Join a discussion with Irene Gendzier, Professor Emerita of Political Science, Boston University for a discussion on the history and present of US policy in the Palestine conflict.
What did US officials know of the conflict in Palestine in 1948 and does it matter in terms of how it affected US policy in Palestine and the region in the late 1940s and after? Did such knowledge have long range implications for the course of US policy that are relevant today? These questions seek to clarify what US officials on the ground in Palestine and across the Middle East, as well as those in the State and Defense Departments in Washington, DC, knew about the ongoing conflict in Palestine. On the basis of evidence collected in US official sources, such as those provided in the volumes of The Foreign Relations of the US, it is clear that US officials in the State and Defense Departments and those stationed in the Middle East were informed about the origins, course, and potential consequences of the ongoing conflict in Palestine, and its significance for the US in the region. In sum, US officials understood what the ongoing conflict in Palestine in 1948 entailed, and they also understood the limitations of US policy. It is clear that such knowledge did not lead to unanimous accord among the officials concerned as to the preferred course of US policy. In short, knowing the nature of the conflict at hand was not enough to explain US policy, which according to sources was a product of calculated interests of the US role in the region as interpreted by State and Defense Department officials with the critical input of high-level executives and influential parties. The policy and politics that ensued did not reflect a unanimous view of the problem of Palestine or the region then or now, where common parlance suggests that there is a near permanent ‘Mid-East Crisis’ confronting the region and US policy. The absence of such accord, however, by no means indicates the absence of knowledge of the conflict itself.
Irene L. Gendzier is Professor Emerita at Boston University, where she was a long-time member of the faculty, serving in the Departments of Political Science and History, as well as being a member of the African Studies Center. She obtained her B.A. from Barnard College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. Professor Gendzier was a Faculty Associate at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University and is currently a CMES Affiliate in Research, a position she also holds at the Center for International Studies, MIT. Prior to her appointment at Boston University, Professor Gendzier was a visiting scholar at Oxford University’s Center for Lebanese Studies, where she worked on Lebanese archives for her seminal work, Notes From the Minefield: United States Intervention in Lebanon and the Middle East, 1945-1958. She is also the author of Frantz Fanon, A Critical Study (1973); co-editor with Richard Falk and Robert Jay Lifton of Crimes of War: Iraq (2006); and author of Dying to Forget: Oil, Power, Palestine, and the Foundations of U.S. Policy in the Middle East (2015, 2017) and is currently at work on her book, Does Knowing Matter?
The lecture will be livestreamed.
- Date and Time
- 09/19/2023: 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
- MIT E51-395, Cambridge MA 02138
- [email protected]
- Sponsoring Organization
- MIT CIS