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Determining Emotions and the Burden of Proof in Investigative Commissions to Palestine

  • Lori A. Allen (a1)

The conflict in Palestine has been the subject of numerous international investigative commissions over the past century. These have been dispatched by governments to determine the causes of violent conflicts and how to resolve them. Commissions both produce and reflect political epistemologies, the social processes and categories by which proof and evidence are produced and mobilized in political claim-making. Using archival and ethnographic sources, my analysis focuses on three investigative commissions: the King-Crane (1919), Anglo-American (1946), and Mitchell (2001) commissions. They reveal how “reading affect” has been a diagnostic of political worthiness. Through these investigations, Western colonial agents and “the international community” have given Palestinians false hope that discourse and reason were the appropriate and effective mode of politics. Rather than simply reason, however, what each required was maintenance of an impossible balance between the rational and the emotional. This essay explores the ways that affect as a diagnostic of political worthiness has worked as a technology of rule in imperial orders, and has served as an unspoken legitimating mechanism of domination.

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1 For a summary of the King-Crane Commission, see (accessed 23 May 2015). American Commission to Negotiate Peace, “Future Administration of Certain Portions of the Turkish Empire under the Mandatory System (Secret),” 25 Mar. 1919, Oberlin College Archives, Group 2/6-Henry C. King, King-Crane Commission, Reports and Correspondence, Box # 128. Cited below as “King-Crane Commission Archives.”

2 The King-Crane Commission Report, 28 Aug. 1919: Cited below as “King-Crane Commission Report.”

3 The monarch they chose was Emir Feisal, who had helped establish an Arab government under British protection after they conquered the Ottoman army. Feisal, emissary to the Paris Peace Conference, returned to Damascus in May 1919 to greet the King-Crane Commission.

4 “'Ala abwab al-imtihan” [At the door of the examination], Al-Asima, 25 June 1919, 1.

5 The Commission report noted, “The feeling against the Zionist programme is not confined to Palestine, but shared very generally by the people throughout Syria,” with a large majority of the petitions “directed against the Zionist programme.” “King-Crane Commission Report,” Recommendations Section, I. Syria-Palestine, Point E.

6 Box 16/2 (King-Crane Commission, May–August 1919), Albert H. Lybyer Papers, 1876–1949, Oberlin College Repository, University Archives, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (hereafter, ALP/OCR): (accessed 3 July 2013).

7 Howard Harry N., The King-Crane Commission: An American Inquiry in the Middle East (Beirut: Khayats, 1963), 44.

8 Comaroff John L., “Reflections on the Colonial State, in South Africa and Elsewhere: Factions, Fragments, Facts and Fictions,Social Identities 4, 3 (1998): 321–61.

9 See, for example, Ashforth Adam, The Politics of Official Discourse in Twentieth-Century South Africa (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990); Mongia Radhika V., “Impartial Regimes of Truth,Cultural Studies 18, 5 (2004): 749–68; Stoler Ann Laura, Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009).

10 Fernandez James W., “Anthropological Inquiry into the Force of the Emotions in the Family of Man: An Overview,Endoxa 33 (2014): 1336 ; Said Edward, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1979).

11 For example, the Palestinians only decided to focus on the Mitchell Committee after it became clear that the peace talks that Clinton convened in Taba, Egypt in 2001 were leading nowhere. Although the negotiators at Taba believed they were close to reaching a deal on final status issues, Israel suspended the talks due to domestic political considerations. “Final Statement at Taba, 28 January 2001.”; “Shattered Dreams of Peace,” Frontline, (all accessed 26 Dec. 2016).

12 Israel has never cooperated with the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, the 2002 UN Security Council-mandated investigation into Israeli attacks on Jenin refugee camp, or with the 2009 Goldstone Commission, or the UN investigation into the attacks on Gaza in 2014. Israel severed ties with the UN Human Rights Council in 2012 after it probed illegal West Bank settlements, and refused to appear before it in the Universal Periodic Review in 2013. Since 2007, Israel has refused to allow access to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory by all Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories; (accessed 26 Dec. 2016). In 2016, a UN Special Rapporteur quit in protest when Israel refused him access to Palestine; (accessed 29 Dec. 2016). Israel also regularly refuses to carry out its own investigations of Israel Defense Force soldiers killing civilians. Human Rights Watch, “Promoting Impunity,” 2005: (accessed 23 May 2015).

13 Key works on Israeli settlers, in colonial history and the present, include: Rodinson Maxine, Israel: A Colonial-Settler State? (New York: Pathfinder, 1973); Said Edward, The Question of Palestine (New York: Vintage, 1992); Shafir Gershon, Land, Labor and the Origins of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989); Wolfe Patrick, “Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native,Journal of Genocide Research 8, 4 (2006): 287409 .

14 Boyer Dominic, “Thinking through the Anthropology of Experts,Anthropology in Action 15, 2 (2008): 3846 , 45.

15 Sources for my analysis include archival research and ethnographic interviews with those involved in investigative commissions, as well as secondary sources on each historical period. Through the use of memoirs, personal papers, and interviews, I have sought perspectives of individual Palestinians involved with each commission and of the commissioners and governments that dispatched them, along with the broader public's reactions to the commissions and their reports.

16 Bayly Christopher, Empire and Information: Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India, 1780–1870 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996); Stoler Ann Laura, “Colonial Archives and the Arts of Governance,Archival Science 2, 1–2 (2002): 82109 , 102.

17 Other British Royal commissions include: the Palin Commission (1920) that investigated the 1920 riots during the Nebi Musa festival; the Haycraft Commission (1921) that investigated the causes of the 1921 disturbances; the Shaw Commission, a British Parliamentary commission investigating the Western (Wailing) Wall riots in 1929; and the Woodhead Commission (1938), established in response to opposition voices (especially Churchill's) demanding reexamination of partition proposals. The League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission was established in 1921 and constituted a forum in which Jews and Arabs sought to make political claims, often in terms of international law. See Wheatley Natasha, “Mandatory Interpretation: Legal Hermeneutics and the Arab and Jewish Petitions to the League of Nations,” Past and Present 227 (2015): 205–48. The United Nations has sponsored many forms of investigations, including “independent fact finding missions,” panels of inquiry, and Special Rapporteurs. A recent UN inquiry commission on Palestine investigated the “Gaza Conflict” and released its report on 22 June 2015: UNHRC, 24 June 2015, UN Doc A/HRC/29/CRP.4; (accessed 26 Dec. 2016). Other investigations include the 2010 Palmer Committee, and independent initiatives including the 1982 MacBride Commission, and the “Public Truth Commission” organized by the Israeli NGO Zochrot.

18 Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRCs) are a distinct form of commission. They emphasize political reconciliation, usually within a nation-state and at the perceived endpoint of a conflict. Because the contexts, purposes, and results of TRCs are so divergent, I do not explicitly compare them with my three Palestinian cases here, but critical analyses of TRCs do inform my approach. See the special issue edited by Grandin Greg and Klubock Thomas Miller, “Truth and Reconciliation Commissions: State Terror, History and Memory,Radical History Review 97 (2007); and Wilson Richard A., The Politics of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001).

19 Warner Michael, “Publics and Counterpublics,Public Culture 14, 1 (2002): 4990 , 50.

20 Bruno Latour uses the concept of “political epistemology” to draw attention to the unstable boundary between politics and science; see his Review Essay: The Netz-Works of Greek Deductions,Social Studies of Science 38 (2008): 441–59; Kennedy Duncan, “Knowledge and the Political: Bruno Latour's Political Epistemology,Cultural Critique 74, 1 (2010): 8397 . I use the notion somewhat differently, in that I accept that some frameworks for interaction (such as investigative commissions and government lobbying) are explicitly political and popularly recognized as such, and then seek to understand what counts as knowledge and fact within a political context. For a parallel kind of approach to epistemology, see Glaeser Andreas, “Power/Knowledge Failure: Epistemic Practices and Ideologies in the Secret Police of Former East Germany,Social Analysis 47, 1 (2003): 1026 .

21 A similar point is made in Chua Beng-Huat, “Democracy as Textual Accomplishment,Sociological Quarterly 20, 4 (1979): 541–49, 543. For examples, see Graham Hugh Davis, “The Ambiguous Legacy of American Presidential Commissions,Public Historian 7, 2 (1985): 525 , 8, 18; and Graham Hugh Davis, “On Riots and Riot Commissions: Civil Disorders in the 1960's,Public Historian 2, 4 (1980): 727 , 14.

22 Richardson Ivor, “F W Guest Memorial Lecture 1989 Commissions of Inquiry,Otago Law Review 7, 1: 113 : (accessed 23 May 2015); Information on the Domesday Book is available at: (accessed 23 May 2015).

23 For example, see Jonathan Beck, “Head of UN Gaza Commission Rejects Claims of Bias,” Times of Israel, 22 June 2015: (accessed 29 June 2015); and “The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry Statement,” which asserts that it is “independent and free from any interference”: (accessed 23 May 2015).

24 Rowe Mike and McAllister Laura, “The Roles of Commissions of Inquiry in the Policy Process,Public Policy and Administration 21, 4 (2006): 99115 .

25 Lauriat Barbara, “‘The Examination of Everything’: Royal Commissions in British Legal History,Statute Law Review 31, 1 (2010): 2446 , 24.

26 For example, see Rob Grace, “Impartiality and the Bahrain Commission,” ATHA (2011): (accessed 26 May 2015); Lenk Arthur, “Fact-Finding as a Peace Negotiation Tool—The Mitchell Report and the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process,Loyola of Los Angeles International & Comparative Law Review 24, 289 (2002): 289325 :; Bassiouni M. Cherif, “From Versailles to Rwanda in Seventy-Five Years: The Need to Establish a Permanent International Criminal Court,Harvard Human Rights Journal 10, 11 (1997).

27 See, for example, Knee S. E., “The King-Crane Commission of 1919: The Articulation of Political Anti-Zionism,American Jewish Archives 29, 1 (1977): 2253 . Patrick traces the afterlife of the Commission. Andrew Patrick, “Reading the King-Crane Commission of 1919: Discourses of Race, Modernity, and Self-Determination in Competing American Visions for the Post-Ottoman Middle East” (PhD diss., University of Manchester, 2011).

28 See for example Maoz Asher, “Historical Adjudication: Courts of Law, Commissions of Inquiry, and ‘Historical Truth,’Law and History Review 18, 3 (2000): 559606 ; Bar-Yaacov Nissim, The Handling of International Disputes by Means of Inquiry (London: Oxford University Press, 1974).

29 Li Darryl, “Lies, Damned Lies and Plagiarizing ‘Experts,’Middle East Research and Information Project 41 (2011): (accessed 3 Apr. 2016); Block Fred and Somers Margaret, “In the Shadow of Speenhamland: Social Policy and the Old Poor Law,Politics & Society 31, 2 (2003): 283323 .

30 Lynch Michael and Bogen David, The Spectacle of History: Speech, Text and Memory at the Iran-Contra Hearings (Durham: Duke University Press, 1996), 89, 238.

31 Chua, “Democracy as Textual Accomplishment,” 543; Graham, “On Riots and Riot Commissions,” 21; al-Jamālī Muhammad Fādil, Memoirs and Lessons (Beirut: Dar al-katib al-jadid, 1964), 78 (in Arabic).

32 Ashforth, Politics of Official Discourse; Gilsenan Michael, Lords of the Lebanese Marches: Violence and Narrative in an Arab Society (London: I. B. Tauris Publishers, 1996), 6978 ; Mongia, “Impartial Regimes of Truth”; Stoler, Along the Archival Grain.

33 Ashforth, Politics of Official Discourse, 4; Stoler, Along the Archival Grain, 27; Cowan Jane, “Who's Afraid of Violent Language? Honour, Sovereignty and Claims-Making in the League of Nations,Anthropological Theory 33, 3 (2003): 271–91; The Supervised State,Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 14, 5 (2007): 545–78; Fixing National Subjects in the 1920s Southern Balkans: Also an International Practice,American Ethnologist 35, 2 (2008): 338–56.

34 Especially Ashforth, Politics of Official Discourse.

35 In her study on the role of sympathy in imperial state-building, Danilyn Rutherford has noted the dearth of focus on “the real-time interactions between officials and their subjects that make up colonial practice,” but her emphasis is still on the political work of feeling among colonial rulers rather than the ruled: Sympathy, State Building, and the Experience of Empire,Cultural Anthropology 24, 1 (2009): 132 , 4.

36 Manela Erez, The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 23.

37 Makdisi Ussama, Faith Misplaced: The Broken Promise of U.S.–Arab Relations: 1820–2001 (New York: Public Affairs/Perseus Books, 2010), 125. The King-Crane Commission Report also notes, “President Wilson's Fourteen Points, had made a deep impression upon the Syrian people and lay in the background of all their demands.”

38 Zu'aytir Akram, “Protest to Wilson, 15 March 1919 from Palestinian Colony of San Salvador,Watha'iq al-haraka al-wataniyya al-filastiniyya 1918–1939: Min awraq Akram Zu'aytir (Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1984), 10. Western politicians also recognized the importance of invoking Wilson: “Many Allied officials felt, as Walter Lippmann noted, that before beginning a foreign policy statement they had to take a kind of immunity oath by prefacing their remarks with a pledge to Wilson's ideas.” Grabill Joseph L., Protestant Diplomacy and the Near East: Missionary Influence on American Policy, 1810–1927 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1971), 121.

39 “The Committee to Haifa, Akka, and the End of the Journey,” Watha'iq al-haraka, 2.

40 Antonius George, The Arab Awakening: The Story of the Arab Awakening (New York: Capricorn Books, 1965 [1946]), 287.

41 Hilu Bulus, “Al-mas'ala al-suriyya,” al-Muqattam, 9 July 1919, 2; ‘Aisa Suqary, “Al-lejna al-dowliyya fi filastin,” Al-Muqattam, 20 June 1919; “Al-lejna al-dowliyya fi yafa,” (authors unknown) Al-Muqattam, 23 June 1919; Makdisi, Faith Misplaced, 144 n66.

42 Zu'aytir, Watha'iq al-haraka, 2. They were perhaps unaware of how little Wilson and his deputies were concerned with territories outside Europe. Manela, Wilsonian Moment, 24, 40–41. Wilson had already privately approved a draft of Balfour's pro-Zionist statement. Morris Benny, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881–2001 (New York: Vintage Books, 2001), 75.

43 “Interviews of the King-Crane Commission in the Corners of Palestine and East Jordan, June 1919,” Zu'aytir, Watha'iq al-haraka, 29.

44 Wilson advocated the creation of a new league of nations to facilitate a global moral commitment to peace through rational discourse to mobilize public opinion. Ambrosius Lloyd E., “Woodrow Wilson, Alliances, and the League of Nations,Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 5, 2 (2006): 139–65.

45 Patrick, “Reading the King-Crane,” 27; “Interviews,” Watha'iq al-haraka, 23–24.

46 Ibid.

47 Hodzic Saida, “Ascertaining Deadly Harms: Aesthetics and Politics of Global Evidence,Cultural Anthropology 28, 1 (2013): 86109 , 90; Strathern Marilyn, Partial Connections (Walnut Creek: AltaMira, 1991), 10.

48 In addition, the commissioners carried with them a reading list that included ethnographic history books, some written by Christian missionaries to the Near East, as well as “statistical and economic data,” maps of physical features of the land and political boundaries, and information on the political situation “showing as accurately as possible” present claims of groups. “King-Crane Commission (May–August 1919),” box 16/1 ALP/OCR: (accessed 3 July 2013).

49 They conceded that in Palestine they saw proportionally far more Christian groups. Of the nine members of the Commission, seven had ties to Christian missionary activity in the Near East, and three were preachers themselves. Grabill, Protestant Diplomacy, 199.

50 The fear of the Arab mob, and colonial tendencies to blame the Arab mob as collective perpetrator, extend throughout history. See Starrett Gregory, “Authentication and Affect: Why the Turks Don't Like Enchanted Counterpublics, A Review Essay,Comparative Studies in Society and History 50, 4 (2008): 1036–46. In its investigation of the disturbances across Palestine in 1921, the Haycraft Commission pointed to an Arab mob that was “too excited to listen to reason.” “Palestine. Disturbances in May, 21. Reports of the Commissions of Inquiry”: (accessed 29 Dec. 2016). In more recent times, groups of protesting Arabs have been referred to as “the Arab street.” See Bayat Asef, “The ‘Street’ and the Politics of Dissent in the Arab World,Middle East Report 226 (2003): 1017 .

51 Howard, King-Crane Commission, 121.

52 In Gelvin James, Divided Loyalties: Nationalism and Mass Politics in Syria at the Close of Empire (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 263.

53 Ibid., 264.

54 Ibid., 20.

55 “’Ala abwab al-imtihan,” Al-Asima, 25 June 1919, 1.

56 “An Analysis of the Syrian-Palestine Situation in 1919: The American Point of View,” 1928, box7/1, William Yale Papers, Boston University (hereafter, WYP/BU).

57 The League of Nations Charter is available at: (accessed 28 Dec. 2016).

58 Article 22 had been well publicized and shaped Palestinian claims to the League of Nations. William Yale, “Thesis submitted in part requirement of Master's degree by William Yale. 1928. Title: An Analysis of the Syrian-Palestine Situation in 1919 The American Point of View,” box 7/1/6, WYP/BU. Wheatley Natasha, “The Mandate System as a Style of Reasoning: International Jurisdiction and the Parceling of Imperial Sovereignty in Petitions from Palestine,” in Schayegh Cyrus and Arsan Andrew, eds., The Routledge Handbook of the History of the Middle East Mandates (New York: Routledge, 2015), 109.

59 al-Sakakini Khalil, Yawmiyyat Khalil al-Sakakini, Volume 3: Ikhtibar Al-Intidab w As'ilat Al-Hawiyya 1919–1922, Musallam Akram, ed. (Ramallah: Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre, and Jerusalem: Institute of Jerusalem Studies, 2004), 175.

60 “The Principles of the Mandatory Regime”: (accessed 29 May 2015).

61 Zu'aytir, Watha'iq al-haraka, 29.

62 Cited in Gelvin James, “The Ironic Legacy of the King-Crane Commission,” in Lesch David W., ed., The Middle East and the United States: A Historical and Political Reassessment, 2d ed. (Oxford: Westview Press, 2012), 20 n23.

63 The note on this “protest from Muslims and Christians of Nablus to the Paris Peace Conference and allied states” says that this letter of protest signed by all of these people forms the credible popular opinion officially from the Nablus municipality. Zu'aytir, Watha'iq al-haraka, 12.

64 “Historical Sketch by Albert H. Lybyer of the Commission's Visit to Syria, 1 August 1919,” report providing a narrative description of the King-Crane Commission's visit to different parts of the Levant,” box 16/1, ALP/OCR: (accessed 25 Apr. 2014).

65 Zu'aytir, Watha'iq al-haraka, 7.

66 “An Analysis,” box 7/1/6–7, WYP/BU.

67 “Strong National Feeling,” ALP/OCR. Montgomery was also concerned with “Syrian national feeling,” “Report by George Montgomery on Zionism, 1 July 1919,” box 16/1, ALP/OCR, at: (accessed 29 Dec. 2016).

68 “Recommendations of the Future of Syria, Palestine and Lebanon, 26 July 1919,” William Yale Collection, Middle East Centre, St. Antony's College, Oxford, box 1/4/6.

69 “Report in Detail of Interviews in London (Sept. 27, 1919 to Oct. 14, 1919),” box 5/4, WYP/BU.

70 “Reflections on Syrian Nationalism,” box 5/3/319, WYP/BU; Yale William, The Near East: A Modern History (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1968 [1958]), 192.

71 “Reflections on Syrian Nationalism,” box 5/3/319, WYP/BU.

72 Yale, Near East, 4.

73 Report by George Montgomery on Syria, 1 Aug. 1919, box 16/2, ALP/OCR.

74 Yale's minority report is mentioned in Knee, “King-Crane Commission,” 44; Patrick, “Reading the King-Crane,” 25.

75 Compare Rutherford, “Sympathy,” 9.

76 Baker Ray Stannard, Woodrow Wilson and the World Settlement: Written from His Unpublished and Personal Material, vol. II (Garden City: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1923), 208.

77 Cowan, “Who's Afraid?”

78 Hage Ghassan, “Hating Israel in the Field: On Ethnography and Political Emotions,Anthropological Theory, 9 (2009): 5979 ; Lutz Catherine, “The Anthropology of Emotions,Annual Review of Anthropology 15 (1986): 405–36; Lutz Catherine and Abu-Lughod Lila, eds., Language and the Politics of Emotion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990); Rosaldo Michelle, “Toward an Anthropology of Self and Feeling,” in Shweder Richard A. and Levine Robert A., eds., Culture Theory: Essays on Mind, Self and Emotion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983).

79 Caton Steve, “Peaks of Yemen I Summon”: Poetry as Cultural Practice in a North Yemeni Tribe (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990); Gould Deborah, Moving Politics: Emotion and ACT UP's Fight against AIDS (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009); Haskell Thomas, “Capitalism and the Origins of the Humanitarian Sensibility,” parts 1–2, American Historical Review 90, 2–3 (1985): 339–61, 547–66; Navaro-Yashin Yael, The Make-Believe Space: Affective Geography in a Postwar Polity (Durham: Duke University Press, 2012).

80 Hirschman Albert O., The Passions and the Interests: Political Arguments for Capitalism before Its Triumph (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013 [1977]); Konings Martijn, The Emotional Logic of Capitalism: What Progressives Have Missed (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015); Scheper-Hughes Nancy, Death without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992).

81 Manning Paul, “Owning and Belonging: A Semiotic Investigation of the Affective Categories of a Bourgeois Society,Comparative Studies in Society and History 46 (2004): 300–25; Mazzarella William, “Affect: What Is It Good For?” in Dhube Saurab, ed., Enchantments of Modernity: Empire, Nation, Globalization (London: Routledge, 2008); Mazzarella William, “A Torn Performative Dispensation: The Affective Politics of British Second World War Propaganda in India and the Problem of Legitimation in an Age of Mass Publics,South Asian History and Culture 1, 1 (2010): 124 ; Stewart Kathleen, Ordinary Affects (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007); Tambar Kabir, “Iterations of Lament: Anachronism and Affect in a Shi‘i Islamic Revival in Turkey,American Ethnologist 38, 3 (2011): 484500 .

82 Pinch Adela, Strange Fits of Passion: Epistemologies of Emotion, Hume to Austen (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997), 101.

83 Beatty Andrew, “Current Emotion Research in Anthropology: Reporting the Field,” Emotion Review 5, 4 (2013): 414–22, 420.

84 Leys Ruth, “The Turn to Affect: A Critique,” Critical Inquiry 37, 3 (2011): 434–72; Thrift Nigel, “Intensities of Feeling: Towards a Spatial Politics of Affect,Geografiska Annaler 86 (2004): 5778 , 58.

85 Patricia Ticineto Clough, Introduction, in Patricia Ticineto Clough, ed. with Halley Jean, The Affective Turn: Theorizing the Social (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007), 133 .

86 Anderson Ben, “Becoming and Being Hopeful: Towards a Theory of Affect,Environment and Planning D 24 (2006): 733–52, 738.

87 Athanasiou Athena, Hantzaroula Pothiti, and Yannakopoulos Kostas, “Towards a New Epistemology: The ‘Affective Turn,’Historein 8 (2008): 516 .

88 Affect is the realm in which political actors can engage in a “politics of immediation,” through which privileged access to reality or truth can be asserted. For related discussions, see Allen Lori, “Martyr Bodies in the Media: Human Rights, Aesthetics, and the Politics of Immediation in the Palestinian Intifada,American Ethnologist 36, 1 (2009): 162–63; Mazzarella, “Torn Performative,” 2010.

89 Box 4/2, WYP/BU. “Observations on the King-Crane Commission.”

90 William Yale Collection, University of New Hampshire, box 2, MC21/11/3; also Howard, King-Crane Commission, 70–71.

91 For an exegesis of how reading and measuring emotion has figured in the history of colonial counterinsurgency, see Khalili Laleh, “The Uses of Happiness in Counterinsurgencies,Social Text 118, 32, 1 (2014): 2343 .

92 “Strong National Feeling,” ALP/OCR.

93 For parallel dynamics in recent Palestinian politics, see Allen Lori, “Sincerity, Hypocrisy, and Conspiracy Theory in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 48, 4: 701–20.

94 Leys, “Turn to Affect,” 436, 437.

95 On misreading the emotional terrain of diplomatic interactions, see Tate Winifred, “Proxy Citizenship and Transnational Advocacy: Colombian Activists from Putumayo to Washington, DC,American Ethnologist 40, 1 (2013): 5570 ; Human Rights Law and Military Aid Delivery,PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 34, 2 (2011): 337–54.

96 Louis Wm. Roger, The British Empire in the Middle East: 1945–1951: Arab Nationalism, the United States, and Postwar Imperialism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984), 388.

97 Wilson Evan M., Decision on Palestine: How the U.S. Came to Recognize Israel (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1979), 73.

98 Louis, British Empire, 420.

99 Redfield Peter and Bornstein Erica, “An Introduction to the Anthropology of Humanitarianism,” in Bornstein Erica and Redfield Peter, eds., Forces of Compassion: Humanitarianism between Ethics and Politics (Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press, 2010), 17.

100 Arab Office, The Future of Palestine (London: The Arab Office, 1947), 70.

101 Sayigh Rosemary, ed., Yusif Sayigh, Arab Economist, Palestinian Patriot: A Fractured Life Story (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2015), 188.

102 Ibid. Also see, Tessler Mark, A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 2d ed. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009), 177.

103 Sayigh, Yusif Sayigh, 188.

104 Ibid.

105 Wilson, Decision on Palestine, 84–85.

106 Ibid., 76.

107 Ibid.

108 Author's interview with Walid Khalidi, 2013.

109 Stoler, Along the Archival Grain, 40.

110 Wilson, Decision on Palestine, 76.

111 Ibid.

112 British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin also agreed with this point. Louis, British Empire, 4.

113 Wilson, Decision on Palestine, 80.

114 Khalidi Walid, ed., “The Case against a Jewish State in Palestine: Albert Hourani's Statement to the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry of 1946,Journal of Palestine Studies 35, 1 (2005): 8990 , 85.

115 “Memorandum of The Institute of Arab American Affairs on the Recommendations of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry” (New York: Institute of Arab American Affairs, 1946), 8.

116 Lockman Zachary, Comrades and Enemies: Arab and Jewish Workers in Palestine, 1906–1948 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966), 274, 322–23.

117 Louis, British Empire, 387; also see Eddy William A., “F.D.R. Meets Ibn Saud: The Conference and Its Anticlimax, 1945,” in Khalidi Walid, ed., From Haven to Conquest (Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies, Beirut, 1971), 512.

118 Nelson Deborah, “Suffering and Thinking: The Scandal of Tone in Eichmann in Jerusalem,” in Berlant Lauren, ed., Compassion: The Culture and Politics of an Emotion (London: Routledge, 2004), 220.

119 Stoler, “Affective States.”

120 Later examples are found in Allen Lori, The Rise and Fall of Human Rights: Cynicism and Politics in Occupied Palestine (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013).

121 The report is available at: (accessed 29 Dec. 2016).

122 The Mitchell Commission's final report highlighted the importance of rebuilding confidence between Palestinians and Israelis and resuming negotiations, for Palestinians to end terror, and for Israelis to freeze settlements.

123 The Palestinians' submissions were prepared by the staff of the Negotiation Support Unit, a group made up mostly of relatively young lawyers, most of whom were Palestinian or Palestinian-American, or of Arab background or heritage. One of them called it “the one centerpiece of Palestinian diplomacy.” Files in author's possession (the three written submissions are no longer available online).

124 Sina Najafi, David Serlin, and Lauren Berlant, “The Broken Circuit: An Interview with Lauren Berlant,” Cabinet Magazine 31 (Fall 2008): (accessed 8 Dec. 2016).

125 Ibid.

126 Although the official PLO response to the report (available at noted that it did not fully address all of their concerns, they confirmed its “balanced assessment of the facts” and supported the implementation of the Committee's recommendations.

127 Mouin Rabbani, “The Mitchell Report: Oslo's Last Gasp?” Middle East Report Online, 1 June 2001: (accessed 29 Dec. 2016).

128 See Wheatley, “Mandatory Interpretation,” 221.

129 Stoler, Along the Archival Grain, 68.

130 In both the Palestinian case and that of the Australian aboriginals as analyzed by Elizabeth Povinelli, it is evident that the less powerful try to make themselves legible to those in control of resources. Povinelli argues that the colonial state has compelled subaltern subjects to “identify with the impossible object of an authentic self-identity,” inspiring in them “impossible desires.” Somewhat similarly, the “cunning” of commissions reinforces a false message of what are the political criteria according to which the colonized are being judged. But commissions do not skew Palestinians' subjectivity or their political aims. Palestinians have been demanding independence consistently and for a long time; upholding democratic principles is not simply a disciplining imposition from above. There are similar effects, however, in that commissions may enable the continuity of colonial settler practices by reducing the efficacy of Palestinian resistance to them. Povinelli Elizabeth A., “The Cunning of Recognition: A Reply to John Frow and Meaghan Morris,Critical Inquiry 25, 3 (1999): 631–37, 633.

131 On sociological changes in the Palestinian leadership, see Hilal Jamil, “West Bank and Gaza Strip Social Formation under Jordanian and Egyptian Rule (1948–1967),Review of Middle East Studies 5 (1992): 3374 , 52; and The Formation of the Palestinian Elite: From the Palestinian National Movement to the Rise of the Palestinian Authority (Ramallah: Muwatin, the Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy, 2002).

132 Fassin Didier, “The Humanitarian Politics of Testimony: Subjectification through Trauma in the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict,Cultural Anthropology 23, 3 (2008), 531–58; Hopgood Stephen, The Endtimes of Human Rights (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013); Moyn Samuel, The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010).

133 According to some scholars, in the dominant claims of Western political discourse reasoned argument is at the center of the normative democratic public sphere. See Fraser Nancy, “Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy,Social Text 25, 26 (1990): 5680 ; Habermas Jurgen, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, Burger Thomas with Lawrence Frederick, trans. (Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1989).

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Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
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