Review of Army of Shadows Essay

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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 …show more content…
One of the more important aspects of nationalism in the 1920s was how Arabic newspapers were used to “define” notions of treason. Cohen assesses how one is determined to be a traitor, whether through absentee land sales or contributions to Zionist intelligence organizations, and how this leads to violent repression of all varieties of treason. It is interesting to note that although nationalism was becoming “rooted” within Palestinian society, the notion of treason was not wholly accepted. Widespread concepts of nationalism did not become “the principal component in the basket of identities of each individual and the one for which he is willing to kill and be killed” but instead, in the 1920s, setup the mechanisms that helped to achieve this goal: establishment of nationalist “norms,” coercion, and reward. “The press, the religious system..., and the educational system served as central tools” to setup the negative and positive influences into the norms of nationalism. This in turn led to the concepts of who is a traitor and who is not.
As nationalism comes into its own by the riots of 1936, the definition of who are traitors or collaborators began to take a more specific role. Whether they were “opportunists,” village leaders, patriots, or moralists, all found themselves at odds with the rising forms of nationalism. Common responses within the Palestinian narrative…