“We Are Not Like Them”: Itamar Massacre Activates A Dangerous Israeli-Jewish Ethnocentrism

My latest article in which I argue that the massacre in Itamar (which took place earlier this month) activated a dangerous type of Israeli-Jewish ethnocentrism: characterized by the perception of an ontological difference between Israelis and Palestinians. I speculate that one function of such a narrative is to foster and maintain a positive collective identity at a time in which Israel is branded an apartheid state – i.e. to cleanse the image and soul of Zionism. While I wrote this piece a few days ago, events this morning in Jerusalem have made it all the more pertinent. If the spirit moves you, please share with your online community.

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4 responses to ““We Are Not Like Them”: Itamar Massacre Activates A Dangerous Israeli-Jewish Ethnocentrism

  1. Roi, just wanted to let you know I found your article on Zeek to be a devastatingly perceptive piece, and I appreciated your use of Social Identity Theory.

    You can find my other thoughts in my comment on the actual article — I won’t rehash them here. Just wanted to express my appreciation.

  2. Thanks for the kind words David. I also liked what you wrote about “competitive victimhood.” Very interesting.

  3. Hey Roi,

    The piece you presented us with, is very interesting. Here is my comment upon it:

    “A number of people on the left blamed it on the occupation and/or the settlers themselves.”

    This tiresome and obsolete argument was predictable, therefore expected. Only the Left could be this unimaginative.

    First of all, the word occupation has been being misused for a long time. Let’s recall history here: the Palestinians (better yet, the Arabs) occupied the Land of Israel many many moons ago, then People of Israel came back from forced exile (and persecution) to reclaim its own Land (remember the term “Promised Land”?).
    Second, Am Yisrael reconquered its Land and the Israeli Left should stop feeling embarrassed about it.
    Third, the answer to cleanse away that shame or guilt is not to give away Jerusalem or the Land that rightfully belongs to Israel.
    Fourth, the Palestinians should have followed the Israeli example: to accept the Land that is offered to you and then, if God allows it, conquer the rest. This is what happened in 1947 with the partition plan.

    I agree, though, that calling Palestinians as “monkeys dressed up as people” is sad and it does not draw sympathy to the true Israeli cause. Although I am sympathetic of the settler cause, I agree that the settler movement harbours racists (I bet some of them would even see me as a “monkey dressed up” as a person), but so does the Israeli Left wing.

    It cannot be denied that Arabs do seem to be fascinated by violence. The Palestinian anthem (Fida’i – Revolutionist), for example, uses words such as “With my determination, my fire and the volcano of my revenge (…) With the resolve of the winds and the fire of the guns/And the determination of my nation in the land of struggle/Palestine is my home, Palestine is my fire,/Palestine is my revenge and the land of endurance (…)/I will live as a guerrilla, I will go on as guerrilla, I will expire as guerrilla until I will be back (…)” – is this the mirror of a pacific nation-to-be?
    Do you remember your nation’s anthem, Roi? Its speaks of hope, not revenge (and trust me, the People of Israel had plenty reasons to seek vendetta); it speaks of love for one’s nation not hatred, not war, not blood, not guerrilla.
    No, Israelis are definitely NOT like the Palestinians, in this regard.

    Mr. Sharon’s choice of metaphors may not have been the more civil ones, however he is not far from the truth, mainly because the Palestinians insist on offering that impression: the Itamar assassinations were a proof of that.
    I am not even going to mention the lack of economic and social development (and no, the same obsolete Leftist argument doesn’t cut it).

    I want to see the Palestinian People in a nation of their own; in place to call Home…but not at any cost; not under false pretenses; and certainly not based on Jewish Sacrifice…by God: Never Again.

    It is nice to see you yielding to demagoguery, from times to time, Roi. You are extremely competent at it, if I may say so.

    Thank you for having shared your thoughts.

  4. I agree that group members have a tendency to exaggerate the differences between their group and others. However, it doesn’t follow that all groups are basically the same.

    In the case of Jews and Arabs, the two groups really are objectively different. For example, consider the UN Partition plan of 1948, which the Jews accepted and the Arabs rejected.

    Perhaps most telling is the treatment by Israel of Jewish refugees from the Arab world in the 1940s and 50s compared to the treatment by Arab countries of Arab refugees during the same time period. We Jews would never ever put our own people in refugee camps and deny them citizenship for generations in order to get a political advantage.

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