Nur Masalha – The Palestine Nakba reviewed

Nur Masalha’s The Palestine Nakba is reviewed at Warscapes. Here’s the first paragraph

MasalhaThe ongoing dispossession of the Palestinian people has rarely been given the moral weight more readily accorded to European historical traumas. The colonized status of Palestinians and the visibility of Israeli cultural production have conspired to conceal the Nakba – the catastrophe of Palestinian ethnic cleansing – and to normalize it. In the view of mainstream international relations, the plight of Palestinians is simply an unavoidable result of conflicts between Israelis and neighboring Arab states, to be ameliorated by an ongoing peace process. Palestinian inferiority is presumed in understandings of the conflict, as presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s recent remark, that “culture makes all the difference,” attests. This cultural marginality further ensconces the material losses and psychical pain inflicted by Israel’s policies. One might say that not only have the Palestinians been forgotten at the level of official memory, this forgetting has itself been forgotten. Close attention to the historical record, the silences and gaps that reveal exclusion and exile, and the alternative modes that express these violations, are necessary in order to counter this basic denial of Palestinian agency and its oppression.

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