Things My Family Art Writings My Music Links Home

Review of “Crisis as Culture Clash"

Flores, Michael C., “Crisis as Culture Clash: The Palestinian Land Crisis of the Early Twentieth Century and its Implications as a Clash Between Cultures”, Perspectives: A Journal of Historical Inquiry. 1996: 17-51


In a day and age in which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a constant topic of the nightly news and in which almost all educated people have an opinion on the matter, it is nice to gain some back ground information on how Israel became its own state.  Michael C. Flores’s paper entitled Crisis as Culture Clash: The Palestinian Land Crisis of the Early Twentieth Century and its Implications as a Clash Between Cultures is indeed an interesting sours for this background information.

Flores, in his essay, writes about how the European Jews were able to take land from the Arab Palestinians and eventually form their own state in 1948.  According to Flores the Jews were able to effectively pool their resources in organization such as The Jewish National Fund which was “organized to pool funds in order to purchase land in Palestine.” (25)  Since, at the time, the British were in control of Palestine and the Palestinian Arabs had a non western concept of land ownership, The Jewish National Fund was exceptionally capable of accomplishing it’s goals.   What Flores seems to argue in all this is that there were inherent and unavoidable problems that were bound to arise as the Jews displaced the Arabs. 

Flores seems to take the stance that the Jewish invasion of Palestine was wrong, even referring to Zionist literature as propaganda. (23)  Perhaps one reason for Flores point of view can be seen in one line of the essay in which Flores compares the problems faced by the Palestinian Arabs to those faced by the Native American Indians a century earlier.   Flores, being of Native American heritage himself, most likely bears some compaction for the struggles of the Native Americans and there for most likely also may bear compaction for Palestinians as well. 

Author’s bias aside, Flores does bring up as interesting ethical question.  Is it acceptable for one people to displace another people as so that they can escape persecution and create a long needed state of their own?  The answer is not so easily found.  If no two people can live in the same spot and all spots are taken, how dose one with no spot find a spot of his own?  The only answer may be to displace who ever is in that spot already.   This being the case, it is hard to judge the Jews for what they have done.  On the other hand, it is hard not to feel for the Palestinians who had their land stolen away from them.  Perhaps only time will tell who was right and who was wrong in the Israeli- Palestinian land crisis.



© All words and music written and owned by Shawn Nelsen.