Pennock, Pamela E (2017) The Rise of the Arab American Left: Activists, Allies, and Their Fight against Imperialism and Racism, 1960s–1980s. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. 328 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-4696-3099-1

Jørgen Jensehaugen

Inland Norway University College

The Arab-Israeli conflict also has a US domestic dimension. While the pro-Israeli side of the equation has been studied for decades, the views and influence of Arab Americans has received scant attention. Pamela E. Pennock’s book is the most recent addition to the literature that has begun to rectify this gap (see this book note for my review of another recent attempt). Pennock’s study is impressive, both in scope and in the insights it provides. Her ability to move between the larger political landscape and studies of individual Arab American activists, interest groups and even particular court cases, provides the reader with a rich analysis, which is both broad and extremely detailed. The narrative is intriguing, showing how Arab American activists engaged both inwards, within their own community, and outwards towards other political movements in the Unites States, such as the New Left, the Civil Rights Movements etc. One of the more fascinating, and convincing arguments, is Pennock’s presentation of how the US political outlook was so rigged in the Arab American’s disfavour. When it came to the Arab-Israeli conflict, support for Israel ran so deep and antagonism towards the Arab states, and the Palestinians, was so ingrained that it was almost impossible to gain wider support for their arguments. Only in the late 1970s and early 1980s did this begin to slowly change. I expect more similar studies of the political awakening of the Arab American community to emerge in near future. I also expect Pamela E Pennock’s work to stand out as a point of departure for such studies.