Palestine in World War II – A Reappraisal

Kobi  Kabalek  's picture
Call for Papers
January 16, 2017 to January 17, 2017
Subject Fields: 
British History / Studies, Contemporary History, Jewish History / Studies, Middle East History / Studies, Military History


                                                                        3rd International Workshop

ERC Project “JudgingHistories”

                                                           Professor Dan Diner, Principal Investigator


Palestine in World War II -

A Reappraisal

January 16-17, 2017

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mt. Scopus

The 3rd international workshop of the ERC project “Experience, Judgement, and Representation of World War II in an Age of Globalization” aims to historicize the case of Palestine during WWII. Although an extensively researched subject matter, comprising studies on British imperial strategy, war history, Jewish volunteering, and Arab reactions in the face of the Allied and Axis powers, a wider and more integrated picture of the historical constellations emerging from a proper historical distance seems increasingly mandatory. Viewed against the backdrop of an understanding of WWII as a global and densely interrelated event, the organizers intend to probe the complex entanglement of continental and colonial affairs, while scrutinizing questions of the various particularities of awareness, historiography and narration.


The unique political-topographical constellation of Mandatory Palestine during the war urges a focus on the following aspects:

- the strategic importance of the Middle East and North Africa as a secondary frontline of the war compared to its continental core,

- the impact of the British imperial defense perimeter granting Palestine and the further Middle East the possibility to escape direct battlefield experiences as well as the fate of falling victim to Axis occupation,

- the impact of the war on the conflict-ridden domain of a contested territory between Jewish-national claims and Arab determinations to refuse – meshing the war with the struggle in Palestine and/or separating it from that struggle,

- the perception of the war from various Arab and Jewish perspectives and in different phases – principally, the time frame before and after the crucial battle of El-Alamein,

- the perception of the war seen against the backdrop of different ideologies and crucial former events – foremost WWI as well as interwar experiences,

- the fall-out of the war in dominant national-Jewish narrations: the historiosophical meaning of Palestine as Eretz Israel in Jewish consciousness in relation to the focus on the mass extermination of the Jews perpetuated by the Nazis.


Overall the workshop seeks to “reintegrate” WWII as a crucial event into the history of Jewish Palestine, while taking the experience of Arab Palestine as well as the British view into account – addressing epistemological and moral questions concerning comprehension, memory and judgement of the war and its repercussions.

Paper proposals should include a title, an abstract (not exceeding two pages), institutional affiliation and contact information. Please submit proposals to by September 1, 2016.

Travel costs (economy class) and the costs of accommodation in Jerusalem (3 nights) will be covered for workshop participants from abroad. Accommodation in Jerusalem will be covered for local participants upon request.


Dr. Kobi Kabalek                                                                                              Iris Nachum

Postdoctoral Research Fellow                                                                        Academic Coordinator


ERC Project “JudgingHistories”

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem