Jonina, et all,
I haven't read Etaf Rum's book, but your query raises a similar response
from me as the question regarding middle school books on Israel/Palestine,
which is that the subjective experience of Jews and Palestinians in the
region over the  past 100 years has been so different as to be nearly
incomprehensible and unbearable to the other. I hope you will change your
mind and finish reading Etaf Rum's book.
I couldn't have understood, nor born, the sentence that stopped you cold
"Israel's invasion of Palestine" without having read two things that I hope
others among us will read. One is
My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness: A Poet's Life in the
Palestinian Century by Adina Hoffman, a biography of the poet Taha Muhammad
Ali who was 16 and living in Saffuriya a village in the Nazareth area in
1948. One thread of the book is Hoffman's investigation of Taha's claim
that the IDF dropped bombs hear his village in July 1948, resulting in the
villagers fleeing. Taha claimed to have seen the planes dropping the bombs.
This account of planes dropping bombs in the area was widely spoken and
believed by Palestinians, but in no accounts of the war, and vociferously
denied by all Israelis, even soldiers who were there. However, Hoffman went
into the archives of recently (recent to 2009) declassified IDF documents
that detail the 91 bombing sorties of 3 crop-dusters in early July,
military descriptions of exactly what Palestinians had recorded in oral
histories.

The second piece I think is indispensable reading to a Jewish understanding
of Etaf Rum's statement is something I only recently found in our Temple
library in the book Great Jewish Speeches. It is the March 1946 address by
Martin Buber and Judah Magnes arguing for a binational state. After reading
this speech several times, my perspective changed, though it was well-known
that if Palestine was divided and if the Jews declared a state there would
be war, some of our best minds and spiritual leaders were desperately
advocating for something else. This is well known. But what I felt changed
for me, was that I could see how, from a Palestinian perspective, the
declaration of the State of Israel was the initiation of the war, rather
than the invasion by the Arab states.

I look forward to reading Rum's book, and hearing other Jewish opinions of
it.

Clare Kinberg, Temple Beth Emeth Library, Ann Arbor




On Sun, Jan 12, 2020 at 3:19 PM Jonina Duker via Hasafran <
hasafran@lists.osu.edu> wrote:

> Has anyone done an analysis of the very popular 2019 novel _A Woman is No
> Man_- by Etaf Rum?  I am a professional book discussion facilitator (among
> other things) and for the first time declined to facilitate because I could
> not make myself read the book (and I have in fact read in order to
> facilitate plenty of both fiction and non-fiction that were awful, or whose
> premises were deceptive, or distorted the facts, etc. etc. etc.  Other
> factors contributing: a Pittsburgh native, I started to read it just after
> the Jersey City and Monsey domestic terrorist attacks; the group is the
> "private" group as in not sponsored by an institution and all of them are
> Jewish women in their seventies most of whom have known each other since
> childhood).  I was stopped on page 4 by this sentence, and just could not
> read further ...  the author is writing about Lyd and how the family's home
> was taken by occupying Israeli forces in what is implicitly by earlier
> dating 1948, what stopped me cold was " "Israel's invasion of Palestine".
> Again, the implicit dating is  1948.  (At that point, of course, the
> referents for the word "Palestine" would only have been Jewish ones.)
> Anyone have more on this one?  Similar to the wonderfully helpful posting
> Marjorie Gann just did.  Or maybe the book got better ... I don't know, for
> the first time in my long life of decades of professional facilitating and
> volunteer facilitating since 7th grade, I couldn't read a book for a book
> discussion.  Thank you in advance.  Jonina Duker
> __
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-- 
Clare Kinberg
__
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