The principle of the “lesser evil”—the acceptability of pursuing one exceptional course of action in order to prevent a greater injustice—has long been a cornerstone of Western ethical philosophy. From its roots in classical ethics and Christian theology, to Hannah Arendt’s exploration of the work of the Jewish Councils during the Nazi regime, Weizman explores its development in three key transformations of the problem: the defining intervention of Médecins Sans Frontières in mid-1980s Ethiopia; the separation wall in Israel-Palestine; and international and human rights law in Bosnia, Gaza and Iraq. Drawing on a wealth of new research, Weizman charts the latest manifestation of this age-old idea. In doing so he shows how military and political intervention acquired a new “humanitarian” acceptability and legality in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
No past revolution, she says, can be attributed to professional revolutionaries. Usually it was the other way around: “revolution broke out and liberated, as it were, the professional revolutionaries from wherever they happened to be – from jail, or from the coffee house, or from the library.”
Five great amateurs whose work changed the world, from author of The Amateur, Andy Merrifield.
This week marks the 50th Anniversary of the Arab-Israeli Six Day War, fought from 5-10 June 1967. Israel’s decisive victory included the capture of east Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories – the West Bank and Gaza – as well as the Golan Heights and Sinai. The end of the war marked the beginning of what has become a 50-year military occupation of the West Bank. In Ten Myths About Israel, Ilan Pappe describes ‘The June 1967 War Was a War of “No Choice”’ as a core myth of Israel.
Nakba Day, an annual day of commemoration of the displacement that preceded and followed the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948, falls on the 15th of May each year. In an attempt to understand the catastrophe, we bring you a reading list of key books on the Israel-Palestine conflict, from Ghada Karmi, Mahmoud Darwish, Naji al-Ali, Ilan Pappe, Edward Said, Shlomo Sand, and more.
Two recently released books explore the brutal history of the foundation of the state of Israel and historiography's connection to nationalism in Israel and beyond.