Israel’s Narrative, As Seems for a Far

Israel, according to many, has been nurturing, at least for some extent, a victim’s narrative. This side of the Israeli narrative, draws from the old testimony, Jewish folk stories and Jewish history, and incorporates them into the Israeli identity.

Without going into how the “state of Israel” and the “Jewish people” became synonymous when discussing the Israeli narrative, the Israeli-Zionist main assumption within the Israeli narrative is that the Jewish people must be able to defend themselves. The Jewish people and Israel do have a basis for that notion: the 1942 Jewish expulsion from Spain, the pogroms, the Holocaust. Also more recently the 1948 war between Israel and all its Arabic neighbors, the 1967 October war, the ‘Yum Kippur’ war of 1973 and various terrorist actions against Israelis worldwide, calling for destruction of the Zionist entity.

The list above shows that Israeli narrative has a ground to stand on, meaning and that “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” And Israeli leaders for years have been using the victim narrative for political ends, warring that the only democracy in the Middle East will soon be lost.

Along the years, U.S. support grew financially and politically and in a non-partisan matter. According to some reports, Israeli was able to reach nuclear capabilities, while being able to prevent others in its region from doing the same. And Israeli-European relations are shadowed by past anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.

The problem with Israel’s narrative today, is that some around the world, and within Israel, refuse to keep the perception of Israel as a victim particularly in response to some of its actions and its military abilities. Israel had cemented its position as a regional force, and shouldn’t play the weak side, they say.

Israel nourishes other, newer narratives regarding its global position as. Ideas such as the start-up nation, celebrating the knowledge and abilities Israeli high-tech companies have to offer. Or, the only democracy in the Middle East, showcasing an island of stability in the war-torn region. These new ideas help promote Israel world-wide, in a positive light, but are watered down and sometimes ignored by the victim façade the small country still choses to portray.


2 thoughts on “Israel’s Narrative, As Seems for a Far

  1. Yuyang says:

    Thank you for a very good post about Israel’s narrative creating and strategic goals behind. From perspective of a Chinese, it seems like I heard most things about Israel is that is a small nation with high intelligence standard and military power. I also often heard about perceptions that Jewish people are very smart yet this nation has a very tragedy past in the history. Such narrative is successful apparently for both inside country and countries outside the region. I am just wondering how does this work for other nations in Middle East? How do they react to Israel’s self portray as constant “victim”? Doesn’t the statement of Israel as the only democracy in Middle East spark more hostility toward Israel ?


  2. marissaic says:

    Israel’s narrative of victimhood provides such an interesting example of national narratives, especially in the context of how debated this narrative is both (as you mentioned in your post) from within Israel and from outside the country. The narrative is so rooted in the atrocities committed against the Jewish people throughout history but is now in constant struggle with Israel’s current status as a strong military power engaged in a very complicated set of conflicts. Israel’s victim narrative certainly has “ground to stand on,” as you say, but, judging from the pushback both inside and outside the country, it seems that there’s some disconnect to keeping the narrative central and relevant in the context of Israel’s current actions. It’s also interesting to see the ways in which other nations react to Israel’s narrative and incorporate it into their own policy; most notably, for example, the United States’ support of Israel seems to rely heavily on this victim narrative, and that impacts the US’s actions towards Israel (and its enemies).


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