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Army of Shadows: Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917–1948

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Inspired by stories he heard in the West Bank as a child, Hillel Cohen uncovers a hidden history in this extraordinary and beautifully written book—a history central to the narrative of the Israel-Palestine conflict but for the most part willfully ignored until now. In Army of Shadows, initially published in Israel to high acclaim and intense controversy, he tells the stor Inspired by stories he heard in the West Bank as a child, Hillel Cohen uncovers a hidden history in this extraordinary and beautifully written book—a history central to the narrative of the Israel-Palestine conflict but for the most part willfully ignored until now. In Army of Shadows, initially published in Israel to high acclaim and intense controversy, he tells the story of Arabs who, from the very beginning of the Arab-Israeli encounter, sided with the Zionists and aided them politically, economically, and in security matters. Based on newly declassified documents and research in Zionist, Arab, and British sources, Army of Shadows follows Bedouins who hosted Jewish neighbors, weapons dealers, pro-Zionist propagandists, and informers and local leaders who cooperated with the Zionists, and others to reveal an alternate history of the mandate period with repercussions extending to this day. The book illuminates the Palestinian nationalist movement, which branded these "collaborators" as traitors and persecuted them; the Zionist movement, which used them to undermine Palestinian society from within and betrayed them; and the collaborators themselves, who held an alternate view of Palestinian nationalism. Army of Shadows offers a crucial new view of history from below and raises profound questions about the roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict.


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Inspired by stories he heard in the West Bank as a child, Hillel Cohen uncovers a hidden history in this extraordinary and beautifully written book—a history central to the narrative of the Israel-Palestine conflict but for the most part willfully ignored until now. In Army of Shadows, initially published in Israel to high acclaim and intense controversy, he tells the stor Inspired by stories he heard in the West Bank as a child, Hillel Cohen uncovers a hidden history in this extraordinary and beautifully written book—a history central to the narrative of the Israel-Palestine conflict but for the most part willfully ignored until now. In Army of Shadows, initially published in Israel to high acclaim and intense controversy, he tells the story of Arabs who, from the very beginning of the Arab-Israeli encounter, sided with the Zionists and aided them politically, economically, and in security matters. Based on newly declassified documents and research in Zionist, Arab, and British sources, Army of Shadows follows Bedouins who hosted Jewish neighbors, weapons dealers, pro-Zionist propagandists, and informers and local leaders who cooperated with the Zionists, and others to reveal an alternate history of the mandate period with repercussions extending to this day. The book illuminates the Palestinian nationalist movement, which branded these "collaborators" as traitors and persecuted them; the Zionist movement, which used them to undermine Palestinian society from within and betrayed them; and the collaborators themselves, who held an alternate view of Palestinian nationalism. Army of Shadows offers a crucial new view of history from below and raises profound questions about the roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

30 review for Army of Shadows: Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917–1948

  1. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    Offers a more nuanced view of Arab-Israeli cooperation during the Mandate era. Cohen has been accused of his biases although I didn't quite see it on first glance. Ideology aside, the book covers a much needed topic and erases black and white views on Arab and Jewish cooperation. Offers a more nuanced view of Arab-Israeli cooperation during the Mandate era. Cohen has been accused of his biases although I didn't quite see it on first glance. Ideology aside, the book covers a much needed topic and erases black and white views on Arab and Jewish cooperation.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Phoenix

    Impressive, Detailed, Scholarly This is a must read book on the history of the Arab/Israeli conflict. Cohen educates his readers with an absolutely riveting account of the rivalry and tensions between various clan factions in Mandatory Palestine dating from the collapse of Ottoman rule to the Israeli declaration of independence. [ Instead he names local Arab clan leaders and land brokers who willingly sold lands to Jews and to the Jewish Agency. ] The word "collaborator" in the context of conflict Impressive, Detailed, Scholarly This is a must read book on the history of the Arab/Israeli conflict. Cohen educates his readers with an absolutely riveting account of the rivalry and tensions between various clan factions in Mandatory Palestine dating from the collapse of Ottoman rule to the Israeli declaration of independence. [ Instead he names local Arab clan leaders and land brokers who willingly sold lands to Jews and to the Jewish Agency. ] The word "collaborator" in the context of conflict is often taken negatively. Yet in business one collaborates all the time - its how we get things done. When I collaborate with others it is in order to get more accomplished collectively that could be done by individually. In Palestinian society "collaboration" was viewed as pejorative, and therein lies the problem. The main branch of Palestinian nationalism today rejects the notion of collaboration and by examining history we can uncover the origin of this school of rejectionist thought. I recently wrote the author of a history of the Middle East why he didn't cover the story of the minority view of Arab sympathizers to Jewish migration. He had considered contrary movements in Egypt and in Iran. He dismissed it as the story of the dog that didn't bark, implying that it wasn't very relevant. Yet in the Sherlock Holmes story of the same name the fact that the dog did not bark was the clue that solved the case! Paragraph by paragraph Cohen clearly outlines of the events of the day backed by newspaper articles of the day, interviews, reports and archived correspondence. He also looks at the campaign of intimidation backed by the Mufti Haj Amin Husseini against those in the Arab community who were friendly towards Jews. What began as threats by 1936 had turned to bombs and and assassination of rivals and members of their families for selling land and doing business with Jews. (There was no refinement of the notion of Jew vs. Zionist shown.) Yet due to the nature of clan rivalry one of the effects was to drive some of the opposing clans such as Abu Gosh into a positive relationship with the Zionist camp. The book shatters the Palestinian mythologies that Jews stole land, that the land sales were largely from foreigners or even that there was a coherent Palestinian polity, or that the British were on the side of the Jews or Arabs. It's an honest book in that he shows that the Arab land brokers were in some cases motivated by greed to sell land to Jews at high prices and were not adverse to questionable practices in amassing their holdings for resale. Some would squander the profits while others were interested in modernization and reinvestment for the benefits of their families or clans. Cohen establishes a realistic picture of a proto-Israeli polity that was organized for mutual benefit that made sure that it was as well informed as it could be about the sympathies and antipathies that it faced and this was both the purpose and beginnings of Israeli intelligence. Overall I was spellbound with Cohen's ability relate the past. Credit should also go to his translator Haim Watzman. The book has a multitude of interesting details of which I was completely unaware and it certainly changed my perspective on this period of history. I've followed this up with Cohen's next book Good Arabs: The Israeli Security Agencies and the Israeli Arabs, 1948-1967. Highly recommended!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Saed Jaghoub

    يشرح بداية الخيانة من عام 1917 الى 1948 اسباب الضعف في التصدي لمثل هذه المحاولات لاستدراج العملاء والية عمل العقلية في التنقيب عن سواد قلوب البعض

  4. 4 out of 5

    Steve Cran

    Arab collaboration with zionist forces. A well documented book written by Israeli author Hillel Cohen. Since the beginning the Zionists havee tried to influence Palestinian society in their favor. First theey tried political parties and newspaers but the zionistss were not successful their. They were successfull in getting Palestinian to buy land for them and spy the them. Smasirah or land dealeers used al sort of tricks to mkae arabs sell their land not all of them cool. THe book delineates whi Arab collaboration with zionist forces. A well documented book written by Israeli author Hillel Cohen. Since the beginning the Zionists havee tried to influence Palestinian society in their favor. First theey tried political parties and newspaers but the zionistss were not successful their. They were successfull in getting Palestinian to buy land for them and spy the them. Smasirah or land dealeers used al sort of tricks to mkae arabs sell their land not all of them cool. THe book delineates which Palestinains helped Zionist forces and fighting unti comprised of Palestinian fighting on behalf of the zionist. It aalso dlves into reason why Palestinians chose to aid the zionist.

  5. 5 out of 5

    سوسو

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jason Lewis

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bachir H.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Calvin

  9. 4 out of 5

    Oscar J

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mahmoud Amer

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mohammad Irshaid

  12. 5 out of 5

    Yousef Alhouli

  13. 4 out of 5

    Charles

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jack Leman

  15. 4 out of 5

    Spencer Bytheway

  16. 4 out of 5

    Zachary Zamechansky

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mark Lewis

  18. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gery

  20. 5 out of 5

    Atheer Al Ghzawi

  21. 5 out of 5

    Saddam Abu Ghaida

  22. 4 out of 5

    Moayad Hippo

  23. 4 out of 5

    Roreta Arafat

  24. 4 out of 5

    J.M. Hushour

  25. 4 out of 5

    سُمَيّة

  26. 5 out of 5

    Majid Zaki

  27. 4 out of 5

    Louis Williams

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  29. 5 out of 5

    Osama Hammad

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

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