Memory, History, Politics: A Hostage Revisits a 1970 Hijacking
Martha Hodes is Professor of History at New York University and served as Interim Director of the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library from 2021 to 2023. She is recently the recipient of fellowships from the Cullman Center and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
On September 6, 1970, 12-year-old Martha Hodes and her 13-year-old sister were flying unaccompanied back to New York City from Israel when their plane was hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and forced to land in the Jordan desert. Too young to understand the gravity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Hodes grew up with hazy and fragmented memories of those six days and nights as a hostage. Nearly a half-century later, as a professional historian, she returns to those memories, drawing on deep archival research and extensive interviews both to re-create what happened to her as a child and to understand the larger context of the world-historical event in which she unwittingly participated.