The Spring 2011 issue of the Journal of Palestine Studies is now out, and has several items that will be of interest to scholars of the refugee issue. Manzar Foroohar examines the Palestinian diaspora in Central America:
This survey of the understudied topic of the Palestinian diaspora in Central America, based on existing documentation and interviews, focuses mainly on Honduras and El Salvador, the areas of greatest Palestinian concentration. Two waves of immigration are studied: the first and largest, in the early decades of the 20th century, was mainly Christian from the Bethlehem area in search of economic opportunities and intending to return; the second, especially after 1967, came as a permanent diaspora. The article describes the arrival from Palestine, the factors behind their considerable success, the backlash of discrimination, and finally assimilation. Palestinian involvement in Central American politics ( Right and the Left) is also addressed. The article ends with a discussion of identity issues and renewal of ties with Palestine.
Raef Zreik explores the growing israeli demand to be explicitly recognized as a “Jewish state”:
Israel’s raison d’être was as a Jewish state, yet for almost four decades after the 1948 declaration of its establishment its Jewishness was not inscribed in any law. This essay, a structural-historical discourse analysis, seeks to explore what led up to today’s insistent assertion of the state’s Jewish identity. To this end, the author traces Israel’s gradual evolution from its purely ethnic roots (the Zionist revolution) to a more civic concept of statehood involving greater inclusiveness (accompanied in recent decades by a rise in Jewish religious discourse). The author finds that while the state’s Jewishness was for decades an assumption so basic as to be self-evident to the Jewish majority, the need to declare it became more urgent as the possibility of becoming “normalized” (i.e., a state for all its citizens) became an option, however distant. The essay ends with an analysis of Israel’s demand for recognition as a Jewish state, arguing why the Palestinian negotiators would benefit from deconstructing it rather than simply disregarding it.
The issue also contains a call for a new Palestinian negotiation paradigm by Camille Mansour, and an interview with the Hamas representative in Lebanon, Usama Hamdan—as well as other articles, reviews, and documentation.