1st Edition

Anti-Colonial Resistance in South Africa and Israel/Palestine Identity, Nationalism, and Race

By Ran Greenstein Copyright 2023

    This book provides a comparative historical study of the rise and evolution of anti-colonial movements in South Africa and Israel/Palestine. It focuses on the ways in which major political movements and activists conceptualised their positions vis-a-vis historical processes of colonial settlement and indigenous resistance over the last century.

    Drawing on a range of primary sources, the author engages with theoretical debates involving key actors operating in their own time and space. Using a comparative framework, the book illustrates common and divergent patterns of political and ideological contestations and focuses on the relevance of debates about race and class, state and power, ethnicity and nationalism. Particular attention is given to South Africa and Israel/Palestine’s links to global campaigns to undermine foreign domination and internal oppression, tensions between the quests for national liberation and equality of rights, the role of dissidents from within the ranks of settler communities, and the various attempts to consolidate indigenous resistance internally while forging alliances with other social and political forces on the outside.

    This book will be of interest to scholars in the fields of African History, Middle East History, and African Studies, and to social justice and solidarity activists globally.

    Chapter 1: Introduction  

    Chapter 2: The Communist Party of South Africa 

    Chapter 3: The Rise of African Nationalism 

    Chapter 4: The Palestinian Communist Party, 1919–1948 

    Chapter 5: Palestinian–Arab Nationalism before 1948 

    Chapter 6: South Africa: the Apartheid Era 

    Chapter 7: Israel/Palestine Post-1948: Dispersal and New Beginnings 

    Chapter 8: Post-1967: Resistance, Occupation, and Civic Struggle 

    Chapter 9: Comparisons and Conclusions


    Ran Greenstein is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

    Greenstein details and compares the ways in which communists and indigenous nationalists in both territories have understood their respective societies and their political prospects and he considers the different ways in which they have sought to build mass support for their struggles. This is a text that overwhelmingly demonstrates the importance of social theory in shaping and guiding political strategy. Primarily a study of ideas and their application, Greenstein in this comparative treatment offers us fresh and invigorating ways of understanding these two struggle histories.

    Tom Lodge, University of Limerick, author of Red Road to Freedom: A History of the South Africa Communist Party, 1921-2021 (Jacana, 2021)

    Ran Greenstein has been ahead of many of us in studying Israel in comparison to South Africa and within the frame of settler colonialism in general. Greenstein knows both societies very well, lived in both countries and studied them thoroughly, and as such he is probably the best person to write about this subject. His book is thorough, nuanced, and full of insights. The book will become a must for anyone who wants to study Israel/Palestine and South Africa, comparative politics, settler societies and movements of resistance.

    Raef Zreik, Senior Research Fellow, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute