Cite: Stein, Israeli Visuality, Palestinian Testimony and the Gaza War

Stein, Rebecca L. “Impossible Witness: Israeli Visuality, Palestinian Testimony and the Gaza War.” Journal for Cultural Research 16.2-3 (2012): 135-153. [Special Issue: Arab Cultural Studies]





This article studies Israeli news coverage (chiefly via newspapers and television) of the Gaza war of 2008–2009, with a focus on what the national media withheld from its consuming publics – namely, depiction of the extent of Israeli-inflicted violence upon Gazan people and infrastructure. At the core of this article is a study of an anomalous instance of Palestinian testimonial which was broadcast live on Israeli national television – this in an Israeli media context in which Palestinian eyewitness accounts were largely occluded from public view. How, the article asks, are we to make sense of this scene of televised Palestinian trauma and the enormous attention it garnered among Israeli publics? The author’s reading detours through the work of Israeli cultural theorist Ariella Azoulay with her insistence that the study of images and visuality in the Israeli context be attentive to the inextricable interplay between ways of seeing and national ideologies. In conclusion, the author proffers a reading which folds this scene of televised testimonial back into the hegemonic Israeli field of perception.

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