Postcolonial Theory and the Arab-Israel Conflict

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Postcolonial theory is one of the main frameworks for thinking about the world and acting to change the world. Arising in academia and reshaping humanities and social sciences disciplines, postcolonial theory argues that our ideas about foreigners, 'the other,' particularly our negative ideas about them, are determined not by a true will to understand, but rather by our desire to conquer, dominate, and exploit them. According to postcolonial theory, the cause of poverty, tyranny, and misery in the world, and of failed societies around the world, is Euro-American imperialism and colonialism. Previously published as a special issue of Israel Affairs, this work examines and challenges postcolonial theory. In scholarly, research-based papers, the specialist authors examine various facets of postcolonial theory and application. First, the theoretical assumption and formulations of postcolonial theory are scrutinized and found dubious. Second, the deleterious impact on academic disciplines of postcolonial theory is demonstrated. Third, the distorted postcolonial view of history, its obsession with current events to the exclusion of the historical basis of events, is exposed and corrected. Fourth, an examination of Middle Eastern culture challenges the assumption that these societies have been shaped entirely, and victimized, by Western intrusion. Finally, exploring the Arab-Israel conflict, the one-sided case of postcolonial Arabism is explored and found to be faulty.