Everyone who saw the brutal treatment of the passengers of the freedom flotilla attempting to break the blockade of Gaza, and heard the Israeli propaganda machine claiming this was done in ‘self defence’ should understand that this self justification has a long history.
As an Israeli child, I grew up on myths of ‘self defence’ and of ‘the few against the many’, which were the building blocks of Israeli state and society from its very inception. Israeli literary scholar Nurit Gertz identifies three ‘ideological narratives’ aimed at conserving the hegemonic power relations. The first myth is the ‘few against the many’ narrative, according to which a Jewish ‘David’ was attacked by an Arab ‘Goliath’, the second is the struggle between the enlightened (Jewish) Europeans and the backwards (Arab) Orientals and the ensuing myth about Palestine being a ‘desert’ which the Zionists made ‘bloom’, and the third is the struggle between the isolated Jewish nation and an uncaring world, a narrative strengthened by the indifference of the world in face of the Nazi genocide. A fourth myth is that of Israel as European, and a fifth – perhaps the strongest myth – was the belief that all Israel’s wars and brutalities are fought in self defence. Read more