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Victimhood Discourse in Contemporary Israel (eBook)

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  • 222 Pages

This book deals comprehensively with different aspects of collective victimhood in contemporary Israel, but also with the wider implications of this important concept for many other societies, including the Palestinian one. The eight highly-diverse, scholarly chapters included in this volume offer analysis of the politics of victimhood (viewing it as increasingly dominant within contemporary Israel), assess victimhood as a focal point of the Jewish historical legacy, trace the evolution and changes of Zionist thought as it relates to a sense of national victimhood, study the possibility of the political transformation of victimhood through changing perceptions and policies by top Israeli leaders, focus on important events that have contributed to the evolvement of the victimhood discourse in Israel and beyond (e.g. the 1967 Six-Day and 1973 Yom Kippur wars in the Middle East), examine the politics and ideology of victimhood within the Palestinian national movement, and offer new ways of progressing beyond national victimhood and toward a better future for people in the Middle East and beyond. The insights of the eight authors and their conceptualization of Israeli victimhood are of immediate relevance for numerous other national groups, as well as for a variety of disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences. This volume has been inspired by the universality of victimhood among humans, reflected in King Lear’s words (“I am a man more sinned against than sinning”), as well as by the words of the late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, telling the Knesset in Jerusalem: “No longer is it true that the whole world is against us”. While the book sums up the state of the field in regard to collective victimhood, it invites the readers to engage in contemplating the far-reaching implications of this important concept for our lives.

This book deals comprehensively with different aspects of collective victimhood in contemporary Israel, but also with the wider implications of this important concept for many other societies, including the Palestinian one. The eight highly-diverse, scholarly chapters included in this volume offer analysis of the politics of victimhood (viewing it as increasingly dominant within contemporary Israel), assess victimhood as a focal point of the Jewish historical legacy, trace the evolution and changes of Zionist thought as it relates to a sense of national victimhood, study the possibility of the political transformation of victimhood through changing perceptions and policies by top Israeli leaders, focus on important events that have contributed to the evolvement of the victimhood discourse in Israel and beyond (e.g. the 1967 Six-Day and 1973 Yom Kippur wars in the Middle East), examine the politics and ideology of victimhood within the Palestinian national movement, and offer new ways of progressing beyond national victimhood and toward a better future for people in the Middle East and beyond. The insights of the eight authors and their conceptualization of Israeli victimhood are of immediate relevance for numerous other national groups, as well as for a variety of disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences. This volume has been inspired by the universality of victimhood among humans, reflected in King Lear’s words (“I am a man more sinned against than sinning”), as well as by the words of the late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, telling the Knesset in Jerusalem: “No longer is it true that the whole world is against us”. While the book sums up the state of the field in regard to collective victimhood, it invites the readers to engage in contemplating the far-reaching implications of this important concept for our lives.


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by Ilan Peleg, irit keynan, itamar lurie, daniel navon, ido zelkovitz, ruth amir, yael aronoff, moshe berent, maya kahanoff, yechiel klar, shafiq masalha

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