Narratives in Israel/Palestine: Simplified

People will tell you that this is a place of thousands of different narratives, and that you couldn’t imagine putting it all together in one lifetime. In a sense, that’s true. But in another important sense I think all the perspectives fit into a few important categories.

In essence, there are two kinds of narratives about what has happened/is happening here. The two kinds are: serious and unserious. Serious narratives get the facts right, and don’t concoct complex lies to cover up the evidence inconvenient for their values. Of serious narratives, there are really only two: Zionist and anti-Zionist. The serious zionist narrative does not lie about the history, does not challenge the new historians uncovering of the facts of the Nakba, and does not pretend that the ongoing oppression of the Palestinians is not racist or not oppressive. The serious zionist narrative uses the same facts as the anti-zionist narrative, but justifies the historical violence and ongoing oppression of the Palestinians in the name of the idea of a Jewish state. Once the Jewish State is truly proclaimed as the highest value, there is no need to lie about the facts to justify it. On the other hand, the serious anti-zionist narrative cites the same history, and interprets with anti-colonial values. It does not pretend that all Palestinians are nice people, or that anti-semitism does not exist. This does not mean all anti-zionist narratives recommend the same solution or the same course of action, nor does it mean all zionist narratives envision the same settlement. However, since they are not willing to lie about the reality and the history, all serious people have potential common ground in the content of the world.

There are of course hundreds and hundreds of un-serious narratives. If you are willing to fudge the facts to justify your position, there is no limit to the number of combinations of values and stories you can come up with.


One thought on “Narratives in Israel/Palestine: Simplified

  1. A relevant article:

    “On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. That is truth, not narrative. On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked and destroyed the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. That is truth, not narrative.

    Of course, there are also narratives. For example, the Germans had quite a few complaints against Poland. First, that in the 1919 Versailles Treaty, the victorious Western powers stripped Germany of territories with a large ethnic German population and annexed them to Poland (the “Polish corridor” ), while declaring Danzig, which had been a German city for generations, an international city. Moreover, Nazi Germany accused the Polish government of discriminating against ethnic Germans under its jurisdiction.”

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