Independence on Nakba Day – Accountability and Healing as an Israeli Aggressor

Hits: 3096

I am an Israeli-American. I was raised in a middle-class academic ‘Liberal Zionist’ household (aligned with the Israeli Labor Party and Meretz), which is an inherent contradiction. Liberal Zionism maintains a belief in universal human rights yet it supports a Zionist ideology that endorses and promotes Israel as a Jewish state – one that has been systematically carrying out a project of apartheid and ethnic cleansing of the native Palestinian people.

Since I can remember, my birth town of Jerusalem has been highly segregated. Growing up, I never interacted with Palestinians other than Abed the soft-spoken gardener from Hebron (aka El Halil), Rada the lady who cleaned our home on occasion (and would delight me with a bottle of delicious home-made olive oil from her groves in Beit Jala) and the delivery boy from East Jerusalem who was my age and worked at the local grocery store.

The Zionist narrative was deeply entrenched within me from an early age. I was convinced Israel is the David eternally pitted against the Arabs, who were the Goliaths out to get me and my fellow tribesmen and women. In school I learned about the succession of Jewish traumas and the various Israeli wars, which were always framed as romantic, just and heroic yet defensive and unavoidable. At home I heard about the horrific abuses members of my family went through and their incredible journeys to the shores of Palestine. Alternative narratives of settler-colonialism and occupation were completely absent and even the word “Palestinian” was considered radically political and controversial.

At the age of 18, I enlisted into the standard three-year military service in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) as a medic in the paratroopers. During my service I was stationed in multiple “hot zones”, predominantly South Lebanon (which was occupied by Israel at the time) and Hebron (aka El Halil in Arabic) in the West Bank. I manned checkpoints and participated in raids, ambushes and other military operations and exercises. During this time, I was also exposed to the fundamentalism, violence and racism of the Israeli settlers against native Palestinians.

I believed I held high moral ground and could serve as a positive influence within the military. But the Israeli state’s trinity of nationalism, religion and capitalism had managed to thoroughly indoctrinate me with propaganda (aka “Hasbara”) that dehumanized the Palestinian ‘other’ and was meant to alleviate any moral dilemmas I encountered while carrying out policies of oppression.

Following the army, the intensity and barrage of stressful and traumatic news that constitute the Israeli experience caused me to shut myself off from my environment. As a result, and similar to many Israelis my age, I willfully disengaged from any political involvement. The occupation was just too “complicated” and I opted to focus solely on my personal development.

Fear and Propaganda

I went on to study biological psychology in the United States specializing in the behavioral neuroscience of fear, stress, social behaviors, aggression and trauma. My studies have afforded me the opportunity to investigate the neurobehavioral pathways involved in conflict and its resolution from the aspects of both aggressor and victim. I have found that studying the brain mechanisms associated with trauma and its healing can benefit our efforts to understand and find effective solutions to conflict (for more see here).

A simplistic Darwinian outlook is often cited by those who believe in a dualistic, ‘us versus them’ philosophy, i.e. in the ‘rough neighborhood of the Middle East only the strong survive’. We see that perspective represented by a long line of pro-aggression, exclusivist, expansionist and militaristic Israeli governments that instill and potentiate fear in order to control public opinion and facilitate their political and economic goals. In so doing, the Jewish victim narrative, a form of collective Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sustains the level of aggression and oppression that is a part of daily life in the reality of occupation.

However, evolution also emphasizes the adaptive utility of altruistic and cooperative behavior based on humans’ natural qualities as a social species. Though it is very difficult to overcome fear and cultivate empathy in an environment of separation, aggression and hatred, it is possible through a principled and sustained process of education, communication and collaboration, which can be achieved using universal human languages to connect and bridge gaps, such as art and music.

At some point during my studies, I was challenged on my Zionist beliefs. I realized I was spewing propaganda that I could not back with facts, as I was accustomed to with my scientific research. My ignorance and emotionality regarding Zionism, in addition to my newfound ability and curiosity to reengage with politics due to the geographical and mental distance from the once overwhelming Israeli propaganda machine, inspired me to conduct my own research into the history of Israel and Zionism, the occupation of Palestine and subjugation of Palestinians, and my personal role in perpetuating injustice.

The Psychology of Healing

In my experiments in the laboratory, I trained rodents to become afraid of certain stimuli (odors/lights/tones) by pairing them to innate fears or pain (“fear conditioning”) and then to overcome those conditioned fears by a process of re-exposure to those same stimuli in neutral settings (“extinction of fear”). Once extinguished, I could “reinstate” the fears of these stimuli by scaring or hurting these animals without the presence of the neutral stimuli. As these neural systems are conserved in all mammals, it is valid to extrapolate findings on trauma and its healing in rodents to humans.

In order for Israeli aggressors to heal, en route to re-humanization and reconciliation with our Palestinian victims, we must break the cycle of violence and inequality, which is based on a similar process of conditioning and its reinstatement by various means, such as fear mongering and trauma. For this to happen, Israelis need to go through a painful internal process of deconstruction and reconstruction of our internal narratives, which includes a humble yet relentless quest for historical truth, a sense of deep outrage at the lies, tribalism and fear we were indoctrinated with, and a true reckoning with the profound shame and guilt at the crimes we were involved in both directly and indirectly by association or via our collective silence. Further, Israelis need to channel our outrage toward dissent; i.e. undermining state systems of oppression. Lastly, we must communicate and forge bonds with Palestinians that are based on the universal values of equality, freedom and justice.

Today is a perfect day of reckoning for Israelis: the anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic), grotesquely ignored and even outlawed in Israel and celebrated by Israelis as Independence Day.

We as Israelis must break the parasitic bond that Zionist propaganda has created between the Israeli/Zionist collective narrative (the state) and ourselves so that dissent becomes both legitimate and even patriotic as a means of building an inclusive and just society in Israel/Palestine.


Originally published on 2017-05-17

About the author: Yoav Litvin is a Doctor of Psychology/ Behavioral Neuroscience.

Source: Counter Punch

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

READ MORE!
‘Trumpism’ is Symptom of Decades-Long Imperial Arrogance
No matter how hard White House officials try, they cannot construct a coherent ‘Trump doctrine’ that would make sense amid the chaos that has afflicted US foreign policy in recent months. However, this chaos is not entirely the making of President Donald Trump alone. Since 1945, the United States has vied for total global leadership. The 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the subsequent disintegration of the Eastern Bloc, gave it complete global hegemony. The US became the force that stabilized and destabilized any region in the world, as it saw fit – which always served the interests of the US and ...
READ MORE
Anglo-Saxon Roots of German Nazism
More than six decades after Berlin’s capitulation which capped World War II, the war is still raging, now in the form of revisionist attempts to cast a shadow over the memory of Soviet soldiers who fought in it. Among other things, the efforts aimed at equating fascism – a monster nurtured by the West in the 1930s-1940s – and Russia’s XX century wartime past are supposed to divert attention from the continuity between the Anglo-Saxon imperialism and the German national socialism. The nature and key traits of the continuity are exposed in “From Imperialism to Fascism: Why Hitlers’ India was ...
READ MORE
How a Single Remark Stole a Lithuanian Writer’s Livelihood
The title page of Rūta Vanagaitė’s best-known book contains two pictures of young men. “This one is a Jew,” she said, pointing at the picture on the left. “He was a bicycle-racing champion. Good enough to represent Lithuania in international competitions, but not good enough to live.” He was executed during the Holocaust. The man in the picture on the right was a Lithuanian executioner. “They are both us,” Vanagaitė explained. “But Lithuanians don’t like to think of them as ‘us,’ because one is a Jew and the other is a killer.” Her book is called “Us.” (The title has ...
READ MORE
Stay Оut of Kosovo!
…When did Congress authorize Bill Clinton to go to war againsta Yugoslav army that has never attacked Americans?…This week, NATO conducted air exercises over Albania as a warning to Belgrade that its crackdown in Kosovo must end now.NATO’s demands? Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic must call off his offensive by June 16, allow monitors unimpeded access to the rebellious province, let the refugees return home, and resume talks with the Kosovan resistance. If Milosevic balks, NATO is preparing attacks on his forces and, says The New York Times, “possible air strikes against strategic military targets in Serbia.”France contends that NATO needs ...
READ MORE
Amnesty International Publishes a Fabricated Report on Mass Executions in Syria
On Monday, February 8 (2016), the human rights organization Amnesty International published a 48-page report accusing the Syrian government of mass executions and tortures in Saydnaya prison. According to the watchdog, between September 2011 and December 2015, an estimated 5,000 and 13,000 people were extrajudicially executed. The methods used by the report to count the alleged ‘victims’ is quite contradictory. Amnesty International admits it had little direct evidence for its claims. Instead, the report was based on conjectures and the words of former prison detainees and commentators who are linked to the Syrian opposition and have lived outside the country for ...
READ MORE
How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen
Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, ...
READ MORE
The Collapse of the European Union: Return to National Sovereignty and to Happy Europeans?
Imagine – the European Union were to collapse tomorrow – or any day soon for that matter. Europeans would dance in the streets. The EU has become a sheer pothole of fear and terror: Economic sanctions – punishment, mounting militarization, the abolition of civil rights for most Europeans. A group of unelected technocrats, representing 28 countries, many of them unfit to serve in their own countries’ political system, but connected well enough to get a plum job in Brussels – are deciding the future of Europe. In small groups and often in secret chambers they decide the future of Europe.Take ...
READ MORE
Trump the Great
If Trump can defeat the oligarchy and save America, he can go down in history as Trump the Great. Liberals, progressives, and the left-wing (to the extent that one still exists) are aligning with the corrupt oligarchy against president-elect Trump and the American people. They are busy at work trying to generate hysteria over Trump’s “authoritarian personality and followers.” In other words, the message is: here come the fascists. Liberals and progressives wailed and whined about “an all white male cabinet,” only to be made fools by Trump’s appointment of a black male and two women, one a minority and one a Trump ...
READ MORE
Washington’s Bizarre Kosovo Strategy could Destroy NATO
Not satisfied with having sponsored the artificial creation of Kosovo, the United States has now decided to ram the mafia state through NATO and the European Union. A new member with such characteristics is the last thing that Europe needs right now. However, it should work wonders for the consolidation of U.S. political and military agenda in the region, not to speak of the flourishing heroin trade from Afghanistan…both of which, as Engdahl points out in this sharp analysis, pose a threat to Russia and may backfire in the end.In one of the more bizarre foreign policy announcements of a ...
READ MORE
The “World’s Policeman” Retires on Disability
Ever since the end of World War II, the United States, rightly or wrongly, but most of the time, wrongly, has fancied itself as the «world’s policeman». Even a disastrous and costly military intervention in Southeast Asia did not deter the United States from acting as the chief arbiter of what governments were «in» and which were «out» as evidenced by Central Intelligence Agency interloping in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Angola, Haiti, and Colombia. Two military interventions in Iraq and a U.S.-led military campaign directed against Yugoslavia were not enough to pry the United States from its self-appointed role as the ...
READ MORE
Kosovo and Ongoing De-Christianization
The ongoing de-Christianization of Kosovo continues and unlike the past frenzy of the anti-Serbian mass media in the West, we mainly have a deadly silence about the reality of Kosovo and the continuing Albanianization of this land. However, how is it “just” and “moral” to persecute minorities and to alienate them from mainstream society; and then to illegally recognize this land without the full consensus of the international community?How ironic it is that the same United States of America and the United Kingdom, two nations who were in the forefront of covertly manipulating the mass media; remain mainly silent about ...
READ MORE
The Ghosts of World War I Circle Over Ukraine
We don’t yet know the details behind the tragic downing of the Malaysia Airlines jetliner over eastern Ukraine on July 17, but in one sense, the details aren’t going to matter very much in the global scheme of things. The geopolitical outcome is already known. World outrage has focused on Russian president Vladimir Putin to such an extent that Putin has suffered a huge loss of moral authority. That, in turn, lessens his range of actions in his ongoing confrontation with the West over Ukraine and increases the likelihood that Russia will lose its traditional dominance over that split country ...
READ MORE
27 Million Died in Russia because Wall Street Built Up Hitler’s Wehrmacht to Knock Out Soviet Union
With criminal corporate monopoly media masking the US created prosecutable genocide ongoing in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan by focusing attention on Russia, fantasized  as a dangerous enemy needing military confrontation, it might be a good time to review past US planned, facilitated and at times perpetrated genocidal crimes in Russia. History in context kind of puts to rest all the hype about evil Russia seeking to expand when it already is the largest country in the world spanning nine time zones with only half the population of the US to fill it.In 1900, Russia and America ...
READ MORE
Anti-Semitism
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]Save
READ MORE
US Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital: A Travesty of History
To understand Trump’s policy reversal in recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel requires understanding the character of Zionism and Jerusalem as part of a “messianic” “Greater Israel”, as well as the historical relationship between this ancient pre-Israelite city and the many peoples of the region. Donald Trump was elected on the wave of a populist backlash. Like his predecessor, Barack Obama, he promised to roll back the USA’s global intervention, which does, after all, have more in common with Wilsonian Democratic internationalism than traditional Republican—Robert Taft—“America First” non-intervention. Indeed, Trump’s slogan of “America First” got the oligarchic and liberal cabals ...
READ MORE
Who is Angela Merkel – A Person of the Year (2015)?
Aleksandar Vučić, Adolf Hitler and Angela Merkel Angela Merkel as Stasi informer in 1972? Angela Merkel (at that time Kasner), age 17 in 1972, marching happily together with the DDR officer in her FDJ uniform? Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations. [wpedon id="4696" align="left"] Angela Merkel with a war criminal Hashim Tachi, a ...
READ MORE
NATO: Seeking Russia’s Destruction Since 1949
In 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, U.S. president George H. W. Bush through his secretary of state James Baker promised Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev that in exchange for Soviet cooperation on German reunification, the Cold War era NATO alliance would not expand “one inch” eastwards towards Russia. Baker told Gorbachev: “Look, if you remove your [300,000] troops [from east Germany] and allow unification of Germany in NATO, NATO will not expand one inch to the east.” In the following year, the USSR officially dissolved itself. Its own defensive military alliance (commonly known as the Warsaw Pact) had already ...
READ MORE
President Slobodan Milosevictalking to reporters at the Sava centre, Belgrade, Serbia, in the run-up to elections, Dec 1993., Image: 6033063, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: , Model Release: no, Credit line: Profimedia, Alamy
On March 11, 2006, President Slobodan Milosevic died in a NATO prison. No one has been held accountable for his death. In the 10 years since the end of his lonely struggle to defend himself and his country against the false charges invented by the NATO powers, the only country to demand a public inquiry into the circumstances of his death came from Russia when Foreign Minister, Serge Lavrov, stated that Russia did not accept the Hague tribunal’s denial of responsibility and demanded that an impartial and international investigation be conducted. Instead, The NATO tribunal made its own investigation, known as ...
READ MORE
Israel Supports Islamic Terrorists
Israel claims that it’s in a mortal struggle with Islamic terrorists … But as we reported last year, the Israeli military has admitted to supporting Syrian Islamic jihadists. And see this. Last week, Daily Mail journalists embedded with Israeli troops reported: Almost every night, Israeli troops run secret missions to save the lives of Syrian fighters, all of whom are sworn enemies of the Jewish state. *** Analysts suggest the Jewish state has in fact struck a deadly ‘deal with the devil’ – offering support to the Sunni militants who fight the Syrian ruler Assad in the hope of containing its arch enemies Hezbollah and Iran. *** Many of the casualties ...
READ MORE
Documentary Film: “Stolen Kosovo” (The Czech Republic)
The truth about Kosovo and Metochia.This documentary film was made by the Czech Republic TV and banned in all mainstream globalist media in western countries.It will reveal to you the horrifying story of Kosovo that nobody ever wanted to tell you and debunking all hoaxes, lies, and propaganda NATO used for trigger events...In 1999 NATO bombed Serbia for 78 days and destroyed everything on its way bridges, hospitals, schools, telecommunicat­ion buildings, military bases...killing more than 2.500 and wound more than 5.000 civilians.One of the reasons why NATO bombed Serbia is to build the biggest military base in Albania, so they ...
READ MORE
‘Trumpism’ is Symptom of Decades-Long Imperial Arrogance
Anglo-Saxon Roots of German Nazism
How a Single Remark Stole a Lithuanian Writer’s Livelihood
Stay Оut of Kosovo!
Amnesty International Publishes a Fabricated Report on Mass Executions in Syria
How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen
The Collapse of the European Union: Return to National Sovereignty and to Happy Europeans?
Trump the Great
Washington’s Bizarre Kosovo Strategy could Destroy NATO
The “World’s Policeman” Retires on Disability
Kosovo and Ongoing De-Christianization
The Ghosts of World War I Circle Over Ukraine
27 Million Died in Russia because Wall Street Built Up Hitler’s Wehrmacht to Knock Out Soviet Union
Anti-Semitism
US Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital: A Travesty of History
Who is Angela Merkel – A Person of the Year (2015)?
NATO: Seeking Russia’s Destruction Since 1949
The “Extrajudicial” Assassination of Slobodan Milosevic in 2006
Israel Supports Islamic Terrorists
Documentary Film: “Stolen Kosovo” (The Czech Republic)

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu

One comment to “Independence on Nakba Day – Accountability and Healing as an Israeli Aggressor”

Comments are closed.