THE USE OF COLLECTIVEVICTIMHOOD – and its example in thePalestinian – Israeli conflict(essay)I chosethis topis for my essay because as an university student I think it isimportant that academics all around the world are using their right of freedomof speech and academic knowledge to bring the factographical discussion on whatis currently happening in historical Palestine to academic grounds.
My paper isnot, in any way, anti-semitic, I write this as a synopsis of the useof collective victimhood in Zionist’s propaganda which led to thecreation of current apartheid state of Israel (UN report: 2017). The Zionist’s idea of the Jewish state did not comeafter World War II., as a compensation for war crimes against Jews, when UnitedKingdom offered their territories to those Jews people, who didn’t want to livein Europe anymore. “Modern politicalZionism – Jewish nationalism focusing on Palestine – originated in Russia,where anti-Semitism was most virulent. Following the pogroms of the early1880s, Jewish groups were formed with the specific objective of assistingJewish settlement in Palestine. In 1884 these scattered groups were organizedunder a central coordinating agency and took the name the Lovers of Zion.”(Cleveland, W. L.
– Bunton, M.; 2009: 241). This Zionist idea of Jewish settlements inPalestine then continued to spread by Theodor Herzl, who wrote The Jewish state (1896) and furtherduring the first Zionist Congress in 1897 (Cleveland, W. L.
– Bunton, M.; 2009:242)The base for collective victimhood could be any pastevents in which actions were used against the groups of people who seethemselves as some kind of community. Therefore the experiences and theirconsequences that came from those events are understood as a collective memoryof the particular group: „This experience isconsidered as a ‘chosen trauma’ and leads to thecollective focus on the group’s past experiences of victimization, to the pointwhere the entire identity of the group’s members mat centre on it. It ismaintained in the culture and transmitted to the new generations.”1 (Bar-Tal, D.ed.; 2009: 237).
In the study from 2009 A senseof self-perceived collective victimhood in intractable conflicts (Bar-Tal,D. ed.; 2009) readers can read examples on how the issue of collectivevictimhood reflects itself in an Israeli occupation of Palestine, both amongIsraelis and Palestinians. Hovewer authors of the study didn’t clarify the significant difference between Israelis and Palestinianswhich makes the collective victimhood of Palestinians, as it was described inthe study, questionable since the authors did not include some important factswhich I write about later. The state of Israel, which claims itselfas democratic, currently operates on the policy that allows all Jewish peoplearound the world to “return to their homeland”, even though they, nor their directancestors were not born there, so the Jews will not have to face any form ofanti-Semitism as they did during Holocaust. It is the clear example ofcollective victimhood – there was an event in a past which causeda significant harm to Jewish people and therefore they reflect it as theirnarrative and are passing it to the new generations as their ‘chosen trauma’ (Bar-Tal, D. ed.; 2009: 237) with a strong sense that Jewish are constantvictims of anti-Semitism and therefore „insistthey are the victims of Arab aggression” (Bar-Tal, D.
ed.; 2009: 247). Here it is important to point out thatanti-Semitism is still happening – there cannot be any denial of that – but itis illegal in every democratic country around the world and the victims of suchcrimes are able to take legal actions against it.
Hovewer when it comes to Palestiniansand the massacres of Palestinians by Jewish gangs during 1948 – so-called Nakba(arabic word for ‘disaster’), we need to realizethat all living Palestinians suffered or still suffer from this event. ThosePalestinians who fled after Israeli state declared independence and have nowa status of refugees are not allowed to return to their actual homeland.Those who stayed and now live in West Bank or Gaza strip face the racialoppresion from the Israeli goverment as they are governed under the militarylaw (UN report 2017: 4). Not to mention their prohibition from voting in Israel’s elections as the state of Israel has „Basic Law that prohibit political partiesfrom challenging the Jewish” (UN report 2017: 6). ThosePalestinians who are legal citizens of Israel still do not have the same rightsas Israeli Jewish citizens.
They are governed under the civil law but withspecial restrictions, which segregate them from the citizens whose nationalityis Jewish. Therefore it would be quite incorrect to suggest they suffer fromcollective victimhood rather than from injustice, which they have to face ondaily basis in every aspect of their lives.I want toend my essay with a conclusion that collective victimhood is a big part ofZionist’s propaganda and it is used as an excuse for state’s policy. Zionist’suse of the Holocaust as a factographicalevent contributes to their propaganda to cover their occupation of Palestineand they claim that the state of Israel is the only way how to protect Jewishfrom anti-Semitism, „Yet the evils of the Holocaustcannot disguise the fact that the state of Israel was founded as a resultof a gross injustice against the Palestinians, a people who hadnothing to do with the Nazis’crimes” (Cronin, D.
, 2011: 4). 1 Referencein citation: „42 See V. Volkan, above note 4; H.Krystal, Massive Psychic Trauma,International Universities Press: New York 1968