The Establishment of Israeli Identity through Racist Discourse

D07 6

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  • Title: The Establishment of Israeli Identity through Racist Discourse
  • Author(s): Nurit Elhanan-Peled
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Diversity in Organizations, Communities & Nations
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities, and Nations: Annual Review
  • Keywords: Racism, Classroom Discourse, Semiotics, Multimodal Analysis, Schoolbooks
  • Volume: 7
  • Issue: 6
  • Year: 2008
  • ISSN: 1447-9532 (Print)
  • ISSN: 1447-9583 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/1447-9532/CGP/v07i06/39507
  • Citation: Elhanan-Peled, Nurit. 2008. "The Establishment of Israeli Identity through Racist Discourse." The International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities, and Nations: Annual Review 7 (6): 111-126. doi:10.18848/1447-9532/CGP/v07i06/39507.
  • Extent: 16 pages

Abstract

Israel is an ‘ethnic Democracy’ where one ethnic group dominates other ethnic groups while denying or ignoring their social and cultural identities and rights. The Jewish Israeli identity is an artificial one. Since features such as common territory, common language and common culture were not available to the modern Jewish nation which is composed of many cultures and languages, they had to be manufactured through education, for the purpose of building a collective homogenous identity for all its members. This identity has been founded on the idea that Israelis are both the successors of biblical Hebrews and have a Western culture. Israeli school discourse ignores and denies any other culture, both Jewish and Arab. This tendency results in the ignorance of teachers regarding the culture and ‘lifeworld’ of both their students and their neighbours. The paper shows the ways in which ‘others’ (such as Palestinians, Ethiopian Jews or ex-Soviet Union Jews), are represented both in schoolbooks and in teachers’ talk. The paper will argue that Israeli education promotes ‘Elite Racism’ both towards the Palestinian citizens and subjects and towards Jewish new-comers.