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Shared Narratives — Session 3

Session 3: Palestinians after the Nakba and Jews after the Holocaust

ADEL MANNA': I will also start with a personal statement, like Yossi Gorny. He said that he arrived in the country in 1947. I was born in the country in 1947.

YOSEF GORNY: Then we arrived at the same time.

ADEL MANNA': Yes, on this planet, to this place at the same time, towards the end of 1947. And I would like to say that I am a graduate of the Israeli system, the Israeli educational system, both schools and universities, but I have taught in different places, Palestinian universities and at the Hebrew University. But since the Hebrew University was mentioned more than once, for me, as someone who knows the Hebrew University very well, it is not always a place of completely professional work, and particularly in the department that I graduated from, Middle Eastern History and Islam, not one Arab professor has ever taught there since the establishment of this Hebrew University. So try to think what it would be like in the United States or anywhere in the world, to have a department of Israel Studies and Middle Eastern History, say Yale, Princeton, Columbia or whatever, and there is not one Jew there, who might give different views and different narratives about 1948 or about other things related to Jewish history.

Perhaps for the first time, I'll say something about choosing subjects or choosing what you are studying. I did not go there to study the Ottoman history of Palestine because I wanted to do that. When I came to the Hebrew University and I wanted to do my MA, I spoke to one of the professors in the department and said I wanted to do my MA about al-Ard, an Arab movement in Israel. And he said forget about those Arab movements in Israel. And I said why. And he said no, no, that is not a good subject for you to deal with.

MOSHE MA'OZ: Was it me?
ADEL MANNA': It wasn't you. You know.
Anyway, after that conversation I understood that for a Palestinian student at the

Hebrew University, he had better be far away from the current issues of Zionism and the Palestinians and Israel, and the Arab-Israeli conflict, and look for something historical par excellence. Actually, now I’m happy that I studied Ottoman history rather than modern history, but at that time I had to persuade myself to deal with that century, and that is what I did.


To read the entirety of Session 3, click here


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