Cite: Caplan, Victimhood in Israeli and Palestinian National Narratives

Caplan, Neil. “Victimhood in Israeli and Palestinian National Narratives.” Bustan: The Middle East Book Review 3.1 (2012): 1-19.





This essay discusses the theme of victimhood in the Israeli and Palestinian national narratives. These sentiments have contributed to the entrenchment of mutually exclusive claims which have made the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so intractable. Israeli history and identity have been overwhelmed by a morose sense of victimization, while Palestinian national identity presents a parallel victimhood component stemming from the Nakba, the catastrophe of Israel’s establishment and the Palestinian defeat in 1948. This article highlights recent publications that directly address these questions, focusing on the highly partisan, polemical nature of the debate. Overcoming these narratives of victimhood and decreasing the level of self-righteousness which both sides embrace is a prerequisite for making some of the tough compromises involved in reaching a workable solution to this protracted conflict.

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