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The Rise and Decline of a Solidarity Movement: Palestinians and the Radical Left in West Germany, 1950s-1980s
Funder: European CommissionProject code: 101151394 Call for proposal: HORIZON-MSCA-2023-PF-01
Funded under: HE | HORIZON-TMA-MSCA-PF-EF Funder Contribution: 230,774 EUR

This project studies the shifting trajectory of pro-Palestinian activism in West Germany, between the 1950s and 1980s. At its center is the question of how we can explain that contemporaries in West Germany began to support Palestinian politics and later withdrew their solidarity. In order to answer this question, the project will study for the first time Palestinian and German archives together. With this approach, it proposes a new focus on the role of migration and ties to the Middle East for solidarity politics in the West German left. The reasons for the rise of Palestine solidarity movements during the 1960s and their decline in the 1980s are a much-discussed topic in the history of the Western European left. With the legacy of the Holocaust and an earlier support for Israel in the West German left, this trajectory is particularly puzzling in the case of the Federal Republic. Historians have sought to explain this puzzle by focusing on continuities in the history of Antisemitism and a changed perception of Israel after the Six-Day War of 1967. PalSol breaks new ground by studying Palestinian sources on the solidarity movement in West Germany. These sources provide a fresh vista on everyday interactions and the role of the Palestinian diaspora in bridging leftist politics between places like Beirut and Bonn. Pursuing a transregional approach, the project promises to shed light on how political struggles in Europe and the Middle East became integrated and disintegrated between the 1950s and 1980s

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