Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 2 hour seminar


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 5,000 word essay  60%
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  40%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Evaluate Britain's role in the development of modern Zionism
2. Discuss and analyze British diplomatic and strategic interests in relation to the Palestine Mandate, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the wider Middle East after 1917
3. Demonstrate awareness of the core elements of the conflict between Israel, the Arab states and the Palestinians
4. Analyze and evaluate the changing approaches of the major British political parties towards Zionism and Israel
5. Discuss and analyze the changing meaning and significance of the 'Palestinian Question' in British politics and diplomacy
6. Demonstrate awareness and understanding of the role the British media, pressure groups, and other civil society actors have played in shaping British attitudes and policy towards the Arab-Israeli conflict
7. Demonstrate awareness and understanding of British debates about anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism
8. Evaluate and respond to historiographical debates surrounding the questions of Anglo-Israeli relations and British policy towards the Arab-Israel dispute and the Middle East

Brief description

The module will provide a broadly chronological analysis of British inter-actions with the Israel-Palestine question and the wider Arab-Israeli conflict. It will look historically at the origins of British engagement and enthusiasm for the Zionist movement, the emergence of British imperial responsibilities for the Palestine Mandate and the subsequent, post-1948 development of Anglo-Israeli relations within a regional and global diplomatic context. The originality of the module, however, is found in its focus upon the interconnectedness of the Middle East and British domestic politics. The module explores the shifting attitudes towards, Zionism, Israel and the Palestinians held and expressed by British political parties and pressure groups. It places particular emphasis on the changing nature of British left-wing attitudes to Zionism and Israel over the course of the 20th Century.


1. British Romances of Arabia and Zion
2. The 'Weizmann network' and the Balfour Declaration
3. British Politics and the Palestine Mandate
4. 'Israel's George III': the Controversy of Ernest Bevin
5. British Politics and the Arab-Israeli Dispute from Suez to the Six Day War
6. The New Lobbies: Campaigns, Pressure Groups and the Media after 1956
7. Britain, Europe and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1967-1979
8. The Road to Perdition: the anti-Zionist Left after 1967
9. The Conservative Party and the Israel-Palestinian Conflict in the age of Thatcherism
10. Zionism, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism in Contemporary British Politics


The module contributes to the Department's International History provision at Masters level. It will provide an in-depth, research-led overview of both Britain's historical role in the politics of the Arab-Israeli conflict and, more significantly, an analysis of how the politics of Zionism, Arab nationalism and Palestinian nationalism have inserted themselves within and imposed themselves upon British politics and diplomacy. It will encourage postgraduate students to develop the conceptual and empirical capability to interrogate and criticise the various ways in which emotive and complex political controversies have been and continue to be played out within British political, public and academic life.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to how to present their arguments most effectively. They will learn the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. This module will particularly test aural and oral communication skills as it involves assessed seminar performance. Students will also be required to submit their essays in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their coursework and presentation topics. The need to prepare for seminar participation and to meet coursework deadlines will focus students’ attention on the need to manage their time.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science and OCLC). Students will also be expected to make use of the resources that will be available on the Blackboard VLE.
Personal Development and Career planning This module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their career development and working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statements of others. Moreover, the written work includes writing clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; the submission of an essay will require that the student develops independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare seminar presentations will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills The submission of the essays will reflect the independent research skills of the student. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for seminar participation and presentations will also enable the student to develop independent project skills.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualize and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: - Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module - Evaluate competing perspectives - Demonstrate subject specific research techniques Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and contemporary political problems A major emphasis will be placed on the development of students' ability to synthesize and analyze information and evidence from a range of different types of source material.
Team work Students will undertake team exercises in the seminars.

Reading List

General Text
Foucault, M Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews & Other Writings 1972-1977 (ed by C Gordon) Harvester Press Primo search Loomba, A Colonialism/Postcolonialism Routledge Primo search
Essential Reading
Williams, P. & Chrisman, L. (eds.) (1994) Colonial Discourse and Postcolonial Theory: A Reader Harvester Wheatsheaf Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7