faced by Israel in light of these dealings, suggesting surprising parallels between the way South Africans view Blacks and the way Israelis view Palestinians, and detailing the extensive ties–from nuclear weapon-sharing to military aid, trade, and tourism–the deepest dimensions of which have only barely been brought into the spotlight. [read more]

Read More