ABSTRACT

This article applies qualitative dynamic content analysis to archival sources to demonstrate that religious identity was the primary motivation for Orthodox Greek Palestinians to join the Communist Party in 1948. Abandoned by the local Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, this sect of Palestinians hoped to gain the patronage of the Russian Orthodox Church. This was also their motive for supporting the plan of the United Nations to divide Mandatory Palestine into Arab and Jewish states, in contradiction of the national consensus at the time. Marxist theory, depicted as cosmopolitan, multinational, and multisectoral, helped this group camouflage its sectoral organization within the party’s higher echelons. The article stresses the importance of examining time and place when investigating historical decisions of political groups, such as those of the Palestinian communists in Israel, that have a significant impact on the process of shaping collective identity.

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