The Great Book Robbery

chronicles of a cultural destruction


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The Destruction of Palestinian Library and Cultural Resources in 2002 by Tom Twiss

  The Great Book Robbery may have been the first case in which the government of Israel conducted an assault upon libraries, but it was not the last. Here, I want to recall a more recent case of the destruction of Palestinian libraries.

I Come From There and Remember…Only to Make a Single Word Called Homeland by Lubna Bandak

Israel Can Never Steal Our Heritage by Rana Baker

  We Palestinians have nothing to cherish more than our roots and ancestral identity. To us, olive trees and the shade in which our grandparents rested or lovers used to secretly meet weave together sweet pre-dispossession memories.

The Displacement of an Imagined People: Tourism, Biblical Romanticism, and Orientalism in Pre-Mandate Palestine 1840-1922

  This is an introduction to Kali Harper’s undergraduate Honors thesis.    Introduction


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Overdue Books: Returning Palestine’s “Abandoned Property” of 1948 by Hannah Mermelstein

This article first appeared in the Jerusalem Quarterly in Autumn 2011. Cultural genocide extends beyond attacks upon the physical and/or biological elements of a group and seeks to eliminate its wider institutions… Elements of cultural genocide are manifested when artistic, literary, and cultural activities are restricted or outlawed and when national treasures, libraries, archives, museums, artifacts, and art galleries are destroyed or confiscated. – David Neressian.1

Book plunder, the loss of culture and the way forward

Since occupation started erasing Palestinian culture, by the grand book theft, by the appropriation of historic sites, the change of place names into Hebrew names, and the daily control of books that can access the Palestinian areas, many have struggled to preserve our culture. The Arab Women’s Union in Bethlehem re-printed old Palestinian books, researchers such as Khalil Shokeh worked on publishing books documenting and archiving old Palestinian photography, people such as the Nashashibi’s preserved what was left of their old libraries.

The significance of the arts

Listening. Its a radically loving act that involves not only hearing an individual, but empathizing with their situation and in turn internalizing their feelings and expressions as your own.

Old and Knew Knowledge by Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh

Colonial history is a history of attack on native people and everything associated with them.   It is an attempt not only to erase the people but to erase their memory.  No other colonial system developed as many tools  to achieve this erasure than Zionism.  Zionsits used the classic brute force forms of ethnic cleansing where 530 villages and towns were depopulated and destroyed.

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