Globalizing the 1948 War

What did the 1948 Arab-Israeli war look like to those observing it from outside of the Middle East? Did the war have the same impact in the international community as simultaneous conflicts throughout Asia and Europe? And why did countries with no immediate interests in the Middle East adopt policies for or against the creation of a Jewish state? This talk aims to answer these questions, and in so doing, demonstrates how the geo-political environment of the immediate postwar era globalized the Palestine Question, with consequences that reach up to the present day.

Derek Penslar is the William Lee Frost Professor of Jewish History at Harvard University. He previously taught at Indiana University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Oxford, where he was the inaugural holder of the Stanley Lewis Chair in Modern Israel Studies. Penslar’s most recent books are Theodor Herzl: The Charismatic Leader; (2020), Zionism: An Emotional State (2023), and Unacknowledged Kinships: Postcolonial Studies and the Historiography of Zionism (co-edited with Stefan Vogt and Arieh Saposnik, 2023). He is a Fellow of the American Society for Jewish Research and the Royal Society of Canada and an Honorary Fellow of St. Anne’s College, Oxford.