Collective Memory of Trauma: The Otherization of Suffering in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Shannon Andrea Thomas
<span title="">2015</span> <i title="California Digital Library (CDL)"> <a target="_blank" rel="noopener" href="" style="color: black;">Berkeley undergraduate journal</a> </i> &nbsp;
I n the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the tragedies of the Holocaust and the Nakba (Ar. catastrophe) inform the respective foundational narratives of victimhood, nationalism, and rebirth. The death of over six million Jews in the Holocaust and the loss of homeland for Palestinian refugees in the 1948 Nakba, while not comparable in quantitative or qualitative scale, hold a similar position in the hearts and minds of Israelis and Palestinians. These events represent historical
more &raquo; ... tices that galvanize both peoples' modern national struggles. Despite the striking parallels, negating the other side's narrative of suffering is a basic characteristic of the conflict. This thesis studies the function of collective memory of trauma in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, focusing specifically on how the Holocaust and the Nakba are mobilized to construct national identities predicated on the rejection of the Other's victimhood. My inquiry is based on textual and visual analyses of materials created by official museums and institutions, K-12 history textbooks, and public writings and speeches devoted to memorializing trauma, seeking to demonstrate how collective memory is shaped and transmitted to future generations. I also analyze existing surveys of Israelis and Palestinians in order to gauge public opinion about one's own and the Other's historical trauma. I hope to add to the existing body of literature on cultures of victimhood in this conflict by demonstrating the link between the promotion of ultimate suffering and the minimization of the Other's tragedy in creating exclusive national narratives.
<span class="external-identifiers"> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener noreferrer" href="">doi:10.5070/b3281025776</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">fatcat:kcrlcoyqejf2ra642rjwkjyaxe</a> </span>
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