Israel/Palestine: A Critical Textbook Analysis of the Question’s History in Anglophone Universities
Borhani, Seyed Hadi
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
To publish the content
The Israel/Palestine question, and its resonance for international peace and security, has turned into a central interest of the modern world. It also raises much controversy in the academic community. The Western support for Israel, a key factor in Israel’s survival, is a significant feature of this issue. It has been revealed, through preceding studies, that Western policies towards Israel, foreign human rights policy for instance, are biased. The West appears biased, also, in what it produces about the question. Western products in the cinema and the mass media examined in this regard. How knowledge produced in the West is influenced by the pro-Israeli environment has been an academic concern. No empirical investigation, at the same time, has been made into how academic knowledge at university level treats the Israel/Palestine question. The popular belief about the scientific and impartial characteristics of Western knowledge has probably contributed to such a state of affairs. A sample of the most popular college level textbooks on the history of the Israel/Palestine question has been selected, through an extensive survey, to represent relevant Western knowledge. The selected textbooks have been analysed through a method of ‘Historical Narrative Analysis’ against a Zionist/pro-Israeli structure of Israel’s history. The immediate context of the histories produced, the relevant historians and their background, are analysed to answer the second part of the key question of the research: ‘How the knowledge of history of the Israel/Palestine question is presented in Western academia, and why it has been presented in that particular way’. The results of the first analysis, a textbook analysis, support the claim that textbook knowledge on the question is mainly pro-Israeli in bias. In relation to the question “why”, the analysis offers the ‘Jewish pro-Israeli producer’ as the main factor that can explain that bias in the products. Another factor is identified in this analysis as well; the relevant knowledge has been produced in a certain, American or Israeli, national and educational environment.
PhD in Arab and Islamic Studies