Essay about Review of Army of Shadows

Essay about Review of Army of Shadows

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In Army of Shadows (2008), Hillel Cohen reexamines the typical historical narratives about Palestinian perspectives prior to the Nakba. Much of the discussion pertains to the changes that took place within the mindsets of numerous groups of Palestinians during the British Mandate. It could be beneficial to compare the approach and methodologies of Hillel Cohen's book to Ilan Pappe's The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006) and his reassessment of Israel's historical memory. Pappe focuses on the planning and actions that were taken to ensure an ethnically cleansed Israel and places this in direct contrast with current perspectives of historical rhetoric. Both authors draw from a variety of sources in order to adequately examine the realities of Palestinian societies that often retract previously accepted historical memories.
Cohen analyzes what he terms “Palestinian collaboration” and how collaborators were seen from the nationalist leadership to be “traitors.” This has been less considered by historians from both Palestinian and Israeli narratives. Much of Cohen's discussion begins with the rise of nationalism in the early 1920s among Palestinian elites and how this movement was interpreted differently by different groups and ignored altogether by others. In the early days of Palestinian nationalism, Hajj Amin al-Husseini made “efficient use of his power to brand people as traitors in his struggle for leadership” (51). His attempts to Islamicize nationalist movements led to stigmatization of opposing groups. This can be seen in his vying for mufti of Jerusalem and for the head of the Supreme Muslim Council. Early on he was charging his opponents with collaborating with Jews and Zionists. During his campaigns against the Nashash...


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...divided Palestinians but also attempts by nationalist institutions to enforce solidarity in Palestinian society through the creation of norms, coercion, and rewards.
Another difference is in the purpose of each of the publications. Cohen's rhetoric is more open-ended than Pappe's emotional appeals. Cohen is attempting to dispel Palestinian narratives that claim that the Palestinians lost the war because of their incapabilities to respond to the superior Jewish forces. Here Cohen clearly demonstrates that a collapse in the overall nationalist movement played a major role in the shaping of events. Also, he is dispelling the Zionist narratives as well that attempt to show how the Palestinian Arabs were unified against the Jewish forces. Pappe addresses this along similar lines by demonstrating the strength of the Jewish forces and the implementation of Plan D(alet).

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