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Coffins on Our Shoulders

The Experience of the Palestinian Citizens of Israel

Dan Rabinowitz (Author), Khawla Abu-Baker (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 232 pages
ISBN: 9780520245570
September 2005
$34.95, £24.95
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This highly original historical and political analysis of the Arab-Israeli conflict combines the unique perspectives of two prominent segments of the Middle Eastern puzzle: Israeli Jews and the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Written jointly by an Israeli anthropologist and a Palestinian family therapist born weeks apart to two families from Haifa, Coffins on Our Shoulders merges the personal and the political as it explores the various stages of the conflict, from the 1920s to the present. The authors weave vivid accounts and vignettes of family history into a sophisticated multidisciplinary analysis of the political drama that continues to unfold in the Middle East. Offering an authoritative inquiry into the traumatic events of October 2000, when thirteen Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed by Israeli police during political demonstrations, the book culminates in a radical and thought-provoking blueprint for reform that few in Israel, in the Arab world, and in the West can afford to ignore.

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six

About the Authors
Dan Rabinowitz is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel-Aviv University. He is the author of Overlooking Nazareth: The Ethnography of Exclusion in Galilee (1997), Anthropology and the Palestinians (1998), and The Cross Israel Highway (forthcoming). Khawla Abu-Baker is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Behavioral Science at Emek Yizrael College. She is the author of A Rocky Road: Arab Women as Political Leaders in Israel (1998) and editor of Women, Armed Conflict, and Loss: The Mental Health of Palestinian Women in the Occupied Territories (2004).
“Short, articulate, well-researched . . . . It is a welcome addition to the field.”—Journal Of The Royal Anthropological Inst
"A fascinating work. Rabinowitz and Abu-Baker succeed not only in challenging many basic assumptions and stereotypes about the victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict, but also in undermining much of the public discourse on the Palestinian minority inside Israel. An outstanding work of scholarship combining social science research tools with [auto-] biographic intimacy." —Salim Tamari, Director, The Institute of Jerusalem Studies

"Coffins on Our Shoulders is a profound, worrying, and insightful excursion into the lives and times of a new generation of young Palestinians in Israel. This unusually impressive volume makes it clear how deeply a politics of difference, mounted in the name of collective entitlement, calls into question the limits of liberal democracy. "—John L. Comaroff, Professor, University of Chicago, Research Fellow, American Bar Foundation

"Coffins on our Shoulders is an absorbing portrait of contemporary life in Israel. Rabinowitz and Abu-Baker give us a thoughtful, multi-vocal chronicle about Jewish majority, and Palestinian minority relations in Israel."—Susan Slyomovics, Professor of anthropology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of The Object of Memory: Arab and Jew Narrate the Palestinian Village

"Rabinowitz and Abu-Baker examine the making of a new generation of Palestinians in Israel who are challenging the basic ideological core of Israel as a self-defined Jewish state and redefining the asymmetrical power configuration that governs the relationship between the Jewish majority and the Palestinian minority within Israel. This bifocal look, based on a very well-informed and perceptive reading of the current scene in Israel, is complemented by the personal narratives of the two authors, giving us an illuminating and rare glimpse into the juxtaposed lives of real people, across the divide."—Anton Shammas, professor of modern Middle Eastern literature, University of Michigan

"The lucid sociological analysis of recent transformations in patterns of political behavior and conceptions of self identity among Israeli Palestinians becomes an opportunity for both authors to reflect upon their own identity and personal history. The juxtaposition of their two life stories, which have thrown them so far apart yet kept them so close together, and the integration of these stories into the theoretical analysis makes this book truly moving and exceptional."—Adi Ophir, professor, The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University

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