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The National Liberation League in Mandatory Palestine: Between Ideology and Practice, Between National Liberation and National Conflict

Tue, December 18, 8:30 to 10:00am, Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, Federal 2 Complex


Abigail Jacobson
This paper focuses on the National Liberation League (NLL), a Palestinian Arab communist movement which operated in Palestine between the years 1943-1948. The paper examines its short-lived history in light of the relevant three contexts in which it operated: the local Palestinian national context; the regional context of communist activity in the Middle East, and the external-internationalist context of the Soviet Union. The paper further discusses the activities of the NLL during the period of the 1948 War in Palestine, as well as in the first period of military rule, imposed on the Palestinian citizens of Israel. An analysis of the NLL during the late Mandatory period and the early years of the State of Israel allows a close examination of the ways by which concepts of identity, nationalism, class and ethnicity were conceptualized, debated and contested during times of a national conflict and anti-imperial struggle, and brings to the fore tensions between ideology and practice, nationalism and internationalism. The NLL offers an important opportunity to look into the complex matrix of communist movements that combine anti-imperial struggles with struggles for national liberation in the context of a national conflict, and to examine their dilemmas and what may seem as internal contradictions.


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