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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

avigail abarbanel on what "peace" really means to israelis

avigail abarbanel, a psychotherapist by trade, applies her skills to the analysis of the psychological aspects of the israel/palestine conflict. here's part of a text that i lifted from thecutter's weblog.

In family therapy there is an accepted principle that unless serious injustices are addressed, there cannot be real peace. Families that protect dark secrets always pay a heavy price. I watched Israeli intellectuals on TV engage in genuine discussion trying to analyse and understand why things are so bad in Israel. They raised every possible reason for the situation other than the most obvious one – Israel’s history. It was excruciating to watch but also familiar. I have never seen a society so steeped in denial as Israeli society.

The entire spectrum of Israeli politics is in denial about Israel’s history and this is why I do not have much faith in the Israeli Left. The handful that are not in denial like Dr Ilan Pappe who visited Australia last year, or Dr Uri Davis exist outside this spectrum. Their research into the events of 1948 and the circumstances surrounding the birth of the state of Israel is not discussed on public television and is not in Israeli history books. The average Israeli does not even know who they are. Although published by reputable publishers like Cambridge University Press, Dr Pappe’s books have so far been refused publication in Hebrew. The reason offered is that they lack academic merit... The way most Israelis perceive their own history is as if they have always been the weak victim. The question of whether or not it was morally right or even wise to create a state at the expense of another people is never raised.

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