Monthly Archives: March 2014

Israel-Palestine Sources

This is a list of recommendations for people (especially Americans) who want to educate themselves about the history and politics of Israel-Palestine.

1. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, which raised controversy for his description of the situation as apartheid.

2. Classic Fateful Triangle by Noam Chomsky. It can be dense due to so much detail, but if you want lots of facts, this one’s for you.

3. For a summary, see A Synopsis of the Israel/Palestine Conflict. Another site of insights is Tikkun.

4. For cultural history of the area, see Time of White Horses by Ibrahim Nasrallah. For a humorous and insightful novel, see Imil Habibi’s Pessoptimist. Available as both a novel and a film (and I prefer the film) is The Gate of the Sun by Ilyas Khouri. For more narratives, see Qualey’s list.

5. For a progressive Muslim American perspective, see Omid Safi’s article from Tikkun, titled “A Muslim Spiritual Progressive Perspective on Palestine/Israel.”

6. For a news update from an Israel peace activist, in English, see Uri Avnery’s weekly post.


Art by Abdel Rahmen Al Muzayen.

I did not even know there was a problem until after I entered college–and that’s not because I was absent on the day it was discussed in my school! I began studying Arabic in London in 2000, and one of my teachers (who happened to be Syrian) refused to recognize the state of Israel. I had no idea what that meant, and almost offered to bring her a map to show her that the country existed. I soon realized that it was not she who needed a lesson in geography. It was me who needed a lesson in history and politics.

Feel free to add more suggestions in the comments section.

Publishers & Book Distributors for Arabic Literature

I’m starting a list of publishers here for literature of the Middle East and North Africa. Tell me if you know of more that should be added…And here is another helpful list.



  • CairoBookStop / محطة كتب القاهرة is a great tool for locating books in Cairo, designed by Nancy Linthicum and Michele Henjum
  • Dar al-Hilal / دار الهلال- affordable paperback literature, also a magazine
  • Dar al-Shorouk / دار الشروق – fiction and non-fiction, in Arabic
  • L’Orientaliste bookstore – See review here.
  • Diwan / ديوان bookstore
  • American University in Cairo Press – fiction and non-fiction, in English
  • For international orders, I can recommend Neelwafurat


  • Saqi Books – academic and general books
  • Alef Books (branch of Egyptian chain) – all books, opening Oct. 2015 at 219a Baker Street


  • Dar Saqi / دار الساقي – fiction and non-fiction, in Arabic


  • Editions Le Fennec / دار الفنك – especially for Francophone literature
  • Librairie Samir / سمير – especially for children’s literature, Arabic and French

United Arab Emirates

  • Kalimat / كلمات – children’s and young adult literature in Arabic

United States