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Perceptions of Palestine: Their Influence on U.S. Middle East Policy (Updated Edition with a New Afterword) First Edition, Updated Edition with a New Afterword Edition

16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520217188
ISBN-10: 0520217187
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Perceptions of Palestine:  Their Influence on U.S. Middle East Policy (Updated Edition with a New Afterword) + Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, and U.S. Interests in the Middle East since 1945, Updated Edition (American Crossroads)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"It is unhesitatingly recommended, as a standard text, to anyone wishing to better understand the conflict." -- Nigel Parry, Middle East International

"[A] masterful treatise on how it is that the United States managed to ignore the Palestinians for a century." -- Donald Neff, Journal of Palestine Studies

From the Inside Flap

"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

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 379 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition, Updated Edition with a New Afterword edition (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520217187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520217188
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,736,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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92 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Nigel Parry on January 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Although the history of America's "special relationship" with Israel is by no means a unexplored topic for authors, Kathleen Christison's "Perceptions of Palestine: Their influence on U.S. Middle East Policy" breaks new ground by its sheer scope of analysis, tracing 130 years of formulation of American perceptions of the Middle East, and their ultimate manifestation in U.S. government policy.
"In the Middle East," writes Christison at the beginning of her book, "terminology shapes reality; it becomes a way of seeing reality, and, finally, it is reality."
This single line, perhaps better than any other, encapsulates the political landscape mapped by Christison's book, a well-referenced 293-page investigation of the sources of the US mindset that has shaped Middle East policies through twelve key presidencies from Wilson to Clinton.
"Perceptions on Palestine" analyses the state of knowledge of the president and key policymakers in each administration and the preconceptions with which they entered office, by examining - where available - their writings and the writings of those who most closely influenced them; by exploring coexistent popular attitudes towards the Middle East in the media, films, and literature; and by looking at how each administration was influenced by the prevailing conventional wisdom.
I would unhesitatingly recommend this book as a standard text for anyone wishing to understand the reason for the prolonged nature of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
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118 of 135 people found the following review helpful By Barry D. Smith on June 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
Christison's book on how the Palestinians have virtually been ignored by the United States throughout the Arab-Israeli conflict is a first-rate analysis of American foreign policy at its worst. She details the ways in which each president has been oblivious to the existence of a rich Palestinian culture and history. It is amazing how even the presidents we associate with being supportive of the Palestinian cause (Jimmy Carter) still suffered, to a certain degree, from this cross-cultural ignorance.
Perceptions of Palestine is highly effective in forcing the reader to sit back and reflect on their own views. It made me question to validity and objectivity of the information I receive every day on the middle east. I highly recommend this book as there are not many out there with such a unique and important argument.
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59 of 68 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
A scrupulously honest and well-researched history of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the context of the distorted view held by the U.S. public and its policy makers. In light of the recent terrorist attacks and turmoil in the middle east, this books serves as an anchor and guide to our miscast perceptions of playing the "honest broker" in the Middle East peace process. Fearful of being labeled anti-Semitic, our congressional leaders roll over at the first sign of pressure tactics from AIPAC. In the past the U.S media has served as a policy tool of the Israeli government as it hoodwinks the US public into sending billions to feed the war machine under the ruse of "self-defense. I hope reading this book will bring others around to the realization that we need a "truly" balanced policy in the Middle East which transcends national politics in the US.
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75 of 88 people found the following review helpful By John C. Landon on May 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a very clear treatment of the basic difficulty that has accompanied the Arab-Israeli conflict all the way through--the fixed mindset that gives 'conventional wisdom' free reign, to the point that efforts of diplomats are inhibited, a factor visible in the latest failure, the Oslo Peace process. Thus the notion that Palestinian claims are 'artificially and mischievously inspired' is hard to shake, as is the perception that the only issue in the conflict is an unreasonable Arab refusal to accept Israel's right to exist. The work is a useful guide to the whole history of the conflict, and ends by finding Clinton, so close to a real breakthrough, still caught in all the basic misperceptions.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful By george T. Karnezis on October 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Since September 11, I have been searching for an understanding of what's going on in the Middle East. I had done no serious study, but I quite recommend this book. While there's some overwriting and repetition, its basic tenet, that the Palestinians have traditionally been seen exclusively through an Israeli lense, is rigorously demonstrated. This book helps explain how invisible palestine and the Palestinians are, how they have no voice, or at least come to us filtered through pop and media culture. Christison understands how difficult it is to be critical of the Israel without appearing anti-semitic. Her sense of the power of Zionism on popular perception and official policy is lucid. You will not be able to read papers or absorb the usual media line after reading this.
This book has sent me to other sources and educated me at a time when i needed it desperately.
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64 of 77 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
To those who call it anti-semitic, Arabs are semitic too, so drop it.. it's getting old. Everytime a book shows the truth about Israeli aggression against Palestinians it is called anti-semitic, untrue, and bias. Go there and see for yourself.
The only way to peace in the Middle East is through peace between Palestinians and Israelis and this book shows a side that no one wants to hear.
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