Connecting with the Enemy

This is a profoundly important study of the history and ongoing efforts for Israeli- Palestinian peace by ordinary Israelis and Palestinians. It is by far the most comprehensive history of this aspect of the conflict I have ever read. It offers a genuinely balanced perspective.

- Stephen Zunes, University of San Francisco, coeditor of Nonviolent Social Movements: A Geographical Perspective

Thousands of ordinary people in Israel and Palestine have engaged in a dazzling array of daring and visionary joint nonviolent initiatives for more than a century. They have endured despite condemnation by their own societies, repetitive failures of diplomacy, harsh inequalities, and endemic cycles of violence.
Connecting with the Enemy presents the first comprehensive history of unprecedented grassroots efforts to forge nonviolent alternatives to the lethal collision of the two national movements. Bringing to light the work of over five hundred groups, Sheila H. Katz describes how Arabs and Jews, children and elders, artists and activists, educators and students, garage mechanics and physicists, and lawyers and prisoners have spoken truth to power, protected the environment, demonstrated peacefully, mourned together, stood in resistance and solidarity, and advocated for justice and security. She also critiques and assesses the significance of their work and explores why these good-will efforts have not yet managed to end the conflict or occupation. This previously untold story of Palestinian-Israeli joint nonviolence will challenge the mainstream narratives of terror and despair, monsters and heroes, that help to perpetuate the conflict. It will also inspire and encourage anyone grappling with social change, peace and war, oppression and inequality, and grassroots activism anywhere in the world.

Katz shows a deep undercurrent and countercurrent to the official narratives that plague the so-called peace process. She offers us a model for how countless activists have indeed learned, through circumstances and values, to think outside the tired old boxes that keep the conflicts going.

- Gordon Fellman, Brandeis University, author of Rambo and the Dalai Lama: The Compulsion to Win and Its Threat to Human Survival

Splendid book! Katz has converted a stupendous amount of research into a very readable and informative narrative.

Steven Moore, literary critic.


Women and Gender in Early Jewish and Palestinian Nationalism

In this landmark book, Katz skillfully demonstrates the complex ways that gender ideology was inextricably linked to and reinforced the formation of both Palestinian Arab and Jewish Zionist national identities in the first half of the 20th century.

- Sherna Berger Gluck, California State University

Drawing on a variety of source materials, ranging from popular print media to poetry, film, political treatises, and biographies and autobiographies, Sheila Katz examines the ways in which gender operated in forming the political identities of Palestinian Arabs and Jewish Zionists. By exploring both gender definitions and their expressions in the everyday lives of two contesting peoples, she provides a highly nuanced understanding of how gender affects the discourse of conflict between two competing national movements. Through this balanced discussion of the histories of Jewish and Palestinian women during Palestine's formative years, Katz makes a significant contribution to scholarship in Middle Eastern and women's history. 

Working at the intersection of several disciplines, Katz provides a wide-ranging examination of the formation and expression of national identity and the changing gender roles that help shape it. She uses gender as a tool to examine the creation of boundaries and power relations among nations. Through a discussion employing the materials and methods of history, sociology, literary criticism, and anthropology, this study offers a unique examination of identity formation in Palestine during the first half of the 20th century and an analysis of both Palestinian and Jewish women in their respective national movements, illuminating gender as a linchpin of international conflict.

This is the only historical study in which the discourse of both Arabs and Jews is the centerpiece and that discourse is analyzed as undergirding the construction of nascent ideologies. . . . The text is a marvelous synthesis of the many conflicting narratives about Palestine in the years leading up to Israeli statehood.

- Lisa Pollard, University of North Carolina, Wilmington

This book makes a significant contribution to Middle Eastern and women’s history scholarship. It is unique to find the cases of these two nationalist movements treated simultaneously in this way, in this period. It is an intriguing interweaving of the gendered narratives.

- Palmira Brummett, University of Tennessee