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The Struggle for Palestine at the Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry of 1946

  • Sijal Institute for Arabic Language and Culture #1 15 Umar Ibn al-Khattab Amman Jordan (map)

Albert Hourani (1915-93) is well-known for his many contributions to scholarship on modern Middle Eastern history and for his role in mentoring generations of Arab Ph.D. students at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. This talk will attempt to piece together Hourani's life before he became the doyen of Anglophone modern Middle Eastern Studies. It takes us to Manchester where he was born; to Oxford of the 1930s where positivism and Labour-Zionism dominated during his undergraduate years; to the American University of Beirut where he taught alongside Charles Malik, Constantine Zurayk and Antun Sa‘adeh who spurred competing nationalist imaginations among their Arab students; to Chatham House where he worked while British colonial policy was reformatted in the heat of World War II; and to the Anglo-American Palestine Commission (AAPC) of 1946 where the was part of a small group of Arab politicians and intellectuals who tried to make a case for a single democratic state of Palestine and held out against the creation of a Jewish settler state. The talk will end with a discussion of Hourani’s deposition to the AAPC, and the role the British Labour member of the AAPC, Richard Crossmann, played in discrediting Palestinian aspirations.