Betrayal of Palestine

The Story of George Antonius

Susan Boyle

First Edition • January 1, 2001 • 373 pages

Print ISBN: 9780813337593 • $50.00 USD$93.99 CAN

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This definitive biography of George Antonius tells the life story of a man who lived during a dramatic period of history, amid challenge that remains unresolved: the Palestine-Zionist conflict. Betrayal of Palestine is an important and innovative work about the continuing controversy of empire and nationalism. This book traces Antonius’s contribution and ideas on nation building and good governance and resonates for contemporary seekers of peace in the Middle East. As an archaeology of ideas and meaning, the book will be of great significance for the millennium. It speaks to the paradigm of a conqueror’s code, and to the ever present danger of special interests capturing public policy and corrupting good governance. By rediscovering Antonius’s message about institutions and nation building, and the true meaning of morality, conscience and public service, Betrayal of Palestine speaks to contemporary people in a voice that reconnects the past with the present. The book offers hope to a region where many solutions have failed, and a reminder that the solutions have been there all along, in the people and traditions of the Middle East, but they have been obscured by a conqueror’s code of empire and nationalism. It is a reminder of the genius of democracy and the power of first principles: that ordinary people are important, that power must be shared, and that society as nation transcends tribalism and its more virulent contemporary form: nationalism.

Susan S. Boyle, Fulbright Fellow and History Ph.D., is an independent scholar. She has taught at George Mason and University of Maryland; traveled and researched extensively throughout the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Europe, including the Occupied Territories, Israel, London, and Washington, D.C.; and concentrates her work on issues of public policy and good governance.

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“In a well-written and deeply sympathetic effort, [Boyle] traces the political career of this brilliant Arab intellectual, diplomat, and mediator against the backdrop of Great Britain’s abandonment of the Arabs and embrace of the Zionist cause following World War I.”
— Journal of Palestine Studies

”Susan Silsby Boyle, a historian with a true passion for her subject, has written an engrossing story about an endearing man and his life-long commitment for justice. Her exceedingly thorough book is a must read for students interested in the Middle East.”
— Jack G. Shaheen, author Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People

”George Antonius is best recalled as the author of The Arab Awakening, published in 1938. No less a champion of the exclusive Arab title to Palestine than Edward Said hailed that landmark book as the finest Arab study of the struggle for [Palestinian] independence. Strange, then, that today Antonius seems to be almost forgotten, his name seldom invoked in the ongoing Arab polemic against Israel’s rights in this land. In this sympathetic, almost worshipful, account—focused on those aspects of Antonius’s life that are most closely intertwined with the Palestinian question—Susan Boyle has done an important service to the revival of his legacy.”
— Jack E. Friedman The Jerusalem Post

”Antonius (1891–1942) was born in Lebanon and moved to Jerusalem in 1921 where he became a leader of the nascent Arab nationalist movement. Independent historian Boyle recounts how he introduced ideas about nationhood beyond the concepts of empire and conquest, and argued that the warrior code had been succeeded by a moral code of caring for family, community, and nation.”
— Book News

”Susan Boyle has done an important service to the revival of [George Antonius’s] legacy.”
— New York Times

”Definitely worth reading because it is broader than a man’s life; it enlightens the reader on the conflicting and competing actors and conditions of the Mandate period.”
— Middle East Journal

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