Decentering the 1948 Palestine war: from the local to the global

Public lecture

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27th June, 2024
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
In person – Birkbeck, University of London, Room B34, Main Building, Malet St, London WC1E 7HX
Derek Penslar, Harvard University

In this talk, Professor Derek Penslar links the Palestine Question with the formation of a new global political order after the Second World War.  Between 1947 and 1949, debates about Palestine within the United Nations pulled dozens of countries directly into the determination of the land’s fate.  A complex mixture of national interests and transnational sympathies shaped attitudes towards the partition of Palestine and the ensuing Arab-Israeli war.  A comparison of governmental documents and the popular press shows that in most of the world high diplomacy was in sync with public opinion.  The war riveted the attention of the world – for reasons that still apply in our own day.

Derek Penslar is the William Lee Frost Professor of Jewish History and the Director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University. His books include Jews and the Military: A History (Princeton University Press, 2013), Theodor Herzl: The Charismatic Leader (Yale University Press, 2020); and Zionism: An Emotional State (Rutgers University Press, 2023).  He is currently writing a book titled The War for Palestine, 1947-1949: A Global History. 

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