Healing the Land and the NationMalaria and the Zionist Project in Palestine, 1920-1947

Healing the Land and the NationMalaria and the Zionist Project in Palestine, 1920-1947

Sandra M. Sufian

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226779355

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

This book traces the relationships between disease, hygiene, politics, geography, and nationalism in British Mandatory Palestine between the world wars. Taking up the case of malaria control in Jewish-held lands, the author illustrates how efforts to thwart the disease were intimately tied to the project of Zionist nation-building, especially the movement's efforts to repurpose and improve its lands. The project of eradicating malaria also took on a metaphorical dimension—erasing anti-Semitic stereotypes of the “parasitic” Diaspora Jew and creating strong, healthy Jews in Palestine. The author shows that, in reclaiming the land and the health of its people in Palestine, Zionists expressed key ideological and political elements of their nation-building project. The book situates antimalarial medicine and politics within larger colonial histories. By analyzing the science alongside the politics of Jewish settlement, the author addresses contested questions of social organization and the effects of land reclamation upon the indigenous Palestinian population.